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Rob Brezny Horoscope

Dec. 4th, 2006 | 08:56 pm

Leo Horoscope for week of November 30, 2006

I hope that one day you will learn how to give all the extraordinary love you have to offer. Another one of my greatest desires for you is that you will cultivate, earn, and seize all the freedom you need in order to become yourself completely. To my great pleasure, you've recently begun to tune in to the possibility that these two goals might be extremely fun for you. During the coming weeks their hold on your imagination should heat up considerably. In 2007, I hope they'll become your modus operandi, your Weltanschauung, and your raison d'être.

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(no subject)

Nov. 22nd, 2006 | 07:30 am

Africa most dangerous place for newborns: report

By Stella Mapenzauswa

Each year more than one million babies in sub-Saharan Africa die before they are a month old because of a lack of essential health care, a U.N. report said on Wednesday.

"Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most dangerous region in the world for a baby to be born -- with 1.16 million babies dying each year in the first 28 days of life," said the report published, in Johannesburg and Geneva.

The document, drafted by nine agencies including the World Health Organization, said six countries in the region had made progress in improving care, reducing neonatal deaths by about 30 percent in the past decade.

"Whilst the survival of the African child has shown almost no improvement since the 1980s, the fact that during 2006 several large African countries have reported a dramatic reduction in the risk of child deaths gives us new hope," said co-editor Joy Lawn.

Up to half a million African babies die on the day they are born, with Liberia having the world's highest neonatal mortality rate at 66 deaths per 1,000 births, compared with fewer than two deaths for 1,000 births in Japan.

Half of Africa's 1.16 million neonatal deaths occur in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, the report said.

Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda had made significant progress in reducing infant deaths over the last 10 years, thanks to increased government spending on basic health care.

The report said opportunities to save the lives of newborns within existing programs were often missed, with only one-tenth of women in Africa attending antenatal care receiving preventive treatment for malaria.

Only one percent of mothers with HIV had treatment to avoid transmitting the virus to their babies during childbirth.

"Up to 800,000 babies a year could be saved if 90 percent of women and babies received feasible, low-cost health interventions," the report said, adding this would cost about $1 billion per year.

The United Nations said in October that more than 18 million children in Africa would be orphaned by HIV/AIDS by the end of the decade if more was not done to combat the pandemic among the continent's overwhelmingly young population.

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Out of Africa

Nov. 14th, 2006 | 06:47 am
mood: nostalgic nostalgic

Happy to be home but it was far from easy leaving Africa. Cried when the plane took off from Accra. It was nighttime when the plane reached the edge of Algeria, you could see Algiers all lighted up. As the plane passed over the Mediterranean Sea, I wished to be able to return to this amazing continent. For any of my friends/family who will miss my journal, no need to worry. One of my best friends from San Pedro leaves for Mozambique today. She'll be there for 5 weeks. Feel free to visit her live journal too because the stories she tells from Mozambique are amazing and she posts incredible photographs too. Congrats Jenny on going Back to Africa!!!

Just go to: http://nelumbo.livejournal.com

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True & not just for Leos

Nov. 14th, 2006 | 06:36 am

Leo Horoscope for week of November 9, 2006


The time is right to send out a big "Hey!" and "Thank you!" to all the little voices in your head. Start with the still, small voice that's always ready to provide concise responses to the ingenious questions you come up with. But please also acknowledge every one of the other little voices as well--even the crabby, reactive naysayer that's forever on the lookout for insults to your dignity, however tiny or unintentional; even the worrywart that wakes you up in the middle of the night to pester you with doubts and fears. Love all the little voices in your head, Leo. Celebrate their vitality, their persistence, their attentiveness. You're lucky to have such a zealous group of advisors, even if all but one of them are off the mark a lot of the time.

