Things I’ve been thinking about: May 1st, 2014

1. Can Elinor Ostrom’s work help us understand what to do about antibacterial resistance? I’ve been reading a lot of Ostrom in an attempt to develop an opinion, but it’s tough going for me.  Econ was never my strong suit. Anyone smarter than me want to chime in and explain it? 2. How do we… Read More »

Language, Power, and Global Health: the privilege of speaking English

  My first couple of overseas jobs were pretty much just being the native English speaker on staff. Right after undergrad, I was an intern with the American University in Cairo. I drafted or edited every piece of writing that came out of our office. Later on, after my master’s degree, I was an intern… Read More »

What we call home

Before I came to Kyrgyzstan, I spent three months in Central New York, within a hundred miles of where I was born.  It was the longest time I’d spent there since 1993 when I left for college, and I left with no intention of ever returning. Syracuse isn’t a bad place to be a kid,… Read More »

The Questions I Ask

Americans are weirdly private people. Nearly every other culture I’ve experienced involved sharing more personal information with strangers than your average American wants to provide. It used to feel really uncomfortable. (Okay, it stills tends to feel uncomfortable.) But I have a technique now – I lean in. I counter intrusive-feeling personal questions with nosy… Read More »

Predicting the Weather

A Russia DJ named Dima   Maybe ten years ago, the project I worked for had a driver named Dima. Dima was a rockstar. He was exceptional in every way. Sure, he could pilot you unscathed through bad traffic and worse roads, but that was the least of his talents. Dima could jumpstart a car… Read More »

I would suck at being poor. And so would you.

I was thinking today how bad I would be at being poor. I’m great at being broke. I handle broke like a champion. But broke isn’t poor. Broke is temporary with better things as a possibility. Poor is generally permanent; at the very least it feels that way. Poor has no clear way out. You… Read More »

Field Notes from the Development Industry: 1/13/2013

1. Someone asked me if the new State Department Global Health Diplomacy office is likely to be hiring. Unfortunately, I’d guess no. All the major positions will most likely be staffed with career foreign service officers. They may be hiring support staff. They could pull that staff from existing government administrative employees, or they could… Read More »