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Date:2009-02-03 00:25
Subject:google and cowpies
Mood: amused

My friend Tanushree once told me about the benefits of throwing cowpies into your latrine. Apparently they do this in Bangladesh and its helpful for something or rather... to try and figure out what that was I checked google. I typed "cowpie latrine." Much to my surprise my own livejournal entry showed up. I guess there just isn't too much literature out there on that subject.

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Date:2008-11-05 00:01
Subject:Change has come to America
Mood: optimistic

I am so glad I can be here to witness this. I am so proud.

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Date:2008-11-03 16:24

I thought I'd post just to have something recent up... turns out its just a procrastination technique. I should be studying for that econ exam instead...

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Date:2007-03-28 13:13
Subject:so much left to see!

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Date:2007-03-16 15:52
Subject:I am superman and I can do anything

Your results:
You are Superman

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

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Date:2007-03-16 14:59
Subject:random thoughts aka normal lj

I saw a guy in Chinandega wearing a Stewert/Colbert for President 2008 shirt. WTF! How are his realitives in the states cooler than mine?! I want that shirt!!

Books I want/need to read:

What is What by Dave Eggers
Medical Aparthied by Harriet A. Washington
Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich
Blood of Brothers by Stephen Kinzer

If anyone is looking to send a care package, now you know. Oh and some nutter butters would be nice too.

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Date:2007-02-03 18:49
Subject:Book Reviews
Mood: dorky

I've been writing book reviews for the Peace Corps Nicaragua mag, the "Va Pue". Here are some of my fave-o-rite books reviewed for your pleasure.

(I'd hide em to save you space, but I honest to god don't know how to do that)

Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama
Pgs: 442 A+

This autobiography of the junior Senator from Illinois is as much a study of race relations in America today as of one man’s struggle to find himself. Born of a Kenyan father and White American mother, Obama found himself caught between worlds. His father gone from early on, he had to find out on his own what it was to be young and Black in America. The pain and anguish of not fitting in… the unnamed hatred for the way things were and the people that perpetuated it.
Articulately, poetically, and concisely he describes the division between races. It made me pause every 20 pages or so to reevaluate my notions of class and racism. It made me take another look at the friendships I’ve had, the people I’ve known. Was there the same wariness lurking in their eyes? The knowledge that because of my skin tone and theirs, there would always be a shadow of doubt, a lack of trust?
Through his work as a community organizer in Chicago he delves into some of the problems facing the Black community. Mistrust, survivor’s guilt, discord amongst themselves. Later he visits his siblings in Kenya. The trips helps Obama finally understand his place in family history and the world.
There is now talk of Obama for President. With his experience in community organizing, State Senate, Harvard Law degree, and an International understanding (he also grew up in Indonesia), not to mention a commitment to Civil Rights and a language of uplifting faith, he is the perfect liberal candidate. But is America ready for a once young angry Black man as President?
I hope so, because he just may help heal the wounds of racism on both sides. For African Americans a proof of the possibilities and of change. For Whites, perhaps forgiveness for our sins.

Midnight’s Children
By Salmon Rushdie
Pgs: 533

Set in a scent rich Bombay (curry, paprika, grasshopper green chutney), this is the life story of a boy born with a face like the sub-continent of India. Would I be putting myself out there too much to say I identified with this physically deformed child with aspirations of changing history? Perhaps. Born at the stroke of midnight, at the very moment of India’s independence (Aug 15, 1947), Saleem Sinai is imbued with certain powers that link him to all of the other children of midnight. They in turn have there own unique powers: A boy who can move through reflective surfaces, a person who switches gender upon touching water, a time-traveler, Shiva of the crushing knees.
However remarkable the fantastical aspects of this story are, Rushdie never lets its characters fall into comic book like glory. He never lets their talents lead to a life above human struggle, but instead explores the ruined potential in all people. Rushdie’s heroes are merely children succumbing to the will and movement of time and place.
Despite a nose that can smell emotion and ego, and placing responsibility for the rise and fall of Indira Gandhi on the head of a single bandy legged, snot dripping, cucumber nosed, piece-of-the-moon, the story remains true to the feelings and struggles of humanity.
Can we not all see mirrored in our own lives, all that has come before us? Do we not stop and take note of our actions in a given momentous occasion, as if to gauge cause and affect? Perhaps what truly struck me (along with the details of Bombay talkies and Pakistani Wars) was the innocence of childhood getting beat out by the mundane realities of life.
PS: Marya loved it.

