Sunday, April 30, 2006

South Valley Pride Day

Did I mention you can contribute to my campaign at Only one month until the election!

I spent an hour and a half at the South Valley Pride Day on Isleta Blvd. in Albuquerque this morning. After a nice parade every one moved on over to the park. I estimate there were at least 700 people there when I was. I disbursed a lot of brochures and saw old friends.

People were registering to vote. That was something heartwarming.

The South Valley Alliance was working hard to save agriculture in the Valley. A noble cause, we agreed, that will depend on water conservation practices.

The drill team took a break.

There was a weird cloud in the Sky.

We are having a family dinner this afternoon and relaxing the rest of the day.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

America the Beautiful

This is a picture coming over Emory Pass Summit between Silver City and T or C. I snapped this yesterday on a campaign marathon trip. This picture is why I think our national anthem should be America the Beautiful instead of the Stars Spangled Banner, which is not very pretty, talks about war, and is now being fought over about language. The idea behind it, of course, is wonderful but I have always felt it was unsingable. Compare it with America the Beautiful which is about America's great lands, resources and brotherhood.

We had our regular coffee today at Starbucks and the group was kind of surprised about the Journal's placement of the story on whether the anthem should be sung in Spanish. It was the banner story, while Bush saying there should be no windfall profits tax on the oil industry was below it. One of the regulars said, "Rove strikes again."

Who cares what language is used in singing the anthem? This is just another way of taking peoples minds off the real problems in this country, like the Iraq war, tax cuts for the rich, climate change, and health insurance. This is the way you end up in silly debates that degenerate into hate speech. In this case, against Hispanics. Why does the media fall for this crap?

Anyway, we had a great two day campaign swing through Socorro, Las Cruces, Deming, Silver City and then a long drive to Santa Fe for a fundraiser for Governor Richardson. Hundreds of miles and lots of nice people. Accompanying on this trip was Jon Knudsen of the Blog Duke City Fix and Alblogguerque.....He was doing a story on a typical campaign swing. We took time for a bloggers coffee in Las Cruces. This in Jon on the left and Heath Haussamen of New Mexico Politics in Las Cruces. Heath is a reporter for the Las Cruces Sun News and he has started a very good Southern New Mexico Blog on Politics.

When we got to the Governor's fundraiser last night in Santa Fe the Governor told Jon Knudsen that he has been a regular reader of these blogs and feels it is a whole new way for people to get information and news. He is right about that! Jon was impressed that the Governor takes time everyday to read these. Any good elected official or politician is doing this because they get a wider range of viewpoints than the would from traditional media outlets.

Finally, this is a great group of kids who are working with a charter school in Silver City. They are members of the Youth Conservation Corps and they are working on trails and facilities in and around Silver City. They were really pretty sharp kids. I would love to see the land office fund more of this YCC work in an effort to keep kids in school and get their diplomas. It is a great mix of activities for smart kids like these.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Domenici Mea Culpa

It is hard to believe that Pete Domenici is trying to distant himself from Big Oil. In fact, he has been their biggest ally for decades. Domenici's once responsible budget stands have turned into a cornucopia for the oil guys and now that the public is outraged at fuel prices he does an about face. Pete has such an aura about him he will probably get away with this.

I had to rejoice at the story in the Journal about Mayor Marty's budgets compared with my budgets. See the story here. One thing that was left out was that Marty's budget in his first term, just prior to mine, was also a run away affair. That is one reason that I had no money left in my four years. In Marty's defense, the city council would never leave a nickel on the table for bad times either.

I am off on another campaign swing to Las Cruces, Silver City and then a quick flight up to Santa Fe tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

She's Baaack!

Bobbi got back from Washington, DC today after 19 months of serving in the Forest Service offices there as the National Environmental Engineer. She starts a new job on Monday at the new Forest Service Albuquerque Service Center in Albuquerque's Journal Center. Bobbi and Justin drove the Beetle back from Syracuse, NY after a side trip there to move Bobbi's furniture for Justin to use when he moves there in a couple of weeks to join his girl Karly. I caught Bobbi getting out of the car at the end of the Journey. I look forward to using the Beetle for the rest of the campaign as it gets over 40 miles to the gallon. It is great to have Bobbi back.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Who is on Trial?

