In 1999, my best friend, Shayne Worcester, was murdered. He was just walking home one night with a friend through the Russian Hill area of San Francisco, a posh and statistically safe section of the city. It was his last night in town. But as he...

I believe that we all want to change the world. I know I do. Maybe not the whole world—although that would be amazing, wouldn’t it? But at least a small part of it. It’s like a little voice, a tiny hero in my heart that calls...

Parent’s Day at an orphanage sounds like an oxymoron. Like Jumbo Shrimp or Business Ethics: two contradictory terms joined together for effect. In fact it sounds like an expression I might use to make an outrageous comparison of some kind. Something like: “There was so much...

Kids grow up fast. As the father of two college-age children, I can say this from first-hand experience. One minute they are small and needy, looking at you as if you are the Master of the Universe. The next they big and independent, looking at...

The car that stopped to pick me up was packed. It was India’s version of an over-sized Jeep, used as a local taxi, and fifteen people were already inside. “Mela?” the driver asked me. “You come. OK.” Turns out I was going to the mela and had about...

What comes to mind when you think of the word orphan? It’s not always a bad thing. In popular culture, some of our most beloved characters are orphans. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, even little Frodo Baggins. Why all the dead parents? you might ask. Well, from...

The mosquito has my undivided attention. I’m in a crowded hallway with people sitting on both sides. Some are old. Some are young. Some appear to be quite well off. Others are clearly dirt poor. One old man with a turban and a bushy beard coughs...

On my last night in Jaipur, I had what was perhaps the worst night of my life. And this includes the night I woke up in Portugal and found my uvula swollen and distended at the back of my throat, gagging me with every breath I...

I hate to say it, but my first volunteer stint was a bust. At least from a volunteer standpoint. Volunteering with elephants should really be called “Pointlessly assisting with Elephants” because that’s really what it is. The elephant’s handler (the mahout, as I mentioned in my last...

Working with Elephants No one knows exactly when the elephant was domesticated. It’s such a strong animal, it makes sense that people would want to put that strength to use. We did it to the horse, the buffalo, the ox, even the freaky camel—so it was...