Saturday, December 24, 2005

its christmas eve, and the awaited letter from pave came today!!! the boxes arrived! the boxes arrived! the boxes arrived! here's the letter and below i'll try to translate it.

Querida Laurie:
Sabes los paquetes ya llegaron querida justo hoy 24 de diciembre fui a las 12 del medio dia a recogerlos y ver lo lindo que mandaste, todos van a ser muy felices el dia 26 que es el dia de la Navidad de Sipascancha, y gracias tambien a Shelley tenemos mas, muchos abrazos para ella de parte de los niños te mandare fotitos. ahora Laurie como un cuento de Navidad tus paquetes llegaron al final como si los angeles lo quisieran,y no lo entregaban hoy sino el lunes pero como en la ficcion la señora que entregaba los paquetes de muy mal humor trabajo sabado, en forma excepcional , te crees y eso no fue todo yo tengo el carnet de identidad sin renovar y al recibirmelo no se dio cuenta y yo rezaba para que la mujer del correo no lo mire mucho, como de arte divino todo , yo nerviosa, si no lo recogia hoy el lunes que viajo a las 6.00 am. no podia llevarlos los regalos pero todo fue como puesto por Dios.
Querida Laurie hoy d{ia en que se acerca la Navidad quiero expresar mi mas profundo cariño a tu bella persona y como es un dia de renovaci{on quiero agradeces tus gestos de amor para con los m{as pobres de nuestro pais, y como dia de perdon tembien quiero que perdones tal vez algo que no fue claro entre las dos, creo que la comunicac´ion que hoy tenemos es tan clara y mejor que antes. Aqui pensare en ti mucho esta noche y pedire al Señor Divino te colme de bendiciones y con lagrimas en mis ojos pensare abrazarte para sentirnos mas juntas faltan 12.30 horas para que renazca nuestro creador y lo estare esperando pensando en tu gran persona que este año hara posible que el dia 26 bailemos, comamos, y sonriamos todos los que nos juntaremos en Sipascancha, Adela, Hna. Nelly, el esposo de Adela el profe Nino, su niño Angel Daniel, los 400 niños que vamos a saludar y abrazar y todos aquellos que no son niños Domingo, Alberto, Juana etc. de Sipascancha que recibiran tus regalos y los de Shelley todos tomaremos chocolate y pan dulce, regalos mucho amor los bebes las señoras para todos estamos llevando algo tal un pan dulce especial pero lleno de amor, y todos nosotros rezaremos por ti para que eta Navidad estes muy bien, con tus hijos y tus amigos.
Amiga un abrazo muy fuerte y mil gracias de todo carazon.
Tu amiga Pavela............................FELIZ NAVIDAD y MUCHO AMOR DESDE CUSCO PARA TI

dear laurie,
you know laurie, the packages arrived safely just today. i went to the postal at midday today to pick them up and see what pretty things you sent. all the people and children of sipascancha on the day after christmas are going to be very happy. many thanks also to shelley, she receives the hugs of all the children that we will mail photos of.
the arrival of the packages was like a story just of christmas. it was if the angels themselves delivered them. and you know we needed them to come today to bring them to the children. and like a story, a maltempered woman, not wanting to work on saturday, did not want to give me the packages because my identity card was expired. to come back on monday when the bus leaves at 6AM was not possible! god must have talked to her...she did not look closely at the gifts, i was very nervous. and we left with the packages as god had intended.
laurie in the spirit of christmas, i want to express my profound fondness of you and your beautiful person(ality). and this is a day of starting over. i want to thank you for your gestures of love, we are grateful. and in regards to the times our communication was not clear, i want you to accept my forgiveness. and with tears in my eyes, i will think of you tonight and will leave it to god to bless you. you will be in my thoughts this night, i will think of you...and when i receive the communion i will think of you, because it is because of you, the day ater christmas we will be dancing, eating and smiling. we will all be together there, myself, hermana nelly, adella, nico their angel son daniel, with the 400 hundred children of sipascancha alta and baja. all will give their greetings and hugs. those that are not children, domingo, juana, and the others you sent gifts to will receive them, and the children will receive the gifts of you and shelley and drink hot chocolate and eat sweet bread. even the old women like this, to receive the hot chocolate and bread full of love. we will pray also your christmas is very good, and that you are sharing it with your family and friends. dear friend , a big hug and a million thanks from all of our hearts.
your friend, pavela merry christmas and much love from cusco to you

well i have celebrated my christmas season with friends and family. and i just told percy all i needed was to hear the packages arrived! and i did! on monday a big part of me will be in sipascancha, imagining the kids with smiles on their faces and the parents enjoying those very smiles.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

yeah! its wednesday, i have 4 days off, percy's coming, i'll get to see melissa, and its almost christmas. and its solstice. our shortest day or longest night--whichever way one wants to look at it. lights need to go up! i read somewhere, in pagan tradition, the reason for the lights was to provide the late night travelers with a bit of light on the longest night, often cold and frozen--its funny how so many traditions wind around each other--each with their own original reason.

so its nearly noon, i just woke up after working last night until midnite, then to winco, then home, cleaning until 4:30 AM! oh, these crazy hours i keep...

i want to go get a tree. wish it wasn't raining--again. perhaps a boy scout will tie the tree to the top of the old volvo?!

i found a photo album last night of previous christmases. from way back, from the first one i celebrated as a mom, with josiah just one month old to the years with bill. funny to look back. while in most ways, now especially, i don't go for all of it. but in the years past, remembering the kids, litle and impressionable, me always making things, trying to not get caught up in it, friends who seemed would always be part of our lives, this husband or that husband.....

