We slept like logs for the three hours to Madras and arrived feeling remarkably chirpy at around 4 am Madras time (already almost 9 am at home). Steven and John from the office were faithfully waiting and took us to the Sindoori Hotel. They gave me a room with a four-poster bed, and two bathrooms. One bathroom was the regular variety. The other contained a shower and a sauna, and a raised jacuzzi with a view through the windows across Madras rooftops. Pity I was only to be in the room for three hours. And I slept the whole time.
23 - More Journeys - India 1994
Diary of a trip to India with colleagues from World Vision Australia, John Rose, Boyne Alley and Ken Tracey. Also joining us was Mal Garvin from Fusion. And a whole entourage of colleagues from India...
Monday, 7 February 1994
Ken and Saeed met me at breakfast and John arrived soon after. Ten minutes prior to departure time John began to get anxious about Boyne's non-appearance so he excused himself and rang his room. Boyne was up and looking forward to his next leisurely hour "before he needed to go." The time shift was easy to confuse because it contained a move to a half-hour time zone like Adelaide, and a calculation for daylight saving. Boyne felt that he should be pretty good at this, even after no sleep for 24 hours, and spent many minutes re-checking the logic of his mental calculations. I admitted that I had cheated. I just waited until they had announced the local time on the plane and shifted my watch to the accurate half hour accordingly.
Madras was full of people, mostly heading in towards town as we drove out. The press of people in India is its most permanent impression on me. There are people everywhere. Each concrete span in the footpath is a microcosm of human existence. An old man sits against a shop-front rubbing his head. Two young mothers sit splay-legged with toddlers in their open laps. The mothers talk contentedly and their children play independently. Only Indian women in their beautiful saris can sit knees apart and still look elegant.
Men and women stand independently waiting for a bus. The space between them is tight compared to our western norms, but no-one appears to feel invaded. A hundred people stand waiting for a bus that looks full when it pulls up. Beside them, another hundred stand waiting for another bus.
Small boys and girls in bright school uniforms wander in and out. They cross the road, the older children, usually girls, gripping the hands of the younger ones.
Huge busses, trucks, scooter-cabs, pedi-cabs, motor cycles, bicycles, cars, all cram the road and flow along with the efficiency of rice custard being poured from a bowl. Pedestrians stroll across, relying on the drivers to manoeuvre around them.
Horns blow. Gears crash. Engines growl. Horns blow some more.
A woman rides by on her motor cycle. One daughter sits on the petrol tank. The other rides pillion. Both little girls look down at the road shielding their eyes from dust as if their mother has instructed them that it is naughty to look at the traffic.
Two men emerge from a tailor's shop doorway carrying a large sewing machine table. A young man carries a huge bundle of silk material into a Sari shop. A shopkeeper and a woman customer discuss the merits and value of a bunch of short fat bananas. A coconut vendor attacks a green coconut with a huge knife. Beside his shop is a small mountain of spent shells like the remains of a mortar battery. A tall thin youth tries to interest passers-by in a pair of Ray-Bans. Two children hold the hands of a blind beggar and pull at the clothes of the people on the street. They are a functioning, commercial, begging team. I wonder if they are his children, or merely business associates.
This pattern repeats. Each repetition with a minor variation. It builds into a fractal people-scape without end.
There was the usual bureaucratic challenge to overcome at the airport. Ken' s name was not showing in the computer. He had reconfirmed. He had an Air-India stamp on the ticket to prove it. Nevertheless, it required intervention from the Check-In Manager to authorise his addition to a flight that was hardly more than half full.
In Bangalore, Suratha, Sunderaj and Vijayakurmar were waiting for us. They had hired a small bus this time. Much more suitable for our purposes than the tiny Murati van we had had in November.
Suddharta got off the bus as we approached and I greeted him. I turned around and there was a strange but familiar fellow coming towards me. He looked a bit like Bill Kliewer and I knew I should recognise him. He said, "G'day" and the penny dropped that this was Mal Garvin. I had completely forgotten that we were to meet him here. He had arrived from Bombay (after Colorado Springs and Boston) and looked as spaced out as anyone present. Fortunately I recovered fast and introduced him to the others quickly.
Our first project visit was to the incongruously named Green Meadows SSW (Sponsorship Social Welfare) project. It was smack bang in the middle of urban Bangalore. This was a school based project in which sponsorship funds were used to buy school uniforms, books, a health check, and a mid-day meal for the sponsored children.