I have been keeping up with the trial of former State Treasurer Robert Vigil and I am beginning to wonder who is really on trial. If you read the stories carefully there is not much on Vigil's actions, but rather on former Treasurer Michael Montoya who is a witness. Time and again the government's witnesses have stated they could not say Vigil actually was getting some of these illicit funds during his term in office, or that funds that were sent to him were anything other that normal campaign contributions. Also, it appears that the prosecutors connect donors of Governor Bill Richardson to the case, namely former Game Commissioner Guy Riordan,who has not been charged. This gets prominent placement in the news coverage. Why is this getting this kind of buzz...certainly the Governor isn't implicated in anyway.

It will be really interesting to see what the jury ends up deciding. I have not been sitting through this trial, obviously, but in reading news accounts I wonder if the governments case will come down to guilty pleas on just a couple of counts.

I am certainly not trying to defend Vigil, but I am surprised at the government's case so far.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rio Puerco

I had a very busy morning but I ended up about 60 miles northwest of Albuquerque for the Forest Guardians annual tree planting ritual along the Rio Puerco. Forest Guardians was granted a small state lease on the Rio Puerco by the state land office some years ago to start a restoration in that highly troubled river. Decades of over grazing in that area has caused extreme erosion and loss of vegetation along the river. This riparian area can be easily made to flourish again by keeping cattle away from it and planting vegetation along the banks. I have seen this system work miracles around the west. These areas will be fenced off until they mature, because they can be eaten up by increasing numbers of elk.

Forest Guardians is an organization that uses shovels as well as words in their work to protect our landscapes, watersheds and river systems. It is an organization that was criticized in the past for being culturally insensitive, but they have turned all of that criticism around and are doing very good work now. Some of the volunteers today were employees of Intel. Hooray for them!
One of the volunteers was Dave Cobble from Albuquerque. He is a brother of my good friend Steve Cobble who resides in Washington, DC.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Sister gave me hell

This is Arturo Sandoval who is a good friend and supporter of mine. We worked hard in the Santa Fe Espanola area today doing a lot of campaigning. I probably met and talked to around 200 people today. Good old time politicking. Arturo really helped and we had a good time. Arturo grew up in Espanola and knows everyone there. He comes from a very large family and his many brothers and sisters are scattered through out the Espanola Valley and other parts of the state and country.

On another matter, my sister Carlota sent me an email today saying she hopes I won't stop being blunt and saying what I think just because I am in a political race. Well big sister, when have I ever really done that? And so in keeping with that genetic affliction I will say I do think bush is the worst president ever. If you haven't seen it it here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Campaign Techniques Have Changed

Mario Montoya and I visited Grants and Gallup for some campaigning yesterday. Grants looks a little bit stressed and Gallup looks very properous.

This is Mario in front of the historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup where we had lunch.

It has become evident to me that the way you campaign in New Mexico has undergone a significant shift. It used to be that you could come into a town and hit all the government centers to shake hands and pass out literature. It was a good way of meeting people who were usually regular voters. Now, when you go into most County or City offices there is a guard at the front entrance and quite often a screening process. Once you get through that process you are usually separated from the employees by bullet proof glass barriers. In the new McKinley County Offices all I could do was pass brochures through the openings and ask if the person on the other side could distribute them. It is a pretty impersonal way of politicking! It is not this way everywhere, but it is still a trend that government employees are separated from the people they serve.

It also used to be very easy to drop into the local newspapers to do an interview, but even that is more difficult because most of the newspapers are now owned by out of state concerns. I have been told on numerous occasions that the papers aren't really capable of doing indepth interviews for stories or endorsements. The lack of local involvment is a little disconcerting. I think the local folks would like to do these interviews, but they are really cut back to bare bones staffs and the literally don't have time to do it. There are very few locally owned publications in our state any more. We did do a nice interview with Grants Beacon newspaper.

The same can be said for many of the radio stations. They are for the most part just rebroadcasting satellite programing and they have no local news departments any more. It is hard work to get any air time with them, although you can schedule an appearance on a talk show once in a while.

Still, though, it is great to get out and meet people around New Mexico. Mario was sort of amazed at how many people still recognize me from my television news career. I am too.

I love the Red Rock formations near Gallup. They are mystical.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Into the West

Tuesday will be spent in Grants and Gallup on the old Route 66 campaign trail. I really like the landscapes out west of Albuquerque, although the guantlet presented by thousands of semi trucks on present day I-40 means it is important to keep your eyes on the road. My fundraiser, Mario Montoya, will be along to help drive and supply me with brochures.

