Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the garden

One last post before I go. Here's an updated shot of the garden with things growing, the beds weeded, and the path re-mulched. The Richmond Times-Dispatch is planning on doing a little story on the edible front yard thing, and it will feature my friend Antonia's garden as well as my front yard. More on that after I get back!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

t-minus 1 day: it's go time

Tomorrow I leave for the Sudan.

The month of May was relentless, with event after event, week after week. The occasional day of rest wasn't so much restorative as it was an all-too-brief respite in the midst of a beating. Like taking a 5-second break between running endless wind sprints. In any case, this Sudan trip has been looming on the horizon for some time, and I've been consciously aware of how fast it's been approaching. I just haven't felt ready yet. I've been pacing myself and trying not to procrastinate as I've gotten all my shots and shopped for necessary items and begun to pack my bag. But I just don't quite feel ready.

But here's the thing: I'm not sure I'll ever be ready - mentally, physically, spiritually. Not fully. I can research Sudan the country, I can find photographs of Sudan the people, I can read articles about Sudan in civil war. I can learn about its political climate, its meteorological climate, its social climate. And the gleaning of information does make me feel more ready. But I suspect there is no substitute for the experience, for the "being there." When it comes down to it, I know only that I will be there soon...and I will do the best that I can to help the people who spend their lives living in that difficult environment every day without any other choice but to do the best that they can.

I may have a chance to post once more in the morning before I leave. If not, I'll be back in the country on June 12. In the meantime, throw out some good vibes and little prayers for me, the team, and the people of the Sudan...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

a travelling dollar

Back in September (09.28.06), I wrote a post about a currency tracking project that I'd come across called "Where's George?". The basic gist is that people enter dollar bill serial numbers into the database, mark those dollar bills with the site address, and then spend the dollars in the hopes that someone else will enter them into the database so their "progress" can be tracked.

Over the course of a couple of weeks back in the fall, I entered 14 bills into the database. Because I didn't have a "Where's George?" stamp and I got tired of writing on bills in red pen, I gave it up. But lo and behold, I got an email yesterday saying that one of my bills had gotten a "hit" - after 234 days. Someone in Milton, West Virginia, had entered one of my marked bills. I Googled Milton and found a few stats on this little town:

- Location: Cabell County, WV, about 30 miles west of Charleston
- Population: Approximately 2,250
- Median age of residents: 39
- Racial distribution: 98.7% White, 0.7% Hispanic (Which still leaves 0.6%, or roughly 13 people unaccounted for. Go figure.)

A little silly to get excited about tracking a dollar, but it makes one wonder what the bill has been doing for the past 8 months. Has it changed hands a lot? Or did it sit in a bank or a cash register for a while? Who knows? But, for the moment, it's chillin' in Milton before moving on to its next destination.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

little updates

I know, I know. Almost three weeks since the last post. Virtually inexcusable. You've probably stopped checking at this point. April is indeed the cruelest month, at least in terms of scheduling. Plus, when the Virginia Tech incident happened a couple of weeks ago, it felt crass to try to write about anything else, even though I didn't feel as if I had the capability to say anything significant and insightful about the Tech tragedy itself. Thus, no words for a while.

The countdown has started for the Sudan trip at the end of this month. For the most part, the small collection of folks who read this blog know about the trip...but for those who don't: I'm going on a medical mission trip with St. James's to a little town called Akot in Southern Sudan on May 30. At present, there is a widespread meningitis epidemic ravaging that part of Africa (as tends to happen every year during the rainy season). Thousands are dying because the meningitis vaccine is unavailable in the Sudan. Working through a clinic established by Mustard Seed International, our goal is to provide 12,000 vaccinations while we are in the country. I feel certain that it will be a life-changing trip, though I feel equally certain that any expectations I have will fall far short of the reality of the situation. Anyway, more on the Sudan in future posts as the trip approaches.

Meanwhile, on the home front: I've spent a good bit of time in the garden lately trying to get things going. So, a quick update on what's happening for those keeping score:

To date, I have the following plants sprouting from seed:
- Swiss Chard
- Snow Peas
- Carrots
- Hidatsa Shield Figure Beans
- Mesclun Lettuce
- Thyme
- Basil
- Chili Pepper

The following seeds have been planted, but not yet sprouted:
- Yellow Squash
- Zucchini
- Butternut Squash
- Bibb Lettuce
- Green Onions

I bought a few small plants this past weekend and transplanted (most of) them into the garden:
- Thai Basil
- Bronze Fennel
- Sweet Peppers
- Ancho Pepper (Poblano)
- Several tomato plants (not yet in the ground)

Will post more pictures when I can take them. I realize this post feels a little perfunctory - will try to be less clinical and far more interesting in the future.