Thursday, September 19, 2002

I was so distracted by the time I got home that I left the mail on the back porch. I just now remembered it. Richard sent us a nice card, addressed to the "Nouveaux Hoosiers." Very funny. And we got two letters from Yong Stanley. And two photos! That makes three photos this year. He looks healthy still.

I can't exactly remember why I started looking for an organization through which I could sponsor a child. Something or other that happened in the world prompted me, but I no longer recall what it was. It took a lot of searching to find an organization that wasn't linked to a particular government, political organization or church. I did not want to be involved in some creepy missionary work.

We actually asked to sponsor a girl, and for awhile we had a cute little girl from Nicaragua, but it turned she wasn't an orphan after all (!) and she went back to live with her family. We asked for another girl, and ended up with Stanley. At first we didn't if he was a boy or a girl. He sort of looked like a boy in his photograph, but not really, because he and his mom have the same hairstyle (ie., shaved head). And the volunteer translator kept writing about a "she." We had to wait a couple years for him to grow up a little to figure out he really was a boy.

I'm really enjoying writing to him, even if he's writing back through a translator. It reminds me of when Ubendran and I first started writing to each other when we were twelve. Yong Stanley Chia's letter crack me up, they are so utterly charming.

Dear Parents,

Accept greetings from Fundong village. I am L. F. a community volunteer from Fundong Village writing for Yong Stanley who is still learning how to read and write.

He says, I should thank you for the nice gift of 3 toys you sent to him. He says, he will show these toys to his friends and play with them along with the twins once Kevin and Kilian who now are trying to crawl can stand erect.

Stanley says, I should tell you they are all doing fine. He says, I should ask you whether you are fine too?

He says that, they are on holidays now though the end of this year's examination did not favour him. He says he is going back to the same class in which he was last year, but promises to do well next year.

He says, I should tell you that they are in the heart of rainy season and places are very cold. He says, that you should greet all your friends on his behalf. He says, goodbye.

Dear Catherine and Susan,

Greetings from Fundong village. I am L. F. a community volunteer from Fundong Village writing for Stanley Chia who is still learning how to read and write.

He says, I should thank you for having him and his family in heart. He says he has received a gift from you. This gift is made up of a globe. Stanley says, he will use this globe to learn about the world. Stanley says, he will take this globe to school, so as to learn together with his friends. At school he says, he will allow their teacher to teach them about your country and other countries.

Stanley says, they are on holiday. During the morning hours he helps his parents to carry home harvested maize from the farms, some days he goes for clearing of new farms. In the afternoon, he says, he goes to the sponsored children club. Stanley says they are 58 in their club. He says, they are taught by two animators. He says, these animators teach them how to read and write, how to draw, how to debate, how to tell stories, and they also do sports.

Stanley says, they are in the heart of rainy season and rain falls every day, bringing a lot of cold.

Till you exchange with him again he is sending you warm greetings and that of his family. Goodby from Yong Stanley Chia.

I'm going to be very sad when he gets too old to sponsor. I know a lot of people actually travel to meet their sponsored child, but traveling to Cameroon seems a little daunting.

8:28 PM

Aristotle would have been seriously disappointed in me today. And I guess that's all I have to say about that.
7:32 PM

Maybe I'll just declare a moratorium on reading e-mail. I'd probably be a lot more relaxed.

Someone I consider a pretty good friend just sent me a "funny" list called "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly." This list included things like:

Good: Your wife's not talking to you.
Bad: She wants a divorce.
Ugly: She's a lawyer.

I'm not even going to go into what's wrong with that set of entries. The one that really caught my attention was:

Good: Your son is dating someone new.
Bad: It's another man.
Ugly: He's your best friend.

Why would anyone think I would appreciate this? I know, I know. I need to develop a sense of humor, but, really, I have no interest in circulating a joke that suggests it's a bad thing for my son to be gay. Honestly, I wish people (especially my friends) would take five seconds and think about how often humor is used to perpetuate myths and stereotypes.
9:59 AM


Catherine called just as I was turning out the lights last night, so I was up way beyond the time I should have been in bed. She had a good day yesterday, did some fun stuff in the afternoon. I wouldn't want to put words in her mouth, but I think she regrets ever dealing w/the museum. It's supposed to open on Monday, and they only have one gallery hung--the rest are just unpainted plywood rooms. That's not a good thing. Plus, they don't have the photos they borrowed from her collection properly mounted, there's no climate control, and they had candles burning along the walls last night. What were they thinking?

One guy came up to Catherine during the reception and told her if she stopped by his studio today, he'd tell her all the things that are wrong with her book. I would have spit on him, but she was apparently polite.

On the plus side, Annie Sprinkle was there, and she told Catherine that she'd try to visit the collection in 2003, and would even try to work out a speaking engagement to coincide with the big Women's Sexuality exhibit opening next year. And Catherine visited a good gallery yesterday that might be able to do some work with her on the George Platt Lyne's collection, so she feels like the trip was worth it just for those two things. Too bad the museum is turning out to be so lame.

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