I was really proud of the Governor for saying that Rumsfeld should resign. That is a gutsy thing to do and from the latest polls it looks like most people probably feel the same way. It is strange that the Governor, a state official, is the only one saying this while our Washington delegation remains so silent. Maybe that is why we are electing so many Governors to the White House. They are not fearful of giving their opinions.


That 36 hours of no campaigning was very restful. I am ready to go for the week. We had a nice dinner at my brother Tom's yesterday.

This is my uncle, Jaime Baca. He is 83 years old and a deacon in the Catholic Church. He is a retired school teacher. Jaime is a WWII veteran who served in the 5th Air Force in the Pacific and had many combat missions as that Air Force leapfrogged along the Pacific islands. He has some harrowing stories to tell and credits the skill of his B-24's pilot with saving the crews lives. He still stays in touch with that pilot. Jaime announced he and a priest friend of his will drive to Alaska and back this summer. I hope I am in shape to do that kind of thing when I am 83.

This is the newest Baca. She is Emma, the daughter of my neice Stephanie. Stephanie and her husband Mike are architects in Los Angeles.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Who has time?

Someone complained to me today that I haven't been blogging enough, and I agree. The problem is that when you are in a political campaign it insinuates itself into every waking minute of the day. Even when you want to blog on something you will always start thinking that some one will use it against you and there is a tendency to not say what you really want to. For instance, after doing endorsement interviews today and attending the annual Wilderness Rally at the Kimo theater I got home and found a postcard with a portrait of George bush on it. All it said was, 'thank you for your help.'

Was this a sick joke? I would really like to say here the kind of help I could provide to bush. You can probably imagine all sorts of ways I might 'help' him. I can't really say it though because, well---it wouldn't be nice. My critics always say I am to blunt when giving an opinion and I wouldn't want to give them more ammo right now. Funny, most people say they want honest and blunt politicians, but when you are honest and blunt you are punished for it.....go figure that out. Also, since I am not anywhere near six feet tall I start out at a disadvantage in political races because tall people always have an advantage over short people. I know that is true. In fact, all of our Presidents any more seem to be six feet or more in stature. Governor's too! I think only Mayors are allowed to be short since they are usually thrown on the trash heap of unfulfilled expectations.

I will quit now. I need 36 hours of rest.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


It seems the only time I have to read books anymore is when I am on an airplane. After watching Kevin Phillips on the Bill Maher show the other night I decided I would need to read his latest book, "American Theocracy" the first chance I got. I saw the book in the book store in the Tucson airport yesterday. Although I have only read the preface and first five or six chapters I will say that anyone who cares about their children' future should definitely read this tome. Essentially, Philipps, a republican, says that our oil habit, our national and personal debt, and the emergence of the first American religious political party, yes-its the republicans, will doom this country to the superpower scrap heap of history. He lays it all out and compares us to the former Dutch, Spanish, British and French super powers that receded throughout history for the same reasons.

Do your self a favor and read this book. Then look forward to the November elections with a renewed fervor.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Two Days in Tucson

I will be spending the next two days at a board meeting of the Wyss Foundation in Tucscon. These are really intense meetings with lots of work to do. The are enjoyable because you get to help the people who really deserve it. The Foundation makes grants to local and regional environmental groups involved in pubic land protection. I will be back on Thursday to hit the trail again. The Foundation has been very generous in helping to protect New Mexico Wilderness Lands. Sometimes we should show our appreciation to the people who work so hard on these foundation staffs and boards. Philantrophy is what is keeping our lands protected in the West right now.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Jack and Tom in Vietnam

I took a long southern campaign trip this week and had breakfast with Jack Swickard in Roswell. Jack was an Albuquerque Tribune Reporter, Editor of the Farmington Daily Times and Editor of the Roswell Daily Record. I got to know Jack through my brother Tom Baca. These two photos are of these guys as the look today.

These photos are from 1967 in Vietnam where Jack and Tom served as helicopter pilots. They still look pretty good.

Jack and Tom recieved the Distinguished Flying Cross for their valor on one mission. That mission is described in Jack's narrative below.

