If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to*
I am a mama by choice. By design, I am someone who cares deeply about social justice, reducing poverty, and working with others to increase the chance that children and families all over the world have a future. It appears that I will go all over the world in pursuit of learning and collecting information and evidence that can somehow persuade the world to relieve hunger and deprivation. I want children and families to have hope, opportunities, basic necessities and safety.
I have been married about 15 years to a kind, caring, intelligent, athletic men, who is a superb daddy. I have two fun, funny, smart, athletic, creative, musical kids that give me a run for my money every day. I am a professor at Boston University School of Public Health in Boston Massachusetts. I usually run daily. I love the outdoors and my greatest ideas usually come to me running up hills.
In college I decided my career would be global and I would work towards social justice. I am a researcher focusing on applied research and evaluation to improve programs and policies that affect poor families. I work on projects in AIDS and/or conflict-affected countries. My goal in life is to help contribute to building social protection systems for the world’s poorest children and families. We need programs and policies that empower people, improve health and human development, create jobs, and foster economic development in families and communities.
I am writing a blog because I am a story teller. As an academic, I tell stories in reports and journal articles, but the process of publication is too long. The stories are piling up inside me and beginning to suffocate me. The stories … of girls in Indian brothels; kids running from child soldiers in Liberia; hunger and desperation in Mozambique; rape camps and child murders in Bosnia; orphaned and desperately poor children throughout Africa; living with AIDS and stigma in India; child witnessing the murder of mothers and fathers; machetes, grenades, guns, AIDS, malaria, apathy and so on… have to come out.
Maybe more importantly, I also have stories of resiliency, persistence, strength, forgiveness, renewal, faith, joy, simplicity, and survival. I see all these things during my travels. People tell me their stories as I endlessly ask questions. In the eyes and the words of our team members, respondents, and others, I witness strength undefeatable.
In 2012, my New Year’s resolution was to start a blog. I need to slow down a bit. I want to reflect more. I am seeing so much of the world and meeting so many people so quickly. In the last two years I’ve been to Bosnia, Canada, Ghana, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, the UK, and leave shortly for the DRC. Some of these places I’ve been to multiple or many times. But I don’t just look at buildings or attend meetings. I look into the eyes of people and I try to understand their lives, their reality. Sometimes the weight of their stories can crush a little person like myself. So let me share and carry a bit for me, won’t you?
With this blog, I’d like to connect to students more, share the world – as I am seeing it – with my team members around the world (from Bosnia, Liberia, India, Malawi etc.). And, I want to share my photos and experiences with my children, colleagues, family, and friends. I hope you enjoy…
*Breathe by Anna Nalick