Monday, April 30, 2007

blue grass at boordy

boordy vineyard has live blue grass and wine tastings every sunday in april. it's about 10 miles north of the baltimore beltway, amid rolling hills and flowering trees. i really felt like i was in virginia. i'm not one to listen to blue grass on cd's (much), but if it's live music and there's grass between my toes, i couldn't feel more at home. pictured are kim, christina, me, michael and andy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


i feel compelled to respond to brian's comment on my previous post (brian... you know i've got nothing but love for you...) while i'm sure i won't see the likes of last weekend's croquet match in benin, to imply that the event lacks cultural and economic diversity really misses the mark. first, it's free. and while some wealthy alumni may put out a fancy spread (which they share with everyone) the bulk of us sit on blankets eating sandwiches. culturally, it is a seriously diverse group. i'll be honest... johnnies can be a little weird. they are anything but cookie cutter. where else would you find seer sucker, tie die, a game of magic, and an ugly yellow top hat... all on one blanket? on my way to class on monday, i stumbled upon a group of johnnies reading, one in a speedo. my point being, diversity isn't just about the color of your skin, nor is culture. and when i'm the only blond at an event in benin, somehow i don't think i'll be concerned about the over abundance or lack of diversity. maybe i'm missing the point of your comment, brian, but at least it gives me an excuse to post the pic of the classics-reading speedo-wearing johnnie.

Monday, April 23, 2007


i got some pretty quizzical looks every time i told someone i was going to croquet this weekend. saturday was the 25th annual croquet match between st. john's college (the johnnies) and the naval academy (the midshipmen). it is quite the event. the sjc choir sings, the naval academy band plays, tents are erected on the parameter complete with chandeliers and fountains of champagne or lemonade.
thousands attend, mostly decked with seer sucker, sun dresses, hats and parasols. it's similar to the foxfield horse races, in that no one actually pays attention to the competition at hand... it's purely social. the midshipmen donned their crisp white uniforms, complete with varsity letter sweaters, while the johnnies dressed like bruce springstein. right. regardless of attire, the johnnies schooled the midshipmen as usual. lovely.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


this is my new favorite album for a bit: sufjan stevens' seven swans. would have been sooner if i had heeded chris' blog. it's like iron & wine or nick drake found Jesus. lyrically and musically brilliant... you should check it out. you may recognize sufjan's sound from the little miss sunshine soundtrack, which is also good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

start flossing

holey moley. i just had the most painful dentist experience ever. nothing major... didn't even require anesthetics (maybe it should have) but yowzers. they weren't kidding when they said, "deep cleaning." all i can say is, if you're going to skip 4 years worth of dentist appointments, no matter how impeccable your dental history, you've got to floss. lesson learned. somebody tell bob.

also, i don't even know what to say about the tragedy at virginia tech. i am so upset and praying for God's hand in the situation. that is all.

Monday, April 16, 2007

the 'mond

i have a lot of work to do, and a lot of distractions too. every time i sit down to read homework in my room, i can't help but think of how i need to pack, etc. luckily, i have my escapes. this weekend's escape was richmond. carolyn and i drove down and back together, which provided ample girl time and reflection. priceless. i crashed at chez chris, which is as comfortable as my favorite jeans with holes worn in them. (this is because chris is special.) i had the place to myself most of saturday, except for scout (the dog) who slept at my feet or rested her head on my lap as i read and typed, read and typed. lovely. i also got to see colin and meet nancy, both of whom are fabulous and eerily similar.

sunday i went to church and had brunch with carolyn, her mom and grandmom... and of course molly. this picture of the three (or four) of them totally cracks me up. perfect timing.

so, the paper i was working on this weekend will eventually talk about the role of religion (not just faith, but dogma and all) in society... civil society. along those same lines, kinda, eric's blog today is excellent.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

warm fuzzy feeling

last night i ate a dish that roohi's mom prepared. it was delicious... but there were these little black things in it that looked like olives. i ate one, it was kinda spicy. a few minutes later i ate another and then asked, "what are the black things?" as my mouth caught on fire... "don't eat those!!!" too late. i had a warm feeling in my chest the whole rest of the night... and then through the morning, since i ate the other half of my smothered burrito for breakfast. i'm going to miss mexican food in benin.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

benin update: elections, cotton and power

it seems that despite the assassination attempt of benin's president boni yayi a few weeks back, his party succeeded in gaining control of the parliament. i think this is very good news. also, west africa's cotton industry is "on the brink of collapse" based on world market prices, partly influenced by u.s. government subsidies to domestic crops. lastly, the african development fund is putting $50mil toward a power interconnection project, aimed at improving energy supplied to benin, ghana, togo and nigeria.

Monday, April 09, 2007


farhan and roohi just bought a new house (you have no idea how happy this makes me) and some of their family came in town to celebrate and bless the new abode. pictured are me, phopho and phopha (that's urdu for farhan's dad's sister and her husband)... who i love and had not seen since departing karachi in august. my dad was in town for easter, so he got to sample the paki-food and culture as well. it was really fun to walk in saturday and find the living room set up just like a typical seating arrangement in pakistan. blankets and pillows for people to sit on the floor and a row of chairs against one wall. f&r probably didn't think twice about it, but it was a nostalgic moment for me. little touch of pakistan in b'more.

Friday, April 06, 2007

World Bank Approves a New HIV/AIDS Project in Benin

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2007 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a credit to the Republic of Benin for a Second Multisectoral HIV/AIDS Project (PMLS-2). This new project, at a total cost of USD 35 million, will consolidate progress made under the preceding project, which was implemented from 2002 to 2006 at a cost of USD 23 million.

The PMLS-2 will help to: (i) enhance and expand the accessibility and utilization of preventive services by vulnerable groups (e.g., women, young people, etc.) and by high-risk groups such as sex workers; (ii) enhance the accessibility and utilization of treatment and care services by those infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS, and especially by persons living with HIV/AIDS, orphans, and vulnerable children; and (iii) consolidate the coordination, management and monitoring/evaluation of the national response to HIV/AIDS, in order to ensure its sustainability.

The PMLS-2 is designed to be implemented over a four-year period, mainly in the form of sub-projects initiated by civil society organizations and through substantial support to activities under the National Program for Control of HIV/AIDS (PNLS), as an adjunct to financing from the Global Fund (5th Round). The Project has three main components:

1. A social mobilization component, which will finance HIV/AIDS prevention activities, particularly in the area of communication aimed at behavioral change;

2. Access to treatment and care, which will enhance access by infected and affected persons to services including screening, treatment with anti-retroviral drugs, treatment of opportunistic infections, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission;

3. Coordination, management, monitoring and evaluation: project funds will provide the National HIV/AIDS Committee (CNLS) with adequate resources to play an effective coordinating role in HIVAIDS prevention and to implement the unified national monitoring and evaluation system.

For more information on the World Bank’s work in Benin, go to:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

should i pierce my nose?

i've been asking myself this question for the past couple weeks. i think roohi's nose piercing is beautiful, and i'd like one like it. i kinda doubt i could pull it off, though. for example, this picture of celia, me and alicia, taken last night at a w&l function at elkridge club. can i have a nose piercing and still wear pearls with the girls? because i would. this is when i wish i were more ethnic, for lack of a better term. while roohi looks natural with her nose pierced, i'd likely look like a punk, which i'm not.

Monday, April 02, 2007

ray is a girl!

ray the wonder fish has done it again. not only did he surpass all our expectations in surviving as the office mascot for over a year, changing colors occasionally, and warming our hearts... but friday he shocked us all when i found little fishy eggs covering the rocks of his bowl. yes ladies and gentlemen... he's a she.