It quickly became evident that the project was well run, providing tangible benefits to the children and had a high degree of local ownership.
That is, if local ownership constitutes ownership by the project managers, a man named Noel since he was born on Christmas Day, and his wife. She proved to be more articulate and firm in her views than her husband but she permitted him the forward position, at least until after the morning tea had been served.
This was their project. The families played no other role in it. There was no parents' council but Noel said, "they are busy people. They are not interested." I wondered.
It was a Christian school with obvious Christian content in the curriculum, including a compulsory summer 'vacation' Bible School. The parents knew it is a Christian school so they could hardly object.
The Christian schools had the best reputation for quality education. Many Muslims and others were calling their schools things like "Saint Paul's" and even employing headmasters with Christian names to fool people into thinking that their schools were Christian.
Three grades were housed next door to Noel's house. About forty kids in Grades 8-10, the senior grades before university or technical college. I asked them some questions about what they had been studying and a bright girl from the 10th grade told us, through the interpreter, that they had been studying Population in their Biology class.
I asked her what she had learnt about Population and she stood up and made a little speech. It was a glowing performance. Precocious and innocent, graced with a self-conscious smile and eyes shyly averted from her imposing audience lined along the class room front like a delegation of inspectors. In her face and manner there was so much potential. So much intelligence. So much life.
Yet last year, only two of the graduates of this school had any job offers. The rest "went back home" Noel said. In other words, they had been educated for nothing. Well, maybe not for nothing. For some years they could take comfort in the learning itself, and the fact that institutions existed and were supported from overseas people both of which care about kids. But was it enough?
The relevance of an education that prepared kids only to return to their parents day-labouring world seemed in question.
We then went a kilometre or so to the primary school where about a hundred kids came out into a small playground and sat patiently while I said something inane by way of a speech. We walked through their tiny class rooms. The largest about the size of my study at home. But with 20-30 kids desks crammed in it. A black board and a few faded magazine photos on the wall. A lot, being achieved with a little.
Over lunch, Mal Garvin and I talked about YWAM and other things. Mal is a practical man. He found YWAM a bit too heavenly-minded. I admitted to the same feelings. Still, we love them. There's room in the Kingdom for us all.
Mal's orientation is definitely earthly good. Fusion concentrated on youth problems and solutions. Applying the Christian faith to real problems. He characterised YWAMmers going into the streets, pausing to pray and asking God to give them something to do as a witness. Fusion has a structured program of relevant ways to be involved with other people in your neighbourhood. Practical Christian living. Naturally, I'm more impressed by the latter.
For the first time I saw that Bangalore had a substantial shopping area. Missed it last time. Not that I was in a buying mood. But there were lots of silk shops. Boyne bought some silk scarves at about $16 each. Did seem awfully cheap. But did I really need any?
After lunch we stopped for a while to get our Air India tickets reconfirmed. It takes you as long to get reconfirmation as it does to go in the plane! And then (witness Ken) it does not always make a difference.
Boyne asked of the bus, "Is this the World Vision vehicle?"
"No" I replied. "The World Vision vehicle out here is a motor cycle. That's all."
"In Vietnam, everyone seemed to have a new air-conditioned four wheel drive" Boyne recalled.
"Ah, there is a correlation between the number of four wheel drives and another variable" I informed him. "Can you tell me what the other variable might be?"
Boyne tried a few wrong ones. Then he thought deeply for about ten minutes. Finally he came up with the solution.
"There is a direct correlation between the number of new air-conditioned four wheel drives, and the number of non-Nationals on the staff."
We arrived at the Guestline hotel out of Bangalore and had a few hours to rest before a 7 pm briefing and dinner.
At dinner, the waiter took our drinks order then after a long delay and a signal from us for the menu he returned to say that "the chef has produced something special for you." And presented the chef who informed us that he had prepared roast beef.
Since I was in India, and expecting to eat Indian food which I discovered on my last trip I quite liked, I was a bit put out by this. It seemed to me that this restaurant had it the wrong way round. It was not up to the chef to tell me what I was to eat, it was up to the customer.
I asked if the things on the menu were also available and with some reluctance, the waiter admitted they were. Although it was possible that we misinterpreted what was happening it looked like pressure to accept what they had pre-arranged. Sidartha later agreed with this assessment on the basis that the hotel has very low occupancy mid-week and is probably trying to keep costs down by having a limited menu.
