Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Guilty Pleasure

This is a hardship post. Really. Um...

One of the best things about Bujumbura is that it is situated on the edge of Lake Tanganyika, a lake so large that it produces waves (not particularly large ones, but waves nonetheless), has tides, and has produced sand.

…which means there’s a beach. And it’s a nice one, too.

The line that Burundi often touts is that it has “some of the best inland beaches in Africa.” Having lived in Gisenyi, Rwanda, which is known for its beautiful beach on Lake Kivu, I admit that I had my doubts. Once I saw it, though, I realized that Burundi was right to boast.

While there is a beach in town near the massive port that welcomes ships from Tanzania and Congo, most expatriates and Burundians head north on the weekends. To get there, go around the Nissan roundabout where Burundians like to take wedding photos (that’s a mystery to me), pass the large cube with photos of past Burundian leaders, most of whom have been assassinated, roll slowly over the enormous (and numerous) potholes that have pockmarked the road, drive past the enormous United Nations compound on the left and its bunkered warehouses on the right, and turn left into the Bora Bora Beach Club.

The Bora Bora Beach Club (called Bora Bora, really, but I rather like the “Beach Club” part) is the top destination for expats and wealthy Burundians. Since it opened a couple of months ago, it has taken the business of its neighbor further down the road, the Club Du Lac Tanganyika, which is known as the best hotel in Bujumbura (though it’s not technically in town).

Owned by a Francophone expat and designed to resemble something someone might find in French Polynesia, the restaurant/bar/lounge is simple and breezy. There’s a sizable pool and an elevated deck around which guests can read, sun, and use the free wireless internet. It is just steps from the lake, whose water is warm. Locals play water volleyball or just splash about. It’s a very relaxing scene, and a welcomed reprieve from the hustle-and-bustle of Bujumbura traffic.

At night, it becomes a throbbing bar and lounge; the pool is lit and techno or pop is blared from the speakers, and well-dressed people sip their colorful cocktails. At times like that, you wonder if you’re in Burundi at all. While life may not be overwhelmingly comfortable during the week, at least I have this one guilty pleasure.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mourning Michael Jackson (with Karaoke)

By far, the chief topic of conversation over the past couple of days has been the loss of “Son Majeste, le roi du Pop.” The radio had a Michael Jackson-a-thon, where they played his songs, interspersed with phone calls from listeners in mourning. They talked and sobbed about how much Michael meant to them over the course of their lives.

That night, the Bora Bora Beach Club, the favored destination of expats and wealthy Burundians, had a Michael Jackson party. I didn’t go to that, but I did go the next night, when the first secretaries of various embassies held a fundraiser for a couple of orphanages. The catch was that it was all centered around karaoke: pay to sing, pay for someone else to sing, or pay to make someone stop singing. (The latter was a wonderfully merciful idea.)

Of course, in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, the evening was dominated by his songs—and it was priceless to see diplomats and NGO bigwigs sing such classics as “We Are the World” and “Bad”…or, at least, try to. (As for me, I was somehow coerced into joining a rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and thankfully, someone paid for us to stop.) I have to say—listening to Michael Jackson on the radio is a welcomed change from Celine Dion!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Please, No Porn or Celine Dion

My work is going really well here. The job is challenging, I’m using my brain, and I feel like what I’m doing is sustainable, which, in development, is very important.

I have two offices, one at which I spend most of my time, and one at which I spend maybe an hour at the end of every day. As a result, there’s not much to say about my second office, except that the bathroom is swarmed by kamikaze mosquitoes, and the sink is not connected to a pipe, so the water just falls through into a bucket, splashing water all over your legs. That is, when there’s water.

The real fun happens at my first office, where I’m blessed with great, responsive Burundian colleagues. They all stop by my office in the morning to say hello, and my supervisor checks on me three times a day to make sure I’m surviving. She’s a sweet woman who laughs easily, and is always very concerned about how I’m doing and if my office is too dusty. When I first arrived, she was anxious because she wanted to have an air conditioning unit installed in my office, but it hadn’t happened. Later, when she walked me around the office, introducing me to everyone, and brought me into what she called the “Experts Room.” “Oh!” she exclaimed. “You’re an expert! You should sit in here! If you want, of course. They have air conditioning!” I laughed at the thought of being considered an “expert,” and told her that I really, really didn’t need air conditioning. An open window was good enough for me. Last year, I was temporarily working out of a U.S. Embassy, and literally freaked out because I couldn’t open the windows to let in some fresh air.