the memories that stand out are when the boys were maybe 4 or 5 or 6, and we lived in astoria--i was in school then, life a pleasant struggle (as i look back on it!), and vera sent a santa to our house as a surprise. of course i knew nothing of it and when we got a knock on the door with jingle bells in the background, there on grand street....josiah was simply floored to see him at the door. he came bearing gifts and food. and mom sent 2 little bicycles. the ones when i lived on ash street when dave montgomery was a huge part of my life. mr rogers he was. his kids, mine, cookies, games...and dave's boathouse pancakes. and the year he gave me the gift of free rent, which didn't come to pass! he's now gone and hopefully resting in peace. and the years i spent alone because the kids would go off with their dad. and the horrible ones--maybe the kids don't remember them that way, but i do! like when i was married to bill and we had 4 kids between the two of us. christmas became this assurance of way too many gifts and too often having it wrapped up into trying to make it equal for all. hence the years where credit became a problem ending with a total financial nightmare when i got divorced. that culminated in leaving the country and EVERYTHING all behind, what i kept, crammed into an old schoolbus.. (ok, the 'financial nightmare' wasn't just because of christmas, kinda a product of life in the suburbs, having to have this and that... and thinking 'someday' we'd pay it all of---together...)

the freshest memories are of peru. seeing the whole thing in a totally different light. true, the project up in sipascancha was catholic, so it was about the birth of jesus. nonetheless, they attempted to respect the traditions of the campesinos, their more earth based reason for the season. while people always reminded you of the spanish takeover, the catholicism that resulted, they seem to hold no real grudges. i will never forget it. the live nativity with joel being the baby jesus. and two older kids posing as mary and joseph, all in their traditional clothing. and the sheep we tried to rein in! kids singing in quechua. herbert playing the guitar. we had a tree decorated with ribbons and dried flowers from the greenhouse. the kids and i made snowflakes. we rigged up lights, and the villagers oohed and ahhed. the wind nearly blew the whole thing down! it seemed all the lights in peru came complete with tinny little christmas carols playing. crazy. a visiting priest came to say a mass of sorts. it was in quechua. everyone sat outside, all the benches lined up in front of the church. (the church being too small for everyone to be inside) the chocolate caliente, sweet bread....the gifts for the kids that we stayed up nearly all night getting ready. everyone had a little plastic bag of a toy, some warm piece of clothing, a pair of sandals, a pencil and a few sweets. each was labeled with a childs' name. then over our jimmy-rigged sound system, we called each childs' name and they shyly proceeded forward for their bag and left, seeming they would JUST BURST with excitement... and then almuerzo, this time fried chicken---haha, pollo frito with a salad. everyone ate with their hands, sitting on the ground.

then just the peace we all felt in making their day.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

an article today from
Published on Thursday, December 15, 2005 by the Agence France Presse

UN Highlights Desperate Plight of World's Invisible Children

The United Nations said that hundreds of millions of children across the globe were suffering exploitation and abuse, invisible to the eyes of the rest of the world.
In its flagship annual report on the state of the world's youth, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said such children live in dire circumstances and the picture painted by its report was "staggering" and "not a pretty one".
The report "takes you into the lives of hundreds of millions of children who are hidden from view, lost to statistics, programs and budgets and growing up beyond our reach," said UNICEF executive director Ann Veneman at its London launch on Wednesday.
"They are the world's most vulnerable children, trapped in circumstances that push them to the margins and shadows of society.
"They are children who are not registered at birth and grow up without an identity. They are children who suffer the death of one or both parents.
"They are children forced into adult roles when they should be at school or at play.
"And they are children who are exploited in the commercial sex industry or the worst forms of child labor or even as soldiers in adult conflicts."
Two teenage girls, one each from India and Romania recounted their personal stories of exclusion and exploitation.
Veneman said they had grown up in a world yet to fulfill the promises of a brighter future for children where families, communities and governments rise to their responsibilities.
"We have not given up hope of realizing this future.
"We have to begin by addressing the underlying causes of exclusion and abuse," she insisted.
The UN's ambition to slash extreme poverty can still become reality if real action is taken to reach such children, Veneman added.
Set out by world leaders at a UN summit five years ago, and renewed in September, the Millennium Development Goals begin with a pledge to reduce extreme poverty by half by 2015.
Veneman said meeting the goals depended on reaching vulnerable youngsters throughout the developing world.
"There cannot be lasting progress if we continue to overlook the children most in need."
Other targets include reducing the mortality rate among children under five years of age by two-thirds, ensuring primary schooling for all boys and girls, and a halt to the spread of AIDS and incidence of malaria.
In its opening pages, the UNICEF report argued for a "much stronger focus on ... children currently excluded from essential services and denied protection and participation".
"Unless many more of these children are reached, several of the Millennium Development Goals -- particularly the goal on universal primary education -- will simply not be met on time or in full," it said.
UNICEF appealed for "a massive push" to boost access to essential services for children and their families, starting with "quick-impact initiatives" that can kick-start development and reduce poverty.
Longer term, it proposed a stepping-up of initiatives "rooted in a human rights-based approach to development" to ensure that quick-impact policies lead to sustainable results.

