americanbornglobalvision

united we stand


Ask me anything  
 ()
Snipets of Carrington diary….

Monday, October 6th —-Nepalis ask Americans, who live in their community, “What is your Nepali name?” Just as it is often difficult for us to wrap our lips around a Nepali name, they stumble as they attempt to form the sounds that make up our names.

Snipets of Carrington diary….

Monday, October 6th —-Nepalis ask Americans, who live in their community, “What is your Nepali name?” Just as it is often difficult for us to wrap our lips around a Nepali name, they stumble as they attempt to form the sounds that make up our names.

 ()

The Baagh Ate My Letter to You…

Baagh: The Nepali word for Tigers or Leopards. (which have been seen in our village recently. Sightings have resulted in an earlier curfew for the “Americans”. It is now 5:30 pm.)

Apologies for ignoring all of you for so long. We’ve hit the one month mark of living in Nepal. Our internet access has been pretty spotty. But, even if we had non-stop internet access, we have very little free time. We…

View On WordPress

 ()
It Takes a Village (No Goat Left Behind)

The first week we came to school, our tiny classroom sat surrounded by corn fields and was accessed by a claustrophobic tunnel under towering cornstalks that were bracketing an old house and barn.

It Takes a Village (No Goat Left Behind)

The first week we came to school, our tiny classroom sat surrounded by corn fields and was accessed by a claustrophobic tunnel under towering cornstalks that were bracketing an old house and barn.

 ()

We’ve Been Given a Home Where the Buffalo Roam…

It is 4:20 in the morning. A gentle rain has been holding steady since 3, and I have reason to believe that one of the many pigeons outside the window is snoring… as I should be….

… On the last leg of our flight to Nepal, we reviewed our extraordinarily limited Nepalese, visited with tourists from Indonesia, and slowly woke from our jet-lagged stupor. Twenty-two hours in the air with in-between…

View On WordPress

 ()

We’ve Loaded 16 Tons

We’ve Loaded 16 Tons

We’re currently 20,000 feet above Montana. I can smell the deer and antelope from here, despite the altitude difference. Coffee has just been served….which we hope does a better job of keeping us up than the last cups consumed with this morning’s rush through one of the Seatac airport’s popular breakfast spots. We’ve both been dozing throughout the flight after running on last night’s 3 hours of…

View On WordPress

 ()

Extravert..ical

Staring at things seems to help. Kinda… during this last week in country.

We stare at people and cars and planes. We stare at cats. We stare at kids. We stare a lot at kids (they offer entertainment and expect little). In between staring, we are attentive to items that are on “The List”. It gets shorter and shorter, which makes us feel accomplished. Then it suddenly gets longer and a panic attack…

View On WordPress

 ()
 

What’cha doin’?

Julius teaching a class on irrigation scheduling.

Julius teaching a class on irrigation scheduling.

When people hear we volunteered for the Peace Corps, we are often asked what we’re going to do in Nepal. Our answer, “We aren’t exactly sure,” is usually met with a blank or puzzled look, followed by something like ‘Wow…what an adventure!’, or ‘That is a long way to go… especially when you don’t even know what you are doing.” Some people even go so far to comment, “So… if they are sending unprepared people over, who don’t even know what they’re doing, do you really think Peace Corps makes a difference?” Our response varies from person to person, but the definitive answer follows:

The Peace Corps Nepal Volunteers all work under the umbrella of “Food Security”, putting most of their energy into projects that focus on improving agriculture, nutrition and hygiene in rural areas of Nepal. Malnutrition in Nepal is among the highest in the world. According to World Bank, over 40 percent of Nepali children under five are stunted (in some far western areas of Nepal, the percentage is over 60). Nutrient deficiencies are severe. In particular, 46 percent of children 6 months to 12 years, 35 percent of women of reproductive age and 48 percent of pregnant women are anemic. Malnutrition affects everyone there. It slows economic growth and perpetuates poverty through direct losses in productivity from poor physical status, and indirect losses from poor cognitive function, and increased health costs.

“But won’t Peace Corps put you into a specific job with an actual ‘job description’ geared toward increasing food security?” Some volunteers do land in positions that have *some* predetermined parameters and tasks. But most Peace Corps Volunteers only receive general training for the sector they are assigned. (in our case, Stew: Agriculture, Vee: Health). In developing a plan (a job) for an individual volunteer, the mix of the background/skills of the volunteer, the needs of the community they are assigned to, and the capacity of the host population must be taken into account. Each community has unique needs that the volunteer has no way of comprehending without interacting and integrating within the culture and community. During the first year on-site, the volunteer looks for a project that they can successfully implement, that fulfills the needs of the community, and that is supported by local leaders and motivators willing to implement/take over/maintain after the Peace Corps Volunteer has finished service.

