Blessed

20 05 2009

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OK, so the economy is not doing so well!  To some of you, that’s old news, but I’ve been sheltered at Purdue University and haven’t really felt or understood the severity of it. 

It’s my first day at work.  I use to work here two years ago when life was good and I was living the American dream; the place looks familiar and so do the people, except half of them are no longer here and their hours have been cut down to almost half.  The ambiance is very reserved and sombre.  Everyone seems to be holding their breath, waiting to be laid off.   

I feel blessed.  Blessed to be able to have found an internship for the summer.  Blessed to be able to fly to London to visit Grandma.  And blessed to be joining K4K on their annual trip to Mombassa, Kenya in July.

I won’t be doing any research over the summer, so my posts will be sporadic and contain nothing of great importance.  I will, however, try to post on a daily basis while in Kenya (if I have access to the internet).

I hope eveyrone is having a wonderful summer so far.  It’s so bloody hot in Arizona…

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Later Lafayette

16 05 2009

Dearest West Lafayette,

The time has come to say “see you later”.  Your spine crushing cold winters, unpredictable rainfall, infrequent sunshine and insect galore have left me dazed and confused.  I can’t decide whether I like you, hate you… or just need a break from you!

Truth is, you have made me stronger.  From the rats that infested my apartment to the friends that have come and gone within a year, my skin is a little tougher than it was before.  I might have bitched and whined (quite a bit actually), but now that I am preparing for my three month long summer travels, I realize that I’m packing lighter than I ever have before, because you’ve filled my heart with everything I need to survive in this cruel and selfish world.

Thank you for introducing me to a an extremely diverse group of people.  Thank you for allowing me to work with the brightest and most talented professors.  Thank you for providing me with a convenient public transportation system.  Thank you for the fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers market.  Thank you for Jimmy Johns, the fastest sub sandwich delivery in the world.  And thank you for free coffee on Tuesdays and Thursdays.   

Now can we talk about the things you need to work on while I’m gone?  Don’t hide any black ice patches under fluffy snow, you left me with a big ass bruise buster. Oh, and it’s totally not cool when you turn the electricity off for hours at a time, especially when it’s freezing cold.  When the seasons change, one of your blooming trees reeks of rotten fish – what the hell is that all about? I usually carry my umbrella around, but when it’s bright and sunny and doesn’t look like it’s going to rain, it does – send me a warning pah-lees!  Ok, now listen carefully, BUILD A FREAKING AIRPOT IN WEST LAFAYETTE!  It’s so bloody annoying to have to ride the Lafayette Limo to get to Indianapolis… don’t get me started on international flights out of Chicago.  One last thing, Greyhouse coffee is great, but why does it take years to make a small cup of cafe mocha?  I don’t care about the pretty flower they draw on the surface of the coffee, I’m going to lick that shit off anyway.   

So you see, it’s a love-hate relationship.  But if you work on some of your issues, I’m sure we can build a stronger, more intimate relationship next semester.

Cheers,

D Bills





We Are Together!

13 05 2009

We sing before we sleep…

We sing when we are happy…

We sing when we are sad…

Singing is Healing!

 

Another great documentary!  Here is the trailer to the documentary:  

 

Their sweet and powerful voice gives me goosebumps!  You can listen to their music and read their story HERE





Born Into Brothels

11 05 2009

This is a MUST SEE documentary… If you have a Netflix account, you can watch it on instant play…

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This Oscar-winning documentary is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in Calcutta’s red-light district, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Spurred by the kids’ fascination with her camera, Zana Briski, a photographer documenting life in the brothels, decides to teach them photography. As they begin to look at and record their world through new eyes, the kids awaken to their own talents and sense of worth.

Here are some of the remarkable pictures that were taken by the children of Calcutta’s red-light district…. keep in mind, they are only 10-13 years old:

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I spoke with a member of my thesis committee about this documentary, and she suggested that I use the same concept to record the children’s perspective of life in a public primary school in Kenya.  As Westerners (or Middle Easterners), we tend to think that we know what’s best for people in developing countries, but what ends up happening is we strip them of their culture and way of life, forcing western influence onto them. I truly want to provide an environment that works best for the users… and not the designer.

So… the questions is… What can I do to effectively research the day to day routine of students and teachers?  





LifeStraw

11 05 2009

FACT: 6,000 people – mainly children – die each day from consuming unsafe drinking water.

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VesterGaard Frandsen, a disease control organization, has developed a solution to reduce the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by half.  

LifeStraw is a point-of-use water filter that offers easy access to safe drinking water away from home.  The filter kills 99.999% of waterborne viruses and removes particles down to 15 microns.  It doesn’t require any electrical power or spare parts for the entire life time of the straw.

The LifeStraw was put to the test in Zimbabwe in which it was used to drink from a muddy puddle on the side of the road…

So… If you want to help bring clean water to millions worldwide, then donate a LifeStraw HERE!





What can YOU do to save the world?

8 05 2009

So… I have this theory…

It doesn’t matter what your background is… there is always SOMETHING you can do with your professional skills to make the world a better place…

 

Like a doctor who donates his time to care for children and mothers infected with HIV… 

Like a journalist who writes about female circumcision in Sudan and Malawi, making the world more aware of the ugly situation…

Like an environmentalist who teaches developing communities how to grow their own food, so they can self-sustain themselves… 

 

What would you do, with your profession, to help the less fortunate???  Be creative… and remember, every little bit counts :)