Friday, September 02, 2005

Network needed to transport Katrina victims!

Like everyone else, I am listening to reports of the chaos in New Orleans and wondering "Can't someone do something?" and "What can I do?" And like most everyone else, I haven't a clue. I went to the local Red Cross office and answered phones, but even that felt like I was telling people more about what we (and they) couldn't do than telling them what could be done. (What can be done is monetary donations - please give to the American Red Cross, or any of the numerous agencies that are providing disaster relief!) Otherwise, at least at my local Red Cross, crash course training is being offered for people who can commit to three weeks on a Disaster Relief Team. Those teams will then be formed from the pool of trained volunteers as asked for by the National American Red Cross. In addition, there is a shelter at the local Red Cross chapter building, still waiting and ready for the first Katrina victim to arrive here needing shelter (last time I asked).

There must be small shelters, and potential shelters (not just Red Cross), empty all over this country, while the ones relatively close to the gulf shore are overflowing. Tens of thousands of people are being transported from one horrible situation in New Orleans, to another infinitely better but still overcrowded and overstressed shelter in Houston. Why are they taking everyone to Houston?

I'm deciding as I write this, that I will call the local Red Cross and see if anyone ever showed up at the shelter, and if they need transportation to another location. I would be thrilled to pick them up and drive them two or three hours in any direction from here. I could do that several days a week after work. Or I will go that far in any direction to pick up someone and bring them here. But the only way someone without transportation of there own will get here, (or two hours away form here) is if we have a nationwide network of volunteer drivers to shuttle them from one shelter to another. Any ideas on how to organize this effort? Is it already being done? Bloggers?

Friday, August 12, 2005

The beginning of a long series that will eventually get to the topic of Young Adult Friends

Starting at Yearly Meeting earlier this summmer, and quickly reinforced by more buzz at the FGC Gathering a month later, I have been tuning in to the stirrings among and about young adult Friends. This has started a torrent of feelings and actions on my part that I plan to share here. But it seems I need to start with my "story"...

I missed out on being a "Young Adult Friend" (a.k.a YAF or AYF) myself. I recall that my high school guidance counselor included Guilford College on a list of colleges generated from a questionaire about my interests and preferences. I vaguely remember visiting Guilford in Greensboro, NC on a whirlwind tour of southern campuses. Somewhere along the way, I heard that Guilford was a Quaker institution, which caused me a bit of confusion since at that time in my life I thought Quakers were Amish, lived in rural Pennsylvania, and only went to 8 years of school before becoming farmers. I did not seriously consider attending Guilford, largely because I thought it was too small, but probably also because I could not imagine myself at an Amish college, or in any type of overtly religious environment. My religious upbringing, fortunately, did not traumatize me, but it had left me, by the time I finished High School, with the impression that Christianity was simple, shallow, and largely irrelevant to real life. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had that first brush with Quakerism not been so lightly brushed off.

To be continued...

Exorcizing Phantoms

I was afraid this would happen - I never have been able to keep a journal going. I thought blogging might be different, but it's not. My problem is that I always want to finish my writing before I start. I have a hard time just "letting it flow". I don't want to type a character until a complete sentence has formed in my head, and then I don't want to commit that sentence to paper until I have the entire paragraph worked out, and I'd like to know what conclusion that thought will lead to before I write the paragraph, and - well, my memory isn't that good. By the time I am ready to write something, I have forgotten what I was going to say.

You see, I always picture readers looking over my shoulder. Introvert that I am, I can't just present an unedited rendering of my innermost thoughts. My words must come out well-formed and witty or wise. That rarely happens without some internal editing. So just how is a blog supposed to help? The presence of phantom readers has always frozen my writing aspirations, and now, a real person might be reading!

I was thrilled to find that my "Tiglets" posting was linked to by QuakerRanter (whose site and links often trigger my unrecorded trains of thought), but when I checked my statistics and saw that some traffic had been generated, I really got stage-fright! But the traffic has now come to a standstill - little wonder since I haven't posted anything in so long.

So anyhow, with this blog I hope to exorcize the phantoms. I'm going to stop the premature self-editing and babble a bit. Let me know if any one is really out there.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Heaven on Earth?

GrandPoo suggests in her comment on my previous post that the "Lion and the Lamb" prophesies refer to Heaven, but what is Heaven? Seems to me that Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God being "at hand", which I interpret as meaning we can reach out and make it happen anytime enough of us understand that we can and have the will to do so. (You need to realize you are dealing with a Quaker, so expect some offbeat "theology").

Given my beliefs, which are more questions than answers, I like to think the prophets foretold peace on earth. Even so, I've never envisioned the "Lion and the Lamb" as a literal scenario. However, this "one big happy family" example in Thailand (disturbing as the exploitive aspect is, admittedly) makes me reconsider the possibility of the non-violent coexistence of predators and prey, though I suspect the tigers still are fed meat of some variety.

Anyway, first things first, let's work toward the peaceful coexistence of humans!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

One Big Happy Family

A Friend at my meeting shared some photos Sunday from his travels in Asia. One snapshot was taken at a zoo in Thailand.


It showed a fully grown tiger in a cage with a bunch of little piglets. I might have thought the piglets were intended to be lunch for the tiger had they not been dressed in little, striped, tiger suits - tied in the back with red bows! What was this all about? more...

We went on to other pictures of beaches and Buddha's, etc. but the disturbing and surreal image of the little tiglets scampering around the tiger stuck with me. As soon as I got home, I googled on "piglets in tiger suits" and found several similar photos including the one above, copied from http://xo.typepad.com/blog/2004/05/baby_tiglets.html . I
read the accompanying entries about Sriracha Zoo and its “happy families” program in which pigs, dogs and tigers share cages, sleep and eat together.

Ok, so this is a Thai idea of one big happy family! Following more links, I learned that the zoo is really a tiger farm. Sows serve as wet-nurses to the tiger cubs so the mama tigers can get right to work on their next litter. Tigers who are nursed by sows apparently lose their taste for pork (which would, indeed, serve as a tasty meal in a more natural environment!)

I got this information from a website protesting the cruel treatment of tigers, who get worn out from too many and too frequent pregnancies, and of sows, forced to spend their lives in farrowing cages, enslaved as milk dispensers for the cubs of an alien species. So, don't take this as an endorsement of this exploitive "Happy Family" approach to tiger production and tourism, but I am reminded of the verses in Isaiah:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,"
Says the LORD. Isaiah 65:25

Could it be that this vision of peace is not really so farfetched?

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