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Family Newsletter - November 1999


Past Issues: 1998 June July August September October Nov/Dec 1999 Jan/Feb March/April May June July Sept

From: Fran and Ken

Fran, Ken, Daniel and Loren all joyously welcome the arrival of....

REBECCA LAN MARTENS FRIESEN

Vital Stats:
Born: September 1, 1999
Brought Home from Orphanage: October 6, 1999
Current Weight: 4.35 kilos / 9.5 lbs
Current Height: 58 cm. / 18.5 inches
Home page:
http://pages.whowhere.lycos.com/travel/kenandfran/rebecca-lan.html

Lan (rhymes with dawn) means 'orchid' in Vietnamese


From: Betty

Here is a picture of our Dahl family taken at the Hiebert family reunion. (Susan is taking the picture. We'll need to add her to the group with Photoshop! - Jo)

Dahl Family


From: Jo

We have a traveling family! Paul is just back from conferences in Brazil. He says he saw the Iguassu Falls, which is shown in the film MISSION. This Falls is about twice as big as Niagra and is made up of about 270 distinct falls around a broad rim, one of which is about as big as Niagra. Paul says that is spectacular. Welcome back, Paul!

Eloise and Bria went to South Africa during the last part of October. Phyllis left for Viet Nam this last week. While Ken at the celebration in India, Phyl will be with Fran, Daniel, Loren and little Rebecca Lan. Nikhil is busy traveling all over Nepal (see report below).

Pete would like to know if any of you have a good recipe for Chai Tea. Loey? Phyl?

Thought I should add another picture of John and Gentry, since you're not around and I can't show you the 50+ pictures we've taken lately!

Gentry/John in Car

We're beginning to get messages from folks who've found our family webpage. Below is a message we received from Patricia Hiebert, from Manitoba (email address: ). This is a follow-up to her first message, which she sent to all of you. If any of you know anything about this branch of Hieberts, could you let me know? Elmer, our Canadian connection? Thanks. - Jo

(From Patricia Hiebert)...Re: our common ancestry. I took a Mennonite History course through the U of Winnipeg, and my prof led a tour group to South Russia in 1991. It was a month before the coup and quite tense. We visited all the places where the Mennonites settled - I even saw a "Wiebe" head marker in the cemetery. Unfortunately, there are not alot of Mennonites left in that area. I also have quite a few relatives in S. America that are fairly conservative.

I traced our name to Aachen, Germany originating in the 1500's. Of course, it was spelt different. Do any of your siblings speak Low German? Manitoba has a very large population of Mennonites (~100,000).

Growing up in India - wow. That would have been an experience. A friend of mine grew up in Africa as a missionary kid. How did you all manage being so fair? I noticed briefly in your photos that the majority of you are blonde. We're quite blonde too and red hair from the Wiebes.

Thank you for the info on the addresses of your family members. I'll contact them soon on their findings. I'm interested in finding out if we originated from the Chortizer Colony. My job keeps me away from home ALOT (flight attendant), so I've got very limited time on my hands. Thank you again, Jo.

Patricia Hiebert


From: Loey

Gary and I have accepted offers to be the physics and computer teacher (Gary) and the business mgmt and economics teacher (Loey) at Kodai as of July 1. So we have let IBM know that they will be losing two of their most valuable employees (just after I got my certification as a program manager!) the end of January. Then we'll finish packing the house, head to the Bahamas with the kids, and finally off to Asia. We plan to spend May with Nikhil in Nepal and then to Kodai and our new adventure in June. We are going to buy a digital camera - my birthday $$ will go towards that - and will send regular e-mails with pictures of the new Kodai. We hope to see lots of you there.

Here is a section of an e-mail from Nikhil. He is now at his post in the mountains of Nepal - a two day hike from the nearest bus station, without electricity or running water. But he is having a wonderful time and wouldn't trade it - or so he says.

