Short-lived Euphoria


Samba dancers in brightly colored costumes, big smiles on their faces as they swirl to the music; a large float bearing two red and yellow papagayo  figures and curvaceous dancers scantily clad in sequined attire; the entire center of the stadium  arena filled with people dancing in flashes of sweeping colored lights. Soon the Olympic athletes join the performers in one big happy, mad party. My husband is somewhere in that crowd. Later he tells me he made a new acquaintance there, Mustafa, a tall Sudanese man, dressed in traditional garments.



The gaiety and euphoria of the closing event of the Olympic Games in Rio are contagious. In front of my television I smile at the antics of the athletes and sway to the rhythm. Swelling euphoria fills me at the sight of thousands of people of many races and nationalities joined together in brotherhood. This is an example of what humanity is capable of.

Olympics closing

But then I recall the photo of the five-year-old Syrian boy, Omran, covered in blood and I know that men are also capable of terrible violence, hate and destruction. That young boy and the scenes of destruction in Aleppo and the massive crowded refugee camps trigger compassion. Then I feel anger – anger at the leaders (you know who you are) who allow this to happen, not only allow, but order the bombings and the killing, who believe only they are in the right, who are blinded by intolerance for those who are different.

I want to put my arms around Omron, comfort him and clean his face of blood. But, of course, I can’t. But I can write, pointing out not only the violence and tragedy, which we see live and direct on television newscasts, but also the alternatives.

Hey, World, look at the Olympics. Look at what is possible with perseverance, will power and a vision.

Feel the joy. The possibilities. The hope.



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  • I blamed all the older leaders (ELDERS?) WHEN i was a tadpole. Never thought my guy&galpals+me wouldn’t fix stuff. It is a BIG “WE” PROBLEM. Not a wee problem. We didn’t fix everything.

  • If we fixed anything ANYTHING there would still be emerging ‘stuff’ but I really wonder if anything ANYTHING got better. Wonder if we just kept-up and would be further behind anyway?
    You still have got to keep trying, hoping: saying “what’s the use” isn’t an option for me.
    80 next birthday and I have some thoughts that are unencrustedly positive in observing the verve and caring of some younger folk who are not content to just mark time.
    Don’t wait until the last minute to defy circumstance and forge ahead kicking the pomp and majesty out of the way or doing.
    Do it Do it now I can hear my cousin Michael O’Connor say (he and wife Elizabethy Wahl were PCV’s in India in the 1970’s.)

  • I am grateful to Barbara Kaare-Lopez for this note about
    Bob Klein, (Ghana I) who created the JFK RPCV Oral History Project, in which both Barbara and
    I participated.
    ” I love what Bob Klein told us at our RPCV Interview meeting in 2006 with his quote from the Talmud:

    “It is not for you to complete the task, NOR are you free to desist from doing it.”

    Barbara Kaare-Lopez, RPCV Olanchito, Tocoa & Trujillo, 1978-1980

    It seems so appropriate, today.

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