Friday, October 31, 2008
I'll try and make this concise and brief. Haiti was devastatingly poor and overpopulated. We worked and stayed at the House of Hope Orphanage. It was actually in a nicer area than most.
A bit if Haitian factoid...its the poorest country in the world. We rarely had electricity, I slept on the roof, there were rats, awesome!
Most of the homes were 2 room, made of rusted sheet metal, and no further than 4 feet apart from each other. But what I think I struggled with the most was that they lived in the dump. The trash piled higher than our vehicle, and homes were situated right in the middle. People rummaged through the remains, bathed, swam, washed dishes, and filled drinking water containers in raw sewage.
The New Testament refers to "hell" only a handful of times and most of its reference is the Hebrew word, "ge-henna," which actually is a town's dump. You can visit Jerusalem today and still see "ge-henna." It was a place of the discarded, the unwanted, trash. There's something symbolically disturbing to see a nation living in hell.
Disease is rampant, malaria kills daily, HIV is staggering, 50% of the children die before age 5...is there any hope? There is, and it's not in government. It's not in military. It's not in the UN. It's in community and humanity acting as the hands and feet of Christ, restoring and loving.
It's good to be back.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This Travel Warning is being issued to advise American citizens to defer non-essential travel to Haiti until further notice. The civil unrest of early April has subsided, but the political and economic conditions that precipitated these events have not been entirely resolved. Conditions may occasionally limit Embassy operations to emergency services. Americans are also reminded of ongoing security concerns in Haiti, including frequent kidnappings of Americans for ransom. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Haiti issued on April 11, 2008.
In early April 2008, there were violent demonstrations, looting, transportation disruptions, and up to seven reported deaths in Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince. Some American citizens were temporarily stranded in isolated locations and could not safely travel until calm was restored. Because political and economic conditions precipitating the civil unrest have not been resolved, American citizens should defer non-essential travel to Haiti.
The absence of an effective police force in many areas of Haiti means that, should protests reignite, there is potential for looting, the erection of intermittent roadblocks set by armed protestors or by the police, and an increased possibility of random crime, including kidnapping, carjacking, home invasion, armed robbery and assault. Americans in Haiti should practice good personal security, take commonsense precautions, and avoid any event where crowds may congregate. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent. Americans should closely monitor news media and the U.S. Embassy's website at: http://haiti.usembassy.gov/warden_information .html.
U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Haiti despite this warning are reminded that there is also a chronic danger of violent crime, especially kidnappings. Most kidnappings are criminal in nature, and the kidnappers make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender or age; all are vulnerable. There were 29 reported kidnappings of Americans in 2007. As of the date of this Travel Warning, fourteen Americans were reported kidnapped in 2008. Most of the Americans were abducted in Port-au-Prince. These kidnappings have been marked by deaths, brutal physical and sexual assault, and shooting of Americans. The lack of civil protections in Haiti, as well as the limited capability of local law enforcement to resolve kidnapping cases, further compounds the element of danger surrounding this trend.
Travel is always hazardous within Port-au-Prince. U.S. Embassy personnel are under an embassy-imposed curfew and must remain in their homes or in U.S. government facilities during the curfew. Some areas are off-limits to embassy staff after dark, including downtown Port-au-Prince. The embassy limits (restricts) travel by its staff to some areas outside of Port-au-Prince due to prevailing road and security conditions. This may constrain our ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port-au-Prince. Demonstrations and violence occasionally limit Embassy operations to emergency services, even within Port-au-Prince. The UN stabilization force (MINUSTAH) remains fully deployed and is assisting the government of Haiti in providing security.
So....I'm watching 24, Rambo, Delta Force, 3 Ninja's Kick Back, Escape from Alcatraz, and the Great Escape just in preparation of the worst. Should I stay or should I go? Given a hostage situation, do I run or wait for ransom??? Sheesh!
I'll post again upon return. Think of me.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
the grace university gang was accommodating and great....devon proved to be an off-shoot of mcguyver. locked out of the sound board and power amps, we dismantled the unit using a screwdriver and the leg of a chair...
my beard is experiencing too much growth...never have i had so much that i see it (in its flowing goodness) in the periphery of my vision. its outa' control folks.
ok, i'm tired and i need some exercise out of my honda. i leave for haiti on sunday.
Friday, October 17, 2008
This morning we took off to Boreas Pass above Breck again and decided to hike up past tree line for lunch. Whew...I am out of shape! But we made it and the scenery was beautiful. I'm guessing we were eating lunch somewhere around 12,500 ft elevation or more. Once we breached those trees, it was cold and windy - like we were getting pillaged by the wind. Brrrrr!
We went back to the hotel and got ready for the Border's CD Signing and Acoustic Event in Park Meadows. Grabbed an early dinner at Brio Tuscan Grill. WOWZIERS! I had gorgonzola encrusted steak and Kate had the roasted lamb chops. This music biz sure pays well huh??? Actually we had a gift card, so its all goot.
Tomorrow morning, sadly, we have to head out of the mountains until Christmas. Tear. Tomorrow we drive 8 hrs to Omaha for a show on Saturday at Grace University. I'm looking forward to college dorm food...what what all you can eat Lucky Charms!
