I went to Sightglass Coffee for breakfast and ran into Daniel, the barista who put Bitter+Sweet on the map with his red velvet latte. It was serendipitous because I was in the middle of telling Anita and Karen that Sightglass Coffee is served at Bitter+Sweet, which prompted Daniel to exclaim, “THAT’s why you look so familiar!” Now that I’m no longer living in SF, Bitter+Sweet (in Cupertino) is where I get my Humphry Slocombe ice cream fix, and I guess I’m there often enough that the staff can recognize me, even outside their shop.
In the evening, I went to a talk at Stanford by Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Half the Sky. His work is centered around human rights abuses, and for this event, he focused on oppression against women. His speech was moving and empowering: Kristof broke down the looming problem of gender oppression into tangible issues that ordinary citizens like me can relate to and help resolve. An act as simple as providing menstrual pads for girls and women in developing countries has the potential to help them stay in school – currently, many of them opt to stay at home during periods because of inadequate sanitary protection, and they fall behind in classes as a result. At the same time, the act of giving someone a pad may sound simple, but building a sustainable supply chain of pads in a developing country is no small task – there are innumerable logistical and political hurdles. Admirably, organizations like Sustainable Health Enterprises are working hard to solve this very problem. More comfortable periods = more girls with consistent class attendance. And education – not condoms or pills – is the best long-term birth control solution, according to Kristof. I’ve never thought about girls’ education this way, but it totally makes sense. Like other women in developed countries, I’m too quick to take something like menstrual pads for granted.
I felt silly and frivolous eating colorful chewy macarons after such a moral imperative-inspiring event. But I can’t deny that they were delicious.