Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. President George Washington

The nice thing about the way our founding fathers wrote and spoke is that their words almost always seem as relevant to our modern era as they were to the era in which they lived. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind behind the sniper attacks that left 10 dead, was executed Tuesday.

On CNN both last night - before his execution, and this morning - after, the reporter told us both that he would, and then did, pay for the lives he took, with his own. She used almost the exact same words both times, in the future tense and then in the past. It struck me both times: how is that possible?

If he had taken one life, perhaps, and then been caught - perhaps one could argue that this was justice, that a full restitution had been made. But how can his one life pay the sum of ten other lives? How can his one death assuage the grief of 10 families? How can he pay for all ten, and the literally hundreds of lives he permanently damaged in the wake of the ones he took to the grave? Is it even possible?

Someone outside Washington has been shooting men and women without concern for race or age. The attacks have been both methodical and random….

We are always looking to make some sort of sense out of murder in order to keep it safely at bay: I don’t fit that description; I don’t live in that town; I would never have gone to that place, known that person. But what happens when we can’t say that—when there is no description, no place, nobody? Where do we go to get our peace of mind?....

The fact is, staving off our own death is one of our favorite national pastimes. Whether it is exercise, checking cholesterol, or having a mammogram—we are always trying to find out what the profile is—and then make sure we do not fit it. But a sniper taking a single clean shot, not into a crowd but through the sight, reminds us horribly of death itself. Despite our best intentions, it is still, for the most part, random. And it is absolutely coming. – Ann Patchett, New York Times Magazine


I'm in Korogwe, which is here.

I'm pretty sure I've found the only internet shack in this tiny no-stoplight town. We're about 4 hours east of Arusha, on our way to Dar Es Salaam in the morning. In Tanzania, for those keeping score. I drove my truck from Nairobi to Arusha for about 4 weeks of work with our National Office here, which is based in Arusha. After 2 weeks at the NO, we're now headed out for field visits, which started today here, continue on our way to Dar, a day in Dar, and then I'm likely flying to Kigoma - north western Tanz where our last remaining refugee camp is still running for refugees from the Congo (formerly refugees from Burundi, formerly refugees from Rwanda, etc.). After a day or two there its back to Arusha for hopefully a little less than a week, because I need time to get back to Nairobi and change bags before I'm off to Zimbabwe for a week. (Doesn't look like I'll end up getting to Zanzibar while I'm here, durn it.)

And then its either Rwanda or Malawi. I simply can't be in both at the same time, as much as some people might like that idea.

I've got a big blog about my trip to China in the works. All the pictures are on flickr but I'm having a hard time uploading them here, and I won't have any half-decent internet until I'm in Dar, at least. So maybe then.

I just wanted to get in a quick update before I went a whole nother shameful month without blogging once. Too busy to blog is becoming the story of my life.