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Nov.1999 Issue

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Pucon Volcano
Photo by Denise Troy

While is a geologic and geographic wonder of a country, nearly 2,900 miles long and on average about 100 miles wide. Within its boundaries, one finds almost every kind of climate and terrain.

In the north is a forbidding desert where rainfall averages only one inch a decade. The fertile valleys of central Chile support most of the country's population and a world-famous wine industry. The south features an idyllic lake district, impressive forests, volcanoes and glaciers and the windswept isolation of Patagonia.


A Season of Celebration

It's December, a month of celebrations and festivals all over the world. Since ancient times, people of all races and nationalities have held festivals or feast days during the winter months during which they ate, drank and made merry, generally in honor of their gods.

December is a spiritual time for the world's major religions. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus beginning on the first Sunday in December through Twelfth Night on Jan. 6. Jews observe Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, to celebrate the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after it was freed from Greek captivity more than 2,300 years ago. Muslims observe the Night of Ascent in early December to commemorate Mohammed's ascension to heaven during the 7th century following his night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.


Making Christmas Come True

The cellular phone rang mid-morning. As the consular duty officer at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, I was expecting a call from the Fundacion Michou y Mau para Niños Quemados,a foundation for burned children.

"The air ambulance is on its way," the foundation representative said, "but neither the child nor her mother has a Mexican passport or a U.S. visa."


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1999 State Magazine, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Personnel

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