Wednesday, August 31, 2005

These are pictures I found on the computer that were taken by enda staff following the flooding of February 2003. Nobody is exactly sure what the real story is, as it was never published in the papers, but apparently in the late winter of 02-03, the rains were so intense that the rivers, lakes and dams were surcharged. The government was afraid the dams would break, and so without public consultation or warning, opened the dams and let the water out. The existing waterways couldn't handle more and so the low-lying areas of town were flooded. Most of the low lying areas are the poorer districts, and Sidi Hessine (where these pictures are from) was one of them. In some cases the flood waters tore houses apart. Several people died though there is no official count. Apparently flooding occurs every year, but 2003 was exceptionally bad. I have posted several more images. Enjoy! Posted by Picasa

Here's a view of one row of houses. You see the barricades they put up along the doors. Those are permanent. You can still see them today. It's become a part of the architecture of the place, now. How history is made! Posted by Picasa

The flooding took place in February 2003. That's winter here, and it's still very cold (about 5 to 10 degrees if I remember correctly). The water wouldn't freeze, but it certainly wouldn't make living comfortable, and you could get sick if you were wet too long in that kind of weather. Posted by Picasa

Water got into everything! Here is one woman inside her house. She's in her pyjamas and boots. That became her indoor wear. Posted by Picasa

People used sandbags, bricks and concrete to seal up corridors and spent days bailing water to keep it out of their shops and houses. Notice he's in bare feet. Remeber that it's February! Posted by Picasa

Here is a shop-keeper. These little shops are on every street. They sell water, canned goods, yogurt and cheese, bread and other basic necessities. Flooding like that can completely wipe out your stock and seriously damage your store. Posted by Picasa

Here's a great image to give you an understanding of the scope of the damage. It just goes on forever! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Concerning Colostrum

Pardon, first, to anyone who might be insulted at the following. That's certainly not my intent. I simply wished to announce to the world a rather less than fortuitous meeting of names, worlds, and questionable products...

Colostrum is the label on a strange-looking bottle with the requisite green leaf that adorns anything coming from a health-food store. On it is a picture of a woman breast-feeding a kid whose head is oddly deformed by the curving bottle. Above the bold Colostrum is written 'first milking.' Contrary to what Freud might say, that does not make me imediately want to ingest it.

But I'm confused here. What exactly is this stuff and what does it do? Apparently 'each losenge contains bovine colostrum, harvested from select Grade A dairies within the first six hours' - but first six hours of what!? And what is colostrum, anyway?

Colostrum : The thin yellowish fluid secreted by the mammary glands at the time of parturition that is rich in antibodies and minerals, and precedes the production of true milk. Also called foremilk.

Ewwwww... yick! yick! yick! And guess what, boys and girls, you get to chow down on the concentrated form. Of course the antibodies are all dead by then, but you've still got the minerals.

But wait! There's a doctor who can explain it all! Doctor Dick Cockrum the Colonostrum Guru! The man who rediscovered the joys of... well... cow teats. Ummm. I had a hard time holding a straight face when I read that one through the first and second times. breathe. okay. I feel like I'm in high school all over again. But seriously! What kind of parents would do that to their child...

And what does the magic pre-milk cow juice do? Not a clue. Naturally rich in vitamins and minerals... So's dirt. And vegetables. But that's beside the point. I suppose if I bought it I'd know what to do with it.

Hey, I'm not against homeopathic remedies. I'm not even against remedies hawked by a Dr Dick Cockrum. I think I could even go so far as to accept that I'd be sucking back pre-milk cow juice... I just don't really know what it does or where the scientific basis is for the extract... urg.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Adventures Abound!

Well the summer is almost gone, and so is one half of our year in
Tunisia! So far the adventures have been many, and in some ways
they've been almost too much! Well, I guess that's what big changes
bring. We promise you we'll come home with lots of stories, and we
promise you we'll come home! We're working on plane tickets this
week, and we'll let everyone know when we're coming back as soon as we
know ourselves.

We have more adventures coming too. It looks like our friend Aryn
will be visiting in early October for about 10 days. Hooray! Tunisia
could use a few more Canadians, so keep 'em coming! We've had a
(repeated) invitation from our friend Ian who is currently working in
Jordan, to visit him and take a tour of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
That one has our fancy just tickled! And in late November, there's a
conference on Microfinance in the Arab States that will be taking
place in Marrakesh, Morocco. We might both sign up for that little
trip, though it's a touch pricey.

On the home front, be sure to ask Loren about his art adventures.
He's preparing canvases for either one mega show, or two smaller
shows. It's all acrylic on canvas, and the stuff looks great. He's
working on a venue, and might even go to the embassy for a leg-up.
Like I said, Tunisia could use some more Canadians, and that goes for
Canadian art as well!

And in our non-adventuring moments, we're hanging around on the
beaches, learning to cook with Tunisian ingredients, working, reading
and writing/drawing. I can't say it's all bad. I can't really say
it's bad at all!