Saturday, March 14, 2009


A friend of mine sent me an email yesterday. It's important. Please do what you feel you can.

Message from my friend:
Hi folks,

I received this message from a friend of mine from college. She is in Sudan with her husband teaching at a school. I don't like to forward anything, but given the situation that has been unfolding in the past few years in Darfur and now this new information from someone I trust, a firsthand source, I wanted to let anyone who might be interested know.

First hand account:
Hey everyone--

So sorry to do a horrible mass e-mail like this, but I think it is appropriate in this case.

I don't know how much any of you know or have followed the situation in d@rfur (<--I am writing it this way to avoid any searches on my e-mailings) or the events in Sud@n these last few days. The president of this country now has a warrant out for his arrest due to the events in the last few years in d@rfur. This happened a couple of days ago, and I don't know how much it has been in the news in the States, but it's kind of been the main thing here.

As a retaliation to this action, the government here has revoked the licenses of many aid/development organizations working here and sent all of their foreign staff out of the country and halted any and all of their aid efforts in d@rfur. This has caused several dear friends to leave the country, as well as several of my students at our school.

Even worse than that, it has made a desperate situation in d@rfur brought even more to the brink. Many MANY people (thousands upon thousands) living there are currently living in refugee camps that are supplied and run by these various aid organizations. They have now had supplies halted and been stripped of any communication items (radios, phones, computers, etc.). The people who returned to Kh@rtoum from there in these last couple of days are estimating that if nothing changes (that is if the government does not reinstate these aid groups or chooses to do nothing themselves, which is incredibly likely), that these camps will be out of food supplies in about 1 week and out of water in about 2 weeks. You will have tens of thousands of people on the western edge of this country simply being starved out in the desert or trying to move themselves across the desert to get out of the country.

Why am I writing to you? Because even though I am actually here in this country, I can do very little. I cannot post this on my blog and must be careful about the information that I pass along. I have no idea if this is even being reported on the news in the States. I know that the President of the US has contacted some organizations here to get information--but they are limited in the time and resources to get back to him before they themselves are forced to leave the country.

If you can and feel so compelled to do so, I would ask that you communicate with anyone and everyone you know who might be in a position to raise awareness about this--that could include your Congressman, Senator, Governor, local media, churches, and (long shot, I know), write to the President on the White House website, as I will be doing. Ask them to report on d@rfur and find out what is going on. The window of opportunity from this going from very very bad to absolutely worse is very short.

Please do not include my personal name if you forward this along to anyone else, but if someone wants to contact me, feel free to give them my e-mail.

Sorry to bug you with this if it's not something you're interested in--if you are interested, PLEASE make some noise about this in the next few days.


Friday, March 06, 2009

job search

During my nearly 20 hour drive from West Texas to West Chicago I did a lot of thinking. What else is there to do when you are stuck in a very small space for so long and are not allowed to sleep? One of the things I thought about was, what would be my dream job at this point? I have until October to find work and then I have something else figured out, but in the meantime I still have to pay on student loans and other minor expenses (you know like eating at least a couple times a day and the like).

So here's what I came up with...
I want to work in a big office building, in the basement, in a hamster wheel. I want to run on that wheel for 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week at an average pace of 4.5mph. I want to be required to log the equivalent of 150 miles each week in order to receive $400 weekly for my efforts. This is my dream job. I could not complete these demands for more than a few months but right now, in this situation, this is what I want to do; to make me stronger and to lessen the impact of the millions of offices in this city (Chicago) by transferring my energy expenditure into a turbine system to power some of the electrical equipment used in the office building.

If there happens to be any organizations or university research projects currently experimenting with this technology and in need of another demented green athlete to power the experiment please feel free to pass my information along. Seriously, this is exactly what I want to do with my life right now.

Now please enjoy the mental image of me stuck in a hamster wheel full-time.