Saturday, December 22, 2007

India Organizations Di and Mark are Volunteering with

Diane will work with :
Sankalp - support service for drug addiction, tuberculosis and HIV

Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust
115 B Belle Vue,
Dr.Ambedkar Road,
Pali, Bandra, Mumbai 400050.
Tel: 2600 6182, 2490 1302.
Fax: C/o 2645 8870.

Mark will work with :

Telephone: +91 (22) 2300 9117

Administrative Office: Saathi
Agripada Municipal School, 1st Floor
Opp. YMCA Swimming Pool
Agripada, Mumbai Central (E)
Mumbai 400 011


attached are some pictures from Ghana: dude carrying a lot of stuff on his head, some pictures from the Accra Brewery, and Mark feeding a monkey!

Friday, December 21, 2007

We Finally Made it to India!!!!!!!!

So after being stuck in Ghana for 5 days and missing Ethiopia totally we made it to INDIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will recap minus the mental breakdowns about our 5 bonus days in Ghana!
12/11- get to airport at 4pm wait till 6 to check in at 6:15 were told taht we were not on the list and to wait. waited till 7:40 for a 8:20pm flight and were told we were not on the flight. were told that we need $1400 cash right now to get on the plane. no ATM's no time, no ride for Mark and Diane
We collect ourselves. call our travel agent, e-mail folks and then finally leave the airport and head to a hotel. PS Ethiopian Airlines and The Ghana Airport are not familiar with the term, "Customer Service"
12/12- go back to the airport with hopes of leaving that day and hopes of a real ticket! Get to airport, try to check in and again no tickets!!!!!!!! Yeah Ethiopian airlines has done it again! We were told we would again have to buy a ticket in cash at 9pm at night. Well done~ back to hotel~ where by the way we got some money stolen from us! We really are enjoying Ghana right about now!
12/13 told we have a ticket and can get a day in Egypt instead of three days in Ethiopia, head back to airport - this time Nigerian Air and Ethiopian Air team up to not give us a ticket but again reassure us that if we hand over a boat load of cash we can get on! again no ATM's in sight that will dish out $1,400. Told by travel agent that there is a ticket on the 15th! What about Ethiopia! We missed it!
12/14 chill-
12/15- freak out b/c we don't have any info about our ticket out of Ghana! Finally get some info about our ticket. have to buy the ticket there and finally get to leave Ghana! Finally~ stop by Amsterdam airport on the way to India and finally land in Incredible !inda (This is an ad for India).

India pretty cool! the food is great!!!! we ave loved everything we have eaten! we are still trying to find some good snack foods, but every restaurant is fabulous!
We chilled in Dehli for a few days ands checked out the Craft museum. We saw some beautiful dance numbers from all over India! it was beautiful, colorful and amazing. Everyone danced shoeless and one of the dancers sliced her foot open and she continued to dance as she bled all over the floor! it was cool! WE recommend the metro to anyone who is traveling in Dehli. The rickshaws in Dehli are cool, but annoying. They have this deal where if they take folks to tourist spots they get a commission for each spot. We wanted to go to the Craft Museum and we stopped at two shops before di and i basically just left the rickshaw driver high and dry. He did come after us but Helly Belly, our new friend-who also runs tours, help to show the rickshaw driver the door! Darn Right! Anyway we would recommend going on one rickshaw drive- it is totally like a video game as you peer out out the front windshield!!!

We are in McLeod Ganj right now! This place is just like Asheville but is 5000 feet higher, they outlawed plastic bags, there is NO GOOD BEER, and there are monks everywhere. Mcleod Ganj is where the Dali Lama lives and it is breathtaking gorgeous! We have gone on hikes and runs the past two days and plan on staying here for about a week longer. The hikes are amazing and there are buddhist prayer flags all scattering the peeks of the mountains.

