Weekly Wind Up

This week’s Weekly Wind Up is woman-themed. I know, I know–Trust Women Week is over, but! Did you hear about the Planned Parenthood-Susan G. Komen fiasco?
Last week, the Susan G. Koman Foundation decided it would eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings on the grounds that it does not want to be involved with any organization under congressional investigation. This led to outrage, and after three days of ranting and petitioning, SGKF has reversed its initial decision.

I’d also like to mention that Planned Parenthood received almost $3 million over the three days proceeding the announcement. Awesome!

Despite the reversal, I’d like to share some articles I’ve been reading on SGKF, its corporate ties, and the commercialization of the breast cancer awareness movement. I’ll also be listing some pro-PP links (listen, I won’t pretend to be unbiased) and information on organizations that are alternatives to the Komen Foundation.

  • Cancerland – Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay on her experience with breast cancer, in which she discusses nearly every aspect from diagnosis to treatment to support groups. Thoughts on “the ultrafeminine theme of the breast-cancer ‘marketplace'” appear, as well as SGKF’s links with pharmaceutical companies that also produce harmful pesticides. Calling into question the heralding of the battle of breast cancer while ignoring the cause, Ehrenreich writes a hard-hitting criticism of the hugely popular movement.
  • Why the Komen/Planned Parenthood Breakup–While It Lasted–Was Good for Feminism – Amy Schiller’s article in The Nation on “a long-overdue spotlight on the difference between feminism as a brand and feminism as a political movement.” She criticizes selective or “choice”-feminists and their undermining of a larger fight, writing, “They cede to our opponents the assumption that women’s bodies can be regulated at all and abstain from critical conversations about the nitty-gritty of health care finance and access.”
  • Think Before You Pink – “. . . a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the number of pink ribbon products on the market.” It supports a call for more transparency and accountability from companies that participate in pink ribbon campaigns.
  • Breast Cancer Action – “. . . carries the voices of people affected by breast cancer to inspire and compel the changes necessary to end the breast cancer epidemic.” BCA focuses on information, advocacy, and prevention.
  • Cancer Prevention Coalition – Emphasizing prevention as opposed to treatment, “Our goal is to reduce escalating cancer rates through a comprehensive strategy of outreach, public education, advocacy, and public policy initiatives to establish prevention as the nation’s foremost cancer policy.”

Enjoy the resources!

  • In my rush to finish things up at WomenCraft, I’ve had to reshoot some of our products. Here is my tiny, portable studio:
  • Trust Women Week – I tried my best to be as much of a participant as I could while being abroad, though I fell a little shorter than originally planned. I was hoping to do a post per day. New goal for next year: 5 solid, pro-lady posts! This year was the first online march for reproductive rights. It garnered over 80,000 supporters. Holler, ladies!
  • Holy Google Reader–I’ve discovered another new blog! Hairpin is a female-run, female-written (though men are welcome to submit!) blog full of humor, insight, and some crafts here and there. It describes itself as “a low-key cocktail party among select female friends. Imagine like we’re pouring you a drink. That you can’t actually drink, because it is inside the computer.” Too funny! Here’s a post called “Are Women People,” on poems from the suffragist movement.
  • Check out these kickass women! NPR’s Weekend Edition featured part of a series of stories on female boxers competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. This year marks the first that women will be competing in the Olympics. For more on this, check out Sue Jaye Johnson’s photo essay in the Sunday NYTimes Magazine.
  • I just have this week at WomenCraft, and then I’ll be moving on to Amsterdam, then the U.S. I’m sad to leave this place!





Since I was tired from getting acquainted with the retreat house toilet on Sunday evening, I spent Monday in bed. Not to worry, whatever stomach issues I was having has long since passed. A blessing in disguise, I was able to spend the entire day reading the first half of The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton.

It was Route Week at WomenCraft. This is when we travel to villages each day and deliver payment and orders to artisans, as well as pick up products. Meet the ladies of Umoja (“together”, in Swahili) in Benaco!

– On the green side of things, WomenCraft artisans harvest their own materials and we are working on finding eco-friendly dye for fabric and gwaf. I found this article on the Clean Batik Initiative from August that discusses Indonesia’s Batik industry, the environmental damage it produces, and the effort to decrease that. Super interesting, and being a fabric nut, it got me on a Google search for images. It’s like fabric porn. For real!

– NewsAfrica has finally updated its website! Check out this interesting article on the Demographic Dividend of Africa. Median age is under 20–crazy! So how can youth become engaged and empowered? It seems like that should be the question on everyone’s minds.

– I’ve discovered a new blog–The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan. In this recent post, Sheridan discusses the meaning of “Top Blogger Lists” and staying true to one’s blogging goals. This talk of goals had me stopped in my tracks–I haven’t developed a goal for this blog other than updating folks at home and abroad on my whereabouts and activities in Tanzania. And that’s just from November! Here are some deep questions:

  • What was I saying before?
  • What am I saying now?
  • Am I just talking?
  • Who am I?
  • What does it all mean?!

Incoming, much-needed blog assessment–watch out!

