Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Video Plea

Most of my efforts are taking place at Save-A-Thon For Africa these days so please visit there to support but just in case you missed it, here is my latest video.  Takes just 5 minutes to watch and I sincerely hope it will move you to join us and help us touch the lives of those with so little this Christmas.

Thank you!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Great Week! Time to act!

Here is a quick update on what is happening at Bridges To America.

As you may know, my 12 year-old daughter, Kylie, and I have been working on a campaign we call Save-A-Thon For Africa ( most of the year to raise money for soccer balls, school supplies, and food to deliver for Christmas to the children in Ghana.  We leave in less than three weeks!

Last week we received the best PR we have ever had and it was very satisfying.  We were on the KSL six o'clock news in Salt Lake City and had two newspaper articles written about the effort.

Here are links to the video and to both newspaper articles.

KSL News Link

Deseret News Article

Herald Journal Article

It is gratifying to see the return of investment from our generous donors and our hard work.  It feels like we are gaining momentum and reaching a tipping point that will help us grow.  And the greatest thing about that is that we are now able to benefit more families and especially children in Africa.

We are still raising over $3,000 for the expenses of this trip and supplies for the children in the village for Christmas.  We would love any support you can give and/or encourage as you see fit.  You can visit the website to learn more and make donations here:

Lastly, we are doing a fundraiser called Chalk Talk for Charity this Thursday night,  Dec. 6th from 7PM with the Utah State Aggies Women's Soccer Team in Logan.  More details here:

Thanks for your support!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Criticism of Charity. My Response

It's been a great week for Bridges To America as we have enjoyed several favorable stories about our efforts with Save-A-Thon For Africa (

We were on the KSL News in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Two newspaper articles were also written on our effort.

Deseret News

Herald Journal

After the segment aired I came across a couple of fairly critical comments on the KSL News website that I have heard before and I wanted to address them.  I think my response could be helpful to further understanding important issues around humanitarian efforts and charity.

The first comment is below:

am blu blood
posted 1 day ago
This is all nice and fine, however why is it that people have to look for charities to serve other nations, why not help our own nation, we have an enormous need right here in the GOOD OLE U.S. OF A. Show me ONE country that has ever stepped up to help our country. WE need to focus back on ourselves, and once we are healed then we can help others, charity starts at HOME.

My Response:

As for helping people here first and then overseas I can't disagree with the fact that we have our own problems here. No question. But, what people probably don't realize is that we actually have a tremendous safety net here in the USA. If someone really has no food they can get it. In Africa, that is simply not true. The line between dead and alive is very thin there.  This means that so much energy of daily life is spent on merely surviving that things like education take a lower priority.

It takes so little to do so much good that I can't simply sit back and wait to solve all of our problems here first and then help people in another country. If we all waited until our problems were solved do you think we would ever look beyond our borders? I don't think so.

Further, by involving my daughters, future leaders like the rest of their generation, they are getting firsthand experience in being grateful for what we do have here in the US and a priceless education in service which can be applied both here and abroad.

Second Comment:

I ShouldaKnown
posted 2 days ago
Really they are going to fly over with 150 balls? Come on think big, it's not worth the trip unless they have 15,000 balls. Give some thought to staying home and using the airfare money to send them more balls.
report as abuse
posted 1 day ago
Its the experience in seeing the kids expression as they receive these wonderful gifts. Way to go goalie!
My Response:

I have told my girls that we will leave each village there with a pit in our stomach that we couldn't do more.  But that feeling will be more than offset by the smiles and beaming eyes that thank us for what we were able to do. Frankly, this trip isn't about soccer balls, or the school supplies and food we will also be delivering, it's about going beyond our own problems and perceived lack of things and touching the lives of a few or a few hundred children who just want to know that they are valued and that their lives matter. It doesn't get any bigger than that!

I believe in doing what you can now, however small it may seem, not waiting for some elusive day when 15,000 balls is even a possibility. Though I appreciate the challenge.

I welcome your comments to my response on these important issues.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Save-A-Thon For Africa is getting exciting!

Support us here.

We are just over 3 weeks away from flying nearly 10,000 miles to visit hundreds of children in poor villages in Ghana, Africa for Christmas.  Here is a quick update:

1.  Watch a news story shot today on KSL News in Salt Lake City, Utah tonight at 6PM.  The story will be online at shortly;

Marissa on camera.

