Sr. Mary Virginia Orna OSU, a retired chemistry professor, residing in New York, USA, visited the Ursuline Convent and Ursuline High School in Wrocław in November 2021. Two our students, Maria Mikołajczak and Mikołaj Lewczuk, met to talk about her carreer as a scientist and her life as a Ursuline sister. The interview, translated by the our students into Polish, was published on 9 January 2022 in Gość Niedzielny. The text was edited by Mr. Piotr Sołodyna (Ursuline High School) and Mr. Karol Białkowski (Gość Niedzielny). Below, we present the original interview, in English. (Photos Kuba Wojsławski)
In the first part of our interview we’re going to ask you some questions related to your career as a scientist. In the beginning we’d like to ask you whether you were born into the family of scientists or science enthusiasts or did you discover the path of science on your own?
Well I have a little story about that, actually, it happened around the time that I was 10 years old. My father was an accountant, there was no science there and my mother was a homemaker, so there was no science there either. But one Christmas they gave my 8-year-old brother a chemistry set and I got a doll and I was immediately jealous. After a hostile takeover in which I overpowered my brother because he was smaller than I was, I took the chemistry set to my room and I immediately started an explosion. That was the beginning of my scientific career. So, If people ask me how did you ever become a chemist, I always say: Oh, it was because of my brother. They say: „Was your brother a scientist?”. And oh no, but if I didn’t have a brother, I never would have seen a chemistry set. But that is how I was introduced to chemistry, through my hostile takeover of my brother’s chemistry set.
You have been doing research in the area of coulour and pigment chemistry. Can you explain to us how you got fascinated by colours? What was your research primarily about?
Actually, colour is not in the normal chemistry curriculum. Even right on through graduate school, you can study chemistry for a dozen years and hardly anybody mentions colour, except for the fact that compounds have a certain colour. And we describe them that way but it’s never part of the curriculum as to the reason for the colour; it’s only mentioned in passing. I didn’t know very much about it until I was asked by the department chair of The Art Department at our University if I would try to learn more about colour and design a course in colour for art majors that would relate chemistry to art, and so that art majors didn’t have to come in fear into a chemistry course. But something that they would be able to handle, relate to and enjoy.
So, I had to go back to school. I got a grant from The National Science Foundation, took some time off and went to New York University Institute of Fine Arts in order to learn about colour. And, fortunately, there was also an art conservation department which was scientific; it was run by a physical chemist and an art historian together, so entirely interdisciplinary. It was the best place to be to learn about colour and while I was there, I took a course in chemical microscopy. That is looking at stuff under the microscope but not with a view to a biological and anatomical information, but a crystal point of view. The shape of crystals and also of the refractive index of the substance you’re looking at, so you can identify them, by their refractive index.
I was at the Institute of Fine Arts for a semester which amounted to about 5 months. And while I was taking the course in chemical microscopy, a gentleman sat down next to me and we started to talk, and I found out that he was a faculty member at New York University. He was an art historian and his speciality was Armenian medieval manuscripts and he said: „Do I have a proposition for you! I really feel I don’t know my manuscripts very well, unless I know what they contain, what they’re made of, what chemicals are in those manuscripts. Would you like to join me to do a tour of the world, that is to visit the manuscripts, because they won’t come to us, they have to stay at their libraries. But I can get the grant money and we can go to the manuscripts and analyze them, or at least maybe get samples from them. I can get those permissions.” Well, of course I had to speak with my Mother Superior about going off with this gentleman and taking a tour of the world, and I suppose he had to ask his wife about it too.
But at any rate, we did over period of several years do this tour of manuscripts and it turned out to be mostly Armenian and Byzantine manuscripts. We ended up doing the analysis, we published the results and the response from the academic community was overwhelming. Because it turned out that no one had done this kind of work before and no one really knew what was in these manuscripts before. All we had was the literature that said what was in those manuscripts and we were able to find out that some of it was true some of it wasn’t true. So, for example, everyone said that the green pigment in Armenian manuscripts was a mineral called malachite and we found out, no, it was a mixture of 2 pigments, just the way you do this in kindergarten where, if you want to make green you combine blue and yellow, and that was precisely what we found. That the blue pigment was azurite and a yellow pigment was an arsenic compound, highly toxic, called orpiment. These were some of the things that we were able to overturn in terms of the literature.
