It seems like I always do this- wait too long to update, so I'm stuck writing entries that are far too long to keep you interested. I will try my hardest, though.
As far as the ranch goes, all is well. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and the pollen is yellow and oh-so-thick. I've hosted two groups in GV2 since I last updated: a group from the University of San Fransisco, and a youth group from Louisiana. The entire staff was a little worried about how the high schoolers would handle the program. Opinions vary, but I think they did really well and got a lot from the program. They were not the type of group that we were used to- younger, less experienced- so some felt like we weren't as successful this time around. They may not go out and end hunger and poverty, but they are definitely far more aware than they were when they came. That, to me, is success.
My days of milking goats at 7 am are gone for awhile: due to some road construction, we had to move all of the animals out of the village. Unfortunately, we didn't do this until we realized there was no water in the village. we didn't move the pigs (thankfully) so we have to haul in water twice a day from them. Joy! It seems that as much good that is done on this ranch, very little communicating happens.
Since there is a lull in programming, I have been working on field trips. It's less intensive than my program, but it is just as rewarding. Hearing some of the kids go from answers such as "I drink two percent" to seeing their reactions when we squirt milk from a goat is really rewarding. It's also encouraging to see how smart some of these youngsters are- I had a great group of first graders today that were sharp as a tack.
As i mentioned in a previous post, I am lucky enough to be able to attend several lectures at the Clinton School for Public Service in Little Rock. My first lecture, with Dr. Joseph Nye, was great. I think I will summarize these lectures in a separate post. I met a lot of very nice, interesting people, and made several nice connections. One connection, the owner of an architectural firm, made contact to the President of Heifer, Jo Luck, for me. She then wrote me an e-mail and invited me to make an appointment to visit with her at headquarters this summer. I thought that was just the neatest, and hope that I get to follow through. I was also able to see Will Pearson, the founder of Metal_Floss, a great magazine (and website!) and Michael Dukakis, the infamous 1988 presidential candidate. (He would have to be, as I know him and I wasn't even a imagined then.)
I do have some sad news. As the season winds down, people continue to come and go. My "house parents" (as we call them) Al and Mary Ann are moving back to Kansas this weekend. I will (hopefully) be able to visit my friend Ruben in OKC this weekend, so I will have to say my goodbyes early. It will be interesting to see who ends up in Nearside this summer. All of my housemates are leaving, so I will be receiving a house full of fresh faces. I'm excited to meet all of the summer staff, though.
I may have taken some Tylenol PM, and I still have a bed to make. This wasn't nearly as long or detailed as I would have liked, but you can only work with what you've got. I'm not feeling especially inspired today, so maybe tomorrow I will add more and add the notes/summary of the Nye and Dukakis lectures. I love you all, and hope that this finds you well. Pictures will follow soon.