Monday, April 24, 2006

Charity trip to Honduras

In another week I begin another bit of wandering. This time, it's a week-long trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras as a volunteer for Healing the Children Northeast (HTCNE). I'll be accompanying a group of about 20 doctors and nurses as they spend an intense week performing surgery on Honduran children. My job as administrator will be to organize all the paperwork, coordinate logistics with the hospital that is hosting us, and act as translator between the hosts and patients and the doctors.

All members of HTCNE's medical missions go as volunteers, and are responsible for paying their own airfare. For my trip, I'm also responsible for hotel fees and meals. I am looking for donations to cover my costs, as well as to help raise money for the supplies we will be bringing with us. I would greatly appreciate any amount of money that you felt you could donate to the cause.

Until May 1st, I am selling raffle tickets, $10 each or 3 for $25. Prizes include a week in the Caribbean, a weekend in Philadelphia or dinner and a Broadway show in New York.

After May 1st, you can still donate--you just don't get any raffle tickets.

All donations are tax-deductible. Please e-mail me (see my profile for my e-mail address if you don't know it already) to get more details about how you can help out!

(And please, if you know anyone who might be interested in supporting me, don't hesitate to direct them to this site.)

I'm sure I'll report in from Honduras during the trip, and I'll definitely take lots of photos. In the meantime, wish me luck with all my preparations!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Summer Reading

At my local high school, every teacher has to choose a book they would like to discuss with students. A list of all the choices will be distributed to the students, and each kid will choose one to read over the summer (the names of the teachers that chose the books won't be on the list, so the kids have to choose a book, not a teacher, that interests them). Then in the fall, each teacher will lead a discussion of their chosen book. This applies to every teacher, math, science, as well as English, and doesn't have to have anything to do with that teacher's subject. For example, a friend of mine, who teaches physics, chose Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World ("a novel about the history of philosophy"), which is about as far from physics as you can get.

I was thinking about what book I would choose. Obviously it couldn't be one they would be assigned already for another class. Nor does it have to be fiction. I am leaning towards Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which I loved so much I read it twice. I think teenagers would enjoy it and it offers plenty of fodder for an interesting discussion. But I could just as easily choose some kind of travel book, like Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz, which is hilarious as well as thought-provoking.

What would you choose if you had to select one a book to discuss with high-school students?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Back to School

This weekend I went to the New Milford High School production of Oklahoma. It was the 25th anniversary of the all-school musical, Saturday was alumni night, with a reception afterwards for anyone who took part in any of the plays. Since I held a very important role (tap-dancing chorus girl #14) in the 1994 production of Anything Goes I went to rub elbows with the other esteemed members of high school drama fame and to offer my congrats to the much loved director of all 25 musicals, Mr. Keck. It was a little disappointed that only one other person from my year was there, but I did get to see my old calculus teacher, a friend of mine's parents, and the local celebrity of the moment, Brian from Survivor: Guatemala. He was definitely popular at the gathering, and although I would actually have liked to chat with him about Guatemala, I couldn't bring myself to be some kind of fawning fan, so I stayed away.

NMHS always does a great job with their annual musical and there were definitely some talented kids in this one. With high school plays I'm always especially impressed with the boys in the cast--perhaps this is unfair, but considering the fact that to be selected they actually had to stand on stage and sing something out loud, alone, I think it's impressive that they get any guys at all. Just the idea of doing that would send most teenage boys running for the hills, I would think. The play was good, although the hokey music and all the "y'all" and "purdy" and hootin' an' a-hollerin' wears you down after a while. And I have to admit, the midwestern theme and some of the dance moves did remind me, to my great chagrin, of Waiting for Guffman. But I was reminded of how much fun I had when I was in the senior play and the musical that year, and wondered if this year's cast had any of the behind-the-scenes drama, bitchy cast feuds, or the infamous cast parties afterwards that we did. I sure hope so; it wouldn't be the same without them.