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!!!