People were very interested. We got many requests for reprints of the manuscript that we published, and we were off and running doing other things and we finally built a database of these pigments. And that was subsequently on display, along with the pigments, at the J.P. Morgan Library downtown in New York City. It was a show that they had set up. And then the catalog of the show was also published and it was called: „Treasures in Heaven”, because the Armenians treasured their manuscripts because when they were reading them, they felt like they were in heaven. It was a very interesting cultural adventure for me as well.
Did you encounter any obstacles in your scientific career? How did you overcome them?
The only obstacles that usually a woman says that they encounter is the fact that there might be some prejudice on the part of individuals that maybe you would be shut out of certain places. And in a sense, there was prejudice, because at the time that I was ready to apply for graduate school after I had gotten my bachelor’s degree, I applied to several major universities and found out that they did not accept women even in their graduate school. That is even for the higher degrees of masters and doctoral degrees. And I was very surprised at that and I was also surprised that even our own state Rutgers University in New Jersey did not accept women. So, there was immediately an obstacle because of the policies of the universities.
This, I realized, had to change, though I certainly wasn’t going to be one of those who was going to initiate that change. Yet, it made me very aware of these barriers. As far as my personal experience is concerned, instead of going to graduate school then I took a job in industry, and I took a job in chemical industry for about a year until I realized that it wasn’t for me. I really didn’t like it. And that was when I started applying again to graduate school, but I found one that would accept women.
As far as we know, studying history as such is crucial in understanding the world, however, we are puzzled when it comes to studying history of chemistry. Why do you think that is important?
Well, that is a very profound question. Right now, when we are looking at any kind of science that is going on in this world, what we’re doing is we’re looking at results. We’re looking at what people have already found, and in a sense, we’re building on those results both with respect to theory with respect to gaining greater knowledge about nature and also with respect to utility.
We’re using the results of science; for example, we wouldn’t have electric lights if we didn’t have science. That’s a result of the chemical work of Michael Faraday, for example. That’s results, but what we’re not doing is we’re not looking at origins. And origins are just as important as results because that tells us where we came from. That’s why we study for example the history of Poland, because you begin to understand your identity as a Pole. And so, if you are studying the history of chemistry and you are a chemist, you begin to understand your own identity as a chemist.
More and more schools in the United States are now suggesting, they’re not requiring, that students study their history because that enables them to get a greater insight into the processes of the science. So let me just give you one example, among others but I’m sure you know the story of Marie Curie, because she’s the most famous woman scientist in the world.
Marie Curie started out as a nobody and she encountered obstacles, because by law she couldn’t obtain a higher education here in Poland and that was why she went to France in the first place. And she lived on practically nothing. I’ve visited some of the places, the neighbourhoods, where she lived, and she lived in fifth floor, unheated attics. And existed maybe on one loaf of bread a week and had very little by way of support. And as she was working, she realized that the uranium, the pitchblende ore that she was working with, as she began to try to purify the uranium, was giving a much higher radiation count than the original uranium. And she couldn’t understand why and she thought about it and realized that there must be something hidden that nobody knew about before, there must be some radioactive substance that was even more radioactive than uranium. Now she came to that conclusion because she couldn’t think of anything else, she had to develop that theory. But once she had the theory, she had to try to find this something other and it took her several years and about ten tons, ten metric tons of ore to sift through until she was finally able to produce 10 milligrams of this new substance. And appropriately enough, she named it polonium.
Now, polonium would have remained unknown and would have remained something that no one would have discovered perhaps for a very, very long time if Marie Curie had not thought through the reason for the strange event that no one had noticed before and then the perseverance to keep trying to find this needle in the haystack, and you probably also have that expression also in Polish, well this was even smaller than a needle it was a staple in a haystack. And she found it and then of course she went on to also find radium in that very same haystack.
That history in itself has engendered enormous numbers of biographies of Marie Curie. I don’t think anybody has counted the number of biographies that were written in every language, on every level. And this was the origin of that result, an enlargement of the periodic table to two new elements, two Nobel Prizes, never before ever given to a woman. She made history and she remained history, because she remains an inspiration to the Polish people, she remains an inspiration to every woman I know.
So, one of my missions is to help people learn of other people, and especially of very famous and important women who have done wonderful science. And I think you know two just from 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to two women that had never happened before. One was a French woman and her name is Emmanuelle Charpentier and the other was American woman by the name of Jennifer Doudna. And their prize it actually was given for discovering an easy way to splice genes, so that you can now do pretty much anything with them.
