Friday, June 19, 2009

A while back, earlier in the month I had heard from my special Peruvian friend Carlos Gibaja Tapia. It was a quote of a caption from a Peruvian cartoon but without the cartoon. i looked it up (finally) yesterday and here it is. you can also go here: to read more in English. This is from a blog called An American in Lima, and is now on my favorites list.

Some Peruvians are outraged at the country’s indifference to the preventable deaths of children in the Andes, as this widely circulated cartoon shows. Others shrug their shoulders and say, “That’s Peru.”

Here is what Carlos sent me in regards to this cartoon: 'This year alone, 144 children under age 5 have died of respiratory disease brought on extreme cold in the high sierra, reported El Comercio. Thirty-five of the young victims were from Puno, where temperatures plummeted to -15 degrees C in the last 21 days. (Note that temperature extremes — winter getting colder, summer getting hotter and drier — are an expression of climate change, says Peru glacier expert Cesar Portocarrera.)'

And he asks: " There are many people in Peru (who) would like to do something to help and the world has plenty second use blanket and clothes that (they) would like to send them to Peru, but ironically our government doesn’t let them do that, it is just because those are second use. God, what we can do? "
Well, this is what he's doing:

Hola Laurita.
Gracias por interesarte en los niños de Perú y yo sé que tu eres una persona que le interesa mucho este tema.
Bueno ahora estamos en una nueva aventura, estamos recolectando fondos para comprar frazadas y ropas para los niños que están muriendo en las comunidades altas, esto es por el cambio de temperatura que esta pasando aquí, el frio es muy intenso.
Por favor reza por que todo salga bien, y si tú conoces a personas que estarían interesadas en este proyecto por favor contáctenos. Gracias.
(in English: "Hi Laurie, Thanks for your interest in the Peruvian children. You are a person who is very interested in this topic. So good, now I am involved in a new adventure, I am collecting funds to buy blankets and clothes for the children that are dying in the high communitieis and this is because temperature changes are happening now and the cold very intense. Please pray that all will go well. I know you will be interested in this. Please contact me. Thank you.")

Blankets for the villagers, to support the cold weather.
We want to (give) gratitude to all of you for your support on rescue lives from the cold weather in the Andes. With this help we cover of warm blankets to the people of Socma. Also with the support of my spiritual sister Shannon we make hot Chocolate, to make feel them loved. But this is going to be the just beginning, we want to provide with warm blankets more villages, so we can stop the death. Please share this email with the people who would like support this project.

So today I am going to Western Union and sending some money from our las Vidas Mejoradas bank account to Carlos to help buy blankets. If you would like to contribute money to this cause please email me. (below more about the status of our 501c-3)

Other good news: Over the weekend Steve and I went to Portland to meet a fellow we became acquainted with by way of the Bioenergy list. His name is Richard and he is from Alberta, Canada. He too went to a Peruvian community (on the coast) to do a small stove project. and we had responded to an inquiry of his, hence the connection. it was great to meet him. he had just been to Mandorani to visit Tomas and he met some of our stove families! just a week or two before! it was heartwarming to hear of what Tomas had told him of us and our work there. we apparently left a foot print!

With our EIN number in hand, and name Las Vidas Mejoradas, it is now time to select board members. We want to employ Steve, one day a week to manage the paperwork and work with our attorney to set our nonprofit up correctly. So our first step is for me to write our attorney and inquire if we need the board and bylaws in existence before we can hire Steve.

Our garden grows. You can see new pictures of the progress on our flickr site.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our foxglove! More pictures (as Ron requested) are on the flickr site here:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well, in a spurt of energy, I am finally blogging and posting pictures. We've been busy since getting back with trips to visit friends, time with my sons, a house concert, getting married, painting, hauling and planting, a new job, a trip to the coast and time with friends. I am trying and am now quite frustrated with uploading photos to the blog, so i will direct you to the flickr site here .

its been a sort of overcast week here--fine with us---much cooler and not as much watering required to our many beds outside! Steve is in the basement organizing the the stuff down there. Later today he and Janice will make some loads of brush and tree branches to Lane Forest products. i plan on getting caught up with our families and friends, cleaning my room, paying bills, and weeding. it's so nice to have a day off! work has been going well. i enjoy teaching patients. I'm not sure if all the walking i do is contributing to a bit of sciatica, like i had had briefly in Peru. it's like a charlie horse down the side of my leg that just won't let go. i've been keeping it to myself there as i don't want anything to come up as far as work goes that indicates in any way i can't do this job! i went to the doctor and am on some meds and its better today. better enough that i feel like i can get outside today!

on the Peru front , i soon will be opening an account in the name of las Vidas Mejoradas! i am waiting on the EIN number. then we will be forming a board and bylaws with our lawyers' help (so to get it right!) My son told me the other day we have sold two paintings in Eureka! I had dropped the price and continued advertising them as fundraisers for our organization. so more money will be going into the account!

