Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorable Memorial Days

Today is Memorial Day! A holiday in the US that kicks off summer for any lake loving, beach going, grilling crew. This time last year classmate and fellow Austinites Kim Caldwell and (then fiancé, now husband) Justin Dove came over to my house for a finger licking, good ol’ time. We ate delicious vegetarian foods, listened to a jam session and did I mention ate delicious vegetarian food. Justin even dazzled us with his hula-hooping skills. ; ) That’s when I knew these cats were pretty cool and there was no doubt about it that I would enjoy my Clinton School experience. When you get a chance, check out Kim's blog. She's working in South Africa this summer with two community foundations.

Here in St. Lucia it’s just a regular day, but hey that’s ok! St. Lucia is about to kick off their own set of festivities for Carnival this weekend. Yes you heard me right, Carnival is scheduled in the summer here rather than February. More on that to come later.

I’m leaving you with this 25 second clip of what I call Beach on the Go for anyone who isn’t near the beach today but would like to be. It was shot a mere 10 min. walk from my St. Lucian abode. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Name is Simon and I like to Do Drawings

Ok… my name really isn’t Simon. It’s Judy. Hello! Nice to meet you, lovely blog reader(s). I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on my deliverables for my client on this project for My Island – My Community, a radio program that uses Entertainment Education to tackle awareness and behavior on climate change in the Eastern Caribbean.

One of those deliverables is to devise a Measurement & Evaluation strategy so that PCI Media can measure the attitudes and opinions of the radio listeners about the program that is set to air later this year. (Hello Dr. Bavon’s Program Evaluation class!) In my reading I’ve stumbled upon utilizing sketching and photography as a means to capture qualitative data. It’s fascinating!

“In taking stock of the sociology of visuals – whether in the form of sketches or photos – it is not difficult to discern the obvious conclusion: almost all paintings, sketches, and photos are usually produced by ‘the powerful; the established, the male, the colonizer, to portray the less powerful, less established, female and colonized (Harper, 1994: 408). We advocate handing over the means of visual production to the oppressed, the silent and the muted.”*

Because my project explicitly targets those muted and silent members of society, this fits in nicely with my Measurement & Evaluation piece. I tested it out yesterday, in fact on myself. I sat down and and sketched out a photo of what climate change means to me. Here is what I came up with.

As I was drawing this for some reason I wanted to have litter raining from the sky, and as I thought about it further it depicts how often we don’t know where litter comes from. Sometimes it does even feel like bottles and cans fall from the sky. . . especially when it’s everywhere and no one picks it up. But litter shouldn't be everywhere, nor should it litter our beaches as it affects the entire fragile ecosystem.
It would be really neat to see my classmates depict their particular issues they are addressing in their summer projects. From prison reform in Uganda to accessible art in Shanghai – the Clinton School of Public Service students are doing some pretty amazing things this summer! Little Debbie Snack – I know you have paints and art supplies in Chitre, Panama. Show us your work!!!
*Lifted from “With an Antenna We Can Stop the Practice of Female Genital Cutting” by Karen Greiner, Arvind Singhal, Sarah Hurlburt

Friday, May 28, 2010

[A]Typical St. Lucian dinner

This post is dedicated to fellow classmates and friends Anna Strong and Rebecca Morrison who were posting and commenting about food in their respective IPSP countries. You see Anna is in the land of curries, dahl and a constant flow of chai while Rebecca appears to be in a country that has everything from Japanese to great bar food and who know's what else. ; )

Sarah and I just finished eating this.

What is that you ask? Well it's an authentic Italian pizza topped with capers, garlic sauce and mushrooms cooked in a brick oven, accompanied by a glass of Valpolicella (a sweet flavored wine from Northern Italy). While this might not be typical Caribbean fare . . . Key Largo's pizza is quickly becoming my favorite pizza ever. Ever! It's the real deal folks, and if you're ever in the neighborhood please try the pizza here. You won't regret it.

This is an anamoly even for St. Lucia. The owners are a sister/brother duo as well as her husband. The siblings grew up in England but have family from St. Lucia and moved here after she married an Italian. Their restaurant, Key Largo, fuels any public servant's appetite (not to mention is the best pizza on the island).

In addition to the fine food and atmosphere, there's a trampoline just outside for the kiddos and wifi inside for the nerds. (Yes I'm using their wifi right now in fact.) All in all -- the pizza has a thin airy crust combined with a smattering of fresh tomato sauce that would make your mouth melt upon smelling it. Two thumbs up from Sarah and me!

To be fair, I cannot entirely boast about the delicious pizza and say that I'm not jealous of Anna's and Rebecca's foods. Anna, just the other night I was at an Indian restaurant and they didn't even serve chai. I mean isn't that the most basic part of Indian cuisine?!? Really! And Rebecca, it sounds like you have a lot of great options of food over there in Australia. Nom nom nom.

Here's to having delicious meals in whatever corner of the globe you find yourself in. Bon appetite!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What is Public Service?

Over the entire academic year my classmates and I have been asked to define public service as it relates to our work and our future. How can you really define public service though when it's different for each and every person and is based from any myriad set of values (community driven/faith based/political/law etc.)? It’s almost like asking “what is the meaning of life?”

From time to time we are faced with situations or events that really ask us to probe a little further on our own definitions and meanings as it relates to public service. For those of you who aren’t aware – there is a serious situation going on in Jamaica right now. Living in the Caribbean we in St. Lucia hear a lot about what’s going down over there and are concerned for our stakeholders who reside in Jamaica. (We are far from the conflict here in St. Lucia however, so do not be alarmed.)

