A little insight for a long road ahead.

February 11, 2008

For the past few months I’ve been consumed by the idea that something bad is going to happen in my life. Disastrously bad. Things have just been too good for the last couple years.

And then it hit me yesterday: Maybe things have been so good because before they were good, they were really really bad. Maybe because I spent most of the beginning of this century involved in detrimental relationships, hazy thinking and constant running away, these years are absolutely heavenly when in reality they are just – normal. Blissfully, wonderfully normal.

It kicked off with the fact that I have actually applied my life lessons to my daily life. I’ve developed all kinds of techniques for dealing with emotional pain – no, not defense mechanisms, not anymore – and those mantras, exercises and thought processes have helped me to pave the way to developing some real life wisdom.

The question for me now is where to go from here.

I’ve been living with a false sense of reality when it comes to taking all this life experience and turning it into a career. I’m no certified psychologist, social worker or guidance counselor. In this day and age, wisdom is measured by university degrees, not life experience, and if that is the case, I’m just not going to ever measure up; I’m not interested in studying from text books what my own life has taught me.

So how am I ever going to make it in the field of helping people?

My husband puts it in perspective somewhat. He told me that there are all kinds of outlets for pursuing the business of helping people; certification is not the only way to succeed, especially if I’m uncomfortable with the idea of certification and therapy-as-business.

Do I go the route of my mother, who is an emotionally intelligent psychologist trapped in the body of an early intervention professional? The fact is, she probably gives more and better advice to the parents of these kids than any other therapy would… and she sincerely enjoys it.

Do I go the route of my husband, who is a contemplative behavioral scientist trapped in the body of a teacher? He relishes in passing on life wisdom to his students, who are at the age when they are more than happy to lap it up.

Maybe I’m supposed to be a personal assistant. Maybe I’m supposed to be writing novels. Maybe I’m supposed to be satisfied with being a good friend to those in conflict. Or maybe that’s a cop-out and I need to truck on until I’m a certified something with a proper title.

I’m not sure what will satisfy me… But I need to grow accustomed to the idea that just because my mediation degree is disappointing – just because I feel ill-prepared to pursue the mediation field in this country – I can still share my experience with the people around me, and of course, with myself.

The question is how to manifest all this, not if.

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Water pump + playtime = Girls’ education in Africa.

February 11, 2008

This is pretty clever: A non profit called PlayPumps International has developed an easy to build and maintain water pump system utilizing child labor in order to pump fresh water from the ground into a storage container…Children on merry go round

No, no, we’re not talking about back-breaking, human rights issue child labor: the water pump doubles as a merry-go-round. When the kids play on it, it is also working to bring up fresh water found about 120 feet below the ground and passing it to a reservoirs tank.

So what does this have to do with girls’ education in Africa? Well, the project has begun in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls are responsible for fulfilling the jobs of water carrier. Because they have to carry water back from springs and lakes, they are usually late for school and have to join the boys later on in the day.

With this system, the idea is that all the kids help the process move faster and the girls don’t have to be late for school, improving their education opportunities.

The video below has the full dirt on the project:

The site is taking donations, of course. Each pump costs $14,00.

Here are some additional facts from their site concerning human water crisis:

  • More than one billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water.
  • Water-related diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, taking the lives of 6,000 people a day, and are responsible for 80 percent of all sickness in the world.
  • 40 billion hours are lost annually to hauling water, a chore primarily undertaken by women and girls.
  • Unsafe water and lack of sanitation is now the single largest cause of illness worldwide.
  • Unless we act now, by 2025 the number of people who lack access to clean water could increase to 2.3 billion.
  • Half the people in developing countries are suffering from water-related diseases.