Thursday, December 4, 2008

loaded questions

"I'm in the back seat of a jeep and Natalie Merchant is driving. Then she suddenly disappears and nobody is left driving the jeep! I have to crawl to the front and drive. ...It has something to do with me not being in control of my music."

-Jayson's recurring nightmare

Friday, November 21, 2008


...makes me want to take a bath in hand cream. and take a drink of olive oil.

Friday, November 7, 2008

another short update...

(written last night on the train with only spotty internet connection)

I’m sorry (Mom!) that I haven’t been able to update more often on this trip…though I have been able to get internet in most places, there were others where we didn’t have a connection (or running water, or electricity!). On the days when we HAVE had a connection, I have been so tired at the end of the day (or have been still working on my laptop, in bed) that I couldn’t muster the energy to blog. (I like that “blog” is a verb.)

So, we are currently on the train…just leaving Bhagalpur and headed to Calcutta. We had a lovely few days in the villages of Bihar and Jarkhand…really, really lovely. I very distinctly felt my soul align one day as we were driving along the paddy fields…on terrible roads…with most of my traveling companions singing songs in Hindi. It was truly a beautiful area and I met many beautiful people…lots of things to ponder (like my future vocation as a farmer in India…just kidding). Perhaps whenever I have an opportunity to gather and write my thoughts, I will.

Overall, we have had a very productive visit so far. I can’t believe that we are almost headed home…just a few more days! In the beginning I was VERY homesick, and, of course, now that we are nearing the end of our journey I am just hitting my stride. Oh well. I AM looking forward to getting home...though I think I have sufficiently mastered the bucket-bath on this trip, I am indeed looking forward to a nice hot shower in my home.

I've been reading some Wendell Berry agricultural essays while I'm here (though "reading" might be an overstatement, as I've probably only read about 15 pages over 2 weeks), and what with that and all of my time in the rural villages, I've been thinking a lot about...well, agriculture, and development, and a lot of things. Lots of good things to chew on.

miss you all...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On Indian TV, headlines about Obama's victory:


:) excellent.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a short update...

I'll try to make it short, at least, because I am very very tired.

After my last post (written while EXTREMELY sleep deprived on the sleeper train), we arrived in Allahabad, where we had the privilege with meeting with the leaders of the mothers groups in the area. It was amazing...but since this is just "a short update," I will save the meaty stuff for another post when I have more time (I should actually be working right now).

We took another sleeper train last night (not as nice, but I slept MUCH better) and arrived in Jarkhand today to begin our 7-day visit of our Bhagalpur project. Our two teams will each visit a different town/village every day and meet with sponsored families. This is my favorite part of one of these trips...I can do office stuff just fine, but I love being "in the field" and hanging out with the sponsored families in their villages and homes.

It's good to be here...somewhat hard, but good. Tonight I am staying at a parish, and I have a mosquito net...which is good, because there are hundreds of mosquitos here, and they looove me. (my ankles are covered.)

well, I really, really need to sleep, even though it's only about 9:40 pm. I miss you all!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

written a couple of nights ago...

right now, I'm on a sleeper's about 7:10am here, and I've been awake for the last...4 hours or so? This jet lag thing is kickin my butt...I'm EXHAUSTED during the day, and then I sleep pretty well for a couple of hours...and then I wake up at about 4am!

the sleeper train isn't bad...I have a little curtain, and have been plugged into my ipod all night...not bad! HOWEVER. it has THE most disgusting bathroom I have EVER seen in my whole life. Makes all disgusting gas-station bathrooms absolutely pale in comparison. I unfortunately drank quite a bit of water last evening, so have had to make a couple of trips, but I've bathed in hand sanitizer afterwards (and am holding it right now, waiting until we 'land').

Unfortunately, I'm pretty homesick, and still kindof culture-shocking. I'm missing Kansas City a lot...[and then I lost my internet connection]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

in india!

well, we finally got an internet connection. WHEW.

When I'm in the States, I tend to make fun of those people who are constantly connected to and communicating via their cell phones (aka 'girlfriends' a joking way of course). But once I get to India and remember that my cell phone doesn't work here, and that I might not have internet the whole time I'm here...I FREAK OUT!!

culture shock + lack of connectivity + missing people = freakout!

anyway, our internet card was delivered today, so you may hear from me intermittently.

We did arrive safely, last night, after about 21 hours of travel (this included a 15-hour DIRECT FLIGHT to Delhi from Newark, during which I slept peacefully and watched movies). We'll be here in Delhi again tomorrow, then an overnight train to one of our Delhi subprojects. Should be fun!

Anyway, miss you all, hope to be able to stay in touch while I'm here....<3

Monday, October 27, 2008

currently sitting in the KC aiport.