As the aircraft commander of a UH-1D “Huey” helicopter in the First Flight Platoon of the 118th Assault Helicopter Company stationed at Bien Hoa Air Base,
South Vietnam, I was assigned to fly a U.S. Special Forces paymaster from camp to camp on May 14, 1967.

On the morning of the mission, Lt. Al Croteau, who commanded the 198th Signal Detachment, which was attached to the 118th Assault Helicopter Company, asked me what type of flying I would he doing that day. When I told him that it would be flying the Special Forces paymaster from one camp to another, he asked if he could fly in place of the door gunner on the crew.

Lt. Croteau indicated he was attempting to gather enough hours of flight time to earn an Air Medal, and was looking for a mission in which he could log some hours of direct combat support time.

After picking up the Special Forces paymaster, we flew to an outpost called Cau Song Be, near Tay Ninh City. I landed on a dirt strip outside the compound. As I was starting to shut down the engine, one of the crewmembers on my helicopter told me that another UH-1 “Huey” had landed on the strip behind me.

I saw a Special Forces major running toward my aircraft, waving his hands. He ran up to my door and told me a company of South Vietnamese soldiers and their U.S. Special Forces advisers had been surrounded by a large force of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops about five kilometers west of the compound. The major asked if I could fly in and airlift them back to the compound. He said the group had taken some casualties and was under attack.

He told me: “You don’t have to go in, but we sure would appreciate it if you could get them out of there.”

When I told him I would try to fly the South Vietnamese and their advisers out, he said he would contact the pilot in a Huey behind mine about joining the rescue attempt. I sent my crew chief to the other aircraft with a note on which I had written an FM radio frequency over which we could communicate.

I learned the aircraft commander of the other helicopter was Warrant Officer Tom Baca, assigned to flying VIP missions for II Field Forces Victor. He had landed at Cau Song Be to drop off a chaplain.

I told him I would lead the flight of two aircraft on the rescue attempt because my Huey had two .30-caliber machine guns, which his did not.

The Special Forces major returned and told me that he had requested an air strike by the Air Force prior to the rescue, and had asked for helicopter gunships to accompany us. WO Baca and I tuned our radios to the Air Force forward air controller’s frequency and took off from the strip. Baca was flying in trail formation behind me as we climbed to about 2,500 feet and circled the area. The forward air controller called the senior U.S. adviser and asked him to pop a smoke grenade to identify his position before the air strike. I saw about eight smoke grenades pop about the same time.

The PAC told the adviser about the number of smoke grenades and then asked him what color he had popped. He said green. However, there were two green grenades. The adviser said his was near a road. I saw that another smoke grenade had popped within 30 feet of the green grenade set off by the adviser. The FAC told the adviser the enemy was too close to the South Vietnamese to call in an air strike. He then sent the Air Force jets back to their base.

We were joined by two UH-1C helicopter gunships, whose team leader told me the two planes were running low on fuel. I flew east of the area where the South Vietnamese and their advisers were located, back to the compound at Cau Song Be, and descended to tree top level. Flying at about 90 knots, I lowered the fuselage of the Huey below the level of the trees and bamboo growing along both sides of a narrow road that led from the compound to where the South Vietnamese had been ambushed. Only the rotor and the top part of the rotor mast were above the vegetation.

When I figured I was near the South Vietnamese company, I told the senior adviser to pop a smoke grenade so that I wouldn’t overshoot his position. Within seconds I saw smoke drifting ahead of me. I flared the Huey over the smoke and leveled the aircraft above bamboo growing along the side of the road. We were hovering high over the troops and there didn’t appear to be any clearings nearby, so I chopped my way to the ground with the rotor blades.

Immediately after the Huey touched down, the South Vietnamese started climbing aboard the Huey through the open cargo doors. I could hear shots being fired at my aircraft and some of the South Vietnamese were hit by rounds while on board the Huey.

I looked out of the cockpit to see where the shots were coming from, but the bamboo and trees were too dense to see more than 15 or 20 feet. The South Vietnamese defense perimeter was within the sweep of my rotor blades.

I can remember Lt. Croteau asking me how to operate the M60 machine gun. I told him not to fire it, that he would probably hit some friendlies. He then asked me what he should do. I asked him if he had brought a camera along. When he said “yes,” I told him to shoot some pictures so that we would have a souvenir. I looked back and he had taken out his camera and was shooting pictures of dead South Vietnamese soldiers alongside the Huey.