When I read this I was reminded of a previous article i had read published last year comparing the global disparities between mammalian pets of rich nations, and people in poor countries by M. Shahid Aman:

Judging from the ever-more accurate measurements of global disparities that flow from the world's leading humanitarian organizations - with the World Bank, IMF, WTO and OECD taking the lead - it would be no exaggeration to state that scholarly interest in this subject has now turned into a nearly unstoppable epidemic.
These estimates of global disparities still follow the established practice of comparing some characteristic, X, of economic development as it applies to people in rich and poor countries. Most commonly, X refers to per capita income. At other times, X refers to various indicators of the quality of life, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, adult literacy, or some combination of the previous three.
We need a different approach to the measurement of global disparities. The disparities between the rich and poor people are now so large, one has to ask if these comparisons make sense any more. When 25 million of the richest people living in the United States enjoy nearly as much income as 2 billion of the world's poorest people, one begins to wonder if the 'people' in the two groups are the same. It is likely that if knowledge of these comparisons became common, they could lead to the revival of old racist attitudes in the United States. Alternatively, they could induce feelings of deep despair among the world's 2 billion poorest people. And this could turn them into recruits for al-Qaida.
This is why I am proposing an alternative measure of global disparities. Instead of comparing X across people in poor and rich countries, I am suggesting that we make these comparisons for people in poor countries and mammalian pets in rich countries. In other words, economists at the World Bank, IMF, WTO and OECD should devote some of their resources to tracking how the economies of poor countries - especially in Africa, Latin America and Asia - are faring relative to the economies of pets in the rich countries.
I doubt if the world's leading crusaders for a better world will heed my call anytime soon; they are still fully committed to demonstrating that globalization, the greatest humanitarian project the world has ever seen, is slowly narrowing the gap between the world's rich and poor people - never mind how large the gap is currently. In the event, I will be so bold as to offer my own admittedly crude comparisons of the economies of the poor people and the pet economies of the rich. A sophisticated estimation of these disparities must wait until I can raise several thousand US dollars to pay for the proprietary data on the pet economies of the rich countries.
We begin this exercise by first establishing some basic facts about the pet economy in the United States. Lest this be taken as an indication of my latent partiality for this great capitalist democracy, I have to protest that I would just as willingly have used the European Union for making my comparisons. Unfortunately, there does not yet exist a European counterpart to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), which might have provided some of the basic data on which I base my analysis of the pet economy in the United States.
First, let us establish the size of the mammalian pet economy in the United States; we define mammals to include dogs and cats. According to the APPMA, the total US pet industry expenditures for 2003 were $32.4 billion. I assume that 90 percent of this total was allocated to the canine and feline portion of the pet economy; this gives a total expenditure on this segment of the pet economy of $29.2 billion. Although impressive, these numbers seriously underestimate the true size of America's pet economy.
To the figures provided by APPMA must be added the value of the time that dog and cat owners dedicate to the care of their pets. Caring for pets can be a daily activity. Naturally, the pets have to be fed daily; they have to be groomed; they have to be taken out for walks; they have to be taken to the vets for shots, worming, injuries and illnesses. And let us not forget that many pet owners, following the advice of holistic veterinarians, avoid ready-to-eat foods for their pets. Instead they prepare home-cooked meals for their dogs and cats. In order to guide them in preparing healthy pet foods, the National Academies published in 2003 a revised edition of Nutrient Requirements of Cats and Dogs, a 500-page report prepared by an international team of experts, providing a most comprehensive assessment of the daily nutrient and calorie requirements for dogs and cats.
But that is not all. America's cats and dogs are a pampered lot. According to the results of a survey of 1100 pet owners by American Animal Hospital Association in 1999, 100 percent of the respondents indicated that they give their pets a Christmas or Hanukkah present; 87 percent include their pets in holiday celebrations; 65 percent sing or dance for a pet; 53 percent take time off from work to care for a sick pet; 52 percent prepare special meals for their pets; and 44 percent take their pets to work. Clearly, a majority of pet owners in the United States bestow tender loving care on their mammalian pets.
In order to arrive at an estimate of the true size of the pet economy (mammalian section), we would have to add to the APPMA's estimate of expenditures on pet products and services, the value of the time that pet owners devote to their cats and dogs. We make the modest assumption that dog owners spend one hour each day on their dogs, and cat owners spend 20 minutes each day on their cats. At the same time, we assign a value of US$ 10 per hour to the pet owner's time. With 65 million dogs and 77.7 million cats, the value of dog-and-cat owners' time comes to $330.9 billion. Altogether, the value of total expenditures on dogs and cats in the US economy was $360.1 billion in 2003.
Judging from its size, this is no paltry economy. How does this pet economy compare with the poor economies of the world? To give the poor economies the greatest advantage in the comparisons, we will measure their size in terms of international dollars. By this metric, America's pet economy is 1.2 times larger than the economy of Pakistan with a population of 148 million; it is 1.4 times larger than the economy of Bangladesh with a population of 138 million; it is 2.7 times larger than the economy of Nigeria, with a population of 122 million; and it is 10.6 times larger than the economy of Congo (Democratic Republic) with a population of 34 million; and 24 times the size of the Albanian economy with a population of 3.2 million. In other words, the US pet economy is larger than most of the poor economies in 2003.
How does the US pet economy compare with the world's poor economies on a per capita basis? In 2003, the 142.7 million dogs and cats in the United States enjoyed a per capita consumption of $2523. The per capita income of world's 2.3 billion people in low income countries (LICs) was $2190 in 2003 international dollars. This means that the average mammalian pet in the US had a considerably higher standard of living than the average man, woman and child living in the LICs.
The American dogs and cats enjoyed a much larger advantage in their living standards over many individual LICs. The advantage over Sierra Leoneans was 4.8 to one; 4.1 over Tanzanians; 2.8 over Nigerians; 1.3 over Bangladeshis; and 1.2 over Pakistanis. The average Indian had a small advantage of 1.1 over American dogs and cats. The Chinese had a larger lead of 2.0. It is heartening to note that these disparities are considerably smaller than the yawning gaps that emerge when we compare people in the rich countries against people in the poor countries.
One might think that these more upbeat comparisons give reasons for optimism for the world's poor. Given the smaller disparities between the poor people and rich pets, the poor people can at least dream that once the great humanitarian project of globalization begins to yield its trickle-down benefits to the poor, they will, in the not-too-distant future, be able to catch up with the dogs and cats in the United States.
Or is this hope only a delusion? That will depend on how fast the two economies grow: to what degree they benefit from globalization. The promise of globalization is to make the rich richer so that some of their prosperity can trickle down to their pets and the poor peoples. Although I hate to be a spoiler of this ingenious narrative - very ably modeled by Ivy League economists - with some trembling, I must vent some dark thoughts on this subject. I fear that the pets will come out better as globalization unfolds. As I see it, the reason for this is quite simple. The rich are much more likely to coddle their pets than the poor of the world, unless they employ them as maids, mail-order brides or au pairs. This is not because of any prejudice the rich have against the world's poor people. It's just that the poor people live in difficult-to-reach, mostly hot and humid countries, whereas the pets share the same living quarters with the rich.
Does this mean that if the poor people could be used as pets by the rich, this would greatly improve their chances of deriving stronger gains from globalization? If this is indeed true, we can confidently expect that the US delegate to the World Trading Organization will soon propose appropriate changes in the global trading regime to allow for the large-scale adoption of children from poor countries as pets by people in the rich countries. I have no doubt that this proposal will command unanimous support from all the civilized peoples of the world - who, thankfully, inhabit the rich countries.