A little info about our work here:
I will be working at Saathi in Mumbai. I will tell you more about the organization later. I also forget which organization Di is working for. Saathi's web site is you can see they are involved with the Mumbai marathon that i will be running hopefully on 1/20/08. I am working on getting a mailing address so folks can send us packages as well.

i hope all is well with you all and we are sending much love your way!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Goodbye Ghana snippets

Sitting on a bus with a dead grasscutter on the lap of the passenger next to me*seeing someone carry a poached 4 ft python-headless!*african women carry small babies on their backs with just a piece of cloth*mismatched outfits of tiger stripes and paisleys*women carrying boxes of tomatoes on their heads that i can't even pick up with all my might*touring the accra brewery*getting into a fight with a taxi driver*having samuel bring us food butt naked with a sugar cane balanced on his head*jumping through windows instead of using doors*eating cat, grasscutter, fanice, contumbre, pineapple, the best peanut brittle ever made, chocholate spread* getting stung by termites*tying the tarp to a huge cross on top of a mountain*feeding monkeys*feeling monetarily used and abused over and over and over*beer with no alchol (malta)*watching palm wine being made (drinking palm wine!)*being told that we were god becuase we are white*being offered palm wine for a long backpacketed hike*feeding monkies* having children not know how to read or write their names*cheeks!*baby goats*batik class with emilia* the bamboo forest and my sanity and peace*trotro rides and fearing for mylife while trying to breath in calmness and safety to the driver*the slave castle*laying on a bed with a fan over me....heaven*sneaking into a fancy hotel pool*being covered in children*the amount of dirt that comes out of my shirt from one days wear*hearing william say, "Mark will fly me up to heaven with his hairy angel wings"*trading skin cream for a pineapple*going to the farm*gathering fruits and veggies*watching the locals dance*heading off to a football match*getting my finger stuck in a celing fan*giardia*green turtle resort paradise*kings in the corner, fan tan, rummy 500*far from the maddening crowd, prodigal summer, eat pray love, kite runner, goat, intuition, oliver twist, hidden treasures, the jungle...*

Thank you so much to michelle and kristen for putting up safari pictures. here are the new links. This was done all the way in Indiana for your viewing pleasure.

Info for volunteers at Sankofa Mbofra Fie/ Yaya and at third world countries in general

If you choose to volunteer at Sankofa there are some things that you should know. We would advise not to give money. The program depends completely on foreign aid donations mostly which come through volunteers and they will not survive if they do not find away to generate their own revenue. If you do choose to give money then NEVER give direct money. Always pay for services (such as we paid part of the cost to register an NGO to the agent-not the program) or buy goods that you deem appropriate, ex. a large cookpot so cooking can go faster. It would be better to educate that your volunteer work and your presence is worth something and you are not just the dollar amount you bring. Keep persistence in advocating for self sustainability. We gave ideas and suggestions on self sustainability until we were blue, but they often feel on deaf ears. Know that this lesson will be learned sooner or later. Please know that all of your actions will impact all of the volunteers who come after you. Apparently before we came, on the last day of some volunteer's stay at Sankofa, large amounts of alcohol were purchased for the employees of the program, since we were not of the means to do this, it was a problem. I am grateful for the children and the experience of living in a rural village in West Africa, I have seen and done things I would never have the option to do in my life otherwise-though this comes with considerable frustrations. Feel free to email us with questions if you have them

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thank You Sankofa Mbofra Fie Sponsors

Diane and I have finished our time at Sankofa and we wanted to thank the people who sponsored the school and orphanage. Your generosity made it possible for us to start many projects and do a lot of good at Sankofa.

We would like to thank the 5th grade of Carolina Day School, P. Daniels, S. Pyeat, and my mom's church group!!!! Also we want to give a shot out to all those wedding gifts that helped us get over here and to everyone who has ever supported us and loved us! Thanks, your love and kindness has been passed on to many small children in Eguafo, Ghana!

Here are a list of the projects, tasks, events we have used your donations on.

