Listening to: Strawberry (Rice Paddy) Field Forever: Ben Harper version from I Am Sam. To fully understand the road conditions outside the city, periodically while listening, jump into one of those anti-gravity prep units NASA uses to prepare your body for space. If you don't have one lying about, have someone strap you into a pulsing massage chair (the ones that jab at your spine and arguably to more harm than good) and thrown you down a flight of stairs.Apparently we're VIPs and we didn't know it. The Merkley's day trip (which I thought would be an hour tops) turns out to be a donation ceremony and celebratory lunch 5 hours outside the city. Turns out the CARE Int'l contacts we had set up an elaborate excursion requiring 3+ staff and 12+ hours of car travel by car and boat.
To the Merkleys: Sure, I'll personally hand a disabled person a prosthetic leg that will change his life forever (only if I can cry while I'm at it) Sure, I'll applaud you with 100 others when you stand stable for the first time in your life and you shake my hand in gratitude as if I had something to do with it.
To CARE: Of course I'm qualified to have a discussion and review of Cyclone Nargis recovery with 30 community leaders and and impromptu hour or more of open questions (multiple times) and give my approval on water sanitation and agriculture projects in 4 cities. Of course, this is just what I expected... Thanks for fanning me while I eat in the middle of your community center, sir, could you please tell everyone they don't need to wait? Yes I'll put your request for more funds for a school and new bridge to share with the next village over in my final report?
Did I mention that tourists aren't allowed to come here? We had to get special permission from the big guys.
I am so amazed at what people can do with very few resources. Maybe I'll move here instead. On second though, it's so hot, I'm chewing gum feverishly to keep my pulse from stopping.
Busting down the Irawaddy River to a village (by boat. I feel like Moses)- I can't believe I've been traveling for over two weeks now. Then again, I cannot believe I have over two months left. I hope I don't burn out. I've tried to set it up so that with each destination there is a semi-home base- wehre we're not staying in a hostel but with a family or in ahome of some sort. Hotel and early mornings get old and tiring. But man, is this amazing.
This was his cell phone. Seriously. Kept it in his backpack and it worked EVERYWHERE