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Expat wanderer

Kuwait Traffic Deaths Plunge from 50 to 19 Per Month

From the Kuwait Times, an awesome statistic. In just months, the Al-Ali states the traffic deaths per month have dropped from 50 to 19. That’s incredible:

Traffic chief criticizes ‘non-cooperative’ departments

KUWAIT: Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali has been credited for positive changes seen on roads around Kuwait ever since he assumed post as Undersecretary Assistant for Traffic Affairs at the Interior Ministry five months ago. The senior official recently said that he did not come up with anything new but merely made sure that the existing laws were enforced. Al-Ali was interviewed by Al-Qabas as he spoke of efforts which have helped reduce traffic violations by 30 percent, cut road deaths and eased traffic jams. “We still have a long way to go because traffic awareness does not happen overnight”, he said, “and there is a lot of work to do before we can reach a level of contentment”.

During the interview Al-Ali criticized several state departments who he accused of being ‘non-cooperative’ with proposals to address the traffic jam problem. “There are ministries who remain unwilling to take simple decisions that can help reduce traffic congestions”, Al-Ali said. He also criticized the Kuwait municipality for allowing contractors to build apartments without allocating enough parking space. He also indicated that efforts to license parking lots with a capacity of 120 vehicles are often rejected. On Tuesday Al-Qabas published figures that Al-Ali mentioned during the interview, including withdrawal of 4,000 driver’s licenses which were obtained through wasta, as well as reducing a monthly rate of issuing licenses from 7,000 to 1,200. The official credited extensive traffic campaigns for reducing the average road deaths from 50 to 19 per month.

The General Traffic Department in the Interior Ministry launched extensive campaigns last April and these have resulted in thousands of traffic tickets, millions of Kuwaiti dinars collected in fines, and the deportation of thousands of expatriate drivers, in addition to firmer penalties against Kuwaiti offenders. No timetable is set for the end of campaigns and Major General Al-Ali has repeatedly indicated that crackdowns will continue as part of the department’s efforts to reduce traffic jams, curb the number of road fatalities and fight traffic offenses. Al-Ali also spoke to Al-Rai daily who quoted his statements yesterday in which he reiterated that fines should be paid to avoid a travel ban and suspension of license.

According to the senior official, the Interior Ministry has so far managed to collect KD 38 million out of KD 41 million it is owed, and withdrew more than 7,000 out of nearly 20,000 forged licenses issued since 2010. Meanwhile, Al-Watan quoted an Interior Ministry source yesterday who blamed state departments for “failure of implementing the General Traffic Department’s plans to reduce traffic”. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source stated that unnamed state departments have been ignoring offers to change timings that the traffic departments have been proposing since 2005. Major General Al-Ali attended a meeting last week with officials from the Ministry of Education and the Civil Service Commission, but no consensus was reached to change schools timings ahead of the beginning of the academic year. —

September 11, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Safety | Leave a comment

Adventures in Chenega Bay

By the time we reach Chenega Bay, we are READY! The departure board tells us we only have a half an hour, but a half an hour is enough to hike to the top of the hill, see the church, take some photos and return. Actually, it took us more than half an hour. It didn’t matter. The ship needed to offload and onload, and the Chenega Bay residents needed their fix of hamburgers and ice cream.

As it turns out – and we should have known this by now – we really had a lot longer. It took a while to load the snow plow and all of its accessories 🙂

Chenega Bay was totally wiped out in a tsunami following an earthquake. Here is what their official site tells us:

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Chenega IRA Council

PO Box 8079 * Chenega Bay, AK 99574 * 907-573-5132

The Chenega IRA Council is a federally recognized Indian Tribe that serves the Alutiiq people of Chenega Bay, Alaska. The Chenega IRA Council operates a variety of social, cultural and economic development programs designed to enhance the quality of life within Chenega Bay.

