PAULINE'S TOES 99 LETS TOUR REPORT, June 17th to July 27th, 1999
Once again we were blessed with the financing to attend this year's T.O.E.S. conference in Koln, Germany. Ottawa's First Nations Travel- Consultant David Bonk at 222 Rideau Street made all the necessary travel arrangements for us, as he did on two previous trips to England. David is an excellent travel agent and was able to secure our flights to get us to Cologne right on time with the best prices in town. There was a short stopover at Heathrow airport where we were to meet up with my good friend Sabine. Unfortunately we were unable to leave the terminal, but with time to spare I reached Sabine by telephone and we had a nice chat. Not all are up to speed on exactly what T.O.E.S. stands for, so again as I have in past reports will give a brief explanation. The Other Economic Summit is an alternative forum running alongside the G8 summit of world leaders. It covers issues of concern to people in the North and South; international financial and trading relations, the rise of poverty and indebtedness, the degradation of the environment, and above all the need for a just and sustainable economy - both locally and globally. The People's Summit (T.O.E.S.) is co-ordinated by the New Economics Foundation. It originated in London, England in the early l980's. The G-7 was formed in 1975 to provide an informal forum for coordination of economic policy. The G-7 directly influences international financial and trade institutions by virtue of its disproportionate economic power. The G-7 meetings have been credited with providing political will and the momentum needed to ensure the successful assistance to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in developing mechanisms to forestall currency crises such as that which afflicted the Mexican Peso at the end of 1994. The G-7 is composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom and the United States. Despite President Clinton's move to formally recognize the participation of Russia by designating the Denver Summit as the Summit of Eight, Russia is not yet considered a full member of the G-7 and does not attend all of the summit's sessions. Our mission was to attend this year's Alternative Economic Summit and speak on L.E.T.S. The organizers of this year's function were not as organized as some in the past. It was very difficult for us to connect by internet prior to leaving to make arrangements to do just that. But this does not deter us. All other arrangements through our wonderful L.E.T.S. communication network were all confirmed and our planned itenary to visit 11 countries and speak to as many L.E.T. Systems as possible was in place. I would normally append the names and addresses of our Host's and Hostess's for our trip at the end of my report. But, I must build a special page and put it at the beginning of my report. It is because of these wonderful, enthusiastic movers and shakers that our trip was a huge success. All extended their hearts and homes to us. All made our days with them memorable and true friendships were bonded. Just imagine if you can (I will try through this report to bring this reality to you) travelling countries that you would normally hesitate to visit because you would have apprehensions about currency, accommodation, language and other problems that could arise. For us no such fears were contemplated for, as in all other travels, we found as soon as you connect with a LETser, you're in the best possible hands. We got to live as you do, see the best of each place, learn of all new innovative ways to use LETSystems to report around the world so as to motivate others. We got to eat traditional foods. But the best for us, is always to be with like minded people, who are not greedy, but caring and sharing people. You are all so very special in our eyes. One of our hostesses or caregivers was Marianne Danser, in Nurnberg, Germany. She said to me,"You and John are the salt of the earth". I just remember feeling like I would burst with pride. But, I said she also was the salt of the earth, as all of you are. A very good friend of ours in Toronto, Canada, Rev. Lindsay King once explained to me, that the word SALARY derives from the word SALT, as salt was one of the most needed commodities in the world, to preserve food etc., that many people were paid with salt as currency. I suppose I made this connection in my mind and just thought what a wonderful thing for Marianne to say to me.
The following now is a list of our Global L.E.T.S. Caregivers: AUSTRIA Anna & Luise Renzl, Ufersfrayse 7, 5280 Braunau BELGIUM Nadine & Alex Degroote, Moorsemsestraat 205, Betekom 3130 Robrecht Siera, Rode Beuk 10B 02, 2640 Mortsel FINLAND Kirsi Myllys, Kreijarinkuja 1A2, Fin 00820 Helsinki FRANCE Felix and Evelyne Grimaldos, Savignac De Miremont, F-24260 LeBugue Daniel Delarasse & Marie-Helene Sautet, Ste. Foy Marine Pontoise, 10 rue des 4 Freres Robert, 33500 Libourne Serge Loonis, 25 rue Charpentier, 33700 Merignac Odile & Christian Lambert, 22 rue Rouget de Lisle, 78100 Saint Germain En Laye GERMANY Paula Cremer, Kartauserwall 18, Koln 50678 Paul Imbusch, Landgrafenstr 6, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweil 53474 Signe Seiler, Eichen Wej 10, Heidesheim 55262 Hans-Joachim Werner, AM Stadtgraben 6, 48231 Warendorf Brigitte Gunther-Sun, Oberdurfstr 27a, 53225 Bonn Birgit Koch & Andre Schneider, Besselstr 5, 21079 Hamburg Marianne Danser, Hohensteiner Str 4, Nurnberg (Laufamholz) 90482 SWEDEN Bosse Ljungqvist, HolmaGrindstugan, S-243 93 Hoor Although we stayed in a total of 17 different homes, many others contributed to this successful trip. Administrators of LETSystems, translators, tour guides and as I report they will be also named as to have a permanent record. For without these connections it would not have been possible to reach the masses of people that we did.
GERMANY - KOLN Now the adventure begins. On our arrival in Koln, Germany we were informed by British Airways that some luggage did not arrive. This was most unfortunate because the luggage in question was the most imperative to our journey. It was a case with books and other aid material for our presentations and gifts for our hosts. But, with no time to spare we promptly grabbed a taxi to get us to the Alternative Economic Summit at VHS, Cologne. On arrival it was a real hub of activity. John was able to round up some organizers to discuss him having a panel. After much ado he was given a time and place where he could hold such a panel on LETS. We then had to make signs and place them around the university in hopes that people would see them since it was too late to make a proper announcement. We then split forces as we would normally do to cover as much of this conference as possible. I choose to attend Forum II "Beyond Labour" which started at 2:00 P.M. The panel for this debate consisted of Boris Kagarlitzky (Russia) Farida Akther (Bangladesh) Maria Rojas (Chile) Ari Sitas (South Africa), Moderation Christa Wichterich, Bonn. This forum lasted for over two hours and was totally depressing me. All explained the horrors in their countries and poor conditions. Although I got a greater sense of what is going on in these countries, only one person, Boris from Russia, came even close to talking about LETS because Russia is one place where a lot of trading is going on. He told of coffin makers being paid one coffin a month. They would have to trade it off. Others being paid in bras. Some of the examples he gave drew laughter from the audience. People are being paid in goods, not money. The question is how to organize them into a LETS and should government be involved? Totally frustrated, at the end I had to stand up, a microphone was passed to me. I told this crowd of over a 100 people who I was and the purpose of my being there. I told them the answer to all these problems is already in place and why hadn't this solution been discussed (LETS). Only one person came close to letting it out of the bag and that had been Boris from Russia. When I finished, I told the crowd if you want to learn more about the solution, please look for the signs announcing a workshop by John Turmel, a Canadian engineer, who will do a workshop on LETS and talk about solutions to many of the problems that were talked about. See John's European LETS Tour Report #2 at: http://turmelpress.com/t99eu.htm That evening we were able to contact our first hostess of the trip, Paula Cremer and her very good friend Ismail. Her home was not far from where the conference was being held, as matter of fact only a walk away, but with all the luggage, we had to get a cab. The driver dropped us at where he thought it was but no numbers were to be found. While John went off to check things out, I can only remember standing, looking at this complex of apartments and saying what an architectual delight. I hadn't seen anything comparable to this. When John returned he informed me that this was indeed the place we would be staying. No elevators and we counted 96 stairs to the beautiful roof top flat. Part of the roof was Paula's garden, with swinging couch and many exotic plants and trees. At night you could look over Cologne and see nothing but steeples from all the magnificent churches, the view was captivating. The church bells rang daily and on Sunday it was like a chorus of many different bells. Paula later that night showed me a book of architecture and indeed this complex was one that was highlighted. The roof tops were all bent to resemble the old fashion gypsy caravans, each was on a different level and all had a massive balcony area that kept gardens, hammocks, all interconnected with bridges that led to stairwells. We joined Paula and Ismail in a wonderful meal they had prepared for us but we were exhausted so it was off to bed early. The next day promised to be full of activity, it was back to the summit for yet more forums and talks. In the afternoon was the scheduled time for John's own personal workshop on LETS. Although it was a small crowd it was obvious those that got to find out about LETS were delighted. One South African student, Abdul-Wahab Raaj blurted out , "Finally I have found a useful message, something I can take back." Others that attended hung on John's every word. John took a break at one point and I continued with a question answer period bringing light to a lot of actual situations where LETS was helping groups of people.
JUBILEE 2000 Back to Paula and Ismail for another meal, and to plan out our activities for the following day. The big Jubilee 2000 demonstration. After hours of talk and refreshments, it was Ismail who brought it to light after seeing John's book of adventures the importance of his picket sign. Plans now were being made to get all the needed materials to put this sign together for the parade. First thing in the morning, Paula went off to get me the materials. The parade was to start at 2:00 P.M. Two friends and Talent members dropped in, Nina and Martin and shared in some food. I laid on the floor preparing the placard. One side BANKERS STARVE THIRD-WORLD BABIES the other side ABOLISH INTEREST ON DEBT. The sign was completed in time. We left on foot, Paula, friend Nina, John and myself. We had also made 50 copies of a hand out that we would give to any Journalists en route. Paula was most diligent. As soon as she would see a journalist shoot off a photo of John with the ABOLISH INTEREST ON DEBT sign she would approach him and give him a hand out and a yellow card with the Internet address, so they would know what John's statement was all about. We joined in the parade which eventually led us over the bridge to a park area on the other side of the Rhine River. A large band stand was set up and many groups were playing music, food stands, beer stands, dancing, speakers. John asked the organizers if he could go on stage to give his message. With the chain of Jubilee 2000 broken in the back ground, amid a crowd of "ABOLISH DEBT" signs, John proudly stood onstage with his ABOLISH INTEREST ON DEBT sign. After he gave his message about LETS, the crowd cheered.
