Friday, September 30, 2005

Fun news from our Family

Just some fun news from the high school girls in our family:

Katie made Homecoming court. Coronation is next Saturday night, October 8.

The play, "Little Women" will be at the school on November 11-13. Katie is Meg (the oldest March sister). Sara is Amy (the youngest March sister). Nothing like keeping it in the family!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Amy!

It's Namibia!

Well, as some of you heard and what we expected, Amy got her Peace Corps invitation packet yesterday. It included her assignment: Teaching English Language in a Secondary School in Namibia and the date she starts her training: November 7th. It also included a handbook on the Peace Corps in Namibia, a manual of policies and many forms she needs to fill out. The specific information about training (called staging) will come in a week or so.

Needless to say she is very excited and so are we (although we have a mixture of emotions not unlike certain other parents have had recently when someone got her drivers license). She has 10 days to respond, but I think she is calling today to accept. I'm sure that more information will be coming on this blog, but I thought I'd make it official.

In the past week, we have been looking at some very interesting information on the internet and I thought I'd give you some of the best links we've seen so far.

Liz's Peace Corps Adventures in Namibia is a website of a current Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) who is teaching computer in northern Namibia. She is starting her second year there and the site is full of very good information.

From the Namibia Desk is a blog with one entry that is a copy of a current PCV's assignment. It is almost word for word what Amy got (except for the dates of course).

Mat and Tayor Connot's Peace Corps Namibia Web Chronicle and Contrasting Beautiful, Namibia are two blogs from married couples who are teaching or have taught in Namibia.

There are many other links to blogs from current and past PCV's in Namibia and other countries that I might share at another time.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hurricane Rita

This past week you have no doubt watched the news for the path of the hurricane "Rita." We have watched it with special interest. Nine years ago at this time, we were right on the beach where the eye of the storm came through on Saturday. We had vacationed down that way. After being in Nashville and Vicksburg, MS, we went on down to Louisiana. We were leery of the traffic in New Orleans and then we encountered a N. O. resident who actually said, "O, you don’t want to go there"! She suggested a nature place farther west. We went west on #10 over miles of the Atchafalaya Swamp basin. We stopped in Rayne, LA, the Frog Capitol of the World, where the French Canadians (later called Cajuns) came and grew thousands of frogs to sell for food and then let a lot of them go. The town must have been hopping. There were murals of frogs all over, stores selling artificial frogs—a frog collectors haven.

Then we went south at Welch on a smaller road #27 to Hayes and south to Creole. Lots of swamp and water birds, some we had never seen before—whooping cranes, common, snowy and cattle egrets. (Saw cattle egrets on the backs of cattle eating bugs). We took a ferry across an inlet, along with heavy trucks and cars of all sorts to Calcasieu Lake. It took half an hour to load the ferry and less than 5 minutes to cross. We walked out on walkways into the middle of marshlands and saw 4 ft. long alligators. On the roadways there were signs that said "alligator crossing" and they meant it.

Then the part we won’t forget. We drove through the little village of Cameron and drove the car out onto Holly Beach right on the gulf shore. The sand was packed so hard it held up the car. We picked up shells, saw plovers and willets (birds) and then ate our picnic from the cooler off the hood of the car. It was a foggy day, like it can be along a gulf or ocean. It just looks overcast, but it is fog. We could see a couple of oil rigs through the fog.

We had our car parked only a short distance from the front door of a home on stilts. Most, (but not all) of the people who lived there were retirees or renters. (All the homes were on stilts). If you look at a map of Cameron on the Internet you will see Gayle Rd. The houses along Gayle face the beach. That’s how close they were to the water. We noticed a corner house that had big tables in their back yard with something coral on them, so we inquired of the 3 people who were working there what it was. They had a home business of putting out shrimp nets overnight and in the morning would bring in their haul, cook the shrimp and then dry them on drying screens. It takes 12 # of shrimp for one pound of dried shrimp. They offered us some to eat right off the screen, which we did. They didn’t sell them commercially, but put them in Ziploc bags and sold them right in town each day ($12 a pound), where the locals used them in Cajun dishes, like Jambalaya.

We drove west on #27 to Sabine Wildlife Refuge. Saw an occasional alligator, cormorants and purple gallinvule birds. Tried to walk the trails into the marshland, but the mosquitoes and flies were so bad we had to turn back. The humidity was heavy and later on it poured rain. We went to Lake Charles, but didn’t care for the town, so drove back east for the night.

We heard a lot about the hurricane hitting Beaumont, TX, but it actually came ashore between Cameron and Sabine Pass. Tonight the news showed an aerial view of Holly Beach and the town of Cameron. Everything was demolished, but fortunately they think everyone there evacuated. We always wanted to go back there. It makes us feel sad, because we had always felt a little bit of attachment there. Where have all those birds gone? To Arkansas, Texas, or further north?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Introducing: Baby George

Jewell had her baby; George Levi. As you can see he's very tiny and very beautiful. On the right he and Jewell are napping together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New Driver in the Family

Katie got her driver's license today! She did a great job and is pretty happy about it. Thanks for your prayers. We'll fill you in more later.

Amy hears more about her future.

Amy took another step in the application process for Peace Corps yesterday. She called her placement person yesterday and found out that she is indeed on the invitee list for sub-saharan Africa leaving in November. This is what she had thought all along, but it wasn't finalized until yesterday.

It still isn't final because she needs to accept the invitation in writing after receiving the official invitation kit by mail in a few days. The placement person wouldn't tell her over the phone what specific country she is going to, but was able to say that the departure date is November 7. We think that means departure for a staging city somewhere in the US where a team will meet for orientation before going to the assigned country.

The official invitation will have all the details including the country and the assignment. She is still visiting friends in Wheaton and will come home on the train on Wednesday evening.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A life bird and a few others

Life bird #339

©2005 PWP
Buff-breasted Sandpiper 9/3/2005
South Landfill Reservoir, Olmsted County, MN

©2005 PWP
Stilt Sandpiper (3rd from left and 2nd from right) 9/3/2005
South Landfill Reservoir, Olmsted County, MN

©2005 PWP
Great Egret 9/3/2005
South Landfill Reservoir, Olmsted County, MN

© 2005 PWP
Sedge Wren 9/3/2005
South Landfill Reservoir, Olmsted County, MN