So far, so good

What for should I ask more

Monday, August 30, 2010

UNICEF USA update: Hope for Pakistan's kids

I'm glad to receive an email update from UNICEF USA's Caryl Stern as regards the progress they're making in Pakistan. The update (from where the pictures below come from) says:

...The result? More clean water. More immunizations. Thousands of children spared...

Summer heat and flooding are combining to create ideal conditions for malaria and water-borne diseases. UNICEF’s number one focus continues to be providing clean water, hygiene and immunizations. As of (August 26), UNICEF is providing clean water to 2 million people...

...To date, UNICEF has:

- Immunized 800,000 children against deadly diseases;
- Restored 490 water supply systems;
- Delivered 385,000 water cleaning tablets and sachets;
- Distributed hygiene supplies – 10,000 jerry cans, 39,000 buckets, 2,300 nerox filters;
- Mobilized the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources to undertake water testing and chlorination in severely impacted districts;
- Launched immunization campaigns in 38 districts, immunizing 245,000 people from measles and water-borne diseases;
- Provided mobile medical services to reach stranded children and pregnant women at risk of malnutrition and disease; and
- Brought 5 public health facilities online to provide antenatal and postnatal care and treat ailments.

A lot has been done, more can be done, more needs to be done. We can be the means by which the kids in Pakistan's flooded villages can be given a fighting chance. You can donate HERE.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Cyberspacefinds: Virtual Bubble Wrap (R)

Sometimes, oftentimes, the packaging is more interesting than the contents it protects.

For those among us who can't afford to buy gizmos and gadgets just too have the chance to *pop!* those amazing Bubble Wrap buttons, cyberspace now offers an environment-friendly alternative. Well, I think I'm about 14 years too late since this explosive addiction has been online since 1996 according to the Virtual Bubble Wrap front page. Then again, better late than never!

Happy popping!

I pop bubble wrap at 1.81 bubbles per second!

I popped 196 bubbles in 1 minute and 48.4 seconds
Can you beat my score?

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Be a hero for the environment! Make every peso count!

If ever you see the volunteers of the World Wildlife Fund at MRT stations, the malls, or underpasses of Makati, please give them a few minutes of your time. Or at least take the brochure they're handing out. They're not out to sell you something superfluous; if at all, they're helping you help the planet become better.

Listen to them. If you like what you hear, sign up to be a monthly donor. Make do with less coffee per week, that pack of cigarettes, or the almost obligatory weekly movie. Contributions to the World Wildlife Fund are gifts that keep on giving.

You don't have to lose your life to be hailed a hero. Visit the World Wildlife Fund online to see how else you can be part of the planet's last hope.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

The dead maybe luckier: 6M kid-"survivors" desperately need help in Pakistan

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. ~ The Talmud

Reposting this email I received from the United States Fund for UNICEF.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1562/Zaidi
"8-year-old Amreen washes dishes in rainwater in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, where an estimated 2.5 million of the province's 3.5 million residents have been affected by the disaster. She's just one of the 6 million children in desperate need of clean water to stave off certain outbreaks of disease."
- from UNICEF USA's blog Field Notes

UNICEF's Pakistan Disaster Relief Operations in Jeopardy Due to Funding Shortage
6 Million Children in Desperate Need - Deadly water-borne diseases threaten child survival

NEW YORK/ISLAMABAD (Tuesday, August 17, 2010) -- UNICEF warned today that serious funding shortfalls are jeopardizing its humanitarian operation in Pakistan. UNICEF is extremely concerned at the lack of funds for its water and sanitation operation, with millions of children at risk from water-borne diseases.

"Providing clean water and adequate sanitation is key to the survival of millions of flood affected people in Pakistan. In terms of numbers of people needing life-saving assistance, this emergency is bigger than the Tsunami, Haiti, and the last Pakistan earthquake put together," said UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Martin Mogwanja.

"UNICEF is currently providing enough clean water for 1.3 million people every day, but millions more need the same services. We urgently need to scale up the distribution of water. If we are not able to do so because of lack of funding, water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery will spread and begin killing affected populations, especially children, already weak and vulnerable to disease and malnutrition," added Mogwanja.

The Government of Pakistan estimates 20 million people overall have been hit by the flood crises, and according to the United Nations at least 15 million people have been seriously affected, half of whom are children.

"It is unbearable to think that six million kids in immediate danger may not get clean water, nutrition and shelter because of a funding shortage," said President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl Stern. "UNICEF is completely dependent on voluntary donations, if we don't raise funds, we can't respond to this emergency. Please help us get word out, and please donate whatever you can to help us meet the need. Even a dollar will be put to good use and help save lives."

UNICEF is concerned that the floods have hit "the poorest of the poor," those least able to survive the present harsh conditions. The top concerns are water-borne diseases, acute respiratory infections, skin diseases and malnutrition rates, already dangerously high in many flood-affected regions of Pakistan.

Polio is endemic and measles still a threat, says UNICEF, which, together with WHO and Government, is carrying out polio and measles vaccinations at relief centers. UNICEF is also supplying oral rehydration solution, a home based treatment for diarrhea, but notes that this treatment is also in short supply due to funding constraints.