  1. We have mosquito proofed the orphanage
  2. We have purchased pens and purple pencils for ever child at the school (it was surpizingly to find 200 purple pencils)
  3. We have financially prepared the school/orphanage for it's NGO
  4. We have helped pay for the NGO
  5. We have created a web site and hopefully it will be posted soon!
  6. We have made 3 road signs and a welcome sign for the school and orphanage
  7. We have brought the wonderful game of tether ball to Eguafo
  8. We have purchased a clock so the students can get to school on time
  9. We have cooked and purchased food for the children
  10. We have purchased movies for weekend movie nights!
  11. We purchased the biggest pot i have ever seen in my life to cook food for the children!
  12. We have purchased materials for school uniforms
  13. We have set up a batik/tie dye workshop with a local woman, Ms. Emilia. Ms. Emilia will teach batik to 3-4 children 3 times a week after school for 3 months. The students will learn the trade and help make school uniforms for the children.
  14. We have purchased bedding for some of the beds
  15. We made gift baskets for the teachers at Sankofa
  16. We have made shelves for the kitchen
  17. We have donated some books and art supplied
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the help!!!! We could not have accomplished as much as we did with out your support and generosity. There is still a lot of need there! Please if you would still like to support we highly recommend donations of gifts as opposed to money. They still desperately need black and blue pens, pencils, chalk, erasers, notebooks, pre-k-5th grade text books, bedding, food. (toys and soccer jerseys if anyone is inclined would rock as well!)

Thanks again!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Some more photos for you. sorry about the dups.
so here it comes the rating list for Ghana: are you READY

my favorite animal moment: a baby sheep with full sized legs trying to run away. It hops and skips and is quite hilarious.
typical african woman dress:wear it all together. lepord print shirt, plaid wrap skirt, pokadot head wrap. we are not afraid of color here folks. stay tuned to see diane dressed as one.
most impressive carrying on head:a crate 5 ft by 5 feet filled with tomatos
cutest baby:goats have us beat people!
best food in ghana: pineapples, tomatoes, the dark pink papaya, we also eat a lot of nutella spread made in ghana, digestives, and laughing cow cheesse, boiled cassava and contumbre yum.
best way to get around-tro tro by far-looks like a vw log stuffed with people. they never try to cheat you on price and they are so affordable.
irony:yea, the food is all free range and organic here, but we have a picture of goats/chickens/sheep eating out of a dumpster
most frustrating:that 9 out of 10 people ask you directly or not for money

Mail anyone?

We have sent out a bunch of post cards and want to know if they are getting to the states or are we just supporting the local Ghanaian post office. If you were born between when we Sept-Nov. a post card should be on it's way! Please let us know if you have gotten one! thanks~ Here is a picture from Halloween!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

check out some photos at these links

here are three links so far!

A Day in the Life!!!!!!

So, you might be sitting there and thinking to yourself, what is life like in Eguafo, Ghana? Well lucky you! you have stumbled upon a few folks who currently live there and we are about to tell you about the daily life of Eguafo Broni's (Bromi is the term for "White Man or White Woman")

