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Last Sunday

October 2000

I flew w over from Provo to Grand Turk to do some research. Real early. And I met the fine lady who does something for people and shares my concern about AIDS. We talked for a few hours. Met her three kids and enjoyed the oceanview from the balcony when we fall quiet sometimes.
I certainly find myself wiser after this. I have just about enough time to take a swift tour with the oldest taxi-driver of Grand Turk. And a quick lunch in an even older colonial-style hotel. Then it's back to the airport to get on the plane to Provo.

A slightly intoxicated old woman - at the airport entrance - asks me if I have some change or cigarettes. She is in a poor shape. Her eyes are hollow, her skin is tight. She looks sixty years old but might just be forty. I know this look. A junky. I'm pretty sure she is got AIDS. And most likely, since these islands are small, everybody knows.

I tell her I'll be back. And walk over to a small snack-stand and ask the salesperson what she has to sell from the little cooler in front of her. She sez:
"Was she begging for money?"
And I reply:
"Why would you ask?"
She just sez:
"Don't give her any, she'll just get drugs".
"What kind of drugs?"
"Oh, you know…".

I'm not sure I do. This most certainly is not about marijuana. It could be heroin. Even if it was available, who can afford such an expensive habit here?
I buy two drinks, some cigarettes, and walk back to the lady.
Give them to her and shake her hand.

After going inside, the check-in the process turns out to be an event itself. Four trainee ladies take forever to get me a seat in their system.
As I still have a few minutes. I go back outside to finish my own drink.

There is a young couple right next to me. They shine brightly in their Sunday best. Probably straight out of church. Who knows. They stare across from me. They look slightly angry, a smile of contempt on their lips. They are looking at the junk lady who - in her plastic seat of misery - is now drinking and smoking…
I don't know any god, but I can think about a little prayer."Take care of this island, couple. And take care of the old junky lady. People, take care. There is a problem here".

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