Afterwards, we were standing watching the activities when a gentleman approached and took some photos of John and me. He then introduced himself as Heinrich Haussmann who belonged to the Gib and Nimm Tauschring in Nurnberg. He asked about us coming to speak to his group in Nurnberg. It was arranged. (Also, Anders of Sweden saw us and got a card). More later on Anders, Heinrich and their groups. During the parade many groups with their signs were to be seen. Many would come to us and ask about our sign and we would give out the cards directing them to the http://turmelpress.com One man look vaguely familiar to me and as we spoke, I told him I knew him. I asked if he recalled that two years ago in Crewe England at the Christian Council on Monetary Justice, we sat and had breakfast together. His eyes lit up with recognition. John and I arrived back at Paula's flat around 5:30 P.M., a wonderful meal awaited us. We tuned into the German news to see what the world leaders were doing. As per usual, this report covered the beautiful dishes that were made, bearing flags from all countries for this special occasion. The table that was specially made for them to dine from. Where they were staying. Nothing about real issues of the summit. We had an exhausting day, so again we were not up late. The following day Sunday the 20th of July was our meeting with Paula's group. Marina Carboga - Administrator, was the young lady responsible for setting up our accommodations and pulling the meeting together. On the Sunday when we arrived, as is a custom with many LETS groups, a pot luck meal was awaiting us. Marina had also arranged for a translator, Christine Dobbs and although Christine is British born, her knowledge of the German language was excellent and she did a fine job. After the meeting a small accordion was located and John played some tunes for these folks, some danced, others did trades and some just chatted. I learned of many of the trades that were being offered. One in particular, a young lady with an album of photos of interior designs she had done that were absolutely gorgeous. Another made fantastic lamps, out of old high heel shoes etc. a very talented group. All in all, our four days with Paula, Ismail, Heidi, Marcus, son Lion, friends Nina, Martin and the LETS group were a true success. All our needs were met and things flowed. Arrangements for a rental car were made from Paula's so it was just a matter of taking a street car to the location to pick it up. Paula would have taken us but she has a second hand store on the ground level of her complex and needed to be there to attend to business. Paula also is a mover in her own rights who has generated media attention for her LETS system, one such article is appended. It's in German. We located the car rental place, after 2 streetcar rides, the first free as we didn't understand the procedure. On the second streetcar, the driver understood some English, took us to the middle of the car and pointed out where to put the money and how to pick our destination. At ARNDT car rental, we paid $710. to secure the rental for 6 weeks with 4000 free KM. After that we would pay. It was a beautiful blue FIAT, with air conditioning, that we never really got to use. So, after collecting our luggage from Paula's and saying out goodbyes we were off.
GERMANY - BAD NEUENAHR June 21st, Paul Imbusch, Bad Neuenahr was expecting us. Bad Neuenahr sits in a valley not far from Koln. It was a beautiful drive. When you're in the valley you can look up the mountain sides and see all these beautiful vineyards. Paul wasn't hard to find and he immediately showed us our room, bags brought in. We then retired to his back yard for some beverage. Then Paul took us for a walk all through Bad Neuenahr to appreciate the beauty of this place. Bad Neuenahr is another Eden with its beautiful Hot Springs, Gothic Hotels, outdoor cafes, flowers in abundance, bake shops that make your eyeballs pop out and cause your mouth to water. As we did our tour this day, we would stop at Paul's favorite watering holes along the way, 3 in total, but his all-time favorite is an Irish Pub, called Killybegs. We stopped at each to have a pint and listen to more of Paul's stories, he was very entertaining. He took us to the Casino, one of the original Gothic Hotels, only converted inside. On approaching we had to cross over a quaint bridge, I looked over the side and saw schools of fish 3 to 4 lbs. in size, plus some 3 lb. goldfish as well. Ducks and ducklings. Paul told us if you purchased a license you can fish there. We eventually stopped at Paul's favorite Pizza shop for a meal. Paul's pizza consisted of a special tomato sauce, hot halapino peppers and cheeses on top. I mention this because I have never seen anything like it. Now back at Paul's to do business. John logged onto internet, more invites were noted and changes made to accommodate the larger events. As John worked away on the computer, Paul and I had much more serious things to do and talk about. One, his involvement with his LETsystem. Two, to sample the wine being produced at his vineyards. He told me that he worked for a vineyard and he would do tours and bring the people to his home for a meal afterwards. The vineyard owner would also let people purchase wine with their green money. The ultimate plan for the vineyard was to get pickers during the September/October picking season to come and work for green with Paul's home as their accommodation. I told Paul that I worked also making wine and ended up giving him my Wine Exchange T-shirt as a gift. The vineyard trading experiment hit the press and this was later shown to us by Brigette Gunther-Sun. More on Brigette later. Paul gave us booklets written by Ingo Leipner, who seem to be a real mover in the German LETS world. After a great night's sleep, it was up early, a breakfast in the back yard, a photo shoot, Paul packed us off with provisions, juice etc. enough to get us to our next destination.
GERMANY - MAINZ June 22-Signe (Ziggy) Seiler - Mainz, Germany. Arrived at the home of Ziggy around 3:00 p.m. Ziggy has a doctorate in Anthropology and Sociology. John was very tired from driving, I was tired of sitting. So John had a sleep and I asked Ziggy if we could go for a walk. I had looked out her kitchen window and saw she was bordered on a beautiful farm, full of apple orchards, cherry trees etc. Ziggy said we could walk to Rhine from this point. So off we set. It was a beautiful day and as I neared the cherry trees, packed out with cherries, I was in awe. The farmer was out picking and I asked Ziggy if she thought it would be all right to ask him if I could go up the ladder and pick some and take some photos. He graciously allowed us to do just that and on the way back from our walk, he gave me a container so I could pick some cherries for myself for our trip. Ziggy spoke to him while I was picking. She said she had lived there for 10 years and still did not know her farmer neighbour until today. When we got down to the Rhine a totally different view from that you could see in Koln. It was magnificent. Horse trails went for as far as you could see along the river. I thought what a wonderful way to spend a day, on a horse touring this beautiful Rhine Valley. We had to leave Ziggy's home in Heidesheim to drive into Mainz to connect with her friend Eric Murmann who was one of the speakers on the panel at City Hall that evening. We met up at the Man-Wah Chinese Restaurant after a small meeting and all walked over to this City Hall. The building itself was very big and very modern but it had bar- like windows and I thought it looked more like a jail. Inside we were directed by signs reading TAUSCHRINGE IN MAINZ, then the names of the speakers es informieren: I. Leipner (Taush- System-Nachrichten), E.Murmann (Mainzer Tauschring), G. Kuntze (Tauschborse Hartenberg-Munchfeld), A. Langer (Nachbarschaffshilfe Weisenau), Dr. S. Gresch (Agenda-Koordinatorin der Stadt Mainz). Not until the end of the meeting when John was allotted some time to speak (Ziggy acted as translator) did we realize that Ingo Leipner was indeed one of the people that Paul Imbusch had said produced the magazines he had given us. We were immediately interested to then continue the talks so a group that was also interested in more information followed and we headed for another Restaurant overlooking the Rhine River. John opened his lap top computer and took them on a tour of World L.E.T.S. All were impressed. They especially liked the LETS smart card demonstration. While we were at Ziggy's, she gave us some information off the internet about LETS Travel. Although John and I have been traveling with LETS for years, to know that serious thought and implementation are in the works for all L.E.T.Systems members was very exciting. I will now duplicate this information for your excitement.
Lets what? LETS Travel!
What it is about There are several ways to travel. You can trot from one place to the other using a traveler's guide. Or you prefer exploring the country with a touring company. You might even pay for a package tour organized by a travel agency.
But did you ever realize that there might be a LETS group in the place you are visiting? No doubt some of its members are willing to be your host for a couple of days. They can probably offer you more than any guide can tell you. Maybe they are even prepared to offer you lodgings or transport.
LETS travel is a travel network based on the principles of LETS. It brings LETS group members from all over the world into contact with fellow LETS members, whether they live in a neighboring town or on the other side of the globe. By setting up these contacts travelers can arrange meetings, lodgings or transport with their LETS counterparts in the country they are visiting. This in exchange for international LETS travel units.
Why LETS travel
The aims of LETS travel are
Bringing LETS groups from all over the world into contact with each other, thus creating the opportunity for exchanging ideas and experiences and setting up common initiatives providing a new way of travailing to LETS members, by setting up contacts travelers are no longer tourists, they come as a friend. Providing a stimulus to LETS groups by creating new offers and demands. Promoting the idea of LETS on a world wide scale.
LETS travel service
The services that can be provided within the LETS travel system are l) lodgings 2) tours (for instance guide your guest through your own town) 3) travel information (for instance give someone information about public transport in your country) 4)entertainment (for instance take visitors out to a fancy bar) 5) transport (for instance take your guests from your place to their next destination).