In a little less than 24 hours, I'll be landing in Delhi...though it will be tomorrow evening then. there.

I'll be back in the US on the 11th, so I'll miss the's a good thing I already voted! I don't know how my media-access will be once I'm in India, so I hope I find out the results of the election before I get back to the US.

I don't know how much internet access we're going to have once we get there, but I'll try to update when I can!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

exciting times for america.

“These two boys waited as a long line of adults greeted Senator Obama before a rally on Martin Luther King Day in Columbia, S.C. They never took their eyes off of him. Their grandmother told me, “Our young men have waited a long time to have someone to look up to, to make them believe Dr. King’s words can be true for them.” Jan. 21, 2008.

Check out the rest of these amazing photos that Callie Shell took candidly of Obama over the last couple of years..

(post stolen from my friend b mccoy)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In five days, I'll be off to India for a couple of weeks.

I'm excited, but last trip was pretty eventful.

One of the main challenges I faced the first time was life without luggage. THIS time, I am pulling out all the stops to ensure that NOONE loses track of my bag on the way to India. (To be fair, I will do my part and keep track of my baggage claim tags.) It's a pretty nondescript black suitcase, so I'll need to do something to make it a bit more...festive.

any ideas??

(this is me being reunited with my suitcase last time, after several days!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

maybe race SHOULD influence politics.

My dear friend B. McCoy posted some thoughts on race and the election.

I've been thinking about formalizing a "why I'm voting for Obama" post, but that seems too complicated (and there are SO MANY reasons!!), so I'll just share some thoughts that I commented on his post:

I think Obama’s race might have something to do with why I want him to be the next president…(a) because I feel like he has had the ‘opportunity’ to experience discrimination, and (b) he has struggled with his own identity as it relates to his race…and I feel like both of those things make him more well-fit to be president than any candidate that I’ve ever seen.

let me flesh that out a bit more…I’m voting for Obama because I believe in his character and because I believe that he cares more about the average American (and the oppressed, the ones that Jesus calls US to care for) than most politicians. I believe in his convictions and in his authenticity. perhaps his racial identity has contributed to that…that is the impression that I got from reading his first book..."

Friday, October 3, 2008

they call me sara six pack because of my amazing abs

"I think the folksy, I am just like you, hockey mom approach has worn thin. That is not what people care about when it comes to leading a country." - a canadian

I recognize that my blog has been mostly political mumbo-jumbo lately, all quotes by other people, but it seems to be what's on the minds of everyone these days.

and I know that, if my blog is going to get politicky, I should say something real, something from the heart, something of my own. believe me, I do have actual thoughts and opinions, I just haven't had a time to write them down yet. I'll try!

love to all, and peace...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

thoughts on the bailout.

"Let's LOAN Wall Street the money -- At the current interest rate of the average American's credit card. I'd say that's probably about 30% right now. I'd buy some stock in America, Inc. with those kinds of returns." -Nate

"Please don't have pity on George and his corporate welfare baby mamas." -Andrew

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"I’m going to try to make this simple. On the Democratic side you have a guy whose campaign has been based on the Internet, who believes America may have something to learn from other countries (like universal health care) and who’s unafraid in 2008 to say he’s a 'proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world.'"

On the Republican side, you have a guy who, in 2008, is just discovering the Net and Google and whose No. 2 is a woman who got a passport last year and believes she understands Russia because Alaska is closer to Siberia than Alabama.

If I were Obama, I’d put it this way: 'Senator McCain, the world you claim to understand is the world of yesterday. A new century demands new thinking. Our country cannot be made fundamentally secure by a man who thought our economy was fundamentally sound.'"

- Roger Cohen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

this evening, I had the most wonderful conversation with my pharmacist. at the drive-through window. it renewed my faith in humanity a little bit.

in other news, I don't think that The American Way of Life is worth fighting for.

I'm too tired to expand on that thought...just chew on it for a bit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


(not written by me, obviously...)

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Bristol, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a=C 2district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on theForeign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society·

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

I'll add one more fact; and your rich heiress wife, became addicted to pain killers that she stole from the charity she volunteered for.

Her explanation; "I was under a lot of pressure, while John was involved in the "Keating Five" trial."

Hummm, wonder what she will do when the real pressure of the White House hits?


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

oh jelly belly.

From an email to a coworker:

"Oh how disappointing to have to throw away so many jelly beans! I could tolerate baby wipes, toothpaste, black pepper, and pencil shavings (definitely my fave of the weird ones), but could NOT tolerate (in order of bad to worst) skunk spray, booger, moldy cheese, ear wax, vomit, and rotten egg. Ewwwww!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I did a google search on the RNC and this is what I saw:

"Pro-abortion Hollywood elites will be descending upon New York City during the Republican National Convention to support the killing of babies via abortion." (rockforlife blog)

now, I'm not a fan of abortion either, but what a way to spin some words...

