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Family Newsletter - May/June 2000

Past Issues: 1998 June July August Sept Oct Nov/Dec 1999 Jan/Feb March/April May June July Sept/Oct Nov/Dec 2000 Jan/Feb Mar/Apr

From: All of Us

Fran and Ken are coming to the States with their three little ones--Daniel, Loren and Rebecca Lan. This will be their daughter's first visit here. She'll get to meet her grandparents and some of her aunts, uncles and cousins. Welcome to America, Rebecca Lan!

Rebecca Lan at 3 months

Phyl and Fran in Viet Nam

From: Betty

We spent a weekend with Mike and Cindy in Denver. We brought Mike all his childhood goodies so we can begin to clear out our basement. We could decide to move to a condo and we want to have all the kids' stuff to them since they all own houses. We plan to see Carol and Harlan in June and see their new house.

I am enthused about the step-up in research on Parkinson's Disease. My day will come in not too many years so I work hard at remaining as healthy in body and spirit as I can.

I am enjoying painting, sewing, needlework, writing, etc. Carl is finding retirement better than he thought. He enjoys freedom from pressures of patients. He does the yardwork and seems to enjoy it. I want him to get a gardener and go to the golf course. He also reads on finances every day.

We are enjoying Loey's comments on Nepal. Is there a good book on Nepal?

From: Chris

This August, the Present Company (a theatre company of which I'm a part) will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Our show, American a Absurdum, was selected after it caught the eye of a promoter who came to our backer's audition in New York.

We've had great critical success so far, including a great review from the New York Times:
"... a pair of caustic, hyperarticulate comedies that fan flames of inspiration. Playwright Brian Parks and an expert cast send up American culture in the venomous tradition of Christopher Durang." -- Peter Marks, The New York Times

So now we're off to see what Scotland will think of us. Wish us well.

From: Bria

This summer I have gotten the opportunity to go on a Missions trip to the Dominican Republic in the middle of June. I am really excited and doing the final preparations. I will be down there for 8 days working Bible schools in two different locations. It's going to be so awesome getting to go down to another country and spread God's word. This summer I also get to go to a camp for two weeks in which I will get to climb, cave, and tons of other fun activities. Another highlight of my summer is a 5 day camping trip that me and my mom are still in the midst of planning. I'm hoping to take along my best friend Amy and go camping in Myrtle Beach. Hopefully the trip will come through. This summer is going to be very busy but definitely enjoyable.

From: Gwen

I am teaching summer school until June 20. (Right now I travel to Dallas every day and teach from 4:30-8:30). But the rest of the summer I'll have off and am looking forward to it. We'll go to Buffalo and see Dick's mom for a few days. Then Debbie's twins and Blake arrive for several weeks while Debbie and Nathan go to Australia because Nathan has the honor being on a world-wide soccer team. After that Dick and I want to spend a week getting acquainted with New York City.

The grasshoppers have arrived and I am frantically trying to spray them before they get too large and completely overtake us and the house. I may maim myself with the pesticide before I get them in check.

We make frequent trips to Paris (Texas) to check on the grandchildren and on Jean's country house which they are remodeling. It will have six bathrooms! (How did we ever get by with just one in Reedley??? -Jo)

I got a letter from Irene Wiebe. They have enjoyed the remembrances which we wrote and which I sent to her.

From: Jo

While Loey and Gary trek all over the place, Margy makes plans for another trip to Guatemala and Paul flies here and there, we're busy designing and constructing something for the future generation: Gentry and John's Clubhouse. Frank and I are equal partners on this: I design, he builds. Actually, he thinks a lot and then builds a little and then thinks a lot.... Things get done at a bit faster pace when Pete comes to visit! Gary, now that you're getting used to staying in unusual places, you'd have no trouble sleeping out in the clubhouse. It even has a floor. Just watch your head since it's only a little over 5' high.

Gentry and John's Clubhouse under construction

In class we hatched six little ducklings. It turned out that the ducks had an unusual condition that made the membrane thick and very sticky so the ducklings couldn't get out of the shells by themselves. I had to help five of them out---only one came out on its own....so I felt like a Duckling Midwife! One of them almost didn't make it, and we were all worrying about it. It finally learned to eat, drink water, walk and swim; reminded us of our little tykes in class. We had a lot of fun with them; all the other classes came in to watch them swim and to help name them: Blackie, Quicker Quacker, Spot, Oscar, and Oliver. It was a great inclusion project. Here's a picture of one of my students with the ducklings.

Dylan enjoying our ducklings

Be sure to check out this issue of our family update:
-Margy and Michael put together a great narrative and pictures of their time in Guatemala
-Gwen has a touching story about our return to America during the war
-a story Grandma Hiebert wrote about a little Indian orphan girl
-another neat poem by Barbara
-a Mennonite recipe and an Indian recipe
-the beginning of "The Story of My Life" by C. N. Hiebert, Grandpa N. N. Hiebert's brother; I'm not sure who gave this to me, but it's really interesting. Take a look at the requirements for teaching in those days!
-also, enjoy the Photo-of-the-Month; I found it among Mom's pictures when she died. I love it!