Last August Christopher “Dudus” Coke was requested by the US to be extradited back to New York on drug and firearm charges. The US justice department even went as far to put Christopher Coke on the “world’s most dangerous” list. While normally this would be a situation that is worked out between the US and Jamaica the situation has been marred with public opinion, action, and some pretty heated opinions on both ends of the spectrum.

You see Christopher Coke isn’t just any run of the mill drug dealer. Yes he did engage in the selling and pushing of drugs in the US but back home he is considered a protector, benefactor and even Christ-like figure in Tivoli Gardens (an area of Jamaica). According to news articles he's helped put kids through schools, provided food for those hungry, and jobs to those in need. Christopher Coke has helped (served?) his community to such an extent that they are acting out violently in attempts to prevent his extradition back to the US. It all plays out much like a modern day Robin Hood story – where I can honestly see both sides of the story.

To show you just how dialectical opposing the beliefs are, here is a picture from the Associate Press of a supporter's sign regarding Christopher Coke. (Wow!)

I guess my immediate reaction and questions are:
  • Do the means justify the ends? Especially when lives are being harmed not only in the US, but Jamaica as well. To date some 60 odd Jamaicans have already died in the conflict that has risen out of this.
  • As this falls under the realm of international law, which country gets to decide the fate of what happens to Christopher Coke?
  • Is it possible to be both a public servant and criminal?
  • What are the ethical implications of Coke’s decisions to provide for his people by using drug money?

Dean DiPippa if you’re reading this – please give us your wise and thoughtful insight! This no doubt calls for a refresher in your Law and Ethics class.

*please note the factual information of this post was extracted largely in part by news articles from the BBC. Check out these articles for more information:
BBC’s Profile: Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke
BBC’s Jamaica violence ‘linked to US drug market’

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It’s getting HOT HOT HOT

Many of the Clinton School students are spending their summers in climates that could melt your face off. Seriously! Where I come from we wear cardigans in the summer. Did I mention I’m from Texas? Yes, you’ll never find a cooler place in the US than visiting any home, office, or business in Austin, Texas. Especially in an unnamed university that resides in the center of the city (ahem Longhorns). It’s ridiculously cold enough inside those classrooms to house a penguin.

Though this is the fourth summer I’ve spent without air conditioning each time it’s like I’ve never done it before. You’d think experiencing heat waves in Italy, Manhattan, and Panama would mentally and physically prepare me for St. Lucia – but no. I must have used Will Smith’s crazy MIB flashy pen to wipe my memory clean . . . . (I hate when that happens!)

So listed below are five fail safe tips for making hot weather a little more bearable.

1. Hotels (not just for tourists). When a/c is scarce and all you need is a little blast of cold air -- find the nearest hotel. Feel weird about lurking around a business establishment that you’re not checked in at? No worries! Head straight to the bar/dining room and just say you’re in room 208. Trust me, you won’t regret it. In fact just the other week Sarah and I happened upon an all inclusive couples hotel/retreat here in the Lucia. We met newlyweds and newlyweds to be!

2. Showers. I don’t think I’ve ever been as clean as here in St. Lucia. I take showers A LOT. If the temperature rises then nothing makes me feel better than a quick blast of cold water with no heat. This particularly works well just before bedtime.

3. Sleep it off. Apparently the Italians knew best. When I studied abroad in Italy one summer everything was shut down between 2 and 4, the hottest part of the day. During this time everybody, and I mean every business owner, student, and professional went home and slept off the hottest part of the day. Refreshed they returned to work or school and followed that off by a lovely 3 hour dinner. Bravo bravo!

4. You are what you eat! I recently read that protein, caffeine and alcohol make the body temperature rise, so I hate it for you, but it’s a good idea to stay away from these things. Eating as the locals eat is always a good idea. Fruits like pineapples, watermelon and mangos create a cooling sensation for the body which brings the temperature down. (Unfortunately I don’t think vodka infused watermelon qualifies as a cooling fruit. Heh.)

5. The Golden Screen. When I’m in another country I’ll watch any craptastic film that finds its way to the screen. For real! This is the only explanation for how I saw Wild Hogs (awful), a foreign film with no English subtitles, and most recently Letters to Juliet (who dumps Gael Garcia Bernal?!? Idiot!). Think of it this way the price of admission provides you with about 2 hours of air conditioning and some entertainment on a very large screen. . . kind of like an in-flight film. But hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to catch a decent flick.

And IF none of that works then pretend you’re at a sleepover and throw your underwear in the freezer. That should do something for ya.

What cools you down?

Monday, May 24, 2010

EE Phone Home!

What is the one thing you never leave home without? Other than your keys and wallet, chances are that one thing is probably a cell phone. According to cell phone subscriptions are projected to reach 5 billion this year. With roughly 6.8 billion people around the globe, that’s a lot of annoying ringtones!

Furthermore, with iPhones, Blackberries and Androids on the market – more and more people are opting for smart phones that have access to the world wide web and can do magical things provided they choose their apps accordingly. As a former Jitterbug owner (don’t judge me for my octogenarian phone preference) I am blown away by the technology these hand held devices are capable of.

The future of Entertainment Education will be at the touch of a button, friends. To be precise, EE will be at the touch of a button on your cell phone. Think about it. Currently EE predominantly uses radio and television to convey messages about entertainment and well education of course. However, already we’ve seen the landscape of TV change by being able to record shows, stream them online, and download episodes for on-the-go pleasure on iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Radio (in the US) though convenient and affordable has dozens of competitors, most notably the advent of satellite radio and the widespread use of iPods.
What does all of this mumbo jumbo nonsense of entertainment and technology lead to? Your cell phone! If you do own a smart phone, well essentially you are walking around with a television, radio, laptop and phone all in one. And what better way to reach an audience than by phoning them!