Thursday, August 28, 2008
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

exciting things

a) I got a new, reusable cup (with lid and handle!) from QuikTrip last week for $3.99. I’m sure it will end up paying for itself within a couple of weeks (refills are, like, $0.11 cheaper)! exciting.

(fyi…I work veryveryclose to QT. I go there almost every day. Some days I go more than once. Last week when I bought my new cup, the cashiers were like, “Whoa, big step for you!! New cup!!” …we’re friends.)

I have recently become addicted to “Rooster Booster,” the energy drink that comes from the fountain at QT. I’ve never liked energy drinks; I think they generally taste like vitamins. But this one…I can’t describe it…it’s just so tart, and bubbly, and makes me feel good in the mornings. They even have a diet version, so my little “cocktail” includes ice (cubed, not crushed, about a third of the cup), half regular Rooster Booster, and half Diet Rooster Booster. I CAN’T STOP

Since we’re talking about QT, I guess I should inform you that they are giving away FREE DONUTS this morning at the one over here. I hear that they’re giving away free sandwiches later. excellent!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I am turning into a handygirl!

Since we moved into our new place, I have:

  • re-hung the porch swing on new hooks (after the previous hook broke while my friends were sitting on it…sorry friends..)
  • tightened the screws on our bathroom door
  • attempted to hang a cabinet in the bathroom (attempted…the landlord had to come fix it for us)

…that’s it so far. But I’m feeling very empowered! Maybe I should ask for some power tools for Christmas…

Monday, June 16, 2008


"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." -Lila Watson

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"We're at a moment where it's neither smart nor fun to trust other people with saving the world. When you make a conscious choice--as millions of people are starting to--to become the kind of person who is going to redefine the world around them to make it more sustainable, more just, and more beautiful, it actually changes the way you see the world. It lifts that burden of despair. It makes you somebody who's part of building the future, rather than somebody whom the future is bearing down upon. If I can recommend to people to do one thing, it would be to simply become one of those people."

-Alex Steffen, Worldchanger (stolen from readymade)

Monday, June 9, 2008

"why do they make you pay so much for something that's so important?"

-my 13-year-old sister on healthcare

Wednesday, June 4, 2008



Monday, June 2, 2008

blog games round two

The Rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions of a very intimate and creepily personal nature. Or not so creepy/personal.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Nate's questions and my answers:

1. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

I've been thinking about this for almost an entire day and, I'm sorry, I just can't name just one. so here are a few:

[my parents] - for obvious child-life-developmental reasons. but also because we moved around a little more often than average, and I think that that mobility shaped me a lot. and they're just really fantastic, cool people.

[some friends in high school] - high school was a very spiritually-developmental time in my life, and a handful of friends walked with me on that journey.

[some professors in college] - I will just come out and say that Dr. Chance, Dr. Cadd, and Dr. Henson, and others, whether through their person or classes, changed my paradigm in lots of ways.

[some men that I've dated] - I would like to think that I'm a better person having come through...those relationships

[writers] - CS Lewis, Thomas Merton, Barbara Kingsolver, Brian McLaren, Peter Berger, Greg Behrendt...I am a different person because of these people. (don't laugh at Greg Behrendt, it's true!)

[the Capuchins] - these men (and those they hang with) were a tangible, human example of the reconciliation of intellect, service to God, and service to people that I had been seeking for several those things...reconciled in my life. I continue to be inspired by them and by those like them.

[my crew] - past and present. I hang with the best people in the world, in my opinion.

okay, that was more than a few. :/

2. Tell us about one of your most embarrassing moments.

okay. one time, about a year ago?, a group of us went to go see Jesus Camp. Afterwards, we went to McCoy's to drink beer, as usual. There were about 10 of us. We were sitting in the big corner table, and someone says, about a guy sitting at the next table, "is that the kid from Home Improvement?" we look over, and are like, "...maybe, maybe not..." there is lots of speculation going on. and lots of talking about this guy. and then people start to talk about him even MORE loudly, so it is obvious that we are talking about him. and then someone pulls out their phone and start looking up facts about this guy. "So, he used to be MARRIED, he really likes to ROLLERBLADE, his favorite game is SOFTBALL...." so it is obvious that we are talking about him, and obvious that he can hear us...

...and I was SO EMBARRASSED, that I started sweating and was trying to hide under the table. at McCoy's. I have never been so embarrassed in my WHOLE LIFE.

