Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Color in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Red Ivy in the Forest
I heard on public radio the other morning that only about 3% of the Earth experiences Fall Color.  I looked on line and found that indeed only 7% of the land on earth is in the temperate zone and this is the only zone in which we are able to experience the changing colors of the Autumn leaves.  Deciduous plants that lose their leaves in the cold season of the year, and then grow them back in the warm season, cover about 3% of the earth.  For all of my friends in the tropical regions, in the desserts and above the tree line, I have taken pictures of the deciduous trees of Shaker Heights, Ohio, as a taste of Autumn in the midwestern U.S.  This beautiful explosion of color will only last about 2 weeks.  The leaves will eventually turn brown and blow off of the trees.  We will rake the leaves into large piles that our children like to jump and play in.  Every week during this time a big truck with a large vacuum will come and suck up all the leaves and take them away. The trees are dark and naked all winter long, but in the spring most of the trees will grow fresh bright green leaves again.
Leaves on the Water
Lower Shaker Lake, Autumn
Deciduous Forest
The Red Carpet
Pink and Green Leaves
Ornamental Shrubs and Trees
Yellow, Red and Green Leaves
Yellow and Red Leaves
Woodbury Elementary School, Autumn
Orange Leaves
Orange and Red Leaves
Red, Yellow, Pink and Orange Leaves
Pinkish Orange Ivy
Red, Yellow and Green Ivy

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Good News!

From the left: Me, Mrs Neupane, Belief, Mr. Neupane, JR Neupane, Tania. Atit was up in the mountains teaching.
For the past six months I have been writing about a two week trip that I took to Nepal in March 2010.  Above you can see us on our last night out before we left Kathmandu for home.  The strike in the Terai lasted only one day.  Unfortunately, I did not get to tie up loose ends with my suppliers before I left.  I have become very flexible about the details of my orders because there are so many unforeseen situations. I had to make apologies by email to the people who were waiting for me to return. They live in this unpredictable environment, so I think they understood my dilemma.  I have established ways to make pick-ups and payments even in my absence.

Recently, I heard from the young men whom we were helping to go to school in Nepal.  Belief was able to get a scholarship to attend school in Finland and Atit earned entry to a business school in Nepal.  Congratulations Belief and Atit!  We are so proud of you.

The village school has submitted two proposals to the Joy Foundation and I am hoping that after the Autumn Hindu festivals they will have more concrete information for me.  The plans for the library are going forward.  It is very good news!  When I have a list of their needs for the library, I will be letting everyone know and asking you and all of your friends for help.

Thank you all for accompanying me on my journey to Nepal.

Smile, you are here and this is now. Here, in this moment, your journey begins anew!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Elephant Breeding Center, Nepal

Incredibly cute!

They have the longest gestation period of any land animal, 22 months.

 Their caretakers make little nutritious food packets for the elephants which are useful treats during training.

Treated well, they can live into their 70's.

At about 5 years of age, they are separated from their mothers and their training begins.

Some of the young were not chained because they rarely wander far from their mothers.

It is difficult to watch the training process because you can see that the elephants are struck squarely on their heads with a fat stick if they misbehave.

The elephants are strong enough to drag a three ton tree, so it is important that the trainers have control over the elephants at all times.  Sometimes the elephants will unexpectedly lose their minds and become completely unmanageable.  After the elephant breeding center, we walked 2 miles into town to see if there was a cybercafe so that we could let people know that we might have some difficulties returning during the strike.  Halfway to town we saw roughly 20 people standing in the street keeping their eyes on a large elephant from a distance.  We continued to walk confidently toward the crowd and the elephant.  Fortunately, one man stopped us.  "The elephant is mad.  He has already killed two men.  We are waiting for the mahout to come and get him."  We thanked the man and quickly retreated.