Sunday, December 31, 2017

12.31.17 A refugee update

A report from RNZ Pacific informs us that four of our refugees who landed in Yap in 2014 are now in Sweden.

Here is the report as found on the Yap State Government online newsletter:

"New Life In Sweden For Refugees Stuck In FSM
RNZ Pacific // December 29, 2017
POHNPEI, FSM — Four Nepalese refugees who were stuck on Micronesian islands for nearly three years have found a new life in Sweden.
The men left the Federated States of Micronesia in September after being detained at wharves on Yap and Pohnpei as authorities determined their status and tried to find them a home.
The men were among a boatload of Indian and Nepalese men who arrived near starving on Yap in November 2014 and were the only ones given refugee status in 2016.
The group of four spent another year on a ramshackle boat at the wharf in neighboring Pohnpei in conditions which raised the concern of locals.

"Whatever it was, got it triggered and they got status and the ability to transfer to Sweden. They were excited, they were well-dressed. Yes they looked excited and happy and somewhat relieved for sure," he said." 
The men are learning Swedish and receiving training in their new home."

From time to time hear I also hear from some of the refugees that live in India and Nepal. One now has a beautiful little daughter and has also met a friend of mine that travelled to his country. Some are still looking for better opportunities outside of their homelands. I hope that they all are safe and have found new meaning in their lives. It was an incredible opportunity for me to meet so many men determined to make a better life for themselves and their families. These are men who were willing to risk everything on the chance that they might land in a country that would offer them an opportunity to have a safe and productive life. I often think about them and their plight and their stay in Yap. And in particular I send them wholehearted wishes for their safety and happiness and good health. I was told others were going to the Middle East and have heard nothing more. If anyone has any information, I would appreciate learning about their status and well-being.


12/31/17 Happy New Year!

A very Happy and Healthy New Year to each of you and your family.

We are experiencing a real Arctic freeze and it is bitter cold outside. Even our furnace found it too cold to function and we woke up in the morning to a really cold house. The New England Patriots won their last game of the regular season in this frigid air and we are now in the play-offs for the Super Bowl. Who knows?

And despite the cold, Shorty has been a real trooper and goes outside frequently. He still likes to look at neighbor's decorations but does so in shorter time intervals. He still also likes to sit on the porch and in the snow but I don't leave him out too long. Heard the coyotes again in the night, so I keep a close eye on the dogs.

Today we ran around the yard - no long walks in the woods right now as it is just too cold - and he jumped and rolled around in the snow. I am amazed at his tolerance to the cold weather. He seems to thrive in it. Fionnegan and Gunnarr also like to go out and play in the snow but have less tolerance for the cold. Gunnarr seems to want to do whatever Shorty does. Fionn has been happy to stay warm near me!

Shorty follows me around the house as if I might disappear. He sits in the door ways to watch me and if I get up to go into another room he follows and sits in that doorway. Maybe he is just attached to me or maybe there is some underlying unresolved feeling or instinct about being left in Yap. I am not sure but he has been a very good dog. He is a bit ornery and stubborn, but also very responsive to commands. We all are fortunate that he gets along so well with Fionn and Gunnarr and they with him. They all compete for my attention - just like kids.

As the clock ticks down towards midnight, it is a good time to reflect on the events of 2017 and make plans for 2018. Perhaps our plans include being more healthy or helpful towards others. Resolutions are very personal - and made with the best of intentions. What we need are realistic resolutions - ones that we can achieve.

Whatever your New Year's resolution, I hope that you all have good health and enjoy happiness and kindness in your life.

Here is Fionnegan and Gunnarr cuddling up after a romp outside in the cold.

The ice had bent the willow branches until the tips touch the ground.

We make sure the birds have food in this bitter cold weather.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

12/24/17 Merry Christmas

..... from my family to yours.

May you and your family enjoy the blessings of this most beautiful Christmas season.

We are all ready here. Lights are on a tree outside and the banisters on the porch. Christmas trees are decorated - decided to put a small one in the room that the days stay in all day, one in the living room and one upstairs. I love to collect Christmas ornaments from places where I travel, so there are a lot to put on just one tree! My very first ornament that I collected is from Bangladesh from my first visit many years ago. There is also one on my tree from the ornaments from the Christmas trees growing up. And the most recent is one from Honduras.

We had snow last night so I let the dogs run and play while I shoveled. Then it was a Christmas bath for Fionnegan and Gunnarr and a nice towel wash for Shorty. They all smell so clean and fresh!

We are all excited. I put some presents under the tree (most are for the Fionn, Gunnarr and Shorty) and it is taking a lot of restraint for Fionn not to bother them. He sniffs around them but he is not allowed to play with them.

My wishes are with you all for happy and safe and joyous Christmas. May God bless you and keep you in His care.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

12/09/17 Shorty's first snow

Took Fionnegan, Gunnarr and Shorty out for an early morning walk to be certain they got enough exercise to last threw the snow. They can walk up to five and a half miles, and even though it is cold Shorty wants to go out every day. So I wanted to be certain they walk befor ehte snow it.

Well, it started coming down before we were finished. Shorty notices all sorts of things - bugs in the air, etc, but he seemed to be indifferent of the snow coming down. He shook his coat a few times to clear off the snow but was otherwise nonchalant about the snow coming sown hard.

Later in the afternoon I let them outside to see what he would do. He just ran outside with Fionn and Gunnarr and the white stuff never seemed  to bother him. Here is the video of his first encounter with snow - essentially he was more interested in playing with his brothers than he was curious about the white stuff.

A few more videos of the boys playing together in the snow.

Always wagging his tail. He is happy in the snow playing with Fionnegan and Gunnarr.

Tasting the snow!

Fionnegan and Gunnarr have lots of snow bunnies on their legs and tummies. A warm towel and warm water and a stay it the warm kitchen melt those away!

What do you do after a romp in the snow? Sleep on Momma's bed!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of Shorty, Fionnegan and Gunnarr playing in the snow. Shorty has adapted very well to living here and to the cold weather in particular. And Fionn and Gunnarr are happy to share their Momma bear with him, at least some of the time! They are a good pack and are never far from one another. Except bath time, then Shorty tries to stay as far from the action as possible!