Month: October 2012

The Inadvertent Discovery of a Calling

I spent Wednesday morning bellied up to a table in Starbucks, chatting with a lovely reporter from the Lansing State Journal. She wanted to know about ONE and Ethiopia and how in the world a random girl, living in relative obscurity in the Middle of […]

Pin It

HSUS Aims for Kids Because Adults Think Critically, Harder to Brainwash

If there were ever any doubt as to the ultimate motives of the Humane Society of the United States their newest video release puts it to rest. Not only has the thinly-veiled front organization for vegan terrorists lowered the bar — even for them — […]

Pin It

Miscellany: Ice Breaker Edition

IMG_3621691

I feel like we need an ice breaker, me and you. A peace offering, a token of appreciation.

It’s silly, I guess, since this is my own blog, but we’ve been talking about Ethiopia for so long I’m not sure how to stop talking about it. To be honest, I’m not even sure I want to. If you could see my editorial posts calendar for the next month you’d shit a brick. (You like how lady like I am? Me too.) It’s packed three and four posts high every day between now and December. I’m not actually going to subject you to such an abundance of drivel, but it probably tells you a bit about the state of my mind right now.

It has spent every single waking (and, judging from the contorted and stiff positions in which I awake, sleeping) hour in the past week and a half yelling random thoughts at me.

Sometimes success scares me just as much as failure. I forgot to buy caramels. [Insert name of editor here] is waiting for that article I should have written before I left and now my brain is a jumbled mess, not at all fit for writing it. (Yes, my brain is even yelling at me about the state of itself.) Are we almost out of cat food?

It’s a long and utterly unproductive running commentary. I just wish there were an off button.

Let’s see, what else?

I’ve officially become that parent who bribes her children. Twenty bucks a piece with no spending restrictions got me out of trick-or-treating this year. Life is good.

I seem to have misplaced a stick of butter. Which, I assure you, is just as perplexing as it sounds. Where the hell could an entire stick of butter disappeared to? Wrapper and all!

The Pig Dog is going to start training soon.

Allow me to re-phrase that, The Pig Dog is going to go to his first training session soon. Once there, the trainer will tell us whether or not he’s actually ready to begin. Three weeks ago I’d have said yes. Last week? He was more interested in chasing butterflies. Oh the joy of an immature canine.

And yes, I’ve contemplated the very real possibility that he is solely responsible for the missing butter.

Well, we went four hundred words without talking about Ethiopia too much. This is a start. Plus, I’m working on a really fantastical post in which there will be many, many mentions of bacon. So, you know, you’ll keep coming back for that, if nothing else. Right? Right!

Pin It

On The 6.8 Million

Group Gathers for Nutrition Demo, Copyright Karen Walrond Sitting among the women (and few curious men) who’d gathered around an old desk, under a tree, in the front yard of a rural health post outside Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, I felt strangely at home. We’d all […]

Pin It

Thousands

It’s not until you find a man, tucked into the picturesque folds of an Ethiopian mountainside, threshing Barley by hand, a veritable scene straight from the Bible, that you realize exactly what it takes to feed a family in the rural areas of a third […]

Pin It

Re-Entry + Favorite Scenes from Ethiopia, Part 1

IMG_3813678

Yesterday, after almost thirty hours of travel, I stepped foot in my own home for the first time in a week and a half. It’s good to be back, but also surreal. Even the sounds of the hogs feel foreign, and today, as I drove to the mill to pick up a batch of feed, I found myself gazing across our freshly harvested Michigan fields, looking for the shepherds that dotted the farm land I was traveling across just days ago in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

IMG_3748671

I don’t think I’ve ever traveled somewhere where coming home felt anything but familiar, but that’s not what’s happening now. This is home. It’s home, but it feels different. There’s something not quite right the same.

In Liz’s post on re-entry she wrote that she doesn’t know where this is going, just that it’s going. Somewhere. Something. Sometime. I don’t know how she’s in my head, but it’s precisely how I feel.