How it works
The backbone of the LETS travel system is its network of travel coordinators.
Each participating LETS group has one travel coordinator. He/She has the updated list of the addresses of all other coordinators. They set up contacts between members of their own LETS group planning to travel and members of other groups prepared to offer a LETS travel service. After each exchange the coordinators inform their LETS accounters about how many LETS travel units have been earned or spent by members of their LETS group.
An example to make this clear:
Peter is a member of LETS Glasgow. He is planning to go to Paris for five days. He contacts Paul, the travel coordinator of LETS Glasgow, and asks if he can find any people to stay with in Paris. Paul forwards Peter's request to Francoise, the travel coordinator of LETS Paris. She looks within her own group for people who are prepared to offer Peter lodgings for five nights. Veronique can do this. So Francoise sends Veroniques address to Paul who forwards it to Peter.
Now Peter and Veronqiue can start communicating. They agree on the price (in LETS travel units of course) and arrange all practicalities. After the exchange Veronique tells Francoise how many LETS travel units she has earned and Peter informs Paul about the LETS travel units he has spent.
Both Paul and Francoise inform their own LETS accounter about the exchange and tell them how many LETS travel units have been earned and spent.
LETS travel units
Services are provided in exchange for international LETS travel units. There is a fixed price for offering lodgings: 5 LETS travel units per person per night. The price for the other services (tours, entertainment, travel information,transport) is to be agreed upon between the two exchanging parties (in the example between Peter and Veronqiue).As a rough guideline you can charge one LETS travel unit per hour. For instance, Veronique has offered Peter lodgings for five days (corresponding with 5 X 5 Units) and has taken him out in Paris for two days (2 X 8 hours). So she earns 25 X 16 = 41 LETS travel units.
How to integrate LETS travel units into your own LETS system?
LETS travel units can only be used within the LETS travel system. However, what if you don't want to spend the travel units you've earned on travailing? Or you have created a LETS travel debt and you want to clear off your debt by rendering services within your own group.
There are several ways to handle this. We give two examples. We leave it up to each LETS group to work out their own system.
Conversion of LETS travel units into local units
A LETS group can decide to convert the LETS travel units earned or spent by its members into local units to a certain conversion rate. This would make it possible for instance for a member who has offered lodgings to get a service in return which has nothing to do with LETS travel. The only implication is that the balances of the LETS group's account in local units with not add up to zero as long as there is a positive or negative balance on the group's LETS travel account.
Buying and Selling LETS travel units
Another way is buying and selling LETS travel units within your own group. We can use the example of Peter and Veronqiue to illustrate this. After the exchange Veronique has a positive balance of 41 LETS travel units. In case she doesn't want to use these travel units for travailing, she can sell them to a fellow LETS Paris member for an agreed price in local LETS units. Peter has a debt of 41 travel units, but he want to clear off his debt by rendering services within his own group. So he can give an agreed amount of local units to a fellow LETS Glasgow member for taking over his debt.
How to communicate
The simplest way of communicating is via the internet. Travel coordinators can send their offers and requests to other groups by e- mail. They will have a list with contact addresses of all groups participating in LETS travel.
There is also a LETS travel mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org All travel coordinators are subscribed to this list. It can be used for launching messages of common interest and for introducing new LETS groups.
A LETS travel website is under construction.
Travel/coordinators who are not connected to the net can communicate by phone/fax or simply by writing letters. Maybe they can make some arrangement with a LETS group nearby who does have an internet connection.
How to join LETS travel
Your LETS group can join LETS travel by simply sending an e-mail to email@example.com with a short description of your group; number of members, how it came into existence, special features... There are no subscription fees.
Don't forget to state clearly who will be your travel coordinator and how he/she can be reached (address, telephone number, e-mail address). The travel coordinator preferably has an e-mail address. He/she will get a list of all the other travel coordinators in LETS travel and can start LETS travailing.
The LETS travel website
This site is under construction. It is made and maintained by LETS Gent, Belgium. It will contain a list of all participating LETS groups, stories/experiences of people who have been travailing via LETS travel, travel information, announcements for special initiatives (such as international LETS meetings, a LETS bicycle tour throughout Europe, whatever...) links to other LETS groups and more.
The purpose is that this website is maintained by groups participating in LETS travel. A rotation system can be set up for this.
Where the idea comes from:
On 23-28th November 1998, 33 youngsters from all over Europe had gathered in the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg for an international LETS seminar organized by EYFA. During a brainstorming session about new LETS initiatives the idea of LETS travel was launched on paper but prior to this time John and myself had done New Zealand and Britain on a personal LETS travel but all the finer details as shown above were not on paper as we went along. We just exchange nights of accommodation, anything else we were given was not accounted for or even asked for. So, congratulations to these 33 young people that managed to get the details sorted. If anyone has record of their names somewhere, these should be added to the LETS archives.
BELGIUM - BETEKOM June 23, Betekom-Belgium currency called Feathers. Although we arrived in Betekom when most places were closed, a wonderful couple allowed us into their bar to place a phone call. They gave us refreshments and allowed us to wait for Derek who had found us a host. We followed him into his farm. His lovely wife Beatrice, (Bea) a nurse, was awaiting our arrival. After a brief look around this most unusual farm (deer), we gathered under a canopy of vines resting on a swinging couch. Bea brought out refreshments. To the left of me was a beautiful tropical garden with bulrushes and lilies floating, a very serene setting with vines growing up the farm house. After refreshments and a quickie rest we were off to meet Betekom's LETS group. Nadine and Alex DeGroote were hosting the gathering and we were yet to see another rustic and most unusual setting. We entered the back yard to see a fair size terrace made of field stone off the living room, the doors to that part of the house were wide open, and lace curtains flowed gently on the side of doors. Inside I saw a large bar with a stone wall behind, lights and candles for warmth, it was like a Mexican cafe. Music, Irish chants flowed out onto the terrace and the group by candlelight were sipping some ale and awaiting our arrival. Again arches of grape vines over the terrace and picnic tables we were sitting at protected us from the elements. Although this is a small group, the enthusiasm was awesome, right down to a 10 year old, Mane, son of Rik the founder. He seemed to be studying John as he spoke and was drawing. Later in the house I asked Nadine if she could get Mane to show me what he was drawing. When he produced this picture of John we cracked up laughing. It was a caricature showing John's hard hat, the cards tie with John demonstrating the latest technology in each hand but with John's mouth largely out of proportion to the rest of his head. After John's presentation we gathered at the back of Nadine's and Alex's property to a large inviting bonfire, had drinks, stories, singing. At one point in the evening, Nadine, Beatrice and myself retired to another vine covered canopy rest area on the property with some food and drink. We talked with each other as if we had been girlfriends for the longest time. We talked of life itself. Education, future of children, aging parents, many topics. We had an early start the next day, so it was a fast photo shoot around Nadine's cafe then she directed us to our sleeping accommodation which was in the loft of their home. To describe this room we slept in, I can only say that it was so charming, restful, rustic, almost medieval, fantastic. It was an early start June 24 to get to Paris. Nadine was up to set us off properly with provisions. Although this was a one day and night stopover to talk to the group, as I looked at Nadine our hearts bonded and much energy was flowing back and forth. She handed me a rose from her garden. I will talk about Nadine and family again later and how I found out her little cafe for LETS members was called "La Luna Rosa Cafe". We were destined to go back, we didn't know it at the time but something told me, my visit with this wonderful group was not complete.
