Sunday, November 02, 2008

My (old) new blog address

Forever since I posted to this blog - sorry!  I've been blogging instead at (because I decided I wanted to tell my parents about my blog, and it's also kid-friendly for elementary school classes, not that this one really wasn't).

Anyway, someday I will likely come back to this blog.  In the meantime, please read my (old) new blog!

Friday, March 09, 2007

How to make attaya

This was posted on the Friends of Senegal and The Gambia yahoo group, and I thought it was funny.

How to make attaya (traditional tea):

1. Send small boy over to Momodou to get the kettle and glasses.

2. Welcome Momodou for 5 minutes when he returns behind small boy.

3. Argue with Momodou, and Fatou who wandered over, about who is going to get the sugar.

4. Go knock on Toubabadu's door to ask for sugar but Toubabadu has gone to Kombo, again.

5. Return to house to find Momodou, Fatou and two of their friends.

6. Tell new arrivals that they need to go buy sugar, but they only speak Mandinka (or so they claim.)

7. Give the small boy the dalasi you finally wormed out of Fatou to buy the sugar.

8. Small boy returns with sugar from the bitiko and some Nice biscuits.

9. Send small boy off again to get coals from your mother, who is busy growing, harvesting, pounding and cooking your lunch.

10. Spend 45 minutes making attaya while everyone (Momodou, Fatou, 2 mandinkas, 3 small boys and 4 goats) tells you how you are doing it wrong.

11. Drink tiny glass of attaya with the 6 friends you didn't have before you bought the attaya.

12. Briefly have heated argument about whether Jammeh (president of The Gambia) is insane and then crash from sugar high to nap away afternoon.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Visiting the grandparents/the value of a life

I just got back from the required pre-Senegal visit to my grandparents and other assorted relatives in south Georgia. Of course everyone wanted to talk to me about Senegal. Except no one could ever remember the country's name, even if I had just told them. Nigeria seemed to be the only actual African country anyone could name.

Anyway, the relatives had two basic reactions to me going to Senegal: the ones who I generally find to be nicer told me that Peace Corps is like a secular version of missionary work (this was supposed to be a compliment), and they wish me the best and they're going to pray for me. The other relatives said something along the lines of "why would you want to go live somewhere so poor, among a bunch of heathens, after how hard we've worked to give you a nice life?" (accompanied by some nasty racist remarks by my grandfather, which really pissed me off).

While I was down there visiting, two "big" sad events happened: a bus carrying a sports team (baseball maybe?) from Ohio accidentally drove off the side of a bridge in Atlanta, killing six. And tornadoes swept through the Southeast, killing twenty people in three states, including eight students who were sheltering in their high school gym when the school was hit by a tornado and the gym collapsed.

My grandparents and other relatives were glued to CNN, following the coverage of these events for days afterward, even though, after the basic facts had been established, there was really nothing new to report.

I can't help but contrast their compassion for the deaths in Georgia and Alabama with their utter lack of understanding or concern for other suffering people around the world. Why care so much about a few strangers in another city or state who are killed in random accidents, but have so little concern for millions of people in other countries who are dying preventable deaths from war, famine, and disease? For me, the death of someone in Africa feels just as real as the death of someone in Georgia or Alabama. Do other people not feel this? Or do they think that the life of an African just doesn't matter as much as that of an American?

Is it just ignorance? If CNN would cover Darfur, northern Uganda, the DRC, or Burma half as much as they covered that bus accident, would Americans start to care?

Back to blogging

Okay, I have been remiss about keeping up with this blog. Work was incredibly hectic in January and February - my boss was on grand jury duty and not around much, I had a huge workshop to organize, etc., etc. On top of which, of course, I had to get ready for Peace Corps.

Anyway, I'm back. At least until I get to Senegal and discover that I have zero internet access. We'll see how that goes. But I'll do my best.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blood Oil

An interesting article about the nexus between oil and conflict.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Present

Christmas present this year from my mom:

a reminder that I am becoming a spinster.

The caption in the bottom left corner says "Save yourself the time and trouble - grow this "potential Prince Charming." Give him a kiss, drop him in water, wait 72 hours & see what happens....It just might be a fairy tale come true (or maybe you'll just kiss a really cute frog).

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cute picture

This was just too cute to pass by... from Soldier of Africa's blog, the picture was taken at an AMIS base in Darfur.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I am an aid dork

Yesterday I responded to a house fire with Red Cross, who I volunteer with. The call was very typical: single mom and her kids living with the grandmother, all of them surviving off of social security and other government benefits.

The leader on our response team works for the IMF, so we were joking in the car on the ride over about how NGOs (who I work for) are very anti-IMF. Today when one of the Red Cross staff found out that team leader works for the IMF, he asked: "Did you attach any conditions to our aid package designed to improve our client's budgetary discipline?"

I love it! (Yes, I am a dork.)

Comedy of Disasters

Latest installment in the Comedy of Disasters known as My Life:

Today while I was setting up for a meeting, I dropped one of the sodas I was carrying. Normally they just roll on the ground and maybe get dented a little. But today, because the universe likes to laugh at me, the can exploded. All over my shirt and pants and our brand new carpet in the conference room. So I had to dash home and change, with only 45 minutes to go before a meeting I had to be at. And of course everyone just happened to be in the hallway as I was walking out, so they could all stare at me and ask me what happened and make me feel even more ridiculous.

I feel like this is the sort of thing that only happens to a certain type of person. And apparently I am one of those people.