2.  We got out first batch of soccer balls and loaded 1 of 6 big duffel bags we are taking with us;

Kylie with a bag of soccer balls for the children in Ghana.

3.  Fundraiser with the Aggies Women's Soccer Team is in just 9 days--December 6th @ 7PM.  Get your tickets here!

Stay tuned for more updates...

Support us here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Charity Fundraiser with the Aggies!

See Event Here

We are very happy to announce a special charity fundraiser featuring members of the WAC Champion Utah State Aggies Women's Soccer Team!  Click the link above for more details but the key points are as follows:

When: Thursday, December 6th from 7:00-8:30PM

Where: Riter Mansion, 168 N 100 E, Logan, Utah

What: A fireside chat with members of the Aggies discussing soccer, being your best, and doing good in the world.

Food is included and the event will be lots of fun.  All proceeds from the event go to supporting Save-A-Thon For Africa.

Check it out and register below.

See Event Here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


So, we are one month away from our departure to Ghana and the girls went to get their shots today.  Watch this video and pass along.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Current Project--Christmas in Ghana

On my last trip to Ghana in March I met a wonderful young boy in one of the many villages we visited. Our team members were more prepared than I in bringing gifts to distribute to the children there.  We had a few soccer balls to give out but this young boy, Borges, was a little too young and perhaps too polite to get one as the older kids jockeyed for position to get a ball.  After missing out on getting a new ball he politely approached me and asked if I would give him a soccer ball.  I didn't have any to give.  But there was something about the goodness in his face that made me promise him that I would come back and bring soccer balls for him and all the children in the village.  I really had no idea what I was saying at the time and didn't realize how much effort it would take to keep that promise.

Well a promise is a promise and my 12 year-old soccer player, Kylie, has helped me keep it.  Through her efforts as a goalie this year she has been raising money to help fund this trip and help these children.  She has raised $1,500 so far and these funds will be used to distribute over 100 soccer balls, school supplies for the girls, and a Christmas meal for all the children in two poor villages a few hours out of Accra, Ghana.

We need to raise another $4,000 or so to cover the airfare for Kylie and her older sister, Marissa.  I will be covering the other logistical expenses as best I can.

Will you please visit our fundraising website here and do what you can to support?  In Africa it takes so little to do so much.

Stay tuned for more updates as we move along this exciting journey to create a memorable and life-changing experience for all involved.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finished but NOT Satisfied

Well, I only accomplished one of my goals today in the half marathon: FINISHING!

I ran a 2:05 which is about 2 minutes slower than my personal best and 5 minutes behind my elusive goal to break 2 hours!  I will say that in 3 half marathons in 3 years I am pretty consistent: 2:03, 2:08, 2:05.  For whatever that's worth.  I would like to be a little inconsistent now if that means faster. ;-)

Here is a link to my official results.

I have to tell you that I don't think I can sit around and wait another year to break two hours so, despite needing to relax for about a week, I think I am going to seek another half in the next month and give it a better shot.

Thanks to everyone who supported me.  We raised over $500 for Bridges To America for our current projects.  If you haven't already donated please take a minute to consider doing so.  Seriously, even $10 helps our cause and you get a tax deduction.  Not sure how anyone loses with that deal!

Stay tuned...

Mika and I before the race in 49 degree morning weather!
After--Happy to be done and a little warmer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Run for the Money

I am doing it again this year.  Top Of Utah Half Marathon on Saturday, August 25th.

Last year I ran a marathon to raise money for Bridges to America, this year I am "only" doing a half marathon.  Or as I like to call it: 13.1 miles.  It just so happens to be half of a marathon but that doesn't make it any shorter.

I do this because I do enjoy the challenge but more importantly I want you to know as a potential donor that I don't ever take a donation lightly and I am willing to work hard to earn it.  As you can see from the links to the right we have three fundraisers going on and I really need your support this year.  Pick your favorite cause or just give what you can to the general fund and we will route the funds to the cause that needs the most help.

This year, I have three goals for my run.

1.  Finish
2.  Set a Personal Best (faster than 2:03:02)
3.  Break the 2 hour mark

Accordingly, in order to make your donation interesting you can donate in several ways.

