News and greetings from Hans and Jessie
December 1999

JESSIE and HANS wish you

We hope that you and yours are well
and can look back on 1999 with
gratitude and satisfaction.

South Africa has made slow progress in 1999. Five years after our first democratic general election, the ruling African National Congress Party was again returned to power in this year's election. The Mandela era is over. The new president Thabo Mbeki is an excellent man. Our change-over from white minority rule to a predominantely black government is basically complete. It suffers from chronic lack of trained people at all levels.

But we have no dictatorship, no police state, and an economy that is at least ticking over with a reasonably stable currency. Despite crime, corruption, Aids, and health and education shortages, there is ground for hope that the new millenium will see a steady advance. I remain "cautiously optimistic".

Our family is as lively and wide-spread as ever. Julia, on her yacht "Jeshan", earns a living by advising clients in Sydney via the Internet while sailing in tropical waters off Cairns, (Barrier Reef). Recently she went solo to remote islands off South West Papua New Guinea, also meeting up with friends. She maintains the family web-site, illustrated with photos where you see and read more than I can describe here.

Paul is presently in Amsterdam/London on business, returns at the weekend. Marc, their eldest, after Colorado and USA/Canada, was some months in London, earning his own living via odd jobs. He put in a short appearance here last month, then flew to Australia and has just reached Julia in Cairns after a 48 hour nonstop bus-ride from Sydney. He will go back to London in January and will then take some serious decisions on future work and career. Lindsay and the rest of the family are joyfully involved in many activities.

So are Mish (whose business is flourishing) and family who will be here from Johannesburg over Xmas. We visited them in October.

Finally, Carl who tragically lost his Colleen a year ago has just successfully changed his job to a Manhattan-based excellent firm. We visited them in New York in May. Carl's inner strength and his attachment to his two splendid boys has seen him through the crisis. Lybi, Zak and Amiel's mother, lives nearby and both parents share in the boys' care and upbringing.

Jessie is fabulously well and energetic. I am troubled with arthritic nerve pain which at the moment reduces my activities and, I hope, will improve again.

Hans Middelmann

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