M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University in Boston. He may be reached at Visit his website at

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

i was right! pure, uninterrupted hours of sleep is like magic. i feel incredibly better, but i did oversleep and miss my acupuncture appointment! oh well...being in bed until 1:30 was what happened. and that on-line course--for now---is behind me, with the rest not being due until march! so my free time is mine again!

i wrote to steve about going to a poetry reading thursday night--i hope he wants to go. i'm curious if it will be at all slam-like, or a mix, or if different people will be there. i've gone now twice with him to a slam. i really enjoy it, however, i hate to say it--people i've heard both times basically repeat their act, and they seem quite attached to their acts as well. i hate that. i don't have alot of experience with this type of forum, but feel it should be more than noise and words that mean more to the speaker than to anyone else. while it is clearly open to anyone to participate, points seem to be earned for performance rather than content or the feeling that gets evoked for the listener, regardless of the delivery. but under the umbrella of "performance" should exist space for anyone who steps "out there", that being clearly relative. can a poem delivered at a whisper, or without all the fanfare "slam" you just as likely as something delivered by ego filled loud mouths? there's something about seeing someone truly expose themselves.

speaking of which, i saw steve's band---chanteuse--he, chaia, and tina--they played at sam bonds a few nights ago. and i even saw them practice earlier that day. i had a perfect seat--not too close--where i could see almost everything going on. chaia's kids were there, it was clearly a social event for them and their friends, drinking something like bottled root beer; i really like events that have children there too. it's like community in the truest sense. anyway, chaia's voice is eery and pure and like this little golden thread weaving in and out of each piece. tina, the drummer, is incredibly fun to watch. she can make you feel like you're included and she has this way of being totally present to the moment. and steve with his little "uke". the instrument has a beautiful sound, esp when little individual notes are picked out. its like what comes out is as sweet and deliberate as my experience of him. i like to watch people lose themselves in their music. and to witness the connection of left and right brain, fingers, voice, body, strings, sticks....i admire so people who can express themselves like that. i am not a music critic. i look for the tiny things. so yes it was a treat and i did really like it.

i heard from percy and bless her heart, she's coming to spend christmas with me! and on the 23rd melissa and christian will spend the night. maybe we'll all put up a tree? we'll see...

its time to do a little christmas shopping. i won't send anymore onto peru, its played havoc with my mind---yesterday at bimart i was in the toy section and almost 'knee-jerk' bought more little cars and trucks, esp after realizing the vitamin thing needed rethinking. i just worry about there being enough for all 310 of the little guys. but in reality, i have to put it all in the hands of something bigger and trust that it will all work out and won't be solely dependent on me. but, i did send some money onto washi. another post highlights the delivery of chocolate caliente to 2,000 kids that he and his family have now done for the last 5 or 6 years. it's pretty special and certainly worth supporting. i've made the decision to not send the vitamins now and to look for creative solutions to having an ongoing supply rather than 20 days worth. on thinking about it, i need to make that part of it more sustainable, ie., able to continue and not just be dependent on my finances---to do it any other way would not be fair to them. and maybe there is an organization interested in donating them. that would be cool!

so time for a shower. tonite i'm going to a movie with ariel--haven't been to a movie in ages--i think the last thing i saw was the motorcycles diaries at the bijou. this will be a lighter chick flick sort of thing. ( i hope its not too corny) i just remembered i have a squash soup we could eat. ummm.

just got home from work. again an opportunity to see how worse it really could be for me. eeegads especially after my whiny post. i think what it comes down to is that i'm just plan tired. i've been busier, alot of hours got spent on the on-line course i had to do--it was a challenge. (but its completely done.) and i haven't been running at all. and i haven't really slept a good long 10 hour day/night. my bank of sleeping hours is running low.

and in regards to the VITAMINS i think i should write letters to places like bimart to see if they would want to donate some. ( note to self: project)

so, right now a bath is running. and the heat is on in the bedroom and in the bathroom....ummm. ( i still have my coat on!) and i'm going to sleep a good long while....

