All posts by Christie Esau

India’s election

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(Image source.)

In our previous post, we included a link about the current Indian election. Considering India is the largest democracy in the world, the election is certainly worth talking about (not to mention because India is where thisvillage works).

Unlike an election in Canada, India’s general election is… long. In fact, the election began on 7 April and will not conclude until 12 May. But, when you have more than 800 million eligible voters, it’s easy to see why the electoral process will take so long. The Economist has an interesting post about the potential problems with such a long election.

Impressively, every one of these voters should not have to travel more than 2 kilometres to a polling station. A far cry from how far some people in India have to travel to access health care, or clean water. This means that isolated villagers, such as those in Bandanpally, will all have a voice in the direction of the country.

For those that are interested in the election, a pretty useful guide can be found here.

What matters most to thisvillage is what the new government will do to address much of the country’s poverty.  That question will not be answered for a while, but we will still be keeping an eye on this important election.

— Christie and Graeme Esau

Recommended Reading

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(Image source.)

Of the four founders of thisvillage, I am the only person who didn’t study development or politics when I went to university. In fact, I studied English and History; subjects that aren’t terribly relevant to alleviating poverty in rural India.

Somewhat predictably, one of the ways I learn best is by reading and doing research. That said, I’ve come up with a short list of recommended reading if you’re interested in development, poverty and/or life in India. So, in no particular order…

Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo: A non-fiction account of the lives of people living in Annawadi, a Mumbai slum. Reads like fiction, but is an excellent and respectful portrait of the people in the slum.

Half the Sky – Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn: This is a great primer about women in the developing world. Its broad, accessible, but heartbreaking if you’re new to the issues that women face across the globe.

Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri: I confess that I haven’t read this Pullitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories, but everything I’ve heard about it is excellent.

This article about ‘voluntourism’, and how to know how you can best serve marginalized people. Hint: it might not be building a library when you’re a teenager.

The End of Poverty – Jeffrey D. Sachs: A long but worthwhile read about the value of foreign aid. Sachs is an economist, which means this is a great read if you really want numbers and facts about poverty alleviation.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger – Ronald J. Sider: Has a bit of a narrower audience, but still provides a really helpful explanation of the justice (or, rather, injustice) of distribution of wealth in the world. A worthwhile read regardless of your faith identifcation.

This article about the federal election that just started in India. The first round of polling was on April 7th, and votes will be counted on May 16th. BBC News India gives a really helpful breakdown of the (complicated) electoral process in India.

Anyone have further recommendations? We’d love to hear your suggestions!

— Christie Esau

We’re back!

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Apologies for the (unintentional) blogging hiatus that happened here at thisvillage. Some of us temporarily moved to Zimbabwe, some of us got new jobs, some of us are getting married… a lot has been going on in our personal lives!

That’s not to say, however, that things haven’t been happening with thisvillage. Thanks to our very successful fundraising campaign to build wells, we’re working through the logistics of not only getting wells built, but also doing some other projects in Bandanpally. This is, of course, because we’ve committed to equipping the community of Bandanpally with everything they need to be free from poverty, rather than focusing on only one need.

Keep your eyes on our blog, Facebook page and Twitter for all the developments. And, if you’d like to make a donation to help the community of Bandanpally in India, visit our Donate page.

— Christie Esau

Thank you.

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Sincere and exuberant thanks to everyone for making our wells campaign such a big success. The month-long campaign, which wrapped up in the first week of December, will provide the community of Bandanpally with two much-needed water wells. If you’ve been following along with us during the campaign, you already know how big of a deal those wells are.

We at thisvillage, and–most importantly–the people of Bandanpally truly appreciate your generosity. We can’t wait to dig these wells soon.

We’ll be slightly less active in the social media world over the Christmas holidays, but you can expect updates as we get things running on the ground in India. And, if you weren’t able to contribute to the StartSomeGood campaign, please know that you can still donate via our Donate page.

— Christie Esau

PS: For those of you who made donations, your StartSomeGood rewards will be on their way soon enough!