update

this page is for quick updates on where i am and what i’m doing, as an alternative to the more story-like entries on the homepage…

august 10, 2010 – goodbye varanasi.  back to delhi tonight and home on friday.  the 13th.  eek.  why did i ever book two back-to-back trans-continental flights on friday the 13th?

august 1, 2010 – i’m back in delhi now.  we’re presenting to the unicef national office and the rest of the interns on tuesday morning.  wish me luck!  then it’s off to agra wednesday.  expect lots of pictures.

june 22, 2010 – we’re headed out on back to back field visits for the next three days, trying to pick up anything we missed on our first visit.  friday eve liz and i take an overnight bus to pondicherry, on the coast 8 hours east of here, for a (much-needed) long weekend of rest and relaxation.

june 14, 2010 – i followed a cow home from work today.

june 6, 2010 – getting settled in bangalore, india.  the weather is fine (the paper said the monsoon arrived today, but all i’ve noticed is a welcome fall in temperature).  work starts monday.

june 3, 2010 – orientation ended with a welcome dinner on the lawn at UNICEF, reminiscent of the queen’s birthday parties at the british embassy in rwanda, but with dancing and without cheese.  to combat the 100+ degree heat, they set up industrial fans rigged with water spritzers.  genious.

may 30, 2010 – arrived in delhi, india, in one piece and with luggage!  i’ll be doing a ten-week research internship with UNICEF india.  our research will look at water and sanitation in bangalore.

april 25 2009 – so i’ve been a little out of touch.  sorry about that.  when mom and dad live down the hall, they don’t check the web to see if i’m alive.  they just knock.  for the rest of you, not to worry – i’ll be writing some reverse culture shock posts soon.

november 13 2008 – i have a plane ticket!  on november 22nd i’ll leave africa for the first time nearly two years.  i’ll be home for thanksgiving.  i can’t wait for the taco dip…

november 7 2008 – i’m back in zanzibar for some r and r.  i’ll be writing a lot so check in!

october 22 2008 – exams have finished and we’re just calculating totals and entering them onto report cards (by hand because the school has deemed the computerized version too expensive).  deliberation looms.  but all the same, i’m on the home stretch now…

september 15 2008 – election day was today.  for all those interested in my well-being, i spent a quiet day at home.  well, at least the afternoon.  in the morning, amanda and i, hoping to avoid the election stuff by getting an early bus out of kigali, managed to walk ourselves right into a voting center!  but this isn’t kenya, folks.  this dictatorship is well run.  our opposition party knows its place and stays there.  expect the full story soon.

july 7 2008 – i’ve got the house to myself now. amanda is mid-air over some part of east africa at the minute, and sara is probably on a ferry headed towards zanzibar. it’s awfully quiet.

july 4 2008 – happy independence day. sara and i went to a party this afternoon at the american embassy, at which we met a lot of missionaries, a few diplomats, some interesting ex-pats working for USAID, and a handful of marines. not my usual scene, but fun anyway. i’ve never appreciated potato salad as much as i did today. and the mint-chocolate-chip cookies were to die for.

june 13 2008 – in honor of the birthday of her majesty the queen of not my country but another rather famous one, i decided to have a dress made. it’s gorgeous. red with green swirls (ooh, might work for christmas actually), from fabric i bought in zanzibar. i feel a new post coming, something about having clothes made here. hmmm…

may 23 2008 – yikes i’m out of date here. grampa is doing much better. the operation went well, and he’s back on his feet – up to his old tricks, working around the new house, can’t keep a good man down and all that – or at least those are the reports i get from home. as for me, i’m back in rwanda, working away. we’ve got a kivu writers workshop tomorrow that’s taking up most of my time. sara’s project is up and running and it’s nice to have her around. 🙂

april 17 2008 – grampa has been diagnosed with colon cancer. bleeding put his heart at risk and he was taken to the hospital. an appointment with a specialist in boston leads all the believe they can take it out and an operation has been scheduled for next week. everyone is staying positive. it’s difficult being far away from home. my thoughts are with him and the rest of the family.

april 7 2008 – am enjoying the rain in zanzibar. yesterday, sent mom and dad off to amsterdam and then home, after two wonderful weeks of vacationing around east africa. this morning sara took off too, back to rwanda where she’ll begin her research with genocide survivors there. and me? i’ve got two weeks here to do a lot of nothing. i can think of worse places to do nothing… anyway, expect stories to come.

