PAULINE'S TOES 98 U.K. Trip Report July 14 1998
Once again we were blessed with the financing to attend this years T.O.E.S. conference in Birmingham, England.
Not all are up to speed on exactly what T.O.E.S. stands for, so I 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 is co-ordinated by the New Economics Foundation. It originated in London, England in the early 1980'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 report to the Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham on May 15th to the 17th for the conference and then to explore and visit as many L.E.T.S. communities as possible for the remaining portion of our trip.
Since our departure date was May 13th, a fast trip to Bristol was in order. We had communicated with Jerry Vahrman via the internet who instructed us to get a coach from Heathrow to Bristol. On arrival a fast call and Jerry was there to greet us. I had met Jerry on my previous trip and had delighted in watching him display his LOIS Software at the Global Cafe in London. Jerry is the programmer who designed the LOIS-LETS Office Integration Software which is full of elegant bells and whistles interfacing with the 1/s LETS engine.
John suggested that he would be the ideal person to prepare an Email LETS database to handle our international LETS accommodations transactions. First transaction: We owe him 2 days Guestship in Canada and he accorded us. Swapping hosting and guesting functions should be a big hit. We spent 21 days in the UK only 3 nights in hotels all the rest were with LETS members paying with Green IOUs for equivalent days of guestship in Ottawa, Canada. When one considers that those accommodations cost over $100 Canadian per night, we had an extra $1,800 to party with our new and old LETS friends. Later on in our trip we came upon two LETS accommodations lists; Holiday LETS and LETS Stay, which we hope to incorporate into the first global LETS accommodations network.
The trip from Bristol to Birmingham was delightful and we saw many fields of brilliant yellow. I inquired as to what it was and learnt it was the new crop of the 20th century rapeseed. Later on in trip I picked up a postcard in a pub that stated: "While oil companies continue to search for new oilfields, we've found a new oil. Since May 1996 every Volkswagen diesel engine has had the capability to run on a derivative of rape-seed oil called Bio-diesel. And, already, pumps dispensing our new fuel are sprouting up all over Germany."
T.O.E.S. conference Grand Hotel, the morning started off with plenary speakers: - Roger Levitt spoke of consumption linked to human development, thoughtful not mindless consumption. How companies can decrease consumption by leasing services. Simon Zadek - widespread poverty can both be increased and reduced through growth based on consumption patterns. The challenge must be therefore to achieve a growing level of consumption-sustainable consumption: Citizens political action, purchasing Power Works and consuming through LETS. This was the only mention of LETS in the whole morning session until the near end when asked how are we going to change things and John yelled out LETS, the speaker said LETS is too small, John asked about a National LETS. I couldn't help but observe that Simon Zadek with hand over mouth seemed to delight in this exchange.
Later in day we broke up to attend different workshops to get the maximum coverage. I attended Consultation to the Environment with speaker John Adams. I found it very interesting 1) Eco efficiency, Transport services supplied by large companies for their employees, sustainable goods and services.
John attended the Sustainable Local Economics workshop and after introducing himself to Ed Mayo (NEF) was given an opportunity to make a brief presentation on LETS. On leaving I was informed that Diana Schumacher had attended John's session. Again, I had met Diana on my previous trip to England and looked forward to seeing her. Diana is extremely well-known as an avid networker in the environmental movement, who has developed the concept of Local Trading Bonds to regenerate the business community. In her capacity as an international public lecturer, she uses every opportunity to promote LETS as the way for local communities to organize themselves. We both delighted in seeing each other and she introduced me to Duncan Smith, one of the original co-founders of T.O.E.S. She also mentioned she thought John's presentation was very good. It was great seeing you Diana and I hope your broken ankle is on the mend.
That night we stopped at a B.&.B. run by Sarah and James Hill an Irish couple with 5 children, it was called San Roque Hotel. Contact No. 021 454 3962, 18 Stirling Road, Edgbaston. We enjoyed our stay there and the hospitality was great, right down to watching Coronation Street with two of the boys. Thankyou Sarah and James.
