DAVID, REPORTER, GOES TO INDIA
Things have been hopping here at the Baslow household over the last 35 hours or so. This is unexpected. Both Rulizow and David attend New York City public schools and have had the week off. They were supposed to be spending the end of the week, since their return Wednesday from a brief vacation in Frost Valley, quietly.
Midday, yesterday, David headed downtown to the Children's Express New York Bureau office to work on his weekly New York Post Online story (an interview with Seamus Farrow about a trip to Nigeria to immunize children against polio). When he arrived he learned that UNICEF had contacted Children's Express to inquire if they could quickly find a reporter, an editor, and an adult supervisor to be part of a press tour they were organizing. They intended to take a group of reporters to Bhuj, in the state of Gujarat, India, to report on the aftermath of the earthquake there. They would depart for India on March 2nd, in one week!
David made it known that he has a valid passport. He then phoned Baslow at work to ask if he would be allowed to make the trip. Baslow expressed some trepidation and said he would have to call back. He contacted Mrs. Baslow, however, and after a brief conference they decided to give their permission. David was notified immediately. He then conducted his interview with Farrow.
Things went quickly, after that. There were very few kids with valid passports and parental permission who could be contacted in the short time frame required by UNICEF. David was selected. It remained only to find out if Children's Express could, on such short notice, raise the money they would need to contribute towards the trip.
We could not, however, wait for the answer. We had to begin making arrangements. David was immediately scheduled to receive all the necessary shots the next day, at a midtown center for travel medicine. We researched Bhuj and Gujarat and the earthquage on the Web. We contemplated the gravity of the mission on which our son was being sent.
Today, David worked on his homework and walked his sister to a friend's house for a playdate. He then headed downtown to the travel medicine center where he met his mother. He got his four shots, received his malaria pills, and was extensively instructed about how to deal with food, water, and animals while on his trip. He learned from a CE staff member that he will stay in shelters and, perhaps, in a tent while on the trip. He will be working in Gujarat for four days. Mrs. Baslow was informed that a psychologist will counsel the kids both before they leave and after they return. When they got home, they began the phone calls to relatives, friends, and neighbors. Some were born in India and others have visited. Much advice was passed on.
On Monday, David will be briefed by UNICEF.
We are excited about this trip. We are also...sober about it..just a little worried. This isn't going to be a fun-filled tour to see the colorful sights. David will talk to people with harrowing stories. He will likely see disturbing sights.. We didn't do anything nearly this serious when we were his age.