Anyway, the others had roast beef and it certainly looked nice. They reported it was. A couple of us had Indian food which was equivalently enjoyable.
I suspect the chef knew that a few Aussies were coming in and tried to do something special for us. Pity I didn't appreciate his generosity I suppose.
Tuesday, 8 February 1994
I slept quite well and arrived at 7.30 for breakfast to find all the others had arrived moments before. I had coffee and toast with vegemite (my own supply). The eggs looked unappetisingly runny and bacon American-ly crisp.
Sidartha, Surata and Sunderaj arrived at 8 and we met together to enjoy Mal Garvin's devotions. It was powerful and deep. What a wonderfully inspired choice! He spoke pretty much non-stop for the hour and the time just raced by. Wonderful.
The rest of the day was more familiar to me. We visited three villages in a process that Ken and I had designed and that he had sold to Surata (so much that he owned it as his own idea, about which neither of us disabused him naturally). The first village was one in which the ADP staff had had only limited contact. The second was one in which we had only been working for a month or two. The third was one which had been going a year or two.
The process worked. We participated in the development process in one day.
The first village was disorganised. There was a sense of helplessness and despair about the future. The elders alone spoke to us. Others stood in the background. An older woman made comments from some distance but was dismissed by the men as a little unbalanced mentally.
The second village seemed in better shape. First, a younger man was obviously working with the ADP worker. Older people still spoke, but others were involved. A welcome for us had been organised and someone ran off to get mats for us to sit on, and we were given a cut rose each as a welcome gift.
I proposed a welcome hypothesis. This suggested that the degree of community organisation and promise was directly correlated to the efficiency of their welcome to us.
Sure enough, at the next village the people were well prepared for us. Mats had been laid out in advance. A whole group of men, the Youth organisation which had assumed responsibility for village development, were present and organised in their best clothes to meet us, and garlands of flowers were prepared on a tray.
More significant than whether or not we were welcomed of course, was that this village had a dream for their future and plans to work towards it. They had already built a new central water storage tank, using the Living Waters tank kit supplied by Ringwood Rotary Club. They were working on a water pump and had plans to install street drainage. More important, there was a sense or unity and hopefulness.
We were ferried around these villages in a small bus. The driver played Christian and other music over the PA system as we went.
Back at the hotel at night we again went through the bizarre routine of the pressure to order what the chef had prepared "specially for foreigners." This was one foreigner who did not want to eat fish. I can eat that anywhere in the world. And it wasn't even Friday. I wanted Tandoori Chicken and they were eventually happy to oblige. Never mind that my Tandoori Chicken cost less than half the foreigners' special. That is, A$3 rather than A$6. Pretty cheap however you looked at it.
Boyne did point out that I had valued the matter of principle as significant enough to argue about $3. But I didn't argue. I just didn't order the fish.
Wednesday, 9 February 1994
After devotions we set off for our last village visit. My theory about welcomes was affirmed as this village, one of the most advanced developmentally, had the flowers prepared, and the coconuts had straws in them.
We stayed about two hours, spending the first 40 minutes in a tiny room with about thirty people in it. It felt like the black hole of Calcutta but it was further south. The room had a door and one window in the same wall so there was no cross ventilation, and since a dozen people filled both orifices, no air was coming in anyway. Gradually the oxygen in the room got depleted and the heat rose, but none of us expired.
Outside again we walked around the village looking at the practical things they had achieved, although the most enduring achievement in these villages is the discovery of a developmental process that they can own and replicate. That is one of the keys.
Later while discussing sponsorship funding for these communities, Ken said, "A key concept is that it is not the sponsorship that looks after children in these communities, it is the development process that does this. Sponsorship is one way of funding development."
After this we went back to Denkanikottai and the ADP office for lunch of bananas, grapes and tangerines. I had a Thums Up——one of the most passable imitations of Coca-Cola I've tasted, although it was let down by a Sasparilla after-taste.
Then at 2 we met with the project workers and discussed various things. There was a healthy debate about whether it would be right to fund a temple if that was what the people wanted. One position was that anything that built a relationship with the people was a good thing. But without exception the actual project workers (as opposed to the office staff) said they would simply ask how this contributed to their development. Sidartha subtly made the point that the same questions should apply to a request to build a Christian church building.