The building has wireless internet, which works most of the time (this is pretty miraculous). Everyone has fairly nice computers with stickers on them proclaiming that they were a gift of this-or-that NGO, but I’m not totally convinced that computer skills are advanced, on the whole. One of my colleagues became flustered when I asked her if she could send me a document by email (to avoid viruses that could be transmitted through key drives). She told me that she didn’t know how, so I sat down with her and we went through it together. She was happy that she had a new skill, and I was happy that I didn’t get a virus.

Anyone walking by my office tends to pop their head in—it’s a very friendly place—and one fellow who had heard that I was American came to introduce himself. He was teaching English classes to some of my colleagues, as he had just been certified (I’m not really sure what this means, but his English is admittedly better than most Burundians I’ve met). I was happy to chat in English for a couple of minutes, but I was quite busy, with papers strewn about, and was trying to drop hints that I had some things that I needed to do. Subtlety was unfortunately lost on him, and he instead sat down and talked for 20 minutes. I supposed that he was just overjoyed to talk to a native speaker, but I tried to take longer glances at my computer screen.

Finally, he got up, and as he walked out, he said, “By the way, are you single, or married? I mean, are you a bachelor?” I couldn’t help laughing at being called a bachelor, so I corrected him. Then he insisted that I hadn’t answered his question. Sigh. I hate this question. Sometimes, it’s just to make pleasant conversation, but more often than not, people just want to know if you’re available—but just because I’m not married doesn’t mean I’m available! He still comes by every day, despite the fact that he works in the next building.

Later that day, sitting at my desk, I heard strange sounds from the window. It sounded like a radio—below my office window is the parking lot where all the drivers sit in the shade and listen to the radio until someone emerges asking for a ride. I ignored it for a while, because it was soft, but it became louder, until I could ignore it no longer. It was a woman moaning. I thought that while it sounded…ahem…strange, it might be a public service announcement about an illness, and she was actually moaning in pain. That is, until the men started laughing, stopping it, and playing it again, and I realized that it was, in fact, some kind of taped pornography.

I thought of closing my windows, but it was too hot.

Eventually, the moaning subsided, and the quiet of the office was replaced by what I’m fairly sure was a Celine Dion Greatest Hits CD, complete with that song from Titanic. What is it about people around here and Celine Dion? As I sit in the coffeeshop and type, the music is alternating between Celine Dion and Kenny G. (Sigh.)

After another round of Celine’s CD today, everyone filed out of the office at noon, planning to reconvene in the afternoon for sports. Yes, sports. Every week, the staff of the entire building plays soccer together, or goes for a walk, or does some sort of physical activity. Some people even come to work in their tracksuits!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

(Mis)Adventures in the kitchen and other food-related episodes

While it could be argued that it’s just because I have nothing better to do in my house, I have decided to battle the ants. They’re just plain annoying. I was sitting in the living room, which in ant measurements is about 200 miles from the kitchen, and found one swimming in the yogurt I left on the coffee table while reading.

Let me be clear about these ants—they are cunning. They’re nearly transparent and are the size of the tip of a pen, which makes them hard to see running around, until you realize that the counter looks like it’s moving because it’s swarmed. The thing is, I can’t just exterminate them with my ant spray, because—well, it’s poison, and I don’t need to be spraying poison all over my counters and dishes. I sprayed some toilet paper with ant spray, and ran it along the sides of my cupboards, where they tend to run (and jump!), and waited to see them keel over in droves. No such luck. It looked like I hadn’t even treated the area; they just keep on running like normal.

As a result, the only safe space in my kitchen is the refrigerator (for the moment). My roommate laughed, “Ici, il faut partager avec les fourmis!" (Here, you have to share [your meal] with the ants!) I wish I had a Raid Ant Motel right now. The battle is on.

