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sea. There is nothing like a tropical sunset on the ocean. The way the sun drops into its next destination, it is simply the most beautiful thing now.

I shift my position, and look over the side of my boat. We are going down river. The sun is setting; it is just above the treetops. I will not be here when it is completely dark.

Kerry's plan was to move us out within a month of his plans initialization. We came very close; three weeks and two days. It was on one beautiful morning - that’s another thing...tropical sunrises are just like tropical sunsets. They are different than anything, anywhere. I am blessed by the gods to be leaving to one.

Kerry did indeed come up with an interesting crew. Oh, we had it all. The artist, an inventor, and then I, with my foul mouth, and coarse hands.

Our great thinker was most obviously Kerry - but he seemed to have found a protégé in Clarke, a young idealist who is very much like Kerry. They take to each other immediately, and I see that they are both equally full of their ideals. I wonder how's he's done it - how in a whole continent as big as Africa, he can manage to find one man just like himself.

Then there is River. He's most evidently brilliant with his hands. He is always tinkering with something. I like him; he's a nice fellow, very sturdy, and self-confidant. I don't know it then, but he will be one of the few I can trust later on. I rather think he is a sad loss. Archie is another one who I like rather well. He's a clever kid, not easily intimidated. He is along to help us with the farming aspects of our expedition. I wonder what made him turn still.

Lastly, and perhaps still most mysteriously, is Sal. Sal was an artist, and I can't find any other practical definition of her. She would often sit on the side of the boat, her eyes glazed over. I would try and follow her glaze into infinity. Sometimes I would walk past her, and politely say 'Hello' on my way up to the bridge, where as she would instantly snap 'Don't say "hello" this is an outdated word. This word is discretionary. This is a cover up. You don't care how I am. You would push me into the river if I had something you wanted. Don't play the game.' She is beautiful - but I fight all my attractions to her, because she reminds me to much of the last woman in my life...who left me high and dry...

We worked well in the beginning - perhaps I should say that "they" worked well in the beginning. I always felt the outcast. Many nights, as Kerry and Clarke would babble, I would sit on the deck and listen to them, my eyes never moving past the jungle rolling past my small ship.

'Indeed, education is not something that can be glossed over, but we have to ask ourselves, is the current education system really working?'

'Eh, are they being taught the correct things would be my question.'

'Indeed. Let's think of it; what are they being taught? This and that date - what rocks are made off, and who they are named after. In what year Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean. I ask you, what good does this ever accomplish any child?'

'Some, but I don't think we should have an education based solely on these principles. One day, when these "informed electorates" decide to blow each other to hell, how are the survivors going to build the world back up - with used texts and dates? No. This is what people really need to be taught; is that in order for this world to work, you must know how to work it.'

'Indeed. But again, who is going to teach children these things? It's part of culture to want to exponate there own glory; likely there is not going to be an English teacher who is going to give up Mark Twain for a book on survival in the jungle with a radiation cloud hanging over your head.'

'And therefore I do not ask them to!' I watch Kerry, with his wan eyes, and elaborate facial movements. His looks communicate a more deep message than his words, to me. 'Nay, I suggest that we allow children to continue with there education, as it is regularly doled out to them. But, I suggest that they must take a certain number of courses over the summer and the like, detailing them on the ways of constructing a shelter in the pouring rain, engineering, mechanics, and medicine. Survival - there must be teachings of survival. We live in a world that is ready to blow itself up, or to melt its resources, and to do it without thought or apology. Leaders, leaders with skills are needed. But even more than skilled leaders, a populace with these skills is needed...'

I turn my head away and allow it to listen once again to the sounds of nature. I find them more soothing, less threatening, than any sound made by any human, anywhere, under any circumstances. I am distant, but this I can handle.


   
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