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Showing posts from October, 2014

4 in 5 People Don't Wash Their Hands, and Not Enough People Are Upset About it

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Look at the clock; take note of what time it is.

War is dramatic. If you want evidence of that, check out tonight’s news headlines, look at the latest box office hits, or play almost any video game. We’re attracted to drama, and our global society idolizes violence. Peace is not as flashy. But it is still deadly.


Every minute, 4 children around the world die from diarrheal illnesses. Yea, they die from the problem you have after a crazy night of drinking or after eating too much cheap Mexican food. The same illness that we don’t usually have to go to the doctor to treat, we just chug the pink stuff, take an Imodium, and down a Gatorade.Yet this American inconvenience is still one of the most leading causes of death in children throughout the developing world- Central and South America, Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. It’s a universal killer, and it’s killing more babies than war.
But who really cares? 4 children die every minute just from diarrheal il…

Lost in Translation

Last night my friend Andrew was passing through so I offered to make pumpkin soup and cornbread for him for dinner, if he brought me some cornmeal and red pepper. He said it would be no problem and picked up a box of ‘maicena’ and a packet of red pepper. When he arrived I put them on the kitchen counter.
At dinner time, I was simultaneously cooking soup, making cornbread batter, and catching up with Andrew about life. When I opened the box of cornmeal, instead of being the grainy, yellowish stuff, it was a fine, very white dust. I was confused, and we looked at the box for awhile, trying to figure out what this stuff was. The only thing listed in the ingredients was a Spanish word that I didn’t recognize that had ‘corn’ as its root. Sometimes ingredients in Panama look different than they do in the States. Salt is courser, sugar is not white nor brown but something in between, and red pepper is named for the Afro-Antillean culture that stereotypically uses it, ‘black pepper’. So I wa…

Conquering Fears

"Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it." -Steven Pressfield
As a PCV in Panama, facing your fears and going outside your comfort zone becomes so commonplace you tend to stop noticing when you do things that once were considered scary. Some of the fears and discomforts I have faced, and conquered, in Panama include:
-Going to a foreign country -Living without modern conveniences -Living with strangers -Speaking in front of people in my second or third language -Swimming in a river that I know has crocodiles -Taking public transportation -Traveling by myself -Getting lost -Eating things I cannot identify -Bats in my house -Rats in my house (CAT!) -Cockroaches (it’s better to just ignore them and pretend they don’t exist) -Most bugs -Strange dogs -Swimming in …