Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Post-Honduras, back to spring semester, updates, links

Since 4 Jan 08, I'm been back from my fun and hot Honduras trip, including a Latin New Year's eve and last day shopping in San Pedro Sula--thanks to Mr. Nando and my gracious host Sandra. Here's a mountain view from near her casa....

While in El Progreso & San Pedro Sula, I saw many fast food franchises (owned by a large soft drink corporation), two big malls with few customers, a large grocery store & many pulperias (small neighborhood stores) and street markets,

a huge export processing zone (EPZ) and heard of more cases of missing-murdered maquila women in San Pedro Sula (as in Ciudad Juarez, MX and other Central American countries). I bonded with Mr. Nando-driver through listening y singing to radio music (Alejandra Guzman muy bien) in Spanish and English and used my debit card to buy groceries and other items (CAFTA?).

Beyond my two previous posts, I also spent some time walking y jostling through street markets and driving through some streets of these two towns. One afternoon, I spent three hours sitting outside a visitation at a funeral home and where I met a young maquila worker, his six month old son (who ended up on my lap ), his young wife, and gradually his extended family-- y all in Spanish. Like many others, he also wanted to leave the maquila and go El Norte for better pay and work.

At the same time, I experienced-learned some limitations of infrastructures of roads, drinkable water, sewers (some serious flooding my last night in El Progreso), schools, ATMs, poverty, and public safety (bank and store guards with large guns and other security guards with machetes), and my need to work on my Spanish and to retain my improved gringa comprehension. Unlike Bangladesh, no loadshedding, however.

Since my return, I've been recovering-resting, & making my transition to cold Illinois and the start of the spring semester at my university. I am teaching two upper division classes: Globalization & Development and Comparative Race-Ethnic (gender-sexuality....) Relations. Hence I will be sharing some new links, thoughts, and insights from these classes and my students.

Some recent and interesting posts during the past month:

Shawn at Uncultured Project has a a very insightful post-videos-photos on post Cyclone Sidr aid efforts--hard lessons of aid work. I will be using much of his site and videos in my globalization class.

The Nari Jibon bloggers have continued their efforts in English and Bangla. Four bloggers (in English and Bangla) received awards for their efforts and also participated in a video training workshop conducted by Shawn. You can follow this link to the bloggers' names and their prize winning efforts.

Rezwan has an excellent new post on social media-nonprofits-NGOs.

Last but not least, the USA is in the midst of primaries for selecting the next president, and I will leave those thoughts for another post. An interesting exchange on race x gender transpired on Democracy Now between Gloria Steinem and Dr. Melissa Harris-Lacewell about issues raised by Steinem's op-ed article.

And I've been paying attention to las gatas....and their statement on peaceful dreams....

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