Thursday, February 9, 2012

The start of my summit list

I took some time in Ghana to reflect on my life thus far as I began to chart next steps. One night I was thinking about all the beautiful moments I've had around the world, and how thankful I am for a collection of memories that surpass any photograph I could have taken. I started to write them down and I look forward to adding to this list as memories resurface and new experiences are had. I am calling this my "summit" list in tribute to the beautiful vista each of these moments offered.
  • Cuban cigars on the coast of the Mediterranean with my brothers.
  • Watching the 2010 world cup in Kenya.
  • Starting alone, ending amongst friends hiking through Cappadocia.
  • Singing in the Sistine Chapel (I have never been so certain of God’s presence).
  • Watching my mom talk to sheep in the Scottish highlands with my Dad and nephew.
  • Walking through a soft layer of snow in Red Square late at night after the ballet.
  • Fireflies on the evacuation path during a tsunami warning in Vladivastok.
  • Bioluminescence that looked like diamonds on a nighttime dhow ride in Lamu.
  • Trekking the Routeburn with my siblings.
  • Arriving at my destination after my first solo roadtrip in South Africa just as the sunset behind the mountains.
  • My first salsa lesson in Costa Rica.
  • Hiking in to my family cabin with my best friends in the middle of the night.
  • Getting stuck behind an elephant in Amboseli.
  • Arriving at sunset in Ithala.
  • That first cold coke in Tanzania.
  • Squid hunting in Corona del Mar.
  • Pear icecream on a solo walk in Paris.
  • Singing with my cousins in a Gondola at Christmas.
  • My first leisurely walk through an African city at night in Accra.
  • Laguna de Apoyo.
  • Dancing at Mar y Sombre.
  • Carmel beach at sunset with family.
  • Running in Rongai.
  • Bela's birth.
  • Cracked crab at my grandparents table.
  • Trying to leap over a rafter in Zurich.
  • That moment when I held a baby, sat next to a teenager and comforted a dying child.
  • Root beer floats in a half-built house in the Oakland hills.
  • Stargazing in the middle of a high school football field.
  • Yoga on the beach on Christmas day.
  • Dancing with wild abandon in Accra.
  • Watching the sun set from my surf board at Old Man’s.
  • Napping with my nephew in Moscow.
  • Walks with my nephew in Berkeley.
  • A surprise birthday party in the middle of a ski hill.
  • New years, champagne, a hot tub and friends.
  • Ice skating through Gorky Park.
  • Singing the national anthem as we landed after every choir tour.
  • My dad's solo singing tribute to the MacDonalds at Glencoe.
  • Snowball fights in Nkandla on the morning I left Sizanani center.
  • Camping in a field of geodes in Namibia.
  • Laughing until we cried with mom and dad in the back row at church on Christmas eve.
  • The feeling of driving a pickup outside of Nairobi.
  • Skinny dipping for the first time by moonlight in Namibia.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Here and there

I want to share some posts from a few sites I've had the pleasure of writing for recently. The first is a post prepared for Vittana about the research my colleague and I conducted leading up to the launch of Opportunity International's first micro-loan for higher education. I am still "high" on the experience of getting to dive into the education arena. As my work continues to evolve, I come back to education over and over. Sometimes, it's a step removed (as in my current work, which focuses on empowering women...who in turn ensure their children go to school), but it's always at the core. Development policy and practice is crazy complex to say the least - but if you measure your returns based on quality of life, opportunity and equality - there is no better priority than education at every level.

Read about a day in my life with Opportunity International Ghana and Vittana here.

The second set of posts are for Go Girl Magazine - a site I learned about after connecting with an amazing group of women following a bid for a spot as a blogger on a trip to Kenya with Vestergaard Frandsend last summer. I wasn't chosen for the trip, but the organizers put all the applicants in touch via a google group, which led me to Go Girl (coincidently, the founder/editor had recently started working at the Rotary Foundation - go figure!). Besides a monthly writing gig, the group also led to a new friend in Kenya named Georgia, who I got to meet in person back in October. Georgia works in PR and when we met for lunch in downtown Nairobi, I had my dear friend Maggie with me. Quick to recognize a promising young woman, Georgia has taken Maggie under her wing and even hired her to help with a few of her work events. Maggie finished high school last year, but does not have the funds to attend university, thus Georgia's mentorship and friendship has been that much more appreciated. All this to say that writing for Go Girl is just a piece of an ever-unfolding story and a reminder of how powerful online communities and connections can be.

You can see my posts for Go Girl here (start from the bottom). I write about my quest to find and embrace "home" wherever I am.

I will be resuming my 30 days of Asante posts soon - now that I am back in the land that reminds me to say THANK YOU every day, no matter what.