(they finally did start talking TO him, and found out that he was in town for business. I saw him at Harry's a couple of weeks ago.)

3. Compare your favorite Radiohead song to your favorite place in the world.

my favorite song is "idioteque." my favorite place in the world...if I'm really honest with myself, right now, at this time, NOT counting places that I think are really beautiful or places that I'd like to visit or even maybe live someday...I'd say Kansas City. really. annnnd...I first heard "idioteque" during the summer that I lived in Kansas City proper for the first time. it was, maybe, a perfect moment. it was, maybe, a perfect summer.

4. Do you have any nicknames? If so, tell us where they came from.

I do. My father has called me "Roux" for as long as I can remember. I used to think that it was spelled "Roo," like "Kanga-and-," but I have since discovered the real spelling and that it is a cooking term. He also calls me "Liz," which is a reference to my middle name.

In high school, people started calling me "Phoebe," because I reminded them of the character on Friends. She's funny, but...

Now...people just usually call me "Sara." Tomika calls me "Sar" (I call her "Tom"). Others call me "Little Sara."

5. What is your idea of a perfect date?

hm. getting food somewhere cozy and/or eclectic. and drinking wine. then going to see a really good band/musician. yep! that would be perfect.


I've been really tired a lot lately.

I think it's because, since I've been back from India, I've had some trouble reconciling my work with my life...or my life with my work...regardless, while those things seemed to work together perfectly well before, suddenly they aren't, and I'm not sleeping as much as I used to? or working more? or just busier?

all this to say...I have had a hard time getting through my workdays several times over the past few weeks. and when coffee just doesn't seem to cut it anymore, or just isn't quite as satisfying as it used to be, I switch to...

...candy. which is HIGHLY satisfying in so many ways.


...I...just don't feel like eating candy every day is making things better.'s increasing my guilty feelings.


that's all I wanted to say. (with an empty butterfinger wrapper sitting next to me.)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

...There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, "Business as usual." But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.

These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended. not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defence, not God's, that the self-righteous should rush.

-yann martel, the life of pi

Friday, May 30, 2008

happy sex and the city day!

I'm not seeing it today, though, I'm seeing it tomorrow, hopefully a matinee, and hopefully with some of my best girls...

and, best girls, if you read this, let me just publicly announce that I don't think we should have slumber parties on weeknights anymore. this girl can't do her job well post-sleepover.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

my internet explorer feed-reader broke a couple of weeks ago, which was kind of tragic.

I recently (as in, last night) switched over to google reader, and now I am playing catch-up with all of my favorite sites...

...including the sartorialist. I could just eat this guy's photographs. he has such a great eye. and, though upon first glance I might not strike you as fashion-obsessed (I'm not, actually, plus, it's not really my 'spiritual gift'), I can't say that this blog hasn't influenced my personal, uh, style...

Monday, May 19, 2008

blog games

The Rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions of a very intimate and creepily personal nature. Or not so creepy/personal.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Richard's questions:
1. The first question you would ask Jesus in an interview.
2. A tall, dark, and reasonably not unattractive man you thought was going to be a monk shows up at your door with flowers and asks you on a date. Rejection #48,752?
3. Obama vs. FDR. Who wins your vote?
4. Why aren’t you Catholic yet?
5. One book you couldn’t live without if you only had one book for the rest of your life.

Sara's Answers:
1. I would ask Jesus for very explicit instructions on exactly how I am to serve Him and other people...a play-by-play would be nice. Then He would say "yeah right, sucka."
2. No, rejection number 4 or so. And I would say, "Reeeally?? Well, I don't think it would really work out...God will probably make you happier than I ever could."
3. Obama is alive, and I love him, so he wins.
4. Because the Catholic church is a bit too patriarchal and institutionalized for my liking. But I really, really do like lots of things about Catholicism, and I certainly do like lots of Catholics. For now, I am satisfied with having adopted some of the great theology, traditions, and social teachings of Catholics. yeah??
5. What a terrible existence that would be! But if that were the case, I would have to say...the Bible.

the tragic thing about springtime...

…is that, after being shut in for the last several months because it has been SO COLD for SO LONG, it’s absolutely beautiful outside…

…and I find myself being shut in by necessity, as my allergies are maybe worse than ever.


I have embarked on a new (hopefully more natural) regimen that a little bird prescribed to me: eating local honey every day (supposedly increases my immunity to local allergens) and using a neti pot. If you don’t know what that is, I suggest that you look it up, because it’s kind of weird and I don’t feel like describing it.

