Saturday, March 27, 2010

Time Marches On

Another breakfast at our favourite golf course/restaurant hangout. Today we were with a couple from Kelowna, BC (first timers at Haggai) and a couple from Dallas, Oregon (fourth timers here, and 4th time we have worked with them). The weather as you can see and as usual was beautiful.

This week we had to replace our camera - the old one just wasn't cutting it. Batteries went dead quickly, poor quality and narrow range. So we are now Canon users!

Marlene spent one full day and two half days this week in our room with a very sore knee. She has to be very uncomfortable not to work and it was only when the Volunteer supervisor told her to stay off the knee, because she wouldn't listen to me.

I made trips to the airport every day this week, a couple of times with a delivery and a pickup. I am finding, if you like people watching, the airport is a great place to do it. The round trip is 24 miles, but if it is a pickup you have to deal with minor delays and waiting on luggage. I will never get the luggage figured out. One time it beats the passengers, the next time you can wait as much as 45 minutes!

Our session that is in progress is going smoothly, and this coming week will be the regional presentations when the participants report what is happening in their country. These are always informative and sometimes very enlightening as you get the individuals take on the situation. We have 17 countries represented.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Are These People Looking At?

A quiet week here. Our 29 participants arrived last weekend, and so far, I have picked up four faculty from the airport. We did manage to get two in one trip, which doesn't happen often.

The biggest benefit of volunteering here is meeting and getting to know the participants. We have 17 countries represented, so lots of different backgrounds.

We said goodbye to two volunteers on Wednesday and welcomed a new one last weekend. So our numbers are relatively the same.

We had the Mayor speaking at Rotary on Wednesday. She is a former school teacher and she is quite popular, at least as popular as a politician can be. She has some big challenges with the depressed tourism industry, which accounts for in excess of 75% of the local economy.

Marlene spent this morning at the local "Swap Meet" with two other volunteers. Surprise - surprise, eh!

The pictures show a bunch of our volunteers watching a sunset. As you can see, it is a pretty intense activity here. This was following a "Taco Tuesday" at a local restaurant - "Fred's"! Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the sunset!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Surfing Goat Dairy

Today we went "upcountry" with friends from Manitoba, to a church we had not attended before, and after the service, we visited a dairy goat farm, one of only two in the state of Hawaii. The farm has about 200 goats in total, milk 80 daily, and use every drop in production of gourmet cheese. All the cheese is either sold locally to restaurants or high end delis, or shipped to buyers on the mainland who know the product. Owned and operated by German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack, Surfing Goat Dairy is located on 42 acres with almost two-thirds dedicated as pasture. Of course there were some newborns today, all of which are bottle fed. We were told "tethered" young sell as pets for $200. Wish I could have arranged that when I was in the sheep business!

I noticed an article in the local paper this week about Hotel Occupancy and Rates for February. Rates in Maui were down 9% to $220 from a year ago, but occupancy was up 7.3% to 81%. This compares to statewide rates of $167, down 8.6% and occupancy of 76.5%, up 4% from a year ago. So the local economy has been hit by the recession, but is showing some signs of recovery.

We head into the second half of our term this week. We are welcoming 30 new participants this weekend from 17 different countries. There is one participant from Russia and I hope to get his views on the recent olympics!! The participant in the last session from Russia said he didn't follow sports at all. I have found most Russians extremely proud of their country, it's size, etc.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

End of Session

Another session has been completed here with 29 new alumni. These fellows leave this weekend and we have the building to ourselves until next weekend when 30 new participants arrive. I took the last faculty member to the airport yesterday and had another "small world" experience. This fellow was from Antigua and mentioned that he had been to Honolulu in 1997. When I asked if it was a vacation or business, he told me he was attending a Jaycee World Congress. Marlene and I attended a Jayceee World Congress in Honolulu in 1971! He is Jaycee Senator #65000 (or there abouts) - I am #18,517. So another example that you have something in common with almost everyone if you have the chance to talk. This fellow from Antigua operates a leadership development company in the West Indies, and his subject here at Haggai was "Training".

One aside from last weeks Tsunami scare was my trip to the airport on Saturday morning. My pickup was a faculty member from Malaysia who is confined to a wheelchair. Because of the impending Tsunami, they wouldn't let him come down to the luggage claim area where I was waiting. I finally asked for a PA announcement, and the info desk lady asked the name. When I told her it was "Kim Kong Wong", she asked if I was pulling her leg. Then she asked what the last name was and I told her I thought it was "Kong". When I related this to one of the ladies on staff here, she said I should have replied - "I think it's Kong, but I might be Wong".

So next week should be quiet for me, at least, since my driving to pick up faculty won't start again until the weekend. There will be lots of cleaning etc, as we will do projects that we can't get at while guests are in residence.

I've included a picture of the current volunteer group - you'll note we have one thing in common - age!