march 15 2008 – nothing new to report really. no earthquakes or wars this month. exams started yesterday so the term’s winding down. mom, dad, and sara arrive friday. i’m going travelling again!

february 16 2008 – amanda swallowed a pen.

february 3 2008 – yes there was an earthquake here. i am fine, as are all my colleagues and students. i am nowhere near the border with congo, which is where it hit. we felt a little rumble and that was all. sorry not more exciting. here’s more info.

january 25 2008 – the mouse has fled due, most likely, to psychological trauma caused by overwhelming temptation of peanut bait on mouse trap, augmented by slow ingestion of rat poison over a series of weeks. the humans score again.

january 12 2008 – the bees are back. and we have a mouse.

january 2 2008 – am safe and sound back in rwanda. to all those hearing horror stories about kenya in the news, i am not there, was not there during the fun, and probably know less than you do about what went down. i’m leaving the internet cafe immediately to buy a newspaper.

october 31 2007 – happy halloween. i’ll be spending this evening curled up in a hotel with hot water at the expense of vso, watching whatever is on the tv (!). when i come into kigali to do work (like the pile of random run-around stuff i’ve gotta do tomorrow for kivu writers), vso puts us up in the place down the street. it’s not the ritz but it beats sleeping on other volunteers’ floors as i’ve become accustomed to doing.

october 26 2007 – the year’s finished! woohoo! i made it through one whole school year without doing anything massively wrong! no temper-tantrums, no freak-outs, no stress-attacks, no walk-outs. vacation here i come.

september 21 2007 – last weekend we welcomed the newest batch of volunteers to vso rwanda, eighteen in total. amanda and i gave a session for their in-country training on ‘practicalities’ or ‘how to boil water in africa’. made me feel sort of old and a bit of an imposter, pretending to be all experienced. but they’re a good bunch and i’m looking forward to getting to know them.

september 9 2007 – third round of kivu writers, back in kibuye. this country is gorgeous.

august 25 2007 – have just come into kigali for a global education workshop. the brits have this concept in their schools about integrating global issues and awareness into all aspects of their curriculums (kind of cool – do american schools do that too? did i miss it?). and writing this blog is one method of global education – i’m sharing all kinds of info about rwanda and africa with readers back home. in the classroom i share info about the u.s. and hungary and other places i’ve been to or know something about. it was a nice reminder that we’re all interconnected.

august 2 2007 sara and i have been bouncing around all sides of the country for the last few weeks. we hit lake muhazi in the east, then nyungwe forest in the southwest at the border with d.r.congo, then back east to akagera national park, then west again to kibuye and lake kivu. now we’re in kigali for a few days before classes start back up again on monday.

june 30 2007 – just realized that june 12th was my five-month anniversary, not six-month. time is different here i guess. well, means i’ve got another chance to make the six-month anniversary more worthwile. today i’m in town to hit the market and then head back to a pile of papers. last night i watched a movie for the first time in months- not because i don’t have movies but because i don’t have time. must find a way of working more efficiently.

june 24 2007 – back from the lovely gisenyi where i swam on a beach with sand. woohoo. kivu writers’ workshop number two done and done. when i get some breathing time there’ll be real entries. for now i’m trying to survive another week of classes and two of exams and then the much needed vacation.

june 20 2007 – just spent the day in kigali organizing the second kivu writers’ workshop of the year. it starts on friday and i’m sure i’ve forgotten something, but it feels good to doing this kind of logistical work again (oddly enough).

june 12 2007 – it’s my six-month anniversary in rwanda. i’ve finished more than a quarter of my placement. ironically, today was a totally unsuccessful day, with the director shooting down all of our ‘capacity-building’ suggestions in a meeting this afternoon. but chin up- in the grand scheme of things, i’ve got six positive constructive months behind me and hopefully another eighteen ahead.

june 2 2007 – today we had a visit from a group called ‘rapsida’, which teaches hiv/aids issues through theatre. it’s run by a guy named jesse from new york, and he works with anti-sida (‘sida’ is aids in french) groups in five different schools in rwanda, one of them being apagie. surprise. was great to see some theatre and to meet this amazing guy. hope to be involved more in the future.

may 13 2007 – spent the weekend in ruhengeri in the northwest corner of rwanda. went up with cathryn and sarah to see the infamous mountain gorillas before the price doubles on june 1st. very cool. pictures soon.