Here in St. Lucia Blackberries are nearly as bountiful as sand. They’re literally everywhere. And for those who don’t own a Blackberry, it’s very easy to purchase a pay as you go type of phone which automatically comes with the ability to text.

Recently, a friend forwarded me a CNN article on a trend in apps which are aimed at improving health. There’s an entire world of cell phone apps created to help people diet, send daily affirmations, teach yoga poses etc.
According to the article, the leading guy in using cell phone technology to change behavior is B.J. Fogg who says, “Most people carry cell phones with them everywhere, making them a powerful tool in creating new habits in a person's daily routine, Programs designed to improve health habits operate through "triggers," or calls to action, which can be as simple as click here.”

In addition to Fogg’s vision and insight, there are also organizations out there like, who use mobile technology for social impact. You can check out their blog for the numerous ways they use cell phones for good. One example they cited was how cell phones could be used to replace paper reporting methods faster in various countries in regards to food security efforts. Apparently the UN is going the way of the phone.

I’m personally excited to see where and how EE and cell phones will blur the traditional lines of communication and utilize each other to reach people across the globe in various efforts of social change. Imagine a world where you send texts to loved ones and friends and then only a moment later to turn around and receive a text by your favorite character on your favorite TV show to do something as simple as recycle.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I have been LOST-ed

Sitting here on an island watching a show about people who have found their plane wrecked on an island is a bit surreal. As this is the eve of the LOST series finale I could not help but acknowledge it. It’s hard to believe the show is coming to a close. How do you end one of history’s most epic television series? How will it all end?

There are so many well thought out theories on the web that I don’t even feel capable of contributing my own. I will say though that what LOST has represented to me is a moving story about a group of strangers who sometimes get along and sometimes don’t, but through their attempt at survival get to know each other. With each episode we’ve gained a little more insight into Kate, Hurley, Jack, Sawyer etc. The back stories often lead to explanations of how complicated any one person can truly be, not to mention the events that made said person to be the person that we meet today.

This evening Sarah (poor Sarah has been subject to my Lost obsession since we arrived to St. Lucia) and I watched the first episode of LOST which aired on ABC for preparation for tomorrow’s big night event (some 5 hours + of LOST viewing). To revisit these characters’ first meeting was rather neat. It actually reminded me of a Sunday evening almost a year ago within the brick walls of Sturgis when the Clinton School of Public Service class of 2011 met together for the first time during orientation.

I remember being a bit nervous but curious that day as I was about to meet the 35 classmates who would be part of my life for the next two years. We filed in one by one and were handed a packet of things and were asked to sit in alphabetical order. Being a "W" I sat between David Watterson and LaTonya Wilson. What great people to sit between! While we were waiting to get things started I made an observation with Watterson about how similar our last names are (weird) and asked LaTonya about Little Rock. Then to introduce ourselves we were asked to state our name, what areas of public service we were interested in, and what brand of toothpaste we use.

And one by one we answered/introduced ourselves. There were normal answers, quizzical answers (some didn’t even know what toothpaste they even used) and funny answers. That moment set the foundation which we would later build upon and get to know each other beyond toothpaste preference. Like rewatching the first episode of Lost, I wish I could revisit that day by watching it on youtube or hulu. (However hulu is blocked here in St. Lucia so even if that were magically on hulu, I wouldn't be able to catch it.) We’ve come a long way since then, and it’s only just getting started.

Feel free to peruse the sidebar on the right to read my classmates’ adventures on their service projects all over the world. From Peru to San Antonio, Uganda, China and Australia – they are doing some pretty spectacular things. I'm proud of each and every one of them. ; )


Friday, May 21, 2010

And now for a much debated topic: Avatar

If you haven't heard of this movie called Avatar then you might be living under a rock! Seriously since it came out in late 2009 it's provided heated water cooler debates about its brillance or lack thereof (depending on which side you fall on).

So I've finally decided to put my best evaluator cap on and find out what's the real opinion behind this film. If you've seen the film, take this survey here to tell me about your thoughts.

Results will be posted next week!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stop throwing your plastic bottles in India's backyard

A few months ago I participated in a faciliation discussion with GrassRoots, a subgroup of Metroplan which aims to make a green agenda for Central Arkansas. They are a fabulous organization headed by Jasmin Moore, and doing some great things for the community. Check out their blog which has tons of green posts.

During the facilitation, we watched this very interesting video about The Story of Bottled Water. If you haven't seen it, please watch the video below.

I think about that video every time I come across plastic bottles. They are literally everywhere. Sadly enough I see forgotten bottles every single day here in St. Lucia. As I walk up the hill to my home, smushed plastic bottles on the road. When I walk through the city they are gathered in the irrigation ditches. And when I walk or jog along the beach, there are no doubt a few bottles here and there dotting the formally pristine beach.

The 3 R's of conservation: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle have recently adopted a 4th R. RESPECT. So with that, let's all try to add that 4th R as we go about our day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dennery Primary School - A Class Act

Sarah and I were invited for a site visit to Dennery Primary School in Dennery, St. Lucia. The focus on today’s visit was to attend their theatre class and see what connections might be made between the school and the My Island – My Community project we’re working on for PCI Media Impact.

