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WITandWISDOM(tm) - May 3, 2007
When you really want to do something, you'll find a way; When you don't, you'll find an excuse.
Submitted by Drew
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
It was my first visit to the South India coast in Andhra Pradesh. Surging surf burst upon the white sand, skirting the Bay of Bengal.
I competed for space on that beach with thousands of crabs, diving into their holes at the last minute, as we walked by. About fifty crude boats, with plastic-covered motors, were perched just above the high tide mark, ready for night work. Beside each was a clump of fish net which had been carefully cleaned and untangled.
"We should be leaving now," he said, glancing at the setting sun. "But we haven't seen any fish for three days...no fish, no eat." His downcast face highlighted tough, wrinkled fingers as they formed a virtual ball of rice being thrown into his half-open mouth. One look at his bone-etched body confirmed it.
"Sometimes we go so far out to find them that we cannot see land. And we stay out for days," he said.
"Does each fisherman have his own territory," I asked. "Do you ever fight over where your boat is located to gather the harvest of fish?" I remembered accounts of dramatic, vicious action in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where fishermen have shot each other over "territorial rights."
"No, we never fight," he said. "We go in groups of four or five boats. We are very happy to have company. And we all share the catch equally."
"So what do you do while you are waiting for the fish?" I pictured sun-baked men swimming or playing cards to pass the time away. He looked at me incredulously as if tempted to say, "you really are clueless!" But in a very gracious voice he explained, "There are mountains under the water that often tear our nets apart. So we spend our time mending the nets, there are always holes to fix."
"Were you fishing when the tsunami came?" He paused, eyes communicating a mixture of pain, nostalgia, courage, and pride. I had seen this same look in the eyes of my Muslim ADRA employees in Kashmir who had survived the killer mountain earthquake in October, 2005.
"We had been fishing all night. As usual, we had only slept for about an hour. We were heading home. Suddenly, about 8:30 a.m., the ocean began to froth like boiling water. A strange sound scared us. We had never seen or heard anything like it. Then, in the distance, we saw a huge wave about 30 feet tall, looming towards us.
As we turned our boats to face the wave, I felt, in my heart, that this would be the end. Most of our boats capsized as the wave surged upon us. We dove into it, holding our breath, hoping we could survive the violent turbulence.
We made it. Not one of the fishermen drowned. But then we were afraid our families would die. So we quickly swam to our boats and sped through the surf to find that only one person had died from our village.
There is an old woman who sells commodities to the fishermen. She had been crouching under an old fishing boat close to the water line. A young man grabbed her, and helped her run off the beach, sliding under a boat for cover as the wave hit. He died, leaving a family with small children.
We couldn't sleep for three days. The memory of that tsunami simply wouldn't go away."
I told him "Thank you for sharing this painful memory. You and your friends are brave men. And you are better than some fishermen in my country who fight for "their" territory in the ocean. Plus, you work so hard to feed your families. I am proud of you. And I will pray tonight for your family."
He grabbed my hand and kissed it, then patted my shoulder as he looked into my eyes brimming with tears. I shook his hand, grabbing his hand and arm with two hands, and walked back toward our camp in the moonlight.
By John McGhee, Region 17, SE & SW Andhra Pradesh, India
Submitted by Leora DeWitt
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
My husband and I had been trying to have a third child for a while. Unfortunately, the day I was to take a home pregnancy test, he was called out of town on business. I had told our young daughters about the test, and they were excited. We decided if it was positive, we would buy a baby outfit to surprise their father when he got home. The three of us stood in the bathroom eagerly waiting for the telltale line to appear. When it did not, my thoughtful seven-year-old gave me a hug. "It's okay, Mom," she said. "The next time Daddy goes out of town, you can try and get pregnant again."
Contributed to "Life In These United States", http://www.readersdigest.com/
Source: DailyInBox Presents, http://www.beliefnet.com/nlsubscriptions/Subscriptions.aspx
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
After eating his first meal on the moon, the astronaut reported, "The food was good, but the place lacked atmosphere".
Submitted by Lorraine
A man shot in the heart by US troops during the Vietnam war has had the bullet removed - after 40 years.
Le Dinh Hung, 60, said from his bed in the Hanoi Heart Hospital: "I feel much better now. The chest pain has eased."
He added: "I was very lucky to survive. People believe in their fate and I do too."
When he was shot in 1968, the bullet tore through his stomach, hit his cardiac valve and lodged at the back of his heart.
Surgeons carried out a three hour operation to finally remove it after he went to hospital complaining of unbearable chest pains.
Dr Nguyen Sinh Hien, who also replaced his damaged heart valve with an artificial one, said: "It is the strangest case that I have ever seen.
"Normally a person with a bullet in the heart would die immediately if they didn't have surgery right away."
Hung was shot fighting for the communist North in Quang Tri province, near the former Demilitarized Zone that separated North and South Vietnam.
Surgeons tried to remove the blood caked bullet in 1969 but failed.
Despite being in constant pain, Hung, whose home is in the Ha Tay province, went on to work at a medical school and had three children with his wife.
Source: Ananova http://www.ananova.com