Chenega Bay – Description & Location

The village of Chenega Bay is located on Evans Island in Crab Bay, (42) miles Southwest of Whittier in the Prince William Sound. It is one hundred and four (104) air miles southeast of Anchorage. Until the March 27,1964 earthquake, Chenega was an Alutiiq Native tranquil fishing village located on the southern end of Chenega Island in western Prince William Sound. Founded before the Russian arrival in the late 1700s, Chenega was the longest occupied village in Prince William Sound at the time of the earthquake. Moments after the earthquake, a tsunami destroyed all of the buildings in Chenega village with the sole exception of a single home and the village school. Over a third of the village residents were killed and the survivors were taken initially to Cordova and then were later resettled in the village of Tatitlek by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

With the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the former residents of Chenega formed the Chenega Corporation that acquired the right to select 76,093 acres around the old Chenega Village Township. The Alutiiq Natives enrolled in the Chenega Corporation selected their new village site at Crab Bay on Evans Island in the Prince William Sound in March of 1977. This site was carefully chosen following extensive research as the site best able to meet the needs of the residents’ subsistence lifestyle. The Chenega Corporation and the Chenega IRA Council worked together to obtain funding for roads, a water and sewer system, electric generators, a boat and floatplane dock and a school. The new village named Chenega Bay was finally occupied in 1984 following the construction of 21 Housing and Urban Development homes.

Chenega Bay is an isolated community accessible only by air or water. Charter airlines provide the majority of the transportation and the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System provides weekly ferry service year round.

Commercial fishing and subsistence activities are an important part of the lifestyle of the people of Chenega Bay. Commercial employment is primarily with the local school, the Tribal council, health clinic, and commercial fishing.

The primary business area of the village includes village council offices, a community center, the Russian Orthodox church, small boat harbor, the Alaska marine highway ferry terminal, and a future local display facility.

It felt so good to be able to get off and do some hiking. It was also a little overwhelming trying to imagine living in a village this small. Almost all the houses I saw looked exactly alike; maybe the tribe built them all. It is very very small and very isolated, the boat comes in once every week. There are no scheduled airlines, only charters.

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The Russian Orthodox Church, The Nativity of Theodokos, is very new, and very beautiful. We wondered where people sit? Or maybe there are chairs hidded away that are brought out for services, or brought from across the street at the Indian Affairs office? I always check, I love it that so many of the ikons look native. 🙂

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This last photo from the church is St. Herman of Alaska. Here is what Wikipedia says:

Saint Herman of Alaska (Russian: Преподобный Герман Аляскинский, c. 1750s – November 15, 1836) was a Russian Orthodox monk and missionary to Alaska, which was then part of Russian America. His gentle approach and ascetic life earned him the love and respect of both the native Alaskans and the Russian colonists. He is considered by many Orthodox Christians as the patron saint of North America.[1]

The patron saint of North America?! Who knew?!

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The Johnny Totemoff Museum is sometimes open – not today – and also sells homemade jams made from salmonberry and high mountain cranberries. I would have loved to have some of that! Johnny Totemoff was a local fisherman who always knew where the fish were, and was always coming to the rescue of other in troubled times. I love it that they named the museum after him. (Don’t you wonder how I knew that? On board the ship, they have a notebook at the Purser’s office they put out before you reach each stop. I read about the Totmnoff Museum in the Purser’s book.:-) Now you know.)

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We loved watching the kids play – two of them were waiting for their father to come off the ship with their ice cream. They reminded me of my mom telling me of all the times she wanted to kill me because I did unsafe things, but oh, what fun!

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Local transportation:

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This is not the Homer otter, this is the Chenega Bay otter, and totally by chance and not by talent, I caught him catching a fish!

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Too soon, it is time to depart.

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September 11, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Photos, Road Trips, Social Issues, Travel, Wildlife, Work Related Issues | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gospel for 9/11

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Are we who we say we are?

Do we follow the spirit of The Word? Do we as believers pick and choose from our holy book(s) or do we humble ourselves, as Christ did, and do as he commands?

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded a very difficult life style. I have met holy people among all religions; I am forced to believe that “the way and the truth and the light” are behavioral, and that there will be many surprises when we get to the last days.

September 11th is a difficult day. This is a difficult Gospel reading for a difficult day:

Matthew 5: 38 – 47

Eye for Eye

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’h 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbori and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

September 11, 2013 Posted by | Character, Charity, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Faith, Interconnected, Political Issues, Spiritual, Values | | 2 Comments