Nepali farmers creating a vegetable seedling nursery

Peace Corps Volunteers serve in their community for only two short years. The volunteer may be able to keep a project afloat with their own enthusiasm during the time they are on-site, but for the project to be sustainable after the volunteer leaves, the community must be committed to the project…..it must be THEIR project… invested in and owned by them. They must see the worth and be willing to push forward with the project far into the future.

Peace Corps Volunteers can provide project research, train participants, assist in obtaining financing, and work alongside the host towns. But, the project must belong to the community. We as Peace Corps Volunteers have ideas, hopes, and confidence in our applicable skills before we are assigned to a post, but there is no way that we can know what the community members truly want and need to happen until we are integrated with our community.

A Peace Corps project example: Julius, a current Nepal Peace Corps Volunteer, is working on an irrigation project for his host community. He came to Peace Corps with a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering almost a year ago, but only recently started a project in his village to build an irrigation system for increased water access for higher vegetable production. By developing access to water during Nepal’s dry season, farmers in Julius’ host town will have the ability to use alternative farming methods and grow more vegetables year round, which will potentially improve the nutrient intake of the citizens. Also, with more varieties of crops, farmers will be able to sell more products and generate a higher income for their households. Julius didn’t just jump into this project when he first arrived at his post. The first few months he spent getting to know the town’s citizens, finding out how they farmed, and what would increase their crop production. Then he spent some time training the farmers in making seedling nurseries. He worked to become a part of the community. His work slowly resulted in being able to create a committed farmers project group. (who happen to be all female farmers) http://www.jdnepalilife.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-first-three-months-at-site-life-in_25.html

Once the project was in motion, Julius needed to determine what actions, trainings and materials were needed to accomplish the project, as well as the time, energy, and money required. In addition… where would the materials come from? (No Home Depot down the street)…..where would the money come from? (a big portion of the money and labor is required to come from the community, but assistance must be gained from others also)…..and were there other volunteers or groups working on similar projects? (the more the merrier, so networking is required) http://www.jdnepalilife.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-low-cost-method-to-survey-landscape.html

Now details are in place, time line has been created, and project grant proposal has been approved by Peace Corps. Next up: obtain the money and materials, coordinate the work plan with those willing to contribute, research the trainings and prepare lesson and direction plans(which must be translated and taught in Nepali).

Interesting project process, yes? For those of you who would like to give Julius and this committed group of female farmers a hand with this project in order to improve lives in their Nepal community and create a ripple effect of more positive changes, consider donating a little cash to this worthy cause…..here: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=14-367-003

Peace Corps Volunteer projects are a great place to donate. Especially if you want to ask questions of or have interactions with the people actually using your donation money. If you connect to a specific Peace Corps project through a volunteer’s blog or facebook page, you can usually see who is coordinating the project, plans for how the money will be used and often, how much money is needed for the project. Because of the information shared by most of the volunteers, you may even be able to watch the project in process on-line and see the results of your donation. Skip a couple mornings of Starbucks and send your money to Nepal……watch the results. Seriously…….a little bit here in the U.S. goes much further in Nepal. And they do need it. Let’s get it done. Please…

 
 ()
 ()
Reblogged from cloudyskiesandcatharsis

rivernymph:

samwinchesterhatesfire:

quads-for-the-gods:

bellecs:

winningthebattleloosingthewar:

On the morning of September 4, 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts set out on a harrowing path toward Harding High, where-as the first African American to attend the all-white school – she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building.

Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey captured the ugly incident on film, and in the days that followed, the searing image appeared not just in the local paper but in newspapers around the world.

People everywhere were transfixed by the girl in the photograph who stood tall, her five-foot-ten-inch frame towering nobly above the mob that trailed her. There, in black and white, was evidence of the brutality of racism, a sinister force that had led children to torment another child while adults stood by. While the images display a lot of evils: prejudice, ignorance, racism, sexism, inequality, it also captures true strength, determination, courage and inspiration.

Here she is, age 70, still absolutely elegant and poised.

she deserves to be re-blogged. 

this makes me want to cry

(Source: cloudyskiesandcatharsis, via rainestaylor)

 ()

Trending Upwaard

When I was struggling last fall with ‘less than stellar’…to say the least….grades in ‘Economics for Policy Analysis’, one of my professors put things in perspective for me by saying, “If you are achieving constant perfection throughout a process of any sort, that process is not a true challenge for you. Life is so much more rewarding, if there are true challenges. You’ve hit a true challenge at this time. During a true challenge, perfection along the way is the not goal. The goal is steady improvement with each step of the process. You are ‘trending upward’. Don’t waste time and emotion in worrying about the lack of perfection you are seeing. You need that energy to methodically trend upward through the process.”

I’m amazed by how many times this comment has popped into my head since I first heard it. I believe those few sentences are doing more to ‘rewire’ my brain than all of the time and effort I’ve expended in struggling with my ‘perfectionism’ throughout the years. What a major impact…and the professor probably doesn’t even remember the incident. You never know how deep a footprint you leave as you walk along your path.