The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
- St. Augustine.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Girl Effect

One of the major reasons that I'm interested in working in NGOs that focus on women's education/services/financial development is because after reading Half the Sky, I realized that if I was born in poverty in a developing country, my future would be bleak. I would be an insignificant nobody, characterized by my sexual promise and procreational ability, enslaved to menial labor and perhaps never given the opportunity to realize my inner dreams. I would be in danger constantly. It's a frightening and stark reality that the majority of the world's women face, and it's our responsibility not only to fight for their rights as humans, but to allow them opportunities so that they can create a better world. Because it's clear that men are not doing a good job.

Here are some videos that illustrate this reality (

It's important to become aware of what is going on. At the same time, we must guard hope and believe in  the possibility of change in order to work towards it.

I believe in the Girl Effect, n. The unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world. Research shows that support and services to girls ages 10-18 dramatically improve their lives and opportunities - and also results in significant benefits for society as a whole. Educated girls result in more stable families, more productive economic activity, improved health, less disease, and in general, better societies. Quoted from, If you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It's called the Girl Effect, because girls are uniquely capable of investing in their communities and making the world better. 

However, here are 10 things standing in their way


The futures of women and girls are tied together. Girls cannot advance without the advancement of women and no improvement in the lives of women will be sustained unless girls are given the tools and opportunity to reach their potential. For they are the women of tomorrow.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton

To which I respond to with a resounding AMEN.
This is what I believe in. This is what I'm working towards. What do you think?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Volunteering at the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias

Hello Indie Volunteers!

 ¡ Los voluntarios !
I am in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, where I just finished volunteering for an amazing literary and arts festival called Hay Festival. It's an international cultural festival that invites authors, artists, musicians, and filmmakers to give lectures and converse with each other about current events, literature, or just life.

As a Green Room intern, I received the artists and acted as their personal assistants for the duration of their events. I must admit that it was the most rewarding volunteer experience I have ever had for a cultural festival. I was expecting to be given logistical work and no opportunity at all to meet the invitees, who are normally treated like VIP by people higher up the festival ladder. However, as a "Organizer" (lo que dice mi escarapela), I enjoyed the chance to meet the invitees and get to know them better outside of their public personalities.

La Casa del Socorro - por lo menos disfruté mi sancocho y la conversación :)
I worked with Bee Rowlatt, Philippe Claudel, Guadalupe Nettel, Hugo Chaparro, Senal Paz, Michelle Paver, and Joumana Haddad. As my authors/journalists ranged from British to French to Colombian to Arabic, I utlized my English, French and Spanish! I especially connected with Guadalupe, Hugo, Michelle and Joumana. I will never forget the hilarious dinner with Hugo and Senal at the Italiano Delizie... we talked and laughed until 1 in the morning, and the restuarant shut down but the Italian owner let us stay inside and talk until we absolutely couldn't anymore. Trying butifarra at the Palacio de Inquisicion with Philippe and Alessandro Baricco was similarly amusing. These two Europeans were starving and crowding the butifarra servers as if they had diamonds on their platters. Finally... I had dinner with Alessandro and Guadalupe the last day of the festival at La Casa del Socorro. We were trying to decide whether it was La Casa or La Cocina del Socorro that was the "original" seafood restaurant of Getsemaní and were getting mixed reports from people, but finally decided to go with what our taxi driver recommended. While La Casa's seafood was mediocre and expensive, our conversation was unforgettable and "valió la pena". We talked completely in French, and I only respected and liked the two writers more as the night progressed.

If you want to intern for Hay Festival, email Specifically, Hay Festival Wales is coming up in May and Hay Festival Xalapa will be in October. Happy independent volunteering, people!

Much love,