Saturday, December 13, 2008

National Geographic Magazine

As part of the 2008 Mini-Challenge from A Novel Challenge, I've been reading articles from this month's National Geographic Magazine. I love this magazine. I love its international focus and its always fascinating topics. And I especially love its pictures!

Here are two of the great articles in this issue:

Necessary Angels -- This is an article about women from India's Untouchable castes that have been trained by an organization, called Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP), as village health workers. The women work with people, especially the poor, in their villages to dispel health myths and superstitions that prevent people from eating properly and getting good health care. They also monitor prescrived medicines, act as midwives, check on the infant's health after the birth and give breast-feeding and infant care tips. CRHP also works to help villages get the clean water and proper sanitation they need to keep the population healthy. The program was started 38 years ago by Raj Arole and his wife, Mabelle (now deceased). The Arole's daughter, Shobha, a doctor, and their son, Ravi, have now taken over. But CRHP has not only trained Untouchables like Babai Sathe to attend to nearly 80 percent of her village's health problems, but it has gone a long way in fighting discrimination as well. Sathe, a woman who not that long ago was not allowed to touch the village's water pump in order to get water for herself and her family (she had to wait until a higher-caste woman took pity on her and filled her bucket for her), has become so well-respected in her village that she was elected village leader in 2005. This article was written by Tina Rosenberg, a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Visions of Mars -- This article, written by John Updike, is full of pictures of Mars sent back by the rovers Opportunity and Spirit as well as other missions. He talks about the scientific and literary fasination humans seem to have with the red planet. Books mentioned in the artilce include The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, and Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. I'm not much of a science fiction reader (although I finished Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card tonight and really liked it--more about that later), but I think these books could be interesting. Has anyone read any of them? Any recommendations?

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