THE UNICEF BRIEFING
The briefing went a long way towards allaying the lingering anxieties Baslow and Mrs. Baslow were feeling about sending their thirteen-year-old son off to India. The UNICEF representatives provided us with many details and answered all our questions. They clearly have this stuff down to a science.
David and his Children's Express cohorts will depart Thursday night. The departure was moved ahead a bit to allow some rest time after the exhausting flight. There will be a stopover in Amsterdam. They will arrive in Mumbai late on Friday. They will be met at the airport by UNICEF staff in a UNICEF vehicle.
On Saturday, they will be briefed by Bombay staff (and by a senior communication person from Delhi). They will then travel on to Bhuj, which was close to the epicenter of the quake.
Much hard work has been done in Bhuj since the quake. David will not see scenes of devastation nearly so jarring as those he would have seen a few days after the disaster. He will see rubble, certainly. What will be most evident will be, not immediate hazards, but the long-term effects and challenges of such a large-scale disaster. Poverty (of a sort and to a degree David has not encountered) will be apparent. As apparent, however, will be the strong family and community structures with which the poverty is met.
UNICEF will accompany the Children's Express contingent wherever they go. They will always have sattelite communication and global cellphone facilities.
They will spend about two-and-a-half days in Bhuj. They will then make their way back to Mumbai and, from there, home. Psychological counselling will be available to help David deal with the more troubling aspects of what he will have seen.
David and his parents are excited. The adventure is about to begin.