Samara O'Shea

In Response

These are the suggestions I gave Toby (from yesterday’s blog), for her potential year abroad:

India – You could go to Mumbai, India and find a man named G. P. Sawant. He’s a real life letter writer, who writes (wrote) for illiterate people. The NY Times wrote an article about him a few years ago and said, “G. P. Sawant, 61, estimates that he has written more than 10,000 letters for people who were unable to do so.” It says his job was suffering because of the tech boom in India, so maybe he doesn’t write any more. But how amazing to find him and hear his stories.

Italy – You could go to Verona, Italy and spend time with the Secretaries of Juliet. People of all nationalities write letters to Juliet (usually about love) the same way children write letters to Santa Clause, and a group of volunteers in Verona responds to them. This is theme of the movie Letters to Juliet, and here’s more info.

Various European Countries – European countries, such as Sweden and Germany, have managed to modernize their post offices so they aren’t on the verge of collapse as the United States post office is. Perhaps you could travel to these countries and find out what they did to bring to institution into the 21st Century. Here’s an article about the post office situation.

Good luck!!

I also told Toby I would be happy to post her stories here if she had time to write me while traveling. I hope this works out for her!