This year you have achieved a major prize: HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry, presented by American Chemical Society. Could you tell us something about the award?
Well, the award has its origin in a gentleman who owned a chemical company who was very wealthy, but his passion was history of chemistry and in particular history of dyes, because his company manufactured these dyes. His name was Dr. Sidney Edelstein and the award was actually once called „the Edelstein Award”. Dr. Edelstein and I were good friends and he was the one who actually said to me one day as I was at a meeting he said: „ I’d like to send you to Israel for a few weeks. I want you to check out a college there that I would like to give a grant to and maybe set up an Institute. But I need somebody who knows the business and could give me a report, to see whether my money would be thrown away or if it would be a good thing to do.” A agreed and he sent me to Israel. I worked for a week and did an inspection of this college and I interviewed the people there, and so forth. Then I had a 2 week vacation at his expense, because he said: „I want you to stay and visit the country and learn more about it”, and in the process I got to Jordan and went to Petra and did some other wonderful things, and I was very grateful to Sidney for all this.
Of course, I wrote my report and gave it to him; it was very favourable, and in the process he did set up that Institute and I helped to do that. The director by name Zvi Koren, and he and I became very good friends. We’re friends to this day and we had set up the Institute 25 years ago, and it has been doing marvelous work ever since.
As a matter of fact, it was actually doctor Edelstein who got me interested in history and history of chemistry through that encounter and through that little job, that job-vacation that he gave me. I began to realize that there was so much in the history of chemistry that could be injected into courses and chemistry courses to bring a personal element into the course. And so, the kids weren’t looking at molecules all the time but were looking at the people behind the molecules. And that’s why I started reading more and more about the history of chemistry so that I could bring the history, not much just a little at the time, into the courses where it was appropriate. Also, to mention the processes that happened during the development of the history of chemistry that were very important, and one of them was never let a strange phenomenon go by without trying to find out why. That was essentially Marie Curie’s approach, she had a very strange phenomenon that she observed and she didn’t let it go, she pursued it.
As we know you have travelled a great deal in your work as a scientist. Which journey made the biggest impression on you and why?
Oh journeys, yes lots and lots of journeys. And I think the one which made the biggest impression on me was at the end of 2017, where I was invited to visit Taiwan and actually visit our own Ursuline University there, which is Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages. I was invited there not because I’m a scientist but because I’m an Ursuline. They wanted me to speak to their faculty about the spirit of Saint Angela and how in various coursework, courses taught at the university level, how that spirit can be brought into the teaching, because I had written some papers on that as well as scientific papers.
What they did was that they arranged me to be in Taiwan for a month, two weeks to lecture at the university and then two weeks to be a tourist in Taiwan. So, what happened to me when I was in Taiwan I was immediately, functionally illiterate: everywhere I looked I could not see a single sign written in the Latin alphabet. Everything was ideograms and of course written vertically instead of horizontally, and I was at a loss. I couldn’t even read street signs if I wanted to go somewhere, if I got lost, I wouldn’t know where I was, and I like to go out and walk and I wouldn’t be able to find my way back. And I wouldn’t be able to say to anybody where I had to go, I mean it was really a disconcerting experience
You are known to be an avid teacher, what is so fascinating about teaching others?
Well, haven’t you noticed? I love to talk. And I love to tell stories, but I also love to learn stories from other people and pass them on. In the process and I think this is the main reason why I love teaching, is because I’m convinced that the main purpose of education is to help people come to realization of their own identities, of who they are. And at the same time, it helps me to come into some kind of realization of who I am as a person. But education is most important because of the fact that it helps you to realize your identity, and it’s wonderful, as a teacher, to be able to see that happen, to see growth in students. Especially if you’ve been in contact with them for a long time, say maybe even more than a year, then you really get to see a tremendous growth and it just makes you realize that you’re not wasting your time. That actually teaching is, I would say, a holy occupation.
In this part of our interview, we would like to ask you about your life as an Ursuline sister. How did you find your vocation?
