Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dias Nueve

¡Hola my hija and mi yerno a futuro y familia y mis amigos!

Some interesting facts:

  1. The President of China is here in San Jose. Costa Rica is the first and only Latin American country to recognize mainland China. In return China is building the new national stadium and other projects. Free, I am told!
  2. Costa Rica has an immigration problem somewhat similar to us. Many immigrants from Columbia and somewhat less from Nicaragua are coming. They do jobs the CRs will not do. Sound familiar? Unfortunately many increasingly commit crime.
  3. There are only two seasons here: wet and dry. We are about to enter the dry season.
  4. Though the governemnt has the $$, it regularly fails to pay the teachers on time. So the teachers refuse to work until they are paid. Students stay home. This happens time after time.
  5. In my opinion, pedestrians do NOT have the right of way here. They are not even seen by motorists!!! Crossing the main road on my way to school each morning is truly similar to fording a stream - one that is rushing by!
  6. Cosat Rica has not had a military since 1948 & no one has tried to attach it.

    Al fin de semana - weekend. (I have not asked my host yet how to type the accent marks. Just to type @, one has to hold the ALT key and then type 64. Go figure!!)

    Saturday, Adam, another student who is in our Coast Guard, and I took the local bus to El Volcano Poas. see Approaching the crater there was a very strong sulphur odor. Due to the heat from the volcano, one minute it is clear and then it is cloudy. From there one can walk to the lagoon. There Adam and I talked with a man from El Salvador. At one point, I said to the Salvadoran, "¡Donde esta Adam?" We both walked around calling "Adam." I called the Salvadoran gentleman over to point out that Adam was below talking with two lovely Costa Rican young ladies! So I occupied myself. After 50 minutes, I approached Adam and said in my new idomatic Spanish: We have been here for 50 minutes. Shall we go or I can go. He said if it is ok, I will stay longer! What a surprise!

    Sundays, in San Jose are about as active as Williamsburg at night, dead. There are two nice English language bookstores. I was able to purchase a book of verbs - sounds fascinating does it not!!!! Also bought a short history of CR in English and a book of short stories - the left page in Spanish and the right in English. The bus ride one way into the city is 215 colones = 39 cents.

    In the late afternoon, Arturo, son of my host, asked me to play chess. I have not played chess in about 15 years & was never any good. Still I held out for about an hour. Arturo, 23 and a pharmacy researcher, is great. He is very generous with answering questions as well as things in general. His mother raised him all on her own. He plays tennis and soccer weekly and surfs when he can get to the Pacific. His English is excellent.

    Next Weekend, I plan to go to Manuel Antonia, una playa, a beach on the Pacific Ocean.
    See Next week will be my last here.

    Today was Day 1 of Week 2. My new teacher is easier to follow as he will stop to explain something in English. It also helps that there are two of us in this class. I do not have to be on all two hours! This week I have added a conversation class in the afternoons. Two of us meet with a teacher and engage solely in conversation. I speak reasonably ok for a beginner, PERO there is so much to learn. I guess I will have to do additional classes in Latin America and/or Spain. First though I will have to earn dinero for that!

    Lastly, at breakfast Saturday, Adam asked me my age. I told him I would tell him my last day! He frowned. He said he thought 50, and that was more than he thought really. I told him my real age. He could not accept it, so I said 53, He felt better!!!!

    So many good people to meet.

    Have a great week all and blessings!


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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.