Excerpts from Nikhil's messages:

well, lets see. where do we start. oh, well i've been at post for a month. no electricity and no running water. my school is a heap of mud and dung molded into somewhat rectangular solids within which we have class. my 5th grade is a nice 20 kids, my 7th grade is about 30, 9th is about 50 and 6th is about 90.

my village is nice. small and pretty. i wake up, sit on my porch, listen to music, have tea and biscuits brought to me on a tray, look at the hills, and then read a book. peace corps after all is "the hardest job [I'll] ever love". so to release all the tension of intense work at post i get to hang out in kathmandu at the embassy land where we have tennis courts, a swimming pool, showers with hot water, american food (but at american prices), basketball courts, and people who speak english. its heaven. getting there on the other hand was a very different story.

i told the teachers at my school that i was going to go to kathmandu by hiking to hile, a very pretty mountain town on the road. so my headmaster said he would hike with me. what i thought was going to be a fantastic hike through the foothills of eastern nepal's himalayas turned into living hell. i ran out of water, i hiked up a slope that would have had an elevator in the u.s., and the only food i had accessible on the hottest day in the history of earth was a nice steamy pan of rice and still boiling lentils (a.k.a. daal bhat which i have eaten twice a day every day for somewhere around 16 weeks now). i drank frooti instead. i slept on a sheet on the dung floor of a beer shop the first night and was interrupted nonstop by nepalis who had never seen a sleeping bag and were wondering what it was being used to store. needless to say, i didnt sleep. 2 days and 18 hours of hiking later i arrived at hile. ive been on vacation now for 4 days, one and a half of which have been spent in kathmandu looking absolutely amazed at coke that comes in cans and food without mold and stores that glow like they have lanterns that dont ever burn out.

(Later message:)

well, just came back from langtang and it was absolutely amazing. the hike up was beautiful and parts reminded me of the appalachians and parts of the rockies - with the exception of the twenty some thousand foot peaks looming above us in every direction. i think the highest one was mt. langtang something or other and was about 25,000 feet. they were all awesome. we started at 4,800 and ended 2 and a half days later at 12,800. i got sick the third day so the hiking was much slower but i got better just in time to hike down in 2 days of rain. on the way up i was having some problems with my belly button. i thought maybe my waist strap from my pack was rubbing it the wrong way. so a few hours later i decide to check to see if it's getting red from all the rubbing and wouldnt you know it - it wasnt the buckle after all. it was a huge tick. it hadnt gotten any blood yet - im not sure about the anatomy of the belly button but im betting there isnt a whole lot of blood flowing around it. i didnt really know what to do so i would have just kept going had it not been for benjamin. he pulled out his lighter and his leather man and decided he was going to burn it out. of my belly button. my life flesh and skin. so he shot a few bursts of fire in and managed to synge all my tummy hair and eventually got the tick. then he pulled out his pliers and grabbed the thing (still alive and digging around for blood) and yanked and yanked until the thing finally came out. it was exhausting but i have pictures to document it. all in all though the trek was great. ive decided that the day god made nepal he also must have made women and chocolate and football and all the other things i like. its really pretty.

so the bus ride back was a load of fun too. when the bus came benjamin and i got the extra special seats that are usually reserved only for the nepalis. but since we could speak nepali so well they let us sit there too. these seats, of course, are the seats located in the luggage rack on the top of the bus. we got to choose our seat from 20 or 30 finely crafted backpacks. in case of an emergency the packs also double as ejector seats. they also came with a refreshing mountain breeze at 7 a.m. as the bus barrelled down what in the u.s. would be a 4 wheel drive road but in nepal is a highway. after a while of that we had to go back down to the regular person cabin and got seats up with the bus driver. we learned a lot. there is actually much i have realized we have in the states that is really unnecessary for driving. for example, a sun shade for blocking out light when driving towards the sun. the road is probably still in front of you so why spend the extra rupees just to make sure? also, on mountain roads if the road is no longer right in front of you youll find out soon enough (usually by balls of flame and the 3 Gs of force caused by the bus rolling down the mountain). but what they do have in nepal that we really need in america is plastic toy men placed in tin boxes with toothpicks sticking out. these are placed in the front and prevent anything bad from happening. on our 120 km 13 hour trip we were gauranteed a safe arrival. at the speeds we were going had we hit anything we wouldnt have even known it. it reminded me of a cheech and chong movie: "how's my driving?" " i think we're parked".

but we are safe and sound in kathmandu. i leave this afternoon for post and get to lug my back back across the wonderful trail back to post. can't wait.

Don't forget: Nikhil can be reached by mail at:
Nikhil Jaisinghani N/189
c/o American Peace Corps
G.P.O. Box 613
Kathmandu, Nepal