FRANCE - PARIS Paris, France as we drove looking for the ATTAC anti-poverty conference at the Universite de Paris in St. Denis. The first thing we saw was the Coliseum, a huge spaceship-looking building. I thought we had just landed. The traffic was hectic and we kept going around in circles looking for the University. Finally we pulled over and asked a young man for directions to get into the U. He kindly offered to jump in and take us directly to it. John gave him a few Francs for his trouble. We parked the car close enough. John did a fast change into his suit, in the car. When we got inside the University we found our location, Salon C-800 John went ahead in to prepare for his presentation. This was l0 minutes before his turn to speak and yet, like always, his feathers were unruffled. I proceeded to hand over our passports to secure translation headsets. Approximately 70 to 100 people in attendance, the moderator was sitting right beside John. 4 speakers on the panel, this was an uplifting exchange of ideas and John was warmly applauded at the end. See John's report http://turmelpress.com/t99eu.htm We had not secured accommodation for the Planetary Conference in Paris. John was off finding out about the rest of the conference while I went to the accommodation booth. They had just began to explain they had set up affordable accommodation for foreign visitors to me when a lady, Odila, came towards me and asked if we were a party of two in our group. I said yes. She then said "you will come home with us." I said yes, we made arrangements to meet in the foyer at day's end and they would take us to their home. Odila and husband Chris are Computer Science Engineers. We made arrangements to leave our car at the University overnight as we had to take the metro to St. Germain En-Laye in the West of Paris. It was approximately a 20 minute walk from Metro to their home, I thought I was in San Francisco the hills were so steep. Yet with our knapsacks and light luggage we made it. I just wasn't looking forward to doing it again the following morning. Odila told me Chris and herself and been training, walking these hills (mountains in my eyes) in preparation for the Boston Marathon, they were both in really great shape and didn't even perspire on this walk. I was always a block behind, treading along with the luggage. On arrival at their home, Odila and I made up bed, then we all retired to the terrace and had a nice meal of Pate, pickles, cheeses, taboolee, wine etc. As it was, we were 10 minutes late in the morning setting off for some reason so Odila said we had to take the car to the main Metro Station to get to the University on time. I must confess, I said to myself there is a God. Chris pulled over at the Metro to let us all out, we took our luggage from the trunk, John slammed the trunk down and the whole back window of the car shattered into a million pieces. We all just stared at it in shock, then laughed. Not really funny but we just could not imagine what would have caused that. Luckily the car being new was still under warranty. Again, as in Germany, John managed to arrange a 2p.m. workshop on Alternate currencies. We made posters and placed them around the University. It came off without a hitch and John received a huge applause. Another workshop that both John and I attended was put on by Michel Tavernier, an older gentleman who got the discussion of alternate currencies going and this was an exchange of ideas mostly. Mr. Tavernier gifted me at the end with a drawing of a face, when turned one way showed a happy character, when turned the other way it showed a sad character. He drew an analogy, this is a man when the money system is fixed and this is a man now. Just a little thing but this drawing was a very useful aid to me in reaching the children, especially the young children who were not so fluent in English and perhaps saw us as strangers. That night going back again to Chris and Odila's home, as we waited on the platform for metro, 4 soldiers entered in full uniform with automatic rifles and stood beside us. I felt my heart skip a beat. I asked Odila if this was a regular occurrence. She said yes because of 2 years ago, bomb threats. Chris and Odila are members of an organization called ATTAC, which has 10,000 members in France alone in just a period of 6 months. They are attacking the politicians to take power back from bankers. That night we stopped en route and picked up Chinese food, our treat. At home Cedric and Damien 2 sons arrived and all 6 of us retired to the terrace for our dinner. The boys were bubbly and excited about school and plans. 26th of June the final day of talks and grand finale. I had a private session with Fatima Jibrell from Somalia. We had met on the first day and she said to me that it was important to her, that either John and I talk with her. She was there representing the "Horn of Africa-Relief and Development Organization", Head office P.O. Box 70331, Nairobi, Kenya. Fatima is from Sanaag, Region of Somali, with a population of over 500,000 people. While John prepared for another workshop, I found a small alcove with a desk and invited Fatima to sit with me and chat, as she had already heard John's presentation the day before. As she explained to me the needs of her people, no currency in place to account for work etc. a camera crew gathered around. I later found out it was the University putting together a documentary of the Planetary Conference. I was outlining how L.E.T.S. could be used. She was excited and asked if I would be interested in spending a month at the Buran Rural Institute, which is a community of learning, in a rural, pastoralist community, located in Sanaag, Somalia (northeast), based on the rock dam approach to research, problem solving and learning. On the flyer Fatima gave me, Buran Rural Institute (BRI) uses a participatory action research approach to focus on peace, political participation and natural resource issues. Currently there is no secondary education in Sool or Sanaag, Somalia. BRI is more than an opportunity for young women and men to continue their education. BRI participants use participator action research working with communities to identify and solve problems as well as develop locally-based resource materials. Buran Rural Institute Vision: BRI is working to develop a community of learning based on respect and equality. The BRI approach to learning is research participation, and problem solving with surrounding communities. The result is multi-skilled, positive leadership by women and men who promote peace, human rights and political participation.
What is the "rock dam" approach to learning? Bringing together the local resources of the community -the people-women and men, elders, youth, pastoralists. -trained facilitators and resource people. in one location, the BRI to understand and solve problems, working together. Contact Information in case anyone out there feels they can help with this vision email firstname.lastname@example.org. My time with Fatima was informative, she told me of many items that are a natural commodities from the area, Arabic gum from a special tree, Frankincense, incense land. Items they desperately need are wheat, corn, sugar oil. I told Fatima, I would love to go to BRI to help out but only God would let us know if that was to unfold. We parted with high spirits and yet I felt I had bonded with yet another soul sister. Back to ATTAC and the closing grand finale in a super large tent in field beside University. Guest speakers on stage in front. This tent held 1,000's and was packed to capacity. We stayed to listen to a calendar of action for the year 2001. Heard that the Vatican has endorsed cancellation of debt. They are concerned about Pakistan Leader of Trade Union hasn't been heard from and want his return. Many off topic things so John and I decided to say our good-byes and hit the road.
BELGIUM - BETEKOM #2 We had another 2 days down time, and yet I did not feel I wanted to stay in Paris. I had seen enough, too busy, not as I had imagined it, not clean. I told John I would like to go back to Nadine and Alex in Betekom for 2 days to relax before our next big push. He liked the idea when I said "trust me our business there is unfinished and we will be welcomed." As we neared Betekom I stopped and called Beatrice, her son gave me the number of Nadine. I called and Alex answered as he was leaving. Enthused, he said he would wait for John and I, as the gang have gone off to a "Salongo" and he would have to take or direct us to their home. Amazed, having only been to their place once, throughout all the little villages and winding roads, we were able to pull right up to the front door. Tell me we weren't being guided. I drove with Alex in his truck, John followed behind. He was telling me what a great surprise all this would be. When we arrived at the home of Luc and Hilde (LETS members), the day's work activities had come to an end and they were now into the festive part of their Work-Bee party or as they call it their Salongo. "Corvee" in French. A barbeque was being tended as the women set up a banquet table. A separate banquet table was set aside for the 8 children in attendance, ages 8 to 17. After warm embraces from Nadine and Beatrice and others in the group, we sat and ate and laughed. After a short period I asked to be excused as I wanted to spend some time with the children of this fantastic group. So I took my plate and joined the young group. I am always curious to know how LETS has an impact on a group of this age. They showed me around the property and explained enthusiastically their involvement in the Salongo. At this particular Salongo, 6 families had participated in the day's work. The men were clearing bush at the back of Luc's property. The children stacking the wood as the men cut the trees, the women were putting mortar in between bricks in a garage. These people all have large properties that need a lot of work and upkeep so they rotate going to one another's homes for a Salongo. Nettie 11, Fons 9 and Petrus 8, children of Luc and Hilde, were simply delightful, well rounded children. Nettie self taught in English, was truly fluent and acted as translator for me with the other children. Nettie explained how she enjoys life in the LETS. We had a photo shoot which the children enjoyed and then back to the table to talk more of life. Nettie told me about her dad building brick bridges in the Congo and her mother was a teacher and what life was like in the Congo. Andrew (17), Klaas (14), Sien (10), Ismael, son of Nadine and the rest chatted enthusiastically with me. Later when the parents of these wonderful children sat around to do their bookkeeping to record how many "Feathers" had been earned, the children watched on. You could see a certain sense of pride and dignity amongst all. What a great night we had. John also had time with the men alone again setting up his lap top and giving them a tour of World LETS. Back at Nadine's, John went off to bed. Nadine and I sat up with a fire and candles and wine and again talked until the sun came up. What a remarkable woman, raising 6 children, 3 from her marriage and 3 from Alex's marriage, the trials and tribulations, but she kept me in stitches. During the day John got onto the internet as I slept. Nadine and I had made arrangements to go to Aireon's (daughter's) arts recital at the University that night. Beatrice was to meet up with us and we would meet everybody at the University. Aireon was delightful to watch, the whole production concert, recital. I won't soon forget the special effects, the costumes, the story line, plus my own private translator, Beatrice, whispering in my ear the whole time. I feel blessed to have been part of such a night. Afterwards the young people were all meeting in the town square to listen to some jazz music. We decided we would go along. Chairs poured out onto the cobble stone square which was surrounded by small pubs and cafes, churches, commerce buildings. Beatrice, Nadine and I had our own table, we enjoyed the music, beer, night air and the hustle of young people who were excited after completing such a wonderful production. It was so much fun and I thank my soul sisters Beatrice and Nadine for making me a part of it.
GERMANY - WARENDORF June 28th-Warendorf, just outside of Munster, Germany, called Munsterland. We were to meet up with out host, Hans-Joachim Werner which we did without a problem. As we drove into Munster, a town fair was going on, the smell of fast food, lights, laughter, rides, stands one in particular caught my eye as we drove by. A gentleman was selling off exotic plants at a very low cost. Not the usual kitchen paraphenalia we get at our Exhibition. After parking the car we met up at a Pub with Kay Browatzki, friend and Munster LETS enthusiast. The boys sat around and had some refreshments and food, I on the other hand was anxious to take a fast browse around the fair. On the other side of the fair was a majestic castle type building which I was later to find out from Hans is now a university with much history. The evening back at Hans's home was full of discussion and internet talk and learning of Hans's role in all of this. He is a teacher and also has been doing work cataloging on the net history via pictures etc. of the 1880's that visitors to Warendorf can tap into and learn the various aspects of what Warendorf is all about, from politics to the history of buildings etc., he was an archivist. He told of an all women political party in 1924, first in Germany, the Conservative party. These women would preface their name with husbands occupation. So it would be Mrs. Justice of the Peace, or Mrs. Master Baker etc. Hans also wrote a book titled History of the Free Economy Movement. Again, this was a one day stop. So much was learned from Hans that it was evident we would be going back to learn more.