1.  A per finished mile pledge.  (e.g. $1/mile for each mile finished = $13. $5/mile = $65, etc.)
2.  A bonus if I make a PR.  Or nothing if I don't.
3.  A speed bonus if I break the elusive 2-hour mark.

For the record I am down in weight to 205 pounds but I only did 12 miles last night in around 2:15.  Granted it was 85+ degrees outside and I was carrying my own water but lots will have to go right for me next Saturday to break 2 hours.  Still going to try hard.  Feel free to challenge me with a bonus pledge.

Thank you so much for helping us and supporting the good things we are trying to do.

Even if you can't or choose not to help with a donation will you at least share the effort on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 6-7: New Life

Final photo from the hotel in Yeji before departing.

The next morning we were all anxious to pack up and make the long journey back to Accra where these four rescued children could start their new lives.  I must say however, that things that seemed so unpleasant just two days before at the hotel now felt sort of comfortable compared with our stay in the village.  I wondered how the kids felt as we whisked them back to the big city of Accra.  Certainly things would be more pleasant and modern but still foreign and unfamiliar to them.

Arriving at the Center after our 9 hour drive through the Ghana countryside.

The caretaker escorting the kids to their new home.

Rice and chicken like this is a real rarity for these kids.  So is a spoon and bowl.

Saying good night before parting for our hotel.

The next day, our last day in Ghana, we went to the Center where the kids has been cleaned-up, haircuts and all, given fresh clothes, and ready to begin the re-integration process.  This part of the process is critical to ensuring that the chances of these kids being re-trafficked remains low.  The idea is to help them gain their own sense of self-confidence and worth so that they can eventually stand up for themselves and be valued by their families.  The process is gradual but knowledge really is power and it consists of educating them and helping them see that they can have a bright future, despite having lost some crucial years of childhood as a trafficked child.

Eric teaching the kids a song on their first day of school.

Mika with Kwojo who drew this picture and worked on writing his name.

At the Center there was mostly laughter and smiles, sprinkled in with a few tears as the kids adjusted to all of this huge change in their lives.  I am sure they were wondering if this was real and, if so,  how long it would last.  Pondering what their future would look like and missing their families and friends from the village.

One thing I know for sure is that because of the rescue mission these kids are on a different path that includes education, opportunity, self-esteem, and a fighting chance to change their world and hopefully the one around them.

The kids dressed in their traditional clothes.  Love those smiles!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 5--Almost Done

I was glad to get up on this morning and get the day started.  Did I mention how miserable the night was??!!

We fixed a little breakfast--a smattering of oatmeal, protein bars, ramen, and lukewarm water!--and then headed to the boat to search for more trafficked children.  Unfortunately, they were everywhere.  I was amazed at how dismal the feeling was on the lake.  There was this sort of gray haze of heat on this vast body of water dotted by kids with no future.  The hopelessness was palpable and I worked hard to not let it engulf me.  As a team we fought through it and followed Eric's lead and positive attitude of service. 

But as we approached boat after boat of these young kids forced to be working when they should be in school--preparing for a better future-- the impact of our mission now and in the future hit me in a profound way.  I wish that you, dear reader, could have been there with me or that, at least, that my writing could truly help you comprehend what we saw and felt.  It changed my life and it would change yours too.

Eric was his usual upbeat self and I continued to be amazed at his ability to connect with these kids--most afraid to even talk to him because of what their master would do if they got caught them even talking.  These two boys to the left didn't say one word to us despite 10 minutes of trying.  No change in facial expression either that even acknowledged our presence.  This encounter made me sad as I thought about their life--day in day out the same difficult and boring work.  What a waste!

 This little boy in the orange sweater--a sign of how little these people have to be wearing a sweater in this heat!--actually lived in the village where we stayed the night before.  Eric talked with the master (green shirt) on the water and agreed to discuss his release back at the village later.  Subsequent discussions with him and his wife yielded nothing and it was very frustrating to see this little boy remain stuck in a losing situation.  The stubbornness of perverse tradition and a selfish view of the world was very evident.  Heartbreaking!  We continue to hope that this boy, like others we met on our trip will eventually be released through the continual efforts of Eric and those who support him.