There was good discussion about the impact of sponsorship on the process. The team seem to have this idea well under control. Ken cited a case where some communities felt they had to accept what sponsors asked for.
This led me to thinking that one of our problems here continues to be the lack of an integrated vision. The project workers do not see themselves as having a role in, let alone a responsibility for, the development of the donor.
When I come to a village I have learned to ask How does my visit impact on the development process, for good or ill?
In Australia we need to ask, How does our marketing impact on the development process, for good or ill?
But likewise, in the field, they need to ask How does our project work impact on the development process for the donor?
We need an integrated mindset that accepts that marketers have a responsibility for the development of the poor; and that project workers have a responsibility for the development of the donor. Only when we accept this mutual responsibility will we find our development processes not being distorted by each other.
Around 4 we bussed back to the hotel. Mal and Boyne went on in the bus to Bangalore to shop for souvenirs, while Ken, John and I stayed in.
This time we decided to humour the waiter and simply asked straight up, "And what's the special for tonight?" It was "mince in french bread" which turned out to be a very nice mince, pumpkin, cream cheese thing wrapped up in filo pastry, with boiled vegies on the side. He had made a brown gravy with mushroom to pour over the whole thing and it was quite delicious, and definitely worth $6. Boyne and Mal arrived just as we finished so we stayed a little longer to see their trinkets. Boyne had bought three saris and a brass elephant about the size of a small wombat. Mal had bought some jewellery.
Thursday, 10 February 1994
Today was mostly travelling. We had breakfast at 7 and left the hotel soon after. We caught the plane from Bangalore to Madras. It was an Airbus and the flight was a little late, but it only takes 45 minutes and we had four hours before our next flight. We had mince samousas (little triangles of mildly curried mince inside fried pastry) and pseudo-coke (or lime juice and soda) and talked about this and that with Saeed who had come to "debrief" with us. Saeed makes no particular effort to take the lead in the conversation so there were a few long gaps and we sometimes talked about things not relevant to India at all. It's a funny thing. One gets the impression that he just thinks it is the right thing to do.
We walked over to the international terminal and checked in for the flight to Singapore on Air India. The terminal is only about ten years old but like much in India it already looks and feels decaying. They say that the roads are not made properly to ensure that there will be work for the people soon after. Everything here seems to have the same short life character.
The executive lounge was run by Sheraton and by contrast it was very expensive and lavish with lovely comfy chairs, quite classy decor, and competent service. This typified India too. The contrasts between ordinary life and the 5-star life of the very rich are much starker than in much of the world. In India you can see some wretched poverty, and you can see the most resplendent wealth. I have the privilege to touch them both.
The flight to Singapore was an hour and half late, but that was no real problem for us. We discovered that the problem was a lack of flight attendants owing to an industrial dispute in Bombay or Delhi. Our Airbus had only 4 attendants, two women and a couple of aging male stewards. Usually they have twelve. They did a good job and were, according to the captain, "the only ones who were willing to come and serve you." When they ran out of chicken I did not complain and happily enjoyed the lamb curry and rice. What a Trojan, eh?
Friday, 11 February 1994
We booked into the Boulevard Hotel around midnight and agreed to meet in the coffee shop for breakfast at 8 am.
At 8.05 I arrive to find a line of about 100 Chinese people, from a tour group or three, queued up in a slow line for the coffee shop. Mal, who had arrived at 7.55 had no trouble finding an empty place, but at 8 the swarms swarmed. Ken speculated about alternatives and finally won us with the suggestion that we walk down to Scotts Road and have a hot croissant and espresso coffee at the Deli-France--a little café. Mal had finished by this, so he joined us. The breakfast for the four of us turned out to be the same cost as breakfast at the hotel, although, to be fair, the breakfast at the hotel was pre-paid by being included in the rate, so we spent a whole $18! extra.
Back in Ken's room we prepared for the two days' reflection and planning with an extended devotions from Mal. Here are my notes:
Purpose, community and values. All are needed for the human spirit. "It's amazing what people will put up with if there is a purpose in the pain." Something beautiful about the purpose in the eyes of these young men in the villages.
Community. The knowledge that the real you exists in the mind of another as a valued and respected individual. (What a beautiful definition).
Values. Meaning, dreams, vision. We have seen the dream in the eyes of the young men. As we can engage our supporters at this level we open the door to spiritual transformation. The delicate work of self-limiting choices.
