Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In The Area?

I never call a business meeting unless there is business to discuss.

I never run through an airport to catch a flight.

I never make eye contact with women when traveling through Asia, even if I am talking to them.

I almost never say “grace” over my food unless the person with me insists.

I never read the manual prior to plugging in a new computer program.


I announced last spring that I would be in the states for the summer. The months of May through July it is too hot in the country we live and my teaching assignments are not in that period, so it’s a good time to return home and visit friends, sponsors and family. At least three donors have written, “If you’re in the area, please come by and see us.”

Perhaps we need definition – what does it mean to be in the area? Between the price of gas and driving time, my area is about 350 miles. Living in northwest Arkansas when we are home, my area then is Arkansas, Oklahoma, north Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Anything beyond that and we are looking at it being cheaper and more time efficient for me to fly.

It was 1975 when I first went out to raise support for our work. Back then gas was $0.58 a gallon (about $1.69 adjusting for inflation in today’s economy) and so driving 300 miles for a $50 dollar honorarium and $35 dollar monthly support wasn’t a bad deal. I wish I could have stayed in a 500-mile radius of home, but that was impossible, so our partners are spread from California to Connecticut. I’m only in another area if someone invites me.

I try to communicate to our partners via email monthly, sometimes more. But I know a personal visit is important. I suppose next year I should plan on being in other areas, but I can already hear it now...“June is not a good month for us, will you be in the area in July?”