4:30 am: Wake up time is roughly around this time where we can here the kids starting to clean their rooms and the local church behind us chanting and singing the same song at the same time everyday. Of course we have the pleasure of our backdoor neighbor yelling and making sure her side of the story is being heard by everyone who will listen
4:30-5:15am: diane and i refuse to believe that people are actually up right now and arguing! We try to stay asleep but are definitely awake.
5:30-6:00 am: we actually get up and put on our running stuff and go for a run.
6:00-6:45-7:00am: we run on a trail that weaves it's way through a beautiful farm. We see the sun rising, plantain trees, corn growing, cocoa trees, orange trees, cassava plants, charcoal being made, and a beautiful soccer field. it is breathtaking! The kids used to run with us in the beginning but they have stopped. they do enjoy doing stretches, push-ups and sit-ups with us after we return from our run.
7:00-7:45am: we get our bucket of water and wash our bodies and our clothes with that bucket of water in an outdoor showering area. the blocks are about 5 feet tall so i can see out of them b/c there is no roof. There are 5 "showering" rooms there.
7:45 am we eat our breakfast of cocoa (read: corn breakfast mush, DEFINITELY NOT AS COOL AS A BOWL OF COCOA WOULD BE!) We also eat rice soup and various fruits.
7:55am: attempt to push the kids out the door to get to school and head off to school ourselves.
8:00am:-2:00pm: this is the school day: we have focused on teaching the students how to read. but we also have worked on art, PE, colors, songs, and other fun things like math! But again our main focus is reading and teaching English.
2-5:30pm: After school there are many different activities that we do: Project we have worked on include: creating the Sankofa Mbofra Fie web site! Look for it soon on the famous World Wide Web! We have painted three signs for the school and orphanage as well as a large one on the building. We
have brought that wonderful game of tether ball to Sankofa! We have helped build a duck house! We have built shelving. We have cooked delicious meals for the children and staff. We have meet with the Board of Directors of Sankofa and discussed their future. We have prepared Sankofa to become and NGO. We have put up mosquito nets on all the windows. We have created a monthly budget for Sankofa.
It is not all work and no play for the two travelers! Fun stuff we have done: We have each watched a Ghanaian film. (Not recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!-Mark actually watched a Nigerian film)
We have picked oranges, coconuts, papayas, dug up cassava, made fufu (fact: 75% of Ghanaians eat FuFU for dinner)-what is FuFu- you boil cassava--editors note: cassava tastes darn good just boiled-- but then to make fufu you go through an hour long process of pounding it into more or less mashed potatoes. One person has a large pestle and the other person is placing the cassava under it in hopes of you not crushing their fingers. We have played soccer, ultimate, done gymnastics, and have worked on stupid human tricks with most of the children. Diane has worked on batik and tie dye while there. (They call is tie and dye- Mark really likes that name!)
That is all i can think of right now!
5:30-6:00pm: we eat dinner around here or a bit later. Our favorite foods are Groundnut(peanutbutter) soup, contumbra (green leafy god stuff) soup, rice, boiled cassava.
6:00pm-the sun usually sets around now. we hang out a bit more with the kids, staff, and ourselves.
6:35pm there is a brown out
6:45pm the power goes back on
6:45-7:45ishpm: reading and playing games
8:00pm: diane reads stories to the kids
8:30pm: we read in our room and go to sleep sometimes soon after.
so that is our amazing day! look for some of our favorite things in ghana soon!

mark made out with a NUN and other crazy antics

Hello there freinds,
so yes it is true mark indirectly made out with a nun. We have left the orphanage to see Ghana and take a break. We first travelled to Kumasi-a big city but I loved it. We found this amazing place to stay, far away from the hustle and they let us camp. It was very close to a resturant with AMAZING indian food. and here we sat when it happened...we were on our second box of wine, don garcia i do believe and we noticed that to our right were two nuns sitting drinking guiness-funny to me. so mark went over and poured them wine and made them drink it. When they left there was still a little guiness in one of the bottle and yes-my classy husband drank it, thus making out with a nun! The next day we travelled to lake bosomwe. We camped by the lake at this rastamans place. somehow there was a german there who wanted mark to help film a movie with him,I was cast as an extra. yes, it is a g rated movie people! You may have noticed that mark likes to wear purple plastic mardi-gras like beads around his neck. People in Ghana often think these to be rosary beads and that mark is a devout religious man. (little do they know) an old lady asked for a prayer from mark and he clapsed his hands together and mumbled some gibberish, when done she thanked him. we took a mountain bike ride on the rough roads around the lake. on some garbage quality rented bikes. at least the brakes worked. it was fun though. we love to eat fresh cocoa. it is a squash like plant. when you crack it open there are these seeds coated in sweet goop, that is good to suck off. these seeds are dried, fermented, mashed, sweetened and more proccesed to turn them into chocolate. We have also discovered fire roasted plaintains. holey moley good. i know a few people who have gained 20 lbs on these. oh and mark got cut-off at the buffett lunch today. hee hee. i am working on uploading photos to various sites right now. so check em soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween at Sankofa!!

So as some of you know, Halloween is my favorite holiday!!!!!!! Diane and i decided that we should teach the children the wonderful holiday of Halloween to our young friends in Ghana. Surprisingly many of them have not heard about this amazing holiday that sweeps the US every October 31st! So how do you teach a children in Ghana about Halloween? With a long educational unit on the glories of costumes, make-up, and acting silly! We constantly reminded the children that October 31st was Halloween. We role played what to do and what to say on that magical evening.
It was intense but we were up to the challenge. Diane made a sweet dress out of banana leaves and i used corn husks and banana leaves to dress up.