Otherwise, I have been eating odd things here and there. Plain yogurt with honey is my typical breakfast, along with an extra-strong cup of Nescafe. Yesterday, my supervisor at my second office (I have two offices) took me out to lunch for my first day of work. We went to a tiny café where you could order a plate of food a la carte. In Burundi, there are few lunch buffets; in Rwanda, they are omnipresent. (This is because the government limited the amount of time government workers are allowed to take lunch, and buffets were the fastest solution). In Burundi, government workers have a 2-hour “pause” for lunch, from 12 to 2. (The work day is from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, although technically, if you take a 2 hour lunch, you should stay until 5:30.)

So today at the little local restaurant, I ordered some white rice, fresh beans (not the rehydrated ones) and some lingalinga, which is a spinach-looking vegetable dish that I ordered purely because I wanted to say the word. They also had ubugari, which is Kirundi for ugali, the starchy accompaniment to many meals in East Africa. (In West Africa, they call it fufu.) The ubugari here is made either with cassava, which comes out in a gray, glutinous domed mass, or with wheat. The little hole-in-the-wall was so popular that we shared our table with two strangers, one of whom literally slept on the table while waiting for his wheat ubugari to come. It was grainy, and looked like wheat dough. He pulled at it with his hand, squeezed it deep into his fist, and alternated eating it with spooning peas into his mouth.

Otherwise, I’m eating lots of fresh tropical fruit, which is fabulous. My pineapple sweetened in the fridge, and both mangoes I have eaten were so pulpy that when you cut through them, they sounded like they were frozen. I’ve already grown tired of bananas, and can barely bring myself to eat the ones I bought. Not even the ants want them.

Yesterday, when I lost my water (it also disappeared tonight—let’s hope for the sake of my colleagues that there’s water for my morning shower), the Rwandese girls who live downstairs invited me to watch Burundi’s version of MTV and share peas and rice with them, even though there was barely enough to feed two people. It was really generous, and serves as one more example of how the Rwandese do invite muzungus to their homes, contrary to popular belief!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Call to Disarm

Driving around Bujumbura, it's impossible not to see these massive billboards urging Burundians to voluntarily disarm. I was recently told that everyone is armed--while Bujumbura seems perfectly safe with the exception of the petty theft and muggings typical of most cities--areas outside Bujumbura are not always safe.

Posters such as these are hard to ignore
Hand grenades are available in the black market for just over $1 each, and are used for revenge, or in arguments. They're apparently so omnipresent that there are many accidents, as well. Earlier this month, I heard that one accidentally went off in Bujumbura--a man carried a grenade for security, and accidentally let it slip, killing him and injuring 9 others. There is a disarmament program in full swing, and I believe it's in coordination with the United Nations. Occasionally, they'll blow up weapons caches here. It's when you hear things like that that you realize that Burundi really is a post-conflict society.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


It’s only natural that you keep your wits about you at all times. Knock on wood, I’ve always been cautious, so I’ve never been pickpocketed or mugged (or worse). In the past couple of days, expatriates have told me to zip up everything, keep valuables out of sight, and roll up car windows and lock the doors when driving around.

I get the “out of sight, out of mind” principle, but it’s a bit harder for me to get used to the idea of rolling up my windows. Apparently, some muzungus have had items stolen through open windows, and people have even tried to open their car doors.

I finally met my roommate, who is absolutely wonderful. Always cheery and earnest, I feel like I could talk with her for hours. She is Rwandese, and wants to practice her English. I told her we could alternate between English and Kinyarwanda, which would be good for both of us! (Out of ease, though, we both readily switch to French.) On Friday, during a marathon conversation, she gave me some advice. “Always lock up your things,” she said. “There are some people you cannot trust.” She told me how, a couple of months ago, she came home from the field to find that all of her money and her camera had disappeared from her room. In his haste, the thief had forgotten to take the camera charger, so the camera was of little use. The only person who had a copy of the key was the house cleaner, so she went to the house cleaner’s wife to ask about the camera. The police eventually became involved, and the house cleaner finally returned the camera.

There is a new house cleaner now, but my roommate still religiously locks her armoire and her bedroom door, and advised me to do the same. He is not allowed to clean the bedrooms (because he might steal something) and only comes on the weekend, when we can supervise him directly.

Today, the danger of theft was again a reality. We are the only people on the second floor of the two-story building, and the bottom floor is occupied by two Rwandese girls and the building’s owner. The building is also protected by a wall and a (very cheery) dog, so strangers cannot enter.

