I have a lot of granddaughters. Seven in fact. I am writing about 2 of them here, but I want to assure the others that I love and remember them all. Usually I avoid blogs about grandchildren; I think they are meant to be read mostly by them and their mothers. But I just have to tell you about these 2.
They have a lot in common. They are both politically left. They are both strictly politically correct; neither of them hesitates to correct her grandmother in the rare instances when she strays from the rigid path of political correctness. They are both softies who love babies and animals and anything helpless. They are both beautiful women.
They are both, presently, in the same line of business.
Liz is the older. I think she is 27, but I tend to lose track of the ages of my grandchildren. They get older so fast. She is a Brit and works in London for an organization that does contract work for NGOs. It is a good job which involves writing contract proposals and then flying around the world to implement the contracts. She wrote a proposal for Save the Children to go to the Republic of South Sudan to assess the needs of children in that unfortunate country. It was highly competitive so she really didn’t expect to be chosen, but she was. She was chosen on Saturday and Save the Children wanted her to go the next day, but she negotiated a few days of preparation.
This is her 3rd or 4th sojourn in Africa. She spent 2 years in Uganda and 6 months in Liberia. She is now in Juba for 6 weeks. I hope she doesn’t have to go the the part of the country where they are fighting with North Sudan over oil. She writes in Facebook:
I did not expect this, but I am loving Juba! The weather is gorgeous, the food is surprisingly good, and the people are beautiful. Plus they have solar powered street lights. Awesome.
Katy, or Kate as she now calls herself, is a Florida girl. She graduated from the University of Florida and Gainsville is her home base.
After she graduated she did community organizing and now she is in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. l think she is 24. Here is what she writes to me from her post:
I’ve been working a lot – finishing up the community diagnostic portion of my work. At the end of this month I will present the diagnostic to the community and after that to my peers and boss at our 3-months-in-service conference. What I’ve concluded is mostly what I suspected from the beginning: strengths of the community are that they are incredibly involved in the daily functions, very interested in the fate of the neighborhood and very involved in each other’s lives. There are community meetings 6 days a week, it’s incredible. The weaknesses are typical: lack of resources, corrupt government, no water, irregular and insufficient electricity (we get about 10 hours over a 24 hour period), the roads are awful, and there isn’t enough work. I’ve decided to focus on giving English classes because one of the best ways for the youth to find jobs is using their English skills. I’m also going to work on building a library for the community. Books are very difficult to access here: they are incredibly expensive relative to the average income: 700 pesos when most families make about 5000 pesos a month. Another helpful comparison: it costs between 200-300 pesos to feed a family of four for a day. That is like a book costing $100-150 in the U.S., or more. Absolutely ridiculous. The only library in the town is miles away and you can’t check out the books.
Personally, I haven’t had the time I had wanted to read and develop personal goals like learning French, the guitar, and to draw. But I am hopeful that after the diagnostic phase the work will die down a little and I will have more time to dedicate to reading and my hobbies. I hope my English hasn’t deteriorated too much, I speak or read in English less than an hour a day. Sometimes I go days without speaking or reading a word of English. I like it that way. I decided to stop reading books in English for now, and have started reading the history of the DR in Spanish. It’s fascinating. Someday I’ll tell you about it with the detail it deserves.
I hope you still plan to visit. I miss you a lot and think about you a lot. We practically spent a whole summer together and got to know each other a lot better, I think. I loved my time with you and when I have bad days I fantasize about coming to the island for a simple life of waitressing, wine hour, and mahjong. There are many beautiful things to see here, lots of interesting eco-tourism stuff, not just touristy beaches. And I would love to show you my community. I love it here. Even with all the difficulties that come with living in a different culture and with fewer physical comforts, I feel happier here than I ever felt living in the States. I can’t wait to hear from you and to hear what you think. Write me back!
Well how can I resist that? I am already thinking about when and how I can go and shall I try to get Jerry to go along. Probably not. I doubt that a crowded country where there is a lot of poverty and English is not spoken would suit him.
One of these days I’ll tell you about my other 5 granddaughters and my 5 grandsons (not to mention my 2 1/2 great grandchildren.) But I’ll wait a while. Descendents are best blogged about at long intervals.
The new header is because Jerry and I are going to New Zealand in 2 weeks! The sheep in the photo belonged to my cousin David when he was a farmer in the North Island.