Cebu is cheap now

cebu hilton

News of the next of many great things that has happened: The price of the vacation package that we were buying in order to get out of the thunderstorm in Manila dropped $1500.00 while we were waiting for the wheels of the adoption bureaucracy to turn. This trip was to fulfill our obligation to be in country with J before we have our official check-out. Sweet! Also the thunderstorms all cleared up (somehow) in the last 24 hours.

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Julius knows now

From the social worker in the Phlippines:

"Dear Sandy,

Our car could accomodate 8 person including the driver. How huge are your luggages? I dont think our car could accomodate u all including the luggages.

I already discussed this to Ms. MIla XXXXX, our Head Social Worker and she allow to use the service vehicle of RSCC to pick u up at the airport and drive u back in Manila. You just need to pay the gasoline and the toll fee. Is it okay with u if the center's vehicle will be the one to use?

Yes, Julius is so excited to see u too when we broke to him the news.

Have a safe trip!


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Falmouth Road Race: Done

Don Patterson running Proof

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Posted by: Uncle Nate at August 17, 2009 8:46 AM

Africa Journal - Making Sense of It All


So it's been several weeks since I've gotten back from my trip to Africa and I'm starting to try and put together my thoughts about it all. The first step in that process has been to compile some of my video and photos into a quick video of what I'm thinking personally. How that plays out professionally will look different, but probably be related.

Click on the image on the left to see it on Revver.

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There is also a version on YouTube, which, a shock to me, already has comments.
You can watch it here:

Posted by: DJP3 at September 14, 2007 12:59 PM

Africa Journal - What's up with the guidebooks?

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Photo courtesy of james_michael_hill

What is the deal with the guidebooks? If orphans and AIDS are such a huge problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, then why is my lonely planet guide book completely devoid of any mention of orphans, AIDS, health care, etc.

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Africa Journal - Stereotypes

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Photo courtesy of james_michael_hill

In the process of getting ready to go to Africa I realize that I'm having to review some stereotypes that I have had but haven't really been aware of.

  • Myth 1: Africa is homogenous. In fact, I am realizing that Africa appears to be far more diverse than America, the continent. Just looking at the variety of races represented in Africa is a starting point to see that.
  • Myth 2: If someone is a black African then they understand other black African's cultures. In fact, I am realizing, from working with a black Nigerian colleague that he doesn't know any more about Zambia than I do.
  • Myth 3: There is an African "problem" to be solved. In fact, as I begin to grasp the diversity of the continent I am also beginning to realize that where there *are* problems, they can be very different in nature. Even the "orphan problem" is drastically different in Zambia than in Sierra Leone.

I am looking forward to working through more of these issues as the trip unfolds. I am also looking for what Africa has to teach Southern California, particularly in regards to technology.

Feeling a little naive today....

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Africa Journal - Traveller's Medicine


Surprisingly, not too many crazy shots are required for travel to South Africa and Zambia. In fact, all I had to do was make sure that I was up to date on my regular immunizations and get a Typhoid vaccination whose effectiveness wears out after two years anyway. This is an interesting data point because it *may* suggest that in terms of medicine and public health these parts of Africa are only different in terms of the scale of the problems, not the scope of the problems. I'm not going anywhere in a jungle, so maybe that would require extra precautions, Africa or not. Basically the places where I am going are - medically speaking - like the U.S.

Except for malaria. Malaria is caused by a parasite that lives in humans and female mosquitoes. It doesn't do anything to the mosquitoes and the mosquitoes just move the parasites from person to person. Over time people who aren't killed by malaria build up a resistance to it, which goes away after they stop being exposed to the parasite. So I have to take Mefloquine (aka Lariam) once a week for six weeks to kill any little buggers that get in my system. My fear of malaria has greatly dropped after getting more information about it and after talking to my Nigerian grad student who thinks of it more like the flu than as a dangerous threat. One of the great side effects of Lariam is "vivid dreams" and "visual disturbances." So after I eat my scone and drink my coffee, I'm downing my Lariam. Bring on the hallucinations!

The CDC has a great section on malaria here and I'm going to try this do-it-yourself mosquito trap while I'm in Africa. What fun!

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Africa Journal - What does it take to get out of poverty?


I serendipitously watched a "TED" tech talk by Hans Rosling about the "developing world." The concept is hard to pin down because the reality is that there is a wide spectrum of poverty in the world. Even within a single African nation. Watch the talk here.

Hans presented some interesting axes on which to think about overcoming poverty. In order to create an economic market you need:

  • Schooling for the participants
  • Health for the participants
  • Information
  • Credit (to buy a bike in the picture on the left)
  • Infrastructure

He also presented a variety of ways to think about the concept of "development." You can be developed in any of these and not necessarily the others:

  • Human Rights
  • Environment
  • Government
  • Economic growth
  • Education
  • Health
  • Culture

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Africa Journal - African Finances

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Photo courtesy of james_michael_hill

The first cultural difference that I've run into has been in booking airline tickets. When I booked some plane flights for internal travel in Africa I used a site call They have an option on their website to pay for your plane tickets immediately or in installments over 3, 6, and 9 months.

This seems to suggest a different approach to managing money, because, of course, the credit card itself is supposed to offer the installment plan for anything you buy. Maybe Kulula offers it as a no-interest or low-interest loan? That would make the terms better than a credit card.

Anyway, something different is happening with money. Does this tie into attitudes about micro-finance? Tip of an iceberg or just random service offered by

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