This was our first time to visit Dennery, a tiny village of on the east side of the island. A little over 10,000 people live in this area which is known for fishing and its banana crops. The drive started out beautifully. I could not believe the views. Spectacular! It was amazing looking out onto the luscious green rainforest and picture perfect blue water. The drive was pretty windy though as we were climbing the mountainous terrain, and not too far into the trip, the driver was clipping what seemed like 60… 70… mph steep curves and passing slow moving trucks. Meanwhile, 90s hits from the US were blaring one right after the other on the radio station. I made a comment to Sarah that I thought maybe we had time traveled back to the 90s. (note to self: write script about an absurd vehicle that time travels. like a hot tub. oh wait... that's been done.)

But as the curves got sharper, the bus rolled along faster. I told myself to think of the drive as a rollercoaster, except that this rollercoast didn't have rails. But then I remembered that I infact do not like roller coasters at all (6 Flags is not my idea of a fun vacation) and that the research I had done prior to arriving to St. Lucia (see I did my homework, Joe!) indicated that many traffic accidents occur in St. Lucia because of the steep, windy roads just like this. I then could see the bus (which to be fair is really a mini van) careening off the curve and into oblivion… life flashing before my eyes. Please God, don’t let the last song I hear before I die be Hanson’s MmmBop. Please, anything but that. At least throw me some Boys II Men, Dave Matthews, or Nirvana. Really, Hanson? This was the point where I leaned over and told Sarah if she survived to find all my diaries and burn them.

Luckily for me MmmBop was not the last song I heard. And disregarding the drive, we had a pretty great day. Visiting the theatre classes was awesome. The kids were super talented and boy were they hamming it up for the camera.

They played games! Here is a student pressing the dents out of her imaginary sphere.

They showed me their drawings! Apparently they really have a thing for elves.

They begged to have their photo taken.

But best of all -- they showed me and Sarah how great it was to be 10 and have the gift of theatre, storytelling, and play in their lives. Normally they take their core classes like Language Arts and Arithmetics, and this is the only type of class of its kind. Twice a week they get to visit Ms. Regis's class and escape into an imaginary world of charcters they've made up and created. It really is something special.

And just like that in an MmmBop our time was up at Dennery Primary School and it was back to our little abode in St. Lucia.

You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all this pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they're gone so fast
And they're gone so fast
So hold on to the ones who really care
In the end they'll be the only ones there
When you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care?
Can you tell me who will still care?

Mmm bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du

Mmm bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du . . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This is your brain on media

Remember that commercial: this is your brain? Now this is your brain on drugs. Egg cracks! Whoosh. And there goes your brain all fried in a gooey tasty yummy sunny side up dish.
Well . . . today I’m going to tell you what happens to your brain as you watch shows . . . perhaps even as you read this blog. This will be a little participatory, so go ahead and relax, kick back.

First – have you eaten breakfast today? Do you need a little snacky snack? Perfecto! Please go ahead and grab that breakfast bar next to you, those carrots, grapes… whatever you want to munch on. No, I’ll wait. Don’t worry. I’ll be right here.

Oh, you’re back? Is it tasty? Can I have some too?

How does this picture make you feel?
Does it give you the warm and fuzzies?

Now answer these trivia questions if you can. (Answers provided at end of post)
1. What three European countries begin with the letter A?
2. What became America’s first organized sport in 1664?
3. How many Rocky movies were made by 1990?

How this relates to a recent theory in Entertainment Education is with MacLean’s Triune Brain Theory. MacLean said that there are three brain centers where you process messages. These brain centers are the neo-cortex (intelligence), visceral (emotions), and reptilian (physical urges).

When you’re born, you begin with a reptilian brain and then develop your visceral brain and finally a neo-cortex capability. A reptilian center processes messages about food, sex, and aggressiveness, while the visceral center processes emotional messages, things that tug at your heart strings. The neo-cortex center processes intellectual activity and according to MacLean is only found in human beings.

MacLean believes that when the neo-cortex brain is out of whack with the two other brains that this leads to conflict in a person’s inner drives. Imagine that you are angry at someone, but logically you don’t want to react with punching and fighting. If a person’s three brain dimensions are not developed in synch, then one may find themselves in great inner turmoil as to what the actual response would be.

Thus, in EE programs, it the goal to stimulate both the reptilian and visceral brains by virtue of its entertainment qualities, which can then feed into a neo-cortex frame of thinking for audiences after viewing/listening to the program. When a person is able to pontificate about the scenes they just viewed in a program, it often gets them to question their societal norms and if/how these norms should be changed.

An example of a popular program that I think utilizes some of the neo-cortex and reptilian centers might be something like the Daily Show, which uses humor to convey current events.
As you go about your day today think about any of the ads that you come across and its message. What part of your brain is responding to it? Oh yes, now you might know why sex sells.

1) Albania, Andorra, Austria 2) horse racing 3) 5

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just another Manic Monday

Is it possible to have a case of the Mondays in beautiful, luscious paradise? I suppose so... this cute little paradise seems to be bifurcated by those who call St. Lucia home and those who call it their honeymoon. When I woke up today I was thinking -- hey what's an ordinary Monday like for a regular person here?

And I thought I'd share a snippet of my Monday routine for those of you wondering. ; )

I like to start everyday out with some little morsel of entertainment that reminds me how wonderful and creative this world can be. So I rewatched this video my classmate David made for my friend Julie and me. Check out his touching tribute to Team J below! Thanks, David. You are the bestest. (and what a great way to start the day!)

Then Sarah and I boarded a bus to head to one of our local offices, Rituals Coffee like any ordinary day. We missed our bus stop and the bus cruised on by, so we had to catch another bus back down the hill. (oops!) Rituals is the only coffee shop that I've ever been to that sells pasta, "flatinis" and paninis. I'm still not sure what the difference between a flatini and panini is, but I don't care. Cause I'm drinking a mean grande latte. My favorite!