While we were at the B and B, I contacted Sister Dorothy Peart who lives in Birmingham, we chatted on the phone and she told me she had Patricia Knox with her, someone else I had met at the Crewe Conference last year. We made arrangements to meet up the next day for the remainder of the conference.
The day started out at St. Martins Church the Bullring. Bishop Peter Selby, author of Grace and Mortgage, ISBN 0-232-52170-0 which mentions John's mathematics is listed on the posters as a speaker but we're told that he was not going to be speaking.
The first speaker Rev. Lorry Green, Bishop of Bradwell, told us" Jubilee" comes from old Testament, it means blow the trumpets. Debt is a nasty four letter word, means what do I owe? - How can I pay back? Last but not least, when we recited the Lords prayer, he had the proper Scottish version, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors something" that has been changed in newer Bibles to "trespasses" or "sins." Martin Dent worked in Nigeria, was the co-founder of Jubilee 2000 in 1990. Church of my Patron Saint (Martin) who said to "share". His message: Jubilee the Lord's forgiveness, preach good tidings to the poor. You can't play fast and loose with debt. The burden of owing makes people complacent - why should I do anything? work-help-share? It will only be taken from me to pay a fraction of what I owe. "Rejoicing goes with compassion." Islam 279 2nd chapter, "If your debtor is having problems forgive him his debt." All the other speakers Jennie Park, MP, Bill Peters another co-founder of Jubilee 2000, Archbishop TuTu, delivered a powerful message, Abolish Debt Slavery.
We all had to part ways from St. Martins, Sister Dorothy and Patricia, John and I all had to split up to get back to Grand Hotel. John had spoken with David Boyle who had agreed to let John join the local currencies palen but had to cancel his presentation leaving John alone. Although it was short notice 10 people showed up. It was held in the Windsor Room No. 3. One person who showed only to hand out literature was Dominic Dibble, a young man that Robin Johannsen had used in his video tape: LETS Another Economy. I was amazed John recognized him immediately. Too bad he had to leave for another workshop.
Then it was off to Room 22 in the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI). B.M.I. has been at the heart of Birmingham's educational and cultural life for nearly 150 years. One of its early Presidents was the novelist Charles Dickens. This was a glorious building and you could sense a great place of learning.
We were to attend a workshop Interest Free Money panel put on by Sabine Kurjo-McNeill. Unfortunately Sabine was unable to attend due to illness and in her stead it was chaired by John Courtneidge who wrote a leaflet called "Abolish Usury." At one point we were asked what action we could take to bring light to L.E.T.S. and an alternate currency when Sister Dorothy Peart blurted that we should batter the Queen. However funny this may sound, the group was excited about the prospects and started to elaborate on how and when bring LETS to her attention. I am sure Dorothy will keep on track with this one. Dorothy is dedicated to LETS and the problems usury creates. She created her own comic book story on money which will be reproduced on back of my report, with the aid of 8 year old Ashley Willock who help collate over 200 of these priceless little booklets Dorothy and Patricia Knox handed them out at every opportunity during the conference.
It was then out to join the Jubilee 2000 human chain. As we approached the main area and ran across the square to get in line, I was in awe at the excitement and positive energy I was feeling. The numbers reported ranged from 50,000 to 60,000 in an 8 mile human chain. As we linked hands, the count down 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and then the singing began. It sent shivers down my spine.
I then noticed all the purple gowns of the clergymen parading towards the church. I grabbed my purse and camera and started a mad dash towards them. John took up chase behind me. I wasn't expecting to find Bishop Peter Selby there but went just in case. As John caught up, we were now right beside two clergymen and John asked the nearest one "Do you know Peter Selby?" "He's right here beside me." John looked stunned saying "Bishop Selby, I am John Turmel from Ottawa, Canada." Bishop Selby seemed just as amazed saying "Say it's not so, say it's not so." I said "It is so." They shoock hands and made arrangements to meet under a tree near the church after the ceremonies so could go for a coffee. We retired to the Grand Hotel restaurant where Bishop Selby told us how his book "Grace and Mortgage" came about, how things happened for him, getting the useful information fed to him via his brother and the internet, how John's information aided him in completing the book, hence the mention of John's' name in the book and how he then won a grant that gave him the financing to publish the book and not till all was put together, learned that the publisher had actually used for the book's front cover a painting of a temple that had been built to atone for the sin of usury. It was a great exchange, then we walked Peter down to his train station. It was a real experience considering Bishop Selby was not even supposed to be there. He had been asked to speak, but because he had prior engagements he was unable to attend morning session and they had not confirmed with him before putting his name on the posters.