After a few hours on the lake and plenty of contact with trafficked children we headed back to the village to finalize the release of a few children, pack up, and prepare for the long journey back to Yeji.  My daughter and I both really began to feel the effects of the heat but we didn't have much choice but to keep hydrating with warm water, find some shade, limit activity and find a way to soldier on.  As the TV producer with us said to me:  "There is no secret strategy to making it through tough journeys like this.  You just do."
Managing smiles while fighting off heat exhaustion.

In addition to Kwojo (green Celtics shirt), we had to finalize the release of two other trafficked children: Michael (little guy on the right in front of man in red shirt) and Akepene (peach-colored dress in middle).  We gathered these two beautiful kids and headed back to the boat to head home. 

You can see we had lots of people there to see us off but we had one young lady who did something Eric had never seen before.  She rescued herself.  Nesty, the girl below with Eric, while no one was looking hopped in the boat and sat next to the three other children.  We finally noticed and then someone told Eric.  Eric doesn't just take kids away so he Eric talked with Nesty first and then talked with her parent and the chief in the village. 

The long story short is that Nesty is a feisty young lady who apparently saw that she had no future in this little village in the middle of nowhere.  She saw our departure as her chance for a new life and, to her credit, she took it.  The parent Eric spoke with said Nesty was trouble and that she could go with us.  My take on "trouble" is that she chose not to play by the rules of this life and wanted more.  She is a maverick, a game-changer.  This is one young lady to keep an eye on for sure.

Here are the four rescued children headed towards their new life.

Remember the boy on the boat with 5 grown men?  As discussed the day before, we stopped by his village on the way back to Yeji to negotiate his release.  A tribal council was held to discuss this boy's situation.  Things were going well and it even looked like the master might release him on the spot but two of the ten or so men in the council made some complaints about the idea and the master got scared and decided not to release him.  Total disappointment and it made me angry.
Eric took the young master aside as were leaving and worked on him away from the pressures of the tribe.  Eric said he was open to considering a release in the future and we can only hope that that day comes soon for this little guy.

We got back to Yeji later that day and we were all amazed at how nice our run-down hotel now seemed.  We showered, ate food, found safe cans of cold soda to drink at the local market and rejoiced in the success of our mission and that we were safely headed home.

The hardest part of our trip was now complete.  I know I did some complaining in my report but I wanted to give you the good, the bad, and the raw reality of what we experienced.  As I reflect now I realize that we made it through this mission by focusing on the positive--we found the good in the bad, and the hope in the hopeless.  I am ever grateful to the African people I met on this trip for they are tremendous examples of courage, grit, and hope as they live in a part of the world that takes a lot out of you.  But, somehow, they always seemed to have something left to make it through each day with a smile on their face.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 4--The Night

After an already very full Day 4 we arrived at the fishing village far up Lake Volta.  This is where our new friend, Tetee was rescued seven years ago.  We were exhausted but ready to sort of "settle in" to the place where we would stay the night.  There was no dinner so, as needed, we ate more protein bars and drank bottled water that was becoming less and less cold as the ice it was in understandably continued to melt.  We were not allowed to eat the food the locals eat for sanitary reasons and the literally weak intestinal fortitude of our American digestive systems.  No longer looking at protein bars the same way now is a small price to pay for this experience but seriously I haven't had one since returning to the States and if a few more years go by before I do that will be fine with me.

These are some of the sights that greeted us to our "home" for the night.
Little ones checking out the strange guy with the camera.

One of the nicer homes in the village.

Typical scene in the village

After we set down our small bags of toiletries, clothes, and food in the outdoor area where we would make camp for the night we were invited to take a walking tour of the village with one of the nicest men we met on the entire trip.  (I am embarrassed that I can't recall his name now but I will never forget him!)

Love these faces!
It was a real kick to go from section to section of the village and see how the people there lived.  As you can tell from the pictures it is a rough existence there where day-to-day survival is top priority.

Starting our tour.
In the midst of this reality it was so gratifying and certainly one of the highlights for me personally to be greeted with big smiles by so many children and often their parents.  The kids would just follow us wherever we would go.  Some would try to speak English to us to see if what they had learned at school would really work.  I am happy to say that it did...mostly.  Many would reach out to hold our hands and sometimes I was holding hands with 3-4 kids at once.  It was very sweet and I was so happy to share that closeness with them, albeit temporarily.