No one comes up except to visit us, so we routinely leave the front door of our apartment open to draw in fresh air. I am cautious about what I leave unsupervised in the common spaces, but today, as I was washing the dishes, I left my computer in the dining room, by the front door, playing music (I figured that since I could hear it, I was keeping tabs on it). One of the Rwandese girls from downstairs came in, asking for my roommate, who was asleep. She said she would come back later. I didn’t think much of this, but when I decided to take a shower, I brought my computer into my room.

When I finished my shower, I went into the dining room to find that several of the cupboards, which are difficult to open, were ajar. My roommate emerged from her room, and I asked her if she opened them. The look on her face was enough of an answer—someone had clearly come in and tried to steal something, likely my computer. My roommate clicked her tongue and shook her head in disapproval. “People know there is a muzungu here, so they think you have good things they can take.” Luckily, my precautions weren’t in vain, but I’m not going to risk it again. I’m locking everything.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Settling In

I’m living in a nice neighborhood with cobblestone streets northeast of the center of Bujumbura. It’s a bit far from the center of town ($3 by taxi, or $.25 by matatu), but it’s fairly close to the office. The apartment is on the second floor. From the living room, you can see Lake Tanganyika, which is blue like the Caribbean.

I have a roommate that I have yet to meet. A colleague at my organization, she’s out in the field during the week, and returns to Bujumbura on the weekends. I should meet her for the first time today, and am looking forward to it!

I’ve started to settle into the apartment. There isn’t a television or radio (I stopped by the Chinese store to find the only radio they sold featured a built-in “disco light,” and decided against), so it’s quiet in the apartment. There is, however, considerable noise and music from the people downstairs, who seem to be having a perpetual dance party. Across the street is a bustling little outdoor bar where Burundians drink beer late into the night.

Otherwise, the apartment is comfortable and well-appointed. My bed is large (a welcomed reprieve from my twin at grad school) and I have my own bathroom, with hot water and a toilet that is inexplicably covered with ants. Speaking of ants, they are everywhere. It seems that they’re so ravenous that they’ll go after anything. They’re not confined to the kitchen. They’re in the bathroom sink. They’re on the shower curtain. They’re on my bedside table. They’re on the walls. I have to clean all of my dishes and put food away immediately after cooking, because if not, the food is literally overrun with them. I’ve purchased some ant spray and am in the process of spraying every corner of the apartment. I’m sure my mother would disapprove.

As for food, I went to a small market today to begin to stock the kitchen. I’d like to save money by cooking for myself instead of going out. Even so, my boss tells me she eats out most nights, and still only had $300 in expenses every month. When I lived in rural Rwanda, I ate in my house most of the time and still managed to spend much more than that. We’ll see if this holds true! So far, it does seem like most things, with the exception of wine and cereal (such as the $21 Honey Smacks) are fairly inexpensive here. I’m okay with not eating cereal this summer—I’m going to stick to the local yogurt and honey.

Now, I have cabbage, mangoes, papaya, pineapple, avocado, tomatoes, mini-garlic, mini-onions, and mini-bananas in my kitchen. The market selection puts Rwanda to shame! They also had beets, radishes, curly endive, grapefruit, broccoli rabe, coconuts, and strawberries! Ah, the possibilities.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bienvenue au Burundi

Yesterday, I did something brave. I drank the water. Repeatedly.

Apparently, you can do that in Bujumbura. That makes my life wonderfully simpler. No boiling, cooling, and bottling. (We’ll see how I feel in a couple of days.)

I’m back to Africa this summer, this time working for an NGO in Burundi. Due to confidentiality restrictions, I won’t be able to provide too many details about what I’m doing, but I will share some of my experiences living in this new place. It seems to me that there isn’t much information available about Burundi, both based on the lowly 13 pages of the Lonely Planet’s guide to East Africa and the response of the doctor in DC who gave me my tetanus shot (“Burundi? Is that a city or a country?”).