We then met up with Sister Dorothy and Patricia, we had decided because we have just over an hour to spare that we would take our luggage to Dorothy's house, drop it off and return for the afternoon sessions at the B.M.I. A fast jump in the cab and we were there, we met Sister Agnes briefly, said see you later, back in cab. We again split up. John attended Richard Kay's: "The Kay Tax" session and Dorothy, Patricia and I attended something a little lighter to do with children called the Woodcraft Folk, an educational movement for children and young people designed to develop self confidence and activity in society with the aim of building a world based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation.
Campaigning against child labour worldwide. The children learn and take action on behalf of the children in other countries. Children were actually taken to sites in Vadodora, India to witness first hand for themselves the hazardous working conditions, such as that in the glass industry, where children blow the molten glass; due to long working days, many are burnt and maimed. We had missed part of the session but enjoyed what we did get to hear.
Back to the Grand Hotel for closing plenaries, groups were formed in circles and each group picked one person to be spoke person for their group. We had a Green councillor, Alan? so sorry I lost this man's last name and address. He, however, did get to mention on behalf of our group the course of action we would like to be taken: development of National LETS.
After that Richard Kay, Amanda, Dorothy, Patricia, John and I headed towards Birmingham City Centre, it had been barricaded off the whole time for the world leaders, but now was opened up for us to walk through. Being a warm day and having a bit of time before all had to go different ways we decided on ice cream and a bit of a chat. I noticed a sign outside with all the countries listed and the mileage to them, figured this would be as good a place for a photo opp. Took photos, then proceed across centre. We got Patricia running only by split seconds onto her train going one way, then Richard and Amanda departed. We then went for out bus to go back to Dorothy's and also caught that just in the nick of time.
Sister Agnes was busy preparing rice. We got set up in the little flat that Dorothy had arranged for us. We later went over to her flat and had a wonderful meal all together and chit chatted about the events of the day with Agnes. Agnes 85 at one point needed more onions in the preparation of the meal and she amazed me when she pulled out her bicycle to head off to the store. We all enjoyed the meal. Then Dorothy took us out to her garden which sustains them in vegetables year round. She had a worm garden under bags of compost. She showed me how she put down rows of carpet and would pull weeds, put under carpet and then this would be the fertile earth for the following year to plant in. It was all wonderful knowledge and loving gardening as I do, I appreciated learning these new tricks. We then all went to kitchen to do washing up, the kitchen chatter was fast, exciting, changing from Health, Politics, Religion back to health, this is when Dorothy spoke to us about her pamphlet on Auto Urine Therapy that she developed in conjunction with Dr. Beatrice Bartnett, D.C., N.D. I have also reproduced this booklet in back of report. Many on our trip know of the procedure and swear by it.
The following day we were on the 1 P.M. coach to Bristol, armed with a bag of Sister Agnes power cookies and delightful sandwiches prepared by Dorothy we were to change to a Plymouth bus, but on our arrival we were informed the Plymouth bus had already departed. Hello Jerry Varhman to the rescue having another yet great night with Jerry listening to his music in his studio, going out for a nice meal. Up early, did a couple of hours of gardening for Jerry, then back down to the coach station. Bus ride to Plymouth was breathtaking. Lots of beautiful coastline, boats, flowers. We changed buses to Falmouth. On arrival Rob Follet met us at bus, we went to an Irish Pub, then up to the Maverick Cafe to meet Ian and Andrea, our Hosts. We all then went to Seven Star Pub where another LETser, Peter, was having a pint. Took photos. Then off to the Pandora Inn where we met up with Lorely and Kate, more LETsers. Had a couple of beers, then agreed to meet the next day 7 P.M. to dance the Donga with the Gypsies.