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Last Day in Ghana

Nov. 7th, 2006 | 01:20 am

It's my last day in Ghana. Probably should have left much earlier. The sore throat got better because I started taking left over antibiotics- had enough to last 2 a day till I got home. But something went really wrong & an even bigger infection developed. Ended up at Trust Hospital in Accra night before last & to make the long story short, had to get a big shot in my ass. Hate to have to leave Ghana early but am so grateful for the 2 months here.
This morning I packed 2 suitcases. There are other things I'm packing which don't take up any physical space- they are the memories. Some things I'll remember most about Ghana are:

The group of children down the road from the CCS compound who scream our names & welcome us each & every time we see them.

Random shouts of "Yevu" (meaning white person) from any and all directions.

Heterosexual men holding hands in public as they walk down the street.

Strength & Beauty of the Ewe culture & people- their music, dances, proverbs, language, traditions, etc...

Sounds of roosters & goats.

Jesus stickers on the back of taxis.

Faustina words to me that my brain is like a palm kernal nut- it can create tangible items like oil & soap.

Poverty: particularly that which you see in the villages.

Ghanaian food.

Football everywhere: on TV, kids playing soccer with or without shoes on the beach, outside school, on the street.

Ghanaian time and Ghanaian handshakes.

Afternoon Rains.

To name a few...

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Guess what Jennifer???

Nov. 2nd, 2006 | 02:06 am
mood: sore sore

Last night, Faustina stopped by the compound to say goodbye. We had a great visit, shared many laughs, and also discussed the 2005-2007 budgets for Lume Kpodoave Women's Association. Will be taking the grantwriting home with me to finish up loose ends. Faustina expressed again how much she wants my mom to come to Ghana when the village makes me a queen mother. This reminded me to show her pictures of family & friends. Faustina saw a picture of one my best friends, Jennifer Dwyer. I told her a lot about Jennifer, our frienship etc... (Hope that's ok with you Jenn)

Faustina said that it now makes sense why I related so well to the villagers with disabilities. "Why doesn't Jennifer come to Ghana," she said. "You bring her with you when you come back. The people at the airport will welcome her warmly. We can take her to the villages and she can meet the people here and talk to them about disabilities. How wonderful!" Those were Faustina's exact words. I told Faustina that my best friend would be thrilled about the invitation. Maybe now, Jenn will have a reason to come to the continent. What on earth will your parents say about that????

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(no subject)

Nov. 1st, 2006 | 08:42 am
mood: groggy groggy

Today is my last day in Ho. Will leave for Accra tommorrow and spend some time there before coming home early next week. Really must see the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial before leaving Ghana- it is also where he is buried. This was a very difficult decision to make. But my intuition guided the decision & ultimately our health has to be first priority. With a fever of 102.7 and swollen glands in my throat there wasn't much of a choice. I don't have the slightest degree of faith in the medical care available here. Being in need of medical care under these conditions proved to be too much for me to take.

So grateful for an amazing & unforgettable two months time here. Ghana has provided such important things that I never could have been found or discovered being in the United States. Hope to someday be able to make it up to Ghana and Africa in one way or another.

It is quite disappointing to have to return home to a country whose latest objective is to build a wall between itself and Mexico. Guess we'll wait & see what happens next week after the elections.

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Sick

Oct. 31st, 2006 | 10:17 am
mood: sick sick

I'm very, very sick right now. Have a very sore throat and pain all over my body. Based on internet research, looks like its either strep throat or tonsillitis. The last thing I want to do is leave Ghana early but yesterday was absolutely insane when, for the 1st time, I became a patient in need of medical treatment. What a traumatic experience. Went to Regional Hospital in Ho with Ciera, another volunteer who is also sick. She has been going to Regional for over 1 month & still feels terrible. Regional is considered to be one of the best hospitals around. We waited at least 4 hours before seeing the doctor. All the people who work at this hospital move & talk very slowly- on typical Ghanaian time. Ghanaian time is awesome in many respects but pretty horrifying in a situation when people are extremely sick and/or dying. After waiting 4 hours, I saw a doctor who didn't even look at my throat & said he would give me a pill which would solve the problem in 2 days. After I asked him to look at my throat, he said I had tonsillitis. I asked for the name of medication he wanted to give and he got angry and instructed me to take a malaria test. I refused because we had already been there for 4 hours and my throat was really bothering me. He then told me to go home if I couldn't listen to him, which is what I did. The conditons in the hospital were deplorable. For example, no soap at any of the sinks throughout the surgery ward and that is just the beginning.