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Date:2007-02-03 18:10
Subject:Long Day
Mood: bouncy

Hopped on a bus at 5am to get to Managua on time for an oh so important meeting. Now mind, body and soul have glazed over from 6 hr straigt internet use. Yay! I updated pics. Can't take credit for any of them. I have Rachel to thank. She may be the only source of pictures of me in Nicaragua. Proof that I exist! Also updated Friendster only to realize that I don't have any friends on... so find me if you're out there. Not that I'll check it frequently or actually use it to network socially...but you never know.

Checking out higher education programs. Still pondering the harrowing Law vs Grad question. Leaning toward an MPA, Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in International work. Or a JD with a focus on International Law (syracuse looks nice). We'll see which way the wind blows.

Word on the street is ya'll are facing an early spring. Good luck with that. small talk...small talk...small talk...

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Date:2007-01-02 02:32
Subject:Holiday in Nicaragua
Mood: sleepy

For the first time ever I got a sunburn on Christmas. Then another 3 days later. The rivers and beaches here are a' mazing!

Another new experience has been staying at hostels. There are some pretty fachenta style hippies and interesting people from all over. Though we did have a run in with a girl who thought we were all quite rude and pontificated drunkenly on topics from abortion to her tool of an aunt who disapproved of her acid trips. I got some shit from my friends for being a bleeding heart, as I hugged her vs slapping her once her vocabulary turned repetitively negative against us. Guess I've learned some patience in dealing with youth, I couldn't imagine putting a smack down on a 19 year old. No matter how obnoxious. It'd be like kicking a puppy. I am glad though that alcohol is not consumed in Santo Tomas, and I never thought I would say that.

Granada is a beauty! We partied the new year into existence with about 20 other PCers. Sun I went to a buffet in Managua that included all you can eat lobster tail, sushi and gourmet chocolates... all you can drink champagne. It was a wopping $25, but well worth it. I've also enjoyed dancing at several sweet night spots. Tonight we're off to a hotel run by a former volunteer who has spent the last 25 years working as a program administrator in conflict zones. Her house is beautiful. Don't tell Mom I want her life...

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Date:2006-12-20 19:00
Mood: thirsty

Merry Christmas everyone! Feliz Navidad! I hope this holiday season finds you all well. Down in Nicalandia the weather is warm and bright. We will be killing a turkey and playing secret santa. If all goes acording to plan I will make mulled tea and brownies with a candy cane crumble on top and most likely eat it all myself. Also I plan on giving out stockings to all the good little girls and boys Santa style. Im currently searching the pirated DVD stands for something other than the Grinch and Jingle all the Way (both rather vomitos). So far I´ve only found the Passion of the Christ. Hmmm... Nothing says Christmas Joy like a half naked man getting beaten.
No word yet on the x-mas package from mom... but I did get a supprise box of cookies and a Carl Sandburg book from Kingsly!! Peperage farm! Wohoo!!!!!!!!
Some last minute shopping and then Im back on the bus for home!!

Love, Peace and Joy to you and yours

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Date:2006-10-14 19:26

and at least one of them has a gmail account

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

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Date:2006-05-13 15:35
Subject:I´m not dead
Mood: content

I´m not dead, just disconnected. I live in a rural village. I bathe from a bucket of well water. I step over cowpies everymorning on my way to the latrine. Life is simple... sometimes too simple. And wicked hot. I am constantly dripping with sweat. How´s that for a pretty picture. All and all life is good. I got involved with an econ discussion group with other volunteers and have been to atleast 5 dances in this last month and a half. The city of Leon is gorgeous and I have a place to stay there whenever I like. The rains have just started, so hopefully it will be cooler and water will be more readily accesable. Plus this month is our jornada de vacunas or vaccination campaign. We go out to every community and give injections and vitamin A drops. I get to do the latter and give a small talk on diarrea prevention and the use of oral rehydration solutions. I guess thats it for the highlights. I´d say I´ll try to write more... but we all know what a false promise that would be.