Well, that’s another story and essentially, I found my Ursuline vocation because I fell in love. And I fell in love actually with Italian opera. At the time that I was in graduate school, I was studying for my doctorate at the University and it was in New York City. At the time you could get 2-dollar tickets at the Metropolitan Opera, you just had to stand, you didn’t get to sit. I realized that was so close by to the Metropolitan Opera while I was there in New York City that I should do this. I really couldn’t do that as a student unless I had a free morning, so I freed up all my mornings and I signed up only for classes that were given in the afternoon. This way I had a completely free morning all 5 days of the week, so I could go down to the opera, any night that there was a really good opera that I wanted to listen to. Then I’d go home, (I was still living with my family at home,) but I’d get home at 2 o’clock in the morning from the opera but then I could sleep in the morning until 10 o’clock and then go in to school.
I was happily doing this for a couple of years, when one day the telephone call came to the chemistry department looking for a part-time temporary chemistry teacher, because one of the nuns at Mount St. Ursula Academy was sick and they needed this chemistry teacher. And what happened was, the department chair looked at everybody’s schedule and he saw that I was the only one with a totally free morning, and therefore would be able to take over the courses that were being taught at Mount Saint Ursula. So, Dr. O’Connor said to me: „Mary Virginia we have a need. There’s this nun over there that needs a chemistry teacher and you’re the only one that can do this because you’re the only one that has free mornings, every single morning”. I said no way, no way, I don’t want to teach. He said: „Look, just go there for the interview, just go for the interview. You don’t have to take the job, just go it’s good public relations.” So, I said, well ok.
As a result, I went over to the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, very first time I ever saw an Ursuline in my life, never even heard of them. And the first question she asked me was: „What salary do you want?” So, I thought „Oh this is a trap! I’ve been trapped into coming here.”. So, I decided, ok. So I named a very high price figuring that’s the end of it, and she said: „Ok”. And then I was really trapped because that meant I was gonna take the job.
I started teaching at the academy of Mount St. Ursula, and at the end of the six month time period they asked me to stay on, because the school had increased greatly in size and they needed another chemistry teacher. And I agreed because I was beginning to like teaching. I did so for another four years, and I finished my doctorate in the meantime because I had taught in the morning and then I would go to school in the afternoon to do my research.
By the end of those four years I realized that there was no other place I’d rather be in the whole world, than with the Ursulines at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, and it didn’t matter, nothing else in the world mattered to me, I realized that I had an Ursuline vocation, but it took four and a half years to figure it out, and I guess, total accident in terms of finding out that there even were Ursulines in the first place, that they even existed.
But how did your parents and you friends react when they found out about it?
Uh… Not very happily (laughs). And the Ursuline novitiate was in a town called Beacon and it was on the Hudson river, in New York, and some of my friends joked: “You’re going to that concentration camp up there, on the Hudson? And, my parents didn’t like it at all, and when I finally did end up there, at that “concentration camp”, having, by the way, ditched my last cigarette on the way, (everybody smoked in those days, you know,) and also had my last scotch. I was… worldly, as they say?
So, I get there and they had visiting Sunday, every once in a while, and my parents would drive up, it was a good, long trip, but they would drive up every visiting Sunday, and they would sit there, and they would,… my father would sit there and wouldn’t say a word, my mother would sit there and cry. It was a wonderful visit. (laughs). And then every once in a while, through tears, she would say: ”Your clothes are in the trunk of the car.” And then would sit there crying again. And my father would just sit there. So, I went through that, for a couple of years, but eventually, you know, they realized, they weren’t going to shoehorn me out of there, but they really tried.
After you had received the doctorate in chemistry, you decided to devote your life to God, and became a nun. Were you prepared to sacrifice yourself to career? How did you manage to be a scientist and a nun at the same time?
Well, actually, there is no separation. There is no difference. I came to realize that everything is like Jesus said in the Gospel of Saint John, when he prayed: “ That they all might be one”. That’s really the most important thing of all that there is no separation. So the fact that I have been an Ursuline over the fact that I might be a scientist doesn’t matter, because it is all a part of me, of who I am, and I see no contradiction between the two, and, in fact, studying science actually helps. I mean, it is like a mystical experience almost when you realize the beauty of molecules and atoms and understanding the delicacy and the utterly incredible mechanisms that go on, and how all of this come about. It just blows your mind! And studying science is a religious experience.
What is so special about the Ursuline charism?
