Monday, August 28, 2006


Dear Family and Friends,

When I was walking through the Karen hills I thought about you, my wife and kids, and all the things I missed, like cars... But what I thought about the most was possible solutions to the madness of the war in Burma. I never came up with one good one. I witnessed a baby die from malaria, later I saw footage of the same child playing healthy and happy just one week before. If there had been proper medical care the child would still be doing the same. I could do nothing. I thought why can't these people have hospitals? Once we slept in a village where all those who could run had, the only person left was a half-blind old lady who was too weak to run and refused to leave. Her bamboo house was decrepit and I recall her sweeping it out for us to sleep. I thought it would surely break if we all laid on it's rotten floors, but it didn't. I looked at her face and felt a miserable pain inside me. I could do nothing to help her. At times it made me want to just ignore the problems and look forward to being home, where things are predictable and problems are easy to fix. But it never escaped me, I saw too many faces of people I felt I could love. Since being home I have made no more progress on a solution to the war in Karen State. But I continue to help in video and any practical way I can. One foot in front of the other.

The other day I heard that hundreds of refugees from Karen State are going to America. I imagined those people that I had met in the jungle living on rocks and bamboo walking downtown Portland. Strange indeed, but it's going to happen. I had hope that if those people have a chance to make things work they may be the ones who can help with real solutions for their people back home. If America has anything left in her heritage of being a land of open arms to immigrants, I pray she opens her arms to these people. If you can do anything please do. Contact Catholic Services in your area regarding volunteering to help these people get settled.