Thursday, December 30, 2004


The horriying accounts continue to come pouring in from Asia, followed by worried calls from some friends and family.
"So... Are you still going?" "Yes, Rajasthan is to Tamil Nadu like Seattle is to the Gulf of Mexico. But a lot dryer."
Of course I'm still going, but to South India?

Today I checked out the Center for Disease Control's Tsunami notice for travelers. They just posted this yesterday, which to me seems a bit delayed since the disaster began unfolding Sunday.

As I expected, they warn of possible outbreaks of deliciously old school cholera and typhoid, as well as the old Hep A and dysentary stanbys. Apparently, there's a Hep E that's a risk as well. I only got shots for A & B.

But it gets better... (mom, if you're reading, stop now)

Rodent and other animal associated diseases may also pose a greater risk in the aftermath of a tsunami. Leptospirosis may occur in those who wade, swim, or bathe in waters contaminated by animal urine. Plague usually causes infection through the bite of rodent fleas, but also may be acquired by direct contact with infectious materials or inhalation of infective droplets. In addition, exposure to animal bites, most notably dogs in resource-poor countries, pose a risk for infections such as rabies. There may also be an increase in snake bites when natural habitat is disturbed.
Because of standing water in a tropical environment, mosquito breeding can become a problem and outbreaks of malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue are possibilities. Travelers should be advised that mosquito protection will be essential in these settings.

If you're, um, dying to read more, here's the link:

So, ladies and gents, here were have a few key reasons that 35M ol Dubya has proposed to donate may not cut the mustard. Seriously, if Spain--where the work day gets going around noon--got its act together to donate 35m Euro, we've got to do better than that.

On a selfish note, I had really, really wanted to see south India. And not just Goa! Kerala beaches, Christian shrines in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry coffee culture...

What will be the State of the World in two months? Lester Brown, tell us... Peer into your dark globe.

Or... Check out the Averting Natural Disasters chapter in 2001's State of the World, 2001.




Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Blushing Blogista

My, my, I never thought I'd join the so-dubbed bloggosphere. But here I am, leaping into the fray! Sometime between snooping on celebs via, admiring photos at, and cribbing notes on what brilliant socio-political essay I skipped in the Economist from, it occurred to me that it might be fun to have my own. But this site is also practical, since I leave for India next week. It seems to be the best way to keep in touch with pals and fretting family back home during my three months overseas.

I will be volunteering for the first two months with the Veerni Project ( English with their Creative Literacy Programme on behalf of Full Circle ( I'll also be using this forum to post my reactions to this work experience (full disclosure: Teri's postings at about her adventures with Veerni in Jodhpur also inspired me to get my own space). I am currently looking out at a salt-studded, frigid Lexington Avenue, guessing the scenery will be a bit different over there. Gee whiz, I can hardly believe it's so soon.

I can also not believe the news. The latest is that the earthquake-driven tsunami has ended 44,000 lives--now 50,000 according to the newest BBC News posting ( but this is day three. So the count will undoubtedly go up.

What a note to begin on.


(for those not reared in Calcutta--oops, Kolkata--Golap is Rose in Bengali)