Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“Bad things happen in the world. The important point is, ‘What are you going to do about them?'"
 Dr. Phyllis Cavens

Getting medical help in time has been very important for all of us. We also have an easy access to the necessary medication if we get cold or flu, and we do not hesitate to use that advantage when we feel sick. What we do not do is that we never think about those who don’t have an opportunity to get that kind of help when they need it, and there are a lot of diseases that are much worse than flu.

Medical Teams International has been founded by a businessman Ron Post who was touched by the Cambodian girl that was dying, and the thought that that girl could be his daughter moved him to find 28 medical volunteers and to start making difference by providing medical help to the refugees of Cambodia.

This organization’s goal is to provide help to anybody who is in need despite of their nationality, quality of life, or religion beliefs. They work with the countries of Africa (Cameroon, Guinea, Kenia), East Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia), Eurasia (Moldova, Uzbekistan), and Latin America and Caribbean (Haiti, El Salvador).  

Through the years of its existence the Medical Teams International have developed different programs for providing help:
  • Community Health program is focused on women and kids. It includes maternal health, prevention of childhood disease, nutrition, immunization, hygiene and water and sanitation. 
Children in Vargue, Liberia. (Photo by Debbie Doty)

  • Dental Program includes International Dental (helps families who can't afford to go to the dentists  and Mobile Dental (people are helped at dental vans)
  • Disaster Response 
  • HIV and AIDS Programs are created to support those who have suffer from it and to reduce their pain.
  • Medical Supply Program 
The Medical Teams Internationale has an amazing exhibit that create an opportunity for all of us to experience the moments that children do during disasters, conflicts, or poverty (for example, a room with a 25-foot tsunami wave). If I get a chance to be in Tigard, OR, I will definitely visit Real. Life. exhibit. 

I have a friend who have been a volunteer for this organization for two years. When I asked him why he decided to spend so much time and finances on this organisation he said that now he fells like he actually makes a difference. He was very inspiring, and I ended up donating some money, especially after reading the Long Way Gone :) If you have the same intention, here is the link  Help the Children of Africa

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Some evenings I told my family (including Mohamed, who now lived with us) stories about my trip. I described everything to them – the airfield, the airport, the plane, what it felt like to see clouds from the window of the plane. I would have a tingling sensation in my stomach as I remembered walking on a moving sidewalk in the Amsterdam airport. I had never seen so many white people, all hurriedly dragging their bags and running in different directions. I told them about the people I had met, the tall building of New York City, how people cursed on the street; I did my best to capture the snow and how it grew dark so early.
“It sounds like a strange trip,” my uncle would remark. It felt, to me, like something that had all happened in my mind (Beah 201).

I was seventeen when I got to the U.S. I know that here it’s normal for young people of that age to live separately from their parents, but it’s not in the country where I am from. Kids can live with their parents until they start their own families. That is why it felt so strange to me to be all by myself in a country where I know nobody. I remember my first time in an airplane, and the first stop was at the Amsterdam airport, just as Ishmael’s. And just as he, I was astonished by the view from those little windows on a height of 10000 meters. Before that day, I had never seen such tall buildings.
I called my parents as soon as I got to Minnesota, and told them every little detail of my trip. I couldn’t believe that I was so far away from home. You can’t even imagine how many times I would wake up at night, disoriented, not knowing where I was )).
This passage has brought all of these memories to my mind. I believe, that is why I chose it. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hope Is Our Strength

When I was very little, my father used to say, “If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.” I thought about these words during my journey, and they kept me moving even when I didn’t know where I was going. Those words become the vehicle that drove my spirit forward and made it stay alive. (Beah 54).

I guess that I chose this paragraph because I used to hear the similar words from my granny. We were very close; she practically raised me while my parents were busy working weeks after weeks. She used to tell me that hope is usually the last thing to die, and when you lose your hope, you don’t have anything left to live for. It is a driven power that pushes you forward and gives you strength to stay on a course you’ve chosen. This passage has brought a lot of sad memories: unfortunately, hope for a better day didn’t help my grandmother to fight the cancer. But even that hadn’t changed her optimistic attitude. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Long Way Gone Passage

The sudden outburst of gunfire had caused people to run for their lives in different directions. Fathers had come running from their workplaces, only to stand in front of their empty houses with no indications of where their families had gone. Mothers wept as they ran toward schools, rivers, and water taps to look for their children. Children ran home to look for parents who were wandering the streets in search of them. And as the gunfire intensified, people gave up looking for their loved once and ran out of town (Beah 9).

