Friday, November 30, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thanks so much to all that contributed!
Friday, November 23, 2007
The girl in the picture above is named Dianica. Her mother, Gloria, is mentally disabled and was raped when she was 13. She walks several miles each day to accompany her two girls to the foundation, and, not surprisingly, becomes hysterical if a strange man touches them. The house, if you can call it a house, where she and her two daughters live has no electricity, and only recently has had its dirt floor replaced by a slab of cement. The pictures in the slideshow will give you a closer look, but the conditions are really deplorable.
The social workers at the foundation have worked hard to help Gloria improve as a parent, but she is mentally disabled and unable to get a job. She works at the foundation on the weekends in return for food and schooling for the girls. She's hoping to make a room that has a roof and a floor for the two girls who suffer many health problems due to their living conditions. The social workers at the foundation will take care of all the building arrangements if we can get together the money to make a room for the two girls. Gloria already has some bricks, which will bring the cost down, and Fundación Formemos would handle all the money to make sure it is used properly. If I can raise $500 dollars, we can get Gloria a suitable stove for cooking, and a dignified room for the two girls to sleep.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
It turns out that you have to insert your card/room key into this little apparatus in order to activate the electricity which make it impossible to leave the lights on or the television or anything when you leave the room because you obviously take your card with you... to me, this seemed like a really good way to conserve energy.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Then, on my way to my next activity I began to feel the first signs of altitude sickness coming on. I had felt a little dizzy that morning with a bit of a headache but thought it would pass.... then, I just proceeded to get so dizzy and nauseated that I had to go home.... it got to the point where I could even keep water down and became so dehydrated that they almost forced me to go to the hospital... luckily someone suggested that I take a couple pills that would make me stop throwing up, and that worked okay.... they made me drink about three gallons of pedialyte and now I feel a little better but still get quite dizzy when I walk around too much. I'm not sure why this happened because I've been to Colombia plenty of times without getting altitude sickness but I think the sudden change of climate from Brazil, and the fact that I was already dehydrated just pushed me over the edge.
Magda, though, is in a really difficult situation herself... she studied audiology because her passion is teaching deafblind children to communicate, but literally has to make decisions every day about paying for lunch or paying the busfare to get to work. She has made such an incredible difference in so many people's lives and doesn't even have a steady place to live or the guarantee of enough to eat every day.... If she had even half the opportunities that I have, I can only imagine the amazing things she could do... I wish I knew what I could do to help her, but hopefully during this trip, I'll be able to think of a way. On Sunday, she's going to take me out to Ciudad Bolivar and we're going to photograph and film some of the different kids and projects she's working with... my hope is that when I get back the United States I can raise some money for some of the work she's doing.... I've worked with a lot of Non Profits and volunteers, but I can honestly say I very rarely meet people who are so effective in their work and so sincerely selfless in their intentions.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I'll write more later after I get a bit of rest....
Here are a few more pictures from the Convention:
Monday, November 12, 2007
In order to get here, most people flew from various countries and states throughout the western hemisphere, flew into one Rio De Janeiro , or another major city, and then took an additional flight to Belo Horizonte, and then paid for transport by van to arrive at the Estralagem das Minas Gerais in Ouro Preto.... part of me can't help but wonder how many meals could have been purchased for malnourished children with the money spent by 100-200 convention attendees.
Maybe throughout the week the value of this location will become more apparent.
That said, I'm having a great time sharing stories and experiences with some truly remarkable people from around the hemisphere. My roommate is from Trinidad and Tobego and there are about 15 other participants in the leadership orientation from Antigua, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, and several places I can't remember. Wednesday, people will start arriving for the full convention, which should have about 200 people.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
-John Orlando for insisting I speak at the Camden Public Library
-Amanda Thorndike for being one of my most active spokespeople and helping me get my day started off right every morning with a jog and coffee.
-Don Briggs and Briggs and Counsel for all their ongoing support, encouragement and legal assistance.
-Russell Kaye for website support.
-Richard Ogle for advice and help creating a business plan.
-Alex Calabi, my new partner.
-Joe Corrado, website and design adivce.
-Mike Shroeder, future design and marketing.
-Kevin Hanson, who will be volunteering in Colombia and exploring microcredit possibilities.
-My parents who have helped me a million times on all fronts.... especially my dad for all the answered phone calls, last minute copying, and support.
Also, thank you to the following people who donated money or cameras to the the Lives Worth Sharing Photography Project:
-Union Senior Citizens
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I will be out of the country from Saturday, November 10th until Monday, December 10th.... I will be checking email periodically and, between November 18th and December 3rd, I’ll be reachable at 011-57-316-276-0707 which is my cell phone number in Colombia.
I will be updating this page regularly during my trip....
Monday, November 5, 2007
... just wanted to remind you that I'm game to start working for you whenever with whatever you've got. I looked all through your website and you certainly know what you're doing, and I'm excited to contribute....
It's been great having Alex to bounce ideas off of and he has some great ones of his own. Alex couldn't have arrived at a better time because things have taken off a lot more quickly than I anticipated, and speaking, responding to emails, inquiries, volunteer interest, and fundraising is beginning to make it impossible for me to do anything like fill out 501(c)3 applications and plan trips and projects in Colombia.
Alex has already been a big help and will be in charge of keeping momentum going while I'm in Brazil, Colombia, and El Salvador.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Camden Public Library
Liz Dailey and her Human Rights class, Camden Hills Regional High School
Cindy Allen and AP English, CHRHS
Lynne Taylor's Spanish 4 classes, CHRHS
Noreen Clark, Quarry Hill Activities
Sheila Caldwell, Sophomore English, CHRHS
Dr. Thom Buescher and his Anthropology class
Nohora Estes and the students of Riley School
Union Senior Citizens Group
With the support of many people, I am in the process of starting a non-profit organization called Global Opportunity Garden whose mission is to provide a common ground that connects people in need with people who want to make a difference one way or another. I will be using my broad network of contacts in Colombia and my experience working with all types of projects and Non Governmental Organizations in order to help people find ways of contributing to the world by donating time, money, and/or energy.
It's remarkable to me the number of people who wish to do something to make the world more fair and equitable but simply don't know how to go about it. Last week, a had the great pleasure of giving a presentation to students at Riley School in Rockland. I showed them pictures from my travels in Colombia and El Salvador and spoke about the horrendous living conditions of so many people in the developing world and was astounded by the maturity, intelligence, and eagerness to help that they demonstrated. They listened attentively and asked thoughtful questions about global poverty and Latin American culture.
They asked about everything from environmental policy in Colombia to strategies for reducing hunger in Latin America, but my favorite question came from a girl who couldn't have been older that 11:
"Is there anything kids our age can do to help reduce poverty around the world?"
She seemed honestly excited when I told her "yes" and at the end of the presentation I was swarmed by other students who wanted to learn more.