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

i woke up today feeling blue. i don't exactly feel good physically either. my throat hurts-like it does when i'm about to cry.

its crazy to have sooo much, but to feel as if something is missing...estoy falta algo...i wrote to sharon a few days ago, she being my friend in california who shares my committment to the community of sipascancha and ollanta who happened to cross our paths, hers, many years ago. so i write, amongst other things, "i still remain somewhat ambivalent about continuing on here doing what i'm doing. while i'm ok with all of it, i'm left with not quite enough excitement or is it feeling as if i'm not really where i should be. crazy huh??" sharon replies, " is understandable. Your heart is still in made such a difference in all of their lives. Laurie, take a few moments to think of what you would really love to do in your heart of hearts and take a few moments to sense and visualize doing just that. Then send it out into the Universe saying "This or something better is now manifesting for me for the highest good of all concerned." And watch the miracles happen! I will hold the intention that it manifests for you."

well i read this and started crying. scares me to think i may have that much power.

so, i went to bimart looking for vitamins, as i would not rather join costco. its just the principle of the damn place. anyway, no chewable childrens vitamins in bottles of 500---frustrating. and then i added in my head how long would even 12 bottles of vitamins go. there are nearly 300 children there in sipascancha. the math: it would last them less than ONE month---to be exact 20 days.

it seems silly to send them. i don't know what to do. even if i could keep a steady stream of vitamins coming, how in the world could i afford the postage? and 20 days worth of vitamins would not likely make a bit of difference in regards to the degree of malnutrition they suffer.

and in thinking about what sharon does not seem very powerful to just give up on it either....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

i came home to this message today and sit here fondly remembering my friends in peru with a tear or two running down my cheek.

Querida amiga Laurie :
Gracias siempre , efectivamente retire el dinero y hoy sábado me reuno con Adela para comprar dulces para nuestros quieridos niños, recuerdas que invitamos a otros aquella navidad pues ahora también, tendremos 315 niños ese día, son los niños de la escuela de Soncco, (corazòn) se traduce, se que tenemos poco pero lo compartiremos porque de eso se trata de amar y compartir, Adela también te envia mucho amor, le daré tu mail para que te escriba, lo de tu amiga Shelley Covell , dile que muchas gracias y que ella también es ya parte de nuestro milagro de amor y que la tendremos presente al cantar y bailar nuestras canciones de navidad y mandaremos fotos.
Ya les comunique a los amigos de Sipascancha que tu estas enviando esta navidad junto a tus amigos ellos te agradecen y haran cartas para que las escriba por mail y las puedas leer. Haremos la Navidad el día 26 para poder esperar las cajas. Y acabo de recordar las mandarinas de Navidad en tu casa y comprare esa fruta también será un simbolo de unión entre tú y los niños. Y muchas gracias por aquellos a quienes hablas de nosotros, se que con entendernos es suficiente.
Amiga que bueno que estes de vez en cuando de descanzo, yo ayer por fin descance de una gran preocupación que tenia , era entregar las cuentas de los gastos por equipar el mercado artesanal que se inagurará el día 08 de enero y espero ellos las treinta familias que han sido selecciondas para beneficiarias pueden luchar contra su pobreza desde este frente y mejorar su economia familiar, las demás familias de Sipascancha no le dieron tanta importancia a este proyecto pero tendremos que seguir ayudando a sus niños con nuestro comedor y medicina, ya que si ellos comen bien y tienen salud buena tendran un futuro mejor. Es por los niños que nos toca seguir a nosotras que Dios no hizo con ese corazón sensible y fuerte, capaz de ayudar a nuestros semejantes. Laurie no sabes las grandes alegrias que me das con tus mensajes. Nos seguiremos comunicando.
Chao amiga Un beso y un gran abrazo para Shelley. y otro grande para ti

roughly translated, she and adella are making plans to celebrate chrsitmas 26 de diciembre. she has the money and they have bought some sweets for the children and otherwise await shelley and my boxes of toys. she will deliver letters to me from the families and send photos of the celebration.

but what brought the tears to my eyes was first reading that she remembered how important i thought it was to give mandarinas to the children. i remember we talked about it and i had said i wanted to buy enough to give each child one, because i had always made sure my boys got their tangerine in their stocking...funny in preparing the packages i thought about how cool it would be to send them, but one simply can't. so i didn't mention it to pavela, but she remembered. she says to have them for the children will be symbolic of my connection to i write this my eyes are filling up again.

she closes with telling me she is nervous about the opening of the market 9 de enero. this market will feature the weavings and artwork of the villagers---30 of the 90 families are participating. she wishes there to be more...she hope the families participating can move ahead economically and she goes on to say there is nothing to do but move forward for the sake of the children. and she will continue to do her best to see to it the children eat daily, because with good nutrition and health they will at least have a chance.

there is more to transalte but i won't right now. lunch with claudia today and later the poetry slam.....

