BIG HEART, SMALL MUSCLES: Although Arie Farnam's Prague apartment is on the fifth floor, and thus out of reach, she was not untouched by the flooding. Several friends lost everything. "One of my American friends, who is currently working on a humanitarian project in Kosovo, lived in a ground-floor apartment in Prague. The buildings are so soggy that they're now collapsing (this page). Because he was out of town, he wasn't even able to save the few precious things most evacuees grabbed as they ran," she says.
Another family, the Sindelars, also was away on visiting relatives when the floods hit. Arie offered to help them clean up but was told that the initial work was for "men with big muscles." Undeterred, Arie spent a week helping turn a children's summer camp in East Bohemia into flood crisis center.
"Upon returning to Prague, two American friends and I decided to carry watermelons (containing energy and clean water) to volunteers in the Sindelars' village. The journey, which used to take 40 minutes, took us four hours to make in the transportation chaos. But we did get them the watermelon and were assured that once all the wet furniture is carried out, there will be work enough for 'even those with smaller muscles.'"
SUMMIT SPEAK: The Monitor's Danna Harman says that she's impressed by the quality of the organization at the summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. But the in first few days, the 50,000 delegates plus journalists and activists from 200 countries did a lot of wandering. "The convention center is attached to the biggest shopping mall I've ever seen. Initially, there was a confusion and tension as all these people in their native costumes or protest garb wandered through the mall, with the muzak playing, trying to find their conference rooms. The impenetrable summit lingo (page 1) was the last straw for many people myself included."
David Clark Scott