Consent and Tea

This video on “consent is like tea” is making the rounds of the interwebs. Since I exist outside these media, I have only recently discovered it. Every male should see this!


We are all Ghanaian now..

The last post about snowzilla is about 3 months late; I wrote it in January 2016 and forgot to hit publish 🙂

This post is of more recent vintage. 

My organization works in northern Ghana and I’ve had the pick to travel there multiple times over the past year. I love Ghana, and the Ghanaians I’ve met have been good to me. I see many similarities with life in India that I feel at home, be it on the streets of Accra or the dusty playgrounds of Tamale (see pic above). There is an air of curiosity in Ghanaians and it reveals itself in myriad ways – on conversations on American politics with taxi drivers (they all tune into BBC world), request for more focus on self-reliance in our support, sports (see football above), etc etc

That’s all I want to say… Ghana is lovely!

Hasta la vista!

Where in the World is Carmen… Er, the Prodigal Son!

Oh boy, do I have adventures to fill a blog, if I had one.. Wait a minute!

Over the last year, I’ve worked in Uganda and Ghana, traveled for 30 hours to the Philippines to present at an hour long panel discussion, met people of all colour, race, nationality, and ethnicity, wrestled with crocodiles on the Zambezi.. Okay, last one is not true except in my dreams

Recently, I was stuck on French-speaking Dakar because “Snowzilla” hit the east coast and grounded all flights to DC. and came to discover and fall in love with another city in Africa, despite not speaking the language (unless you consider bad hand signs as a language). 

Dakar had its own version of “Snowzilla”, though it should be more accurately described as “Sandzilla” – the Harmattan, the name given to sand storms that blow in from the Sahara, on their way to the Gulf of Guinea. I was lucky to experience the food me flavours of Dakar. Thank you, Lady Luck!

The Harmattan dogged my trail on my current visit to Ghana. I was headed to the northern region’s capital of Tamale (a region is the same administrative unit as a state in other countries). The Harmattan looks like this:

Most airlines ground their fleet because the sand reduces visibility. On my way in to Tamale from the capital Accra, my flight was the latest flight of the day before the sand forced the airlines to stop flights. On my way back the Friday next, the morning flights were cancelled, but our lone 4.40 pm flight was given the go-ahead! Thank you, Lady Luck!



Presentation mode

I am coming to believe that I have at least three modes of public interaction – (1) I call this my “normal” self, interacting with friends and acquaintances, not really easygoing but also not stilted, (2) my private mode, where I reserve my time and effort to a special group of family and friends (you know who you are!); this is about as natural as it gets for me (3) my presentation mode – I’m all about getting the point across and I’m all charm and confidence – but it’s a facade as I like to make my point by action rather than words.

In addition there are other phases I’ve had, not to long ago, but they’ve not occurred frequently enough to be a part of my character or a mode  – irrational one, and the scariest – nihilist mode.

I got thinking about this because I was asked to present at a brown bag about introducing systematic reviews to my colleagues. It was scheduled many moons At least one moon ago. And systematic reviews are something I like to think I’m an expert on, having worked in the field upwards of 5 years.

The presentation was today at noon, and till 5 am, I had not started on my presentation. The procrastination was born of confidence as I’ve been making three presentation for many many moons now and I have a deck of hundreds, of slides for this very purpose. Another idiosyncrasy of mine is that I like to visualize all my presentations in mind before I make them – including platform (PowerPoint or not), delivery (only speaking or a mix of speaking and doing), interactive or not (iClickers  are a useful tool to get the audience involved), humor (or not). If it’s a subject that I’m very familiar with, I think I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the kind of humor I’ll use in my talk! In short, I’ve been thinking about this presentation for a few days. But I did not have a presentation!

I got into presentation mode at 5 am and my presentation was born at 7. I got to normal mode till 11.30, and then back into presentation mode. Looking at myself from outside, I couldn’t reconcile  the confident smiling public speaker with the nervousness I felt in my inner self. I would love to do a “beast” presentation mode sometime, when called out to do so, but the drawback of presentation mode is that it drains you. I’m envious of those who can do presentation mode as a default. My default preference is a private mode – a private person with a very public blog; that doesn’t matter because I know that my readers, all five of you, are in my private group anyway 🙂 .

What modes you got?

… And, I’m baaack!

All I needed was a nudge.. for me to rediscover myself all over again through my writing.

Quick Update: I now live in DC, working on global anemia programs with the SPRING project. Look us up –

I love DC. It’s now spring (pun unintended) and cherry blossom time where the air fills up with the sweet cloying allergen of pollen… *sniffle* *hoonnk* *achoo*

I did promise updates from my last two years and I will follow through on that, in pictures 🙂


Ever had that feeling…

When you feel like something big is going to happen to you.  I’m pretty prescient; there’s a slow buildup and boom… something happens.
I’ve had this ominous feeling for a few weeks now – something big is coming up my life pipeline. I wake up every morning at 5 and even though there’s no big important task on a day to day basis,  I keep myself busy. My mood had been upbeat,  for most part.
I’ll be pretty disappointed if it is just a job!

Blogger to WordPress

I set up a blog on the Blogger platform in 2005, when I spent three lovely months in Beersheva, Israel. I was presumably on an internship but as my activities detailed on the blog would have you believing otherwise.

When I set up the WordPress platform for my site earlier  this year, I was given an option to import my old Blogger posts. That was wonderful because I was resigned to giving the ole neglect treatment to the blogger site. This option allowed me to archive 8 years worth of [infrequent] ramblings.

The import process went smoothly enough. The main issues are the old video embeds. They don’t work on WordPress. I have to either reinsert them again or put in a link to the blogger site, where they are working. I’ve decided to handle that later. More urgently, the tags/categories mismatch is going to be my first priority. Blogger allowed you to tag your posts and I admit I went a little tag happy. On importing it into WordPress, I found out, to my horror, that all my tags are now categories and the tag field is empty on my posts. This can’t remain.

I’m now slowly going through my old posts, and converting categories to tags, and trying to reign in the number of categories that I need. I wish there had been a way to map the old blogger tags [all 189 of the now WordPress categories] to the new WordPress tags so I didn’t have to do this.

It is a work in progress.