GERMANY - BONN-BEUEL June 30 Now in Beuel just outside Bonn, Germany. A brief detour took us into Konigswinter on the Rhine, a beautiful village, very touristy but beautiful. Brigitte, our hostess, met up with us about 3 p.m. It was a fast trip to her home to unpack, change then went on a very fast excursion to see some of the main sites, one being the statue of Beethoven the great musician, his home was nearby, but time did not allow for us to see it. We went to a beautiful Cathedral at which time we all took some time to light a candle and say prayers. Then off to a nice cafe the Zum Gequetschien, for a meal of Shish- Kabob, rice, salad and beer, not expensive. Afterwards we just had enough time for Brigitte to take us to the University, famous for its demonstrations. Brigitte had explained to us over the meal how she was not happy with the progress of the original Taushchring (LETS), so broke away from it and in February started up her own. In doing so she managed to get 2 major newspaper articles and a radio interview helping her to get the message out and build up her new system. She told us how the Bonn Green Party gave some money to support her LETS. 7:00P.M. Now at the meeting over 20 people in attendance, Brigitte is President. She had invited the press to meet with John and I and a reporter from the one of Germany's largest papers came. Brigitte was very well organized and scored big. We later had the article faxed to us at another destination. It was a very large article with photo of John and me and an excellent story, yet in one way, was disappointing because we were hoping for more coverage for her Tauschring. Yet another soul sister, that we felt like we had known forever, saw us off with directions and food for our next lap of our tour.
AUSTRIA - BRAUNAU July 1st, Canada Day, in Braunau, Austria. Simbach Region. We had left Brigitte at 9 a.m. drove all day, now 7:45 p.m., stopped at a little cafe, John being assisted on the telephone, I sat outside with the locals and had a pint of beer. John got through to Gottfried Freudmann who was coming to greet us and guide us to our meeting place. John just ran across street, in the car again, doing his superman trick, out of traveling clothes into the suit. With 5 minutes only to spare we arrive at the meeting hall. Food was laid out. As is traditional with this particular group they start their meeting with story telling, music, then the speakers towards the end. An accordion was found and John played this group some tunes after his message. I do believe all enjoyed it. I often take a walk during John's talk, more to refresh myself, but also to explore. As I was walking I had met a girl(Lucy), she had two lovely twin girls and a son. We walked along, she gave me some history of the street, showed me Adolph Hitler's birth place, etc. I explained to her about LETS and how as she was a single mom this group could be her life boat. I'm pleased to say I've since heard from Lucy that she joined up with the LETS, is more settled and asked if I could write although she didn't remember my name which doesn't matter, her message delighted me. Gottfried had made arrangements for Anne and Luise Renzl to be our hostesses. A group of people wanted to continue talks after meeting so several of us met together at a Restaurant on the river which was beautiful. You went down steps into a courtyard that had a huge fountain, trees and all around the courtyard were individual eating booths. It was very unusual. Again, another wonderful night exchanging stories. One member told of his trip to Spain and how he exchange accommodations, LETS travel. Stopped at Gottfried's home on our way out of town so John could go on-line. Gottfried introduced me to his cherry tree and allowed me to pick a bag full for our journey. Took some photos. Gottfried has a digital camera and was able to send copies via the net to John. Thank- you Gottfried for setting up the meeting etc. AUSTRIA - WORGL July 2-drove all day through Austrian Alps. Came upon a town called Worgl. John was so excited. Apparently, Worgl had one of the biggest European LETsystems, run by the mayor during depression. John has all the history. We stopped and walked about, beautiful. We ended up staying in Ville St.Vincent, Aosta, Italy. A quaint village, small but it had a casino and the Hotel we stayed in was reasonable. Our first. From there we had easy access to hit the road again in the direction we wanted to go, the next day. We were pressing on to go into Switzerland, but the large tunnel connecting was closed down due to an Belgian Fuel Tanker blowing up causing 40 people to die. The Tunnel we were told would be closed for another year for repairs. We turned back in another direction, to get even another fantastic view of the Italian Alps. July 3rd consisted of driving all through the Alps, right to the very highest peak. The snow was in patches all over, wild flowers a multitude of colors and shapes I've never seen, fresh flowing water came off the peaks. Although it was a warm day and we were in shorts, I just had to lay in the snow, John made snow balls, we took all our containers and filled them with the fresh mountain water. The view was so breathtaking we just sat for awhile and stared out at the small lakes in the valleys. The roads up and down the mountains were single vehicle roadways, we were constantly praying that nothing was coming in the opposite direction. We made several stops on the way down because John was it felt like vertigo. Le Tour de France, the annual bicycle race through the Alps, has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
FRANCE - SAVIGNAC DE MIREMENT We drove all day. Our next destination near Le Bugue, France. We had been invited to a weekend TROC (Exchange) LETS camp out. It was very late in the night when we arrived and the night was black. We were driving in the bush when finally we saw a sign on a tree directing us in. We eventually heard some music and then saw some flashing lights. When we got out of the car, we walked towards a big terrace dug in the ground and looked down. Disco lights were flashing off a field stone wall on one side extending to the house. Felix, dressed as Robin Hood with sword, and Evelyne, dressed in a flowing dress, were dancing on top of table tree stumps. A large fire was burning in the fieldstone wall, people sat in chairs watching on like an amphitheater. We made our way and joined in. After Felix and Evelyne finished their production, we all got up and danced together in a circle. We had some wine and chatted with these people for awhile. A tent had been set up for us to sleep in, we hadn't arrived until approximately 10:30 p.m. so we only had a couple of hours of partying then off to bed. All the other guests were in tents or trailers spread out over the property. In the morning yet more guests were arriving, tables were being set up to do trade. I enjoyed watching all the different things people had to sell, home made jewelry, fresh organic vegetables, desserts for immediate consumption, clothing, books etc. We had some breakfast, then John and I took a fast drive into town to pick up a few things to share. Le Bugue was a lovely village. Back at the TROC just about everyone that was expected had arrived so Daniel Delarasse introduced us to the group and John began his presentation. All were sitting in lawn chairs under trees and it was a beautiful warm day, even the small children that were in attendance were very well behaved. I went around taking photos and kept myself busy exploring the property. Felix told us his dream was to build an ecological home, which he had. He has large gardens, growing many types of vegetables, and he even had a banana tree. One large outbuilding on the property with no walls, just a tin roof, kept all the bits and pieces that Felix collected safe from the elements. That evening it began to ran so long tables were set up under this tin roof and approximately 20 people gathered for dinner. Most had brought dishes and wine and bread, cheese, fresh vegetables. Candles were put all along the table, we chatted as we ate and listened to the rain hitting the tin roof. It was magical. Afterwards we had singing and John recited some poetry. Much laughter that night. Colombe Barre, a reporter, had done a long session with John in the afternoon. She works for Radio Plaizance 95.9, her reporting goes on 2 channels so she reaches the city and country people. Colombe and her 2 daughters joined in the fun that night. This vibrant lady sang and danced. Alice the younger daughter had this wonderful laughter like her mom. It was just another magical night but we soon retired to our little pup tent to listen to the gentle rain beating down but it was a good night's sleep. We were having breakfast with Felix and Evelyne and talking about LETS of course, when Felix brought out his booklets called Carnet De Creation (Creation notebook). These were booklets to record your transactions with delightful heavenly pictures on front. When we spoke about currencies, he also gifted me with some of the local currency that he had printed and tried to get into circulation. On the currency were pictures of Robin Hood, Maid Marion and in one, the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest fighting. The pictures were humorous showed how inner fighting will happen when things get big. He called them Truffes. He had made up envelopes containing 250 Truffes in each. Felix is a very fascinating person and he kept us excited with his talk. Felix is a very active member in his group and has purchased 2 cars through his SEL(LETS). He wore Robin Hood type clothing all weekend and commented "You Canadians and Americans make movies, we live them here". I thought that was great. All what Felix said about LETS got an A plus, really of like mind.
FRANCE - STE FOY Daniel soon arrived to guide us to Ste.-Foy where his wife Marie- Helene Sautet was organizing a LETS pot luck, so John could talk to the LETSystems in her area. It was a short journey to their wonderful farm house. On arriving, a young girl from the SEL was cleaning the country kitchen, this is her job once a week. Daniel proceeded to show me around the farm while John rested up and prepared for his presentation. A wonderful garden with every type of herb and spice, plus vegetables, lavender, thyme, the scent was heavenly. Many chicken and hens in a coup, some very strange looking hens at that. They had 3 pigs and the fattest rabbit I ever saw. Daniel said he was a male rabbit and he had 3 female rabbits that he wanted to breed but the fat male was just too fat to do anything. At 7:30 p.m. we were in the small village of Bergerac at the rectory beside the church, in a court yard setting a statue in middle that could be seen from all angles. Marie-Helene had done an excellent job. 5 SELS were represented here. Some familiar faces from Savignac. Everyone brought food and drink and all ate to their heart's content. A fast clean up job then John's presentation. Daniel was making a video of it. The children were getting restless so the teenagers took them outside and I decided to go along with the children. I always get a charge out of all the questions they ask me and of course the answers I get from them. After John's presentation which was also recorded for CD, dancing and music started up. That night we had a wonderful sleep and in the morning Marie-Helene had to leave for work. I went outside and in the front yard was a wonderful plum tree that was shedding its fruits. I collected them up and fed them to the pigs. We had a mid day meal, then Daniel wanted to show us a video of a local LETSystem. On the end of this video, one he hadn't watched to completion, was the story of 66,000 businesses in Switzerland paying all their employees etc. through a LETS called WIR. We were all flabbergasted. This blew away any arguments that BIG LETS couldn't work. It is working right now in Switzerland. They have a directory the size of a telephone book. We wanted to try and get one, but unfortunately time did not allow.
