80:80 World Refugee Day 20 June 2011


Deadly Discrimination – not just a case of sexist tea-making policies 

Did you know: 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children fleeing violence, persecution, starvation, slavery and sexual exploitation. What’s more, the poorest nations are hosting 80% of the world’s forcibly displaced population, while richer countries close their borders. So, on World Refugee Day 2011 I thought it apt to resurrect an article I wrote back in 2003, regarding the plight of women around the world (the tea-making refers to my own battle at the time, where the female teachers in the Japanese staff rooms were always expected to jump up and make tea).

Women accussed of being witches in India are beaten in local playground


Superstitous beliefs or greed and jealousy?

TALE: Top class ticket to ride


Somehow I had bought the wrong ticket. Due to some miscommunication – which so frequently occurs when traveling I was surprised it had not resulted in more mishaps before now – the train I should have been on had left the day before. It was just turning midnight and I had checked out of the Salvation Army hostel a good 12 hours ago. As I stood in Mumbai Central under a sign saying ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’, surrounded by hundreds of people, their tiffin trays and life belongings, sleeping anywhere they could find space, the ticket clerk laid out my options, ‘Madam, we only have third class tickets to Varanasi tonight, or you can come back tomorrow’.

TALE: Kerala wild safari

Pachyderm Palace

Pachyderm Palace

After a week of 35°C heat on the north Keralan coast we headed up to the mountains, through the uncountable lush green shades of the tea and teak plantations, a legacy that has proved one of the less sinister and more profitable ones left by the British. As the jeep climbed the hills we could feel the air cooling and the atmosphere relaxing around us.