I know it’s been a long time since we’ve written a personal email to you. 2012 has been an exciting year as well as one filled with transitions.
Early January found Curt and I in Asia visiting the Thirst-Aid projects and staff as well as the New Myanmar. The change in the people’s attitudes was already noticeable. Let’s hope they make their transition toward democracy and an open economy peacefully.
Late January found us in somewhat of a quandary. After months of planning for a new project in Uganda and after months of hearing “Don’t worry, the funding is a foregone conclusion”, we learned that in fact, it wasn’t. Disappoint would be an understatement. Devastation was perhaps a more appropriate word. So we did what we’ve often done in the past when faced with unexpected obstacle.
In February we climbed on “O” our trusty tandem and took a bike tour in Thailand, revisiting the tsunami area as well as stopping in to see some old friends and supporters. The bike tour gave us the time to put some perspective on Thirst-Aid and to clean out a few cobwebs that had begun growing between our ears. We returned to Myanmar with renewed energy and purpose to encourage the team to follow their visions instead of relying on ours and decided that perhaps the canceling of the Ugandan project was a blessing in disguise.
In March we returned to the US to reconnect with our daughters and granddaughters as well as welcome Zoe Rae, the newest addition to our family. Curt began working in the private sector as a means to acclimate to life in the US and as he often puts it, as “therapy for too many years in the non-profit world”.
In April I said goodbye to my mom who died peacefully in her sleep at 88. And we were honored to have Eddy Pijpstra the creator of our first website “Bamboo Bikes” and one of our oldest supporters visit us from Holland. I also began my part-time job as Zoe’s grananny, one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had.
And now it’s May, our garden is growing and our backyard is ready for visitors.
In case you were wondering Thirst-Aid is still a huge part of our lives. In Myanmar the projects are being run and managed with great aplomb by our staff. Besides keeping the day to day operations and projects going, Toe Toe is designing Community Health Fairs that she’ll begin introducing this summer in village tracks around Mandalay, Yohar has designed a display stand and advertising so he can test the filter retail market in Yangon and Mandalay, Aung Aung continues to work with the filter producers to make improvements to the filters and Sandy is getting ready to launch PHEP (Primary Health and Education Project) the program she created. For our part, we keep the day to day communications with staff, funders, and partners.
As always we want to thank you all for your support not only for Thirst-Aid but to Curt and I, we could not do what we do without all of you.
Thanks, Curt, Cathy and the Thirst-Aid Myanmar Team.