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Wind Up–a summary of holiday here in East Africa!

Dear Oranges,
I love you and appreciate how unique you are, but could you stop looking like lemons (and limes)? It’s really confusing me.

Now for the business.

This has been my first year away from home for the holidays, and it’s been quite different. Christmas is not something I’m overly jazzed about, but I love Thanksgiving and New Years. I spent Thanksgiving alone–a bummer, but I wrote some letters to friends as my way of connecting with home. New Years was low key. I went to my boss’s house where we all had a night of wine, snacks, and the Wire–my TV obsession here in Tanzania.

Surprisingly enough, Christmas was the most eventful celebration! Ellie, my coworker, is pretty much Christmas cheer on steroids and organized a wonderful Festive Day for us and our German friends. We started out with pancakes and moved on to all-day snack while cooking for the Big Dinner. I didn’t get images of the final spread, but here are some peeks at the day–

Ellie Dart – Guac master.

These markers look awesome but are really lackluster.

Our handiwork.

Pre-baking – our safari sugar cookies!

Next we headed to Jinja, Uganda for Christmas Day proper. What a trip!

It can take two days to get to Uganda, so we spent the night in Kigali, Rwanda. It was here that I was nearly pick-pocketed.* I felt a heaviness in my bag and turned to find a kid with his/her hand in it! Letting out a wild noise and an aggressive movement put the kid on his/her way quite quickly. Luckily all my belongings were still there.

After a dead-as-a-doornail sleep-filled night we set out for Kampala, Uganda. Here we stayed at Backpackers–an affordable hostel that’s pretty popular with the international crowd.

*Note, really watch out when you’re walking in sketchy areas even if you’re with friends!

We set out for Jinja early the next morning with a shuttle from Nile River Explorers. The drive took about two hours–I thought it was a lot closer, but the scenics were amazing and I didn’t mind. We spent that afternoon kayaking (a first for Ellie and me) on the White Nile. We got to see a ton of awesome birds, including a bald eagle close up! Ellie and I also surprised a snake–sorry, buddy!

Christmas Eve was our whitewater trip. Oh my! To make a long story of terror and exhilaration short, there’s really nothing like surrendering all control of yourself and leaving it up to nature.

Christmas Day was a bit of a bust–poor Ellie sprained her ankle that morning. She’s absolutely fine now, though the foot’s a little tender. It certainly made our trip back to Ngara interesting–two full days of hopping on one foot, a night bus journey, throwing myself in front of potential careless blows to the foot. But we’re all safe and sound and happy as clams back here in Tanzania.

In the spirit of giving, I’d like to include this infographic I saw over at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It compares online giving in 2001 and 2011.

Way to go folks–look how much love has spread throughout the span of ten years!

Though I wasn’t able to spend time with my family and friends in the States, I appreciated the substitute of new friends and experiences in Tanzania. Further proof that you can find warmth and comfort every place you go.

Whoa and hello!
I am a jerk and fell behind on this week’s Summary of Sometimes Something but Sometimes Nothing, aka Weekly Wind Up.

I’ve been pretty lazy this week as far as activities go. But fear not! I’ve been reading and laying around and thinking a lot of things, so here we go.

Smoothie Sunday was held at my house on, you guessed it, Sunday! I’d love to do this every week.

I got some love from the States! It took a month, but that letter completed the long way ’round. If you know me, you know I love vintage postcards. These gems are going to get fawned over often.

I am multi-tasking. Eating Animals, learning the Art of Travel, and working on Emma’s War*. My eyes are cursing me, but my brain is saying, “Thanks, girl!”

– Since I can’t get new music here (streaming of YouTube is a half hour commitment) I’ve been revisiting old favorites. Check out this Take Away Show.

– Also check out this interesting post on Occupy Wall Street from Roger Ebert. Thanks for posting, Adrian!

– I think this is a good list to keep in mind when getting through this thing called Life. [insert Prince joke, reference, or song lyrics here]

*Don’t worry. I am not interested in marrying a warlord.

I’m going to (try to) start doing a post at the end of every week listing some things I’ve done, progress I’ve made, photographs I’ve taken, and articles I’ve read. Here’s your first dose!

– Turkish coffee and chapati breakfast. This is definitely following me home to the States.

– Three friends are getting some love from Tanzania!

– I won’t be home for Christmas. Three of us will be rafting the White Nile in Jinja, Uganda. Who’s pumped? Me.

–— Remember that post discussing nonprofit political advocacy? I’ve since read Cforward, an organization in D.C. that seeks to create a community of nonprofits focused on just that. Check out these goals:

– Getting some perspective. A helpful link sent to me by my father (Shhh. . .don’t tell him!) in response to a long-winded “What should I do with my liiiife?? Here is what I thiiiink?? That sounds good, riiight??” email from me has certainly comforted my re-found independent spirit. It’s OKAY to pursue that which would truly fulfill me. Why shouldn’t I?

“. . .when you truly “wake up” from a life with terms dictated by someone else, the possibilities are endless.”

– Chris Guillebeau