IMG_3882662

I don’t know what this is, this feeling I can’t quite pin down. The way it’s almost as if I’m still dreaming; as if I’ve been dreaming for the whole of the month of October and it just won’t stop. I don’t know what it is or where it’s going, but it feels transformative. And probably not in the way you’d expect, I’d have expected.

IMG_3850660

I don’t have an insatiable urge to do without, to eschew material comforts, to send everything we own to the other side of the world; in a word, to give. What I have is an insatiable urge to do.

I’m not sure if that’s right or wrong, or if it even matters how one is supposed to react to these things. All I know is that it is; that I feel consumed by it and that, if nothing else, this alone is very clear to me.

IMG_4008651

Over the next few weeks I’ll share more about the trip, about whatever manifests of this feeling. I probably won’t write about every single thing we saw and experienced while there — as Karen pointed out, to do so would have me writing about it every day between now and 2013 — but I will share a lot, especially about the food and agriculture visits. For right now though, as I try to figure out what this is and how to put it to work, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite scenes from the trip.

IMG_4010652

I won’t be able to post all of them, but you can always find more on Flickr.

IMG_3902664

They’re in no particular order, except, maybe, the order in which I manage to download, process, and then upload them.

IMG_3964659

They are scenes from farms and “factories” and health clinics and homes. From schools and monasteries, towns, cities and rural areas.

IMG_3978648

They are of people and things and animals and joy.

IMG_3781673

If you have a question about one, I would love for you to ask it; just be prepared for a long and animated answer. I didn’t realize until I walked out of the mill today how much I lit up when I was telling them about this trip. Now that I do, I can warn you. Be prepared, friends. Very, very prepared.

IMG_3795675

:: :: ::

I just returned from traveling in Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign to report on how American-supported programs are improving and saving lives. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing political leaders to support smart programs that do just that. They’re also launching a new initiative to focus specifically on Agriculture, which is where I’m most excited to join in. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. It’s something I can get behind and I hope you can, too.

Pin It

Ethiopia, Day 3-6: Complexity + Sounds of Africa

For the past few days in Ethiopia, I’ve been struck by the recurring theme of complexity in the issues we’re encountering. If there’s anything I can tell you absolutely for sure it’s that there is no simple fix to the problems plaguing the people of […]

Pin It

Ethiopia: Day 2, Hope + FashionABLE Giveaway

Coming into this trip I knew I would walk away a changed woman. I prepared myself as well as possible for the extreme poverty, the hunger, the disease. I tried to learn a little Amharic, the most common of the more than eighty languages spoken […]

Pin It

Ethiopia: Day 1


Addis Ababa, View from My Hotel Room

I wish I had something profound to tell you, but I’m still mostly speechless.  We arrived yesterday afternoon after a five hour flight delay in DC and thirteen hours in the air and immediately headed out to Mary Joy Development Association.

The kids put on incredible shows for us, dancing, tumbling, and juggling.  There were traditional Ethiopian coffee and tea ceremonies, and so many intense, vibrant kids to connect with.  Mary Joy helps community children with education, health care, and housing.  It’s a program that allows orphaned kids to stay in their communities, and grow to be good citizens who can, in turn, enrich that community as adults.

After that we capped off the night with dinner at Yod Abyssinia.

The environment, live entertainment, and food was incredible.  It was a great way to immerse ourselves in Ethiopian culture on the first night.

More tomorrow.  Hopefully I won’t be as speechless.

* Last three photos by our awesome trip photographer, Karen Walrond

I’ll be traveling to Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign to report on how American-supported programs are improving and saving lives. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing political leaders to support smart programs that do just that. They’re also launching a new initiative to focus specifically on Agriculture, which is where I’m most excited to join in. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. It’s something I can get behind and I hope you can, too.

Pin It

Little Things: Red

I spent much of yesterday afternoon lingering in the hog pens. There’s something therapeutic about being out there and it’s just the comfort I needed the night before heading out for a week and a half. I also applied the temporary tattoos that came with […]

Pin It