Archive for February 2013

At this Point, I’ll Take Nairobi

February 18, 2013

Max and I sitting in the transit lounge of the airport in Jo’burg, South Africa.  The airport here is huge and based on previous experience in Nairobi, I felt comfortable in telling Max we should just wait in the airport as opposed to leaving to go find a hotel.  Our plan leaves before 7 in the morning. At this point, i would prefer Nairobi with all is hustle and bustle, all the shops and the people milling around.  It is quiet here and I may be able to catch a nap. But, there are no shops and the only people here are sleeping transfer travelers and an energetic cleaning and maintenance staff.  I am grateful for good wireless internet access and for a fairly comfortable chair to sit in.

We were in the air about 11 hours, flying KLM from Amsterdam to Johannesburg. Max got off the plane from PDX and immediately entered the boarding area for our flight.  I was in Amsterdam for two days and had a marvelous day with Quakers in Amsterdam.  I was hosted by my friend, Paul Arora.  I took the train from Schipol airport, as I had been staying in a hotel with a shuttle service.  Most of the day Saturday was spent in battling jet lag and preparing my presentation to Quakers on Sunday. I got off the train at Amsterdam Zuid Station and after grabbing a grande Starbucks (about 3 Euros), I walked a short distance to the Tram and boarded Number 5 which took me to the Rijkssmuseum. This is the museum that Debbie and I visited in the fall of 2012.  From this stop, it was a brief walk to the Meeting House Quaker Centruum). I took a brief stroll in Vondel Park where Debbie and I searched for a labyrinth with Paul Arora on our last visit.  In the park I was approached by Bosnian exile who requested a Euro for breakfast.

The meeting for worship was attended by about a dozen folks, including a delightful 6 month old baby boy who scooted all across the floor while we sat is silence. We shared a potluck after the meeting, mostly bread and cheese and a quiche, which was very nice.  About 10 Friends remained for my presentation about our work in Kenya and Rwanda.  Several had traveled great distance to be here with us and I loved the conversation.  Later that afternoon, I went to Paul’s house to share tea with he and his wife.  We have a lovely time and then they drove me back to my hotel, the Ibis.

I will need to spend more time reflecting on the meaning of my day with Dutch Friends.  At this time, I am humbled and grateful to have met these folks and to have visited the meeting now four times in the last few years.  I will look forward to learning more with them and from them.

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Sunshine On St. Helens and Other Glorious Sights

February 18, 2013

My friend and colleague Susanna brought me to the airport today. As we got to just the right place on the interstate, right after the curves and coming closer to downtown Portland, I saw Mount St. Helens to the north. This was an amazing sight,  with the bright light reflecting off the snow-capped top, I smiled and noted how infrequent these views are. What a glorious day of bright sunshine and clarity we have. What an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of creation. What a great day to be an Oregonian!