From: Michael

This summer, I will be finishing the last bits and pieces of the 120 hour course work for my C.D.A. equivalency. I have to find a place to volunteer to pick up the 400 hours I need in working with children 8 and under. I already have some places staked out. Thanks to my volunteering at Guatemala last summer, I was allocated 80 hours of the actual 480 that you need.

On to other news. My mom and I have won the battle for me to get SSI. The whole process from start date to the date judgement was successful was about a year and a half.

On the advocacy front, I am still pushing heavily to get the awareness of Asperger's Syndrome out. I am on the computer a lot and that is how I do my communication. It makes me feel so good toactually be able to help people better understand this if their child is diagnosed with AS. The advocacy project I am working on right now is a petition to get awareness of the spectrum out to the two main presidential candidates.

Here is the wording of the petition:

To: Democratic National Committee, Republican National Committee Date: June, 2000
Petition for Autism and Related Disorders

As advocates for persons with developmental disabilities, we believe the issue of autism and related disorders needs to be addressed by both major parties. Issues critical to those suffering from these lifelong developmental disabilities include education, health insurance, employment, social services, and financial security. We, the undersigned, ask that both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates consider including improved services for the developmentally disabled on their election year platforms.

I have until mid-July with this project so anybody that can lend me a hand please contact me at Romepoe@aol.com.

From: Paul

Paul just got back from Manila, where he taught a course to folks who are working with World Vision throughout Asia . It's a course that Eloise has set up through her university. Paul said they spent 8 hours a day talking about cultural differences and ways to deal with poverty, sickness and nonliteracy. He'll be heading to India at the end of June.

Paul had a copy of John N. C. Hiebert's diploma for his Master's degree. Thought you'd enjoy seeing this. It's neat!

J. N. C. Hiebert, Master's Degree in History

From: Loey and Gary

Notes from Loey's email messages:

Hi from Pokara:

WOW!!! We just spent the last week at Nik's village. That involved flying in to a remote mountain village (first flying in to a city on the terrai where the temperature was way over 100 where we stayed overnight). The landing strip was 50 yards of approximately level grass on a mountain side (sloped up if landing and down if taking off) with a fairly precipitous cliff at the end. The plane held about 20 people but was none too new.

From the 'airport' we hiked straight up for an hour to the main village Bhojpur and then up and down for another hour to Bokkim where Niks lives in a Nepali home. Five of us spent the next 4 days in his part of the house - a 10 by 10 room with a lovely view of the countryside (from a 'patio' consisting of 3 planks of wood lying on top of the extended supports). We cooked breakfast on his little kerosene stove and ate noodles for lunch and dinner of lentils and rice in the evening cooked by his family.

We got used to new customs like:
...after Gary and I went to bed in another room in the house the husband came in with the baby and sat down to talk about life...very cozy but fun
...having a bath in a small bath room where the water came from a hose pushed into the door when needed
...determining only that one wanted to eat - not what one wanted to eat as there was no choice --- noodle or not?
...drinking millet beer where you pour hot water into a large wooden can containing fermented millet and drinking the brewed mixture with a large bamboo straw

Back from Kathmandu

We had an interesting 5 days in Pokara - about 7 hours west of Kathmandu by bus. its the point where treks begin and it looks like a mining boomtown of the 1800's in the US west --- no paved roads so the streets are mainly large mudholes with all kinds of shops catering to trekkers along the sides of them (supplies, massage, shaves, restaurants showng movies, adventure tour operators, etc etc.). We actually found a great place run by an x peacecorps volunteer of the 70-s - with a nice garden and right on the Fewa Lake.

From there we hiked up to Sarankot - we took the 'long' way which was 5 hours staight up. Once there we found a hotel for $.90 a night or less than $2 for both rooms - but we made it up in food. The outdoor tables had a thatch roof and overlooked the entire valley and (if clear) the Annapurna range. We didn't get to see the mountains but saw a range about15,000 ft or so. Next day we hiked back and Priya and I did massages while the boys played pool and swam in the lake.

The bus trip back started uneventfully in the rain at 7AM but around 12 we came to a screeching halt along the mountain road -- could see several kilometers of trucks and buses stoppped ahead of us. It turned out that the early monsoon rains had caused a mudslide ahead and cut the road off. At that time there were 4 workers with shovels trying to clear several tons of mud off the road. They had called for a small bulldozer and it had arrived at a village before us - to get it off the flatbead they actually had to build a small hill so it could be driven off. That took a little while..... by the time it was ready all the cars had driven ahead of the neatly lined up trucks and busses and clogged the roadway so it couldn't get through. Anyway-- 5 hours later, during which we found tea, biscuits, noodles, a roadside stream for cooling off, etc., we took off again. By then the amount of traffic on the road was horrendous and it was imperative to keep all limbs inside the bus or they would have been in danger - even elbows. Finally got back to Kathmandu about 13 hours after we started. Great feeling to be back at our hotel.

So... we are all Ok, everyone was a great sport throughout and only minor cases of tummy aches etc. - Loey