And now I'm settling in for a day of research and writing a report for
PCI Media Impact to help them in their next stages of implementing My Island -- My Community. But as I'm gearing up for this somewhere my mind is thinking about the workout that looms ahead and the grocery list of food I need to get....

Which reminds me of this quote by John Kenneth Galbraith, "A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions."

Here's to everyone's Mondays, no matter where you are or what ordinary products you might be buying today! Have a great one.

soda water

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Taking a Day Off

Sarah and I finally had a day off, so we packed up our knapsacks and went on a little adventure in St. Lucia.

First we boarded a boat. (Yes. In the famous lyrics of T-Pain We are on a boat!)

Then we sailed to the cute little village of Soufriere.

And went to the world's only drive-in volcano! The only thing that could have made it better was a drive-in movie.

We walked through a botanical garden and I wanted to pick many of the flowers and take them home, but feared the $200 fine. So I snapped this picture of a ginger torch lily instead.

Our adventure ended with snorkeling in the Caribbean Ocean. We giggled and followed beautiful blue fish through the coral reef. The water was so clear you couldn't even imagine it.

Back to public service now!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sending some love to Body Love

During my time here in St. Lucia I have been lucky enough to meet the neat people of Media for Health, an organization that produces a radio show called Body Love. Based out of Birmingham, Alabama, Body Love is a radio soap featuring Vanessa Love and Rosalyn Armstrong, hairdressers who deal with everything from family, love interests, hair, and… diabetes.

What’s neat about Body Love (for me) is that during my research on Entertainment Education I’ve read about some great projects from everywhere like India, St. Lucia and Mexico. But this is the first official EE radio project I’ve heard about in my country, the USA. After each program airs, Body Love features a call-in show where they take listener calls and provide medical answers to anything and everything health related.

I love what Media for Health is all about! In fact (and unfortunately) St. Lucia, where I’m currently based, has the highest per capita cases of diabetes in the world. According to Caribbean Net News – over 31,000 St. Lucians were diagnosed with diabetes in 2007. It hits home for me on a personal note as well. My grandmother was stricken with a serious case of diabetes. From an early age I remember every time my grandmother, Esperanza, visited us -- watching her with wonder as she gave herself insulin injections in her thigh. We always had orange juice in the house whenever she visited in case her blood sugar level was low. As a child I could never understand how one could give them self an injection, yet I couldn’t look away either. Eventually I found out that the medical reason behind Esperanza’s diabetes was that her pancreas wasn’t working like normal and was unable to break down sugars. When I was a little older my mother became diabetic.

Did you know that in the US diabetes affects minorities particularly African Americans and Hispanics at higher rates than Caucasians?

And at a conference on diabetes, Lars Rebien Sorensen, president and CEO of Novo Nordisk said "Diabetes will constitute the most significant public health challenge of the 21st century if no action is taken now. It is already causing as many deaths as HIV/AIDS. We need to explore practical ways of redefining healthcare, by focusing on the needs of people with diabetes."

The name “Esperanza” translates as hope. And in the spirit of my grandmother’s name I sincerely hope we can tackle this issue as it affects not only adults but a growing number of children. Type 2 diabetes was once informally called “adult on-set diabetes”, but now that so many children have been diagnosed with this illness, it is no longer an adult issue. It’s our disease as well as our future generation’s disease.

So with that – thank you Body Love and Media for Health for all you do! Keep up the programming and here’s to a positive (sugar) balanced future. ; )

Catch episodes of Body Love at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

As I learned in radio, you should always make promo's about your show that are timely, appealing, and relevant to your show. So, I've made a promo to remind you, lovely loyal blog readers to continue coming back to No Woman is an Island. It might not be as flashy and as cool as the commercial that I blatantly ripped off, but hey if George Lucas has made a career ripping off sci-fi films (no judgement... I love furry little Ewoks just as much as the next gal) then I can too.

And now without further adieu, the first promo for No Woman is an Island. (Break out your giant tub of popcorn, bucket of coca-cola and twizzlers. Turn off your cell phones while you're at it.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cricket: not just an insect, also a popular game

This will come as a surprise for anyone who remotely knows me, but I attended a sporting event yesterday. An actual sporting event LIVE! For those of you who don’t know me – the only reason I even know the mere basics of baseball, football and hockey are because of dear patient friends of mine who are kind enough to listen to my ignorant questions and respond back to me with very simple analogies. Hey, I spent my childhood reading as many books as possible, visiting the city library, attending summer art camps, and watching Wishbone on PBS (you know the cute dog that solves mysteries and talks). Anything that involves motion and some type of sporting equipment is entirely foreign to me.

Anyways, it was the twenty20 world cup in St. Lucia, and Sarah and I attended the much anticipated India vs Sri Lanka match. Cricket is very important to the people of St. Lucia. The entire country was in attendance. Roads were blocked and stores were closed. (Also a very fun professor of ours urged us to go.)

This version of the game is a shortened version of the traditional British game which can take 4 to 5 days to complete. Can you imagine a game that takes that long? Whaaaaaaat? This shorter version lasts about 3 hours because each team bowls 20 balls.

Don’t ask me about the rules or any pertinent information about the game. (Read Sarah’s blog for a better deconstruction of the game). It was my first ever cricket match and I was trying hard just to keep up with it. My initial thoughts were:

1. Why do cricket players wear uniforms which look like pajamas? Can’t they incorporate a little more spandex? Give a girl something to work with!

2. Sri Lanka and India both are very into the sport of cricket. No doubt this is directly due to British colonial rule. For India in particular (a country that fought hard for its independence) – what is it like to break free from British customs and rules, but embrace its sports?

