Gloria Swanson’s Dress

When I was about 15 years old in 1970, my Aunt Sylvia let me ransack her attic and take with me anything I wanted. She was a professional singer and her collection of street and stage outfits consisted of dozens of boxes of items dating from the 1940s through to the 60s. I was set. … More Gloria Swanson’s Dress

Postcard from Flores – Signed, a concerned project evaluator

Postcard from Flores: on food Flores is one of my favorite places on earth – a small tropical island in Eastern Indonesia with cool weather, amazing mountains and scenery, fabulous beaches, abundant greenery with things to pick and eat everywhere! One never goes hungry in Flores – or so I thought. In Flores, my favorite … More Postcard from Flores – Signed, a concerned project evaluator

Culture Shock New Zealand: a New Yorker does the South Island – 1980

When people ask me about my strangest experience, it is usually my early days in New Zealand that come to mind. It was a very hard story to tell because it is simply too bizarre to be believable. For years I never told anyone because they were sure I was making it up. It is … More Culture Shock New Zealand: a New Yorker does the South Island – 1980

Under A Burning Sun

In 1991 I moved to Jogjakarta, on the island of Java, Indonesia, for doctoral research, a lone, female grad student in an entirely different world wanting to learn about entirely different ways of speaking and being. I had to radically recreate myself through a new language, a new way of dressing, a new attitude, to … More Under A Burning Sun

The Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy: An exit strategy is a well-planned approach to ending post-disaster project support through a controlled and gradual cessation of activities or passing responsibility for the project to a local partner or community of beneficiaries. I wrote these words during my tenure as projects coordinator for the Australian Red Cross in Aceh following the … More The Exit Strategy

A Day in Delhi

Our first full day in Delhi, we three gals flagged a pedicab to take us from our hotel in the touristy area of town over to Connaught Place, the old, but ritzy shopping district. We knew the general direction as well as knowing how long it should take and the general cost. The rest was … More A Day in Delhi


I am in the middle of evaluating a Human Trafficking project in a large Asian country. The well-known international organization I am evaluating has made some great improvements in combatting this awful problem. But I have faced a massive dilemma in evaluating the victim ‘protection’ projects I was taken to see because of what I … More RESCUED?