So, that’s what I’m doing for my natural remedy…and…eating lots of things like Claritin, Mucinex, and Sudafed PE Sinus Headache. (sigh.) :) until my natural remedy starts working. Hopefully, soon, I will be able to open the doors and windows and play in the park…

Saturday, May 3, 2008


today I would like to shoutout to:

* My friend Brent recommended "a walk on the westside", which I hadn't even heard of prior to last evening. It was the most fun I'd had in a long time, and I saw a handful of really great people (some that I hadn't seen in years). And, it reminded me of how much I love Kansas City. Music and men in drag. On the Westside. Oh man!

* Radiohead (who I will be seeing in a couple of weeks, are spinning at this moment on the 'pod, and are my FAVORITE BAND EVER) are committing to changing the way that they tour to reduce their carbon footprint. I mean, seriously. I didn't think I could love them any more...but they never cease to amaze me...<3

* Excedrin Migraine. Earlier this evening, I had the worst headache of my entire life. After a trip to Walgreen's and about 35 minutes, I was able to lie on the couch with my eyes open and watch a couple of episodes of Sex & the City. awesome.

that's all for today...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

“we are all little plants, and the sponsorship program is the manure”

- a kid giving a speech at a gathering at one of our projects in India

Sunday, April 27, 2008

old school.

yanked from the old blog, came up in the midst of a great conversation this evening.

I just remember their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity. They inspired real reverence, and I think, in a way, they were certainly saints. And they were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within, and from the habitual union of their souls with God in deep faith and charity.

-thomas merton, seven storey mountain


Sunday, April 20, 2008

jet lag kind of amazing.

I cannot remember a Sunday morning, EVER, that I was awake at 6 a.m.

granted, the whole "not sleeping at night" and "becoming disgustingly devastatingly tired at 7pm when I am supposed to be hanging out with people" is kind of a drag, but otherwise it's kindof nice because it has shaken up my sleeping schedule a bit. previously, I could have slept anytime, anywhere, which might sound nice but is actually pretty inconvenient. we'll see how I do when I actually go back to work tomorrow...will I be able to last all day? will I be able to sit upright when my body has become so used to lying around the past few days? will I fall back into the coffee habit, which I may have temporarily extinguished?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I arrived home after...about 36 hours of travel.

without a freaking bag.

so Lufthansa and United do NOT get my stamp of approval for this journey. one suitcase! is this so hard to keep track of??

I have slept maybe only 3 hours in the last 48, so I am going to go crash now.

peace. <3

Sunday, April 13, 2008

culture junkie?

I am worried about the toilet in our hotel here in Delhi. It is making really scary noises.

nothing else is really new...our time in Delhi has been a bit different because we're focusing most of our time on interviews rather than hanging out in the community. but it's a nice change of pace.

I feel like I'm finally settling into India life and and Indian sleeping schedule (I'm not waking up at 4 a.m. anymore), and it's almost time to come home. But I think I'm ready. I miss Molly and the 'partment and my friends, and toilet paper and processed food. ;)

and, Mom, I'm feeling MUCH better. so much better. no more delhi belly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Take a good look at the diet of each country and the cost of what is eaten in one week.

Italy : The Manzo family of Sicily . Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Germany : The Melander family of Bargteheide. Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States : The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most American
families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.) Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Mexico : The Casales family of Cuernavaca . Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

Poland : The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna. Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt : The Ahmed family of Cairo . Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador : The Ayme family of Tingo. Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan : The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village . Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad : The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

delhi belly

since I've been in India, I've pretty much weaned myself off of coffee.

...and food.

Yesterday my "feeling sickly" continued and was accompanied by fever. I referred to the website, which told me to "seek medical attention immediately" if I get a fever any time during my trip (or a year afterwards!) (in case it's malaria [I have been taking malaria pills, but they apparently don't prevent all cases]). So, we went to a hospital.

Fortunately, our coordinator (here in Delhi)'s wife is a nurse, so I was able to see a doctor pretty quickly (I felt terrible because there were probably a hundred people waiting). Based upon my report of my symptoms, he ruled out malaria (no chills or sweating) and after a bit of poking around determined that I had instead contracted a stomach infection (probably food or water). So I got some antibiotics. (Also, this doctor is apparently the prime minister's doctor. So I am hoping he knows what he's talking about.)

So after a couple of days of eating hardly anything (really, I'm on the road to swimsuit season now), I ate some last night, felt better, and feel almost 100% today.

I am very glad that I don't have malaria.

Otherwise, Delhi is nice. Every city we've been in so far has a different feel. India, in general, "feels" different than I would have expected (probably a combination of my impressions of movies like the Darjeeling Limited, the Namesake, and Born into Brothels).

Urban and rural areas are VERY different, obviously. In rural areas, I feel like a total weirdo because I'm not in a saree. In urban areas, my man-shaped and man-colored outfits don't look SO out of place (though we do get a lot of stares regardless).