FRANCE - LIBOURNE July 6, Libourne- next to Bordeaux country. It is mid afternoon and John and I are sitting in a cafe in a beautiful square built by the British. We had placed a call to Cesar Huerta who was coming to collect us. A fast trip to Cesar's home to meet wife Daniel, son Gabriel. Cesar's hobby is to do the most interesting collages. He had one which had a humane bone on it. The name of their SEL is S.A.B.L.E. which means SAND. The meeting took place in a beautiful old Hotel called Terrasse du Cafe de L'Orient. The room was very large with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows, over a mantle a picture of this very old Hotel with some history. The meeting began at 5:30 p.m. approximately 12 people in attendance. A waiter came and took our refreshment order then we began. After the meeting yet another meeting was scheduled and the home of Marine, our hostess, for the night. Cesar and family were going to CINESITES, a roving outdoor movie theatre, asked if I would care to go along. So John went onto his meeting and dinner and I opt to go to the movies. What a wonderful experience it was. The movie title was "Marius et Jeannette", all in french, but a love story that was easy to follow. The story was done in flats of a poor multi- cultural neighbourhood, so they had taken the big screen to a similar location in Bordeaux. Under the stars with highrise buildings around us we could get the feel of the movie. The movie depicted 1947 but was made in 1996 by Robert Guedigian, France.
SPAIN - SAN SEBASTIAN We had a lovely room at Marine's place and she left us with a key for the next day as she had to go to work. During the day John slept and worked and I again went off exploring this lovely town. We wanted to get to Spain, so mid afternoon we took off. We ended up in San Sebastian, which is a beautiful tourist place, beautiful natural sea wall caves and view which was breathtaking. We walked about and explored took photos, but it was so packed parking hard to find and I felt to busy for my liking, so again I convinced John that we should not stay, but head back to Marine. We stopped along the way back and had a meal and watched a Bull Fight on T.V., I was not impressed. I felt safer going back and staying with Marine. She welcomed us back and said if we had no solid plans, that another CINESITE was to be held tomorrow and a group were going if I wanted to come along. Yes indeed. This 2nd movie was called GADJO Dilo, about a young french man Stephane goes to Romania, meets up with old Gypsy man. Gypsy makes Stephane drink Vodka. This movie shows how Stephane overcomes the language barrier and learns the gypsy ways. Much wonderful music and laughter but eventually he has to return to Paris. The setting for this film was in a Grotte, African dancers performed afterwards similar dancing to the gypsies and traditional foods were served as shown in movie and again the wine was flowing. On way to movie I had jumped off a wall and sprained my ankle. By the time the movie was over, my ankle had swollen and I couldn't even walk on it. Marine went to get the car so I wouldn't have to walk. When we got back to her home, she tended my swollen ankle with care. Soothing it with some gel she had and an elastic bandage. She was ever so gentle. Marine is definitely a caregiver I should have known when she told me she worked as a Social Worker with mentally challenged people. It takes a very special type of person to do that and do it well.
FRANCE - MERIGNAC BORDEAUX It was on to Bordeaux for a meeting of Serge Loonis's new Merignac LETS. A dozen people came with one radio reporter, several familiar faces. Some were seeing John's presentation for the third time. It was as if they were following the show around. Serge is yet another one of the movers and shakers in LETS. At his home he had an aerial shot of France and he had placed yellow dots as to locations of all the different France systems. Over 300, it was awesome. His living room looked like the deck of the Star Ship Enterprise with computers and the modern technology. Afterwards, a fast transfer over of luggage into Serge's car and we were off to the country to his parents' home who would be our hosts for the next couple of days. Serge had articles about his Bordeaux launch of LETS. When we arrived at the home of Yvette (Veti) and Jean, we were taken to a granny flat that had been built onto the house for Yvette's mother who never got to stay in it. So now it is being used a guest quarters. We had everything we needed. A beautiful alcove of Kiwi vines made a tunnel alongside the quest house. In the back of the property Jean had a beautiful garden of vegetables and flowers. Although Veti and Jean were not English speaking at all, we had no problems conversing. Somehow they seemed to know our needs. Veti tended to my swollen ankle and made us very comfortable. John took off on the bicycle to the village to get me some postcards. That evening with terrace doors thrown wide open so we could gaze upon the beautiful flowers we dined, Jean would put on some old French music and a banquet was before us. Veti is a wonderful cook. Afterwards we retired to our quarters to do some reading and writing. One magazine John got from Daniel had a large article about LETS written by Edward Goldsmith. I had spent time with Mr. Goldsmith during my visit to England for the Wirral South by-election. John was thrilled at his find. The following day, Jean wanted to take us about to show us Nerac and some of its history. Nerac en Albret used to be the capital of France before Paris while under the rule of Henry the 4th. We went to see a castle over 800 years old. We also went to Mezin to view a Bastide, the oldest apparently in France. A Bastide is a round centre with buildings all around and protected roads going in and out. This was the most beautiful thing I ever saw, the buildings were old, with ivy growing up them. In the centre a park like area with 8 huge trees in perfect formation shading the area. The surrounding buildings were now pubs, cafes, ice cream parlours. Many photos were taken and many sights seen. It was a grand tour. On arrival back Veti had a meal prepared for us, she really seemed to enjoy this role catering to us all, and she did such a fine job. The following day, John and Serge had a lot to talk about ways to get currencies into circulation, and how the production of that currency could be done, whether it was legitimate for an advertiser to cover the printing of the group's local currency and John couldn't see why not. I am excited to report Serge has done it. Since our return home, Serge has secured a Green business to print the currency using the reverse side of it for their advertising. Congratulations Serge. Keep up the good work. I busied myself again by exploring. My foot was much better and I felt like I needed to walk. So off I went and walked to a little village called Nazareth. The winding country roads, the ivy covered homes, the flowers, the peacefulness were all making me feel very happy. It was a wonderful day for me to see all these sights. In all, our stay with Serge, mom(Veti) and Jean was a terrific experience.
FRANCE - ST MALO Now in Saint Malo, magnificent, Atlantic Ocean blue green, a fantastic coastal fortress. We walked the great wall, then went into the centre, stores, cafes. We watched an organ grinder and mime, lady singing to amuse the tourists. John's great-great-greast-great- grandfather had sailed from St. Malo to Quebec City in 1751. We were so close, we just had to go there and see some of that history. One Arch had the Quebec with a Fleur-de-lye on one side and a St. Malo with the French flag on the other. I took a picture of John who thought it might be the St. Malo - Quebec port gramps may have walked through. It was a rush to think he had walked on the land that his forefathers had walked on. By 7:00 p.m. stores are closed and homes and stores have shutters closed, you would often think you were going through ghost towns. We later found out these shutters are to stop noise and to keep homes cool.
BELGIUM - ANTWERP July l4 Mortsel, just outside of Antwerpen, our host Robert Siera arrived around 1:30 a.m. We had been calling Robert en route, he met us at airport to direct us in. A tall man, 6'6", John and Robert stayed up until 3:30 a.m. Robert had to go to work the following morning. He's a Youth worker and software programmer with 2 young children that come to him on weekends. We got to use the bunk-beds. Woke up about 10:30 witih John doing work on internet, I was busy doing up some laundry. I made us a traditional French lunch, bread, cheese, vegetables. Then we were off to Amsterdam it was an easy drive E-19 all the way from Antwerpen. It only took us about an hour. We saw wonderful suspension bridges and overpasses between Belgium and Holland. I saw the most unusual cows, all brown with only a white ring around their bellies. Hanging out in Amsterdam. This city makes you wonder just what it would take to quit your job, sell your house, pack your bags and move here. For good. At least that is the feeling John had. I was not so sure. That's because almost everything about the Netherlands' enchanting capital city strikes you as the way life should be. It's an architectural work of art. With its narrow houses and private buildings in the canal belt. We arrived in Amsterdam around 5:30 p.m., we saw a sign saying Haarlem, we took that exit. We parked the car and walked around until we found a bank machine, had to get some Nederlands money. We jumped into the car and not far off I viewed the High Time Cafe and the Home Grown shop, as we had heard so many stories of these places, we had to check them out for ourselves. They were everything we expected. Cannabis has moved off the streets and into "coffee shops," found throughout the city. After refreshments it was time for a meal, the restaurant right next door was small but the food looked inviting. We invited a gentleman who had engaged in conversation with us to join us. He was into Youth Probation and Policy and asked how we liked Amsterdam. We must have talked for about 45 minutes. Then John and I wandered aimlessly along the canal, viewing the sights. The canals were lined with houseboats that seemed to be permanent as they had bridges from boat to land and flower gardens. The lines of apartment complexes on one side and canal on other side of street seemed to house a boat for each tenant. I questioned that perhaps they travel to and from work by boat. On the way out of Amsterdam night had set in, and we were taken back with the beauty of fluorescent lights on bridges, purple, green and long long lines of lights that went on forever. We arrived back at Robert's very late so it was almost immediately off to bed. The following day was our meeting with his group. When we got there, Derek from Betekom was in attendance. I was thrilled to see him once again and he had brought (Yan?) a lobbyist for government who we had also met at the Salongo in Betekom. John was also thrilled that they both could attend. Much discussion went on but afterwards Derek mentioned John had cleaned up the message about small SELS being as important as large, there is strength in small, but we should be prepared to go big, global. Back to Robert's around 11:00 pm. He had wanted to make us a farewell meal and although late, he had prepared for it. So we had a lovely cheese fondue, wine, candles. He told us of a dream to go to 2 islands. He grabbed a book from his bookcase, Micronesia. In this little book I flipped open a page. At the bottom "Island of Stone Money" hit me in the face. Yap -people called Yapese. "David O'Keefe an Irish American shipwrecked in 1871 spent 30 years, used his ship to transport stone money, made it a trade. The Yapese chiefs paid for the stone money with Copra. I can only say that this book from what I could see is well worth a read. For those of you that may be interested it is called Micronesia and Travel Survival Kit by Lonely Planet 9 780864 420190 ISBN 0-86442-0l9-6.
