Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Peepoo, where to poop?

ScienceTimes’s special Issue of Tuesday September 27th is devoted to low-cost innovations that make a big difference.

One that particularly caught my eye is the peepoo. What is the peepoo? It looks like a plastic bag, but is in fact a single use biodegradable toilet for the developing world. It is the brainchild of Anders Wilhelmson, Swedish architect and professor in Stockholm

“Not only is it sanitary,” said Mr. Wilhelmson, who has patented the bag, “they can reuse this to grow crops.

Effectively, after it is used the bag is knotted and then buried or sold back to the manufacturer. A lining of urea crystals in the bag helps in transforming the waste into fertilizer. An earlier report in the times expounds on this innovation.





Well why do #Icare? By one United Nations estimate, about 40% of the World’s population – 2.6 billion people – does  NOT have access to a toilet. I used to be one of them. Summer vacation trips to the rural area of Nigeria had many pros and cons. Pooping was definitely a con. Without elaborating on the details of what it involved, I, without reservation, welcome this invention.

Open defecation, besides luring, and grooming some deadly pathogens, leads to  contaminated water and diarrhea. This is an attempt, in the right direction in bridging gaps between the least of them and the rest of them.



In the Aftermath of Troy Davis

On May 10th 1978, Aldo Moro, an Italian statesmen was murdered by the Red Brigades despite pleas from friends, family and Pope Paul VI who called the act “a stain of blood that dishonours our country”.

Fastforward 33 years later. TODAY. We just witnessed it. For three intense hours, the world was awaiting the verdict of the Supreme Court of the United States on the fate of Troy Davis, a Georgian native convicted in 1991 of killing Mr. MacPhail, police officer who was working as a security guard at the time. In this case also, among many other notables such President Carter, Pope Benedict issued pleas on behalf of Mr. Troy Davis.

Let me make it clear: the circumstances of the case nor my moral stance on Capital punishment are irrelevant to this post. With that said, I thought long and hard of what can we learn from September 21 2011?

First from history: We later learned that although the Pope’s letter to the Red Brigades united with countless voices and unceasing prayers across Italy and the world was unable to persuade for the release of Aldo Moro, it accomplished something greater. This was wonderfully put in mise-en-scene in the film Paolo VI where in an emotional scene, an activist later came to (confess and) thank the pope that his charitable letter to the Red brigades in the spirit of forgiveness prevented him from acting out of anger that would have catalyzed more killings.

Maybe Troy Davis’s last three hours alive were not in vain. From 7 pm – time of scheduled execution – to 11 pm time of actual execution, a host of emotion could be felt in the tweets, blogs, statuses everywhere across cyberspace, mine included. However, if what I’d permit myself to call  a “divine interruption”  was enough time to incubate and nest even a threshold of hope and not anger, passion but not hate, love when light seems dark, and unshakable faith in the hearts of not just America but the World, then it accomplished much more than the decision not to reverse the execution.

I’d like to think of it this way. #PrayerWORKS. -What was prevented in those  three hours of watching, waiting and praying around the world, in God’s great providence, far and beyond supersedes what happened at the 11th hour only if we allow ourselves to see past the surface, and trust that a greater purpose was accomplished for God.

Shall I remind all that LIFE transcends our earthly pilgrimage. I sincerely believe that if Troy were to meet Mark in Heaven, I have no doubt in my mind that Mark would give him a hug.

With that said – for the souls of the faithful departed, Lord Hear Our Prayer.

Mark MacPhail , Rest in Perfect Peace.

Troy Davis, Rest in Perfect Peace


Execution can only destroy your physical form - Troy Davis

9/11…Where were you?

Twas a rather dull morning, I was a senior in high school. Formal assembly in the gymnasium of St Joseph Central High School, the address was given by Principal Margaret Downing, as sort of a convocation. About 10 mins into her welcome back speech, she was disrupted by an aide’s murmur into her ear that would forever change the history of America. 25 Minutes later, same scenario, seemingly like a take 2 of a mise-en-scene. A perplexing deja vu on the look of her face mirrored that of the demeanor of most students, who, still, were yet to contemplate the tragic nature of this event. In the following minutes, she dismissed the assembly with sobering words that both of the twin towers had been hit with planes and there were strong indications that it was NOT an accident. Classes were officially declared cancelled, but we were prevented from leaving the building. We swarmed All TVs inside the confines and were glued to the news with chilling headlines that read : AMERICA IS UNDER ATTACK.


That was 10 years ago.

Thousands of lives lost, unjustly.

And so we recall the words of the Holy Father, on his visit to Ground Zero.

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—

the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

PBXVI -Prayer at Ground Zero-