- the fundraising dinner at Tutto Bene that began this journey — feeling like Cinderella transported rags and all into the kingdom of the rich. But the reality of Cinderellas never really changes. After the ball is over, we go back to our fireplaces and ashes, brooms and raggedy clothes. The stagecoach becomes a pumpkin and the horses, mice. The prince charming is not ours and the glass slippers do no fit our tired, swollen feet.
- Maribel Pérez — I visit her fundraising Web site for a status update. As of mid-July she still lacked about $50,000 of the $80,000 she needs for her lung transplant. How much did we spend on flowers and catering while Maribel spends another day on a respirator?
- "Only 25 years? That's nothing!," my friend, a retired Polish Catholic librarian says. "Hah! When I hit 25 at the public library, they didn't do anything for me." "Yeah," I say, "all I got for 25 years was a $250 gift certificate and a round of applause from my colleagues. Five minutes and then back to work." We both shake our heads.
- Desmond Tutu — My mind goes back to the little party the anti-apartheid community in London threw for him and Leah and their children when he was to return to South Africa to become the first African Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg. It was nothing much — just sitting in a circle and sharing tea and cake. We had no money so, in African tradition, we took turns offering the Tutus prayers, well wishes, and advice. And now the little girl (Mpho) I remember sitting quietly at her mother's side is a priest just like her dad, and her dad is a Nobel laureate.
- The Family — I look at the pictures I have taken of the clan. They don't smile mostly, not even the children. Do they ever smile? I've never seen a family so uptight and driven. They are too formal. Are they having fun? According to my camera, it would not appear so. Maybe they too would prefer to just sit around in jeans, drinking coffee, eating arepas, and telling stories...
Why do I participate in all this when I am so uncomfortable with it both ethically and psychologically? Good question.