Thursday, May 28, 2015

Raising Readers

Everyone knows how important it is to nurture children in the habit of reading.  That's hard to do in places like Haiti, where a significant portion of the population has never been to school. Books are scarce even for those lucky enough to be in school; students rarely get their hands on a book that isn't a textbook.
Mercy Beyond Borders now has its own small (but growing) lending library in one of the Boarding Lodges for our Scholars in Gros Morne, Haiti. Most of the books are in French, the language of instruction at the high school level. Novels, biographies, adventure stories, romances (favorites!).  The world is opening up for our Scholars through reading...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Got Mud?

Welcome to summer in South Sudan! Next time you are traveling and tempted to complain (not that you ever would) about tedious lines at an overcrowded airport or a nasty pothole in your otherwise nicely paved highway or a roadside restroom that isn't, shall we say, quite up to your standards, consider the challenges of moving around in South Sudan during the annual 6 month rainy season, from April to September.  Only the brave need apply.... And yes, our intrepid MBB staff continue to "make the rounds" visiting our micro-enterprise women's groups and our scholarship recipients in far-flung locales across the-country-that-has-no-functioning-infrastructure.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Oftentimes the tallest object in an African village is a termite mound.  "Mound" is actually the polite way of saying "poop." Yes, termite who live under the ground excrete a substance that dries into somehing hard and concrete-like.
Year by year, the poop pushes higher into the sky, evidence of the zillions of unseen but active insects that live below.  We humans are very very much in the minority on this planet.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Chikungunya! Say it aloud:  CHICK-uhn-GUN-yuh.  What is it? 
Quick quiz:
a) It's the latest trendy dance craze.

b) It's a tasty creole dinner recipe

c) It's a nasty mosquito-borne illness

d) It's a newly-discovered Amazonian dialect

Pat yourself on the back if you answered "c". Chikungunya is a tropical disease transmitted by the daytime bite of a mosquito. Dubbed "break-bone disease" because of the joint pain it causes, it is similar to malaria. Its symptoms are usually more severe but less long-lasting. Chikungunya appeared for the first time ever in Haiti last year, apparently via mosquitoes carried in inadvertently by visitors. All the MBB staff in Haiti suffered from it for a few days before it mercifully ebbed.