6 JUNE 2018 # 47THE WAR ON POLIO — IS VICTORY NEAR?

ONLY ONE CASE OF POLIO IN PAKISTAN SO FAR THIS YEAR The little boy in the photo is crying as his mother bends to help him. He is 3 years old and trying to take a few steps, but his right leg and arm are painful and will not move. He is the only case of polio so far this year in Pakistan, a historical low. (His mother has not learned to read and cannot decipher the Urdu words on the sign behind her urging that children get vaccinated against polio. The sign says “Don’t let your child’s dreams go to waste.”) The world is now very close to wiping out polio. Pakistan’s neighbor, India, eradicated polio in 2014. Now … Read More

26 NOVEMBER 2017 #39 A TALE OF TWO WEDDINGS

A TALE OF TWO WEDDINGS In the past month I was honored to be a guest at two weddings, one Muslim, one Hindu. The first was the marriage of Aitbubuu, my very fine student from Arabaev University in Kyrgyzstan (where I recently concluded my Peace Corps service). Her new husband is Ulan. Their wedding took place in Aitbubuu’s hometown, Naryn, a five hour drive south from Bishkek. I was invited to share the ride to Naryn with Aitbubuu and Ulan. To attend the second wedding a few weeks later, I took a short flight over the Himalya to attend the marriage celebration of Hirdesh and Aaron in the Indian town of Orchha. For more than 20 years, I have spent half … Read More

15 OCTOBER 2017 #38 FULL MOON OVER MUSSOORIE

Mussoorie, in the foothills of the Himalya, is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in India, indeed in the world. I spent a few days there last week and took this photo on the night of the full moon. I attended the Woodstock School in Mussoorie from second form until my high school graduation in 1951, as my parents were missionaries in Burma. Woodstock, founded in 1854, is a coeducational residential international school. During last week’s visit, I spent some time with a dear friend who was one of my schoolmates in those long-ago years. I was glad to capture this photo of Mussoorie and its nighttime sky. We must keep special places like Mussoorie always safe and beautiful. … Read More

9 SEPTEMBER 2017 #36 TO KYRGYZSTAN AND INDIA AGAIN

In June I completed 4 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan (as Visiting Professor of English at Arabaev University in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek).  Then home to Washington State, to reside with my elder daughter in Tacoma until my new apartment in Seattle becomes available. Except for August, which I spent visiting friends on the U.S. East Coast, I thought I’d be in Washington for awhile, putting finishing touches on my next book, SPACE AGE CHRONICLES — but weddings of two dear and long-lasting friends have persuaded me to return to Kyrgyzstan and India for the next two months. I left on the eighth of September and will return to the USA on the fifth of November. The first wedding — that … Read More

12 AUGUST 2013 #34 PROTECT THE TIGERS

PROTECT THE TIGERS We have lost almost 96% of the world’s wild tigers. But tiger populations are slowly recovering thanks to efforts such as the World Wildlife Fund working with 13 tiger-range countries to protect tiger habitats – for example a large area on the border of India and Bhutan. Poets have written of the the tigers’ magnificent beauty. “The Tyger” by the English poet William Blake begins: Tyger, Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? “Always” by the Indian poet Kiran Verma envisions a NEW EARTH: Where tigers roam the forests And great whales roam the seas (Read the entire poem “Always” at warrenhallcrain.com/always/ ) WarrenHall Crain … Read More

21 April 2017 #28 INDIA…CHAOTIC…OVERPOPULATED…VIBRANT…INSPIRING

  INDIA: Chaotic … Overpopulated … VIBRANT … INSPIRING. After a recent visit to India, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote this: “India is ample. Soon to be the most populous country on earth, it is home to close to a billion Hindus, some 172 million Muslims, and tens of millions of Christians. Cochin is dotted with churches and mosques. Nobody cares too much. There’s room for multiple truths. It is this that makes the country such a source of hope.” Despite its many problems, including overcrowding and the occasional flaring of religious violence, Cohen writes that India’s “basic alchemy is good.” India is an inspiration to the world. My book READINGS FROM AN INDIA JOURNAL — available … Read More

23 OCTOBER 2016 #21 BRIGHT PROSPECTS FOR INDIA … AND THE PLANET

India is suffering worsening heat waves … just when many Indians are beginning to be able to afford air conditioners. The problem: Affordable air conditioners use HFCs — chemicals that trap heat in the atmosphere and add to global warming. So the air conditioners that help Indians survive the heat make the heat worse. The good news: In October, 170 nations — including India — signed an agreement to limit the use of HFCs. Some nations agreed to make the first cuts by 2019. India was given until 2028 to start reductions because of the need for air conditioners. By 2028, non-polluting air conditioners should be available. Even better: Major chemical companies are jumping in to accelerate development of non-polluting … Read More

30 JUNE 2016 #17 … EVERY VILLAGE

When I was in Khajuraho, central India, earlier this month I went with my dear friend Dr. Raghav to the village of Kundarpura, just a few kilometres away, in which we are establishing a clinic (open three days a week) to provide basic health care to the whole village (about 1400 people). Raghav had made arrangements for another doctor to visit Kundarpura, and yesterday, and quoting from Dr. Raghav’s post: “Dr. Rachna Gupta visited our clinic on request to see the patients, She diagnosed total 83 patients, and distributed medicines as per requirements. We also provided vitamin A to kids and elders those were near to night blindness. Specially Raveena sister of Arti was very near to such sickness. Dr. Rachna … Read More

(E MINUS 223) 10 AUGUST 2015 #4 THE POWER OF HOPE

The following appeared in The Boston Globe on 14 May 2015: One of the most pressing social, moral, and economic quandaries of our time lies in this simple and depressing fact: more than a fifth of the people on the planet live on $1.25 or less a day. What can be done to lift up the “ultra-poor”? A team of MIT researchers has harnessed the tools of science to test one promising solution: a “big push” approach that helps poor people establish a livelihood. The three-year study, implemented in six countries starting in 2006, gave the poorest households a variety of supports, including a small savings account, mentoring, a resource such as goats or chickens, and money for food. A … Read More