Oh, that’s a really good question. I kind of soaked it up in four and a half years I was teaching there and didn’t realize it. And then I had to kind of sit and think it through myself, later on. You know, what was so special about the Ursulines. And what I came to realize was that, it goes back to Saint Angela, and Saint Angela was not at all concerned about what the Ursulines should do. She was much more concerned about what they should be. That being was far more important than doing, and that the doing emerges, or grows out of the being. So, she never set any kind of particular task for her sisters, except, just pay attention to the signs of the times, and then when you see that there are needs, then those needs maybe should be filled, that you look at the signs of the times, and see where those needs are, and then go fill those needs. But, before you do that, remember: It is who you are before God that is the most important thing, so the necessity for coming in contact with that every single day is very, very important. Which is why we must save our time every day, for prayer, both prayer alone and in common, and that really is a driving force, but the charism comes from Saint Angela, that you be, not necessarily do, unless you first be and then, that will dictate what you do, and how you do it.
Now, what that actually also followed from, was that the being followed from that, is that the people in charge the Ursulines wanted to make sure, that as you were being introduced to Ursuline life that you came to understand who you were, and therefore, what’s most important? Education! Therefore, they made sure, that every sister who came into the order if they didn’t already have an excellent education, that they should have, they should be educated in what it is, that’s most important to them as a person. I realized that no Ursuline ever goes into a classroom, unless she is well educated in what it is that she is teaching.
When I entered I already had a doctorate in chemistry, they didn’t say “Go back and do a post-doc in chemistry”, they said to me “You know, what you really need is religion, you don’t have any religion.” So, they sent me to two years of graduate school to the Catholic University of America, to get a degree in theology. Now those were the best of two years of my life, I really loved, loved studying theology at Catholic University, and it really solidified my vocation and probably wouldn’t have lasted if that didn’t happen, two years and in the meantime never have I even looked at a chemistry book, two years, but then after those two years I was asked if I could teach chemistry on our University and I happily taught chemistry there for forty years.
So has it been difficult to be a nun in USA. Has it changed over the years, if yes how?
Well, it certainly has changed. I would say it was difficult, it changed basically because of the Vatican Council, which took place in 1962, and after the council was over and documents were published, we were all given the documents to study, and one of the things we were told by the order, by our bishop, was that we should look at the documents, particularly on “religious life”, and it said to change for the times, and to look at how we needed to change with times. And that took a long time.
We worked at that for, oh, probably about ten or twelve years and a lot of people didn’t agree with this and there was a lot of in-fighting, as you say, among us about what to change. And gradually we came to kind of an agreement, we needed to be much more open that, we were told, for example, that no longer is the Church recognizing this business of semi-cloister, that what we were originally, and we should get back our roots and, of course, Saint Angela didn’t have any idea of cloister in her mind. It was Charles Borromeo, who took over after she died, and who clapped Ursulines back into cloister, when it wasn’t Saint Angela’s idea at all. And so, what we tried to do is to gradually break out of that, so there would be much more contact with people, and I think with that it was difficult, but it worked.
Sister, you’re a scientist and a nun, for many those two roles automatically exclude each other. And in your view, does science lead to difficulties in accepting the dogmas without being able to prove them empirically, or does science help someone believe in God?
I see, ok… I touched a part of that in your previous question.
Yes you did, but I would like you to say more about the empiric aspect of that and the fact that you are a scientist, you were a scientist at first and then you got to religion.
Well, let’s put it this way. You bring in the whole question of dogma, and dogma is really the Church’s way to distill what the essential part of the Revelation is which of course is found in the Gospels that is in New Testament and in Old Testament, so whatever dogmas there are, have been distilled out in the Apostles’ creed, or in the Nicene creed, that we say every Sunday at Mass, and so, these dogmas don’t, in any way, interfere with science, because truth is truth no matter where you find it, and it doesn’t matter if you find it in a grain of sand and, as some people have said, you can look at the grain of sand and you’ll find an entire universe, you can never actually get to the bottom of the “isness”, of a grain of sand it is such a mystery, and that is something that goes for the whole of creation, every single person is unfathomable, unfathomable mystery, every rock, every animal, even a mosquito, is unfathomable, unfathomable mystery, that we are still trying to fathom, and so looking at creation and examining creation can in no way contradict what is found in Revelation. Revelation speaks of the goodness, of creation. If you look at the book of the Genesis, God created the heavens, and the Earth, and everything he found good, and if Good finds it good, then, by golly, let’s try find out more about this goodness.
How does chemistry and science make your spiritual life richer, and does your faith help you purse scientific goals?
