21 January 2018

Refugee Retreat: Downhill Racers

Downhill Racing

The weather was perfect for downhill racing. It was in the 40's, after days of sub-zero temperatures, and the hill was hard and smooth. They raced for hours. they had great fun. They are fearless and tireless. More racing today

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Retreat Wipeout

After Lunch

After lunch yesterday, we were both wiped out. Maria had the good sense to lie down by the window – she can sleep almost anywhere. We were tired, but happy. The retreats after lunch today.

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Retreat: Movie and Dinner, Oh My….

Refugee Retreat

Saturday morning, the soccer team sledded up and down the hills of the Pompanuck Farm Institute, they went for hours, raced, ran up and down hills, and only broke one of the seven sleds. I was exhausted just watching them, Fate ran up and down the hills every time, she belongs with teenaged boys. Gus's tongue was hanging out to the ground and he was panting so hard I brought him inside so he could rest.

In the afternoon, the kids voted to see the new movie "12 Strong" about a team of Army Green Berets sent into Afghanistan after 9/11. They loved the movie (Maria and I veered away to see "Phantom Thread," starring Daniel Day-Lewis, playing in the same theater at the same time – it was wonderful, beautiful and strange.

After the movie, we went to the China Wok in Bennington Vt., where they offered an all-you-can-eat buffet with food, soda and dessert. It was a hit. We had some good discussions about the movie, and several kids appreciated that the movie made clear that not all Muslims are terrorists, a charge they often hear in school from the Native-born American students.

This was the perfect place to take them for dinner, and we had fun sitting with them and talking to them. We are all getting easy with one another.

It was a good movie for them to see and talk about. I was supposed to read some scary stories but was too wiped out at that point to stay up that late, we are heading over to Pompanuck soon to make lunch, award our two fish for the best comments about "Outcasts United",  (please do not message me about your concerns about the safety of the fish going home, you will not like my response).

I might tell a story or two before they go, and the final lunch of the retreat is Scott Carrino's very wonderful pizza. Then Maria and I will clean up and then Maria will go help a friend move and I will take a nap. These kids are superhuman, they never tire.

I took some nice portraits of the kids yesterday, I will put them up once I'm coherent again, if that ever happens. This has been a great weekend, I will miss them all.

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20 January 2018

Refugee Retreat: Lunch


We fed 16 hungry men and boys. The first members of the new girl's basketball team were supposed to come, but the female teacher couldn't make it at the last meet, so it was just Ali and the boys. I'm going to meet the girl's team in the next week or so.

Maria and I went s hopping and served a lunch of turkey sandwiches with cheese and hot sauce and mustard and two kinds of potato chips and a country salad. Lots of talk about the book "Outcasts United."

Tomorrow, pizza for lunch, and then the kids go home. If you can judge by the laughing and noise level, they are having a great time. So are we.

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Refugee Retreat: Riotous Sledding With Fate: Come And See

We are all having a blast at the refugee retreat at Pompanuck Farm. Early breakfast, then hours of sledding, which Fate has been refereeing. The kids love her, she is a kindred spirit to wild boys. They have been sliding up and down the track for hours. This afternoon, a movie, and then dinner. Then a scary story, if I'm still up and awake.

They are having a great time doing things but rarely get to do in their other lives. Come and see. More later.

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