The Exit Strategy

I wrote these words during my tenure as projects coordinator for the Australian Red Cross in Aceh following the tsunami in 2004. I was concerned that none of the interventions managed by most aid organizations had an exit plan, something I thought would be devastating to the already devastated communities we were supporting. You cannot … 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?

Untold Stories

It was already quite late on the last night of the fasting month of Ramadhan, 1993. I was sitting on the bottom bunk bed along side Sari and her youngest brother Atong. She had asked me to come and sit here because she had something to tell me. We were staring at the old ceramic … More Untold Stories

The Family of GIRLI: the Homeless Children of Yogyakarta

This is one of the very first ethnographic articles I ever wrote, and which went on to thoroughly influence how I went about the rest of my career. Street kids trained me in ethnographic analysis, patience, trust, and how to combine advocacy with research. In short, if you are not giving back something to the … More The Family of GIRLI: the Homeless Children of Yogyakarta

Short story: Demonology 101 – Flirting with Steven King

This is an absolutely, 100% true story. This happened to me. It was winter, 1975. I was living in the student dorms in downtown Philadelphia as a freshman at the University of the Arts (still the Philadelphia College of Art back then). It was winter break so my room-mate, Dierdre, a tall, bleached-blonde, Ukrainian-Amazon with … More Short story: Demonology 101 – Flirting with Steven King