After devotions we spent time in sharing moments of discovery or significance from our three days in the projects. I talked about the girl who talked about India's population and the potential and life that was jumping out of her. And the realisation that within a year or two it was probable that this would be snuffed out by early marriage in which she would become a chattel of her husband or a return to an unfulfilled life at home in a society which can offer her no meaningful role. From this incident we raised the relevant universal concepts of development. What are we educating kids for? Are we interested in providing an education, or in real human transformation?
We went around the room, each sharing an incident, and then spending 10-15 minutes discussing the meaning of these incidents.
It turned out to be an excellent process from which emerged a common view of what we had experienced and what its meaning was for us.
We broke for lunch and shopping. Because rain threatened John, Boyne and I went to the shops immediately. Only John had any special shopping list since he had broken his glasses in India. He sat on them.
It was Day two of Chinese New Year, so very few shops were open, but we found an optical shop and John got a frame to fit his lenses. I'm not sure he did much of a deal since the frames cost S$250 (about A$225) which is about twice what the whole glasses would cost at home. Even then, he ended up with frames that don't sit on his nose right. He decided to go back the next day to try to sort it out. Hope they are open.
We found the Mövenpick restaurant which is part of a chain of Swiss restaurants a bit like Sizzlers. I had a terrible mushroom and fettuccine dish that looked nicer on the menu than on the plate. Large mushrooms were covered in bread crumbs and I think they had been boiled. They tasted OK, but mushroom is not a flavour I particularly enjoy when it is on its own. In association with other tastes it is fine. I was a bit jealous of Boyne's decision to have raclette. It looked lovely. Anyway, I made up to myself by having ice cream with hot fudge!
Back at the hotel around four we worked until 8 on the key issues and made a good list of things to work on the at some detail the next day.
In the evening we all went to the Cantonese Restaurant in the hotel and I ordered a few dishes for everyone. It was quite nice. The menu seemed a bit limited to me. For dessert I asked for mat gwa sai mai lo, sago with honeydew melon. They didn't have honeydew, but had some orange melon and it was very nice. Better for our western tastes than the usual hot and sweet Chinese desserts. Mal obviously wasn't in his element since he needed a fork and spoon.
Saturday, 12 February 1994
During the night, at about 4 am, we were all woken by the fire alarm. At breakfast I asked everyone what they did and remarkably we pretty much followed the same pattern. I put on the light, looked at my watch, groaned, walked to the door and looked out into the passage through the peep-hole, sniffing for smoke. The alarm stopped ringing while I was doing this and a voice, calm and velvety, came from the middle of my room. Was it God? No, it was the muzak speaker through which the hotel was broadcasting information about the fire alarm. First a male voice in Japanese (I knew God wasn't Japanese), then a female voice in Singaporean accented English. "The Fire Alarm has sounded in the hotel. We are presently investigating. Please remain calm and stay in your room. Please wait for a further announcement."
I looked out the window and could see no smoke and thought I would take their advice since my room was only 10 metres from the fire escape on the end of the building (although I was on the 13th floor). I was pretty sure I could crawl through smoke that far if I had to.
I found my new moleskins and draped them over a chair to put on over my PJs if necessary (most of the other guys said they put their pants on right away). Then I got my computer and passport wallet and put them by my pants. Then I closed my suitcase in case the sprinklers went off.
Then I went back to bed.
After about 10 minutes the same soporific, calm tones announced that the alarm had been a false one and apologised for the interruption. Soon after that my pulse rate returned to normal and I slept again.
We turned up at 7.30 for breakfast and shared news about the fire alarm. John's room did not play the messages so perhaps he went off to sleep, although I thought it was good to know that someone was doing something about the alarm. We had no trouble getting into the coffee shop at that hour. But at eight the queues were back.
After this we spent time discussing the lifestyle and organisational culture implications of the ministry we had seen. I was greatly encouraged by this.
Then we began to draw our Dream Map of the future organisation. This covered three large sheets of butcher's paper and again really encouraged me. I really feel we are together on the journey now.
We had a sandwich in the coffee shop and returned to complete the task by identifying jobs to be done, who would do them, and when they would be done by.
Finally we prayed together and finished about four. Boyne goes to Melbourne and Mal to Perth tonight. John and I go to LA tomorrow and Ken to India again.