Friday, December 09, 2005

damn,damn, damn.

i'm trying to upload photos washi sent me from last year's christmas chocolate caliente trip up into the mountains and i can't. he sent them with the letter i posted yesterday.

oh well. if you're one who wants to see, you can check out my blog archives...i think its actually entered in april 2004 or the time i had trouble getting those on for some reason...those particular photos are posted a ways down, as i now recall, i didn't have an internet connection that worked well until them to post photos of that and also the work we were doing. so in the archives they all live, photos from Patacancha, one of the towns washi will visit this year and photos from the celebration in sipascancha, where i sent the toys.

and if you're someone interested in donating money to make it all happen up there, you can write me and i'll give you washi's email address. ha, if you write him, he'll send you the photos directly! i'll be doing it the 15th by western union and so far have 250$. (thanks marti for contributing!)

so, busy few days coming up. i seem to have stumbled onto a social life. and when one has had a period of time of literally zip in social activities, it seems nearly a crime to not make time for them when they come up---and what really sucks is that around it all (ie., the FUN) i just have to make time to do the aacn course on-line, now required for work. it's taken hours already and i only have until the end of the month to finish it. and its difficult! lots of reading, and then tests, tests and more tests. it annoys me that there's no question about having to do this on one's time off...its cool to learn new stuff, yeah, and they damn well should pay you (they are), but those points aside, it simply sucks it cuts into my time off.

ok, i'll quit bitching. i won't let ruin my day!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

i heard from washi today! he writes of wanting to bring a bit of christmas---hot chocolate and sweet bread---up to the villages that surround the village of ollantaytambo. no toys, just pencils, hot chocolate, and a piece of sweet bread. and more than anything else, its that someone comes to them, way up in the middle of fucking nowhere. and then the mothers and washi and company all make it happen. they need money to make it happen!

when i went it was sooo genuinely appreciated. it made you feel sooo good. and it was like suddenly everything lined up and finally made sense. nothing seemed more important than being there with them. but let me not give you the wrong idea--its hard to look at. very, very poor people, rough living conditions....but to feel the connection, was an indescribable feeling.

picture this: a simply HUGE pot of boiling water nearly filled to the top on a fire. added is one package chocolate, grated with a bad knife, 4 cans evaporated milk, opened with a bad can opener, a cup or two of sugar. heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Serve with a sweet bread that had 1 piece of dried fruit baked into it. and a new pencil. and lines of the sweetest, dirtiest kids, all standing in dust and mud and dirt, with their little cups or containers for their chocolate. you would see the parents off watching, and so happy just seeing their kids savoring every sip of this very thin hot chocolate, dunking as they went. but that it was thin? no importa. to see the looks on their faces when you filled their cup and gave them a piece of sweetbread...

seems every year washi is getting further up into the mountains into communities where there are slews of kids, all previously without a clue about christmas. and as he says in the letter posted below, the communities they have been visiting up to now, do expect them! washi refers to it as a new tradition.

but read on, he says it all better than i----his english has really improved!

My dear Laurie, we are so happy that you are fine and having a great time there.
I am so happy because these year we are preparig hot chocolate for the children in the high mountain and i am sure with the help you want to give to the children they will feel very happy and we can make these chismas party very eficient and in a better way.
Thanks very much for all your help my suit heart.
I wish every thing is ok and we wish you the best these is the little project i wrote for you to see.
If you want to help you can send your help to western union is ok and we can buy more Biscottis and more.

Meeting with the mothers of each community one week ahead so we can decide at what time we will be arriving to their community so the mothers will be waiting for us with the boiling water, ready for us to put in it the chocolate, milk, sugar and the other spices so that way the activity can be more organized and pleasant for the children. The most important thing is to know how many children are in each community. We have already as a base the numbers from last year.
This year we want to make happy 2000 children and, with your help, it will be possible to reach also all those who live very high in the mountains.
Note: those children, when they want to continue studying, walk for many hours to get to the town and to the school depending how far they live, this is why the restaurant of the heart that I created and where I work is feeding them for free. We have now 120 children.

22 of December (the valley of Patacancha and Willoc)

_ 8:00 am : Pallata - this is the first community and 85 % of the children didn’t know when was Christmas and never before got a little present for that special day until we started the Christmas hot chocolate gifting five years ago. Now the children are waiting for us on the 22 of December to enjoy the new tradition, as a community, united as one heart.
At the village we want to give 100 hot chocolates + 100 biscotti’s and the pencils that we have for that day.
Note : the idea is to feed all the children that are of all ages and the mothers involved with the preparation ( warming up the water, and helping us serving the chocolate as soon as it is ready).


This community is located at 13000 thousand feet where 99 % of the children speak just quetchua, the native language, and 85 % live in extreme poverty and the government doesn’t arrive there, not even on Christmas day; this is why the restaurant of the Universal Heart is ready, as every year, to go there and see how the children run and smile and play with happiness, we want to do 200 hundred hot chocolates and 200 biscotti’s.

Note: in these communities the people are still using the same ancient ways of living and the ways of cultivating and harvesting the land. They are happy children and they are very creative.