Well, like again, I think I’ve touched on that question as well, because as a matter of fact, I find that contemplating nature in any way, shape or form, is an experience that is indeed holy, and so as a matter of fact, everything we do is holy, so I’m not sure I can say anything more, except that the trick is to be aware of it. Like in the Eastern Liturgy, the priest holds up the Gospels at some point and he says: “Wisdom, pay attention!”. He says that three times “Pay attention!” and essentially that’s really what the job is to pay attention to what it is in front of you every single day. Every experience, every person, every event, that there is a message there, for you to pay attention and to come to the realization, that all of this is part of much greater picture, that you can only see a tiny little part of and that is very difficult to continue to keep thinking of as you go along, you need a push, if you will.
It is not always there, and so, that’s one of the reasons why the Church has, what they call, The Hours of the Office, where you have a morning prayer, then you have prayer in the middle of the morning, prayer at noon, prayer at the afternoon, prayer in the evening, prayer at night. Those hours during the day are meant for you to try to keep your mind on the holiness of what you are doing. The middle of the day has fallen by the wayside, people are often running and don’t have time, but at least we have the morning, and the evening and Sundays, we also have the middle of the day and it is a reminder, just a reminder, because that’s really the big task, is to keep remembering, that everything is a mystical experience, if you are open to it.
What is the role of science today in improving conditions of living around the world. Do you think scientist have a mission, or science should be free of such obligations?
Well, I’m not so sure if scientists have obligations as such, except to continue to observe nature and to find the truth in nature, that’s the most important thing, to find the truth in nature. Now, obviously there is a utilitarian side to science and scientists are responding to many things that are going on in the world, so for example, the fact that we had a vaccine produced in under a year, when they originally predicted that it would take at least four years to find that vaccine, to produce it and scientists all over the world, who were once in competition with one another, collaborated with one another in order to meet this emergency, and I think that was a wonderful example of scientists feeling obliged to collaborate with one another in order to meet an emergency that was the pandemic, and they did it! This has changed, the way that all science will be done from now on, as long as we don’t let commercial considerations get in the way, but the fact that so many of these companies have forfeited so much money that they could have made in order to be able to do the humanitarian service first and it happened because of a terrible pandemic, in which many people died, but many more people have been saved.
You have spent some time in Poland- how would you compare Poles and Americans? What’s surprised you the most in Poland?
Well, I really can’t say anything surprised me because in order to be surprised you have to have already preconceived notion of what to expect, and I didn’t have any preconceived notions, so I wasn’t surprised. But I can say some of the things that I’ve been impressed with, which is probably a better word, and one thing I was so impressed with respect to Poland is how clean it is. Now, you may not think about it like that but if you came to New York, you looked around New York, you’d say: “Oh, thank God I’m back! I don’t have to wash my hands every twenty minutes.” But things here are very well orderly and clean, and safe, and that is not the case in many parts of the United States, so this impresses me a lot about Poland.
Secondly, I’m very impressed by how welcoming people are. I have not much experience of that because I’ve of course has been living with Ursulines, but they have been actually marvelous, and I just feel very, very welcome. That may not be the case if I stayed here permanently (laughs), you know. If they found I was gonna be here permanently, maybe we wouldn’t get along so well, I don’t know, but they know that I’m only here for a short period of time to do a certain job, and then I move on and they can put up with me for that short period of time (laughs).
I’m too very impressed by your fall weather, but I’ve found out that this is very unusual, now cause I know that I came equipped for rigid Polish winter – I brought a winter coat with me, and I haven’t unpacked it yet.
Maybe in a month or two…
Yeah, winter month, yeah. I will be here for the end of December, in Poland, so I will probably get to unpack that, that winter coat, right. I’ve always been interested in food, and that’s one of my avocations – I love to cook, maybe that’s because I’m a chemist. Thus the other thing I’ve been impressed with is the number of wonderful vegetables. Now, probably many of them are imported, I suppose, but you don’t know that, I don’t know that. I’ve been very impressed by the richness of the vegetables and the fruits. I’ve gone snooping around over here, to the Hala Targowa, and I’ve looked at all the stuff laid out, like a wonderful market! and you have a marvelous shopping malls, so I’ve been down here to the Dominican market and I’m looking around and you have a food court downstairs, it’s almost like little America, you have all the brand names that everybody else has, I haven’t really found out too much of that in many other countries that I’ve visited, you have it all.
Thank you so much for the interview.