GERMANY - HAMBURG July 15th on way to Hamburg. En route we stopped in the village of Emmen, Holland to mail off some postcards and have a meal. As we walked through the village, there were many bicycle paths more so than roads. We saw fit seniors riding along, healthy and happy. What a beautiful spot this was. So after a meal, finding the post office, we were on the road again. We arrived at Curio-Haus, Hamburg again with only minutes to spare before the show began. John in the car doing his superman thing, while I went to find out exactly where we were to go. I saw a few people gathered outside one part of this huge establishment. I went up to them and started to ask about the LETS meeting when Birgit, our hostess, walked up to me and said "Paulina?" I said yes. The ladies said can we go to your car and help John, I said "if you want, I am sure he would enjoy you ladies helping him get into his pants." That was just enough to break the ice, all laughed, we gave John a few more minutes, then we all went to help him carry stuff in. Birgit had arranged a translator which was being paid by her LETSystem even though the translator was from another system. It was very well organized, approximately 30 people in attendance again. Afterwards we were to gather at the University Pub, a huge social gathering place. Karin, Peter and I walked through the lovely University grounds to the pub. John and Birgit were bringing the car closer. On the way over Peter would dart in and out of phone boxes, I asked Karin what he was doing. She said it is his hobby, he checks all the phones in case someone left their phone card. I laughed because John left at least 3 times that I know about in phone boxes along the way. It must have been the excitement. At the Abaton University Pub and Eatery we sat at a long table. One of the guests at that time said that he had a fax from Brigette of our Beuel meeting. We were in awe at the size of it. It was passed around. Birgit was telling me how she had made arrangements for us to stay in a big house with more convenience, that her place was small and perhaps wouldn't be comfortable enough for us. I told her nonsense, that we never expect V.I.P. service we want to be with the like minded people, who can sleep on floors, tents anywhere. At that she said she wanted us to go home with her so we could have more time together to talk. What a delightful young lady, her enthusiasm lit up her face and she would laugh with glee. Birgit is also a Social Worker and teaches computers. Her boyfriend Andre does computer graphics, web sites etc. but he is also very talented with his hands, doing woodwork, iron work etc. On arrival at Birgit's home, although small, Andre had managed to utilize and decorate in such a fashion to make it look big. In their bedroom he showed us the bed he had made. A bed takes up so much space he explained and the space below and above is wasted. So he had built and large cupboard and on top of the cupboard was the bed, with a ladder going up to it, it was wonderful. In the living room signs of his wood work were all around as well as in the kitchen. The bathroom had lighting and iron work, which made this room very special. In the backyard Birgit had woven her charm with a raised flower garden surrounding a beautiful flowering pear tree when lights were strung, making it very magical. And indeed I had found another soul sister, we talked on her patio until the morning sun was coming up. John and Andre had long since gone to bed. I felt bad because Birgit had to go to work the next day, we just had to pack up and hit the road. But it was another wonderful experience.
GERMANY - NURNBERG July 16, Nurnberg, Germany, Host Heinrich Haussmann who we had met in Cologne at the Jubilee 2000 rally. We again arrived just in time for the meeting. Heinrich informed me they got this room for their meetings on Hours. Their Tauschring (LETS) is run on Hours, already compatible with that of Ithaca. He had photographs of the Jubilee 2000 parade pinned up, he also showed me a photo of someone with a T-shirt "we print our own money". The ladies of the group busied themselves cooking and preparing a banquet for us. In front of each place setting sat some stones and a candle and flowers all around on tables. The meal was delicious then onto the meeting. Afterwards Heinrich introduced us to Marianne Danser, the hostess who would be putting us up. Marianne took John's hard-hat, put it on and carried his sign. This gesture told me this lady was unusual and a live wire. We drove to Marianne's home, where she insisted on feeding us again before we retired for the night. As we indulged in the goodies she had prepared for us we learned a lot about Marianne. This lady had raised 4 children, all grown, all away from home. She told me old ladies 60-80 CAN make a difference. She is very active in many projects. She told us she has picketed the bank and laid her body in the street to rebel against the Iranian war. She takes in refugees to her home and is presently housing a couple of students. She took her money from the banks and invested it in a group of mentally challenged people who have to live outside the city. The money she gave this group is used to buy tools for them to garden organic vegetables which they will sell at market. In 5 years they will return her initial loan, no interest attached. She also is involved with many women groups who stand for Apartheid. July 17th, Marianne, John and I met up with Heinrich and Derik. We were going to what they called the Social Mile. It was held on a Mall much like Sparks St. in Ottawa. All organizations having anything to do with social well-being were represented. Their LETS (Tauschring) had 2 such booths set up here. Beside one booth was a Job Centre booth. John went over to talk to these people to see what they were offering and after a short time had connected them with LETS. I could see him shaking hands with the man. Heinrich seemed very please at this exchange also. We sat to have refreshments with Heinrich introduced us to yet another very interesting person Hans, Finance Minister of Sealand. Sealand is a man-made island 7 miles from Britain. During World War II these islands (cement platforms) were made to put guns on and protect the channel. After the war they were thought to be destroyed, but it seems one got away. So now there are 60 people living on Sealand a very, very small man made island. They are recognized as a sovereign state and their embassy is in Berlin. Hans was very anxious to have some private time with John. So it was established that after a tour, I would go with Marianne to see a Jazz band and more LETS exhibits and John would go with Hans for a meal. Heinrich and Derik took us for a tour around city, a beautiful fortress housed a summer music festival and we watched on for awhile. Again, much history in Nurnberg. John and I parted ways, then many picnic tables surrounded a stage, we first witnessed young people doing modern dance, Spanish dancers, then came the O'Pa Jazz Band. Elke Lindig joined Marianne and I at our table, this delightful lady is a Hobby-Artist and we immediately hit it off. We said now the men are gone, lets have some beer, so Marianne went off, got food, and we got beer. The Jazz was wonderful, the night was balmy, the children danced around and the courtyard was packed. Marianne in particular seemed to be enjoying the band, the following morning as we ate breakfast on her terrace and I learned why. A delightful story which I am sure she won't mind me sharing. She and her husband had seen the same Dixieland band a couple of years back, and her husband told her he wanted them to play at his funeral. After a hard day at work as was tradition he would come home, sit on the terrace looking out at the cherry tree blossoms and beautiful garden, Marianne would serve him a couple of beers before his dinner. She took out a beer to find him dead in his lawn chair. She called up the Jazz band and requested they play at his funeral,in particular he wanted the song "When the Saints go Marching In." They wanted to play something more appropriate but she insisted that he wanted that song. She said that the music in church was so wonderful, she felt like getting up and dancing. Marianne, Elke and I took the bus home, Elke was another surprisingly beautiful woman that connected with me. We kissed and said our goodbye's. When Marianne and I got home, John hadn't arrived yet, so we made coffee and discussed the days events. Again so much in one day but wonderful. The following morning Marianne insisted that we have a good breakfast and she had packed up provisions for our journey, a real mother, caregiver, my heart can't say enough to compliment this lady.
GERMANY - MUNSTER July 18th Back to Munster and Hans Joachim Werner. This trip back was to speak to the group. On our last trip to Munster, it was just to short a notice to pull it all together. But this time, they were ready for us. In a pub's private room, Eva Luerken moderator, the press was present and several LETS members. After seeing the meeting on its way I slipped out, a couple of the members sat at a table and I joined in. They had come late and did not want to interrupt and were just not in the mood to sit quietly through a presentation. Hey, it was o.k. with me for I had a great time talking LETS to them in a social setting. Eva, the young lady sitting with me, said some people have a real talent for recruiting new members but she wasn't one of them. Then she proceeded to tell me how her boyfriend wasn't convinced that Tauschringes worked. But that he had needed a car with a trailer hitch and after making several calls to the LETS members, she secured the deal for him and he exclaimed it worked. July 19th a down day. Hans wanted to do a barbeque for us. So John slept late, I did laundry, then John and Hans did grocery shopping. I prepared salads while Hans went to pick up an accordion from his cousin. We started up the barbeque in back yard, but it threatened rain, the whole time he was cooking it poured down, but we were able to continue cooking in a covered area. We ate inside and it was a wonderful meal. Hans also had several types of beer for me to sample. It cleared up so we took the party outside again. John played the accordion while Hans strummed his guitar. They took turns, Hans introducing us to some of his favorite tunes that were delightful. I just sat back and watched these two go. We stayed out until 11:00p.m., then the boys went on the internet and I cleaned up the dishes.
DENMARK - COPENHAGEN 20th July drove to Puttgarden, Germany here we had to catch a large Ferry. We were only on this ferry for 1 hour but had a delightful lunch with wine and we were being transported to Copenhagen to catch yet another ferry to get us to our destination, Lund, Sweden. We had to wait an hour and a 1/2 for this next ferry. I had cheese and bread, fruit, so we took our picnic lunch to the dock and stared out at the water while we ate. The second ferry ride took an hour and a half and proved just as enjoyable as the first, we sat in the main dining lounge watching out as we glided along. At least 60 cars on board, 30 large tractor trailers plus R.V.s. When we landed we had to take time out to do a fast tour around Copenhagen and see some sights and get some post cards. This is where John started calling Bo, to tell him our approximate arrival time.
