Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Japanese Cat Cafe (Neko Cafe)

Wanna see the photos from my visit to the Japanese Cat Cafe (Neko Cafe)? Just go to  Part 5: The Cat Cafe!!!!!  

Sunday, March 03, 2013

BRAINS: Bi-Annual Report of the Assessment of Income Needs

The head of mission stumbled back to the office. It'd been a long day at the ministry of health's office and everyone just moved so slowly, barely making eye contact, mumbling in some strange language. They were never fast on the best of days and today, they seemed to be barely animate - slumped on desks sleeping, and shuffling around in the back offices.  The MOH never bothered to come out of the office to greet him - he was often 2 or 3 hours late for meetings and it would be unforgivably rude to leave since the organization needed his approval to open a new clinic. After 7 hours, he gave up and returned back to the office. The roads were strangely empty - the normal Thursday night activities all seemed to be canceled and doors appeared to be bolted and no one was around.

It was late already and the staff had headed home so he had the office to himself. "I'm going to have to talk to security tomorrow morning, " he thought abstractedly, "I forgot to do security check radio call this evening and they never called me. In fact - there didn't seem to be anyone on the gate when I drove in. Weird. Security has really done down hill in the past few weeks. Lots of guards just not returning after their first night shift. Unacceptable"

"I'll just check some emails from HQ and respond before going to the house," he thought. Logging on, he turned on the radio and there was nothing but static. Odd he thought. He then checked his phone to see if there were any texts... just a few stupid ones from the Deputy HOM. "What an airhead she is," he thought. All the text said was: BRAINS. "What is this? Some new stupid acronym I have to learn? Oh SHIT, Its the Bi-Annual Report of the Assessment of Income Needs. Shit. I need to work on that stupid report. Its due tomorrow. Shit shit shit. Well, if I pretend I never saw the email, I can buy some time. "

The slow email finally loaded - nagging reports from HQ again - BRAINS! WE NEED BRAINS! Another nagging email reminding him that the 8Month report was 2 weeks past due. And three messages from Finance telling him the tranche was delayed because he needed to send the BRAINS report. Same old same old. "No message from my girlfriend," he thought angrily "she's probably out at a party, hanging out with that jerk Marc in HQ who thinks he's so great because he has a goatee. Damn, I wish I was back at HQ having a beer with the guys from procurement rather than here filling out the BRAINS report.  WHen the hell is HR going to get me a financial officer to help with these stupid unnecessary reports? I haven't even been out to the clinic in weeks to see what is going on with that strange new illness that they are struggling with out in the mobile site. Typical - I became an aid worker to help people and all I do is kill trees to write stupid reports."

He searched in vain for the email that outlined the format for the BRAINS report." Elena, the deputy probably downloaded it onto her computer he thought... typical. And of course she goes home early every Thursday.". A strange moaning sound caught his attention. It appeared to be coming from the driver's shed. He walked out to the shed - "Hey guys, could you turn down the TV? I'm trying to work." he started as he turned the corner... strangely the tv was off and no one was in the shed. "Weird." He saw a shuffling movement in the trees. "Is that you Fidele? Have you seen Elena?" he called. A muffled groan replied.

"Look - I'm looking for the BRAINS form. Do you know where it might be?"  "BRAINNNSSSSS" came the reply. "Yes, the BRAINS form. Know where it is?" "BRAINNNNNNSSSSSSS" came a louder reply. "Yes! I need to turn it in by tomorrow. Can you help me?" "BRAINNNNNSSSSSS" came the answer.

"Shit. Fine. I'll figure it out myself." he said. "Dickhead. Serves me right for asking a log admin to do something beyond organizing the cleaning schedule." Turning around, he returned to the office - the shuffling shape moved deeper into the driver's shed.

Arriving back in his office - he heard some paper shuffling in Elena's office. "Hey! You are back!" he said turning the corner into her office. But it wasn't Elena. It was....

something much much worse....

He began to back away slowly - "no, it can't be! no! No!" he mumbled in horror backing up again.

"Brainnnnssssss" came the reply from the ghoul behind the desk.

"BRAINNNSSSSS" it hissed in a hideous moan revealing rotted teeth and putrid breath.

He began to cry and fall slowly to the floor. It was all over. "The horror - the horror!" he thought. "there's no escaping my fate now."

The head of finance had caught the early flight in. No one had informed him. The BRAINS report would not be denied..

Friday, March 01, 2013

How the media harms one survivor of rape

Please read this article called:  Salacious, voyeuristic, insensitive: How the media harms one survivor of rape | Women Under Siege Project.

I just learned about it and the author, Lauren Wolfe, is speaking at the UN on March 6 at 10am about this issue. If you are in NYC, please go!

A really important article that talks about the media's morbid fascination with rape and desire to exploit survivors. Of course this media is also driven by the general public. I was horrified to read that after hearing about her ordeal, two men felt it necessary to write to her to ask her if she "enjoyed her daily rapes".

Amanda Lindhout is an amazing survivor. Her speaking out helps us fight against this horrible crime. Her foundation, The Global Enrichment Foundation,  works to support peace and development in Somalia. I will be making a donation.