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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Embassy Kids Day: The Dog Show

On Friday Mom, Damon, Maddie, and I woke up early and took a taxi over to the U.S. Embassy where Dad works. Dad would have come with us to work that day, but he decided to stay home because he wasn't feeling very well. It was “Kid's Day” at the Embassy and Mom signed me up so that I could meet some new people and she thought it would be fun, for a change, compared to sitting around the house all day! Mom, Maddie, and Damon came because Maddie and Damon are now in High School so they were old enough to be helpers. The Kid's Day would take almost all day, so we started right away when all the kids were gathered in the room with an orientation of what we would do today. I was sitting next to a little girl a couple years younger than me that was the daughter of one of the Nurses in my Dad's office, we had offered her to walk down with us. She didn't speak much English, mostly Spanish, so it was a little hard to communicate with her sometimes. But I was very grateful that she spoke the slightest bit of English because she speaks way better English than I speak Spanish! The first thing we did after the orientation was split into groups, Kindergarden-3rd Grade and 4th Grade-8th Grade, that was the group I joined along with Damon being a helper. Mom and Maddie were assigned being helpers for the younger group. The first activity my group went to was the News Room. It was a lot of fun seeing what it was like to try and control the sound and be interviewed while being videod. It was a lot of fun. Right when we first started going around to the different stations a girl introduced herself as Gabi to me. We became quite good friends as the day went on, as I knew no one else there. Gabi had been in Colombia with the Embassy for 3 years and was staying another 3 years, so obviously she speaks quite good Spanish! As the day went on and we went to more and more stations. We finally went to the one that I found I like the best. Both groups joined together for the first time since this morning and we all sat in a line. Snacks were handed out as it was almost lunch time and we were all very hungry! We sat in the court yard talking for a couple minutes when finally about 7 men each with a dog, started walking around. Every once in a while they stopped, the dogs automatically stopping along side the men. All the Dogs were German Shepherds, except 2. One of the 2 was a Golden Retriever and the other, upon my friend asking in Spanish in the end, was a mixed German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. We all quieted down and the fun began! The men brought out 3 little table things, and a dog layed on top of each of them. One of the dogs jumped over the tables with the dogs on top of them, all the the tables in a row. Everyone clapped and a couple more dogs went, when it was the Golden Retriever's turn he started running towards them but just when we thought he was about to jump, he arched his back downwards and crawled underneath each one of them, everyone laughed and clapped. We all could tell by the level off energy and the looks of the dog that it was a bit older then the others and near the retiring age. The men leashed up the dogs once again marched around one last time and then for the grand finale they brought out 3 hoops connected to a stick making them stand about 3 feet off the ground. Next some of the guys brought out some matches and lit them on fire, we all widened our eyes in anticipation of what we knew was coming! The owner of a German Shepard unleashed his dog and said a command pointing towards the 3 lined up hoops. The dog took off at a run and jumped perfectly through all three flaming rings one after another! A couple more dogs took their turns and the occasional dog would shy away from one of the rings, the master then making the dog stop and backtrack to take on the hoop again, then normally clearing it after that try. The men cleared the courtyard again and then took and bow. We all cheered and then got herded towards the next event of the day!

By: Elena

Friday, August 19, 2011

Secret Service

Maddie and I were too old to go to the elementary and middle schooler's party, so mom made us be chaperones. The rest you can guess, the only thing we really did was tell the kids to be quite, and that in-its-self was a lost cause. Though, not all of it was little kids jabbering to their friends as we waltzed through the United States Embassy, even I did learn a few new things.

Each of the major sectors of the embassy put on a demonstration/slide show to inform the children on what happens in this embassy. One in particular, the Secret Service. What does the Secret Service do? Just protect the President right? Actually there is a bit more than meets the eye. Yes, the Secret Service is responsible for “the protection of national and visiting foreign leaders”, but “the Secret Service was established in 1865, solely to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. Currency”. Today the Secret Service has two goals, to exploit counterfeiting and to protect “national and visiting foreign leaders”. They thought it was a good idea since a number of the Presidents that were getting assassinated/killed was far too high.

