Sunday, February 7, 2010

Shanghai Circus and Chinese New Years!

I thought it was about time I updated my blog. Me and my friend Kurt went to the Shanghai Circus. It was amazing! Tight roping, contortionist, juggling, flips, and tons of fun!

BYU sponsored a Chinese New Year festival! They had catered Chinese food, performances, and games. There were tons of Chinese people! Me and Kurt had a lot of fun.

My companion Amy Hill and her boyfriend Shan came for the party!

Some of my awesome friends from China!

An amazing couple from Taiwan I met at the MTC. They are investigating the church!

Kurt is great! He is one of my best friends (and maybe a little more :-). He served his mission in Taiwan and is majoring in Electrical Engineering. We are having a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dearest Family and Friends,
I love my work at WomanStats. Since being educated therein, I have considered myself a Feminist. I know some of you have been weary about me calling myself as such. So, to answer some questions and help my dear family and friends gain some more education on the matter, I have posted this website that I found:

Can you be conservative and feminist at the same time?

Find out if you are a Red State feminist with this cool quiz:

It is worth your time. I would love to open up a dialogue with any who wishes to discuss these issues.
Please post!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Case of Zainab: A Call to Abolish Ignorance and Claim Victory

(Pic: Example of acid throwing)

I just posted this blog on my works website. Enjoy (if that could be said)...

Welcome to the worst TRUE story nightmare you have ever heard.
PAKISTAN - Zainab Zia, age 24, innocent victim
• Raped by her brother-in-law, Mohammad Ali (member of the MQM party)
• Zainab and her sister, Shehla Zia, went out to file a complaint but were stopped by the mother “who wished to resolve the issue at home”
• Zainab and Shela got into a heated discussion with Ali, and the two girls were tied up and acid and kerosene thrown on them. Fortunately the girls were rescued before they were lit on fire.
• Girls tried to file a report, but were blocked by MQM leaders.
• Threats from militant MQM members were given to the girl’s family; as a result the girls lost support of their family.
• In October, the chairman of MQM Union Council used his authority to arrange for Zainab and Shela’s forced admittance into a psychiatric hospital. They were forced to flee to a shelter.
• Mr. Saleem Qaudri, a family friend, volunteered to protect Zainab. Because of legal and cultural reasons, they were forced to marry and Zainab became his one of many wives in polygamy.
• Mr. Saleem Qaudri was arrested on charges of rape, kidnap and theft. He was fortunately released when he showed the marriage certificate.
• Zainab’s rape case finally goes to court, the investigation is suspended and Mohammad Ali and his comrades are let go on bail – all on the request of the MQM.
• Zainab asks for police protection and her request falls on unsympathetic ears. No protection is granted.
• Zainab goes to the high courts, where the investigation was stopped by the MQM and local police, and the case was dropped.
• Zainab gives up the law and holds a press conference. Two days later Zainab's husband, Qaudri, and his guests were attacked in a Latifabad restaurant. Police intervened but refused to register a case. Neither did they accept the report of Qaudri's medical examination.
• The original case of rape and acid-throwing is now pending in Session and District Court no. 6, Hyderabad, with no progress made.

Is your mouth hanging wide-open? This is not an isolated case in Pakistan. Let me repeat, this is not an isolated case in Pakistan. Something must be done to end this disgusting government corruption and complete lack of police enforcement. Not only is this not an isolated case in Pakistan, but women and girls are victims just like Zainab all over the world.

As the New York Times stated in their recent issue about women, this is the century of the rise of women and their victory over inequality and injustice. I believe this is true. Awareness, information, and free access to this information is KEY in this fight. Knowledge is important not only for personal wisdom and edification, but also a prerequisite to effective policy-making and on-the-ground work. Recently, the press has come out against the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as many of their projects have been ineffective due to a lack of understanding the problem, both contextually and practically (lack of data and information). So, what is to be done to obtain this information?

If it weren’t for the WomanStats project, Zainab’s voice would be lost in the cosmos of the many thousands of internet blogs and reports. WomanStats take these women and immortalize their names and their stories.

My blog today is a wake-up call - a call to all reading this to spread the word about the cause of women. Spread the cause of WomanStats. Tell your friends, neighbors, everyone on your email list, co-workers, etc. about WomanStats. I know that many wish to live in a “bubble” and see the world through “rose-colored glasses,” but this would not only be an apathetic, ignorant route, but also a destructive one. Destructive not only in Pakistan, but also in your own backyard.