It was a close game. India batted (is that what you call it?) first and played a mean game. Sri Lanka came up to bat and initially I was doubtful they could win. Who scores over a 160 points with 20 balls? I mean, right?! Well not only did Sri Lanka slowly creep up to that score, but their final bat (worth 6 points) was instrumental to their win.

Here are a few photos of the fans near us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jerry Bruckheimer might be altering your behaviors

Last week I asked you to participate in a survey which posed the question how do you pronounce the word – Caribbean. Many of you answered, and interestingly enough some of you replied to me with answers that weren’t even options on the survey. I’ve included a bar graph below of the responses.

And here were emails about the survey that I received:

“I said “Cuh-RIB-ee-an” my entire life until Pirates of the “Care-uh-BEE-uhn” came out, and in the years since, I have said it as such. Media shaping my behavior, there you have it.”

--Alex Thomas, Clinton School Director of Admissions

“I answered your survey but for me it depends on the context! For the Disney ride/movie, I pronounce it "Pirates of the CARE-uh-be-un", but in all other cases is Cah-RIB-be-un.”

--Anna Strong, Clinton School class representative

“I cannot take the survey due to its not covering all possible answers. I use both pronunciations, and the one I choose depends on the context. That should be an option.“

--Adam Moreland, Clinton School kickball captain

So apparently only people with the letter A in their first name were so enraged or disagreed with the survey itself that they bothered to point it out to me. ; ) Don’t fret A’s – an evaluator does these things on purpose. The fact that media plays such an important part on your pronunciation is very telling. The fact that previously prior to the release of Pirate of the Caribbean, some of you stuck with one pronunciation and now say it depends on the context is also very telling. (Jerry Bruckheimer, if you’re reading this some of us want to know how you picked CARE-uh-bee-un vs kuh-RIH-been-un. Were there focus groups? Did you visit the Caribbean and ask the people? Did you think one pronunciation would produce a bigger box office hit than the other?)

What’s interesting about this movie when thinking from a public service perspective is that essentially what Jerry Bruckheimer did was put a face to a pronunciation. Jack Sparrow’s face to be exact. During the workshop last week, Dr. Singhal shared with the conference participants an interesting thing about education entertainment and measuring its effectiveness.

For the first time ever an EE program did something that was remarkable. Apwé Plezi, a program on family planning in St. Lucia, introduced a new term to the community. Within the show the characters began calling condoms “catapults.” It didn’t take long before St. Lucians began to refer to condoms as catapults too, and then began to purchase the “catapult” brand condoms that were being sold in stores. When asked where did they hear about “catapult” they would point directly to the show. Ah ha! The EE program on family planning is taking effect. And more importantly when a researcher asked another St. Lucian where they heard about “catapult” – and he didn’t hear the program but heard about “catapults” from a friend – then it became evident that Apwé Plezi was making a very real and effective change in the community. In fact, the population rate decreased from 3.4 to 2.3!

Thus by creating new terminology it’s like a marker which helps researchers like Dr. Singhal figure out the impact of an Entertainment Education program. Creating our own terminology also assists us in shaping our own worlds and realities. So, today I encourage you to make up your own markers with new and fascinating words!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Fourth Dimension

During my last jaunt in Austin my friend and former roommate CP lent me The Fourth Dimension – A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes by Rudy Rucker. “You have to read it,” he said. Followed by “You’re going to read it right?” Followed by “If you don’t read it, then that’s ok, but just let me know.” And then “Don’t lose it.”

CP – if you’re reading this -- thank you for lending me The Fourth Dimension! And also be happy in knowing that not only did I read it but it was the first book I read during my St. Lucia travels. What a great book indeed!

Why I picked up and opened The Fourth Dimension is because it’s a book that explains our universe, the galaxy, time travel and parallel dimensions. Every time I head to Austin, in fact, undoubtedly CP and I will have a conversation about time travel. How does it work? Is it possible? Does time travel only work going forward and not backwards? Would you jump into a wormhole if you had the chance? How would you return back to this time and place if you did jump in a wormhole? Another reason is I had hoped the book would help me better understand LOST. (Did anyone watch last Tuesday’s episode? ::sniff sniff:: I don’t want to talk about it right now. I’m too choked up.)

Back to the book. Rucker accompanies very complex theories with graphics and allows an ordinary reader like myself to understand these very complex theories with simple stories. Here is an excerpt from the book that I found fascinating:

But if we take the fourth dimension quite seriously, then it seems natural to suppose that there might be other universes. All these universes taken together make up a much grander entity, variously known as the cosmos or as superspace. In traditional Christian doctrine, the cosmos has three parallel layers: heaven, our world and hell. The theosophists hold that the cosmos has seven layers, six of these being “astral.” A common notion in science fiction is that there are endlessly many parallel universes – with each possible universe existing somewhere. A variation of this last idea has actually been incorporated into modern quantum mechanics, and we will return to it in later chapters.
(Rucker 1984)

If you can imagine each universe as a sheet of paper stacked on top of each other, then it’s easy to visualize how three, seven, or an infinite number of parallel universes exist. Rucker says that if parallel universes exist that a “sufficiently dense object could bulge our space out enough to touch another space. And the two spaces might join together like two soap films that have been brought into contact.” What would a sufficiently dense object be? None other than a collapsed star, in other words a black hole, my friends. The book supports the theory that our universe is not flat but actually curved with bulges occurring all over. So another possible way to travel from one universe to the next might also be to pinch off a piece of curvature like a bubble and float off.

Have I lost you yet? Don’t worry, I’m almost done torturing you… in this universe at least.

