Yet another day of "getting ready." Megan helped with loading the Lexmark printer driver into the new laptop and setting up a hotmail account. We both worked at trying to change the aol account so that Megan is the primary, and then I will drop my account. Our experience is that it can't be done! We both tried via the computer with no results; I tried by phone and was told by individuals with very broken English that I should try on the computer. We may solve the problem tomorrow by switching Megan's account to Comcast and then cancelling out on aol. What fun!

I have my "marching orders." I will leave here on September 14 for Chicago and an afternoon and evening with Tom and Anna, and then the next morning check in at a downtown hotel for the staging setup, leaving there the evening of September 17 for Bishkek via London. With a two hour layover in London, and probably an hour refueling stop in Baku, it is 18 hours to go half-way around the world. That is certainly better than 50 years ago when it took 36 hours from Travis AFB to Tokyo.
     posted by Charles at 3:24 PM  |  

I'm all packed, and have a new laptop. And it's still three weeks until I leave! Slight change of travel orders: I will leave here on September 14, spend a day in Chicago with Tom and Anna, and then report in for orientation on the 15th. I should arrive in Bishkek at 0430 on the 19th of September.
     posted by Charles at 6:17 PM  |  

Chose the biggest Barnes & Noble in the Twin Cities Metro yesterday and purchased three paperbacks--one in anthropology, one in literature and one in economics. Not sure that is the end of the purchases, although it is almost the end of the packing space. The luggage is pretty well packed; bulk items are going to have to be left behind--winter bathrobe, for example.
     posted by Charles at 8:30 AM  |  

Why am I doing this, anyway? There are three reasons for the basis of it:
1. As a Quaker, I am against physical intervention in any situation; there are always non-violent means to peace--between people, between nations. They need to be explored more fully; the Peace Corps is such an opportunity.
2. Over the years I have been given much; it is time that I give something in return.
3. In a three year period my daughter and I have become almost "attached at the hip." We need a period of separation so that we each can develop our own lives, singlely, more fully.
     posted by Charles at 10:57 AM  |  

Most pre-planning is done, and purchases made. Becoming a Peace Corps volunteeer is not either cheap or easy. Picture the immediate expense of a two year supply of clothing (including long underwear! and a good sleeping bag in the event you waken to find the heat has gone off and you have just frozen to death), a two year supply of razor blades, shaving cream, batteries for the flashlight to be used to meet assorted power outages, for the short wave radio so that you can keep in touch through BBC and CBC, a laptop which will be used on the job along with a small printer, herbs and spices (I refuse to stop being a gourmet cook; watch out for a meal when I get back!), books to be used on the job plus books for pure entertainment...and it all has to fit in two suitcases plus a carry-on plus a brief case!

Now all that I have left to do is get rid of a twelve year old car, give away a computer, transfer all kinds of bills to Megan's name, and tell all the people I know, "farewell."
     posted by Charles at 5:20 PM  |  

We are busy getting Charles ready to leave for the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan. With 6 weeks notice, it has been a little hectic but things are coming together. Invites to the open house went out this week so we should be able to have ourselves a party on 6 Sept.
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 11:47 AM  |  


Charles In