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Friday, February 09, 2007

There is no me without you.......

Here's a wee something I read yesterday in a book I won't be able to finish before the library wants it back. It's called There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene and is mostly about the crisis of AIDS in Africa--no drugs=millions of orphans that can not be cared for by extended family (like in old days, as there have always been orphans) because there are SO MANY. And it blames the west. Rightly so. The thought of AIDS scares the crap out of us, but we at least have drugs that doesn't make it an immediate death sentance.

So here are a few quotes that I like for various reasons. If you like them, you should pick up the book....I got it from KPL for free!!! :)

(Comparing clinics to American Idol or Survivor):
These programs are "reality shows."
In Africa, by the hundreds and thousands and millions, but one by one, a person sits in a clinic waiting room, jumpy or still, feeling fine or feeling nauseaous, coughing or not coughing. Or she squats outside in the dirt yard, holding her head in her hand, occasionally looking up and calling to her children not to wander too far. Each waits to hear his or her name called. Inside the examining room, a doctor or nurse or nurse's aide examines a slip of paper and looks up. The eyes speak first.
Negative: You advance to the next round. See you tomorrow.
Positive: America has voted. Your journey ends here.
There are no television cameras.
No viewers at home are cheering or weeping.
No viewers at home phoned in their individual votes. Most never knew anything was at stake.
"I have heard there are treatments," a woman will whisper.
"Not in our country," the doctor will say with a sad smile.
"Does it mean I will die soon?" a man will ask.
"Yes, I'm afraid that is what it means."
"I thought perhaps I just had a cold."
"No, I'm afraid not."
"...I have heard that there is holy water which is effective?"
"No. That is a myth."
"As I supposed. Thank you, Doctor."

Speaking of the woman who is the subject of the book, who opened her home to the orphans in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia):
It was perhaps [her] own chronic mourning that compelled her to hesitate, to hold her door ajar, when strangers materialized in the lane and asked for her help. She instantly recognized the pain of fellow mourners and would not abuse them.
Sometimes it felt as if she, too, waited for someone.
This slight gap in the imprenetrable landscape--door after door closed to the afflicted, clergy preaching against them, their own families stonily denying them--had been discovered. Somehow the untouchables had found this woman who did not shriek insults, throw rocks, or shake a broom at them before slamming the door in their faces. Now they rode by bus or by donkey, they hiked or they limped, toward the brick house......

So what's our response? I don't know, except to do whatever possible to stop the mad torrent. Here's a small thing I did: With the birthday money sent to me by my parents & grandma I bought a child's life somewhere in Africa. On the World Vision site, you can purchase AIDS medication for a pregnant mother, so that her child doesn't get AIDS and so she can be treated during her pregnancy with anti-retroviral medication. There's so much more I want to do. Drug companies can make drugs so cheaply; they do all the time in India, and the drugs are the same quality as what we get here. But every corporation in the world is about the bottom line, aren't they?

If this is really pulling at you, you should also see The Constant Gardner. It's about drug companies and Africa (although not a documentary).

You want to make a difference? You want to be the generation who saves Africa, like the whole Live 8 thing was supposed to be about? Do something about treating adults with AIDS, because children don't need more orphanages built in Africa filled with foreign workers. They need their parents not to die from AIDS so they can be raised by their parents. Would you rather have been raised in an orphanage or with your own parents and siblings?

(And yes, I'm still employed. I know that two posts in a week might have confused some of you on that point. You see what kind of posts I make when I have time to think about important things?)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The crowd grows ugly......

Wow, people!

I thought working full time and being on the overnight shift for a week would give me a little grace with my readers, but all I get is the boo/hiss response as people grill me about updating my blog. Crickey. You're cannibals, all of you.

Since I don't fancy the thought of losing any more limbs to my 'adoring' public, here's your update for the week.