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Date:2006-05-13 15:32
Subject:Í´m not dead

I´m not dead, just disconnected. I live in a rural village. I bathe from a bucket. Every morning I step over cowpies to use the latrine. Life is simple... sometimes a little too simple. But so far, so good. I´m going to buy a gas tank so I can cook and I still have enough books to ocupy me.

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Date:2006-03-23 16:42
Mood: apathetic

The circus is in town! A traveling circus from Cuba has set up temporary residencey in Jinotepe!! I seem to be the only person above the age of 15 who is excited by this. Unfortunatley my host cousins have no money to attend such an event and I happen to be pretty broke at the moment aswell. Sad. I have heard it on good authority that there are several Nicaraguen Circuses... so it is possible that I will have plenty of chances to see at least one fully functional third world circus during my service. I did really want to see this one though... They are rumored to have a "dog-faced boy!" Who knew freak shows were alive and well?

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Date:2006-03-05 10:44
Subject:Santo Tómas

I´m moving to Santo Tómas in the department of Chinendega, Nicaragua. I´m there now, visiting and setting up basic necessities. It is hot here, even at night. The people I´m going to be working with seem really nice, as does the family I´ll be staying with. So far so good. The living standard here is definatley closer to what I had first imagined a Peace Corps experience would be like. Outhouse, bucket baths, and long distance travel to reach food and services. Luckily if there´s one thing I´ll have, its time.

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Date:2006-02-25 12:48
Subject:Viva la revolution
Mood: chipper

Today started out bad on paper, but good in spirit. I was late in meeting Janet and Carly in the park (by 10-15 min) and they left without me. We were going into Diriamba early to buy a present for another trainee (Marya- Happy Birthday!). So instead of going in on something with them, I had to find my own gift. It turned out good though... I got to have a some alone time, which is rare. I walked around Jinotepe for a while and eventually found a crappy doll that came in a small bag with barrets and a headband that would be far to small for anyone. I threw in some chocolate cookies and gum for good measure. Then I took a cab to Diriamba (for which I paid double because I was alone). Then I managed to spill chocolate milk on myself and make it to the musuem for our classes a 1/2 hour early. Instead of waiting around I decided to take a walk and explore a little. The sun was shining, wind was blowing, and the world had that wonderful morning newness to it. Everything felt kind of nice and peaceful. I walked past a plaque enscribed with the following:
"Quines no sientan intimamente la causa revolucionaria no comprenden que ni la muerte ni el sufrimiento se equiparan a la gloria de la lucha." -R.M.A.

Rough translation: "Those who don´t intimatley feel the cause of the revolution don´t understand that neither death nor suffering prepare them for the glory of the struggle."

It left me wondering who the hell R.M.A. was and wanting to read more about Nica history.

Marya loved the gift and showed it off proudly. We´ve decided the doll (melinda) is going to be a Nica 40 travel companion. We´re going to take pictures of her in every site.

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Date:2006-02-15 00:08
Subject:Día de amor, día de amistad
Mood: loved

Happy Valentine´s Day everyone!

My volunteer visit is turning out to be pretty posh. Chinendega is a big city and my volunteer lives right on the main drag. So far this practical learning experience has included a trip to the beach, shoe shopping, and a day long meeting about 6 months of planning for HIV/AIDS activism (in which I got a free lunch and 50cords). Oh... and then I found 240 cords. No lie, it was just sitting there in the street with no possible way to find the owner. It made me feel a little better about buying some cute nica shoes (hey, I´m trying to assimilate- only gringas where chacos) for roughly 150 cords. I also bought burgers for my volunteer last night and will probably treat tonight aswell. You can´t hoard money that never should have been yours. What are my V-Day plans, you ask? Hopefully a nice dinner and/or icecream and then oogling the winter olympians. Of course I will also be thinking of loved ones so far away.


