christmas recap [part 1]

i know it's a bit late to be christmas blogging, but i couldn't resist recapping the festivities and our lovely visit home.

[a modified advent calendar for steve-25 small gifts/notes/stick figure drawings/coupons. i had a lot of fun wrapping these and steve had a lot of fun opening them. it made december go by really quickly too.]

  [our south african pre-christmas tree]

[photo cupcakes, because, well, i love photos, to celebrate dad's 68th birthday]

[emelia was really stoked to pick out the byrnes families second ever
R E A L christmas tree]

  [emelia decorated the bottom, beautifully i might add]

 [and steve and i heped with the top. note: if i were tagging this photo i would probably give
props to thomas kinkade for his painting]

[...and emelia thought her sparkly pony would make a great ornament. we agreed]

[emelia wanted "long rainbow hair" and joe made this a reality]

**more photos soon**


l’union fait la force.

I read this excerpt from an article about the earthquake in Haiti and felt that it was an important one to pass along.

Haiti, we love you.
Disasters like this one are especially devastating when they strike places that are already struggling  to provide the most basic of services for its population. With weak government and private sector institutions, and with uncertain security conditions, Haiti is the poorest, least developed country in the Western Hemisphere, and the majority of Haitians live in poverty. The sheer scale of poverty in the country means that the government has limited capacity to meet even the simplest needs of its people, let alone address a disaster of this magnitude. Haiti’s lack of development—which translates into a lack of government capacity for emergency preparedness—magnifies the impact of this tragedy. In addition to creating a very real and immediate humanitarian tragedy, this earthquake and the struggle to navigate its aftermath will be an enormous setback to the hard-won gains that Haiti has achieved in recent years in securing a more stable environment and fighting poverty.

While disaster preparedness and long-term development initiatives may seem to fall at opposite ends of the development spectrum, they are in fact profoundly connected. Disaster preparedness plays a crucial role in the fight against poverty. Without it, gains against poverty are physically erased, and post-disaster countries face insurmountable challenges in getting back on track to meet their development goals. In Haiti, once the immediate disaster is addressed, it will be an uphill battle to return to its former state of development, let alone make further gains.

This situation demonstrates how investments in long-term development, especially in fragile and disaster-prone states like Haiti, could help countries deal with disasters, and also keep them on track to develop.
In spite of this disaster, a great aspect of Haitian history tells us the Haitian people are resilient and determined to better their lives. I am confident that with the help of strong partners around the world, Haiti will rise from its rubble and Haitians will live their motto: L’union fait la force (Unity is strength).


the prince of egypt.

well, since i have been strongly advised not to post anything on the internet about what we are doing here in Egypt for the protection of all people everywhere (well, here) i have decided to make today's post a little bit less informational/heart striring (if this blog ever really is that) and a little bit more like an entry from the journal of a girl in love (note: this is the type of entry that i usually resort to in situations like this one. it's a big part of the journey, right?) this girl is me and the guy is the one and only stephan schallert. because of him, my life is a dream. there is no one i'd rather travel the world with, share hearts with, no one else who knows how to diffuse my heart with a single glance and i think the only person who still thinks i'm beautiful even when my face has been bit by a scorpian, stung by a bee etc. (yeah, it happens).


off to egypt.

© 2010 unless otherwise stated all photos are copyright diane schallert and may not be used without permission. thanks.

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