After we finished our meetings in Singapore and Mal and Boyne had departed I shouted Ken and John dinner at the Tanglin Club (I think that is what it is called). It's a little bit of the British Empire with a main restaurant called "The Churchill Room" and dominated by the man's grim face looking down on the diners.
Sunday, 13 February 1994
The flight from Singapore via Tokyo to Los Angeles didn't start well when we found that there were no non-smoking seats for us. We made a bit of a fuss about this and the supervisor came over and said she would try to allocate other non-smokers into a row at the front of the smoking section and sit us there too. That meant that we had smokers behind us and it wasn't too bad. She also said she would send a telex ahead to Tokyo and try to get us seats upstairs in the all non-smoking section. If this was any airline other than Singapore Airlines I might have disbelieved that this was anything other than an empty promise to get us out of her face. But when we got to Tokyo they had our names on a board and new seats for us.
As I was wandering around the shops at Tokyo airport I bumped into Sam Kamaleson. Turned out he was on our flight a couple of rows in front of us. Adela was with him too.
I had slept a couple of hours on the flight up to Tokyo and I found myself wide awake on the flight from there.
We got into L.A. at around midday, rather late because the plane had been originally delayed about an hour and a half in Singapore while we sat and stewed in the cabin. Some problem with the air conditioning.
There's a new freeway open that bypasses Downtown and it made the trip to the hotel around three-quarters of an hour. You'd never know there had been an earthquake here. Not a crack anywhere! Just demonstrates the distorting power of the media. I guess you can go up to the San Fernando valley and see a bit of knocked out freeway, but that's forty miles from here. What was that shuddering?
I went down to the Fashion Park and wandered about for an hour or so. They had gaberdine suits for US$150 with two pairs of pants, but I didn't buy one. I bought a chocolate milkshake instead. It was only $4.25. Yikes!
"America's Funniest Home Videos" is on at the moment. Familiar stuff.
I'm pooped. I'll order some soup from room service then crash.
Happy Valentine's Day (that's tomorrow here, but today there).
Monday, 14 February 1994
Walked this morning along the storm water channel than runs down by the hotel. It goes under the roads and is all fenced off. Indeed, the only way in or out seems to be from the hotel car park. There's a large caravan park at the back of the hotel that I'd never noticed before. It is full of transportables rather than mobile caravans and looks like it has been established for some time. Some quite large trees among the sheds. Many of them look unoccupied though. I don't know what that means. Perhaps people go South for the winter? I thought this was south.
Then I came back and watched CBS TV from Lillehammer covering the Winter Olympics while I ate breakfast in my room. I watched TV for over an hour while I pottered about and I am afraid it was pretty depressing. American television shows us where Australian television is going. And it is a sad direction.
The show is a triumph of commentary over content. In 92 minutes of television this morning I have seen exactly 36 seconds of actual events. A single heat of the 500 metres speed skating. An American competing of course. Although that's not the problem. One expects American TV to concentrate on Americans. No, the problem is that news is now defined as what commentators say not what actually happens.
Thus we have Joe Smith talking about Nancy Kerrigan, Connie Chung talking about Tonya Harding, Jack Luminous talking about Tommy Moe who won the Gold Medal in the Downhill, Hilary Clinton talking about Norway, Jack Bloggs talking about Ice Hockey, and so on and on. Can you believe that they have not yet shown the Gold Medal Downhill performance? What I am expecting to see is replay after replay of Tommy Moe's run. Not a second! Instead every woman and her dog has been asked to make a comment about Tommy Moe's brilliant performances. The actual performance is not news.
The real stars are Harry Smith and Paula Zahn who are the comperes of the CBS morning show. Not to mention the big fellow who they continually cross to in the main street of Lillehammer who does 12 second colour pieces with everything from visiting US students without beds, to Norwegian mountain men who eat funny sausages, to Norwegian mothers with weird accents who ride sleds to do their shopping. It's all very interesting, but is it the Olympics?
The big man is Mark McEwan. He's interviewing a Norwegian (pronounced Norvegian) who is "playing ze muzic of our country" on his piano accordian and a man who is even bigger than Mark, wearing a parka made from an even bigger brown bear, and a beard that rivals Saint Nick, who is flipping pancakes in the main street for the tourists. The ads are interesting. People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. It's an ad for a realtor!
Warwick Olson rang and we agreed to get together later for coffee and a chat.