Until then, Peace,
Ross, Kate, & Cora
p.s. sorry no pics today
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Currently I'm feeling some serious altitude sickness - nausea, sore, tired, blah. But the show must go on, ya know. So I'm sitting in the green room at Bender's in Denver. Its a sweet venue and it'll be fun playing with Kyle Gallenal and Dore Taylor.
Today we did some scenic driving up Boreas Pass just behind Breckenridge. It was breath taking...but that was just the altitude sickness. After that we ate on Dillon Lake and enjoyed our time there. Colorado is perfect.
The venue tonight has a bar side with a small stage and a venue side where I'm playing. Denver Joe is playing some honkey tonk over there and he is quite a "doobious" character; a 70 year old doobious character!
I suppose I'll sign off. I'm about 70 pages into the new Rob Bell book and I want to get back to that.
I'm sitting at The Laughing Goat in Boulder, CO. I was supposed to load in and sound check at 7, but alas no sound guy...so i'll wait a bit longer before throwing a complete conniption.
So to pass the time, i'll tell you about our day. We did some hiking this afternoon. We went about 3 or 4 miles up to a beautiful mountain lake. When we got there we unpacked and fed Cora. These big fuzzy birds started flying close by and were all stalking like. Then all of a sudden, one came right at Kate and we decided it was too much Alfred Hitchcock for our taste and we took off.
After that, we cleaned up and headed to Idaho Springs for dinner before the show in Boulder. We grabbed a bite at Tommyknockers - a great local brewery.
OK...the sound guy just came in, so I gotta get my lines set and sound check.
Peace and talk to you tomorrow!
-Ross, Kate, & Cora
Monday, October 13, 2008
Currently I'm sitting in back as we're cruising along I-70 at 77 mph. We took off out of KC this morning at about 6AM, stopped at a truckstop in Salina, KS for a delicious breakfast feast - $3.99 (2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, hashbrowns, 2 pieces of sourdough toast, and a coffee). The gods shall be pleased!
Now, passing through Quinter, KS I swear I can begin to see the faint outline of the mountains ahead. But Kate says I'm full of it. She is a nay-sayer.
We arrived in Frisco, CO tonight just in time for happy hour at the Dillon Dam Brewery. Had a drink and shared split a Mediterranean quesadilla. It was all goot!
After that we headed out to Breckenridge to hit up one of our favorite coffee shops; Clints. After we caffinated ourselves we headed back to the hotel in Frisco and now were settling in for some Chris Rock on HBO. I'm pooped from driving - how can sitting in a car all day make you so tired???
Last point I'd like to make for today's blog...in honor of Columbus Day, try and pillage something - or at least use the word in a sentence.
Good luck and we'll post again tomorrow from Boulder, Colorado.
Ross, Kate, & Cora
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Tomorrow we hit the road on tour for my new album. I'm pumped! This will be Cora's 1st Colorado trip and that should be fun. We're staying in Frisco up in the mountains - beautimus. We'll be sure to keep everyone updated, day to day. Here's the concert schedule:
TUESDAY - The Laughing Goat - Boulder, CO - 8:30PM
WEDNESDAY - Bender's - Denver, CO - 10PM
THURSDAY - Border's IN STORE CD SIGNING - Park Meadow (Denver), CO - 7PM
SATURDAY - Grace University - Omaha, NE - 9PM
SUNDAY - Jerry's Bait Shop - Lenexa, KS - 8:30PM
MONDAY - Jerry's Bait Shop - Lee's Summit, MO - 8:30PM
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I am not an economist. I wasn't even a business or finance major in college. I have a degree in English with a focus on American Literature and Political Science. But I also am not blind or deaf. I watched the news yesterday. I watched the stocks yesterday. Did you?
Certainly I don't expect the 800 billion dollar bailout to work overnight, or even in weeks or months. My best guess is that we'll see the full implications of it in 3-5 years. Do understand however, that I was against government action and overhaul. I think we as individuals thrive and don't need legislators and taxed programs to enable our potentials.
Two weeks ago as the bailout was being discussed in the House, in almost certainty that it would be passed, we watched as the DOW plummeted the largest single-day loss ever. The next day, as congress voted the bailout down, the DOW had one of the largest gains in US history. Nearly a week later as the new 458 page document passed through the Senate and House and was signed by the President, we again watched the DOW plunge below 10,000. I imagine many "un-educated, non-economist types" were confused.
But in the sidelines, the US dollar began to gain in value, oil dropped to $90 a barrel (down from $150), which also drove down the prices of commodities such as milk, cheese, produce, etc. Its a cyclical climate that seems to have risen as high as it could, popped, and is leveling itself back out. Have we seen the worst of it...who knows? Did the bailout do any good...i hope so - i truly hope I was WAY wrong in being against it!
But one has to wonder, what's going on?
Monday, October 6, 2008
and this one...christian music is SOOOOOOOOOO bad!
i don't know why this is funny, but it just is...
my good friend o'mazing grace:
just really really impressive!
so, that does it. have a good week everybody!