Sunday, July 27, 2008

And So It Is.

When I was in college, one of my professors spoke publicly about the experience of losing his wife. He talked about walking around in the world, in the days after her death, wondering how it could be possible that the sky wasn’t falling down. Wondering how so many people could be just walking around, living their lives, unaware that the foundation of earth that had just shifted.

Yesterday, my friend Tyson’s wife died. I never met Leslie, but I do know some things about her. I know that Leslie loved her son TJ and her husband Tyson in a beautiful, true way. I know that she was thoughtful and caring. I know that she had strength and bravery in the face of cancer. I know that, for 32 years, she was a light.

It is hard to imagine that the sky is not falling today.
It is hard to imagine that we all go about our lives as if today is the same as yesterday.
When today, Leslie is no longer in the world.


Last Tuesday, my friend Betsy gave birth to her second child – Jett Gibson Delzer. With joy and reverence and celebration, we welcome his new, unique life into our world.

Today, at the Mataderos Fair in Buenos Aires, Argentina, people were dancing. Guitars strumming, lights and faces aglow, hands in the air, skirts twirling ... joy abounded in the streets.

And tomorrow is my Dad’s birthday. His years of living have had a profound impact on every aspect of my own life, in a way that leaves me shaking my head with wonder and gratitude. He has taught me about living a thoughtful life – a life full of love and laughter and abundant celebration.


And so it is.
Joy and pain – intertwined in us all.
On our faces and in our eyes.
As we ride the bus and walk down the street and step into the quiet of our homes.

May we approach and carry one another gently.
With respect for falling skies and dancing feet.
And gratitude for the ties between us all.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Eric and I are both very excited about our volunteer placements in Buenos Aires. An organization called HelpArgentina ( has coordinated our stay here - everything from volunteer placements to housing and Spanish lessons. Their goal is to bring international volunteer resources into local NGOs, relieving that coordination burden from their partner organizations. HelpArgentina also raises funds for all the organizations they work with. Fantastic.

Eric is working for an organization called EcoClubes ( - they organize youth clubs to raise awareness and provide solutions for environmental problems in Argentina. He is going to be working with the Executive Director to create a national water program that will address the most immediate water concerns throughout the country. Its perfect for Eric, and I love his excited dinner chatter about new kinds of water filters, levels of arsenic in the water around the country and the work of EcoClubes.

I am thrilled to be working with an organization called If aren't familiar with them, stop now and visit their website ( - you won't regret it. [Sidenote: I found myself in tears multiple times during my first read-through. Don't miss their 'First Time Here?', 'Vision and MIssion' and 'Imagine" sections]. Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives. I will be splitting my time at Idealist between 3 different projects:
1. Consulting with the Volunteer Program staff, assisting them to develop and improve their local volunteer program.
2. Doing Idealist outreach (reasearch and marketing) geared specifically towards non-profits in Minnesota.
3. Researching a new country for Idealist's expansion - I'm going to focus on profiling the Northern Territory of Australia.

One of the fun features of the Idealist website is that it features new user comments every day. I love this one from today:
“I am inspired by and grateful for this website. There is more good in this world than is reported in the mainstream media and more beauty and hope than is acknowledged in your typical run of the mill cubicle filled office. I have a vision of a better life for myself and the people around me, so this seems like a good place to join up." - Ginger

A Sunday Afternoon Walk.


The heat of the Haitian sun still on our skin, Eric and I stepped off the plane and onto Argentine ground. With the whirl of the Buenos Aires airport spinning around us, Eric and I quickly realized that we were truly in a new place - and were about to embark on an adventure that was all its own.

In our first few days of exploring, we discovered:
* It's winter in Buenos Aires! Since Argentina is in the Southern hemisphere, their seasons are opposite of our seasons in Minnesota. They have a mild winter (temps ranging from 35 - 60 F), but we were surprised by how chilly it felt. Needless to say, one our first tasks was to find light jackets for both of us. [Sidenote: mission accomplished. Mine is cute and black with big, funky buttons - Perfect.]
* The Spanish spoken here is Castellano - a unique and beautiful version of Spanish, with lots of "sh" sounds. I'm excited to learn it.
* This city is b e a u t i f u l. Eric and I are both really enjoying learning about the history of Argentina, and of Buenos Aires - as its hard to separate history from all that we're seeing all around us. There are tremendous European influences in the architecture of the city - French, Spanish, German, Italian. In fact, they say that Buenos Aires was designed "with an eye toward Europe". We have found ourselves, on countless ocassions, walking down beautiful cobblestone or surrounded by grand, lovely buildings and shaking our heads in disbelief that we are in South America.
* The streets are lined with cafes and little stores and delicious pastries. Dulce de Leche (delicious carmel) seems to be their speciality. YUM.
* Everyone (everyone) greets with a kiss (un beso). From middles school boys to business associates to old friends - besos all around. A simple lean to the left and kiss on the right, starts and ends every interaction. I love it.
* There is much to see and much to learn here. The history and culture of Argentina is complex - with great divides between the rich and the poor, the lighter skinned and darker skinned, the city and the country.

With open hands and hearts, we begin to see and experience and walk and learn and greet and love all that there is for us here. With open hands and hearts, we begin.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On The Road Again.

After a wonderful visit home, Eric and I are on the road again. On a whirlwind visit to Nicaragua, we visited the Center for Development in Central America ( - the organization Eric volunteered for during parts of 2004, 2005 and 2006. We visited friends, took a day trip to the mountain of El Povenir, participated in seminars about Nicaraguan history and the CDCA, and enjoyed time in Managua. It was a great visit.

(On the bus...)

An Invitation.

I have been deeply affected by the experience of living and working in Source Chaudes, Haiti. I will forever be changed because of the people I've met, the stories I've heard and the inspriational efforts I've observed there. Despite the challenging environment, limited resources and grassroots struggles, AMURT - Haiti is doing incredible work in rural Haiti. They are making a tangible difference in peoples lives - each and every day. I've seen it.

I invite and encourage you to support the work of AMURT - Haiti, in whatever way you can. Drop their staff a note of encouragement at, "Adopt-A-Project" at (click on Americas), or send a general donation to the AMURT office in Maryland. I can personally attest to that all donations to AMURT - Haiti are deeply appreciated and are put to good use.

6810 Tilden Lane
Rockville, MD 20852
[This is a global AMURT office, designate donations for AMURT - Haiti.]

Note: As part of my work at AMURT, I created organizational materials (handbooks, flyers, powerpoints, brochures, etc) for them. I am not able to easily attach the materials to this blog, but they are all emailable. If you're interested in donating, but would like more information - please let me know.

AMURT - Haiti Commercial.

While we were volunteering in Haiti, a filmmaker donated his time and talent to make a commercial for AMURT. Its beautifully done, and is a fun way to see some of the people and places that Eric and I came to love during our time there.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Favorite.

There are many moments in time, people and experiences from our time in Haiti that I will humbly treasure for years to come. In my remembering of Haiti, this photo has become a favorite - and favorites should be shared.


For 10 hours, on the 10th day of each month, photographer friends (known and unknown) from around the world are taking photos. Here is my first '10 on 10'. May 2008, Haiti.