You are currently browsing the blog archives for October, 2013.



GROW: “Mr. Kristof, I Presume?”

By cklene

Last blog post–whoop whoop! I know this reading is a little long and directs our attention away from Nepal, but I think it does a good job of tying together some of the things we have talked about the last three weeks. Hope you enjoy it!

Just for context, here is a biography of Nicholas Kristof (taken straight from Wikipedia, of course): Nicholas Donabet Kristof (born April 27, 1959) is an American journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since November 2001 and The Washington Post says that he “rewrote opinion journalism” with his emphasis on human rights abuses and social injustices, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict.[1] Although Kristof has sometimes been criticized for highlighting human rights abuses in Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has described Kristof as an “honorary African” for shining a spotlight on neglected conflicts.

About the author: Kathryn Mathers is “a socio-cultural anthropologist with interdisciplinary training in sociology and the natural sciences. [Her] work, like the discipline of anthropology, is propelled by the examination of how representational practices, through writing and other forms of creative expression construct and mediate the world.” (

Questions to Consider: 

What are your initial reactions to the essay? Is there anything that stands out?

Most of us would not analyze a simple, seemingly good natured story, such as the “The Starfish Thrower” in as much depth as Kathryn, but her critical perspective raises valid concerns. Did her analysis make you reconsider your initial thoughts on the story? Why? How does this relate to sustainability and development?

How does the essay tie into David’s recommendation of “better than nothing?” Can you draw any other similarities between his TEDx talk and the essay?

How does Kathryn incorporate the single story into her argument? Does she talk about the single story in the same way Chimamanda does?

How does this essay relate to GROW, HHC, our partnership model, and the projects we support? Think critically!




GROW: “The Star Thrower”, Census Data, and the CIA World Factbook

By cklene

Hi Everyone!  So this post is a little different than the previous ones. I want to keep talking about development, but because this week’s post is a little less time consuming, I have also included some unrelated information from Nepal’s 2001 Census. From this we can learn more about the villages HHC works in. Please comment on both prompts.


Some of you may be familiar with “The Star Thrower” or the “Starfish Story”, which originally comes from Loren Eiseley’s essay of the same name. Today, there are a number of adaptions of the same story, but they basically go like this:

A young man is walking along the ocean and
sees a beach on which thousands and thousands
of starfish have washed ashore. Further along
he sees an old man, walking slowly and
stooping often, picking up one starfish after
another and tossing each one gently into the

“Why are you throwing starfish into the
ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out
and if I don’t throw them further in they will

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles
and miles of beach and starfish all along it!
You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even
save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you
work all day, your efforts won’t make any
difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent
down to pick up another starfish and threw it
into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

Questions to Consider:

How is “The Star Thrower” relevant to development and sustainability?

How does it relate to David Citrin’s recommendation to “reconsider better than nothing”?

Do you think the starfish suffer from a single story? If yes, what is it?


Here is the link to the Census information:

From this page, first select the Dhading District. The villages in Dhading will appear. Check the Lapa, Sirtung, and Tipling boxes. Finally, select a “class” and a “file format”. Spend a little time exploring the classes and comparing the villages to each other. Compare these statistics to those from the CIA World Factbook:

Questions to Consider: 

What stands out to you?

How are Tipling, Sirtung, and Lapa different from each other? How are they similar?

How do you think HHC’s projects have affected these numbers?

How do the villages compare to Nepal as a whole?





GROW: Medical Voluntourism in ‘Shangri-La’? David Citrin at TEDxVictoriaHarbour

By cklene

Last year at a regional training conference, our GROW team had the opportunity to meet GROW interns from other universities. There, a student from the University of Washington mentioned that one of his professors works in Nepal and directed us to the professor’s TEDx talk. We found the talk relevant not only to HHC’s work in the Dhading District, but also to us as GROW interns. Check it out and let me know what you think! (P.S. your comments last week were awesome!) (P.P.S. Sorry for the poor quality of the video.)

About David: David has been conducting research in Nepal since 2001. His personal experiences as a medical voluntourist working with NGOs to coordinate “health camps” led him to critically examine the possibilities and limits for our desires to ‘do good’ abroad. David received his Bachelor of Arts at Cornell University, a Masters in Public Health from the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in 2022 , and is currently writing up his Anthropology PhD dissertation on the impacts of fleeting forms of humanitarian intervention in Nepal’s far northwest Karnali Zone. He currently resides in Seattle.


Questions to Consider:

How do you think this TED talk relates to HHC? Remember, HHC also leads medical treks, in which physicians from around the world set up short-term medical camps in rural areas. How are these treks different from the projects GlobeMed helps support? Is one more important than another?

As GROW interns, how do you think our role onsite is similar to and different from the short term medical volunteers David describes?

At 13:10, David states, ” In the end, overwhelmingly, the benefits of these short term medical volunteer programs belong to those of us who come and then go shortly after.” Who do you think ultimately benefits from HHC’s work in the Dhading District? From the medical treks? From GlobeMed’s partnership with HHC? From the GROW internship?

At  15:15, David suggests we should  ”listen to those we intend to help because we have a lot to learn from them.” How does this comment relate to the “Danger of a Single Story” Chimamanda Adichie spoke of?

David recommends short term medical volunteers “1) Don’t medicalize poverty and 2) Rethink ‘better than nothing.’” What are your thoughts on these recommendations? Can you think of any others?



GROW: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “The Danger of a Single Story”

By cklene

Check out this awesome TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and comment by Tuesday night with your reaction and responses to a few of the questions below. The questions are more of a jumping off point, so there is no need to answer them all. In this case depth is better than breadth!

     Last week Anil told us a story of Nepal. He began by describing the country’s history and mentioned: “Nepal did not know it was poor until the 1950’s when white people came into the country and told us.” Why do you think the foreigners’ perception of Nepal differed from the Nepalis’ perception? How does our family background, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, age, socio-economic status and other group and cultural influences contribute to the development of our perceptions?

     Anil went on to speak about the political and economic systems, and finished by talking more about his personal experiences and saying there is much hope for the country. Although much of our knowledge of Nepal may stem from our involvement in GlobeMed, did Anil’s story in any way challenge your perceptions of Nepal? Do you think Nepal suffers from a single story? What role does the media play in perpetuating stereotypes?

     At the smaller scale, what are your perceptions of the villages HHC supports? How do perceptions of a local community effect development work? How can organizations use individual stories to increase capacity for impact?