Constance J. Sidles csidles at
Wed Sep 18 16:01:04 PDT 2002

Hey tweets, I am very sorry to make this post, and I apologize in advance
to anyone who thinks I am abusing my privileges on tweeters. But I am
desperate and do not know where else to turn. I'm hoping that you all will
forgive me and chalk it up to the fact that when we're in trouble, we turn
to our friends. I have long thought of all of you as my friends, even
though most of us have never met face to face.

As many of you know, my oldest son Alex - a tweeter himself for many years,
and a prime birder since the age of seven - has been teaching school for
past three years out in Micronesia. Last July, a giant typhoon (Chataan)
devastated the two islands where Alex has taught and where he still has
many friends. Alex and my husband John were both on Namonweito at the time
and were quite impressed by the fury of nature.

Although no one was killed, thank goodness, all the islanders' breadfruit
was knocked off the trees. At first, this was a great bonanza, and people
hurried to gather up all the food. But they knew they were going to be in
deep trouble by September, when all the food would be eaten or rotten (they
don't have electricity out there and so no way to preserve food).

This week, Alex called me via military radiophone to report that 400 people
are beginning to starve on the two hardest hit islands: Unanu and Onou;
about half of these people are children.

He said that if we could supply 150 pounds of rice per person for 400
people, that would be enough food to get people through this crisis until
the new breadfruit crop ripens next spring. Alex said that he can buy rice
out there for 25 cents a pound. So $40 will save one person's life. Alex
asked me to find 400 people here who will help 400 people there.

So often, we hear teenagers criticized for being self-absorbed. I have a
different view. I think teenagers want desperately to enter the adult world
and make meaningful contributions. The adult world that Alex has just
entered is brutally cruel, but, I hope, not indifferent.

If you're interested in finding out more about this crisis, you can visit
my husband John's website, which has the latest information (garnered via
military radiophone direct from Namonweito). The address is:

click on Chataan to go directly to the appropriate links.

If you can afford to help, plesae make out a check to me - I have set up a
way to transfer funds electronically from my account here to the account of
a school official on Unanu. And thanks. - Connie Sidles

4532 48th NE
Seattle, WA 98105

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