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Foundation for International Cooperation
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Danube River trip adds to FIC memories

By Irene Horst, Editor

I ran across a paragraph in a book I have been reading that I think is worth sharing with you. A doctor/priest who had just finished treating a group of people in a desperately poor slum of Africa, was approached by one of the men. He invited the doctor back to his shack-like hut, telling him he wanted to give him something. Somewhat concerned, the visitor went. There he was invited to sit down on a rickety old chair from where the western sky was visible. Both men sat in silence as they watched the sky become reddish and turn into a gorgeous sunset. They sat still until it finally dissolved into the horizon. “I don’t have anything to give you, Sir, for all that you have done,” said the man, “ but I thought you might enjoy this.” He then got up and left.

Perhaps we do not have a sunset to give to you now, but FIC has certainly provided us with many opportunities to see “sunsets” of all kinds in various parts of the world. We have been most fortunate over the course of years to show visitors our side of the horizon, our homes, and our way of life, in gratefulness for seeing theirs in faraway lands.
Our membership has grown smaller now, because we have spent many years accumulating memories and friendships that we as mature folk can now enjoy in places closer to home. Fortunately, we have now discovered RiverCruises that still take us to faraway lands, and offer opportunities of meeting people living there, but require less energy doing so

Our most recent trip was aboard a lovely cruise ship that took us on the Danube River. The ship was sheer luxury and the food, gourmet from breakfast to dinner. The Danube was as smooth as silk with hardly any boat traffic on the southern end as we sailed through the largest locks in Europe. The scenery was serene and beautiful. Observing it was most relaxing, as we watched it unfold before our eyes.

We began in Bucharest, Romania, and sailed through several Balkan countries. Not only did we marvel at the beautiful structures we saw dating back many centuries, but appreciated meeting people who have lived through wars and difficult times in Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, and Hungary. These places that have always been far-off lands to us came to life when we walked in areas that still held land mines, and saw bullet-riddled buildings. It is exciting to see historic cities and places dating back many centuries, but it somehow hits home when you realize that events they are describing occurred in our lifetime! I couldn’t help thinking, "Now what was I doing at that time when these people were suffering here?"
The people in what was once Yugoslavia are now attempting to recreate their lives under new governments of individual countries, with their own flags, constitutions, and leaders. Of course these folk, within different borders now, have the same hopes , dreams , and pursuits as we all.

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