After 10 of the wounded South Vietnamese soldiers were aboard the aircraft, and WO Baca said he had a full load of wounded, I hovered the aircraft straight up through the hole I had chopped through the bamboo.

When the rotors were above the top of the bamboo I was starting to lose engine rpm from hovering so high with a heavy load. I was able to pick up speed gradually, again flying with the Huey’s fuselage below the level of the vegetation and over the road. After flying low level for several kilometers west of the ambush, I lifted the nose of the Huey and climbed to 1,500 feet.

Baca and I flew the South Vietnamese back to the compound at Cau Song Be, dropped them off and returned to the ambush site, again flying low level above the road. The two gunships rejoined us as we started back toward the ambush site.

Again, I asked the U.S. adviser to pop a smoke grenade when he heard us approaching. I found the same holes in the bamboo we had cut earlier, and lowered the aircraft back to the ground. There were more dead South Vietnamese in the landing zone (LZ) and I could hear more small arms fire. More wounded were placed aboard the Huey. When the load reached 10 soldiers and Baca said his aircraft was loaded, we hovered back to the top of the bamboo and flew low level out of the area. As we exited, the gunship team leader radioed that his aircraft were low on fuel and had leave the mission.

Baca and I flew the wounded back to Cau Song Be, and made a third trip to the ambush site to pick up the South Vietnamese and their U.S. advisers. This time, some of the South Vietnamese soldiers were killed by gunfire after they had climbed aboard the aircraft. I can recall looking back and watching the U.S. adviser throw their bodies off the Huey.

Baca and I flew our aircraft back to the landing zone, without gunship cover, a fourth and a fifth time. We were able to rescue all of the South Vietnamese soldiers and the U.S. advisers who were still alive. We left the dead in the landing zone. In all, the two helicopters carried about 120 people out of the ambush. No helicopter crewmembers were wounded.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Corporate Ads in the Forest

It seems the National Forests will now be up for the Madison Avenue treatment. I can just see it now, ads for giant SUVs, ATVs, and other unimaginable things decorating our forests. Read more about it here.

Here is a link for all conservationists who are interested in the upcoming Primary election. This was an unsolicited letter that was sent out by Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bosque Redondo & Atomic Museum

Lee and I completed our swing through Roswell, Portales and Clovis today. On the way back to Albuquerque we took the chance to visit the State's new Bosque Redondo Memorial. I would suggest you all stop there if you are in the area of Fort Sumner. It is just about three miles from there and well worth the side trip. This memorial is dedicated to the Navajo and Mescaleros that were forced into a camp there by the United States Government. This was happening about the same time Lincoln was freeing the slaves. It is a place that evokes many emotions. Many of the internees died of starvation and disease. Read more about it here.

The staff of the Memorial, which is run by the Department of Cultural Affairs, was really nice. This is Grace Roybal and Paul Fishell. They were overjoyed with the support the Governor gave to the Memorial this year in the legislature and asked me to thank him, which I will do the next time I see him. The exhibits are still pretty basic, but the potential here is great. The staff says there are a lot of school groups going there. That is really good.

On another note, I am sad to see the Balloon Museum in Albuquerque is not doing so well, but I can't say I am surprized. When I served as Mayor I had always felt it couldn't make it on its own there and was trying to get the Atomic Museum to relocate there and perhaps even share the facility. It still might be a good idea although, I hear the Atomic Museum is now moving up to a building on Eubank. That missile in the middle of Old Town may disappear soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In to the South

Lee Otteni, a friend since first grade at Our Lady of Fatima School, is traveling with me on this trip to Roswell, Artesia, Portales and Clovis. There is a candidate forum in Roswell tonight but we did some traveling around this afternoon.

This photo was taken of the sky over Tijeras Canyon as we left Albuquerque Tuesday morning. I was trying not to take it as an omen.

This picture is of main street Artesia. These old main streets are so cool.

This is Lee at a beautiful scupture exhibit portraying the Yates first oil well success on State Land.
This is a picture of part of the massive Navajo Refinery in Artesia.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Back from Africa

Olduvai Gorge

It seems like a lot of people I know are going to Africa. Luisa Casso, Lydia Lopez, and Pat Bryan are all headed for the continent for a month. My sister, Carlota, just returned from three weeks in Tanzania. This is her narrative of the trip that she wrote as a column for the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers which she guides up in Santa Fe. She took the photos which I fixed up a little on the computer.