The protection the Secret Service has to offer is a rare one, protection to the President and his family for life, Although President George W. Bush and later presidents do not receive protection for life because the previous President changed the law. People in the Secret Service receive vigorous training in which they learn in extreme depth everything there is to know on protection.

The other “half” of the Secret Service is investigations on counterfeiting. The man who was giving the demonstration is in the Secret Service and displayed uncut counterfeit money for us to examine. He gave us a few ways to tell if money is counterfeit.

The paper: the paper used to make real money is too expensive for the counterfeiters to use, so when you feel the counterfeit it does not feel the same as real money. The bill: it has a letter and the number according to the mint it was manufactured from. The same letter always goes with the same number, A1, B2, C3... etc. Watermark: if you hold a real bill up to a light another image in the paper becomes visible that you otherwise could not see. If the water mark is visible without holding it up to the light or if it is not visible when held up to the light then it is a counterfeit. Although there may be other ways of determining whether or not a bill is counterfeit these are a few of the simplest ways.

Since the Secret Service has started protecting the Presidents, although there has been attempts, only one has been successfully assassinated. R.I.P. JFK.

~Damon A. Faber~

Works Cited

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Embassy Kid's Day – Night Vision Goggles

The kid's day at the Embassy was on a Friday. Elena went to it, and Damon, Mom, and I helped with it. Mom and I were with the 3rd through 5th graders, and Damon had 6th through 8th. All the kids were really excited to see the night vision goggles, but it was later in the afternoon. Finally our group got to go into the room and there was a big, long table that the kids sat down at. The table had lots of stuff on it, like a few plastic guns, night vision goggles, and helmets and hats. A speaker talked, but someone translated because it was in Spanish. He talked about what the Gorillas did, and how they went into the jungle to find drug maker's buildings, and then they would blow them up. He explained that in the jungle you had to be careful, in case there were land mines around.

He showed us a mine detector that beeped when it got close to a mine (or batteries, as he showed us with); it looked pretty much like a metal detector. When he finished talking, they turned out the lights and we got to look through the night vision goggles. They did it a second time for everyone who didn't get a chance. You could see quite a bit through them, but it was all tinted slightly green. When you had a bit more light, you could see even better. Right at the end, kids lined up to get a picture with the mine detector, then we had to leave to switch with the other group.

By Maddie

Friday, August 5, 2011

El Chico

On Tuesday my Mom dragged me and my sistersto a museum. It was only a 5-10 minute walk from our new apartment and upon arriving Maddie realized she had lost her coat. Maddie and I headed back to see if we could find where she might have lost it. We went a third of the way back and decided it was gone. The museum had a big park with swings and pyramid merry go rounds and lots ofgardens andfountains.We decided to check out the park section of the museum after the part inside, but unfortunately the museum was closed during the one hour we were there. Mom and Maddie decided they would further investigate Maddie's missing coat and backtracked all the way to the apartment. Elena and I stayed to explore the park, only a minute later a man,with a few little boys trailing behind, came up to me and asked if I would like to play soccer. I said yes, and even though it took a while, I convincedElena to play as well. He told us how he came there often to play with the little kids. As it turned out he worked at the U.S. Embassy, what a coincidence! We played for awhile until Maddie and Mom finally returned empty handed. The museum had now opened and we went to that next. The museum as it turned out was just an old house which had been owned by a Spanish conquistador then when the last owner had no kids, donated it and its grounds to the city. A guide led us through the house which was filled with ornate furniture from around the world. Many parts of the housewere closed either permanently or for touch-ups.The museum which mom had planned to take the whole day ended in ten minutes. We went to check out the grounds and messed around on the merry-go-round and theteeter-toters before headingback to the apartment.Mom will undoubtedly return when more of the house/museum is opened.