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It’s Fun Friday, so take our quiz to find out!

Full disclosure: I wrote this quiz, but I was still surprised by my results! Not that they weren’t accurate, mind you… my social networks seem to agree, anyway. Also, I took it twice, to try a couple of different responses for areas where I was on the fence, and here’s what I got:

Quiz screenshot

Well, Kate Middleton IS my style icon

Oprah philanthropist

Oprah, huh? Must be the communications connection.

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As we enter the final week of our annual Give to Girls campaign, in honor of Women’s History Month, I asked the ladies of Jolkona, “Which woman inspires you?” The responses reveal a spectrum of diverse role models, locally and globally:

I’m reminded of a quote by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo and a personal source of hope and inspiration: “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

I ask you to take a moment to think about a woman or girl you admire. How does she inspire you? When you Give to Girls, you are investing in the next generation of inspirational women, creating a global ripple effect of hope. Please Give to Girls today!

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If you go on an amazing trip and have a life-changing experience, but don’t share it on Facebook, did it really happen? This satirical story from The Onion says it all: 6-Day Visit To Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture

“I don’t think my profile photo will ever be the same, not after the experience of taking such incredible pictures with my arms around those small African children’s shoulders. Honestly, I can’t even imagine going back to my old Facebook photo of my roommate and I at an outdoor concert.”

If your Facebook photo could use a similar upgrade, check out Jolkona Expeditions. These small group trips take volunteers to visit our nonprofit partners fighting poverty in developing countries. Previous expeditions have gone to West Africa and South America; the next one is scheduled for March 16 to 30, visiting organizations in Kenya and Tanzania.

Jolkona Expeditions: Not only will they change your life, but they will definitely change your Facebook profile picture!

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In case you missed it last week, Bill Gates wore a chicken suit, a Seattle Seahawks jersey, and all sorts of other outfits in his viral video (with an assist from Jimmy Fallon) to promote the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Annual Letter.

And now it’s stuck in my head: GatesLetter.com, GatesLetter.com, GatesLetter.com. Which is the point of the viral video, of course. But now that I’ve read the letter — and hopefully, so have you — we’ll have to cleanse this earworm. Try this or possibly that.

Maybe we should do one for Jolkona.org. Can’t you just see Adnan and Nadia in some of these outfits? Or it could star Baby Aleena

Happy Friday!

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During my journalism career, I spent more than six years covering religion, and you would think that being married to an Indian American would have helped whenever Hindu news stories came up. Unfortunately, my husband is clueless about his family’s faith, so my research generally involved a basic Google search, then a quick call to his parents or sheepish Facebook chat with his cousins. Eventually, I grasped the basics — at least, enough to understand that the giant pink swastika wall hanging we received as a wedding gift was truly well-intentioned! (We left it in Pune. Auspicious or not, no way was that thing going on display in our Upper West Side apartment.)Diwali_Diya

Maybe it was a stretch in looking for new angles while covering longstanding belief systems for so many years, but I always got a kick out of finding similarities in unexpected places, such as between Muslims and Mormons. And despite my initial whiplash over the swastika symbol, I still notice common themes between Hinduism and Judaism. Both religions have a plurality of adherents who barely practice the basic rituals, yet still strongly  identify with these traditions on an ethnic-cultural basis. Both have a “festival of lights” around this time of year. And both have a confusing range of calendar start dates and English spelling options for every holiday… not exactly helpful for a journalist!

In any case, the major Hindu holiday of Diwali / Deepavali starts this weekend. (Some say it starts today; some say it starts Nov. 3. Bloggers get to be vague!) And for the first time, we are attempting to host a Diwali party. Our festivities will consist of serving food from an Indian restaurant, lighting candles, playing Bollywood films and soundtracks, and asking guests to make donations to Jolkona’s Upaya project in lieu of bringing us bottles of wine or some other kind of host gift.

Here are some other worthwhile nonprofit projects related to India, if you’d like to make a charitable gift in honor of Diwali this week:

Happy Diwali!

P.S. Forgot to add: this holiday is also observed by Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains! If that’s you, please feel free to share how you celebrate Diwali, either by posting in the Comments section or on our Facebook wall.

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photo 2Possibly the coolest thing I own is this desk globe I found in my grandmother’s apartment in Cyprus last summer. At first glance, it looks like any small globe — just a bit dented and dirty, and the “Made in England” logo on the stem prompts the same chuckle we get from our son playing with his dad’s 1970s-era “Made in Hong Kong” matchbox cars.

The fun part comes from looking closely at the continents — especially Africa and Asia — and marveling at how much the world has changed in less than 75 years. For the most part, it’s like a desk toy based on this week’s Project Syndicate (via Slate) article, “Of Course The World Is Better Now Than It Was In 1900.”

But even more fun: trying to nail down when on earth this spinning map could have been made?

Some of its countries that no longer exist:

  • Abyssinia
  • Anglo Egyptian Sudan
  • Ashanti
  • Bechuanaland Protectorate
  • Belgian Congo
  • Borneo
  • British Guiana
  • British Somaliland
  • Chinese Republicphoto 1
  • Dutch Guiana
  • Formosa
  • French Equatorial Africa
  • French Indochina
  • French West Africa
  • Italian Somaliland
  • Manchukuo
  • Northern Rhodesia
  • Sarawak
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • Yugoslavia

Other clues: There’s no Israel, Jordan, Lebanon or United Arab Emirates. Tibet is bigger than Germany. Bangladesh is Pakistan. Korea is united. Germany has a line snaking down its middle, yet is not labeled into East or West versions…

So what year was this globe made? Make your guess in the Comments section below! (Or, fellow Children of the ’80s, just insert your best Carmen Sandiego joke here.)

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