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Date:2006-02-08 17:28
Subject:Wake up

I´ve come to realize that whenever I´m thrown into a new situation I stop thinking. That sounds bad, but what I mean is I start out by just watching and listening. Maybe its a defense mechanism, or my way of adapting- I´m not sure. But I can track this trend back to childhood. I was always pretty shy.
Needless to say Nicaragua is an entirely new situation for me. So I´ve felt like this last month I´ve just been watching, listening, waiting. I havn´t really asked many questions or compared this culture to my own. I tried to just see it for what it was. Which is good in its own way. I certainly don´t feel judgemental and it has been fairly easy to adjust.
Only its awfully easy to get stuck in your own head. Especially with the language difference. Its easy to drown in one´s own silence.
But luckily its a temporary exile. I think the more new situations Í get exposed to the less time it takes to adapt. So congratulate me, I´m coming out of it now.
It really is like waking up.
The increase of language skills help with that. The more I feel I can express my thoughts, the more likely I am to voice them. I also have the bad tendancy to think better while talking... which is great for long discussions in a coffee shop, but horrible for speaking correctly in a new language.


I wasn´t able to make it into Managua for a flick- Bus strikes started and they could go nation wide any day. That would add to the teacher strike and doctor/nursing strike. In another month Nicaragua is having its national elections which may lead to violent uprising of the opposition. I can imagine this becomes a hard place to work sometimes. Luckily its all just on the news at this point.
In local news a man was attacked by a dog (boxer) in front of my house and needed stitches all over most of his head. Also a guy with a machete got into a fight with someone just down the block. And I got to see a guy get four stitches in the living room of one of my friends. 12 people have died here since we arrived. Including alcohol induced accidents, old age, terminal illness, and suicide (of an openly gay- and noticibly oppressed male). People say there hasn´t been this many deaths since the war. They also shrug and go about their work.

Well, I´m off to see if the Jinotepe movie theatre is fact or fiction. We´ve not been able to get a clear concensus on the topic.


ps:it takes to long to spellcheck- I don´t spell well, deal with it.

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Date:2006-02-03 22:51

In a Past Life...

You Were: An Albino Poet.

Where You Lived: Central Africa.

How You Died: Suicide.

I love that I can still post pointless shit!

No real news to report... next week we venture out into the wilds of Nicaragua to meet with volunteers in the field. We won´t know until Fri where we´ll be going on Sat. Just another part of the adventure! This weekend I´ll be going to a b-day party of another trainee, meeting with my youth group for a soccer game (no- I havn´t played before), visiting a farm, and probably making a run to Managua for a good old fashioned movie (we were going to go today- but class ran late). Oh- and I´ll probably be doing a lot of work on my charla (small teaching assignment) for Tues. I have to give an interactive, interesting, discussion on diarreah to a group of patients (all in spanish!). Wish me luck.

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Date:2006-01-28 08:47
Subject:Letter from Jinotepe

I really can´t think of anything cool to say right now... what a bummer! I´ve been in classes all day focussing on sustainable development- mainly comparing developmental philosophies and discussing positive historical lessons. It was actually really interesting, and I really want to see how the lessons play out once Im at my site. Development is one area that I think I might want to do work in once I finish this program... so its cool to get both the theoretical and real experience in it.

Other than that the most interesting thing of late was the funeral of a family friend on Sun. There was a long visitation and a procession to the cemetary for burial. All and all it was pretty cool to be accepted into a community event, but really sad too. I mean obviously- it was a funeral. The guy was 27 and left 3 kids behind. Why did he die? Drugs (marijuana) and Alchohol (thats the way everyone describes it). He hit his head in the street (I think).

Also this weekend they´re celebrating the fiesta patronales- or the party of the patron saint. I´ll give you one guess to who the patron saint of Santa Teresa is. If you still don´t know- Its Saint Teresa. All week long there are cultural dances and there are going to be a lot of parties this weekend. The big culminating event is the Hipita- which is an event in which a bunch of people ride around on prancing horses while drunk. At least thats what I understand of it. We´ll see what actually happens.

I´ll hopefully write later about some of the health projects I´m working on. For now just trust that they´re really cool.

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