The kids did not disappoint. We got some creative costumes and what is Halloween without a young teenage boy dressing up like a female with lip stick, boobs, and all!!! See, it's even funny in Ghana! Our oldest trick or treater was a 40 year old lady who wanted in on some of the fun! (of course we made her say the magic words of "trick or treat" before were rewarded her with candy!)

Here is a link to some pictures of the costumes! enjoy~

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cape Coast 10.28

Hello from cape Coast! A weekend away from the orphanage again. I have never loved the beach more. The children call broni (white woman!) i want to swim with you, i want to be your friend as you walk down the beach. the waves are big enough to surf on and the water is warm but still refreshing. I saw three grown men taking craps on the beach yet I am still able to say ah...what beauty. I think Africa has broken me in people. Yesterday we went to Kakum National Rainforest and for five bucks got to walk suspended in the canopy. It would not pass US high ropes course standards; we were on it in a thunderstorm downpour, but it was mighty cool. We slept in the forest on a platform with a tin roof, our most expensive stay anywhere yet, and listened to the noises of the jungles as we slept. I got to do yoga watching the rain fall around me and we drank our favorite Ghana beer, Castle Milk Stout. We checked out the slave castle museum, where almost all slaves passed through before leaving their continent. We walked in the dungeons where thousands were packed, and thousands died. It was a crazy, crazy thing, something I never thought I would see. The Internet cafe we like is run by Israeli blacks who claim to be the original Jews. I walked out of a class I was teaching when the local teacher canned all of the hard in my opinion. A different way of life here, it makes them behave for sure. Mark and I really want to focus on getting two classes of children from the fundamental stages of reading, to actually read. I am also sign painting, and made a teatherball course, and did a website. miss you all!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sankofa Mbrofra Fie

di and i have spent about 10 days at Sankofa Mbofra Fie the orphanage/school that we are
volunteering at for the next 8 weeks. it is real fun. the kids are welcoming, cool and friendly.
they are of course crazy but then again most kids are pretty off the wall. it has been fun. we have observed and
even taught a few classes.

The students are of all different ability level. the school is free to the students of the small
farming village because many of them could not afford the cost to go to the government school.
They would have to buy a school uniform (about $5 and they would have to buy their own pens and
notebooks) So this is a rather poor village. I guess poor in our standards. they are a very happy
group of farmers and people.

We are having a great time with the kids and are undertaking the following projects: Building a
web site, registering the Orphanage as an NGO: Non-Government Organization- basically
registering the orphanage and school as a non profit. we are going to make signs for the school/orphanage,
make a farm for animals and fruit trees so that Sankofa can feed itself! it is going well. we will post more soon!~
mark and diane~ keep the comments coming!

Don't feed the children!!!!!!!!!!

So Moshi Tanzania is a pretty touristy place b/c of Mount Kili. there are many street vendors working their magic in hopes of some tourist money. When you read travel books they tend to say things like, " bring chocolate and pens to give to local children." FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS BY ANY MEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The local children need to get an education to better themselves but because of tourist who hand out candy and pens there mastery of the English language consists of one English sentence with 2 alternate endings as well as the great English work "Yes!" The magical sentence that young children will bring them out of poverty is...
"Give me chocolate", or " Give me pen." Some students did not bother to learn this phrase and just posses and understanding of one three English words and they are of course, "chocolate, pen, yes."

It has gotten so bad that there are signs now in many hostels/hotels that plead with tourist NOT to give out chocolate/pens/anything. They want tourist to instill in the children that they need to go to school to get an education and not to be street kids whom depend on tourist for their survival.

