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Ethiopia’s Simien National Park Faces Challenges

View of Simien National Park from Plateau The approach to Simien National Park from Debark, Ethiopia on a newly constructed gravel road is, at first, one filled with jagged mountain tops and plateaus.   But upon encountering the plunge into valleys below, only our Grand Canyon seems comparable. Created by massive erosion, the layers of mountains,… Read more »

Celebrating Meskel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with young Rotarians

Bonfire built in center of Meskel Square In Ethiopia, the word meskel has a triple meaning.  It refers to a beautiful yellow daisy that blooms in September.    Flying into Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, fields of the golden flowers were visible from the air.  On a spiritual level, meskel means cross in Ge’ez, the ancient language… Read more »

Rolling Stones Concert – Fifty Three Years of Performing Hasn’t Dimmed the Excitement

Official T-shirt of the 2015 Tour After arriving at the nearest subway station, we approached the Bobby Dodd Stadium by foot.  It was early.  Very early.   Summer showers had cleared the air providing a respite from the Atlanta summer heat. A steady stream of fellow earlybirds walked quickly with us, as if the music were… Read more »

McAlester, Oklahoma Deserves a Stop

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Masoni Temple’s large auditorium where Plays of Initiation are held   Two highways skirt the edges of McAlester, Oklahoma, 100 miles north of Paris, and few travelers slow down except as required by stoplights.  Yet, this town of 18,000 inhabitants owns a surprising history full of railroad construction, Indian Territory rights, coal mines, Masonic presence, Italian… Read more »

A Peace Corps Family

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In front of church in Antigua, ,Guatemala School event in Chimazat, Guatemala  I’ve never been in the Peace Corps.  It was tempting but my oldest brother beat me to it, getting posted to Ecuador in 1973.   A niece joined in 2004, our son in 2006, another niece in 2008, and the first niece again in… Read more »

Easter in New Orleans

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Trinity Episcopal ChurchGarden District of New Orleans Millions of revelers flow through New Orleans for Mardi Gras at Lent’s beginning but far fewer join festivities when the penitential season ends at Easter.  Yet at the Pasqual celebration, weather is better, gardens fuller and a different kind of hat rules – the Easter bonnet.  It was… Read more »

Mardi Gras in Shreveport or Confessions of a Mardi Gras Bead Newbie

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Brad Graff, King of Gemini XXIV Parade Queen of Gemini Parade The idea of joining 1.5 million revelers in New Orleans for Mardi Gras made this slightly claustrophobic traveler nervous.  However, experiencing similar parades in Shreveport with more locals than tourists was appealing. I just wasn’t prepared to be caught up in the bead mania…. Read more »