Monday, March 17, 2003

I though a few people might drop in to visit. George spoke about 40 minutes ago with his ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. The 48 hour windows puts us through to Thursday morning, Kuwait time.
We are scheduled to leave on Wednesday night on a flight to Bangkok, Thailand. The school, in one of their few wise decisions, have extended our spring break to two weeks. The break could be extended further, if the military action continues longer than the two weeks.

Yesterday, when the evacuation was ordered, the mood at the school became very excited. Teachers were happy that some decision had been made. The administration came around and asked teachers if they would prefer a ticket home or a cash payment (which we took as we already had a reservation to Thailand).

By the end of the day, we had all made plans. At a staff meeting the school began to revoke its promises. First, the one month salary advance that accompanies the ticket home in case of an evacuation would not be given since we are being paid our regular salary this week. Furthermore, the money the school claimed it had to pay for such a situation would not be available. Teachers who wanted the money to pay for the tickets that they had booked on t he school's advice were told that the school could not say when they might be paid. The school has said that teachers who work everyday that the school is open will receive a bonus at the end of the year. If the evacuation accompanied a school closure, the bonus would not be affected. Minutes after we got home, we received a call from our director saying that their announcement that evacuation would not affect the bonus, had been a misunderstanding. Now the school's position was that staff who took the evacuation would give up the bonus.

Karla and I are not impressed by the school and their decisions not to live up to their word. But departure is a day and a half away for us. As long as the airlines continue operating and there is no pre-emptive attack from Iraq, we will leave on Wednesday night (Wednesday morning, North American time). Hopefully, the next posting will have photos of Thailand.

Hoping for as short and safe a conflict as possible...