The mothers are going to be waiting for us with the boiling water and ready to start the activities. We want to offer 200 hot chocolates and 200 biscotti’s as well in the other communities. We want to treat no only the children but also old women that usually come when we are there. They never enjoyed a Christmas celebration in all their hard lives and want to receive that chocolate that is coming with love and happiness.
Note: The people organizing all that are my self my wife, my brothers and path of the hear and 9 other young people from my community. I want to add also, that in these communities, 99 % of the inhabitants didn’t know when is was Christmas and, as you can see, with loving care, good intentions, it is possible do bring happy changes

1: 00 pm other communities where the car cannot arrive and I am thinking is to give all what is needed to the representative of those communities and they can organize their own hot chocolate because for us it would take at least 7 hours to arrive to them so to make it easier we will give them what is necessary and later we will make sure that they did it.
We want to send to those communities 200 hot chocolates and 200 biscotti’s.

3:00 pm .- the communities of Ancopacha and Pachar.
these two communities are very close to each other in which one live around 300 children that suffered a natural disaster because they are emigrants from the eyebrow of the jungle where all these families lost their houses, about 2000 families, some of them moved to Ollantaytambo and the rest somewhere else and the children and their families are starting again and now we want to reach them too. We want to share with them 300 hot chocolates and 300 biscotti’s, they are very creative and Path of the Heart has a dream that, some day, we can open a workshop of pottery in these communities because they have all the natural clay that is used for pots and other things, that way they can become more creative and take care of their own living.


The same system as before but to other communities that are located at the side of the sacred river there the local government just give them some present but not the hot chocolate and the biscotti’s. There are 4 communities that we want to reach for sharing with those children 600 hundred hot chocolates and 600 biscotti’s that, I am sure, they as well be happy to receive.
Note: these kinds of activities are very important for the soul of the children as they will grow they will have a positive attitude and as well they will want and like to help and make some other children happy and that is one of the intentions as well for the hot chocolate distribution of 2005.


A little concert in the main square of Ollantaytambo where we want to feed 400 children with the sound of some music and myself dressed as Santa Claus. My young brother and other people of my town want to play some music for the children just for two hours and then give them their hot chocolate and their biscotti’s and tell them some nice stories about Christmas.
Note: with your help we are going to realize these hot chocolates for the children. It is very important for us and for them, so please we offer these projects to you and we appreciate your help and your kindness.


2000 thousand biscotti’s ------------------------------------------ 1000 soles-----300 us.
80 pound of chocolate ------------------------------------------- 960 soles ---- 286.57 us.
250 can of milk ------------------------------------------- 550 soles -----164.18 us.
3 bag of sugar (300 pounds) ----------------------------------- 600 soles ----- 179.10 us.
Spices ----------------------------------------------------- 100 soles------ 29.85 us.
Transport (Gas) -------------------------------------------------- 325 soles ----- 97.01 us.
Video camera ------------------------------------------------------ 300 soles ----- 89.55 us.
Rolls for camera with development -----------------------------250 soles ---- 74.63 10
Voluntary people ---------------------------------------------------500 soles ---- 149.25 us
Total 4585 soles---- 1350 us dolares

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Time for santa's report on bringing christmas to the children of sipascancha!! christmas day would simply pass for these kids, with them not even knowing that they missed it. so, oh what fun to fill two boxes full of toys and gifts for the people of the village! there's dolls, stuffed animals, paper, pencils, jacks, dice, hair ties, little matchbox cars, bigger plastic cars and trucks, balloons, crayons, colored pencils, toothbrushes, combs, soap, bike repair kits, fleece jackets for the kids...ayayay...and more! and i sent a special package for each of my 5 godchildren and a little something for others in their families. the boxes weighed just under 20 pounds each and good lord, the cost to mail them was nearly 180$! i sent them airmail, rather than the two month slow boat route. after all they HAVE to be there by chistmas!

so in excitedly relating all this to shelley, my best buddy in all the world, the next thing i know, she calls me and is heading into the deals only store in astoria to buy toys to mail!! so a third box is heading to the andes now!

now, i only wish it all goes around, i want every child to have a little something. and if we could just fly down there and deliver them ourselves!!

below are letters i will roughly translate from pavela, my contact for the village:

Querida Laurie has entendido muy bien todo, y te digo que mandes todo a Siervas de Cristo Sacerdote (PJF) apartado 593 Cusco Peru`, y puedes incluir mi direcciòn Mesòn de la Estrella 180 2º piso, es necesari el nombre de las hermanas religiosas por que a ellas les exoneran cualquier impuesto porque mdecimos que son para los niños de la comunidad. Eso es lo que provoca la ropa que ellas llevan. Al llevar mis iniciales y tu nombre como remitente ya ella me lo entregarà de inmediato digo la hermana Nelly.
Si asi es los profesionales como mèdicos caminan y trabajan pero el amor es la mejor medicina y estoy segura que otro angel de cabecera como tu no hubo para los niños y adultos de Sipas. Tu siempre vendras cuando quieras hazlo si deseas, ellos te recibiran con mucho amor. No lo dudes nadie losatendio como tu por muymedico que sea en sus vidas.Adela y yo siempre recordamos y deciamos esa Laurie si que los engreia en el consultorio. Tenemos la oficina que podrìa ser tu consultorio, tu sabes que el local que ocupamos lo reclamo la otra organizaciòn que trabajaba en Sipas? ellos tuvieron celo de que alguien lo haga bien... Hicimos lo que queriamos te acuerdas esos cucrso de capacitaciòn que belleza con tanta sencillez, gracias Laurie se que el Señor algun dìa nos reunirà aunque hoy estamos en otras realidades y con trabajos tan distintos al que hicimos.
Amiguita chao una gran abrazo.................Pave

