Life is so full of surprises. I am back living in DC–sponging off my daughter and her husband! I found a new job there but since my husband is still living in our home in Florida and caring for his mom who is now well on her way to 101–living with her eases the burden of keeping two households going. And it’s more fun: a good half of the days when I get home from work I am greeted by the joyous cries of “Grandma’s home! Grandma’s home!” Now what can beat that?
Although the exact work is different it’s still in the same basic area of intervention. I work at the headquarters in DC mostly and will make trips out to the field (like I’m in Tajikistan right now.) The project I work on is a school dropout prevention pilot project and is working in Tajikistan, Cambodia, Temor Leste and India. All new places on the map for me. They are not country-wide interventions–we’re targeting areas in each country with the highest rates of dropout–that translates generally into the poorer areas that have seen more civil war or turmoil. So, you’re dealing with some pretty marginalized populations. So, that’s my life now.
September 2009 until January 29, 2011 when I was rudely evacuated from a place I really loved: I currently live in Cairo, Egypt where I am the director of teacher professional development on a US government funded girls’ education project. For much of my adult life I’ve spent living and working in third world countries supporting international development activities supporting basic education–particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am enjoying my first experience living and working in the Middle East. Life is easy here although I’m finding speaking Arabic very much of a challenge. I might point out that this is a personal website and anything that I post and the opinions I share are mine and mine alone. They do not reflect the opinion of my employer and certainly do not reflect any political party or official government position.
I am a teacher–first in primary school and then in teacher education programs at universities in both the US and Africa. As a girl’s education girl’s education, gender and equity specialist I have spent over 30 years advocating (even fighting) for the rights of women and children who don’t get their fair share of the resources and opportunities. I think I inherited the gene for “fairness” from my mother who fought her way from poverty to become a local and state-wide recognized outstanding teacher in special education.
Although I love cooking and baking I don’t do much of either right now. I am an avid collector of all things weird and have collections ranging from old kitchen items to African masks to impressionistic paintings. To this end, I love poking around antique shops, thrift stories and garage sales. There’s no place better than Cairo for having some of the best antique shops in the world!! Woo hoo…now just to find the money to buy some things!
I am eclectic in my tastes that tend towards vibrant and bold colors and walls plastered with all sorts of cherished artifacts from around the world (much to the frustration of my husband who is a minimalist and dreams and fantasizes of bare white walls). The joy of my life are my four children and grandmother to my four and my husband’s two grandkids.
I am very much a people person and think that more than visiting historic sites and famous places I get off on getting to know people and what’s important in their lives. This blog is my way of sharing my experiences at getting to know other people and my thoughts about that process with you.
Unfortunately my husband, Bill, isn’t here with me in Cairo. He’s the one who set up my blog. And my daughter, Heather, has been very helpful making it more attractive and functional. Maybe with more help we can turn this into a really nice space to meet!
I am a relatively new blogger–only started it in mid-March 2010. I began my blog primarily to ward off the loneliness I knew was was facing me when my husband left after a short visit with me in February. Once I began blogging (and in particular visiting the blogs of other people) I got hooked. I have come to the conclusion blogging is the ultimate in entertaining–I can invite all kinds of people into my “home” but I don’t have any dishes to clean up after my visitors are gone! Can’t get any better than that. And it’s a great way to share the things that I find important, frivolous or just plain crazy!
However, more importantly, as I got into blogging more I realized it is an excellent medium for me to share what I am learning from the opportunities I’ve been given to live and work among people from other cultures, other language and ethnic groups, from other religions. It’s an incredible chance to open the world up to so many people who can’t travel to other places, who will never have the opportunity to sit at an outdoor cafe sipping Turkish coffee with another woman talking about what it means to be a woman living in another part of the world in another culture.
I hope you join me on these travels. My welcome mat is always out. I welcome comments so I have something more to let me know that I’ve had a visitor than the little footprints that you’ve been here on my stats page!