Burundi and Rwanda used to be one country, Ruanda-Urundi, under the German administration. The two were split in July 1962, when they gained independence. In many ways, they are sister countries—with a similar ethnic makeup, hilly geography, and basically the same language. Kirundi and Kinyarwanda are mutually comprehensible. It’s wonderful that I’m able to use my Kinyarwanda here, but I’m trying to remain sensitive to the fact that there are some differences, and that I should learn and use the locally-appropriate terms.

The two countries differ in their development. Driving around Bujumbura, you get the sense that it is at least a decade behind Rwanda. The buildings are shorter, the streets are dustier, there are plastic bags by the side of the road, there are no stoplights (that I have seen), and internet cafes do not seem to be as omnipresent here as they are in Kigali—or even in secondary towns like Gisenyi. This is all attributable, in part, to the fact that Burundi emerged from a civil war only three years ago. The evidence is everywhere; signs across the city show doves with olive branches, and there are provocative billboards reading, “Debarrassons-nous des armes, pour eviter les drames!” (Let’s get rid of arms, to avoid drama!”) It is a reference to general disarmament (I have heard that almost everyone here has arms at home) but in particular the disarmament of the Hutu rebel group, the FNL, which is reintegrating into society. While a Burundian has told me that the civil war is considered history at this point (“No one is particularly interested in talking about it,” he said), I have heard otherwise—that ramifications of the recent civil war and ethnic tensions persist.

Oh, and while it’s not development-related, I should note that while Rwanda has become Anglophone in the last couple of years, Burundi remains strongly Francophone. The Belgian and French presence is significant here, despite Burundi's membership in the (Anglophone) East African Community. My French feels a little rusty, and my comprehension is slow at the moment (particularly with all of the jargon that has been tossed around the office since my arrival), but I should be ready to go by the end of next week.

In the meantime, I’m just trying to gain my footing and start to make a life here, if only temporarily!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Insights from a MONUC Peacekeeper

On my way out of Rwanda, I was waiting in line at the airport (after grabbing a kivuguto from the brand- new Bourbon Coffeeshop) with a group of MONUC (la Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies au Congo) peacekeepers. One of the officers, a major, was in line behind me and made small talk. He was headed back to New Delhi for vacation after having served a year in Eastern Congo. Realizing that the line wasn’t moving and that I had a unique opportunity to ask someone fresh from the field questions about what was happening on the ground, I engaged him in conversation.

What he told me was astonishing. In the past several months, the Rwandan and Congolese governments have reconciled. As proof of their new cooperation to stop the violence in Eastern Congo, they launched a several-week joint sortie in the Kivu forests to drive out Hutu extremists who had escaped there after the Rwandan genocide. Meanwhile, the Congolese government (with Rwandan strongarming, no doubt) convinced Laurent Nkunda’s Congolese Tutsi forces to join the Congolese Army.

I asked the major how that was working. “Not at all,” he said. Nkunda’s forces had been paid $120 a month; now, as part of the Congolese Army, they earn $10 a month. Worse, the Congolese Army hasn’t been paid in four months. Such an arrangement is hardly sustainable. Further, since the Congolese Army has arms but no food, they have resorted to pillaging.

It seemed to me that Nkunda must have a lot of money. I asked the major where it came from. “The mines,” he said. Different groups have seized different Congolese mines, extracting resources and shipping them out via Goma Airport. “The FAR are out there, too,” he said, referencing the genocidal Rwandan Armed Forces. He told me that they had taken over several lucrative mines, and the funds earned from extraction went toward lining their pockets and purchasing arms—arms used both to protect their strongholds and potentially launch a sortie into Rwanda, to throw out the current government. This is the unfortunate consequence of the lack of rule of law in the Kivu Region of Congo—state capacity is so low that such activities continue unabated.

I had heard from colleagues and friends in Rwanda that Eastern Congo had settled down since Presidents Kabila and Kagame (of Congo and Rwanda, respectively) had begun to cooperate. “Maybe they’re talking,” he said, “but the real change must happen on the ground. And it’s as bad as ever,” he said, looking at the floor and shaking his head.

