Law or Roof?

Polling lines and roofs, Iraq 2005 – public domain When asked about their greatest needs, internally displaced people (IDP) in Iraq list legal help above shelter, sanitation and education. Why? Why request a lawyer before a roof? In general, access to work, food, and shelter have been the most pressing concerns for Iraqi IDP’s since … Continue reading

Life on the Road

Photo: Olav A. Saltbones/Norwegian Red Cross For the last six months, we have read every sad story imaginable about Haiti and its orphans and widows. We have been frustrated alongside relief workers who can’t get supplies into the hardest-hit places. We have felt the confusion of the government, which wants to rebuild but is paralyzed … Continue reading

Mail and the Marginalized

The image above is from the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC. The words read: Messenger of sympathy and love Servant of parted friends Consoler of the lonely Bond of the scattered family Enlarger of the common life We take a lot for granted. Sure, mail is dead in some ways. These days it isn’t … Continue reading

The Real Football and Marginalized Children

It is football time, my friends, and I am excited. No I don’t mean the football with the big guys who beat each other up. I mean the football with the smaller guys who don’t touch anything – not even the ball. I became a soccer fan during the ’02 World Cup, when a few … Continue reading

The Olympics and the Homeless

When the Olympics come around, there is one group that shivers a little extra. Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside neighborhood represents that group this year. As usual, the Olympics mean a large-scale cleanup of the host city, and such cleanups always involve dealing with the homeless. In the weeks leading up to the Games, there have been … Continue reading

Smells, the Suburbs, and the Slums

A certain processed biscuit company has used the connection between smell and memory to its advantage with ad campaigns about how the smell of their oven-baked biscuits will instantly transport any family member “home.” That little dough-made mascot is cute if not entirely honest. But smell and home are intricately connected, not just by biscuits … Continue reading

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