Ok, well aside from figuring out how to travel from one universe to the next . . . I do have several questions about these parallel universes. Supposing there are seven universes – are they all connected? As in is there a Judy in each universe? Each slightly different then that one that you know in this universe.

It seems Lost would argue yes as we’ve seen the entire main (and many minor) characters exist and interact in sideways world. Doesn’t six copies of one person require a lot of orchestration though? For instance, my parents met quite by chance. And to have them meet in seven different universes seems highly unlikely, unless that is if each universe shared a common history or if it was fated to happen.

And the three universes correlating to Earth, Heaven and Hell opens itself up to another slew of questions and observations. If this is true then a sneaky person (such as myself) would bypass the whole commandment thing and simply find a black hole to reach Heaven. Right? Perhaps there are tons of imposters there now! Or perhaps not. Maybe if you visit Heaven alive you can’t really see the people who are dead. Oh Desmond, how I need you to show me the way.

Well… now that I’ve filled your head with enough nonsense for today -- be free. Explore! Find black holes! Go through them and please tell me what you discover.

Friday, May 7, 2010

These are the Stories of our Lives

The Media Impact two-week workshop has come to a close, and I’m surprised to say that I’ll miss schlepping my heavy bag to and fro every weekday to the Bay Gardens Inn. It’s not really the schlepping that I’ll miss though, but the Caribbean friends and connections Sarah and I have made in these two brief weeks amid learning, discussion and dialogue. It’s been a whirlwind of a fortnight here in St. Lucia, but we’ve learned so much about the project and each other.

Yesterday we were fortunate to have guest workshop facilitator Dr. Arvind Singhal all the way from University of Texas El Paso. It was particularly a special treat for Sarah and me because Dr. Singhal was our Social Change professor during the spring semester at the Clinton School, and he also assisted us in connecting us with Media Impact. A million thanks would not be due credit.

Dr. Singhal shared his insight and wisdom in the field of Education Entertainment and Positive Deviancy. For me it was like Singhal’s Greatest Hits as he shared all the best stories we students heard in Social Change. Hearing them a second time over, however, was just as powerful (if not more powerful) than the first listening experience. It was very compelling to hear the theories and stories intermingled with each other in a very real, practical setting. No longer were we envisioning Positive Deviancy as a tool, but we were talking about how to apply it in our My Island – My Community project. Participants of the workshop, which included government officials, educators, radio DJ’s, musicians, and more, loved the stories (this is, after all, a culture centered on storytelling). And the stories of Gandhi were not just stories to live by as public servants that I previously heard in class, we were all reminded at the workshop why we come together in the first place -- to work on social issues.

In our lives if we are lucky to come across great storytellers we are truly blessed. For it’s not just the great stories that entertain us as we learn about the lives and events from other characters and times – we learn a lot about ourselves as well. Great story tellers offer us the freedom to think about concepts and norms and allow us to rewrite our own norms. Dr. Singhal is one of those great storytellers.

In the spirit of sharing stories, here is one of those stories.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quiet . . . We’re On the Air

Today is a day that any radio fanatic would appreciate and love. We’ve heard about theory and best practices for about a week and a half and finally today the participants got to put it all together and form their own mini radio segment as an in-class exercise.

Since I have a background in public radio, KMFA to be exact (HI KMFA staff!!!!) the sight of microphones, laptops, and weird little audio gadgets was a wonderful homecoming. It was amazing how the groups just ran with it and already sounded like seasoned announcers. I mean they used a bed of music underneath their banter! They made PSA’s! They made up a phone number for listeners to call in! They took pretend phone calls from listeners!

Oh it was wonderful. And I wanted to wrap my arms around the cute, creative radio frequency they created for us today and snuggle with it.

Radio is a powerful medium to convey messages. Unlike television or cinema – it’s free, and the technology needed to listen to radio is relatively inexpensive. So whether it’s waking up to radio on your alarm clock, hearing it on the public bus, or catching it on a boom box – radio is literally all around us. Depending on the content of the program, it can make you laugh, pontificate or bounce around in your chair. I’ve traveled to Turkey, the Netherlands, and throughout Central America. In each of these places I streamed KMFA and KUT from Austin, TX. And though I was millions of miles away from home simply hearing the voices of my local announcers immediately took me back home.

Now that I live in Little Rock I have a whole new slew of NPR voices to get to know, and I’m still in the getting to know you phase. Though there’s nothing better than logging on to Facebook and reading a status update that says, “John Aielli was crazy this morning.” Outside of the Central Texas area this might not mean much. For the folks that listen and love John Aielli it’s a nice wink and nod to a colorful DJ on KUT (the local NPR station) who probably played 15 songs in a row about paperclips and used his velvety voice to make commentary about how these songs remind him about whatever is going on his life. For the times that I truly miss Austin, I’ll make sure to stream him during the hours of 9 am and 12 pm and hear about his tomato gardening or the latest play he just saw.

That’s what public radio is for me. It’s keeping it local. It weaves together powerful stories about ordinary people to the ordinary listeners that love hearing them. And that my friend, is no ordinary listening experience.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Think Social Marketing Doesn't Work? Just Did!

Have you ever driven down the road and seen a blank billboard that reads: Think Advertising Doesn't Work? Just did! Call 1-800-….. to use this billboard. Maybe you don’t pay attention to that billboard or maybe you do. In my case those billboards really irk me. Something about their tone. Like they tricked me. I don’t know. I just don’t like it. Besides if there’s a blank billboard in town why don’t they use it to promote some regional issue?

Anyway… this post isn’t about billboards that try to trick you… but rather about social marketing and how it really works.