So, I am going to start a new list: things that I miss most when in India:

  • showers (it is rare that we find a good one. and I haven't quite mastered the art of the bucket-bath.)
  • toilet paper. (seriously. hot commodity in these parts.)
  • food that my stomach can handle (I had mostly cookies today, gross)
  • traffic laws (I can't believe we haven't died yet)
  • my clothes (in the absence of sarees and because my authentic Indian dress is limited, I am sporting the whole business-casual look, which is NOT ME AT ALL AND IN FACT PRETTY AWFUL)
But other things about India that I love, in addition to color and immaculate kitchens:
  • hard beds and pillows. mmm. I love it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today was a great day in Hyderabad. I got to see:
  • a street children's center
  • a shoe-making training facility
  • a bag-making shop
  • a notebook-making shop (these are all livelihood programs supported by sponsored mother's groups)
  • an in-construction community center (that will house the notebook-making)
  • an engagement party
I also:
  • got a little sickly
  • gave a presentation in front of like 150 social workers (maybe not that many, but it felt like that many, but it was great fun)
  • had dinner at the Hyderabad coordinator (Suresh)'s home (he has the cutest little boy I have ever seen)
  • visited other friends (yes, you can make dear friends within only a few days.)
Tomorrow we fly to Delhi for a bunch of interviews. It will probably be a nice change of pace, as we've had such a busy schedule since we arrived. And I'm excited to see Delhi.

Also, since I've apparently started making lists, I have one more point to add to my "to-do-upon-returning-to-the-states-from-india" list:

  • organize my kitchen (Indians have the most immaculately organized kitchens! it's amazing!)
I'm pretty sure there was something else, but I can add it later. There are 6 more days, after all.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

good morninnnngggg hyderabad

things I would like to start doing once I return to the States, thanks to India:

have more plants on my porch (and take proper care of them)
hang my laundry out to dry
wear more color (I know, I said it, be sure to write that one down)
be a nicer person. (seriously. the hospitality is...overwhelming.)

We had our first day in Hyderabad was great. we had meetings all throughout the morning and afternoon. this evening, we met with some of mothers' groups, and I was privileged to meet some of the most gracious, beautiful, powerful, and inspiring women. in the world. I'm sure.

plus, I think I'm just in love with this city. It's great. I have loved being in some of the more rural areas this past week, but since I'm a city girl I feel very at home here. and, as I mentioned previously, the hospitality that we've received is just overwhelming. you can't help but feel at home, even though I'm very very far away from home.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


So, we finished up in Kadapa this morning, and early this afternoon began the 7-hour drive to Hyderabad. Because our days have been SO BUSY since we arrived, it was nice to have a few hours to plug myself into the ipod and watch the foliage as we drove along.

It is so nice to be in Hyderabad. Kadapa was kind of stressful, very busy, and I kept getting chomped on by mosquitoes. Here, we are staying at the CFCA office which is BEAUTIFUL (nicer than any of the hotels we've stayed at so far...but don't worry, it's still modest), and the internet connection is working, and the staff here are amazing. It just feels so homey, and I haven't felt homey since I got to India.

speaking of. being here has been so...different. It's so different here than any place I've ever traveled. The cultural differences are profound. The women are the most beautiful people I've ever seen. Pretty much everything is falling apart, but everything is beautiful. There is color everywhere.

I would go into more detail, but I am exhaused and have a very cozy bed and blanket here in Hyderabad. Until next time.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

had dinner with the bishop of Kadapa tonight.

had dinner with the bishop of Vellore last night.

bishops are funny, entertaining people.

my ankles are all swollen and mosquito-bitten.

I have never been so tired in my life.

good night. (good day.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

oh yeah!

...I was reunited with my suitcase last evening. What a blessing. We took a celebratory picture.

It is nice to be reunited with my things, so nice, but...I was good for me to be without them for awhile. It's good to be reminded that I can survive without my "things." and it's good to be forced to depend on others sometimes. and I have depended on many others over the past few days!

I think it's sunday?

So, we arrived in Cuddapah this morning. We took an overnight sleeper train from Vellore (very Darjeeling Limited) and got here about an hour ago.

Yesterday, we visited a bunch of families and spent a lot of great time in the Vellore project office. The team there have mostly been brought in from some of our other projects in Tamil Nadu, and since they are kind of transient they live most of the time in the office. They cooked us an AMAZING lunch...the first time that we have had anything in India that hasn't been spicy. (My boss is very funny...she cannot stand spicy food at ALL, so lives off protein shakes, granola bars, water, and sometimes a tiny piece of chicken.) I have been pretty good at trying stuff, but because I have somewhat of a sensitive stomach anyway, I have been a little more careful (it's not good to be a sensitive-stomach-traveler). But, all that to say, the lunch that the Vellore staff prepared for us yesterday was EXCELLENT. And they are all really excellent people. I have been blessed to have been able to spend time with them. And I'm very encouraged.