When I was 9, I was terrified of what was going to happen if the war would break down. I was old enough to read the book about the WWII, and my worst fear was that some kind of war would suddenly begin when I was at school. I was staring at my reflection in the window, completely ignoring what my teacher would have to say about the grammar of Russian language, and I was afraid of even thinking that I could possibly never see my parents again. For me the passage I highlighted represents this fear at its all terror. It represents the mess and panic that people experience when something like that happens. I feel like this passage was written for that 9-year-old boy to show him what it would be like to face his worst fear in real life. It’s sad that so many innocent people still experience such pain. It shouldn’t be that way. It’s just not right…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pro-Choice Over Pro-Life

In twenty first century there are two points of view on abortion: pro-choice and pro-life. Pro-life are people who think that abortions should not be legal at all. As pro-life activists say, "A pregnant woman needs support, not abortion." In seventeen countries around the world abortion is still illegal. It is hard to believe that abortions can be stopped by making them prohibited.
Fertility control is a universal phenomenon. In every known culture – literate or preliterate, primitive or modern—people have attempted to regulate their fertility. The efficacy and safety of preconception and post conception practices, the dissemination of these methods, and the relationship of the polity to the practice of fertility control has varied through the time. The oldest known prescriptions for contraceptives come from an ancient Egyptian papyrus; dating back to 1850 B.C., this document is known as the Kahun papyrus (McFarlane, 2001).
The Ancient Hebrew tradition of saving a pregnant woman's life was the only justification for abortion. However, abortion was not considered murder. Traditional Jewish law prescribed penalties for deliberate abortion, but these penalties were not as harsh as those prescribed for homicide (McFarlane, 2001).
Abortion was also common in ancient Greek society, though not nearly as widespread as infanticide (the killing of infants). Greek religion did not profess any strong concern for the unborn, although Greek inscriptions on temples describe birth, miscarriage, and abortion as occasions of ritual impurity (McFarlane, 2001).
It is estimated that over two hundred contraceptive and abortion methods were in common use during the Middle Ages (Heinsohn & Steiger 1982). Western Europeans were evidently quite successful in controlling their fertility. The average household in medieval Italy had only 2.44 children, and in German territories in the eighth and ninth centuries there were about 2.36 children per woman. Apparently, much of the knowledge about fertility control in Western Europe was transmitted by lay midwives, who served as healers and childbirth assistants, were also providers of abortion (McFarlane, 2001).
The Bible clearly prohibits taking the life of an innocent person. Everywhere around the world people go to prison for killing. As many people would say, abortion is killing, and the worst thing is that many wonderful children never have a chance to be born.
But look at it this way – the Bible was written in ancient times. Many years have passed, and a lot of things have changed. In our days we have new problems like street children, abused kids, child labor, and "invisible" children.
Maybe abortion is killing, but sometimes it is better this way. There are women who get pregnant and then throw away their babies to die in the dumpster, and there are women who give birth and then do not care about their kids at all. That is where "street kids" come from, from families who never wanted them. Street children live on streets and are often hungry and angry. They rarely ever met a nice person in their lives; even their moms hate them. The street kids don't even know where their mothers are. Sometimes these children wish they never were born at all: “The phenomenon of street children is global, alarming and escalating. No country and virtually no city anywhere in the world today are without the presence of street children. It is a problem of both developed and developing countries, but is more prevalent in the poor nations of Latin America, Asia and Africa. Poverty, family disintegration due to health or death, neglect, abuse or abandonment, and social unrest are all common triggers for a child's life on the streets.” (Worldwide Statistics, 2007, p. l).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Midwinter Writing Festival

This year was a first time when I attended Midwinter Writing Festival, and to be honest, it exceeded my expectations. I really wanted to participate in each session, but because of my work schedule, I could make it only after 2 p.m. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to go to “Showing vs. Telling” session, read by Matthew Mauch. Going there, I hoped (deep in my heart) that it would help me to make my writings livelier.
Mr. Mauch started his session with a proposal to draw some things: vegetation, landscaping vegetation, perennial plants, decorative flowers, tulips, and a Purple African Queen tulip. As we were told later, all of these drawings were his example of the abstraction ladder. The first four are abstract meanings that describe classes, qualities, ideas, and usually are used for telling. The last two are specific and concrete meanings that actually describe things the way you can see them, touch them, taste, feel and hear them, which are used for showing. The speaker was teaching us that for being successful in writing, we need to use showing 90% of the time in writings (the middle part), and only 10% should be left for telling (introduction and ending). He also gave us tips on how to achieve this goal: avoid plurals, adjectives and adverbs, use concrete nouns and verbs, and recreate the situation that led to the original idea.
                Professor Mauch is a brilliant instructor, and I admire his teaching techniques. It was pleasure to attend his session, and to see him again. The time had passed like a minute, but it was enough for me to understand that I have many things that I need to work on. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Music of Figurative Language

Walters & Kazha "The War Is Not Over"

"The war is not over"

I slowly walk into the night arround
To see how dreams of people die
They gently fall from windows all around
And crash against the ground like glass
And I’m so sorry I’m so helpless in this angry world
If only I could change it for one day

The war is not over everyone knows it
It’s just a reason to make us believe 
That someone’s the loser someone’s the winner
To make us believe that’s the way it should be
But I don’t wanna believe

In the story they all tell this fairytail has gone to far
I take a step and dare myself to be free
To see how beautiful we are that everyone can be a star
If only we would start believe in dreams
Believe in who we are

A simile - "And crash against the ground like glass"

Personification - "To see how dreams of people die
                           They gently fall from windows all around"
                           "angry world"

Alliteration - "They gently fall from windows"
                    "If only we would start believe in dreams"