Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home Sweet Home

The mosquito bites have finally faded, I guess that means an entry is way overdue. That and the fact that I am leaving tomorrow for Ethiopia! I have been home now for three weeks and have enjoyed every hot shower, walk with Brie and movie curled up on my uber comfy couch.

Being home got me thinking about my dual lifestyle. I can literally get by with nothing when traveling, but once I get home I slip into a completely different routine. I mean, I lived for three months with a 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, body soap, but less than 24 hours after landing, I was in the chair for a manicure/pedicure. I know there is nothing wrong with either, but it makes me question what I really want when I live this transitional lifestyle and am happy on either extreme.

Regardless, I do appreciate a fancy cocktail and a couple home-cooked meals. And now that I have filled up I am so ready and excited to move on again. I expect my latest endeavor to have very few similarities to my Guatemalan life, however I imagine one to build nicely off the other. There is no measurement to this invaluable experience.

I am often asked “why?” Why do I want to go to obscure places and work with people I don’t know?

Well sometimes I question this myself. It is so emotionally taxing. Inevitability I fall in love and have to leave but at the same time I would never want it any other way. Doing this make sense to me. Even though the social problems of the world are so vast in insurmountable in their entirety, I never let that deter me from doing what I can. Working with people is difficult, unpredictable, intimidating and often frustrating and it is impossible to measure the ways you touch another person’s life, but I have to believe in the little successes. Everything is complicated and uncertain but there are always tiny moments where change is apparent.

I recently read a Hawaiian parable in Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It’s an incredibly powerful book about this century’s most widespread human rights violations throughout Africa (including Ethiopia) and Asia. I highly recommend! Anyway the parable goes:

A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water.
“What are you doing, son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.”
The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean.
“It sure made a difference to that one,” he said.


  1. What truly amazes me about this entry is that you had that exact starfish experience!! I think you were in middle school as were already at Sandwedge, and over a holiday in Kiawah, and jordan came running in from the beach so upset that it was covered in starfish. You tried tossing them back but it was literally covered. You were both crying because the sun was hot, the seagulls were all over them, they were dying. After seeing it, I sent you to the nature center to get information, and apparently this happens periodically; it was just nature's way. You were still upset and you both returned to the beach to save as many as you could! With the next tide it was all gone..the beach was swept clean. But i have never forgotten that experience-- and here you are still saving starfish one at a time. xxxooomom

  2. Just one more thing...thank you for this lovely post on my birthday!