Sunday, May 23, 2010

I love you, Matt, whoever you are...

LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! This has just made me SO very very very happy.

Enjoy.

And smile. What would life or this world be if we didn't smile...and in the wise words of Paulo Coelho #ilovelifebecause it is not a sin to be happy.

Au revoir...

A week to go before I leave.

I have had to pace myself. A 7 week mission. Some people are out here for much longer and I keep saying, I know what my capacity is and how long I can go in order to still be able to function with some modicum of efficiency and effectiveness.

How are the others doing it? Those who have signed up for three months, six months, a year?

Everyday, there are new faces out here. With a week left to go, I am not even bothering to get to know them or find out who they are. That happens in every mission, without fail. You get used to the people you know and you are comfortable hanging out with them. By luck, or they know someone, a new face will become part of your group. It's just too much effort otherwise.

We were talking about this and it seems to be a mental shift. I know I am here for 7 weeks. Those on longer contracts know they are here for the long run. You pace yourself differently. Every 6 weeks, most people are entitled to a week R&R. That seems to be the marker then. You think in 6 week blocks.

I see myself coming back to Haiti. Not sure in what capacity or for how long, but I see myself coming back here. I would be surprised if I didn't.

A first mission delegate was out here and as she was gearing up to leave (after extending her mission more than double), she was struggling with saying goodbye. You dont actually ever say goodbye. Not a place and most certainly, not to people. You never know when you will see them again and that's the beauty of what we do. I am working once again with someone I worked with five years ago. We saw each other socially, twice since then, but here we are now. Having breakfast together, checking in with each other. It's great.

My tattoo brother is out here too. Five years ago, Oct 2005, Berlin, Germany, he gave me his tattoo from his calf for my back. I saw him after that last year, again, by mistake in Nairobi. People ask me about the frog on my back. It's not a frog but I can see how it looks like one. I was telling someone about my tattoo brother and lo and behold, the next night, he shows up. Random. And typical. And typically, I haven't seen him since then, three nights ago. I could track him down and find out but I like the relationship we have. There are no emails unless we have something important like a birth of a child (his), marriage (mine), and we see each other when we see each other.

You don't say good bye.

Just au revoir.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yep, I changed it

The fact that the stupid YouTube videos were too big and were blocking stuff on the side...it made it look messy. So, I changed it.

I feel like I've come home after a long time and someone has rearranged all the furniture. But that's ok. I will get used to it.

And so will you.

i can't stop lovin you.....

....bollywood.

here's more entertainment. 30 full fledged bollywood stars past and present. More present than past. Some not so past but still past.

And I do LOVE SRK. King Khan.

I miss Bollywood. I haven't been able to see a Bollywood film in a while.

Actually, the last film I saw was Indian but not Bollywood per se. FANTASTIC film. Would highly recommend it. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.

Recommended not for all ages, but for all sorts of people. You don't have to be brown to enjoy it. It is a film about activists...sort of. It's a film about life and activists are starring in it.

Back to the entertainment....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Addicted...

...to Twitter. Again.

This happens every once in a while. I go through phases. I am totally back into blogging and tweeting, and honestly, it feels GREAT. There was a whole community out here that I just dropped out of. And they forgave me...or, didn't notice. Either way, it's how I like my life to be. I can come and go. My best friends are great that way to me as well. They know there will be times when I will be there and present and...well, there! And there are times when I drop off the face of the earth. They don't hold it against me.

What is weird with tweeting is that I was feeling out of touch with Stephen Fry, Johnathan Ross, Pink, Alyssa Milano, Susan Orlean and the person who is a tweeting train wreck because of his HORRIBLE spelling, Jamie Oliver.

I obviously don't know any of these guys for real. I will say though that Wyclef Jean is now following me (I am one of 7000 he follows, go figure), and I'm sure it's only cuz I tweet about Haiti every once in a while..Also, of the 100 people I follow, that's it on the celeb list. And they do know how to tweet, though seriously, if Jamie doesn't get his act together, I am blocking his ass. This is your last chance, Jamie. Learn something from Alyssa, Stephen and Susan...they're good. Boris, by the way (the Mayor of London), is way better at tweeting than Obama is. I have a feeling, and perhaps it's a good PR/comms person, but I actually think that Boris is in fact tweeting. Himself. With his own fingers. Obama is not. He's got WAY more personality than his tweets.


Anyhow, it does feel good to be connected again. It's great that I come on my blog and I do write. It feels more comfortable now. After a long time.

Yay for that.

Email can be dumb

Do you ever think your email will change your life? Like, there will be that one email in your inbox, that all of a sudden will be like, Hi, I am not a Nigerian banker and am for real and you just won a gizzilion dollars...or even better...you didn't apply for this super fantastic job but we know you would rock it and you would love it and it's like you and this job were made for each other...here, it's all yours.