SWEDEN - LUND It was very late when we got to Lund, Sweden but a fast call to our host, Bo Ljungqvist and he was on his motor bike to lead us into his Ecological Farm School. We gathered in a large kitchen used by students and had a hot drink. Then Bo took us to our accommodations. He he had two little RV's at side of property where we had parked. They were cute, comfortable, with all that we needed. We were exhausted so it was by candle light we said our goodnights. The next day a lot of activity, Bo only takes in 10 students and I just about met all of them. As they have different projects and all have their scheduled work and just because foreign guests had arrived, they had to maintain procedure, but I followed them all around asking questions, exploring barns and green houses etc. One very interesting gentleman, Hank Pelgrom had started up the Uppsala L.E.T. System, 4th biggest city, old capital of Sweden north of Stockholm. Hank told me he had stayed with Andy Rirey in Canterbury and that Andy had been his inspiration. As John and I had also stayed with Andy 2 years ago at his home, I was amazed how small the world was becoming. Andy is very active in LETS and he was also an inspiration to us. Hank also told me he and his wife had spent time in Bearra, S.W. Ireland, peninsula Kerry. He said he had found his Eden there, little towns, very beautiful. He said a lot of artists and a lot of trade going on. He mentioned I should read a famous book by Daffney DuMaurier called "Hungry Mountain". Another book he mentioned was called Short Circuit-Strengthening Local Economies for Security in an Unstable World, author Richard Douthwaite ISBN 1-870098-64-l, Douthwaite also wrote the Growth Illusion. As we spoke Peter Lars, Lunberg and Erik (Kulla) Kjell of Lundgren busied themselves in the kitchen, preparing a wonderful spread to put on toast of leaves from a plant, plus Sabina picked vegetables and made salad and a wonderful Quiche of broccoli, peas and basil for us all to eat that night. In the afternoon Bo had asked me if I would do an informal talk to some people who would not be able to make the meeting. So at 3 p.m. a group of us gathered in the school kitchen and sat around, sharing thoughts and stories on the development of LETS. Two new faces to the school were Peter Rudberg and Olof Sahlstrom, two gentlemen in their 50's, Peter Lars and Erik Kjell were in attendance. After this meeting Peter and Erik had to go back to their duties, so I followed along, these two young men were eager to show me all, with pride and enthusiasm, they explained to me how they used horse urine to fertilize the land. They told me how the green house was almost in ruins when they first arrived but with much work were able to bring it back and use it for growing tomatoes, etc. it was very large and at one end they had made a patio with rattan furniture and a small pond. It was all very exciting. Bo has put together a book of accommodations LETS Travel Sweden. July 22nd now 7:00 p.m., we had all piled into the car and headed to the Lund Youth Centre in Lund, Sweden. John was to launch a new LETSystem. Anders Ohlsson, who had seen John at Jubilee 2000, was doing the launch and had managed to get a large article in the newspaper. He introduced us to a group of about 20 people and John started his presentation. Afterwards was question and answer period. As a token of appreciation for us being there, Anders presented us with a beautiful book of Sweden and all in attendance signed it. Back to Bo's for some light refreshments, then off to bed, I was in bed well ahead of John, when he came into the little R.V. he jumped in on his side of bed, all I remember was a big thud and there I was lying with my feet up in the air. We couldn't stop laughing, then grabbed a candle and went outside to explore what had happened. The little R.V. was being held up straight by cinder blocks, after a little work we were level again.
FINLAND - HELSINKI July 23rd, drove to Stockholm-Sweden. John went to park the car while I ran into airport with passports to secure us seats on the next flight to Helsinki, Finland. By the time he got into airport, I had tickets in hand for an inexpensive business flight of 2 days. Flight 0646 Finnair departed at 5:25 to arrive at 7:10, their time is one hour ahead. We thought we were really in good shape to get to our meeting for 8:00 p.m.. After an enjoyable flight, the view of Finland from the air is magnificent, we landed. Salla, our hostess, was not there. John kept calling, finally getting through to her. When she arrived, she told us the meeting was at 8:00 a.m., it was lack of communication but even with this our visit was not a wasted voyage. Salla then took us to Kirsi Myllys who was to accommodate us. Kirsi is yet another bubbly, enthusiastic mover in the movement. She had a friend over, Lisa, who she had met over the internet. Both women have common interests which brought them together. Kirsi had the table set up so we enjoyed a meal with the 3 ladies then Salla had to leave. She had been a Green Party candidate and promotes LETS. July 24th, Kirsi very busy trying to pull together a meeting for us so our time would not be wasted. She was successful. We met with a journalist Sini Kuraja at the K.E.P.A. (stands for Service Centre for Development Corporation.) The journalist took a couple of pictures of John and then took notes as he did his presentation. A wonderful photo and story came out of this in a Finnish magazine glossy cover so thank you Kirsi, your efforts paid off. Afterwards Kirsi, Timo, John and myself went for a meal at a Chinese Restaurant, Timo also a LETS member told us proudly of his 29 year old son who had been accepted to Helsinki University to study folk music. Timo was an interesting chap and while we waited on a bus, he ran across to a garage to go to washroom. He told me they had blue lights in the washrooms, I questioned this and he told me it was so anybody wanting to shoot up couldn't because the blue light doesn't allow them to find veins. I thought this interesting. We met up with another friend of Kirsi's, Monica, so now the 5 of us were doing a tour around Helsinki which is very very beautiful, gorgeous parks where you can drink in public, we viewed youths lying around on lawn having picnics everywhere. Street musicians were plying their trade to get money. A beautiful fountain, Kirsi told us this fountain, the statue, was of the most prominent prostitute in Helsinki. I asked who she did to get this notoriety. It wasn't known. Unfortunately, I didn't know that my camera had been damaged and was not working so all the photos I took in Sweden and in Finland did not come out. Although I am saddened by this fact, the pictures I have in my mind will not fade. We had a very full day and as we had an early flight the next morning, it was back to Kirsi's. We still didn't get to bed too early so much had to be talked about and Kirsi was still bubbling over with excitement, that is the only way I can describe it. John and Kirsi hit the internet, while I prepared our luggage and clothes. We convinced Kirsi to come to the airport with us the next day, she did. It is very hard sometimes to say goodbye, but with some folk it is harder than others because of the bonding process. This is one of those times I felt the love gushing out. I had this feeling many times over this trip with my female counterparts. 25th July, a visit with an editorial writer from the Swedish JAK interest-free bank, Maria Lovfors, on the way back back to Bo's in Lund Sweden. We felt a good nights sleep wouldn't go amiss before we headed back to Bonn. We just knew Bo wouldn't mind. It was late again when we got there and Bo said he was just going out to get the ducks in. I asked if he would mind if I went along. He was trying to get the ducks to go into a pen for the night, with not much luck. He said the scavengers were killing off the ducks at night, hence he wanted them inside cage. I asked how many ducks he had originally, since I only saw two now and he said he had had 22. I asked if the scavengers got the rest? - He looked at me with this cute little grin and said no, the farmer that had sold them to him did not tell him that he should clip the wings so they wouldn't fly away. We both busted out laughing, "so you see," he said, "I, the professor, am also learning with my ecological school."
GOODBYE - BONN 26th Bonn-Germany, Brigitte Gunther-Son had wanted to pull together a farewell party for us so several met up at Mertens Hotel- Bar where we had had our original meeting. Paul Imbusch had come up from Bad Neuenahr and a friend Gosham. It was great to see Paul again. Brigitte had managed to round up some new faces. We had a wonderful meal and chatted busily, new ideas pouring out. Some of those ideas 1) a Social Fund where LETS members would donate an hour earned from time to time, when this Fund was built up, use it for someone less fortunate. 2) LETS gift certificates, a membership given as a gift. I dedicate this report to my very best friend in Canada, Lorraine Pharand. Two days after my arrival home Lorraine passed over. Her son Martin, a son I must add that we shared in life's enjoyment, Martin informed me that Lorraine had been taken to the Elizabeth Bruyere Medical Centre when she was no longer able to take care of herself. Her third and last battle with Cancer had reduced her to a skeleton. Lorraine (51) knew she was dying yet before I left on my voyage, we shared in a meal and she said "I will not be going anywhere my friend until you return and tell me the news of Europe." She had indeed waited for me. When I entered the room her eyes flashed open, she said my name coherently and the words "Europe, the news is good?" I said "rest assured my friend many are working hard to secure the future for your son and granddaughter Lydia, all is well." The next day she passed away. Lorraine worked hard in her short life, helping the mentally challenged people and cancer victims. She was always there for me and she is missed desperately, not only by me, but by so many she had touched. It is because of this loss, that it has taken me so long to get focused on my report. Life does go on and I just wanted to throw myself into my daily duties, work hard until I came to grips with this loss. I can only finish by saying how very excited and proud I feel for having met you all. I hope that we left you all with the same feelings that we have, that of a Global breakthrough. Your hard work on the cause, your dedication shines through. When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you are going after Moby Dick, take along lots of tartar sauce. Again, for encouragement these words were given to me in New Zealand.
"Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing that one man, or one woman, can do against the enormous array of the world's ills; against the misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of their generation. It is from numberless, diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and bearing, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." By Robert F. Kennedy.
Now I'm now off to Seattle on John's Last move of the Millennium to get Bills Gates to start up a world-wide Email L.E.T.S. If we're lucky, we'll be able to visit each other and send Hours by email.
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