I asked him about how everything was working on the ground, particularly in light of the newly-integrated Congolese Army. “We are confused as to who belongs to which group, and who can be trusted. We don’t know who we’re fighting against,” he said. I couldn’t believe how unguarded he was. “In the field, it’s impossible to know.” He also talked about working for the UN. This was his first UN deployment. In India, he was a senior officer in the army. “I have been here for one year, and they asked me to extend,” he said, “but I’ll never do it [work for the UN] again.” He explained that MONUC is comprised of peacekeepers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uruguay, and Paraguay, and only at the top levels were they able to communicate effectively. The lower-level peacekeepers could not communicate with each other in a common language, and he said it was frustrating. “It’s disorganized, and orders aren’t always understood.”

With so much confusion among peacekeepers added to all of the chaos in the field, I wonder how MONUC will be able to bring peace, let alone keep the peace, in Eastern Congo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

President Kagame on Peace Corps

Peace Corps is an organization very, very close to me, and President Kagame's statement about Peace Corps' re-establishment of operations there means much more than I could ever fully express on this blog. I've decided to post his statement here, but the original can be found on the Huffington Post.

A Different Discussion About Aid
President Paul Kagame
President of the Republic of Rwanda

The United States of America has just sent a small number of its sons and daughters as Peace Corps volunteers to serve as teachers and advisors in Rwanda. They have arrived to assist, and we appreciate that. We are aware that this comes against the backdrop of increasingly scarce resources, of budget discussions and campaign promises, and of tradeoffs between defense and domestic priorities like health care and infrastructure investments. All that said, I believe we need to have a different discussion concerning the potential for bilateral aid.

The Peace Corps have returned to our country after 15 years. They were evacuated in 1994 just a short time before Rwanda collapsed into a genocide that killed over one million people in three months. Things have improved a lot in recent years. There is peace and stability throughout the nation. We have a progressive constitution that is consensus-driven, provides for power sharing, embraces diversity, and promotes the participation of women, who now represent the majority in our parliament. Our economy grew by more than 11% last year, even as the world entered a recession. We have chosen high-end segments of the coffee and tea markets in which to compete, and attract the most demanding world travelers to our tourism experiences. This has enabled us to increase wages by over 20% each year over the last eight years -- sustained by, among other things, investment in education, health and ICT.

We view the return of the Peace Corps as a significant event in Rwanda's recovery. These young men and women represent what is good about America; I have met former volunteers who have run major aid programs here, invested in our businesses, and I even count them among my friends and close advisors.

Peace Corps volunteers are well educated, optimistic, and keen to assist us as we continue to rebuild, but one must also recognize that we have much to offer them as well.

We will, for instance, show them our system of community justice, called Gacaca, where we integrated our need for nationwide reconciliation with our ancient tradition of clemency, and where violators are allowed to reassume their lives by proclaiming their crimes to their neighbors, and asking for forgiveness. We will present to them Rwanda's unique form of absolution, where the individuals who once exacted such harm on their neighbors and ran across national borders to hide from justice are being invited back to resume their farms and homes to live peacefully with those same families.

We will show your sons and daughters our civic tradition of Umuganda, where one day a month, citizens, including myself, congregate in the fields to weed, clean our streets, and build homes for the needy.

We will teach your children to prepare and enjoy our foods and speak our language. We will invite them to our weddings and funerals, and out into the communities to observe our traditions. We will teach them that in Africa, family is a broad and all-encompassing concept, and that an entire generation treats the next as its own children.

And we will have discussions in the restaurants, and debates in our staff rooms and classrooms where we will learn from one another: What is the nature of prosperity? Is it subsoil assets, location and sunshine, or is it based on human initiative, the productivity of our firms, the foresight of our entrepreneurs? What is a cohesive society, and how can we strengthen it? How can we improve tolerance and build a common vision between people who perceive differences in one another, increase civic engagement, interpersonal trust, and self-esteem? How does a nation recognize and develop the leaders of future generations? What is the relationship between humans and the earth? And how are we to meet our needs while revering the earth as the womb of humankind? These are the questions of our time.

While some consider development mostly in terms of infusion of capital, budgets and head counts, we in Rwanda place equal importance to relationships between peoples who have a passion to learn from one another, preparing the next generation of teachers, administrators and CEOs to see the exchange of values and ideas as the way to build the competencies of our people, and to create a prosperous nation.

We will do this because we see that the only investment with the possibility of infinite returns is in our children, and because after a couple of years in Rwanda, working and learning with our people, these Peace Corps volunteers will be our sons and daughters, too.