Started working midnights on Thursday. It's been overall a good experience. I also started working on higher-priority reports from the officers (usually things that happened twenty minutes to four hours ago), so that's more exciting and feels a bit more relevant to the things that the police do. Cool event of the week: working on a case that involved a police dog! I remember when I was a kid and my church's vacation Bible school one summer brought in some officers who demonstrated what police dogs do and had a Q & A session with the officers. That was one of the highlights of my childhood presentations. I thought it was so cool. As well as that, I also met a former canine officer last week in the lunch room. He'd been on the K-9 unit for I think around twenty years or so and had just retired his latest dog. I'm still that little wide-eyed kid inside when I think about working with police dogs and getting to pet them and go after bad guys. But I don't think I've missed my calling in life.......

In related news, it's been freaking prairie-level cold here all week. I suppose a factor in that is my sleeping during the day and going to work at 11PM in the bitter cold with windchills that have been between -25 and -30. And then leaving work all cozy to walk back into the wind, scrape the ice off my car, and wonder why it takes the entire trip home before my heater blows hot air. Although I noticed one of my co-workers coming in this morning with two of those rice packs that you microwave.....she had one snuggled around her neck and the other I don't know where she had it while driving, but that would be a good way to stay warm in the freezing car going either to or from work. I'm going to try that. Anything beats being cold.

Most days I arrive at work and my fingers are so cold that they're almost to the point of senselessness. And that stinks when I'm going to work to be typing for eight hours and it takes at least fifteen minutes before my fingers work normally. Tried switching to warmer gloves, but that was a failed effort last night. Just as cold, and they were even harder to put back on than my leather gloves. So I'll go hunting this afternoon for gloves that I can layer--layering always works for everything in the cold, I find.

Aside from work, I haven't done much else recently.

Oh yes, trip to my sister's: it was really amazingly awesome (besides getting sick for a day while we were there). My nephew Caleb is the sweetest chickpea in the universe and we took to each other right away. He's very expressive with his face--highly communicative although he isn't speaking yet. He was trying to walk all the while we were there, but didn't quite do it on his own. He doesn't even like to stand up without holding on to someone, although he has the balance to do it. We had a great time seeing my family and having a belated Christmas together. Jason got to see the Mall of America for the first time, which he thought was cool. We got through about 90% of the mall in about three hours, or maybe it was four. It was just good spending time with my siblings and parents. We played probably 600 games of Settlers in the week we were there, which was really fun with 6 of us playing. We are officially junkies.

Came home from Minneapolis and had the Indian ladies' night I've been meaning to do for about a year. Had a great turnout--17 of us in my tiny apartment. It was great fun and I think everyone enjoyed it. I would have loved to invite everyone I know, but space limitations, etc. For those of you who were wondering, here is the menu from our evening:
Mango Lassi
Mango Chutney
Sweet Lime Chutney
Cilantro Chutney
Butter Chicken
Hyderabadi Biriyani
Some other sort of rice curry that Lori brought
Mutter Paneer
Tandoori Chicken
Naan bread
Tomato & Cucumer Raitha
Anise candy & sugar cubes
Some other dessert I can't name that Barb brought from further south in India
Masala Chai
and if there was anything else, I've forgotten it and I can't find my menu that I told Jason I wanted to hang onto. Overall, it was a success and I want to do it again with my small group.

Speaking of small group, it's grown by about seven members lately. Two couples with a child each joined, and one of them is pregnant with number two! So that brings us up to a total of............carry the five......square root of seven........I believe fifteen adults and fourteen children. Obviously the children aren't usually a part of our discussions, although the very little ones get passed around from person to person. Usually they make it as far around the circle as Judy and then somehow get stuck there. Like a black hole, only warmer.

That's all I have to say. Need to get dinner in the crock pot so Jason will have something when he gets home that's been made with love. I think that will officially be the first supper I've made since starting nights--I'm so blessed to have a husband who can cook so I don't worry that he's slowly starving to death in my absence.

Night shift has been good. We did a build-your-own-salad night on Monday morning (each of us brought a few things to add), and last night I brought my wedding pictures to show everyone (we said we'd all bring ours, but I was the only one who remembered). There's a lot more interaction on the night shift, which I enjoy. But I don't enjoy hardly ever seeing my husband, and sleeping when he is home during the day. I'm looking forward to a week off and time to get reaquainted with Jason. Although I can already look forward to the next night block when we're doing Soup from a Stone for our food night. That was one of my favourite books as a child (along with But No Elephants). Should be fun.

Hasta luego!