I’ve Fallen in Love With the Philippines

I have been in the Philippines all of four days and I’m already in love with this country!

First, I didn’t know that the Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands. That mere fact sounds like a challenge to me and although I won’t nearly see them all during my lifetime, I am already plotting in my mind how my family and I can see at least some of them.

I rarely come to Asia as most of you know. I’ve only been to Asia once before and that was to India. But, now I am entirely intrigued about visiting Asia more often to write about global health. I know there are challenges in southeast Asia and while I tend to primarily concentrate on sub-Saharan Africa most of the time, I think it might be time to expand my horizons slightly. There’s a big world out there!

As you probably know, if you have been following my journey, I am here with World Vision USA to see their recovery efforts after Typhoon Haiyan. I’ve written a few posts thus far. You can find them here:

I’ve also been taking slice-of-life photos while here in Tacloban. Here are a few of my favorites.


Wheels Down Tacloban


This is public transport if you can believe it. These buses called “jeepneys” are holdovers from WWII.


Filipinos are huge basketball fans. In fact, the Philippines is the second largest NBA market behind the United States — hence this driver’s seat cover, a Dwayne Wade jersey


Filipinos love basketball. Really love it!


Fresh seafood! Even the clams were moving and spitting water. I’ve never seen that at home.


I can’t say enough about the seafood. We’re on an island and it’s delicious and fresh!


I met  Crisanta V. Caimoy in Dulag, about 90 minutes from Tacloban. She is lovely!



If you follow my travels, you know I always take photos of flowers. Always!


More flowers! Different color.

Coconut mound

The Filipinos are VERY  fond of their coconut wine and many have offered it to me, even on the one-year of Typhoon Haiyan anniversary vigil route. Many make coconut wine themselves and their livelihoods were wiped out because of the storm. I don’t know. ..not sure how good coconut wine would be…


The food is really delicious here. And with  chili peppers..it’s even better!


The Pacific ocean is beautiful. ..just beautiful.

I’m Traveling to the Philippines on Monday. Here’s Why


©2013 Jon Warren/World Vision

One thing I now readily realize is that I travel so much that many of my online friends, followers, and even my family don’t know where I am from week to week. They’ll often ask: Are you at home? Still traveling? Where did you go again? Where ARE you?

So, now I try to write about my upcoming journeys as many places online as I can leading up to my trips to avoid any confusion.

TYPHOONHAIYAN Joy and her 2-year-old daughter Kimberly are on the pathway to recovery after their family was walloped by Typhoon Haiyan. Summary: Tonight, for the first time in months, 7-year-old Joel Jan is eating supper after 6pm. Later, he'll be able to pull out a book, and his mom, Joy, will read to him and his two younger sisters. "Finally we have light at home," says Joy, 35. Today, World Vision has provided them with a solar lamp.

TYPHOON HAIYAN Joy and her 2-year-old daughter Kimberly are on the pathway to recovery after their family was walloped by Typhoon Haiyan. Summary: Tonight, for the first time in months, 7-year-old Joel Jan is eating supper after 6pm. Later, he’ll be able to pull out a book, and his mom, Joy, will read to him and his two younger sisters. “Finally we have light at home,” says Joy, 35. Today, World Vision has provided them with a solar lamp.

That said, I am traveling to the Philippines with World Vision USA, a Social Good Moms’ partner and one of four organizations Bill and Melinda Gates recommended as an organization to support last year.  I leave on Monday to report on World Vision’s yearlong response to Typhoon Haiyan. I’ll be there for about a week not counting travel time. I won’t begin reporting until next Thursday. The one-year anniversary of Haiyan is Saturday, November 8. I’ll try my best to repost all of my articles and photos during US time. There is a 12-hour difference from eastern time.

You can follow all of my updates via Twitter primarily on @jenniferjames and @socialgoodmoms.

I look forward to seeing what World Vision has done since Haiyan slammed into the Philippines and killed 6,100 people and caused hundred of millions of dollars in damage. There are still 1,100 people who are unaccounted for.

I will travel with members of World Vision USA staff as well as a media team. You can follow along on Twitter at #WVBloggers as well.

Photos courtesy of World Vision.

I Miss Joan Rivers

When Joan Rivers died….I cried!

