Thursday, August 18, 2005

Additional Thoughts from Anne Olson

It seems appropriate to share a few thoughts about the Muscatine youth who traveled to Kosovo.

Muscatine kids have things pretty good. They probably live in air-conditioned homes and are carted to air-conditioned schools in air-conditioned cars and may even have a room of their own at home.

The Muscatine Children's Choir youth who traveled to a foreign country in which the language was unfamiliar, spent two weeks in the homes of Albanian families they didn't know.

By and large, these kids did not complain about the conditions they found themselves in. They did not complain when two adults and two youth were crammed into a hotel room in London with sleeping accommodations for only three. They did not complain about the terrific heat in Kosovo, even when riding on the floor in the back of a 15-passenger van in which the only ventilation came through the driver's and front passenger's windows. They did not complain about being unable to sleep in a house where windows were closed off from any little breeze or overnight cooling that might take place. They did not complain about having to share a room and perhaps sleep on the floor of a home in Kosovo. There was no complaint about having to walk many blocks in Gjakove to and from their Kosovar homes. They made it a point to be on time each day for activities and outings.

The concert at Camp Bondsteel touched the hearts of all us Muscatinites. We knew the men and women serving our country were present for a little respite from the heat and their duties. Our youth sang as they've never sung before for these folks.

These young people should be commended for the way they conducted themselves on this trip. No "Ugly Americans" here, only our Muscatine youth acting in a very appropriate manner. I am proud of them, as all Muscatine should be.