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My name is Valerie. I am 31 years old. My favorite color is green. My favorite fruit is bananas. My favorite vegetable is eggplant. My favorite animal is a dog. Today my feeling is worried. Every day we sat in a circle with our Sambhali Trust butterfly class and one by one we would each introduce ourselves, say what our favorite things are, let everyone know how we're feeling that day. Some of the kids were pros, could rattle off lists with little worry. Some often forgot the word favorite, telling us "my animal is" or "my fruit is." Some needed a lot of coaxing, a lot...

Jaime and I spent two weeks in Setrawa while we volunteered at the empowerment center. It sometimes felt like we were on some kind of Wizard of Oz meets Truman Show movie set. Everything perfectly placed to remind you that you're in rural India. The sand, the cows, the peacocks, the goats, the trash, the locals all saying hello as we walked by. The power went out for at least an hour a day. There was a mouse in our room that we nicknamed "Mighty." The kids would come in and be fascinated by our computers and cameras and always wanted...

Chapati has may uses. It is food, of course, an Indian bread. But it also serves as a utensil, a fork or spoon, to scoop up whatever the vegetable of the day may be. Or as a spatula, placing one on top of another on the frying pan to spin and press and turn the uncooked dough. Or as even a potholder, folded in half to not burn your hand as you pick up a hot dish....

In a sea of black hair and headscarves i was the only blonde. The only other color that came close were the gray strands of some elder men. And while pierced left noses were a dime a dozen my right nostril was the only one adorned. The tiny diamond I wear there paled in comparison to most of the other stones: large diamonds, red rubies, jeweled hoops. Every other woman besides me and the younger children was wearing a sari and all of the men were in some degree of collared shirt. Jaime was across the makeshift aisle, separated in boys...