Yes, I did.

I admit it.

I cried like a baby…..and I couldn’t stop.

I really loved that woman and I never met her in my life.

Crazy…I know!

When my girls were really young and I would tuck them into bed I used to listen to the radio and for some reason I was able to get a clear feed from New York. I was able to listen to The Joan Rivers Show…. every weekday and I loved it!! Loved it and loved her! She gave me life!

She was great!

She was definitely a firecracker and a controversial figure. But she was never afraid to speak her mind. And that is what I really miss.

I Love This Video More Than You Know

When I was in college years and years ago I made the obligatory trips to New York City to visit the museums, take in some city life, and just daydream about life after college.

One day while riding the subway some man stood dead center in front of me as I was sitting and flashed me the entire time. I didn’t notice at first, but then I saw him….

I was frozen. I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t scared, just frozen….shocked!!

And then out of the blue two random men saw what this pervert was doing to me and at the next stop they literally picked him up and threw him out onto the concrete platform.

It was beautiful and I will always remember these strangers standing up for me! That’s why I love this video so much. I love that strangers stood up for the guy who was being bullied.

My Dentist Would Not Touch Me Today and Here’s Why #Ebola

I really feel compelled to share my story today because I saw personally how afraid Americans are of Ebola. I strongly believe the fear is largely fueled by the media. Everyone is terrified and it’s just unreasonable.

My Story! 

I went to my dentist this morning and he wouldn’t touch me because I just came home from Tanzania. First he made me sign a health declaration form saying that I haven’t been to or have been around anyone from west Africa recently and that I don’t have Ebola symptoms. That was fine. I signed one of those forms when I landed in Dar es Salaam a few weeks ago.

Then, I asked him if he knew where Tanzania was. He didn’t, so I DREW him a map!!! …. DREW it on the back of the form. But, it didn’t matter.

Then he told me to come back in 21 days! He pulled up a calendar on his computer and COUNTED DAYS, friends!

I understand that people are afraid of Ebola. If my dentist wouldn’t see me then he shouldn’t see people who have traveled to Atlanta or Dallas either. That’s how ridiculous my morning was…..

New! Airplanes, Helicopters, Engines + Flying

Friends, have I told you how much I love airplanes? Maybe a time, or two, or three.

They fascinate me!

Years ago, I used to hate flying. Now, I get on an airplane as often as I can because they give me great peace! I can’t be reached when I am thousands of feet in the air. Yes, I know, airplanes have Wi-Fi now (even on international flights), but believe me, when I am flying, no matter whether I am going to Addis or Dar es Salaam or London or Johannesburg or Lusaka or a few states away I am never checking my emails.

It’s a shame that the only place I can get a little peace from the world – even though temporary – is in the air.


(left to right) Flying over Washington, DC, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia,  Tanzania, New York

I really love airplanes even though I have no idea how they function. I am always fascinated that big chunks of metal can lift off into the air and fly for hours to the other side of the world.


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Photos: Flowers + Macchiatos #Ethiopia

For the past few weeks the news has been utterly insufferable. It’s just been really bad – there’s no eloquent way to say it. Bad! In fact, I needed to back away from my laptop last week because the news was a little too much to bear.

I am the type of person who reads as much as I can. I get my news from curated Twitter followers, Flipboard, Facebook (from time to time), and my daily rounds of the major US and UK newspapers and magazines.

Now that I think about it, that may be a bit much! 

So, in honor of how much I need to just get away from the 24-hour news cycle again, behold: flowers + macchiatos from Ethiopia. And a great song at the end.

Flowers  in the Southern Highlands - Ethiopia

Flowers in the Southern Highlands – Ethiopia

Double Macchiato - Addis

Double Macchiato – Addis

Flowers in Hawassa

Flowers in Hawassa

Macchiato at Radisson BLU Addis

Macchiato at Radisson BLU Addis

Flowers in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Flowers in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Traditional Cup of Ethiopian Coffee

Traditional Cup of Ethiopian Coffee

Flowers in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Flowers in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Double Macchiato at Coffee House, Addis

Double Macchiato at Coffee House, Addis

Wild Flowers - Great Rift Valley - Ethiopia

Wild Flowers – Great Rift Valley – Ethiopia