Doing the water limbo at Gould…

December 7, 2007

We are in that time of year when things are happening so quickly that it is hard to keep up. It has been a great and crazy Gould week in many different ways.

Last weekend 14 students and I headed off for an expensive afternoon of shopping in Freeport followed by sushi in Portland. It was a fun and filling, made special by Tony’s birthday and a visit from his sister. Thanks to Tony’s family for making a great trip even better.

The snow came on Monday, as did the water ban, both of which had big and generally positive impacts on the campus. The snow not only excited all of the winter sports fanatics but seemed to get everyone all the more excited about the coming holidays.

The water ban/boil order got a lot of us thinking and reminded us just how fortunate we are. In a world where thousands of kids die each day because of lack of access to safe water, a world where over 1,000,000,000 people have no safe drinking water and more than twice as many live without basic sanitation, we were able to ensure the safety of the Gould community in part because of the quick response of Mr. Rackliffe and Mr. Scheidegger among others. By Monday evening (within hours) there was bottled water in all of the dorms, and by Tuesday afternoon the dining hall crew had not only brought in plenty of bottle water to keep us going for a while but also modified the cooking and dish washing systems to ensure that all was safe. The health inspector who paid a visit on Tuesday afternoon felt that we were in great shape. Other than not being able to shower with our mouths open (a bit of an inside joke!), there has been basically no inconvenience on campus. Thanks to all on the staff who have helped us through this.

Despite the lack of inconvenience, the water situation has been a catalyst for lots of good discussion. There has been the sharing of ideas about conservation and how fortunate we are. The increased awareness has helped us think about how different things are for so many people. Perhaps the highlight of the week was when Jeffrey F.(’11) bailed me out of the ‘moment’ at Tuesday dinner and spoke to the whole community about our good fortune and the opportunity that we all have to more successful by sharing our blessings with others. Jeffrey and his team are starting to really gear up their fund raising efforts for their “Water For Life” campaign. Their goal is to raise enough money to be able to purchase a Playpump for a village in Africa. While this is a lofty goal, it is very worthwhile, and there is a great team at work on it. Jeffrey’s words on Tuesday were very compelling. I know that he and the team would welcome anyone’s support in their endeavor. Thanks Jeffery for pushing us all to reflect on this issue and to share our blessings.

On Tuesday night we also celebrated the start of (C)Hanukkah. Thanks to one of our alumnae and parents, we have a Menorah on the mantle in the dining hall. On Tuesday afternoon I also celebrated the season with my inaugural run around the golf course on my skinny skis under a cool, late afternoon sun. It was good to be sliding along again.

And then today, Mr. Alford and Mr. Shifrin kicked ‘sleep-in” morning off to a great start with a rousing installment of the Residential Rumble in the form of a limbo contest. While Wongu and Ryu of team Holden put up a valiant effort, Nelle and Cammie of Gehring were unbeatable and incredibly flexible. They carried the day for the boarding girls. Tonight, it is duty night again. The late walks are quiet as the snow quiets things, but I know that all of that will change as some of us meet at the bell tower at 6:00. There are basketball games Friday evening, and many are already starting to think about the upcoming Snowball. Oh, and then there is all of that work to be done!

Have a great weekend.

John

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