Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Meet Your Guest Blogger

I’m traveling to Ghana once again with a group of undergraduates, where we’ll be teaching 200 African schoolchildren computer literacy skills (click here or here for videos about student experiences at the Boston College-Ejisu Computer Camp). More than teaching the students, however we will be the beneficiaries: we’ll learn about Ghanian culture, family life, and the nation’s long democratic history. I’m looking forward to traveling and immersing myself in Ghanian culture (and Burkina Faso and Mali, too).

All to say that I’ve asked my friend David to be a guest blogger for the next month. David has an ever-curious mind, like-minded politics, and an all-around great sense of humor. Wondering what to expect? Here’s David blogging about a typical (or atypical?) ride on the T.

Looking forward to David’s posts. Come on back to read more.

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Filed under: africa, Blogroll, , , ,

Flashback: President Obama Visits Ghana

I’m feeling sentimental. Or is it that I’ve just agreed to join another group of undergrads travelling to the continent of Africa this summer? As they say, third time’s a charm.

This video is a flashback to President Obama’s trip to Ghana last July. I’d never seen it before. I love the horns that open the video, playing under Obama’s welcoming speech to Ghanians.

“I have come here to Ghana, for a simple reason,” Obama remarks. “The 21st Century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome, or Moscow, or Washington. But by what happens in Accra as well. Africa’s future is up to Africans.”A far cry from the colonial legacy of the past.

One of my most memorable images from my recent visit to Uganda was a thin necklace worn by one of the orphans that we spent time with in Kiwanga. It was made of a series of dark beads, with a small rectangular tile as the centerpiece. Religious jewelry? Actually, a photograph of Barack Obama adorning his neck. A sign of Obama’s impact around the globe.

It’s also a reminder that President Obama–despite occasional stumbles and criticism (including from me, in a recent post criticizing his policies on DADT)–can be a rock star once he hits his stride. He’s certainly been in top form over the past few days; on Friday, he stepped up to the plate and directly addressed the GOP leadership (on their own playing field, nonetheless) at a Republican retreat in Baltimore. Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews had a great recap of Obama’s head-to-head with the Republican leadership that’s worth checking out. I love the moment when Maddow acknowledges the Q&A could be either: a.) disastrous, or b.) worth taking out the popcorn.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Filed under: africa, obama, politics, , , , ,

Obama and McCain on fighting global poverty

You’ve heard–and like me, probably appalled–by the statistics like this: one billion people survive on less than a dollar a day. When I was travelling in Ghana and Togo this summer, I was amazed at the absence of the most basic necessities: clean drinking water, functional roads, even availability of toilet paper.

I’ve been listening and learning about the candidates’ policies on foreign policy, and so often it focuses solely on economic sanctions, the Middle East, and Russia. These issues deserve their attention and my own understanding of their positions. But how often do we learn about Obama and McCain’s policy on fighting the incredible poverty that plagues the world’s poorest nations?

This is the method my friend JT and his villagers used to obtain drinking water in Togo. Fortunately, for him and me, the U.S. government--through the Peace Corps--provided a simple water filter in which we added two drops of bleach (yes, bleach) to the river water we drank. His villagers had become immune to the bacteria in the water. In fact, several folks in Ghana and Togo told me they had had malaria and spoke of it like a common cold.

This is the method my friend JT and his villagers used to obtain drinking water in Togo. Fortunately, for us, the U.S. government--through the Peace Corps--provided a simple water filter in which we added two drops of bleach (yes, bleach) to the river water we drank.

If you care about the health of other nations in addition to our own, take a look at this chart detailing Obama and McCain’s policies on fighting global poverty. It breaks down, in a visual way, the basic differences between the candidate’s positions on helping other nations. As the world’s strongest economy (I know this seems like an oxymoron), we have the responsibility to help other nations.

Obama cites statistics like the cost to get all children into elementary school: one billion dollars. He backs this up with a commitment: “I will invest at least $2 billion in a Global Education Fund.” McCain, however, evades a concrete contribution. He sets down a vague policy (or non-existent policy) that says: “This is why we all should agree that a quality education is the right of every child.”

I don’t want to become didactic or to proselytize. Yet it seems so easy for us as Americans–yes, real Americans–to take on the challenge of eradicating these horrible sanitary, educational, and health conditions. I’m not shy to echo Senator Obama and say it’s good to spread the wealth around.

Filed under: africa, global justice, politics, , , , , , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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