For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:

Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS (1-800-367-5437)
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10016

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cyberspacefinds: The Big Picture

There are photoblogs and then there is Boston Globe's news photoblog Big Picture.

This site is literally and figuratively a treasure-trove of screen-filling images captured from all over the planet- and sometimes beyond. The Big Picture, maintained by web developer Alan Taylor, sources its images from traditional news-gathering agencies like AP and Reuters and from the occasional non-professional contributors. It showcases snapshots of current events like the recent landslides in China and the struggles of the survivors of Pakistani floods in vivid details that transports the viewer into where the action is. At times, the Big Picture captures common threads that bind humanity like Stormy Skies or the joy of photography itself through features like In Silhouette.

I sometimes spend hours on end just wading through 30-40-picture sets. There are quick one-line captions contextualizing each photo. Whether posed or serendipitous, there's a clear perspective in each selected photo that make up each set. Truly, each image evokes the feeling that it is our story, each of us- photographer, subject, viewer/browser- is part of the planet's Big Picture.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

How to be alone

(I am just flexing the writing muscles in my brain. What follows is an exercise to resuscitate the eroding bridges in my head related to life and writing. Please do not mistake it as a distress beacon or a pathetic pheromone release. Special thanks to Chico Garcia for the inspiration.)

The problem with memories is that they make us remember.

I don't know how often this has happened but exactly 11 years ago today, on an August 16th that fell, too, on a Monday, I lost my Last Great Love. She is the one I loved the most and best. She has been the yardstick against which all those who came after her were measured. And, consequently, no one was good enough.

And so I remain, for the most part of the last decade, alone, but not lonely. Sure, there would be fits and bouts and pauses of sadness- but thank God for a grueling stint in medical school and the more toxic real world. There would be occasional relationship hits, a lot of misses, many promising but eventually false starts. The last two phases of my life left me with not a lot of time to feel selfish and give in to the quicksand of self-pity.

And so, I have learned to embrace, even love, to be alone. Some people would be crippled senseless at the mere thought of eating alone, going to the movies, or window-shopping by one's lonesome. I am more that okay with it. I have to, whether I like it or else.

But then again, I am almost never alone alone. When I'm at the office, I'm surrounded by a whole bunch of co-workers. I have a cacophony of students, patients, community health workers, and the like. My car's radio incessantly chirps away news and views. My social networking subscriptions are at times too much to handle really. My friends from high school, college, and medical school keep me happily sloshed. Plus my family's almost always a phone call, SMS, and a hug away.

I'm not rattling off this litany to make myself feel better, on this Day That I Lost Her. Maybe in losing her, I've found others. In losing her, I've actually found me.

On this Day That I Lost Her, the memories are actually a blessing because they make me remember and celebrate, and help me to be grateful for the four years, eight months, sixteen days, and eight hours we were together and the ensuing decade of love and self-discovery.

For those still struggling with alone-ness, here's an audio-visual aid- How to be alone by Tanya Davis.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Worse than the 2004 tsunami: UNICEF's call for help for Pakistan


Here is the information-appeal from the UNICEF USA Fund, soliciting support for Pakistan's children affected by the devastating floods of the past weeks:

GENEVA/ISLAMABAD (August 11, 2010) — As the figures continue to rise, UNICEF says that 6 million children have been affected by the floods in Pakistan with some 2.7 million children in need of urgent, lifesaving assistance.

According to UN estimates, a total of 14 million people have been affected by the flood crisis. Hundreds of thousands have received humanitarian aid, but millions more urgently need shelter, food, water, and health care. Flooding could worsen considerably in the coming days, especially in parts of Sindh.

"This is the biggest natural disaster to hit Pakistan and this region in living memory, bigger than the Tsunami or the earthquake, with millions of children and women struggling to survive in dire conditions. It is a race against time as we rush to deliver supplies to affected populations. The waters are still rising and we are bracing for flood waves as rivers overflow and the rains continue," said Martin Mogwanja, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.

"Shelter is the most urgent need, while food, water, and health care are also critical. Right now we need to save lives and create temporary living conditions for the 1.8 million homeless. It is a massive task and we are not there yet. Once we are, we can begin to think about the longer-term recovery of regions in Pakistan which have suffered widespread devastation," added Mogwanja.

UNICEF is sending in humanitarian supplies for health, nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection, and education.


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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Healers of the body, heroes of the nation

WHAT: Gawad Kalinga Builders Night - BUILDING A HEALTHY NATION
WHEN: August 4, 2010, Wednesday 6pm
WHERE: Rockwell Tent, Makati City

The monthly gathering of GK partners, friends, and volunteers- the Gawad Kalinga Builders Night- continues this August, with a focus on GK's Community Health Program called Gawad Kalinga Kalusugan.

Get to know GK Kalusugan, its main thrusts, and more importantly, how everyone, especially health professionals, can be part of nation-building. Guest speakers will include GK community health workers, Fr. Rolando Dela Rosa, OP of the University of Santo Tomas, and Sen. Pia Cayetano. Joey Ayala will be the evening's guest artist. Learn how you can participate in improving the lives of GK residents, be inspired to join in this mission to nurture a healthier and happier Philippines.

Regardless of profession, background, or expertise- every Filipino is a healer, every healer is a hero!

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