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My phone-banking on behalf of Obama is over, final contributions made, my ballot is cast and I’m writing to you from the porch overlooking the bay and the Atlantic in Las Galeras, Republica Dominicana.

It was dry here for several months after we left last Spring and then rained like hell for several more months. The cistern is full and the garden in downright menacing, this even after several days of vicious assault by an apparently very determined Haitian guy wielding a pretty savage machete.

This gonzo gardening was prior to my arrival on Wednesday. I imagine that in a few months you’d never know it happened but for the moment it’s reminiscent of a clear cut in the Pacific Northwest.

The house has fared OK in the storms so far this season and we were not one of several homes that were burgled in Las Galeras during their owner’s extended absence. I attribute this to my neighbor’s vigilance and our pretty consistent effort to assimilate as much as our Fort-Knox-like closure of the house.

As I’m getting things opened and functional it’s apparent that almost everything that spins suffered from an excess of stasis while we were in the US. The pumps, compressors, valves and various motors have all needed encouragement to one degree or another before functioning. Several haven’t come around yet. Fortunately the car started right up.

Our 6 months in the US were interesting and filled with all sorts of revelations, including self-revelations (always the most interesting sort.) On a number of occasions I thought of subjecting you to one or more of these epiphanies but didn’t consider that our tacit agreement about these e-mails is necessarily strong enough to transcend national boundaries. Most of you know that I’m pretty conservative in many of my assumptions like that.

In any event, I’ve made notes over the Spring and Summer and may yet chronicle the progress on my thinking these past 6 months as 2008 has drifted into Fall.

You can count on a Winter’s worth of missives from Las Galeras unless (as always) you elect to opt out. In which case just let me know.

I put together a blog before I left the US, containing all the previous messages from Las Galeras and a few photographs also. But it’s not something I want to introduce until I get better access to the Internet and am able to maintain it reliably from a PC. I look forward to sharing your responses at that time; several of you have been more than memorable in your replies. Until then feel free to e-mail me at this address if the spirit moves you. Otherwise, feel free to lurk as we live our lives and plan for the future.


It’s a good idea to make a visible difference with a first project. Just like working elsewhere.

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