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  • Don & Cathy Weber
    You guys already know more than you probably wanted to about the first part of our year and our trip back to Malawi in June. So here s about some of the rest
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2004
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      You guys already know more than you probably wanted to about the first part of our year and our trip back to Malawi in June.  So here's about some of the rest of the year:
       
      I went with an occupational therapy friend to a small town in northern Nicaragua for a couple of weeks in October.   Somoto is the "Sister-City" of Merced (closest town of consequence to the 300 of us here in Snelling).  Merete, the OT, and I went to work with Los Pipitos, a Nicaraguan organization founded by parents of disabled kids.
       
      Great little town! By the time we were there a week, everytime we walked out on the streets we saw people we knew.  People we didn't know invited us into their homes for coffee and a visit.  There were constant political rallies for a mayoral race.  Every one of them had music, dancing, even some funny little soccer games on the basketball court in the town square (using a small ball and 3' by 2' goal cages) and with just a little bit of speech making.  The whole town seemed to turn out.  The Sandanistas (now just pretty much like our liberal liberals) were running mainly against the "Something, Something" Liberal party (they're the conservatives???). 
       
      We were there during our elections, fun because of the interest Nicaraguans had in them.  People we talked to were uniformly opposed to the war in Iraq and therefore to Bush.  For one thing they do remember what they considered our interference in their politics and their lives.  And secondly, and more directly... everyone is suffering because of the increased gas prices which are always higher than ours but now even more so, affecting everyone.  Remember when the bus prices went up in Malawi and many, many more people had to walk many, many more miles!  Same is happening there now.
                       
      We met a couple of Peace Corps volunteers.  One we met on a great, convivial, rickety, music playing, always honking bus we were taking to an outlying clinic.  He was more than a bit pompous...unlike any of us thank heavens!  The other one was great!  She lives in Somoto and works at health clinics in the district.  We took some "Sister-City" money down for a family she works with, to be used to construct an outdoor oven for the mother's home baking business. 
       
      We couldn't help but be aware of the sense of community; there always seemed to be music, dancing and games for any reason or none.  We figure that we've lost some of that sense of fun here.  Merete and I came up with the thought that with our lives of relative ease we don't think we need to create such simple, spontaneous, communal diversions...divertido (fun).  Too bad! 
       
      Question for those of you in public health (and to the one who used to be in public health, happy mothering Liz!):  In one small town clinic we saw 4 children between the ages of about 5 to 8 or 9; 3 boys had congenital hand deformities, 2 of those had some facial deformities also, the fourth, a girl, had no urethra and vagina.  Seemed to us like a real cluster.  The Los Pipitos people feel it must be caused by environmental factors because there aren't family histories of deformities.  They mentioned it's an area of farming and heavy pesticide use.  Could be just coincidence in what we saw, right?   Any of you know of clusters like this and causes of them? 
       
      And Don... well he stayed home and babysat for 3 of our grandchildren for almost a week while their parents moved our daughter's furniture to Phoenix.  Don't feel sorry for him; his cousin, who's a great cook, volunteered to come and help him!  Kids had a great time and so did Don.
       
      We're going to Phoenix for Christmas.  Dan, Gertrude and kids....will you be at home in Sedona during the holidays?  We may or may not have a little spare time this trip...but if not this time we'll be back that way again more often now.  (Oh, what's your phone number just in case?)
       
      Happy, happy holidays everyone...
       
      Cathy
       
         
       
             
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