Ray and Joyce Lockard send the following holiday greeting and update on our Books and Fuel Briquette projects:
Greetings from Oregon! Sorry this message is a little late. We have had a busy year. We planned to vacation in Mexico with David’s and Dianne’s families in February 2009, but Ray’s long-standing congestive heart failure gave him some trouble, so we couldn’t go. His wizard cardiologist soon had him fit again, and we continue to be thankful for his good health and vigor. Now we plan to use those airline tickets to fly to Hawaii in late January to spend a holiday on Kauai with David, Debbie, and their little girls Cali and Annaka.
Dianne, her husband Rick and sons Ian, Dan and Andrew (all teenagers) have just spent Christmas with us. Last June, Ian returned from a year in Brazil as a Rotary exchange student. Dan will graduate from Bandon High School in June, and Andrew continues his cheer-leading and debate.
In June we went to Anchorage, Alaska, to visit David and family. We enjoyed a great 4th of July celebration in Seldovia, a small town across Katchemak Bay from Homer. It appeared that every one of the 350 citizens of the town was in the three block long parade, with all the visitors standing on the sides of the street to cheer them on. There were competitions including canoe jousting and egg tossing plus (something new) fish tossing, which was a pretty slippery business! In August we had a pleasant trip to Kaslo, the small town in BC where Ray grew up. Joyce’s sisters Cleo and Dianne went with us, and on the way home we had a happy reunion with Joyce’s brothers Rolly and Julian. And in October we went to Medford OR to help celebrate the joyful 85th birthday of Ray’s niece Caroline.
We continue to work on collecting and shipping used textbooks to schools and universities in developing countries, where education gives hope to young people who long for better lives. The textbook project is now in its eighth year and is the longest-running international humanitarian project of Beaverton Rotary Club. We changed the name of the project from Books for Uganda to Books For The World to recognize that books have been sent to Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia as well as Uganda. The project reached a milestone in July when the total weight that had been shipped surpassed the one million lb mark! We are very grateful for the support of our generous corporate partners, donations of books by scores of people and institutions, our hard-working volunteers who collected and packed books, and the help of Rotary clubs that donated to a Rotary Matching Grant to help pay for shipping costs. The last shipment of books for 2009 is now ready to go, a total of about 42,000 lb of books that will be sent to northern Uganda. That shipment will include two tons of nursing textbooks donated by faculty of the OHSU School of Nursing to start the library of the new Gulu University School of Nursing plus a ton of books for the medical school of Gulu University. Those books will save lives! Gulu Rotary Club is our partner in this project and undertakes to sort and distribute the books widely. Some have gone to schools as far as ninety miles from Gulu.
We are continuing to work on another Rotary project in Uganda that is training and equipping poor women to make Fuel Briquettes, a cooking fuel that is made from waste plant materials such as sawdust and agricultural wastes, reducing the use of wood and charcoal. We also have been working with a vivacious member of the SE Portland Rotary Club to send 15,000 lb of used medical equipment and new medical supplies to a run-down hospital in Nigeria in order to improve the maternity and pediatric services. The risk of a woman dying in childbirth in the US is about one in 4800; in Nigeria, one in eighteen die.
Ray will be 85 years young on Jan. 1 (he was a New Year’s baby). He is doing fine, but driving less due to macular degeneration. Growing older is not for the faint of heart!
Christmas is a time when we remember many friends whom we met during the 20 years that we lived in England, Malaysia, Ghana, the Philippines, Liberia and Yemen. One great memory is what happened when we were Rotary volunteers at Ubon University in NE Thailand over Christmas in 2003. Six Thai friends, all faculty members in Ubon University, took us out for dinner and karaoke on Christmas Eve “so we would not be homesick”. All six are Buddhists. Surely friendship and kindness know no national or religious boundaries. We have been blessed.
We wish you Happy Holidays and hope that 2010 will bring us all a More Peaceful World!
Ray and Joyce
DON’T MISS OUR CONTACT INFORMATION: 100 SW 195th Ave., House #180, Beaverton OR 97006-1958 Tel. 503-533-4190, Joyce’s cell 503-201-9548, Ray’s cell 503-201-5267 firstname.lastname@example.org. Skype address: joyce.lockard