It’s been a busy week. First I visited the sleep clinic. No help there. After an hour long interview about my sleeping habits he said he would need to watch me sleep – creepy, right? I’m also keeping a sleep log which is actually making me more anxious at bedtime. I keep looking at my watch when I get sleepy so that I’ll be able to put the accurate hours down which only keeps me up longer.
Next, I had my first Alexander technique class. I have a wonderful teacher named Morgan, and since she’s in her final semester of certification, the classes are almost free. If you’ve never heard about good old Alexander here’s a brief description. It’s very popular among actors, musicians, dancers, and general performers because it’s about optimizing movement, being aware of your body, developing poise, and releasing unnecessary tension. I have long suffered from Quasimodo posture – or should I say it’s really my boyfriend who suffers from my Quasimodo posture – so the
main reason for taking this course is to improve my posture. My role model for elegant posture would have to be Kate Bekinsale.
When I first saw her in Emma, I couldn’t focus on the movie because I kept thinking, how is this woman’s neck ten inches long? I would have to say she played the role better than Gwyenth Paltrow purely for her posture.
But now for the good stuff! I met with Caitlin Kelley, founder of Africa Volunteer Corps, and avid reader of the HeSo project (hey girl!) yesterday and had a great time. She started this non-profit to help skilled locals find jobs in community development and social progress. While in Tanzania, she discovered that there was a large pool of motivated, highly qualified locals who had no job opportunities. At the same time, international volunteers were taking up job positions that the locals needed.
I saw this first hand when I lived in Mozambique. People working for International non-profits were being paid $40,000-$50,000 to do practically nothing. Sometimes they would just visit a school, take a picture, and call it a day. Their salaries gave them millionaire lifestyles in Mozambique. They had guards, cooks, and housekeepers. They ate at fancy restaurants every night. They spent their days on the beach. They drove alone in 8 seat SUVs when most locals would squeeze ten people into the back of a truck, that’s if they were lucky enough to get a ride. They presented a completely unattainable lifestyle for most Mozambicans which can’t help but cause envy- heck I was jealous. I believe that their presence did more harm than good. There’s nothing they did that a local couldn’t have done and for far less money.
This is an issue that I have struggled with. When I went to Kenya last year my plane ticket alone cost $1,500. I thought, if I just donate that money to a non-profit in Kenya the money would go so much further. However, nothing impacts you more than actually meeting the people who you are helping, and realizing that they are the ones helping you. If I wrote a check I would be done with it, but now those people are always in my heart and I can’t forget them. But at the same time, I was doing construction work, which is not my forte, and there’s hundreds of construction workers there who need jobs.
So to make a long discussion with myself short, nothing changes you as positively as seeing other cultures, and giving back, but I also think there’s a need for an organization like Africa Volunteer Corps that doesn’t look at developing countries like they need to be rescued. They have all the talent, resources, and possibilities they need. That is why I will be working with Caitlin – writing blog entries for the website, updating the spreadsheets, and filling in the cracks. I’m very excited for my new role, and it’s definitely a HeSo fulfilling project. YAH!
And my last bit of good news is that my favorite Blogger, Ree Drummond, is going to have a new show on the Food Network. If you’ve never visited The Pioneer Woman she posts great recipes, photography tips, and home decorating ideas. I love her sense of humor and style, and I’ve been following her for 2 years now, so it feels like one of my good friends just got a t.v. show deal. I’m also really inspired that she was able to make a huge career out of doing what she loves. She gets a HeSo award!