The home visits have also been great...people are so hospitable. In every home we've visited, they've offered us all sorts of drinks (mostly coconuts...with the top cut off and a straw stuck in). I am always very hesitant to take stuff (sensitive-stomach traveler), but feel okay drinking bottled soda, so when they offer soda I feel like I HAVE to drink it, so was definitely on somewhat of a sugar high for awhile (and had a sugar CRASH yesterday evening).

We visited a leper colony last night at dusk. We were greeted by a group of elderly ladies who were just FANTASTIC. When we asked them what the greatest challenge in their community is they told us that they really need toilets: they used to use a nearby field, but it has recently been fenced off. sigh.

When asked what is the BEST thing about their community, they said, all of them, without hesitation, "God. We are so, so blessed." They then proceeded to claim us all as their granddaughters. I cried a little bit.

So...we're having a good time. We have about an hour to get ready before we start another busy day, so I should get my train-slept self together. peace and blessings to everyone.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I'm losing track of our days!

I’m really only capable of a short update right now because I am sooo tired…we have been having some very long days. Good, but long. It didn’t really help that I slept for what was probably a total of 5 hours in a 48-hour stretch (my body was still on ‘merica time and I was having anxiety about my suitcase sitting at the bottom of the atlantic). Fortunately, last night I got about 8 hours. Unfortunately, I was more tired during the day today than I have been for the past few days. Figures.

We did find out yesterday that my suitcase had been discovered…somewhere in DC, or Frankfurt, I’m not sure. Kandasami and his international network worked for a couple of days until it was found. I cannot express how blessed I feel to have someone that has dedicated so much time to finding my bag…and I cannot express how relieved I am to know that it is NOT at the bottom of the ocean. It is being delivered to Kandasami’s house tomorrow, and then one of our CFCA staff members will bring it to Vellore. Tomorrow!

In the meantime, Venita and Preethi took me shopping to get some new clothes. I had been hoping to buy some Indian clothes sometime when we were here, but didn’t know if I would have the opportunity in our jam-packed schedule. But, thanks to my suitcase being lost, an opportunity was created! We went to a mall in Chennai (very tall mall with many stories) and were able to go to the only store (that they knew of) that was open until 10pm (as I said…jam packed schedule. It was late.). They had stuff in there that American teenagers would wear, but Preethi and Venita seemed pleasantly surprised to find that I actually WANTED to buy Indian clothes. So, in the 15-20 minutes that we had until the store closed, they quickly helped me to determine the items that I would need and the styles that would suit me, and I was able to get 3 outfits (2 Indian and one more generic American [khaki capris and a little polo…still not very “me”]) and a bunch of underwear.

So, I’ve been wearing my Indian outfits the past couple of days. They’re fabulous, and sooo comfortable…I feel like I’m wearing pajamas. You will likely see me in these once I’m back in the States.

BUT…I am very much looking forward to getting my suitcase back. It will, of course, be nice to have clothes, but it will be nicer to have my camera-battery charger and own shampoo and stuff to make my hair look a little less crazy (though, in the humidity here, it ain’t bad). Ilene has also been nice enough to let me borrow pretty much anything I need…so I bet she will be glad when I have my stuff back, too.

So our days…our first “working” day involved meeting with staff, doing some interviews, and my fun shopping excursion (which also involved dinner at the mall and driving by the beach…apparently the 2nd longest in the world).

Second day: home visits with some sponsored children and families. Most of the time, this includes an elaborate welcome involving flower garlands and rituals to ban evil spirits and putting stuff on our foreheads. Then, we get to go in their home and meet and talk with the families. This is nice. Ilene and some of our other staff here apologized that I wouldn’t really have the opportunity to do any “touristy” things on this trip, as we’ll be so busy…but I would much rather meet with normal people and see their homes and hang out in back-alley neighborhoods.

We also got to “meet with the children and families” of one subproject: this basically means that they do lots of performances for us (and of course, more flower garlands, etc) and give speeches. I even gave a little bit of a speech. Ha.

Today: More family visits. Many family visits. I got sooo tired in the afternoon/evening, and at about 5 our car stopped, and I woke up to see hundreds of children looking at me and smiling. Following that, there were many dances. And speeches.

this was written a few days ago...

...on our first "night."


So, we’re in India, finally “settled” for the first night. It’s apparently 4:30 pm in the States, and it’s 3 am here. And it’s been one helluva long day! I am having so much difficulty comprehending where I am in space and time. Literally.