On a side note the safari was kickin'! and yes we did not feed the animals either on safari!
We saw it all, hippo's, lions, cheetahs, twig's (the swahili word for giraffe's), dic-dic (which are mini deers that have a family ceremony where they all poop in the same area to mark their land! how sweet is that!, wilderbeast, elephants. The safari was great. there will be pictures to come via our good friend Michelle who was kind enough to spend part of her trip with us. Ron was with us well and we hope he can post some pictures as well if he can get to this blog!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holy Shit Massai village. 10.6

Such a crazy experience. I feel so blessed that we got to go through it. It felt like a week and yet it was only 24 hours. We came to this beautiful campground where we met a man dressed in street clothes who was a Massai. He had traditionally stretched earlobes, one had ripped long ago and was dangling. He also had two scars on his cheeks below his eyes, that were from from a iron rob placed in the fire and then on his skin to prevent eye disease. His name was Issac, we walked with Issac through the dusty town to a boma (village) it was located about 3 mi away. There were \huts made of sticks, cow dung, and grass roofs concentrated in the area. The village around 10 huts but there were many more scattered around the valley. Our bags were brought into the hut and we ducked through the tiny opening inside. It was a stark contrast between the hot african sun and it took awhile to adjust our eyes. There were two holes to the outside about three fingers wide, to provide ventilation. Mark, michelle, ron, and i sat on the beds/pallets that were raised platforms with twigs covered in animal skins. I sat on a carved stool. Here Issac told us a little bit about Massai culture. The houses were build by women. In fact, women did almost all of the work in the boma. The men herded cattle, went to market, and drank. Each hut was for a wife and her children. Men had around five wives. He spent on week with each. The children sleep in one room and the mom and dad in the other. To our amazement later that do five or six cow and 12 chickens. A big highlight was watching the young recently circumcised males march our cows into the hut. When we pointed this out to michelle she was drop jawed that our night was to be spent with cows! it was hilarious. The bomas are in the dust of the desert, so the women have to go nearer to the mountainous crater walls to gather wood to build their homes. They then collect cow dung in pots (looks like the same ones they cook with) and mix with water much like cobb. The men are circumcised between the age of 8 and 20. They then begin to take the cows to water and to graze. The men wear mostly red thin wool capes. The women wear blue. The women in the village had much more tattered clothes than the men. In the ear are white beaded earrings, sometimes very long. They wear white anklets and necklaces. there is a pen in the middle where some of the animals are kept at night. No need for barbed wire there are trees in this place that would keep a tank ou8t. They have white spikes out of them. As Ron said "there are many angry trees in Africa." Issac to us to market a few miles away and answered our many questions. There is a masai school. Most of the medical care is done in the village with tree bark. We got to the market and it was a sea of clor, red everywhere. we knew we were in for a color shock treat. no whites anywhere. Issac took us first to the barbecue pits. The market was under huge candelabra cactus trees. The meat was goat. Issac wanted to buy some barbeque they had cut and cleaned that day, but staring at the goats severed head, we were all a little hesitant. Then we were brought to a tarp where people were sitting around a bucket on benches. In the bucket contained a frothy white liquid that was banana beer. Oh, how i wanted to try some. but it is not peeled or cooked...we then went to the market and mark bought shoes made out of tires. we ate our lunch in a little hut where warm sodas were sold. Issac got barbeque and chili. the barbeque was beef and he insisted we try some. As we ate a man was hacking into a goat head by a fire and working hard at it too. it was a little hard to eat. It feels bad to eat when there are hungry people around. Issac's chili had two plantains in it and some red sauce. He left us for two hours as he drank banana beer with his father!!! We strolled around the market but quickly retreated to the edges as we were aggressively recruited rich white people. Some of the Masais wear suits, talk on cell phones, and ride motorcycles. It is a huge contrast. When we found issac again we headed back to the village. The huts were more civilized near to town and less as you moved further away. The children swarmed around us, not asking to be held but clinging, investigating, laughing. They were dressed in Western clothes and not massai. We played Frisbee with them. They were over joyed and hilarious. One boy was instantly amazing. Most of them began by throwing the disc upside down. A large bowl of porridge was broght out and the women and children sat around eating it. No one making sure they had enough, but then again there were children there with no pants on. Mark went to bed but michlele and i sat down on goat shit and cow shit star gazing. The stars were of the best I have seen. The masai village was seeped with as many dis guts as it was gems. The moment that summed it up best was when i put my hand down to sit and it landed in some fairly fresh wet cow shit. I could not see due to the dark. YUCK GROSS yelled I as I frantically scraped my hand on the bottom of my shoe. The little girl with the sparkly yees laughed and took my hand in hers wiping it until it was clean. So much more happened, but if you have read this far your patience is amazing and mine is wavering. Michelle will post the picutres when she gets home in about a week. they are awesome make sure to check them out. i miss you all.

