Thursday, June 17, 2010


The day I decided I was going to go to Ethiopia I was having a Facebook chat with a friend.  I told her,  and her response was "YOU can be our fund-raiser!!"  I figured I had enough funds to raise,  but then she explained that she and her husband were throwing themselves a birthday party and wanted to raise money for a cause in lieu of gifts.

So,  I am officially a charity case.

Yesterday, I walked into the home of a fb friend to take some photos.  He had asked if we could barter my photography for his products (he makes soap and lotion).  The very 1st thing I saw was a scent called "African Rain."  A moment later he had agreed to donate some products to sell at upcoming fund-raisers.

Yesterday afternoon,  I was chatting with a friend on our porch who had been thinking about ways to fund-raise.  She's a Mary-Kay lady who doesn't really sell any products.  She offered to sell Mary-Kay as a fundraiser with all of the proceeds going towards the trip.

These are some creative ideas!  What would YOU do to raise money?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Can I Help?

A few people have asked how they can support the trip to Ethiopia. Thank You!

If you weren't wondering and didn't even know I was going...

I will be part of a small group of people traveling to Ethiopia in October of 2010. We will be there for 6 days, during which time we will be visiting a few different orphanages and working to build a library/resource center for the Dahley community. We will also be delivering as many medical supplies as we can transport (thanks to the kindness and good work of Partners for World Health here in Portland, Maine).

Some things you might've heard me say before:

-Ethiopia is one of the 5 poorest countries in our world.

-4.8 MILLION children in Ethiopia are orphans. This is 3.7 times the population of the state of Maine. Read that again. 3.7 times the population of Maine.

-There is 1 doctor for every 100,000 people (In the United States there is 1 doctor for every 390 people.)

-1 in 10 children die before they turn 5. Half of these children die from diarrhea.

And this is directly from Wendy and Erin's blog:

Just 1 in 3 people have access to clean water. Most women in rural Ethiopia spend hours a day collecting water from distant and polluted sources. Many girls never get an opportunity to go to school because the responsibility of collecting enough water to keep their families alive takes precedence.
I honestly appreciate your interest in helping. There are a few different ways to do that:

1. Make a tax deductible donation through Elim. Donations made here will directly support the Dahley community! The bonus is that Erin's company will match dollar for dollar up to $4,000. Elim does NOT take an administrative fee! Go here:

2. Make a donation (literally, every penny will help) through my paypal account. My goal is to raise $4000 to help defer the cost of the trip and the shipment of supplies, to provide financial assistance to the library project, as well as purchase livestock and health and safety materials for the orphanages. See my fancy DONATE button below!

3. Buy stuff. Erin and Wendy are the women behind the trip and behind www.lobstersintherough.wor They are committed to improving the lives of orphans. Read their blog- subscribe to it. Buy their cool t-shirts and notecards and jewelry. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the orphans and the library.

4. Please help to spread the word. Ask 5 people to donate $5 each. Post this on facebook or tweet about it! Our team is @EthiopiAteam.

5. Be the change. Local friends, please consider emptying your change jars or donating your Clynk cards. I am happy to drive around retrieving donations. The pennies that pile up on all of our dressers really will add up. (Get it, "Be the change," clever right?)

6. Consider hosting an Africa Party. If you are interested please let me know! Lots of opportunities for a girl's night... or co-ed night or a family night. Any excuse to par-tay!

7. If you're an artist or crafter would you consider a project to help raise money? Lets talk!

8. Donate "stuff." We ARE helping to build a library, but books are extremely difficult to transport. Some things we are collecting are: blankets, fleece jackets, shoes (think light weight and avoid the Doc Martins), boxes of crayons and colored pencils, notebooks and coloring books, small toys like bouncy balls, soccer balls, beach balls, and lollipops. You get the idea. They need everything, and if we bring things that are easy to transport we can bring more of it. The toys and fun things for the kids are the "frosting."