The travel process was arduous. I’ve done the “one-leg” international flight before, which is disorienting enough, but we ended up traveling for about 26 hours total. Here is my quick synopsis of our travel experience:

Kansas City: quick and efficient. It always is at MCI.

DC: I find out I had left my luggage sticker on the last flight. Oops. We transfer from United to Lufthansa, a German airline. The Lufthansa lady doesn’t seem too concerned that I don’t have my luggage sticker.

Frankfurt: Well, at first, it was really nice being in Germany, if only at the airport…reminded me of the good ol’ days when I was there in 2002. UNTIL we realize that…ugh. I don’t even want to go into it. Suffice it to say that it is the WORST airport I have been in, ever, and I am going to try to avoid it (and Lufthansa, though I don’t know if they are entirely to blame) from now on if I can help it. (they basically don’t have anywhere to sit in the airport, and won’t let you sit at your gate, and they are SO rude, etc.)

(When in Frankfurt, though, I had the opportunity to witness dozens of Hasidic Jews [I am assuming they were Hasidic based upon my reading of Chaim Potok] pray together, which is a big affair involving props such as boxes and ropes of leather and odd clothing garments, and lots of chanting. It was awesome. Plus there were lots of these cute little Jewish families…very young couples with infants. I was enchanted.)

Flight to Chennai was fine…aisle seat with an open seat next to me (awesome). I slept about 7 of the 8 hours (which was great considering I had hardly slept at all on the first flight). I had Indian food for dinner and German tea for dessert. Excellent.

Then we get to Chennai…wait for the bags…and mine is not there. Not. There. Soooo we had to go through this big ordeal with the Lufthansa people, which seemed inordinately inefficient and unproductive (I JUST NEED YOU TO TYPE MY NAME INTO A COMPUTER AND TELL ME WHERE MY BAG IS, IS THAT SO HARD?). So I won’t know any information until tomorrow morning at the earliest. Fortunately, the person we are staying with (Kandasami, one of our independent auditors) is extremely well connected and was pulling as many strings as he could with the staff in Chennai, even made calls to DC. So we’ll see what happens. Until then, I am stuck with my computer (which is why you get a blog!) and purse…which has…a toothbrush, and a little bit of money. Sigh. We might go buy me some clothes tomorrow.

So, I’m now in Chennai, staying at the home of Preethi, Kandasami, and Venita. I don’t have many impressions of India yet, as it’s the middle of the night (and I am so not tired…), but love it (and the people, particularly the ones we’re staying with, these people get hospitality better than anyone else I know) so far. We start meeting with people tomorrow here in Chennai, then travel to Vellore the next day…so I hope my bag turns up by then!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

so I'm going to India tomorrow! hooray!

I'll be traveling with another colleague to visit several of our CFCA projects in Tamil Nadu state, Hyderabad, and Delhi. We'll be gone for 17 days.

I'll try to update while we're gone! But we will be very busy, as our schedule is jam-packed. But I bet it'll be fun! I've never been to India!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


What is Your World View?
created with
You scored as Cultural Creative

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ohhh. RENT.

Mark: [sung] The opposite of war isn't peace!
Joanne: What is?
Mark: It's creation!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

fashion loves people

it would be in your best interest to check out fashion loves people, written by my friend Janette.

socially-responsible fashion.
she's the best.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

How great it is to have a couple of people in your life in whose company you are largely unaware of your self - you are just free to be what you are. -tim keel

I recognize that I post mostly quotes. It's just that...really, I'm not much of a writer. What I love about my favorite writers, or writers in general, is that they are able to express the things that I feel and/or experience SO MUCH MORE EFFECTIVELY than I am.

And I like to express things...I think I am a very expressive I express myself through others' expressions.

How's that??

Thursday, January 24, 2008

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
—M. Scott Peck

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Sometimes it is important to dwell just a little longer on what is wrong and scary and dark in the world, both for our own understanding of the depth of that darkness, and for our solidarity with those who experience that darkness not only existentially or metaphorically, but in the every day reality of their human experiences." -andrew

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Those at the Edge Hold the Secret

"Those at the edge, ironically, always hold the secret for the conversion of every age and culture. They always hold the projected and denied parts of our soul, the parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of, that we hate and deny, that we're afraid of in ourselves. Only as the People of God receive the stranger and the leper, those who don't play our game, do we discover not only the hidden and hated parts of our own souls, but the Lord Jesus himself. That's how we say, 'Come, Lord Jesus.' In letting go, we make room for the Other. The church is always converted when the outcasts are reinvited into the temple."

from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 life will less resemble a soap opera.