I check my email obsessively. And I know I do it because I keep thinking, something will be there that will change my life.

Am I unhappy with my life? No.

But there is still something about changes that I like. The unknown factor of it, I s'pose. Though I do deal with change badly. Well, not badly, per se...just not as well as I would like to. I try to normalize things and find the familiar in them as soon as I can.

Emails have changed my life. I have gotton lots of important news over email. Also, you never know what you will find in your inbox. Someone from way back when might email you and say, hey, I'm in town. An old CV from long ago might finally make it through some HR system and you will get an interview. Your friend might be pregnant. You might get poked.

I am needing a change...I am, weirdly enough, thinking my inbox is going to provide me with some answers. I might be a complete idiot or....

....the revolution will be emailed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wee Willie Winkie

I looked him up for the last post...

Did you know there is a WHOLE entire poem dedicated to him? Beyond the first para, which I thought as the whole song...I love Wikiepdia.

Cool.

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the town,
Up stairs and doon stairs in his nicht-gown,
Tirling at the window, cryin' at the lock,
Are the weans in their bed, for it's now ten o'clock?

Hey, Willie Winkie, are ye coming ben?
The cat's singing grey thrums to the sleeping hen,
The dog's spelder'd on the floor, and disna gi'e a cheep,
But here's a waukrife laddie! that winna fa' asleep!"

Onything but sleep, you rogue! glow'ring like the mune,
Rattling in an airn jug wi' an airn spoone,
Rumbling, tumbling round about, crawing like a cock,
Skirlin' like a kenna-what, wauk'ning sleeping fock.

"Hey, Willie Winkie - the wean's in a creel!
Wambling aff a bodie's knee like a very eel,
Ruggin' at the cat's lug, and raveling a' her thrums-
Hey, Willie Winkie - see, there he comes!"

Wearied is the mither that has a stoorie wean,
A wee stumple stoussie, that canna rin his lane,
That has a battle aye wi' sleep before he'll close an ee-
But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gi'es strength anew to me.

Versions paraphrased for English readers began to appear in print from 1844 in the form:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it's past ten o'clock?

Hey, Willie Winkie, are you coming in?
The cat is singing purring sounds to the sleeping hen,
The dog's spread out on the floor, and doesn't give a cheep,
But here's a wakeful little boy who will not fall asleep!

Anything but sleep, you rogue! glowering like the moon,'
Rattling in an iron jug with an iron spoon,
Rumbling, tumbling round about, crowing like a cock,
Shrieking like I don't know what, waking sleeping folk.

Hey, Willie Winkie - the child's in a creel!
Wriggling from everyone's knee like an eel,
Tugging at the cat's ear, and confusing all her thrums
Hey, Willie Winkie - see, there he comes!"

Weary is the mother who has a dusty child,
A small short little child, who can't run on his own,
Who always has a battle with sleep before he'll close an eye
But a kiss from his rosy lips gives strength anew to me.

My childhood lullaby

Along with wee willy winkee, which, now that I saying that, out loud, after many years, sounds like a porn star name, my mom used to sing us hindi songs. We used to have musicb playing in the kitchen when we were little...songs from when my mom was little. She had a million casette tapes which she gave away one day, (the day the music died.....)

Me and my sisters all have a very special place for the song posted below. It's gorgeous to listen to and I can recall my mom's voice singing it to us...

Brilliantly enough, I was hanging with Alka and Milan, her gorgeous baby boy, and she has this lullabies from the world CD that she plays for him at bed time, and out of the blue, this song came on. We sat there, both of us humming to it, with a fourth generation child soothed by the voice of Lata in black and white.

For you listening pleasure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

yaddi bladdi

My jaw hurts but it's certainly not because I'm smiling too much. No way.

I look down a lot, I have discovered. At the ground. I can not make eye contact in NYC...it's much easier, but here for some reason, when I want my five minutes of cigarette smoking privacy and I stare off into the distance, or look at the ground and AVOID eye contact, it's hard. People are going out of their way to establish eye contact, or WORSE, they walk up to you and start talking to you...and the way to start a conversation: you looked so peaceful and lost in your thoughts.

And you had to interrupt my peace and my being lost in happy land to tell me this?

My normal face, is not a smiling face. I'm trying to think how many people have a normal face that is a smiling one. I want to say not many, but that's so that I am not standing on the fringes, but actually, I haven't looked enough to know. I am going to start observing...and if, IF, most pepole have no smiling faces then........

.....then the next time someone says to me: HEY, pretty girl! Why aren't you smiling?

