Thursday, October 30, 2008


i can't believe i'm writing about class. environmental science class, at that. but here goes.


do you know joyce and benjamin? sam? beatrice? rachel's sister (can't remember her name...)? they all had malaria when i met them, or contracted it when i was with them. and i didn't get it. because i took doxycicline that my parents paid for, a mosquito net (kindly provided to me, while the kids i was living with had nothing), and bug spray. (crazy strong bug-spray that i buried in my drawer because it is too powerful and it scares me)

but joyce... for some reason, all during class today, as we were talking about ddt and malaria, i couldn't get joyce and her son benjamin out of my head.

joyce. she's a mother of two children, beautiful children. she is educated and speaks great english. and lives in an idp camp. has lived there for five years. that's too long once the war has ended and most of the camp has left. her eyes pleaded with me, as i looked like (and am) a wealthy muzungu (white person). i asked her name and tried to make conversation. she was holding benjamin... i asked her how many children she had. she said "two". and i asked what the little one in her arms was called and how old he was. she answered "his name is benjamin. he's one... but he has malaria". the little boy didn't even look at me, just laid his head down on his mama's shoulder and sighed.

benjamin has probably already died. his mother had no money to bring him to the hospital, and no money for the anti-malarial drugs that he needed. so this relatively educated woman, forced to live in an idp (internally displaced persons) camp, lost her baby boy to malaria. malaria is treatable... with medicine. and if ddt hadn't been banned in the 1960s, benjamin may have lived. malaria may not have been a problem.

it took 25 years for us to completely eradicate malaria in the united states and other more developed nations. the millions of deaths per year could be just a distant memory if only we would care more about humans than we do about birds. (the reason ddt was banned was because people thought that birds' eggshells were thinning because of the pesticide and those baby birds were consequently dying).

i do think that we have a responsibility to care for creation... exercise stewardship over the totality of creation. but i honestly believe that a human life should come before the thinning of the eggshells of peregrine falcons.

this is good, what the world health organization is doing. but no changes have really been made, and the environmentalists who care more about birds than they do about humans persist in winning this war. ddt works! and yes, there are environmental risks to using it... so if it's so bad, let's find a different strain or another cure, or just use smaller amounts so we can save so many lives.

by the way, don't believe all that you hear about how bad ddt is. it's really not as bad as rachel carson made it out to be in her book a silent spring.

this is just what i'm thinking about. (that picture isn't benjamin, but this little one has the same expression that he did).

Monday, October 27, 2008

i live here.

i live here.

i read some of it in comparative politics class today, instead of listening. (do i usually listen? no.) and two and a half hours later, i'm still sitting in it. it's probably innappropriate to cry in class, so here i sit. with tears in my throat, aching to come out. i looked over my uganda pictures again, looked into their eyes. the fact that i've been to and/or affected deeply by people from three out of the four of the countries documented in this book... kinda gets me.


malawi (africa).

juarez (mexico).

when ye ye points to burma (myanmar) on my map and says "green!" because it's her favorite color, after taking my hand and laughing and leading me on a tour of my own home...

when philipo, not an orphan, cries desperately to be held... when a six year old girl smashes her hand in a water pump and her family is silent against her screams of pain...

when four trips to mexico during my teenage years changes the course of my life...

when i read this book and i realize that what i want to fight for is right and just and true. and i don't know how to do this. i feel stuck in school... too busy to do what i want to do. i'm scared but so ready to graduate. how can i make money to pay rent and eat and save some for the future (!) doing a job i love and am passionate about? where do i find that? i'm scared of not finding it, and always feeling like i'm moving towards it but never reaching it..........

i don't even know what it is i want. want to do. sometimes i feel like i know nothing.

how to live it out now? i'm tired. and shouldn't be. my priorities are not right most of the time... i wish i could make them right.

would leaving again help me figure it out? should i just go and sit in the red dirt and hold a naked child and figure it out there? i want to. but that's so hard for me. i don't know. i'm scared. and absolutely thrilled.

take me. send me. anywhere.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

i love this. it's hard and messy and sometimes i cry and am irrational and sometimes he drives me crazy... but i love laughing and talking and walking and sitting and thinking and dreaming and everything that comes. and i trust God and i'm scared sometimes... of so many different things. but it's ok! i get to see him everyday and we get to explore together and know each other and even though it's hard, i love it.

flowers and dressing up make me feel feminine. but so do children. and he does. and walking barefoot with a skirt on.

sometimes i walk barefoot through the sand in the volleyball courts on campus because i miss the beach.

i love the weekends. they end up being time to do nothing... and homework. i'm totally ok with that.

the leaves are changing. fall is coming. i love getting to be a part of so many different lives... my kids, in all their times of life... i love it. i love when claire sleeps on my shoulder and wakes up crying for only me and the other kids call me their second mom. i'm nowhere near ready to be a mom, but for this time, i treasure that.

i can't wait to live in a little apartment decorated with everything from everywhere... next to a bakery or a little market, and walk around, and buy my food fresh in the mornings, and have big windows, and read books, and survive on doing what i love to do... and live in a home full of love and laughter and open doors.

i love baby muzungu. my car. i'm so thankful that i have her to drive to golden every weekend and sit by the river... to stick my feet in the freezing water to snap myself out of it and realize that all i need is to pray. and i just love driving... with music and without.

"are you tired? worn out? burnt out on religion? come to me. get away with me and you'll recover your life. i'll show you how to take a real rest. walk with me and work with me - watch how i do it. learn the unforced rhythms of grace. i won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly". matthew 11:28-30.