Above pavela advises me to send everything in the name of the sacerdote, because then we can avoid alot of the taxes one often has to pay on receipt of things like this. she goes on with some particulars on mailing everything, as of course i had written making sure i had understood all the instructions. "has entendido muy bien," ie., i have understood everything very well! she then comments on what i had written to her about the villagers preferring to see me than the doctor...i had said to please tell them its better that they have a doctor than just a nurse...and that i had remembered how difficult it was for the doctors of colquepata to get to all the villages this particular centro de salud served and how fantastic it was they were finally able to accomplish that. as i remember these doctors worked so hard and with so little. but pavela says, love is the best medicine and what i did was with love and they all felt that.

she goes on to mention how she and adella often say, "oh that laurie, is she back in the clinic??" the they recall the classes we did for the villagers. there were classes in childhood illnesses and how to take care of them and what were bad signs that they needed to see someone for; classes on birth control, pregnancy, nutrition, hygiene. i recall one where we did a play. on one side of the "stage" was the clinic and then on the other, a set resembling a family's home. well, what was funny about this was first we had planned on it happening a certain time. haha, because the people didn't have clocks, they were quite late! (and the lighting was poor as a result.) i was worried no one would come and adella and pavela reminded me of the lack of punctuality on the villagers! slowly, one by one, via horse or foot, kids in tow, everyone gathering outside eating roasted corn kernels. they were shy and would wait till there was a crowd! we hooked up the one light we had from the clinic. and what was hilarious was herbert, one of the teachers who played the role of the typical campesino husband. and inga, a young german volunteer played the role of his wife and mother of a baby, in this case, a beat up, very white doll, who was sick with diarrhea. she carried the baby like they do in a manta on her back. so they come to the clinic in the play, inga dressed in the typical clothing women wore, and herbert worriedly accompaning her. i examine the baby and tell them what they need to do to take care of diarrhea, primarily preventing dehydration and washing hands to prevent others from getting sick. i had made a sort of doll that had a head attached to a plastic pop bottle. (this being my feeble attempt to illustrate how dehydration affected the baby and why fluid needed to be replaced each time they pooped. there was a hole in the bottle serving as the baby's bottom. i poured water in only to have it come out the other end, illustrating the baby kept needing more water to replace what was lost with diarrhea.) so the little family in act II return to their "home". herbert struck the villagers as absolutely hilarious in trying to follow all of my instructions. (one has to realize just how complicated the instructions can seem when one lives in a little shack with no running water or heat, or things to work with. so he nervously runs around helping his wife. in the background pavela with a microphone hooked up to the boombox makes sound effects similar to what it sounds like when a baby shits. and since my instructions are give the baby something to drink each time they poop, this being either by nursing or giving the baby spoonfuls of a rehydration liquid requiring boiled water with sugar and salt in it, poor herbert frantically flits about making this and attending to everything for his"wife" as she tries to nurse the baby. and its all in quechua, so the campesinos understood everything and just laughed and laughed. and what was so cool about it is was that they could see it all acted out by herbert and that it was indeed possible to follow all the instructions that would often just overwhelm them. and then there was the class on birth control...especially the part about using condoms...i had made a fake penis with cotton wrapped around a stick and then all secured. (it was then firm enough to roll the condom on....oh, where is a dildo when you need one?!) you have to imagine that i also was still learning spanish, and poor adella or pavela would translate what i said to quechua. and they were all quite shy about this. ahh, las memorias....

the building where we had done that was now back in the hands of an organization called CESA and now they are using the building for whatever they at CESA think sounds good at the moment. pavela was not too happy with this group...when i was there and they had heard about what we were doing, and it was only at that point that they threatened to take back control of the building.

she ends the letter with saying one day God will bring us all back together, this being in spite of how different all of our lives are. and of course she sends a big hug!

another letter:

Querida amiga gracias mil, hoy hable con Domingo y Alberto y a otros de Sipas se pusieron muy felices de oir noticias tuyas, te escribiren y tal como lo expresen lo redactare para ti por este correo ,esta navidad tambien será de pan caliente y regalos que maravilla, Dios te ha tocado, estoy segura, Laurie y anote todo y no sabes cuanto siento que trabajes tanto, esteremos pensando ambas en navidad estoy segura , le conte a nuestra querida Adela y se puso muy alegre y te manda un abrazo muy grande, le daré tu correo para que te lo diga personalmente.
Sige escribiendome mucho me alegra mi corazón, sabes he pasado tiempos muy oscuros este año donde pense mucho que a nadie le importaba.
Gracias amiga te cuento como sigue lo de tu generosa donación
Abrazos y besos

here she has received my letter about all the packages that are coming and the money i was also able to send.
a translation: dear friend, a million thanks. she spoke to domingo and alberto and others about having contact with me and that there would indeed be a christmas, with warm bread, and wondrous gifts. she adds i am a person touched by God, this, she is sure of! she has noted everything i had written to her about, especially waiting to buy toys until she sees what's in the packages. (i had told her the 500$ would be better to go towards food, but that it was her choice to spend the money as she saw fit.) she continues saying she has spoken to our dear adella and then she is very happy to have news from me also and that she sends a big hug. to hear from me makes her heart happy...they have had a "dark" year and there were times she felt no one knew that they were even there, or knew of their work and that it wasn't considered important. she ends by thanking me for the generous donation.

my heart feels very warm and fuzzy.

i just hope there's enough to go around..................................................................necesito que tener el fey....i need to have FAITH that it'll all work out!