Our tour guide (back) and Jen with one of the elders of the village.

My daughter, Mika, with a beautiful baby boy.

Recharging station.
After our 45 minute tour that turned into about 90 minutes we came back to our spot and just sort of hung around watching the villagers get ready for the night, trying not to think about the heat and dirt and setting up our sleeping arrangements.  The local team was very helpful in schlepping our stuff up from the boat 200 yards to our spot in the dirt.  They set-up the generator, recharging station, lights, cots, and mosquito nets for us.

Eric, in his true greatness as a humanitarian, spent probably an hour handing out clothes that his own children has outgrown over the year to the children of the village.  He took great care to find something that would fit these children--usually with a little room to grow into.  There was some jostling in line for sure but generally they were well-behaved especially considering their opportunities to get anything new, let alone something as important as clothes, are very rare.

Our set-up for the night.
The downside of having light in the dark is BUGS!

As the darkness set in we tried to get comfortable and waited for bedtime.  Our team set up our mosquito nets for us over our cots on which we laid a thin mattress.  I didn't find out until the next day that the nets weren't just for mosquitoes but for the swarms of bugs that were present in the village and apparently attracted to the lights we had hanging over our beds.  Shocker!

The villagers planned to have a "durbar" that evening starting around 9PM.  A durbar is a ceremonial party with lots of tribal music and dancing.  I stayed up taking pictures and "hanging out" with everyone for a while waiting for the durbar to start but I ran into a problem or two

#1-I was exhausted.
#2-I was wearing a white T-shirt--thinking white is a cool color and that would be smart to wear during the hot days of Africa.  However, in addition to picking up dirt everywhere it was also quite attractive to the bugs, in addition to the headlamp I was wearing.  Smart guy that I am ;-) I realized quickly my high-tech headlamp was nothing but a bug magnet and target and its usefulness rapidly diminished.

This little guy is up past his bedtime.  So is Jen!
Again, not realizing that the bugs swarming around me weren't actually malaria-carrying mosquitoes, I sort of got freaked out when one of the children started brushing bugs off the back of my shirt.  I thought if this little guy is worried about me maybe I should be too and decided to retire to my cot and the safety of my net.  I felt bad to miss the durbar which I heard later was quite the party (of course my cot was only 10 feet away from the festivities so I did get the audio portion of it.) but I was seriously ready for a break.  This was probably the only time on the trip when I was disappointed in myself and felt like a bit of a pansy. 

--Petting a crododile?  No problem.
--Shooing away the young hustlers trying to get our money?  Check!
--Dealing with the scare of a near fatal van accident?  OK.
--But dealing with a swarm of bugs while dead tired running on warm water and protein bars? Guess I hit my limit.  Oh well.  So, I am no Bear Grylls.  No surprise to those who know me.
The Village People (not those guys) preparing to play music for the dancing and partying that carried long into the night.

Lastly, I have to just say that my night in our little cocoons was the longest night of my life.  I am a big guy, 6'3", 220, and the cot I was on was clearly built for smaller, shorter people.  To keep the bugs out you tuck the net under the mattress on the cot but I was afraid that the cot would close up like a taco and put me on the ground so I was very careful to not move around at all.  I was deathly hot and humid and frankly miserable.  I remember waking up pretty much every hour on the hour checking my watch.  You could hear the chickens, goats, and people all through the night, in addition to a loud snorer (ironically not me this time probably because generally you have to be asleep to snore) who seemed just fine with our accommodations.  I was so bored and agitated that I couldn't sleep but knew I badly needed it that I even broke out my Blackberry and checked email from my work. (Yes, I was able to get service way out in the sticks.  Sort of amazed me, too!)  I remember around 2AM just laughing with Mika and Jen as we were all miserable.  Laugh or cry sometimes, I guess.