Friday, September 28, 2007

We are in Tanzania!

So what a trip so far!!! Lots of fun and "Learning Experinces" We are safe, happy and healthy so no need to worry anybody! Jet Lag to the extreme!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A fun story...

In the airport in Frankfort were playing with the haky sack and 3 young guys ask if they can hack with us. We find out that they were teenagers from Russia who went to Maryland to work at WaWa for the summer! How cool is that. Diane told them that she enjoyed their sandwiches and they laughed because that is what they did all summer!
SO we were hacking and i kick the hackysack threw a hole in rafters (smooth move). The three teens and i look longingly up into the air sad that the airpoprt gods had taken our toy. The young Russian teens decide to stand on each others shoulders to see into the rafters to see if they can get it back. We help balance one up on the others shoulders and they cannot find it. The tallest of the three teens suggested i stand on his shoulder because we would be the tallest combination of strapping young lads! So i get up on his shoulders and got our toy back!!!! Yeah team work!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tanzania and Ghana Location: Sankofa Mbofra Fie

Hello all,

our first leg of the trip will take us to Moshi Tanzania! Very exciting. It is on the outskirts of Mount Kilimanjara. Many people use this town to start their to the summit of Mount Kilimanjara. We will be waiting there until our friends meet us and we will then start our 5 day safari with Adventures Within Reach : .
Here is our schedule
SEP 30-OCT 4: 5 Day Safari (4nt Zara Prop) -- 4 people
SEP 30: Drive to Lake Manyara, afternoon game drive, overnight at
Highview Hotel (BLD)
OCT 1: Drive to Serengeti, afternoon game drive, overnight at
Serengeti Wild Camp (BLD)
OCT 2: Serengeti, full day game drive, overnight at Serengeti Wild
Camp (BLD)
OCT 3: Drive Serengeti to Ngorongoro via Olduvai Gorge, overnight at
Highview Hotel (BLD)
OCT 4: Ngorongoro Crater, morning game drive, afternoon return to
Moshi, overnight Springlands Hotel or similar (BL)

That is our safari and then we will travel to Ghana to volunteer at the orphanage of Sankofa Mbofra Fie
It is an orphanage of about 200 children in Cape Coast Ghana. Here is the address if you would like to mail us anything.
There is a pretty good chance that if you mail a package that it will not make it to us because of iffy postal service, but letters should be fine. And please feel free to e-mail or post on our blog!
So here is the address.
Sankofa Mbofra Fie
Attention: Mark and Diane Strazzer

PO Box AD540

Cape Coast

Ghana , West Africa

there number is +233243179681

and web site is :

once you are at the web site scroll down to the bottom and the link to Sankofa Mbofra Fie is on the bottom left.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Wedding!

Hello everyone!

We want to thank everyone who was able to come down to Black Mountain and attend our wedding weekend! It was everything that we dreamed about. Lots of fun, family, friends, and purple!!!! You guys truly did do a stupendous job wearing the color of royalty! Below are a few sets of pictures from the wedding. We will have more on here soon!

Pictures from Friday:

Pictures from Saturday:

Pictures from the whole weekend courteous of our rock star friend Dana Villalas who is one heck of a photographer!!!! Thanks Dana!

We are currently in DC at Di's mom's house and will be here for a few days before we head up to NJ to hang out with my family before we leave on Monday night 9/24/07 out of New York! (Note: Mark will not be able to spend much time in Delaware before he leaves but will observe a moment of silence, maybe the whole 5 minutes in fact it takes to drive through Delaware, to honor the First State!)

Have Fun For Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First Post

Hello everybody,

This is going to be Diane and I's bog as we travel the world doing service work and rocking out!!!! It is going to be a blast. We are getting married on 9/2/07 and then we are going to pack up our stuff, head up to delaware to get our fix and then leave around mid September!

Please check the blog and post on it if you wish. We will try to keep everyone updated on our travel and service work as we go. Have a great day~