At Ian and Andrea's it was straight to bed, all were exhausted. Next day Andrea took us up to the Green Centre which is run by the locals attached to school, children also involved in composting, gardening doing art projects with leftovers. They have put together a beautiful information library on environmental projects, gardening etc. where people can come and learn. We again learned a lot ourselves. Andrea then drove us all around the coast line. We stopped and tried some famous cornish ice cream. Russian ship with 3 masts in harbour. We just took in the day, beautiful weather and flowers like I've never seen before. I said: Cornwall has to be Eden. I then left John and went with Lorely and daughter Rea into Truro and hit all the second hand shops. I was in my glory. Later that evening it was up to Jacob's Ladder Pub to do the Donga dance. These young people barter dancing lessons and entertainment for their food and drink. It was a really good night and then we drove Rob home said our goodbyes.
Next morning Andrea drove us to the bus. On the drive I was enchanted by the tree-arched lanes, wild flowers, pink, yellow buttercups, bluebells in mass groups. Very picturesque. I soon won't forget beautiful Falmouth and all you beautiful folk that took care of us and showed us a great time, thank you all.
On May 21st, 8:25 a.m. on the bus, then train to Shropshire to visit with William and Deborah Croom-Johnson LETSers in Shropshire in their beautiful farm house built in 1650. William picked us up at station Craven Arms station and we had a pleasant ride to his retreat. We again were treated like royalty and had a most delightful session. William is the one that introduced us to HOLIDAY LETS we signed on with him to receive a copy. For those of you interested in taking part of Holiday LETS or receiving the listing with instructions can contact William Croom-Johnson, Highfield, Horderley, Craven Arms, Shropshire, SY7 8HP 01588 672436. We were able to spread the word which delighted many and I know that Peter Woodhead and Shirley Quinn via Tariq will be obtaining the list. We will connect Jerry Varhman and William in hopes that they can work on the Global LETS accommodations network together somewhere in the near future. Thankyou William and Deborah for being such a gracious host and hostess.
May 22 back in Birmingham. The Vote for Peace in Ireland today. Sister Dorothy was leaving for a retreat and almost missed us but we were on time and she still insisted on making us a lunch before leaving. We were exhausted so had decided on a down day. John slept and read papers, while I proceeded to clip Dorothy and Agnes's hedge and do some gardening, again what I love to do. Walked up to City Centre to get John's glasses fixed, he had sat on them. Picked up some fixings to dinner. Agnes was out and about most of the day but on her return, we made made several calls to line up our next events.
The bus left Birmingham at 3:30 and got in Halifax at 7:30 P.M. John Thomas was there to greet us. We took our gear up to his flat over the Nat/West Bank, sat around, had some pizza and beer, then over to the Upper George Pub across street. Kath Briggs worked until 10 and she was meeting us there. Monday was a Bank Holiday and the Pub was packed out so we went outside to wait for Kath. A couple sat at table beside us and John Thomas introduced Maureen and Paul. We later found out that Paul was Kath's Ex and father of David and Andrew, her two youngest. It was a wonderful experience to see these adults all still able to get along well and share in life experiences with each other and the children. We had a wonderful night. Next day Kath, David (8yr old), Sam the dog and I headed to Manorheath Park to see the Tropical Gardens. Then off to Kath's parents to pick up Andrew (4 YR. Old). The 11 year old twins were busying themselves painting the livingroom. They had basically decorated the whole house since I was last there and what a fine job they've done. It was great spending time with the children.
Ken Palmerton had just arrived before I left with Kath, so the boys were around the round table setting up maneuvers for the next couple of days. Then things really started to move and shake, one thing just led to another then another and we didn't get out of Halifax for 9 days. During that time, we pulled off two meetings at the Dusty Miller Pub in Mytholmroyd, a night stay with Ken Palmerton and a couple of meetings at his home. 2 day trips out to Bradford interspersed was a 40th Birthday party of Paul and a night out at the Super 6 pub.
John Thomas in Halifax, Calderdale is a real money reform keener and immediately helped prepare for meeting at Mytholmroyd. He invited Calderdale Councillors, Green and LETS activists and various monetary reformers. About 16 people attended including one Calderdale Council Member, a Calderdale Council employee and a couple of Manchester LETS members, one of which is a Manchester Council employee.