For those of you who aren’t aware -- social marketing is any use of marketing techniques to improve social well being by changing behavior and attitudes about social concerns, creating a change in the entire community. The major differences between commercial marketing (the marketing you all well know and love i.e. Coca-Cola) and social marketing is that social marketing is identified by it being values driven, accountable by the public, and based on building relationships out of trust.

Here in St. Lucia we’re just over half way through our 2 week workshop on utilizing Education Entertainment to affect Climate Change in the Caribbean. Today Media Impact Program Director Sean Southey gave a great presentation on Social Marketing – it’s importance, why to use it, and how to best create a social marketing campaign for each of the countries involved in this project.

Just to give you a small glimpse of the presentation. Sean explained how effective social marketing campaigns really are by showing the following pictures and seeing if we could finish the phrase. Can you finish the following messages from the campaigns? I’m pretty sure you can. Make me proud!

What does Smokey the Bear say?

Friends don't let Friends.....

Don't mess with...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Suddenly Surveyed

Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your opinions!

Since my time landing here I’ve had a major problem that I need your input on. How do you pronounce Caribbean? I don’t think I’ve ever pronounced it correctly or consistently. And the more I say it here, the more I get self-conscious about it and then just mumble “Cari…..” into some nonsensical, unheard word.

Please click on the link below and let me know how you pronounce it. It’s only one question long, so it’s fairly easy to take and you’ll be able to answer it faster than you can mumble Cari….
Results will be posted later this week.

Click here to take survey

Sunday, May 2, 2010

An Open Letter to Administrators of the World

Dear Administrators of the World,

Should the next time you decide to convene the powers that be that make up your organization – I highly recommend an offsite retreat or conference in St. Lucia. Workshops in St. Lucia provide a powerful yet entertaining venue to gather your staff and board. All the necessary components of a highly effective meeting are here: wi-fi, tamarind juice, and a pool for refreshing afternoon breaks. Even The Five Dysfunctions of a Team author Patrick Lencioni would agree that a retreat out here in the Caribbean is the best way to move your group through the five dysfunction stages.

Of all the conferences that I’ve ever been to, inevitably it ends up being you go and throw your business cards (or if you’re mean you throw your colleague’s business cards) at random strangers you will never talk to again. And some type of fun activity is usually organized in the evening revolving around a Hawaiian themed dress and food in Ballroom A. Snoozefest!

But here in St. Lucia it’s for real fun times. No kidding! Last week the staff, board members, and clients of PCI-Media Impact gathered together for a little food and entertainment. We laughed, laughed and laughed some more. A very talented group of children showed us some traditional dancing. That was all fun and great, but what I’m about to show you is how we at PCI-Media Impact get along. Check out the short clip below when the group busted out into a spontaneous conga line. It was like a Caribbean version of a Bollywood film minus the 3 hours of predictable storyline and unrequited star crossed lovers. You’ll see Sarah Leer from the Clinton School, and you’ll also meet my recently adopted Aunt Lynne. Aunt Lynne is a gutsy, fun awesome board member with Media Impact who is currently teaching at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. She’s not really my biological Aunt, but we have decided that we’re related.

Enjoy the clip and feel free to dance while you watch!

Best Regards,
Judy Watts
Associate Director of Having Fun While you Work

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Confessions of a Morning Jogger

Imagine this. You wake up, walk a short 10 minutes to the beach from your home and the most difficult decision in front of you is deciding on whether to take a left or a right down the sandy beach for your morning jog. This was exactly my 7 am routine today. I went left.

It was a beautiful jog and as I began I thought of all the places I have ever jogged and how my best jogs are near bodies of water—whether that is Ladybird Lake in Austin, Texas or the Caribbean there’s something about being near reflective water that well, helps me reflect. I wish I had brought a camera on this particular jog, but I will try my best to describe it for you.

I doled out various salutations to travelers, fisherman and St. Lucians on my way. Then I saw two fishermen pull out a silvery, sliding fish and begin to gut it. Not the prettiest thing for a vegetarian to witness, but I didn’t let it get me down. Just a few feet later I noticed a cemetery near the beachfront. What an interesting place to set down a cemetery amid hotels and restaurants (though I’m sure the cemetery was there first). It was quite beautiful though to see all the crosses from the headstones near a white sandy beach.

Continuing on my jog, I came across about 40 St. Lucians huddled near the water all watching some type of event taking place in the ocean. So I wondered what they were looking at and saw two men holding the arms of teenager wearing a red shirt. I stopped to ask a man what was going on, and apparently this was a baptism. Several teens were being immersed in the healing Caribbean waters of St. Lucia after deciding to become Christians. Witnessing the ceremonial baptism served as a good reminder to me that we are all humans. And to live is to err. And to acknowledge our mistakes is to start anew. Everyone deserves a second chance. What better place to get a second chance than by the shimmery, clear waters of the Caribbean?

Religion plays an important part of the culture here in St. Lucia. As it turns out over 60% of St. Lucians identify themselves as Roman Catholic. My contacts here tell me that St. Lucian Catholics are quite different than American Catholics though (their stated opinion). When I asked what the opinions are of the Pope here, he asserted that, in his view it doesn’t matter either way to folks. There seems to be a separation between spiritual practice and the head of the church from what I gather. Most likely the beach baptism this morning was not a Catholic baptism but of another Christian sect. People also worship as Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Baptists in St. Lucia.

On my return jog past the group they had all but finished and were slowly walking toward their cars and returning to their homes. For tourists who were to walk out after 8 am they would never know about the ceremony that took place earlier this morning. But I did, and I was envious of those delicious looking waters near the end of my jog. I caught one final glimpse of the group as a mother hugged a water drenched teen. What a neat way to start the day.