After getting back from Regional, made some calls to the US Embassy & Consulate in Accra. They have a medical facility with Western educated doctors but only allow US Citizens working for the government to go there for treatment. After finding this out, Ciera and I went to the Miracle Life Clinic in Ho yesterday afternoon out of desperation. In order to get treated we had to first declare we were Christians. Whatever!!!!
The doctor there was more patient & looked at my throat. But he said I have laryngitis, which doesn't match up with any of my symptoms. He prescribed some lozenge for me to suck on & didn't think I needed an antibiotic. They took a bloodtest in a really makeshift laboratory that was extremely unsanitary- a scary experience. Seriously am thinking of leaving Ghana early & changing my ticket. The healthcare situation is extremely frightening here. Feeling a strong need to get home & see my doctor. Yesterday was the worst day in Ghana yet. Really want to stay but am worried about my health. It became more evident to me after all this why the people here are so religious- they really don't have any choice. The conditions here are all so incredibly unfair & unjust, especially since the Ghanaians are some of the most wonderful, amazing people in the entire world.

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Funeral

Oct. 29th, 2006 | 05:06 pm

Travelled to village of Vakpo this weekend to attend a funeral service which was an incredible experience. Ghanaians, like all Africans, have special rituals for funerals and the customs in the Volta Region are really amazing. The entire community, even people from outside the village, showed up to attend the funeral. Not sure how many hundreds of people were there. Traditional funeral colors are red, black, and white. A preacher gave a very loud and emotional sounding sermon in Ewe, which was difficult to understand. There was also singing, dancing, and drumming around the casket at certain times during the service. After the service, those in attendance followed the casket to be buried. Directly across from the burial site, men drummed & women danced.

Several hours later, we saw Borborbor drumming and dancing, which was cut short when 2 groups started fighting over which one had rights to the best drummer in the Vakpo Borborbor drumming group.

Ghanaians from the Volta Region believe funerals are a time to express both happiness and sadness. It was an amazing weekend and so moving to witness the funeral.

Had a wonderful time but it felt a tiny bit strange being the only "Yevu" (white person) in attendance at the funeral. However, the villagers were extremely welcoming and friendly, it was amazing. Met Godwin, a little boy who started to cry and scream, refused to shake my hand, and ran away when he saw me because I was the first white person he has seen. Quite funny- gave all of us a big laugh!!!!

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(no subject)

Oct. 26th, 2006 | 11:36 am

Last night, we had a celebration for Josephine, a volunteer who's about to leave. Josephine plans to adopt 2 Ghanaian children she met while working at the nearby orphanage & will come back to Ghana with her husband in 4 months time. She's a pretty lucky woman- her husband doesn't seem to mind if she brings back 1 or 5 kids from Ghana. They've already raised a family of their own but have huge hearts. Her husband made it big in real estate in Idaho so they have 10 acres for the kids to grow up on.
Went with Josephine this morning to the orphanage and got to meet the 2 she's adopting & some other GREAT children. All the schools except for private schools have been on strike for over 1 month now so the children at the orphanage aren't going to school right now. They are practicing math and other subjects on their own in the meantime. Will spend the remainder of my stay in Ghana at with the kids at the orphanage and also will co-teach a photography class to teenage boys with Kate. Carrie started the photography class but recently left so we are continuing it. Also have an opportunity to assist the paramount, regional queen mothers with leadership and goal setting skills & ideas for income generation. Edem took me to the House of Chiefs in Ho the other day. Quite a fascinating looking place. The queen mothers are the female equivalent of the regional chiefs of Ghana. Also will continue to help Faustina at the Dept. of Social Welfare. All this should keep me pretty busy.

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