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ASH Graduate Casey Parks (And One of CenLamar's Ten Under Thirty) Blogging for The New York Times Update: Casey will be appearing on the Today Show on Monday at 8AM. She will also be appearing in a segment on CNN at 11AM on Tuesday. Her work is now appearing on the front page of the online version of The New York Times. She's currently blogging about her experiences in Africa. The blog, entitled On the Ground with Nicholas Kristoff, can be located at parks.blogs.nytimes.com You'll need a premium membership to access it. Here is an excerpt:

5 p.m.

Prudence died at 5 p.m. today.

I see this in an e-mail, and it should make sense. It should be what I expect.

But I don’t. That thud in the stomach is back.

I’ve hashed through the reasons, though none of them make sense (not together, not as individual pieces of blame).

It is too easy to look at numbers of maternal mortality or mortality in Africa in general, and feel distance from them. It is easy to think of death in Africa and not feel it close at hand. It’s harder to see this woman as a daughter whose mother stayed awake for days at her bed side, whose eyes blared red from tears and no sleep. It’s harder to see her as a mother whose children were at school when she left for the hospital on the back of a motorcycle taxi. It’s harder to understand that in death there is a persisting struggle, a weeklong fight through vomit and blood and infection.

I have thought myself so humane in the past because my heart broke over the slightest glint of poverty, because I cared about genocides in other countries. Tonight, I read my e-mail: Prudence passed away at 5 p.m., and I recognize the distance I have kept. I don’t know how to live and have these realities constantly close at hand, but I know that I cannot live anymore with them as a story, as a facts-and-figures news article that speaks but does not move. I cannot hear of tragedies and blanket them under the term “tragedy,” because even that has become a cliche that is so easy to recognize, it’s now too hard to understand.