They will get smacked because neither are they.

Fantastic photos from Haiti

Check it out. A GORGEOUS slide show on Haiti. Courtesy of Jake Price and Phil Coomes and the BBC.

I wish I could embed it somehow. Hmmm. Maybe I can.

I tried. For two minutes. You can just click on the link instead.

I do wish I were patient enough to learn to be more tech savvy. Maybe that's what I will do on vacation one day.

I need to go and grapple with excel anyhow right now. Time to generate some data!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From the hammocks at base camp....a little piece of heaven.

I felt like I was dying last Saturday and I remembered that we had hammocks on base camp. I found them and I didn't LEAVE them at all. It was fantastic. I spent the whole day there and was under the ONE tree we have...which, as you might be able to hear, attracts birds.

I did eventually get up...and make dinner for 90 people. Which is in fact, as difficult as it sounds but totally worth it as so many people told me they really liked it. I think just having something different makes a BIG difference. I will try once again to cook for everyone...

My view from the hammock.


video

Well then!

OK, there's a lot going on in the world...(at least mine).

Firstly, there is 8 year olds dancing like Beyonce.

Secondly, there are philosophers doing cool stuff.

Thirdly, it's still too hot in Haiti.

Fourthly, there is a sketchbook project which sounds amazing and I am totally signing up for it.

Fifthly, I have to pee like NO ONE'S business but the god damn chemical toilets are SO far away...will I make it?

Sixthly, and most importantly, I only just noticed at the multitude of pokes that I have on facebook that I have done nothing about.

Where am I supposed to start?

A to do list...

(that's four separate links there, people...people love their to do lists...)

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's too hot

It really is. It's so freaking hot today. I say that EVERY DAY. And believe it or not, EVERY DAY, it's freaking hot.

It's hard to work in so much heat, especially when you aren't used to it.

One of the offices of the organization that I am working with, has an AC. There are some local staff there and they keep the door closed so that the AC air does not come into their office. It's too cold them for.

Samuel, the field offider that I work with, came in with a glove on one hand. He lives on the outskirts up in the hills (they really aren't that high), and the air is cooler there. He wears the one glove since when he hails a tap tap, his hand gets cold.

Many of the African expats that I am working with all wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and yes, they are sweating too but they are comfortable and able to function efficiently. We had a long conversation about it. The conversation started with mangos but that's another post for another day.

Can it be for real that you can get used to working in heat like this if you are born into it? I love heat, I tell people I am a tropical girl, but who am I kidding? I am an east coast American...I HATE the winter but I think most people struggle with it.

Why can't it be permanently spring wherever I go? In the little bubble that surrounds me?

Blogging aid

Here's a site to check out. Saundra, who writes the blog is out here in Haiti and we have been having interesting discussions around the aid community and bloggers. It's big business now and I think it's great. It's a good informal way for all of us to keep in touch and share stories (and therefore, lessons) and also, it's a good way to know what the trends are and for someone else to do all the reading and research for you and synthesize it...

Saundra's blog is all about donor education. When she first said that, my brain went straight to DfiD (now known as UKAID, which is a dumb name but no one knew what DfID stood for), ECHO, USAID, etc. But what's really cool about her blog is that, she is talking about the average joe (the plumber), donor. You and me.

If you know someone who works in the humanitarian sector and you see a disaster on TV, you will ask them, who should we give to? Where will our money actually make a difference? I get asked that all the time, and now I will point them to the charity rater/tracker that Saundra has developed. It's very cool. It's not a 'give to this agency and that's that' kind of thing. It is a multiple choice thingie and it makes you THINK about how you want your money to be used and for what and helps you make an informed decision about how best you want your money to work.

The blog is called, wonderfully: Good intentions are not enough. Love the title. It gets quoted in the NYTimes and Saundra has plans for expansion. It's tough what she does but as I was saying to her last night, it's reallly realllly reallllly important. I have always believed that the giving public is actually smart. They get treated like idiots by mainstream media but I just feel like if you put out ways for people to self educate and think things through, they are more than able to make informed and smart choices and decisions.

I think lots of people miss that point in our education system. It's not about knowing dates and formulas, but rather, a good teacher will show you how to think critically...and then...you have a brain: use it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

That's Entertainment....

I am SO entertained by this. Sitting in Haiti, at my desk and it was an amazing ten minute break. Huge smile on my face as each new song came on. LOVED IT. Well done young 'uns.

Enjoy.

Photos.


I was talking about breakfast and mornings in this post recently. It was this breakfast that inspired me to write about it actually. A photo of the breakfast I was having about a month ago. At the Oceanview hotel. By the beach. It was lovely. I should put up photos.

Let's see if I have more.



