Leaving the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, my young cab driver listed out loud the American presidents, which he was able to do all the way back to the Nixon Administration – in order. For him, my new Cuban-born and raised compadre, it was beyond exciting that I was from America, and for that reason he wanted to tell me everything he knew about the U.S. He spoke in stuttering English about politics, baseball, and most enthusiastically- rock n’ roll. Did I like Elvis? Yes. Did I like Chuck Berry? Of course! We were instantly friends, laughing at our commonalities as we drove through the quiet night, zooming down the streets of Cuba, which until that moment had been one of the most mysterious places to me in the world.Read More
Sydney and the surround areas within New South Wales offers what almost feels like an overload of beauty- if such a concept could be real. What I found on my recent, and first trip, to Australia’s largest city was not just spectacular beaches and a lively and vibrate urban scene, but, surprisingly, a journey packed full of adventure at a very low cost. In a place where breakfast can cost upwards of $18 for eggs and toast alone, and the expense of traveling halfway across the world already making your pocketbook feel lighter than usual, I was thrilled to find that Sydney can be enjoyed for little more than the cost of a rental car, if you are willing to forgo expensive restaurant dining for cheaper eating options and are up for beach hopping and nature walks in the great outdoors.Read More
I am so fortunate to be a part of the On the Road Series with Children Incorporated, which as given me the opportunity to show many places where Children Incorporated works in the world, including Eastern Kentucky. Sometimes we don't think about extreme poverty being in our own country, but it is, and it effects families in so many ways.
Adventures in retail or... retail is not for me.
In June of 2016, I went to Nairobi, Kenya with Children Incorporated to visit some of our affiliate projects. Here is a video about my experience meeting children who are enrolled in the Children Incorporated program.
It's that time of the year again!
Please join us for the 3rd Annual Brew-Ho-Ho, our yearly celebration of local authors and beer held at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. As always, Chop Suey Books and Hardywood will donate 10% of sales to the wonderful Virginia Children's Book Festival, a free yearly event each October in Farmville, VA.
Hello Everyone! To show my gratitude for the amazing work that FOTCOH does, from November 25th until December 25th, I will donate $5 from every book purchase made from my website to help them continue their mission to bring health care and hope to the Haitian people. Consider ordering multiple copies to share with friends and family this holiday season.
Thanks and happy reading!
Traveling to Uganda with Wine to Water was my second trip as a volunteer with their organization, but my first trip to Africa, which was really exciting for me. I had traveled quite a bit at this point, but Africa still seemed so far away and so unataianable for so many reasons- why would I go there? To visit? To vacation? Is that real? So volunteering made the most sense, because I knew the money I was spending was going to help people in need, and at the same time, I was getting to fill a dream of going to a place that seemed so out of reach in my life.Read More
I absolutely drove my husband crazy with this one. I have a tendency to not ask too many questions ahead of time in maybe too many situations. My thought is that too many questions just means that you have really particular expectations of how situations are going to turn out, and if they don’t turn out that way because you asked too many questions and made up in your mind how you think something is going to happen, then you become disappointed.Read More
Most of us didn’t have any business thinking that we could ride our bikes over 600 miles. And for good reason- most of us didn’t have bikes that we had ever ridden more than 5 miles, and most of the group didn’t own helmets, or gear to carry equipment, and we sure didn’t train at all for the ride, even though the trip had been planned for months ahead of time.Read More
I realized when it was too late to do anything about it that the breaks on the bike I was riding did not work. I was barreled down a cobblestone road in Guatemala on a 24” girl’s 10-speed bike, which had been converted to a single speed bike by simply cutting the gear cables and removing the shifters from the handlebars. In front of me was my twin sister on a combatively dangerous and small bike and a guy we had met about an hour before that convinced us taking this bike ride was a good idea.Read More
Thanks to everyone that came out to the Peoria book signing events! I am so grateful for all the support and all the wonderful old friends and new friends I got to see. South Carolina is next week!Read More
Thank you to everyone that came out to the Richmond, Virginia book signing event at Tiny Space! It was so nice to see all of you and finally get a chance to share my book.Read More
Amidst a doctors’ strike and a hurricane in Haiti, a story of one couple’s determination to bring health care to the island.
In May 2016, when I heard the news of the doctors’ strike taking place in Haiti, my heart sank. Doctors, nurses and medical residents had been on strike since March as they protested low wages and demanded better working conditions, leading to the shutdown of Haiti’s largest hospitals. And now, as the news of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew floods in from Haiti, ever more families need access to health care and medicine as quickly as possible.
Since the strike began, hospitals have essentially closed, and Haitians in need of medical care have been left to compete to get into NGO-run hospitals whose facilities are overwhelmed, with no room for patients or enough resources to treat the abundance of injured and ill that fill the waiting rooms.
After spending the last six years working at a medical clinic near Jacmel, in Haiti’s Sud-Est Department, I knew firsthand just how desperately Haitians needed a reliable health care system and how devastating a strike of such magnitude must have been affecting the country.
Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH) provides life saving support to over 15,000 Haitians patients at the FOTCOH medical clinic in Jacmel, Haiti. Every year, hundreds of volunteers travel to the FOTCOH clinic to provide medical care to Haitians in need.
It was not only a wonderful experience getting to know about Dick and Barb's lives while writing The House of Life, but getting to see photos of their journey special as well. I didn't see many of these until I had already completed multiple drafts of the book, so I had already had a certain image in my mind of what people from their past looked like. Getting to see actually photography from Dick's time in Haiti in the 1970's and 80's didn't take those images away from me, I think it enhanced by love for their stories, and really showed me just how good of a storyteller Dick Hammond really is.Read More
I have traveled to the FOTCOH clinic 9 times as either a volunteer, or to conduct interviews with Dick and Barb or Haitian staff members for my book The House of Life. The clinic is truly beautiful, and there is nothing quite like arriving there after a long plane ride and a hot van ride through the mountains. I never grow tired of getting to the clinic after being gone.Read More
Please join me on October 16th, 2016 for the release of The House of Life. The event will take place from 3-6 pm at Tiny Space, a new retail store located in Richmond's Church Hill neighborhood. 2708 East Marshall St. (804) 647-7301.