Tag Archives: columbia business school

2 Days Until Tunisia!


I know, I know.  Trips to Guatemala and Cuba have come and gone – and I am pathetically behind on updating photographs and stories.

In the meantime, I’m leaving for Tunis, Tunisia tomorrow as part of a course called “Doing Business in North Africa,” (CBS’s Global Immersion Program) and I’m the official CBS media blogger for the trip!  Check out my first blog post here:  Tunisia on the Eve of the Revolution’s 2nd Anniversary

I’ll be leaving behind the grey, chilly of the NYC winter for some balmy Mediterranean weather (ok, just in the 60s, but still!), to check out, what Lonely Planet calls, “North Africa’s most relaxed and hospitable [and]… most interesting” country

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tunisia#ixzz2Hh3U4Jaf

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Cuba, finally!


We’re finally off to Cuba tomorrow!  We have 15 Columbia Business School students traveling  to Havana and Vinales (Pinar del Rio) to meet with The National Jurists Union, the Cuban Society of Labor Rights and Social Security,  the Cuban Society of Merchants’ Rights, and the Cuban Society of Economic and Financial rights.

Things I’m most excited for:  going to a Cuban baseball game, touring the La Cueva Del Indio tobacco farm and cigar factory, and visiting Havana Club Rum museum.

After 8 months of planning (and not easy planning, at that), we’re ready to go!

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Nonprofit Spotlight: Healing Hands of Joy


5 months ago, thanks to the Pangea Advisors initiative through Columbia Business School, I travelled with 2 friends throughout Ethiopia to conduct impact assessment on Healing Hands of Joy (HHOJ) and organization which addresses one of the most urgent, critical issues of women in developing countries:  obstetric fistula.

What is Obstetric Fistula?  I’ll let journalist Nick Kristof tell you:

“obstetric fistulas [is] a condition almost unknown in the West but indescribably hideous for millions of sufferers in the poorest countries in the world.

It typically occurs when a teenage girl cannot deliver a baby because it is too big for her pelvis. After several days of labor without access to a doctor, the baby dies and the girl is left with a hole between her bladder, vagina and sometimes rectum. The result is that urine and sometimes feces drip constantly down her legs. In some cases, she is also left lame from nerve damage….

They are often abandoned by their husbands and driven out by other villagers.

Take Mahabouba Mohammed, whom I met here in Addis Ababa…After a long labor, she delivered the dead baby herself but suffered crippling internal injuries, including a fistula.

Ms. Mohammed crawled back to the village, but the baby’s father was horrified by her smell. He confined her in a faraway hut and removed the door — so that hyenas, attracted by the odor, would tear her apart at night.

This girl fought off the hyenas and crawled for a day to reach an American missionary, who eventually brought her to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital that Dr. Hamlin heads. Dr. Hamlin was able to repair her fistula, and now Ms. Mohammed is a confident young nurse’s aide at the hospital here.”

HHOJ works with the Hamlin Fistula Hospital and “gives former fistula patients a second chance by giving them a purpose, training, counseling and the opportunity to improve their villages and save lives by training them as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors. We also empower these women economically with income-generating skills training and start-up small business funds.”

Alongside HHOJ’s incredible founder Allison Shigo and her dedicated staff, we met with many of the Safe Motherhood Ambassadors who have gone through the HHOJ program including:

  • Ametetsion (pictured above): her husband left her and before she went through the HHOJ program, she had no money to pay for day-to-day life – now she is running a successful home brewery and pub

In addition to meeting many of the women who graduated from the HHOJ program, we also met the current group of women who were living at the HHOJ center in Mekelle and going through the program.

We absolutely fell in love with the women at the center and with HHOJ and encourage anyone interested to:

  • Visit HHOJ’s website to learn more about the organization: http://www.healinghandsofjoy.com
  • Watch Founder Allison Shigo’s Emmy Award winning documentary on these women: A Walk to Beautiful

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Filed under Ethiopia, Nonprofit Spotlight

Isla de Baru, Colombia


Crystal blue water, white sand, and Caribbean sun – ours were 2 days of pure vacation on Isla de Baru, off the coast of Cartagena 

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Cartegena, Colombia


 I’ll start by sharing that it took me half the week to finally start calling this Caribbean city Carta-henna, instead of mispronouncing it as  Carta-henYa.  A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cartagena’s old town is a tourist-friendly spread of colonial Spanish buildings washed in bright colors.  Cafes and shops line the streets, shadowed by balconies and enveloped in sprawling, flowering plants.  The city is a fascinating blend  – somewhere between South American and Caribbean – and the feel and flavor nowhere more wonderful than in the local cuisine.

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Bogota, Colombia


 When I travelled to Colombia over spring break with friends from Columbia Business School, I couldn’t help but wonder how far Colombia had come from the headline-making situation of the last decade.  What we saw in Bogota was a sophisticated city with a rich culture and historical district, fascinating museums (see the fat Mona Lisa from the Botero house), and some very trendy and upscale neighborhoods and eateries.  Despite grey skies and temperate mountains, the beauty of a city set amongst the mountains, progressive with its clean transportation, and with strong upward momentum was evident all around.

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Maderas Beach, Nicaragua


I thought that the end of the Pre-MBA traveling would be the end of posting on the blog, but with so many upcoming trips, I realized I wanted to share the photographs and experiences.  So, voila!  I’m back on the blog.

This past week I went on a yoga/surfing retreat in Nicaragua organized by Columbia Business School’s Healthy Living Club.  After the weeks upon weeks of recruiting for summer internships, the grey NYC winter skies, and the anticipation of upcoming exams — it was the perfect R&R.

I had expected a sophisticated, highly commercialized tourist industry.   What I found was  private guest houses tucked away amongst the vegetation and along unadulterated beaches.  The people, the food, and the weather were the stuff to write home about — the roads and the transportation, not so much, but it was all part of the adventure.


Where to Stay:  Maderas Village, steps from the beach, the experience at Maderas Village will want to cancel your ticket home.  Gorgeous eco-friendly bunglows, family-style dinners with excellent local cuisine, and surfing & yoga all on premise.  It’s reason enough to go to Nicaragua

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Filed under Central America, Nicaragua

Iguazu Falls, Brazilian and Argentine sides


“Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States’ First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed ‘Poor Niagra!'”    Wider than Victoria Falls, and with 275 distinct falls and islands, Iguazu is one of those places where descriptions and photos don’t hold a candle to the experience of being there.  The power and volume, particularly at the Devil’s Throat cataract, is almost overwhelming.
That said, here are the photos:  

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Filed under Argentina, Brazil, South America