After John's presentation a Green European candidate Vivian Smith a Calderdale council worker asked the Councillor, Michael Taylor, if she could be paid 10% of her salary in "Favours", Favours being their alternate currency. The Manchester worker, Jane Wood, later expressed a similar interest. What could he say, but that he'd look into it. The meeting went so well that a second meeting was planned for Saturday afternoon at the same location.
Before then, we stayed 2 nights with Ken Palmerton, a walking encyclopedia of monetary reform and historical facts. While we were there, a student doing his PhD on LETS came to visit,Chris Hart from Lancaster. We had met at the "campaign for interest-free money" panel at TOES 98. He had set up several LETS in previous years and wanted a more complete history of the money reform movement. Ken provided that wealth of information and John chipped in. To prepare for the second Mytholmroyd meeting, John Thomas took a letter he had received from Calderdale Council where they responded that they spent 12 million pounds servicing debt last year and added at the bottom: 12 million pound? 1 million pounds a month? The answer to this dilemma is overleaf. PUBLIC NOTICE LETS provides interest free currency to its members which frees up sterling to pay down the debt. If Calderdale Council could use its LETS account (YES, Calderdale Council has opened an account) to pay for part of its usual expenses, sterling would be freed up to pay off the debt in the very same way. John"THE ENGINEER" Turmel, consulting engineer and financier of the LETS software, will be speaking on optimal use of the LETS to fund government services and pay down public debt at the: Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd at 1 p.m. on Saturday May, 30th, 1998. All interested in LETS as a solution to public and private debt are invited to attend. Sustainable economics at is best.
John Thomas then took this notice and dropped them off in 60 mail slots down at Calderdale Council. He called the Halifax Courier and arranged for an interview with Claire Lomax, then hit the phones.
That night, we met an emedia musician, Shack, Shackleton Rothwell, at Pub 6, and after John used the 4 minute Plates poem and the 2 minute interest poem to make him understand how paying for people service is worth it but paying for debt service is not, Shack was eager to attend which he did and taped the whole 75 minute presentation to put it on CD. If you wonder what the Turmel Toes 98 LETS show was about, copies may be obtained for 10 Pound from: 1 Holly Ivy Cottage, Saville Park, Halifax, Yorkshire, HX1 3EN, tel: 01422-365-146. When we get out copy we will transcribe it and post it on the net.
At the Saturday meeting, we met Rachael Tibbett, another student doing a Phd on LETS and Alternative currencies with Ken's support. As promised, I left our last 3 mission reports behind for Rachael to see samples of different currencies and how the LETS groups are growing and what is being done. We also had a couple of Councillors from Calderdale and Hebdenroyd.
At the end of John's presentation, Calderdale Councillor Ed Waller mentioned that his wife used to participate in a kind of LETS by using their tokens in a babysitting circle. He's one who doesn't have any problem understanding how LETS works. Hebdenroyd Councillor Les Siddall mentioned that he had already been thinking of how LETS could be applied by the municipality.
Helen Hunt was in attendance from Forum for the Future, the Green movement think tank who set up shop to study Calderdale because of the success of their LETS. By the way, John recently transcribed and posted the article announcing the 200,000 Pound funding for the Forum printed in the Halifax Courier.
Our last stop was in Bradford, only 10 miles from Calderdale with an excellent train services between Halifax and Bradford. We visited with Tariq Shabbeer and his wife Nighat "Nicki", plus family and friends. Nicki has already been a Green candidate in a recent election and is ready to try again.
The next day we met with Tariq again in his office where he introduced us to the six other members of their economic development team. Within the Bradford Council Building it was so uplifting to see a whole unit working on LETS, posters and maps on walls indicated where members were plus lots of LETS information.
One poster in particular caught our eye: LETS GIVE OURSELVES CREDIT AT BRADFORD FESTIVAL
Bradford's residents will come together at the Bradford Festival to promote and celebrate two community finance initiatives from Friday June 26th to Sunday June 28th, 1998. The initiatives are local credit unions and LETS, they allow people to buy goods and services with little or no money.
