A note about comments. I love them, because I love hearing from you. Also, I just switched over my commenting to a new system. Older post comments might not be in the correct order, which means my replies are all jacked up. But I like the new system so whatever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Time Out Tuesday

Oh Hai There.
It's Time Out Tuesday. Not to be confused with Taco Tuesday, which is equally awesome.

On (probably random) Tuesdays we let Guest Bloggers do all the talking. They can talk about anything and everything. All I ask of you is that you read their stuffs, comment if you feel so inclined, and show some love. If you're interested in guest blogging, give me a shout.

This week our Guest Blogger is: Derick Becker. I've known Derick since I was 15 years old and still wearing leggings (and I don't mean ironically). Derick is by far one of the smartest and kindest souls I have ever met. He holds a bazillion college degrees in exotic subjects like French and Political Science, and he travels more than anyone I know. Today he's sharing something very close to his heart, and I beg of you to please read and take it to your heart. I promise you won't regret it. ~Dawn


I wish I could say that what I want to do, what I want to say in this brief essay is easy to write. It should be. The idea is simple. The appeal straightforward. The words should simply flow. How much thought is necessary? How many people will even need to reach into the inner recesses of their conscience to be moved to act as I hope they will when they read this? But the truth is that I have spent days agonizing over just what to say and how. This is quite possibly the most painful thing I have ever tried to write. It is also perhaps the most important thing I have ever tried to do. And it frightens me to believe that I may simply fail.

Last year I spent nine months traveling across Asia and eventually into Africa. As you would expect I met many people along the way. When I arrived in Uzbekistan to follow the old Silk Road I met a strange fellow who let me crash on his couch. He had two large flags in his living room, an American and Israeli flag. He ran an American club and had taught himself English. And in my brief time in Tashkent, the capital, I spent many hours answering his numerous questions about grammar and all things American as his mother ceaselessly cooked for us. He is the most inquisitive man I've ever met. This somewhat strange, endearingly honest, almost nebbishy man is my friend Andrew. 

After it became clear that couch surfing was illegal because all foreigners must register each night in Uzbekistan, he and I wandered into the seediest hotels attempting to bribe our way into the necessary paperwork. Each time we ran the risk of arrest or worse. The pitiful world of dictatorial politics in Uzbekistan requires a steely resolve to simply exist or a willful desire to fade away in whatever distracting pleasures may be found. Andrew chose not to ignore the world around him nor to let it determine his or anyone else's fate if he could help it.

Eventually I came home and found a decent job but one without much job security. I am already searching for my next job as I know this one will end. This is not my point. America is not Uzbekistan by any measure. But it too is experiencing a reign of misery and economic instability. Many of us are faced with the same, albeit less serious question of whether to hide away in pleasure or to seek to change our economic system that is breeding inequality and misery. I chose the latter. I throw myself into activities to change my country. But I do it to distract myself. It feels hollow but it's something.

Things for Andrew have changed as well. His American club has been shut down. I cannot say 
why. But his resolve remains. We remain in contact, we send short messages from time to time on Facebook testing the idea of six degrees of separation. And a few weeks ago he sent me a message asking for help not for himself but for someone else- selfless to the end. He recently met and befriended a young girl of 15 years named Anastasia. No it's not romance. That would be simple.

Anastasia lives in a political hell hole of a country. She's just a girl. She is ignorant of politics. 
But she is not ignorant of what it means to live in an impoverished country and to be deprived of a child's life. Anastasia has cancer and in trying to receive treatment she contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood. Andrew was writing to ask if I could help raise the money to send her to get treatment in Israel. I do not know why I said I would try. I do not know why I am working with everyone I know to raise this money and more. But it drives me. It doesn't feel so hollow. Maybe I am shallow but I need to try and help even if I am desperately afraid of failing. If I try really hard this will simply be the start and I and everyone I know can send Anastasia to Israel so she can live a child's life. So this is the first step. A simple internet acct and a simple widget that lets anyone 'chip in' to help Anastasia. Click it. Chip in. Help out. Maybe you too need the selfish feeling of happiness we get in helping others.


Derick is a visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.

Editor's note: The chip in widget will remain on the side of my blog until the end of April, or until we reach our goal. Please feel free to send people this way to make a donation to save a child's life. Every dollar makes a difference.
If you'd like to read about Anastasia you can check out her website: http://pomogi.uz/. It's in Russian, but each page has a button for translating to English. 


  1. I can't contribute right now, but I'd like to as soon as I can (in a couple months)
    Hopefully, you will have reached your goal long before then. Much luck and love to you.

  2. Like TPB, I can't contribute right now, but will as soon as I can.

  3. TPB and Chibi, I love you guys! I love that you want to donate even if you can't right now. You have big hearts and that's what matters.

    To those who have donated already: you rock mah world! You're helping a young girl get the cancer treatment she so desperately needs. Thank you for being a part of this.

  4. I'd donate but Chipin won't let me. That may be because I wrote this and created the acct. I'll just donate another way. And thanks everyone!

  5. I think I'll put this on my blogs as well, and spread the word around. If every one of us gets two people to chip in $5, and they each get two people, and ... you know how that goes.

  6. Thank you Michy! That's a great idea!


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