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Janice At An Ecuadorian Orphanage, Finale: Top 9 Traits Needed

She shared about the children (who were a handful) and the scenery (which was breathtaking). Now Janice reflects on her time in Quito with a list of nine capabilities needed to best survive working at an orphanage in this mountainous, third-world environment. Interested to volunteering in Ecuador as Janice did? See how many of these items…
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Deeper Than Judgement

Last Saturday I had another chance to share with others my experiences having others share their lives with me. I was honored to present at the Bemidji Public Library, which generously sponsored my presentation, “Voices of the South.” I appreciate those who came out to learn from (and connect with) these other voices from our world. Indeed,…
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Photo Album: The Natural (And Manmade) Beauty Of Ecuador

In 2009 Janice traveled to Ecuador to volunteer at an orphanage.  We covered her arrival in part one. The wild kids were in the 2nd article. Part three below gathers all the Ecuadorian beauty Janice captured during her weeks there. *** Early on, we went bike riding around Itchimbia Hill in the capital Quito. We could see the Old City…
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Tour And Conversation On A Southern Farm

This was as close as I’d get to a plantation on my Southern tour. (Yes, Southerners, I know you don’t like people using that word. But “plantation” is simply how we Northerners distinguish–and imagine–farm settings around the country. We up here have our Old McDonald, Charlotte’s Web-style farms. The American West has sprawling ranches. And…
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Janice At An Ecuadorian Orphanage Pt. 2: Wild And Sick

In 2009, American 20-something Janice Ruelo departed on a rite-of-passage for her career and life: she volunteered at an orphanage in Ecuador, South America.  In her first post in this series, Janice introduced herself and shared about her arrival to the orphanage. This time, we get to hear all about her interactions with the children.  ***…
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The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow: Try Not To Fret About Today’s Election

“The change you’ve been waiting for your entire lives.”  These words were spoken by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just two days ago (and just miles from my home) at a campaign stop in Minneapolis. Political persuasions aside, I think we can agree such claims are a bit misleading. Yet the the audience cheered Trump’s words–as…
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Growing Up Poor And Black In The South: Interview With Chattanooga Ruth

They say there are two Americas today. Go back in time and we find more–but not too far back, mind you. Try 1950s Tennessee in the neighborhood Ruth Stewart grew up in. Poverty without food programs, addiction without treatment options, segregated schools: Ruth opens up about these realities just some decades ago. But she also shares…
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Facing The Biggest Problem In America Today

When I was a substitute teacher in Minneapolis a handful of years ago, I was blown away by the behavior of some of the students. I expected some unruliness in the rougher schools, but I didn’t anticipate crying, screaming, and desks strewn about. For the toughest classes, stages of shock and frustration were followed by…
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Janice Volunteers At An Orphanage In Ecuador

We’ve read about Ecuador before from contributors to The Periphery. This golden nugget in South America rests, as its name suggests, right on the equator. But while the mountains, beaches, and Galapagos Islands are most often the destinations of bright-eyed travelers, Janice headed down for a more intimate purpose: to spend a summer volunteering at an…
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News Coverage Of My “People Of The South” Presentation: Now I Want To Come To Your City

As I drove the final stretch home on my Southern U.S. road trip–through Wisconsin to the Twin Cities–the idea struck me: I’m going to give a presentation about this whole experience. Over the previous 15 days, I had interviewed elderly Southerners, self-proclaimed “redneck” Southerners, Pentecostal Southerners, old hippie transplant Southerners, Progressive Southerners, retired hobby-farm Southerners, and…
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