Thursday, November 30, 2006

Off to Honolulu

This Saturday we are off to Honolulu for two days, specifically to see Oregon State (the Beavers) play the University of Hawaii (the Warriors) in NCAA football. Attendance at games early in the year was bad, under 25,000, but the Hawaii team has really got a good offence, and last Saturday there was over 45,000 in attendance. So it should be a great experience. The reason it is a two day trip is because the games are played in the evening, we assume because of the heat, and the last flight back is 8:00pm. So we are interested to see what has changed in Honolulu since our last visit 35 years ago!

The picture is of the Rotary president and her husband where I do my makeups. He is the Governor-Elect for District 5000 (Hawaii) so they are a Rotary family.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Homestretch

We are now into the last two weeks before returning home. The weather continues to be lovely, low 80's, occasionally some clouds. It just does not feel like Christmas is a month away, because there is no seasonal change that is quite obvious. But in church today there was mention of the Advent Season starting next week, so it must be coming soon.

We attended an old (175 years) Hawaiin Church, right on the beach. It was refurbished recently, and is very plain but nicely done. And a baby was baptized, in the ocean, as part of the service.

We continue to enjoy the participants that are here, some have heart-breaking stories to tell of persecution in their homelands. Please pray for that to end!

Next weekend we are going to Honoloulou-NCAA football !
The two pictures are the participants doing their favourite afternoon break activity - soccer, and a picture of a "wind farm", twenty windmills which provide 9% of the island electrical power.

We hope & pray that all is well with you, would love to hear from you, & about what is happening at home. See you soon--Blessings!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Different Lunch

One of Marlene's alltime favourite movies is Forest Gump, so the opportunity to eat at a Shrimp specialty restaurant named after him was just too much. The food was actually quite good, and the atmosphere was casual. This restaurant is in Lahainia which is about 45 minutes from Kihei.

The other picture is the electrical plant here on the island. It is operated with petroleum and produces 84% of the electricity used. Needless to say it got quite expensive when oil headed towards $80 a barrel.

Today is US Thanksgiving but it was a work day for us, although we were off at 2:00pm. Also we did get a turkey dinner with dressing and the works, so life could be worse.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Quiet Weekend

We were on duty yesterday and it was busy - lots of questions from participants, help with air conditioners, locked bathroom doors, how do I get into my email (it worked yesterday?), selling long distance call cards, etc. One of my fish ponds even flooded?

So today was a rest day after church - a walk down to sample the McDonalds $1 menu and watching the Grey Cup on the internet.

Tomorrow is the start of Regional presentations, which is always interesting and Thursday is US Thanksgiving.

The pictures are from Marlene in her never ending quest of the perfect sunset.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Small World .....

Everyone has a small world story, and the older you get, the more you seem to add to them.

In Rotary, one of our International projects at the District level is the Group Study Exchange program. Teams of five individuals from different vocations are formed at the District level, and a five week exchange is made with a District from another country. In Stratford, we are part of District 6330, an international district in that some of our clubs are in Ontario and some in Michigan.

Last weekend, while assisting one of the participants from Brazil to his room, I noticed a Rotary emblem on a duffle bag from Fenton, MI. When I asked if he was a Rotarian he responded yes, but that he obtained the bag while a member of a GSE team that visited USA and Canada. When we narrowed it down, Idiscovered his exchange was with our District in 2002, and he had in fact stayed in Stratford for a few days. Well it turns out Marlene and I hosted one of his team members, (remember Fabio, Katrina? - I still remember the comment he made after you cooked him a nice dinner). Ezekiel is an Estate Attorney in southern Brazil.

Several of the participants who take the training here are Rotarians back home, which should come as no surprise to Rotary members since the strategy of Haggai is to "start at the top and train from within".

Disappointing news this past week here has been another shark attack, right here in Kehei, with the victim being a Canadian. He is making a remarkable recovery, and was able to attend a wedding on Monday, which was the reason he was here. There were two shark attacks last year while we were here.