We finally woke up like 5:30AM or 6:00AM--about 2 hours after the rooster crowed, what's up with that?! Who ordered the 4AM wake up call?!  We woke up to a village radio broadcast of the day's news and updates on what was happening in Ghana.  No shower, obviously, and I was in bad need of one, but we used our baby wipes to clean up a bit and had some water, licorice, malaria pill, and oatmeal:  breakfast of champions.  I was glad to be awake,  not to mention alive, and ready for a great day.  Despite the physical and mental challenge I was shaken by the thought of these trafficked children who live and sleep in conditions worse than I had it and then have to get up before dawn to go and work under threat of physical violence.

I know I am complaining but my one night of difficulty gave me precious perspective on the value of the mission we were on for which I will always be profoundly grateful.

Day 5 soon...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 4

Waking up isn't generally something I look forward to but Mikaelyn and I were glad to wake up and leave the hotel to start the mission on Day 4, Tuesday March 20, 2012.  We were the first ones ready to leave so we got in the Land-Crusier with Eric and took a short 5 minute drive to the shore of Lake Volta.  The little town was bustling and vibrant with color and people getting ready for the day.  Check out these beautiful pictures of the people making their way in the world that morning.  Seeing them again makes me miss being around their indomitable spirits.

Freshly brushed teeth.


Yes, she is rather pregnant and yes, she filled that entire basin with water from the lake and took it away.

Breakfast on the go!

Wish we could have taken her home.  How beautiful is she?!

After a lot of milling around and truly enjoying the many people and things we saw at the the markets while our crew loaded up our boat for our overnight mission way up Lake Volta we were finally underway. Here is the boat that took us about 3 hours north on the lake to the various villages we visited this day.  It was so muggy and hot that moving in the boat was the only, and I mean only, time we had a break from the relentless heat as the speed of the boat moved the warm air on us so that it actually cooled us down...a little.

 As we journeyed toward the north of the Lake we weren't entirely sure what we would run across but at the first turn we took to visit one village we had lost the film crew so we stopped the boat--felt the heat come back immediately--and waited for them.  As soon as the film crew caught up to us after some minor motor problem, Eric directed our captain, Patrick, to a fishing boat near us.  As we got closer it became evident that we had run across our first trafficking case.  There was one young boy (maybe 12 years old?) and 5 grown men all fishing.  Before we even realized what was happening Eric had boarded the boat and was busy making friends and talking to them about child trafficking and trying to negotiate the release of this boy.  As you can see in the pictures this little guy was scared because the men apparently told them that we were the police and he was going to be taken away. Eric calmed the boy down with some candy and kind words.

 The men agreed to "discuss" his release the next day and gave us their location.  We were hopeful that we could get him released the next day and went on our way to the first village.

Before moving on to the next village I must interject here that I truly have never met anyone in any country with the calming and engaging personality that Eric possesses.  He showed that personality every second I was with him and I know this is the key to his success of releasing over 700 trafficked children since he started this vital work.  It is an honor to know him and I feel like I have made a true friend for life.

We visited the first fishing village where Eric had arranged for one boy to be released the previous year but unfortunately the master wasn't around.  We did see some mobile phones on the remote islands we were on but there was no contact we cold make with this master so we moved on.  The village here looked like something out of a Disney Jungle Cruise set and we met a little boy named "Obama."


We had better luck at the next village.  Again, Eric had discussed the release two boys in this village the previous year.  The master ended up releasing only one to us, Kwojo, because he said the other one was sickly and that Kwojo was smarter and had a better chance of making something of himself. 
Kwojo minutes away from freedom.

Eric negotiates with Kwojo's master.
Eric writes up the contract as part of the release.

The film crew capturing the release.
All smiles once the deal is done.  Kwojo with all of his worldly possessions and his smile!
While the film crew was finishing some shots on the shore and after all was said and done and the smiles were recorded the master actually came up to our boat where Kwojo was seated next to me and looked as though he was going to try and take Kwojo back.  Several of the many kids on the shore watching Kwojo onboard jeered at him and things got a little sketchy for a few minutes.  We yelled for the film crew to hurry up and started to leave while keeping Kwojo safely in back and close to us.

We were delighted to have our first rescued child on board and it was a touching experience to watch him as he began to wake up to what had just happened to him.  He was free and about to start a brand new life.  We were running out of daylight and still had a good hour or so to get to Tetee's village where we had more children to rescue and where we would stay the night.

It had been a long but rich day and it even though it was only about 4PM it was about to get longer ahead of an even longer night.