Friday, October 13, 2006

Off to China!

October 13, 2006

Well, I'm off to China for two weeks, amazingly enough, leaving theprogram in very capable hands. Emily Auerbach and Anne Strainchamps will be filling in for me while I'm gone and they have both come up with some exciting topics. I'm still trying to finish my book - one more paragraph to go - it's been a real marathon, so I haven't had much time to think about my trip. I'm hoping to blog while I'm there, when it feels more real.

I'll be back on Monday, Oct. 30, with another program about the spectacular and amazing Shabnam Ramaswamy and the school she and her late husband established for street children in rural India. I listened to Dheera Sujan's Radio Netherlands documentary about it, and it made me want to cheer. Human beings at their finest.You'll cheer too.

Next stop - Beijing! Catch you later.


Jean Feraca as Cleopatra

Friday, Oct. 13, 2006

From the October 2006 issue of aNew Magazine:

Witty and engaging, Jean feraca was in high spirits at our annual Halloween photo shoot. "I absolutely love Halloween," says the host of WPR's popular "Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders," which is heard Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Jean says Halloween has always been a big production at her house. When her sons -- now 25 and 33 -- were little, their family embraced the holiday with ambitious creativity. "I remember there was one year when one of the boys went as cow who butchered people! It was quite gory and effective," she says, laughing.

Inspiration for such over-the-top creativity may be attributed to Jean's mother, Rose, who spent her golden years living at Oakwood Village in Madison. "My mother loved costumes and she dressed up every year," she says. "She was the best witch and everyone was just terrified."

Now, the tradition continues. As a tribute to her theatrical mother, Jean makes sure to bring out her inner witch each and every year.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Somalia and Sauerkraut

Friday, Oct. 6, 2006

Well, it's been a great day Here on Earth! This morning I had the honor and the pleasure of meeting a fantastic woman named Asha Hagi Elmi who is here in Madison to give the Soffe lecture. She arrived with her traveling companion and the two of them, big, beautiful black women fabulously dressed and be-jeweled in many-layered silks and scarves, Asha wearing silver, black and pink, and her friend in black with a red and black striped head scarf, filled up the reception room like a two-woman U.N. One of the many things I learned from them is that Somalis have no hostility toward their former Italian colonizers, indeed, they eat Italian food, pattern their dress after Italian fashion, and even decorate their homes al'Italiana! Asha was named one of the 1000 women eligible for a Nobel Peace prize and she surely deserves it, having founded an NGO called Save Somali Women and Children which is educating young women, training them for jobs, helping to end forced child marriages and the hideous practice of female genital mutilation. She is also a Machiavellian strategist having used the concept of clan to transcend it by creating The Sixth Clan, all women from various tribes united for political and social power. You'll be hearing from Asha in a future Here on Earth program.

I heard from several of you who were disappointed with our program on fundamentalism with Martin Marty which used a sensational device at the start of the program which juxtaposed The Jesus Camp with a Pakistani mudrassah. I can understand why you objected, and I appreciate your suggestions on constructive ways to depict Christian fundamentalists.

And to those of you who enjoyed meeting The Bioneers, you'll be pleased to know we're planning on future collaborations.

And now, even as I write I'm getting ready for an Ode to Sauerkraut!

Thanks for all your help.