I like this guy/gal.

The blog that I linked to below in my last post is great.  I found this, as well.

Place pointer here.

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This could get me in trouble…

So I came across this video from another blog. This video states a pretty strong opinion, and while I don’t advocate for his impeachment, most of his political policies and decisions have been questionable at best.

Click here, s’il vous plait.

This one’s for you, Pops

I’ve advocated for a few things on this blog – HIV/AIDS, Hurricane Katrina, Malaria, etc. I haven’t mentioned something that hits a little closer to home, though. 

My dad called me one day, started a normal conversation, and then decided to let me know that he was at the hospital getting tests done.  He says, no chuckles,  “It’s not cancer”. He then goes on to tell me that he may have Lupus disease.  I could sit here and write to you saying that I was cool, calm, and collected, but I freaked out. Yup, pretty much.  After months of crazy blood tests and reviews, my dad has been diagnosed with Lupus and Raynaud’s disease.  Lupus disease isn’t something that one can diagnose easily, put it in to a box, and give it to the patient.  In fact, I am not going to try to explain it to you.  Just click here and read.  All I know is that there was a time that I was being told that my dad could have 5 years to live, or up to 20.  To this day, we still don’t know how far along the disease is; there are good days and there are bad days. 

With the possibility of going in to the Peace Corps this summer, I could miss seeing my dad for two years. I talked to him last night and he told me that I had to live my life and not let anything like this stop me.  I felt, and still do, helpless and I wanted to do whatever it is to make him feel better. 

Well, after a little searching, I found something.  I’ve decided to make a webpage (that looks extremely cheesy by the way) where people can donate money to the Lupus Foundation of America.  It’s in honor of my dad, which is the cool part.  :0) With this money, the Foundation will be able to research more in to the disease and maybe, possibly, hopefully, find a cure one day. My fundraising goal is $500, but it would be wicked if the webpage raised more.  Remember, this isn’t just for my dad, it’s for every diagnosed Lupus patient in the country.  So maybe I can’t cure the disease personally, but at least I can say I helped.

Union Address was missing something…

I apologize for missing the past couple of days, my bad.

This might be a little too late to ask, but did any of you notice that the State of the Union Address was missing something slightly, no majorly, important? Don’t worry, Bush said the words “Iraq” and “health care” plenty of times. I’ll give you a hint…it was one of the largest disasters to hit our country and has left many people without homes still to this day. I don’t get how our own citizens are being forgotten about. Sort it out, Mr. President.

I had a “moment”

Yesterday was “Commodities Day” at my internship. This means that anyone the age of 60 or older with a monthly income that is below the poverty line is able to get a free box of food once a month. Usually the box contains powdered milk, spaghetti noodles and spaghetti sauce, canned veggies, fruit, etc. Many of these clients/couples are able to live off of just this one box a month. It’s what gets them through, surprisingly enough.

To help the clients keep at least some of their pride, we allow them to stay in their cars and line up to recieve their commodities. I’ve seen this procedure done a few times, but yesterday it really affected me. I had to leave the office to make a visit to a foster care home. So I walked out the back in my high heels, dress pants, pea-coat and scarf, going towards my leased car of two years. The only thing between my car and me were the lines of mostly old run down cars with their owners in them waiting to get their food. So I had to walk through this line, and as I walked past some clients, I couldn’t dare look at them. At that very moment I felt like I had too much in my life. I wanted to hand my car off to them and say “have it, I’ll take yours.” I wanted to give away my pea-coat and tell them to turn it in for money so they could have more food in one month than just this box.

This week I have complained a couple times about having only $20 in my bank account and getting down to my last can of tuna fish (yummm). I do know, however, that in a couple days I will be receiving a check and I will have the ability to go and buy more food and not have to eat any more Ramen. These clients, these people in their cars, most of them don’t have checks coming to them.

The next time you open your cupboard and you “can’t find anything to eat”, put all your crappy last choice foods in a box and see how much it adds up. That’s how much some of my clients live off of a month.

Lesson of the week: Tuna fish sandwiches aren’t all that bad…

When The Levees Broke

I am quite surprised to find that I have not yet talked about the issue I am about to talk about in this entry – Hurricane Katrina.  For the past two winter breaks, I have gone down south to help rebuild for hurricane victims, each one being a humbling experience.  In December of 2005, just months after the hurricane hit, I went with a group down to New Orleans to help clean up an area near Tulane University.  This past December, I went with a group down to Mobile, Alabama to help rebuild for victims living in Bayou la Batre. Even a year and a half later, many people are still living in the same homes they did before the hurricane. Let’s just say the living conditions aren’t the greatest. The group I was a part of worked on a house that had mold, and a lack of floors, really. I will never forget the first image that I captured in my head of the condition of that house. 

Spike Lee decided to make a documentary on the situation in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. When the Levees Broke is a series of interviews and pictures of people and the experiences they went through.  One man talks about how he had to watch his mother die, leave her on the street, and find her in the same place a couple days later. Make sure to watch all three/four hours of it, and also listen to the commentary from Spike Lee.  I’ll admit, even photos don’t do it justice.

$1.2 Trillion…oh my.

What would you to do with $1.2 Trillion? I have a few ideas…and so does our government. I found this news article from the New York Times interesting. That’s a lot of moola, and guess what we spend it on? You probably guessed it right the first time.

There Is No Me Without You

 woman and child

I just picked up this book at work today called “There Is No Me Without You” by Melissa Fay Greene. Sounds like a trashy romance novel, doesn’t it? It’s actually the opposite, however. This woman wrote a memoir about Ethiopia’s children and people living with the HIV/AIDS virus. I just got through the first chapter and was pissed.

Greene informed me that 81% of the country’s people live on less than $2 a day. (I’ve already spent that much, and it’s not even noon. ) What’s worse, only $2 per person per YEAR is spent on health care by the government. The funny thing is, in 1998 during a war, the government spent $2 million dollars a day. In 2000, Ethiopia’s defense budget exceeded $800 million.

This sounds familiar. Not that the United States is at this extremity, but I feel like our priorities are in the wrong place as is Ethiopia’s. Even though we are considered the most powerful nation on earth, there is definitely room for improvement. And just because Ethiopia is one of the most poverty-stricken countries does not mean we shouldn’t look at their situation and reconsider ours. Unfortunately, Ethiopia will probably never be a Utopia.

Webcam

Pretty much the coolest thing ever, in my eyes anyways. It’s a 24 hour webcam of a watering hole in Africa. Sometimes giraffes, lions, and zebras show up on the screen. Warning: if you have a Mac, it might not work. That might be a good thing for me; I would get nothing done if I could watch this webcam on my computer. I want to know what you guys see on this webcam!

Malaria, No More

I found a blog the other day that mentioned a Time magazine news article called “The $10 Solution”. On the website, Malaria No More, one can donate a $10 dollar bed net to help prevent someone from catching Malaria. Every 30 seconds an African child dies of the disease.  I may not be a math genius, but that adds up to 2,880 children a day, and around 1 million per YEAR.  Oh my.  The simplest way of prevention is having a bed net.  That’s it.  Please, PRETTY PLEASE, check out the website, think about it (I’ll give you 10 seconds), donate 10 buckaroos, and save a kid’s life.  How cool is that?  You can say you saved a life today, because you did.

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