Wednesday, March 07, 2001


David is home, now. He hasn't really slept in almost 24 hours. On the other hand, he was on airplanes most of that time and dozed repeatedly. He is not ready to go to bed yet. He has checked his email and sent off some messages. He's given each of us one of the siroopwafelen (caramel syrup waffle cookies) he purchased at Schipol, in Amsterdam. He is now playing Final Fantasy IX to relax. We are waiting for a pizza to be delivered.

Although there is much more to tell he has told us a little about his trip.

There was no place in Bhuj that was spared devastation, nowhere he could turn to see a normal vista. The heat was merciless. He spoke to a twelve-year-old girl, Anjita, who was pinned by rubble for seven hours. She spent the whole time praying. He spoke to children who had lost some or all of their families. He visited schools struggling to re-establish themselves, housed in tents.

When Baslow asked his son about his reactions to what he'd seen, David's first response, offered immediately, was: "We are so [expletive deleted] lucky!" By "we" he meant, essentially, middle-class Americans. He had witnessed a proud, resilient people who uncomplainingly made lives for themselves out of a paucity of material resources that he found astonishing. He had spoken to one person after another who had told him of unimaginable personal misfortunes without the slightest trace of self-pity.

David and his colleagues from Children's Express spent a busy couple of days in Bhuj. They recorded video journals and audio interviews. They took copious notes. They will be spending the next days and weeks assembling these elements into stories in which they attempt to convey to the rest of the world what they witnessed. Baslow will direct you, Dear Reader, to these stories as they are available.

In the meantime they will be thinking about what they experienced, expanding their views of the world and appreciating their situations in it. We would all do well, periodically, to do the same.

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