Part of the volunteer training. This might have been the first day we all got together and did our 'team building day'. That was fun.

They are a very cool bunch with all sorts of different personalities mixed in and it's been a ball getting to know them all. And for them to get to know me.



Me. After a morning spent in the sun. This was just last week at Moulin Sur La Mer. That was fun. Lovely place though the food is lacking. And even if you are brown, you can BURN. I put on factor 55 and people think I'm crazy. Burning is crazy. It...burns.

Note the UGLY green bracelet thingie. They make you wear those at hotels here. It's very annoying. It scratches at night and I don't like wearing stuff when sleeping, other than my earrings (they are tiny), my rings (not bulky and they are my normal two), and my piercings (they don't come out). I had to wear the damn thing in the shower too...my wrist felt like it was dirty.

Dislike!


Maybe I should take more photos. I like posting photos. I don't have a camera. Just my iPhone, but it seems to work well enough!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The PoPe

Do you think the Pope just feels like a rock star, all the time? I'm reading this BBC story about the abuse scandal and he's in Lisbon and 80,000 people come out to see him.

Can you imagine being the Pope, or Bono, and only five people show up in the city centre to see you? That just doesn't happen does it? With Bono, I guess it happened when he started out but the Pope just starts from...Pope. And yes, there is an individual who becomes the Pope and he's worked his way up etc, and maybe at his first sermon, in a backwater somewhere in some village in eastern Europe, three digruntled people showed up and old skool movie style, threw rotton tomatoes at him, but when you are Pope...you are Pope. And that just commands crowds.

Does he ever think back to the rotton tomatoes, do you think?

In my lifetime, will there be a gathering where the Pope is present/making an appearance/presiding (whatever it is they do other than ride around in the pope-mobile), where there won't just be 80K people at the drop of a hat?

Oh, you know what? Maybe he should go visit his followers in Iran or Pakistan. Wonder what kind of crowd that commands. We got Christians, persecuted ones, in Pakistan...not sure they are catholic though and if they care for the Pope.

I'm guessing it will be a much smaller audience than perhaps the Pope is used to....

I should get back and read the article I have linked this too...and see what the latest on the kiddie fiddling is about.

I don't care and I probably should. Actually, I don't care. I care that kids are at risk from figures of authority and trust, but it doesn't matter if you are a priest...it still happens and this grand focus on this issue should really lead to a larger impact on the WHOLE issue, not just it happens in church.

Why do people struggle SO much with perspective?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Back to black

I don't even know what that means, back to black. I should probably properly listen to the songs...

I am back in Haiti. Went home to NYC for R&R for about five days and it was awesome. Great weather and just good to hang out at home. Very important.

The day I got back, we had an aftershock. Which wasn't fun especially since I have been waking up every night thinking there was an aftershock...I didn't last night. I just recalled that I only just got back yesterday at mid day. I feel like I have been back for a week already. WHOOPS. The next 22 days are going to be interesting to get through.

Anyhow, I was talking about aftershocks. So we had one, and then 20 minutes later, I was CONVINCED, totally CONVINCED that we just had another one. Smaller than the first one, but I SWEAR I felt the desk move the same one.

I imagined it.

I think that's another whoops.

Let's hope I don't wake up tonight thinking the earth just moved. I don't want to feel that way. Or think that I have some sort of PTSD. That would suck. It would suck for the sake of sucking but also, HOW LAME that aftershocks and not even a real earthquake are giving me PTSD. That really is lame.

I went to the field today. We gave out money, finally today. Went out to do monitoring and it was sooooooooooooo good to work with the guys that I work with. I have this style of hanging back and just watching and letting them learn on the job. It's how I learned. If something is going TOTALLY wrong, yes, I will step in and take charge, but if it's not then let people discover their own rhythm and what works for them and how to make things happen. Everyone is clear on our end result. We all have different ways to get there, but get there we will!

I didn't have a camera. I don't like taking them to the field. I don't like taking photos of people. I probably should but it feels wrong. I have always had an issue about that. Objectifying people. I know it's worth a thousand words, but I'm a better writer than a photographer. That's my excuse. Truthfully, it makes me feel icky. The time it does not, is when I have spent time in a community and they feel comfy with me and vice versa. Then it's ok. Then I don't feel like I am imposing or being rude or just...nasty.

There is so much potential coing out of what we found out today and I do wonder if anything will be done with this or not at all. I have no idea how any of it will play out but I guess we wait and see.

I am getting tired of the wait and see attitude by the way. It's an excuse to me now. An excuse of being afraid to do anything and somehow thinking that saying wait and see and sounding prudent is fine somehow. It's not. Not anymore.

It's inexcusable.