Have courage. BELIEVE you can make a difference, and let the knowledge of Zainba and many women and girls just like her spread in every ear. Then, and only then, when knowledge is cultivated, will there be a victorious change.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Quiet Work of a WomanStats Coder

My work is both fascinating and depressing. We are a part of a cause. We help to publicize all of the reports, stories, and data that surround women throughout the world. It is the largest database in the world and it is free for the public to view.
So, what do I do all day?
Here is a sampling of some articles I have been researching. I read them 3-4 times thoroughly, pulling out as many variables as possible (280+ variables exist on our database). I am shocked, sad, and sometimes yell at the computer. There are a few gems of goodness, but for the most part it isn't a pretty picture. We have such a long way to go until the Millennium and the Savior reigns.

SHOCKING: Here in the US!

I really felt this one.

The Mother's face in the picture really got me.

So, what can we do? Here are a few ideas:
1. Pray - I pray almost daily for the individuals I read about and for the countries of the world that they will feel the Spirit prompting them to treat their mothers, wives, sisters, and grandmas with respect and love.
2. Spread the word! Tell anyone you would like about our database and the issues.
3. LIFT WHERE YOU STAND - if there are any issues going on around you - at church, school, in your home, DO SOMETHING about it and say something. I have been so surprised to hear about the domestic abuse going on here in Utah and the rape rate in Provo. WOW. Women are daughters of God and those whose voices are muffled need us.
4. Our organization is looking for any sort of material donations. ANYONE can donate. If you don't have any money (like me!), you can look to those who do and ask for donations.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post.
Thank you all for reading this! You are already making a difference.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Hamster Hunt and a Prayerful Heart

A true short story of humor and inspiration

It all started with a nightmare. It was a horrible nightmare, actually. Suddenly at 4am I woke up. I felt compelled to use the bathroom, which is very rare for me in the middle of the night. So I got up and went to the bathroom. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him. The little tiny, 3 inch by 1 inch hamster running across the floor. Three things crossed my mind within five seconds: 1. OH NO!! 2. My roommates are going to kill me and 3. Eleven will never trust me again.

You see, for the past week I have been babysitting two strange hamsters for my friend Eleven, who is from mainland China. I made a deal with the landlady and my roomates that I could babysite them (pets are not aloud in my house) as long as they didn't get out of their cages. I knew that if I could keep them safe, Eleven would trust me. More was on the line here than just a loose hamster. I had made two promises and I keep my promises.

I quickly jumped up, grabbed my glasses and a small flashlight and went searching for the little creature in a large, dark home with sleeping roommates nearby. I chased him into the large kitchen and then he disappeared. I sat and waited for any signs of life. Nothing. I silently said a prayer, explaining to the Lord that I had faith He could help me, I knew He could command the animals, and that this was something important to me. 20 seconds after the "amen" I saw his beady little eyes in the nearby hallway. I slowly, quietly made my way towards him. Then he disappeared . . . under the door of my sleeping roommate!! Oh no. I sat, waiting for him to reappear. But he didn't. I said another silent prayer Heavenly Father would let me see where he went and still nothing. I felt to look in the opposite direction, down the hall. There he was. How he got there, I have no idea. But I slowly made my way to him and made a snatch! Missed! You see, in order to capture this littly guy you have to hit dead on and squeeze hard. He is incredibly fast (not like normal, fat hamsters) and you have to envelope him in your hand because he is so tiny.

I saw him run, run into my room (or at least I thought). I closed the door and put a blanket under the open space. No one or creature was leaving my room if I could help it! I thought, oh this will be easy! I looked in all the cracks and crannies. Nothing. I bowed my head and said a prayer, initally seeking to know where he went, but mid prayer, I felt a voice tell me to ask that he would reappear right under my hand so I could catch him. I thought it was a joke! So, I asked for just that, half in disbelief. Virtually 3 senconds after the prayer, the little guy walked out from under my backpack right under my hand and looked up at me. Got him! I stuck him back in his cage and made sure he wasn't going anywhere.

It only took me 20-30 minutes in a huge house to catch this little guy when it took my friend Eleven 4 hours to catch him in her room. Prayers are answered. Heavenly Father loves us and He knew what was imporant to me, even if it seemed insignificant to others. I'm not sure the Lord will help every time when we lose a hamster, but I never knew I could learn so much from a Hamster Hunt.