Archive for January, 2011

January 19, 2011

With my own two hands

I wish I could say this post was going to be upbeat and happy but instead I am going to share with you the life-changing experience I had today during my global studies class. (What I personally can share with you will never evoke as much emotion as every person in that room felt today but I will try my hardest)
This trip is about thinking globally but acting locally, and knowing with your own hands you can change the world. This is exactly what professor Kottler did, during his visit to Nepal 6 years ago he first learned of the disappearance of school-age girls. No one of the community would explain to him exactly what was going until he cornered the school principal that shared with himafter the 3rd grade public school costs money and without any financial support from home the family chooses to sell their children into sex slavery. This meaning that at the age of 12 they will be staying in a brothel where most likely on the first day they will get raped 10-15 times. HIV positive men in Nepal believe that in order to cure their HIV they need to have sex with a virgin. The girls will work for the next 3 years or until they are too sick to work anymore. It is said that about 12,000 girls are sold or abducted into sex slavery each year. The families choose this life for them because they believe it is better than having them be apart of the 25,000 people that starve to death each year. It is sad that families choose that those 3 years of being raped but being fed are better than starving.
In order to keep these girls in school, its a mere 50 dollarswhen Mr. Kottler heard this he made the first move to improving these girls lives. He took 50 dollars out of his pocket and that 50 dollars began it all. He told that principal that the girl that was in risk of being taken into slaverystays. At that point, he made a vow, every year he would return and make sure that those girls would stop disappearing.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, placed between two powerhouse countries, India and China. If the government were to find out about this program Kottler has started, they would show up in that community to take the money for themselves, I am adding this to prove how dysfunctional their country really is. Today Mr. Kottler has given over 100 girls the opportunity with scholarships to stay in school. The first girl that ever received a scholarship from him, Enu, is now the first girl from their country to go to college. Please understand that this social justice project was started by one man, and has now helped many more people. I hope I have tugged at your heart a little today and made you realize how our lives compare to others. If you want to learn more about this project visit:
I promise my next update will be more lighthearted, I appreciate everyone for reading this and know I am very thankful for you all.

January 17, 2011

Suite life on deck


Boarded the ship for the first time this afternoon, and I was absolutely blown away. I have never been aboard a cruise ship before and had no idea what to expect, this has exceeded all expectations. I wish I could take a million pictures and send them to everyone but since I cant do that, I will try my hardest to explain the best I can. First, the ship is HUGE, let me repeat that, when I get off the elevator on my floor I have to pass at least 50 other rooms until I get to mine. My room is tiny, but has a lot of storage places, drawers, etc. The bathroom is tucked away, and actually has a good size shower for how small it is. The ship has granite counter tops everywhere, the stairways have quotes from famous travelers on them, the pool is tiny, there is a basketball hoop on the observation deck, the classrooms are so cozy and personal, so far I am in love this with this ship.
I am anxious to actually set off tomorrow, I board the ship at 7 AM and help out with everyone else boarding. Im nervous to finally meet my roommate, and Im sure she wont appreciate the fact I threw my clothes all over the room. So far everyone that I have met have been really outgoing and they all seem very fun. I feel like a freshman in college again, the cross between absolute nervousness and excitement.

Today was the day I said my goodbyes and boarded the ship for good. I said goodbye to my mom at the hotel before I left and it ended up being harder than I thought. I cried my entire way to the ship and the poor taxi driver had to deal with my sob-fest. It was the first day with everyone aboard, people started boarding at 8 AM and it was absolute chaos. Its a lot more fun having everyone on the ship now. I have met everyone from the Netherlands to someone that lives not even 15 minutes from me in Maple Grove. Its almost like we have a world within a world going on in this ship. I met my roommate halfway through the day and I am so happy on who I am put with. Her name is Kristen, and she is a sophomore from a school in Charleston. She seems like such an easy-going, free-spirited person and Im very excited about this.
We had our life safety drill today; we all had to put on our life vests and were taught how to correctly put them on and what to do in case a bad situation arose. It was during the safety drill that I first felt the waves hitting the boat, you could slowly see everyone rocking back and forth, and I had to ask the girl next to me to make sure that I wasnt just feeling things.
This experience is finally becoming surreal to me, we finally set sail today at 8 PM, I am ready to be on the open sea, and to be in Dominica in 4 days.

So we did it! We set sail at 8 PM last night, we all went to the end of the boat and waved goodbye to all the parents, it was truly one of those experiences I will never forget. I started to feel seasick about a hour after we took off, but as of right now I feel fine! I slept like a baby last night, our room is pitch black and we have the motor sound in the background and it was the perfect equation for a good nights sleep.
We have spent most of the day in the union doing orientation like things, because the rocking of the boat is so soothing now almost half the people were sleeping by 5 minutes into the presentations. I havent met very many more people today but I figure since we start classes tomorrow that it will be there where we meet the majority of the people. We still have a packed night ahead of us: reading groups for the book Three Cups of Tea, listen to alumni speak about their experience, and then an involvement symposium (activity fair). I am loving this trip so far, everything is beyond expected, in a good way!

I took some days off of writing in order to get the full experience of the ship. We are now in port in Dominica, and I am snorkeling in the Champagne reef later today, and visiting the Traglafer Falls tomorrow.
To recap the last couple of days:
We started classes last Friday (1/14/11), I didnt have any classes the A day so I took full advantage of lying out in the sun. Saturday is when my classes started bright and early at 8 AM. I had 4 classes all day consisting of: International Perspective on Family Violence, Global Studies, Sex & Gender in Cross Cultural Perspective, and then Altruism & Social Justice. I loved every class, and a big reason behind that is how passionate each teacher was. Each class has multiple FDPs (field development practica) which involve service projects, or even just learning the history of each of these countries. We have to sign up for a certain amount in order to pass classes but the options they give us for them are activities most people would do without having to. In Dominica (where we are now) there arent very many options for FDPs, most of the students are either doing 4×4 jeep rides, or visiting the multiple watering holes that are famously known.
We have been spending most of our time outside the past couple of days, the weather has been staying around 85 each day, so much better than back at UND. I am already having the time of my life and were not even a week into this trip!