We have had four couples leave and four arrive over the past couple of days - the revolving door never stops.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Back to the Koi - Part 2

One of our volunteers who left yesterday had been looking after the fish ponds. So I am back crawling around with the Koi trying to keep the algae under control, and the water falls at proper levels. We have five ponds and three water falls. Two have Koi fish which originated in Japan I am told. The ponds and water falls are quite attractive but because we have so many tropical plants and trees, and because of the trade winds, keeping them clean is a challenge. But it is an outside job which starts at 6:30am and ends an hour early so there are advantages.

We have arrivals today and tomorrow for a new class, so it is a stay close to home day. With so many volunteers from western Canada, there was a lot of interest in the CFL western final, but were not happy with the outcome. You can download the broadcast from the website for a small fee.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Suffering for Jesus..........

Thought I should post a few pictures of the highs & lows of this experience. Actually, cleaning bathrooms has not been the low of my job experience, but I didn't get a picture of that activity.

To explain the lower than "cleaning toilets" - when I had finished my assigned tasks a few days ago, I went to the supervisor looking for something to fill the rest of the day and he sent me to clean electrical rooms - there is one on each floor of each wing, so there is ten in total. Well these rooms need to be well ventilated, they draw air from hallways, are warm, and they are like dirt/dust collectors. I needed to sweep which stirred up the dust and even with the exterior fan operating, I was filthy when I was finished.

We, the men, joke here about cleaning washrooms - the men do the public washrooms and there are 12 of them. You get assigned a week at a time. I think the two pictures tell enough of the toilet experience.

The other two pictures are the high of each day - 15 minutes in the whirlpool followed by a refreshing swim. As one of the guys likes to say - "we get to enjoy all this for a few hours of work each day".

I didn't include any volunteers in bathing suits in the whirlpool/pool pictures to help your eyesight - most of us are seniors!

Yes, the highs and the lows of the Haggai experience!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Pretty Saturday Morning Walk

Seven of us went for a walk yesterday morning at 7:00am, with breakfast afterwards. The most expensive hotel area on Maui is Wailea, which is also where I go for Rotary meetings.

In a newspaper article a few weeks ago, for the whole Hawaiian islands, Wailea had the most expensive hotel rooms, with the average @ US$430 (and that was the month of August). One of the nicer hotels is the Fairmont (a Canadian chain) and our walk started from their lobby. The blue canopies, under which you can put two lounge chairs, rent for US$75 per day. It is a beautiful place, and the walkway runs right along the waterfront past several hotel properties.

In the group photo, the couple on the left are from St Catherines and the one in the middle are from Dallas, Oregon.

The bottom picture is for you Steph and Mike -if you don't recognize, it is Molokini where you went snorkelling.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Five Weeks.....(cont'd)

These are pictures from last night, that I couldn't get blogger to upload.

The blond lady with Marlene is from Krygistan. She speak english better than me, and we all learned alot from her about many of the 15 independent countries which were formerly part of the USSR.

The lady with the headband is from Jordan. Her two siblings are both graduates of University of Michigan in Ann Arbour (go Blue!). Her perspective on the Middle East and it's challenges was interesting.

The final lady with Marlene is from Brazil. She is a Marketing Manager with a large company and very energetic in all she tackle.

Finally, the lady in the picture with me is a Rotarian from Cairo, Egypt. She is the Personal Assistant to the HM Consul at the British Embassy in Cairo. We are going to try and cook up a World Community Service project between our two Rotary Clubs.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Five Weeks.......

As unbelievable as it seems, we go home five weeks tomorrow - seems we only arrived last week. The weeks do fly by.

Tonight was Convocation and tomorrow we start saying goodbyeto the graduates. Arrivals for the next class also start tomorrow. There is much happiness at convocation, but these graduates go home with a huge responsibility. Some come from countries where the official religion is Islam and they cannot evangelize openly. We from countries like Canada do not really appreciate how fortunate we are.

I am having difficulty uploading pictures, so I will cut this short and resume tomorrow.