Karie Cross

Karie Cross (Backward Society Education - BASE): Karie studied English and political science at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where she graduated with honors. In Arkansas she also interned in Governor Mike Beebe's communications office. At the time of her fellowship, Karie was working on a Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, with a specialization in International Development. Karie also served as a teaching assistant at the University of Maryland. After her fellowship, Karie wrote: "I feel as if I should never be afraid of anything ever again. I have gained confidence, cultural sensitivity, networking skills, technical skills and self-sufficiency. I see myself as someone who can really make a difference. All I have to do is have the strength to try something new."

Vaccinations and Ruminations

27 May

It’s been tough to be in grad school and prepare for this summer at the same time.  There are so many things to do!  Visa applications, plane tickets, fundraising, finding a place to live, and visiting the doctor.  I got my pre-travel shots yesterday: tetanus, mmr, hepatitis b.  Nearly every American has had these vaccinations, since most public schools require them of their students.  With those boosters and the help of my new, anti-malarial prescription, I ought to be well-protected against the most prevalent diseases of New Delhi. 

This leads me to an inevitable question:  What medicines protect the New Delhi natives?  Have any of the waste-pickers been immunized?  Have any of them ever even visited a doctor?   In a report released last October, Chintan director Bharati states that 82% of the women and children who work as wastepickers are severely anemic because of malnutrition.  Most complain of fevers and nausea.  Many wastepickers suffer from respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases because of constant contact with such unsanitary conditions.  And for what?

Wastepicking in New Delhi

“I made 200 rupees yesterday, and father made 300,” said wastepicker Amir in October, 2009.  The current dollar/rupee exchange rate is about 1 to 46 right now.  So for sorting through a stinking, disease-festering heap of trash for 8+ hours, Amir made a little over $4.

Let’s put that into perspective.  The hostels I’m looking at for the duration of my stay in India this summer cost about 800-900 rupees/night.  So let’s say that I worked as a wastepicker: I could stay in a youth hostel for one night if I worked for four days.  And I haven’t even eaten anything or purchased clothing or medicine yet.

This is already blowing my mind, and I’m still in the states! 

Posted By Karie Cross

Posted May 27th, 2010


  • Tereza Bottman

    May 27, 2010


    What an amazing photo! Do you know who took it? I look forward to following your blog. And… bon voyage to you!

    • Karie Cross

      May 27, 2010


      I’m afraid I don’t know who took it! Since I’m still in Washington DC, I’m having to pirate photos off of google images.

      I look forward to reading your blog about the Czech Republic, too! Peace Fellow solidarity.

  • DC

    June 4, 2010


    Excellent job.

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