Monday, April 11, 2011

Clean Water for Elirose

For 2 years Joel and I pumped our own water into old 20 liter oil containers that we had first scoured clean.  After waiting most of the day, we lugged them 200 yards or so to our home.  Fortunately for us, our village had a working (most of the time) foot pump that accessed water from deep within the water table, and went straight into our buckets without being contaminated.  This pump was located fairly close to our house,and still by the time we made it home we were huffing and puffing and covered in sweat and grime.  

Buuut....On the occasions where the pumps broke, this is what the alternative water source looked like:


Lets just say it was not the cleanest water.  And at least a 20-30 minute walk from our house (with empty water containers!) Fortunately for the Americans, back home we had fancy shmancy water filters!  Not so for everyone else in our village. Which is why a big part of my training included water purification and prevention/treatment of diarrheal disease. 

This type of situation and worse goes on all over the world.  Clean water is going to be THE defining humanitarian issue throughout this century.  But its also a relatively simple problem to solve.

Which is why I'm backing this awesome initiative to train our children how to live right, and help others live well.  Check it out at: Clean Water for Elirose.  This is not your normal children's book, and it is guaranteed to not only raise awareness but also promote simple yet effective action. 

Please take a few minutes and check it out!  I happen to know the author and he is one of the most passionate and well-informed guys out there (You can check him out at Trying to Follow: Thoughts on the Journey).  Just give the book a look, and if you don't feel like participating, at the very least you can read it for free online and share it with your own family!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another Weird Thought

Along the same lines, I was thinking today about formula.  Giving Ezra formula was never an option, because he displayed allergies to cow's milk protein, and possibly soy, the 2 main options for formula (unless you want to spend thousands on chemically created hypoallergenic formula made of God-knows what--no thank you!). His tummy could only handle mommy's milk.  So I was thinking, what if we had formula modified from actual humans' milk?  I got an image of hard-working women at an assembly line donating their milk.  And my thought was--gross!!  Just like I know everyone else's would be.  My mind went to their diet, health, medications, chemical exposure, vitamins, possible contamination, and so on.

I offer you this strange image because it sparked a thought--why don't we have the same concern for the actual formulas that we buy for our babies?  What is the diet of those cows?  How is their health?  What kind of medications are they given?  How sanitary are the facilities?  And why would it be so gross to have formula processed from our intended source?

I know I don't know much about baby formula or how it is created, except that it has a base of cow's milk.  And while I'm sure I would have looked for an organic option, it still doesn't answer any of those questions.  Here are the ingredients on an organic label: Organic Reduced Minerals Whey, Organic Non-Fat Milk, Organic Lactose, Organic Glucose Syrup Solids, Organic Palm Oil Or Organic Palm Olein, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic High Oleic (Safflower Or Sunflower Oil), Organic Soy Oil, Organic Whey Protein Concentrate.  Then of course they are fortified with vitamins.

I'm not really making a statement here.  Just thinking publicly.  

A Weird Thought

I've been thinking a lot about boobs lately.  Weird, I know.  But our society has such a twisted focus on anatomy.  While I lived in Mauritania I saw enough boobs to last a lifetime.  They were functional, like an arm or a leg, and about as sexual as my big toe.  They weren't a topic of conversation or of lust.  They just were.

A couple nights ago on the news they were talking about this doll.
It is a doll that makes the motions of breastfeeding.  It comes with an apron for the little girl to wear, so there is no physical contact and nothing indecent about it.  However, Americans are in an uproar and have decided it is completely inappropriate!  Apparently we are supposed to let little kids "remain children," and that it is gross and weird.  But why are people really so disturbed by this?  Surely my niece, who is 3, would enjoy this doll.  She has a little brother and mimics all aspects of his care with her own baby doll, and I have witnessed part of that includes nursing!  Isn't that part of being children?  There is nothing sexual about this doll, but I get the feeling that our hyper-sexual culture is as uncomfortable as they would be if it was a little stripper doll--maybe even more so!

Does anyone have any thoughts about this?