We heard from a young woman interested in Quiquihana after she had written ellen and ron about their trip to peru. she had located their photo site and blog on-line (which i am going to add a link to today. there are some great pictures of Peru adventures!) anyway our sites were able to assist her in an upcoming trip she'll be making there in search of her biological family!

and specifically about stoves and Mandorani, a colleague we met on-line visited Tomas and the community not to long ago to see our stoves! He had written and we gave directions and he got there in spite of a bus strike! He talked to Victoria who is waiting for us to call (!) and Tomas about the stoves. I will copy his letters here:

Great, Laurie, I finally met up with Tomas today in Corao, and going again tomorrow to see how he builds and hopefully get my hands dirty. What a nice guy Tomas is. He talked about the great debt of gratitude he feels towards you in helping them to reduce the very serious problem of smoke related lung problems.
Victoria's son brought me to Tomas's house, where I saw my first sheep against people soccer match along the way, complete with 12 to 15 little piglets in the audience! Here are Victoria's phone numbers. 780091 and 835094. I guess she hopes you will call her some day. I told her I would send you an e- mail in Spanish if she wanted (but not sure if she writes?).
So again, thanks for all your help on this journey. If you have a message for Victoria, I'd be happy to relay it, but have no printer here at the hostal in Cusco.

Hi Laurie,
While today's experience is still fresh in my mind ... I went to Corao agan, and finding Tomas stuffing potatoes into bags, and that in fact he was not building any stoves (contrary to my belief) just made the best of it. Tomas gave me a drawing and the dimensions and we shared ideas. I think the double lipped pot orifice is a great idea (as built only single pot holders in Chincha). The chimneys are more robust than those I installed, but I think the price of 80 S will be justified in longevity (as well as extra updraft). We also discussed the idea of using adobe set around a round form for future chimneys (much cheaper and recommended by some of the advanced people on the bioenergylists chat line). We also discussed the design I learned where the pot is submerged further into the plancha to maximize heat transfer to the pot sides (you will see this in the Aprovecho design including Rocket).
- On the last 2 stoves, what I get from Tomas is that he's waiting for plata (money) from them. So thats all I know on that (I guess they are not built).
- For Victoria, she wasn't there, but her husband, no guarantees will pass it on that you will contact her.
So we had a long chat with a woman on the street with a stove in front - (forget her name) and it was gratifying to know the depth of commitment to environmental health causes they had, as we discussed everything from stoves (adobe and solar) to plastic pollution, garbage, water and politics. I do believe you made quite a dent in this community!
So I can't stick around to the next building on June 8, but we parted with talk of a reunion in future.
All for now Laurie
I'll contact you when I come through Oregon.

it was refreshing to read Richard's letters! I will be calling Victoria soon and am waiting for our first set of evaluations to arrive in the mail from Mandorani. steve and i are getting set to write up the experience, like we have done with our other projects. and word from ellen has been in regards to possibly coming up with funds to do more between the schools.

but admittedly, i am just now reaching a point where i can get back on track with the other half of our lives, now that the job is set, bills are getting paid, and steve and i have ourselves fairly caught up here at home. so all involved, please accept my apologies for dropping out of sight for a bit.

it's funny. i am reading a book called Three Cups of Tea. While Greg Mortenson's work has far surpassed ours, there have been parts that ring true. One was how he mentioned on getting back how it all becomes like a movie you saw. you can leave with all sorts of ideas and time can slip by...and you can feel ungrounded, misplaced and lonely.

"...On the flight out of Islambad he had felt so full of purpose, scheming a dozen different ways to raise money for the school. But back in Berkeley, California, Greg Mortensen couldn't orient himself. He felt blotted out under the relentlessly sunny skies, among prosperous college students strolling happily toward their next espresso, and his promise to Haji Ali felt more like a half-remembered movie he's dozed though on one of his three interminable flights..."

here's a quote speaking to the value of making relationships:

" 'That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I learned in my life,' Mortenson says. 'We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly. We're the country of thirty-minute power lunches and two-minute football drills. Our leaders thought their 'shock and awe' campaign could end the war in Iraq before it even started. Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.' "

and something that speaks to the patience that exists "on the other side":

"Mortenson told them he'd spent most of his money already on the school and he'd have to return to America and try to raise more money for the bridge. He expected the Korphe men to act as crushed as he felt. But waiting was as much a part of their make-up as breathing the thin air at 10,000 feet. They waited half of each year, in rooms choked with smoke from yak duing fires, for the weather to become hospitiable enough for them to return outdoors...The people of the Braldu had been promised schools by the distant Pakistani government for decades, and they were waiting still. Pateince was thier greatest skill."

So on to posting pictures. All our best from Laurie and Steve~