Other opportunities will be coming as they develop... but in the mean time... THANK YOU!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Initiating Fund Raising

So today I worked on communicating with people around fund raising.
  • I sent a letter to a sports store (with a soccer focus) and requested soccer balls.
  • I drafted a letter offering opportunities for people who are interested to support our trip.
  • I communicated with the schools about donations (a few of the teachers are very excited!).
  • I researched fund raising "parties."
  • I got my code so people could donate through Paypal: 

Sunday, June 13, 2010


4 friends sat around our table after dinner-  or was it before?  In the last year we've sat in these seats (sometimes our seats, sometimes theirs) often.  Sharing, listening, learning and leaning on one another.  Oh,  and laughing.  A lot.

(I was just trying to remember some hokey quote about friendship,  and I used the Google machine to help me.  It spit this out:

Which is not at all the quote I was going for,  but hey!)

In any case, we started talking about the trip-  my trip to Ethiopia.  I talked about the leper colony and my fears-  some of which I wrote about last night.  I (not surprisingly) got blubbery as I tried to describe the scene I read about as I was researching Korah.  I can't find the exact article now,  but it went something like this:

When the leper colony was established it was far away from the town.  It was built near the dump.  No one wants to live near lepers or trash.  75 years later, Korah is home to about 80,000 of the 3-4 million people who live in the country's capitol, Addis.

I described to Rob and to our friends how I'd read that it became common for the folks in the colony to go to the dump for their necessities.  I described the story I read and the pictures I saw.  Large groups of people chasing the garbage trucks into the dump,  anxious to be among the first to filter through the waste to find other people's discarded, rotten, diseased food with which to feed their families.

Blubbering, I tell you.

And then my friends described their experience of visiting the lepers in India.  And I can not do this story justice and I am hoping that they will be blogging it soon and I'll share.  It's a story of being the first westerners to sit beside these people.  The first to hold their babies and beat their drums and be-  not just in their presence-  but *with them*.  It was the Gift that they did not know that they were giving.

And I blubbered some more.  And I sit now,  reflecting in wonderment,  at the people I get to know.

My t-shirt is right, Life is Good.


When I heard we were spending a day in a leper colony things froze.

What's that now?

You can't be near leprosy! I am bagging this deal,  these people are nuts.  Wait,  leprosy still exists?  Wait,  what IS leprosy?  Isn't leprosy uber contagious?  Do people get leprosy in the US?

And here's what really mattered.  I know-  or I should say I can imagine being in orphanages.  Playing with the kids and meeting the caregivers and offering love and compassion and affection.


Korah,  the leper colony, is the darkest most hidden corner of poverty. Abject poverty.  What will I do here?  Will I feel safe?  Will I have courage to reach out?

I spoke with a nurse the other day,  who just returned from Ethiopia.  I'm reading.  I'm trying to open my heart, here.

Things aren't frozen now.  I AM going.  I do think these people-  the A team- are completely nuts,  but that's more from the conversations we've had than the Korah visit.  That... is a joke.  Kinda.

There is information about Korah here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

But Why?

I'm not going to Ethiopia to change the world.  I am under no delusion that I will be fixing anything.

I am going because when I read the truths about Ethiopia they were unfathomable to me.   
I'm going because I want an adventure.
I'm going because I do not know poverty.
Because my family's needs are met  yet I grumble about not having enough.
I'm going because one basic need that people have is affection.
I'm going because I live in a fairytale world.
Because my troubles are inconsequential, yet the weight I give them makes them matter.
I'm going because except for the Caribbean I have never been outside the United States.
I'm going because I see the same things every day.
Because I want my children to know that acceptance matters.
I'm going because I want them to know that trying to help matters.

I am going because 4.8 million kids live in orphanages.  4.8.  Million.  That is one million MORE than the entire population of LosAngeles.

I am going because I believe that one of those children will someday be part of my family.

Those are some of the reasons that I am going.