Director’s Column

M. Carlota Baca, Executive Director, NMAG

This past weekend, I turned on the dishwasher and I could hear the water doing its swish-swish thing. I didn’t think too much about it, because I was glued to my computer going through my 400 digital photos from a trip I had just taken to East Africa. I went to Tanzania with a small and congenial group of seven people led by a wonderful guide named Thad Peterson of Dorobo Tours, which also operates the philanthropic Dorobo Fund for Tanzania. The trip was organized by Marilyn Mason, a colleague and friend of us all, who is the Executive Director of the Thornburg Charitable Foundation.

I came to the part of my digital photo album that covered my visit to the Pastoral Women’s Council, a refuge for Maasai women who have fled physical abuse and forced polygamous marriages. We spent a full morning there and learned about their needs. The Director is an incredibly impressive woman named Maanda Ngoitiko, and she told me that their biggest need was potable water, because the women have to walk about 6 kilometers each way for a bucket of water—less than one flush of my toilet—and they often have to do this more than once a day.

Suddenly I heard my dishwasher and the swish-swish of the water. I felt a little sick.

I have been having that small sick feeling every now and then since I returned from one of the most mind-altering voyages of my life. The trip was thrilling to me because I was able to fulfill a life-long dream of seeing lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, zebras, wildebeest, baboons, gazelles and many other animals up close in their natural habitat. It was also a learning experience because I was able to walk around on the surface of a continent that had always somewhat repelled me, perhaps because I had had so many difficult dealings with a number of African governments during my time in Washington as an Executive of the Fulbright Program. Finally, though, I guess this trip changed me irrevocably because it made me consider what is really important, the life I live now and how it relates to the lives lived everywhere else by my own and other species.

There are some images and memories that are indelible: a baboon sitting on a tree limb looking back at us with inscrutable calm—thinking no doubt that humans are funny looking; a tiny baby elephant surrounded and shielded by the matriarch and other family members of varying size and age; a group of giraffes gliding gracefully across a vast green savannah like tall ships; a young lion coming right at our vehicle with slow, languorous movements and then getting under our vehicle to take a nap in the shade; a young zebra who came up very close to our vehicle and stared at us curiously for a strangely long time; an elegant Thompson’s gazelle posing as though for a graduation portrait.

And there are other images: three orphanages in the smallish city of Arusha – in a country where one quarter of the adults are infected with HIV/AIDS, which is considered rather low; a young Maasi boy picking up a newly-born calf still slick from afterbirth—another creature added to the overgrazed land, but also adding to the boy’s status as his herd was now larger by one; a hard day spent with the Hudza tribe – hunter-gatherers who live hand-to-mouth literally by digging roots, plucking honeycombs out of trees, and hunting small dik diks with bows and arrows. No agriculture, no permanent settlement, no idea of where tomorrow’s food will come from. (This tribe will cease to exist in 20 years, as the government has taken all their school-aged children and put them in boarding schools. Let’s face it, those kids are not going to come back and dig for roots.)

I recall our stop in a village for gas, important in this beautiful land where most people walk and where a bicycle confers eminent status….but not as important as water. Nothing is as important as water. We stopped along the roadside one day and bought the entire pile of tomatoes from an old woman, and she seemed very happy to have us wipe out her inventory.

So many memories. So many problems that are fixable. So many new friendships that I want to maintain with my six traveling companions and with my new African friends. Despite the difficult life endured by so many of the Hudza and Maasai people I met, I discovered in them a kind of peacefulness in their demeanor, an openness and a delight in small pleasures, an eagerness to make friends with us, a justified pride in the spectacular beauty of their landscape and wildlife, a respect for limits of all kinds—water, food, transportation and so many things I take for granted. No dishwashers there. No waste. Everything has value.

I am resolved to think more about Value, about what is really important in life. I am also resolved to think more about Values, with special care to avoid the distortion done to the concept lately by some political pundits.

One of the most wonderful results of the trip is that David Douglas, (Trustee of the Wallace Genetic Foundation and CEO of Waterlines, a nonprofit that works in the third world), has agreed to consider doing a potable water project for Maanda and her women’s refuge, mentioned above. That alone would make the whole trip worth it!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

It all costs money

Did I mention all this activity can cost a lot of money? Please go to to make an online donation today!