may 6 2007 – just back from lake kivu (lotta lakes in one month) and the kivu writers’ workshop. exhausted and rushing to catch a bus, but i promise real entries soon. (sneak preview: i saw a volcano!)

may 1 2007 – happy may day. today amanda and i walked to lake muhazi and lounged on someone named jeremy’s dock and got wicked sunburns. hope he approved.

apr 20 2007 – happy birthday to me. i’m 27 today. thanks to all who sent emails and gave presents. i have not been forgotten out here (yet).

apr 16 2007 – i’m back from uganda, safe and sound, and looking forward to a quiet week in musha before classes start up again. the town is almost dead without the students, and amanda’s still in tanzania, but i’ve had a few visitors and i hope to get some writing done.

apr 4 2007 – just finished the second bout of in-country training. friday morning i’m headed to uganda for a week! expect pics.

mar 26 2007 – surprise trip to nyungwe national park in wealthy englishman’s land rover. ten hours in the car, two in the park, and i can’t believe how beautiful this country is. the pictures don’t do it justice. mist, hills, tea plantations, monkeys (!). all visitors welcome.

mar 24 2007 – happy birthday dad! at long last we’ve moved into our new house. it’s a mansion practically. we feel extremely guilty living in such luxury. but our guilt is partly assuaged by the fact that the entire town is out of water and has been for a week. that means that to get water you have to hike down the hill and then back up again with buckets. so think of me when you turn on your faucet!

mar 17 2007 – have just been to a st. patrick’s day bash, thanks to the warm and welcoming irish community here. it was at the house (really more like a mansion) of an expat working for an NGO. met some crazy indian guys, one of whom is from rishikesh and sends luke a hello.

mar 3 2007 – happy march. i’ve been here forever it seems. went to kigali for a global education conference yesterday where i learned about the coffee project.

feb 28 2007 – yesterday the director observed one of my english classes. i was lucky and we were doing a fairly low-key lesson (no groups or mill drills which cause quite a ruckus). apparently all he was interested in was my ‘documentation’. i suppose that’s because he doesn’t speak english.

feb 23 2007 – the school had a big sports bash to open the season and i got to see lots of my students playing basketball, volleyball, handball, and soccer. starting to feel like part of the community. bbq tonight at sarah’s- looking forward to meat!

feb 21 2007 – in musha now for a month and still living in temporary housing. hmm. getting the swing of things though. where to get food, how to get around, how to teach fifty kids at a time (ok, still working on that one).

feb 1 2007 – happy hero’s day. or in the words of our translator, ‘hello’s day’. see the main page for photos of this wonderful event.

jan 29 2007 – first day of classes went well, considering half of them were cancelled. it’s four weeks into the term and the senior four class hasn’t arrived yet. my senior sixes are fantastic, though, and i think we’ll have a lot of fun this year.

jan 27 2007 – i made it into rwamagana today to check things out. the internet cafe is lovely, the market is full of cheap delicious fruit, and the other volunteers have been amazing. there are four in rwamagana and they organized a little bbq to welcome us, complete with roasted bananas stuffed with chocolate. amazing.

jan 24 2007 – have moved out of kigali and into musha. the village is adorable, the neighbors seem friendly, and there isn’t any food to be had. my course-load is ridiculous and i’m feeling overwhelmed….

jan 13 2007 – arrived and well. i’m staying in a guest house on one of the hills of kigali, for the next two weeks of in-country training. i’m a little overwhelmed, but safe and sound and very excited.

jan 11 2007 – i’m in london, halfway through a flight that started in new york yesterday and will take me to kigali tomorrow. i’ve had my share of airports this year, and we’re only eleven days in. on the plus side, i got to ride on a double-decker jumbo jet. woo hoo.

jan 10 2007 – i’m all packed, i’ve said my goodbyes, and in a few hours i’ll be on my way to africa. anxiety levels are remarkably low, considering. it’s either the calm before the storm or the hot stone massage i had on monday.

jan 6 2007 – happy late new year. i’m back from sunny st. thomas and packing like crazy. i made four pages of lists this morning (i am my mother’s daughter). anxiety levels high.

dec 25 2006 – merry christmas to all. this year santa brought me the best present ever – my own stuff back. my luggage was lost en route from hungary to new york and after eight days of fearing the worst, it was delivered via courier to my front door on christmas day. i was so happy i gave the couriers a plate of homemade christmas cookies. in a few days i leave for ten much anticipated days in the caribbean.

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