Archive for the ‘children’ Category

The Way Home

November 23, 2011

Color me red.
Dance me up.

Pip pop pep paa!

Swing around and snag your snarl
all around the town.

Bring me your love in a wicker basket
your Mom nestled with straw.
Scissors curled ribbons enswirl the handle on one end.
The other, she strung out against the sky.

Apple red balloons juggle themselves
around the mailbox flag.

Up pup paa!

Ten children tramp up the lawn
grass caught between toes and treads,
torrent of pumping elbows,
streaming hair.

Cool Kool Aid on the lips of these babes still in their baby teeth.
Laughing all the way home.

Grow your hair long and unlock your teeth!
Tip tip top!

Skate along a line.
Jump inside a chinese jumprope.
String along a boat.
Bounce your 4 square all the way home.

Sing and wing and swing.
Pump your sneakers and white folded socks to tuck
the whole world under yourself.
Let them fall gently as sun dried sheets
your Mom strung against the sky.

Tether one end of yourself and let the other
out against the sky.
Cleaned and warmed and kissed and kissed and kissed by the sun.

A poem dedicated to my Mom, on her birthday


October 28, 2011

For Diwali, Town Table, the best restaurant in Dehradun, actually the best in all the state of Uttarakhand, gifted my family 6 fantastic, fluffy American-style cupcakes. Mmmmmmmm.

Yesterday I ate one and it tasted as perfect as it looked.

Today, I looked forward to the kids’ bedtime all day, thinking about how my teeth will break the surface of the red velvet cupcake and how I will get frosting on my lips and crumbs all over my fingers.

But, alas! The cupcakes are not where I left them in the fridge. I fear the worst has happened. They have been eaten by another.

The Swastikas are Starting to Bother Me

October 25, 2011

A long time ago, when few people had watches to tell the time, a British soldier would stand in full dress uniform at the top of Gun Hill in Musoorie, proudly daring the Indian heat to sweat up his face. Every hour, on the exact moment of the hour’s birth, he heralded PROGRESS, the continuity of his country’s successful taming of India, the powerful mechanical moving forward of his stodgy world.

Or maybe he suffocated within his wet blanket of restrictive clothes, trying to cough out the impurities spewed by his time telling rifle. Maybe he cried at night and whispered his mother’s name as a thumb sucker, self soother: “England, England, England.” Maybe he was 17 years old, having lied his way into the army so he could leave his wooden dinner table with stale bread and butter and milk and not much else. His growling stomach became a mouth. It fought battles with his brain and took that over too. It fought his heart and won. The hunger empire. And now here he was, the skinny boy child, hoping he wouldn’t have the runs as bad as he did yesterday. It had taken him twenty two minutes crouching naked with the lye bar and bucket full of tepid water. And of course the uniform had not dried fully. Damp folds of cloth rubbed the open sores of his armpit. Poor chap had tried to buy talcum powder in the market, but the language barrier had been too great. Or maybe the people here just hated him.

In 2011, few people have watches to tell the time. Yes, some men sport status on their wrist and some grandmothers still use the wristwatch for its originally intended purpose. I, myself have a cell phone, but don’t want to flash it in advertisement of my supposed “rich westerner” status. I can’t afford to have it swiped with two small children depending on my ability to differentiate naptime from 25 minutes before naptime.

Someone speared a 4 foot long supple branch with dead leaves on the wall next to my new apartment door. They continued their decorating by chalking a white swastika at eye level on my wooden door. I think it was to make me feel welcome. For those of you that don’t know me: I am Jewish and am keenly aware that the swastika is an age old symbol. But in my mind, its corruption by Hitler is irreversible and I will never be able to see it as a symbol of anything but hatred or death. Swastikas are everywhere here: painted on cars and vikrams, adorning jewelry, and proudly displayed on people’s front doors. Even after 3 weeks here, I always shudder when I see one. They are one of the many reasons why I just can’t get comfortable here.

What it looks like here

May 11, 2010

Today I went to the townships. The children there live in shanties and almost all of them have at least one person in their household with HIV/AIDS. Unemployment is more than 50% in their area.

The Amy Biehl Foundation provides after school programs to teach these kids computer skills, HIV/AIDS prevention, music, art, dance, and more.

Oliver Keune, a talented volunteer for the foundation made this video:

It gives a window into what the kids see.

Around the world with us: volunteering across the globe with our two kids

March 5, 2010

The Grand Plan:

to take our 1 and 3 year old with us around the world for a year. We’ll hit 13 countries, volunteering for charities/NGOs in each, and living in real neighborhoods rather than in hostels. We’re looking to be truly productive with our time; during the day we will work on causes that we passionately believe in, and in the evenings we will enjoy exploring our surroundings and being together as a family. We hope to get a taste of 13 different cultures and to avoid being just tourists. We want our babies to begin their lives in this environment in the hopes that the exposure will instill a passion for social justice and a love and understanding of people.

Where We’re Going:

  1. Peru
  2. Brazil
  3. Sierra Leone
  4. South Africa
  5. Romania
  6. Israel
  7. India
  8. Bhutan
  9. Myanmar
  10. Thailand
  11. Cambodia
  12. Vietnam
  13. Laos

Work In Progress

Right now, we are looking to affiliate ourselves with charities and NGOs that work in the above countries. We already have plans for just a few countries. For example, in Israel we will aid Yad Sarah, the largest voluntary organization in the country. They provide a spectrum of free or nominal cost services designed to make life easier for sick, disabled, and elderly people and their families, enabling them to stay in their homes and out of hospitals and institutions as long as possible (

Your Help and Advice

The rest of the locations are still open and we’d love your help and advice in choosing exemplary organizations and projects. We are most passionate about helping people. Our backgrounds are in finance and grant writing. We are also pretty competent caring for young children. Our family would need to be able to rent a place near the location we’d be working at. Please write us or leave a comment below with your ideas. We would especially appreciate you including the names of charities or NGOs that you have experience with. If you are part of the organization doing the volunteer hiring, please let us know in what capacity we would be working.