The event "LETS GIVE OURSELVES CREDIT" is part of the Bradford festival and will be in Centenary Square from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.
Bradford LETS allows communities to exchange goods and services with each other through local currency systems with credits equivalent to the pound. No interest is charged or paid on LETS accounts and there is no penalty for going "overdrawn".
Explains Councillor Tony Cairns, Chair of the Economic Strategy Subcommittee, LETS fosters trust-building and self-esteem in communities.
Added Councillor Ralph Berry, Chair of the Community Development committee, "The LETS system is effective because everyone can participate. Examples of things people can offer include local lifts, tuition, food, childminding, ironing and joinery. As long as it's legal you can trade it through LETS. Since everyone receives an immediate 50 credits, credit can take place straight away."
For more information call Tariq Shabeer or Anthony Barzey.
Attached are the actual documents that can be filled in to obtain a government grant to set up a lets in your community. The form is called "Revenue Business Support Measures and R & D Application for Assistance. While we were actually sitting is Tariq's office, another officer handed over an item on LETS that he'd just received from a UK government bulletin and which Tariq has already noted on econ-lets:
UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. http://www/regeneration detr.gov.uk/cbrl/annexa.htm
Community-Based Regeneration Initiatives A Working Paper
Annex A: Examples of community-based regeneration activities 1) Credit Unions 2)Microcredit 3)Community loan funds 4) Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) 5) Community Enterprise 6) Development Trusts 7) Managed workspace 8) Community shops and pubs
4) Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS)
LETS allows members to trade goods or services without conventional money using a local credit or "currency". LETS tend to provide a directory with brief descriptions of offers and needs, cheque books, an accounting system and statements to members.
At Stroud in Gloucestershire, nearly 500 of the 15,000 residents are members of a LETS scheme. Transactions are settled with a printed chequebook dealing in the Stroud Pound and completed cheques are added to or subtracted from a members' account. Members often pay partly in cash, usually to cover raw materials that cannot be bought through the systems. Members of the scheme include local restauranteurs, architects, babysitters, gardeners and seamstresses.
Ithica USA runs a highly successful LETS. The Ithica Hour is sold as currency exchangeable for services by barter of labor or goods reckoned by the hour. Where the Ithica LET differs from the other LETS is in its issue of its own currency and loans. In five years, the 5,000 units of paper money issued by the scheme, accepted by more than 300 businesses have changed hands to the value of $2 million." ---
Tariq then treated us to lunch at Bradford University restaurant run by the students that also took 50% payment in Brads. We picked up the sterling, Tariq picked up the Brads. It was wonderful health food cafe.
Tariq then took us around to meet Shirley Quinn, arguably Bradford's most famous LETer. Shirley gave me a one week old two page spread from "Take a Break" National Newsmagazine for Women, on May 21st, 1998 by Julie Akhurst. I will include this article in report titled "Death to Money". Though Shirley spends her Brads every chance she gets, she's still earned a large positive balance and what she said she wanted most was to use her Green for accommodations so she can take on travel she could never afford on Sterling. She was pleased to hear about Holiday LETS. She attended John's presentation at the Bradford Council, after he had explained that if the mayor accepted Tariq's offer to take 10% of his pay in Green and everyone in town started taking his Green too, they would accept the the Green Shirley earned too. "Shirley the active LETS middle income-pensioner, shouted jubilantly. "And I'll be rich."
Special mention for Francis and Susan Scheuer. Francis attended one of John's meetings at Dusty Miller Pub and loaned up a copy of a book called LETS WORK ISBN1-899233-008 by Peter Lang of UK Malvern LETS. John rated it highly. The following day, Frances brought Susan around to meet us. Susan is a natural healer-councellor and gave me a Reiki session targeting my head, neck and shoulders, it was a wonderful experience and felt very healing. We received your most welcomed letter and photo. Again, thank you Frances and Susan.
Again, all I can say to each and every participant in our 1998 mission that made it such a success: Bless you all, keep strong and well and keep pushing forward. It is happening and you are all a part of history in the making.
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