Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's all about location....making a living in INCREDIBLE India!

Low overhead......controlling expenses......great location! These are the magic ingredients to a successful business in India....well everywhere I guess.

However, Indian businessmen and women have perfected how to successfully run a business most of the time without even having a roof over their heads.

Chaat vendors are everywhere.....there are cart wallah's that will serve you omelet's, gulab jamun, jalebi, ground nuts, popcorn, fried aloo patties and wedges, tea....anything that can be cooked with a portable stove and pots and name it and there is someone serving food at a busy location..serving the needs of many.

The overhead is electricity....many times, no rent....portable carts, barber chairs on the side of the road with a mirror tied to the grates of an iron running water, NO RENT, no get the picture.

In India, they have basically taken the concept of the suburban lemonade stand in the good old USA to a new level! I almost forgot, there are juice wallah's, sugar cane juice, lychee, mangoe, fresh lime.....if it can be made into a juice that suits the Indian palette......somebody is selling it on a street corner.

Some of these street food wallah's are very famous.....have been in the same location for years.....have developed a reputation, loyal customers, regulars.....but if business drops off at one location, they simply move to another.

The owners vary in age as well.......just like the many offerings of food, drink and goods, the age varies as well. Linda and I came upon a young boy who was selling various items from the cart in the picture......the cart was open as we walked by, but one would typically see the owner either standing nearby or crouched inside....this one was empty and no one seemed to be around.....then Linda spotted a young boy sitting on the railing at the edge of the road across from the cart and in the cool of the shade. When I asked the question out loud, "I wonder where the owner is?", Linda turned and said...."this must be him."......I asked and it was.....and I asked for his picture. He looks to be about 11 years old, maybe younger.Then there was the young man offering views of Camel Rock through his telescope....and various other sites around Mussoorie.....for 20 rupees he gave us a tour of all of the landmarks......then excused himself to run about 30 yards to attend to some other passersby that wanted tea at his tea house.....then came back to us....and offered us the opportunity to take our photograph in some authentic Indian clothing worn in the area.....a very enterprising young man in his mid twenties.One the way to the airport we were running ahead of schedule and the driver who was taking us to the airport asked if we would like to stop for tea. He explained that this particular place had the best tea and people stop from all over just to have this man's was obviously his favorite place, but I did not commit.

As we reached the small village and were at the stoplight, he asked again, and then Linda I gave in and said "Sure, as long as you have some with us and you let me pay".......I asked how much: "5 rupees per cup.".....and a 20 rupee bill was handed to him......then reality set in and I said to both Linda and Preston...."what in the world have we just done?" You can see from the picture that this isn't MCDONALD'S or even close to STARBUCKS.....while we were waiting, I hopped out of the car to take this picture and then returned just before he delivered 4 cups of tea in real glass cups......and we started sipping and agreeing with him that the tea was exceptionally good.......and hot.....when asked what makes his tea so special....."Sir, it is the milk.....he has his own cows and buffalo's that he must be what he feeds them.....WATER BUFFALO'S.....never in my life have I had milk from a water buffalo.....but I am thankful it was in piping hot tea and not in a glass all by itself.And finally, an entrepreneur close to my of the keys to having a successful hotel is having a great location with a constant flow of to what we consider a "demand generator" Preston and I were leaving the George Everest Estate which was laying in ruin at the top of one of the peaks of a Himalayan foothill, offering some of the most incredible views......I spotted the sign on the side of this structure....proclaiming that he had "ROOMS AVAILABLE" in several languages..........this is just the reason why it is a necessary requirement to always have your camera with you.....not many people would have believed me if I would have simply told the story!

By the night.......he has more than 5 STARS!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Linda had her hands full!

If you have read the previous blog entry "At the Wheel"..some of you may have wondered why there was no mention or photographs of Linda making pottery.....

She was certainly at the party......and she was unable to make pottery because she had her hands full.Along with the couple with the pottery wheel, our friend hired two gentlemen who are artists in their own right.....

Yes, after my turn at the potter's wheel, I caught up with Linda who was having the "art" of Mehndi applied to her hands.

As you may recall from an earlier blog entry of mine, Mehndi, is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin Asia, this typically is done for the bride and her wedding party.......or it is applied at festival time as well.This is not the first time that Linda has had Mehndi.....but it was the first time she had it applied to her hands and arms.....the first time was just above her ankle....

So, as you can see from the pictures of Linda's hands, there was no way for her to wrap her hands around some wet clay and create a masterpiece of her own.The gentlemen who apply the Mehndi are truly talented and are extremely is amazing to see them at work and how quickly they create the patterns.

I urged Linda to purchase the material and begin when we return to the States in December, she can apply Mehndi to some of the girls in our family at Christmas time......we shall see!Enjoy the photo's!

At the Wheel in India

I am sure that the title of this entry may have you thinking that this was going to be an article about driving in India.....sorry to have "thrown" you pun intended!

The practice and art of making clay pottery in India dates back several centuries.
Many of the early styles of making pottery was done manually by hand.....before the invention of the potter's wheel.

There is much debate on when the potter's wheel was school of thought places the date at 6000 years B.C. while another set of scholars places the date closer to 2400 B.C.

Whatever the date, not much has changed in India.....the use of manual wheels is still alive.Until this weekend, the only type of potters wheel I have ever seen have been electric..... one such demonstration took place in Linda's cousin's pottery shop in Evergreen, Alabama.

I have explained many times, that India never fails to provide someone with the opportunity to experience something unique.....or an opportunity to learn or witness something new......after all, it is an incredible place!

Now picture this......a potters wheel made of stone......several holes along the outer edge used for the placement of the tip of a aged man squatting at the edge...stick in hands, and with his years of experience he sends the wheel spinning....then his skilled hands begin working their on the mound of clay that was placed in the center of the wheel......Such is the practice in all of the rural parts of India, where I understand that each community has such a potter with the skills to transform clay into various vessels used in the village by thse who live there.

This weekend however, the potter and his wife were in the driveway of the New Delhi home of one of our friends....who had hired the potter and his wife for her daughter's 8th Birthday Party.

Not only was this a huge hit with all of the young girls who were being coached by this "master of clay", but he had the parents mesmerized by this primitive art form being brought to life in front of our eyes.

When the children had their turns, he urged the parents to participate as well......I had originally refused and decidedly took pictures of Preston trying his had at forming the clay while the wheel was set spinning.

I must admit, watching Preston at work made the act seem too easy to continue sitting on the sidelines.....but much to my dismay, the potter handed me the "stick" and using both sign language and Hindi, he instructed me to try my hand at spinning the wheel......I was a good sport...and did my best, but after two attempts, I eagerly handed him the baton and asked him to please save me the embarrassment of continuing to try and master the wheel.
It was only moments before he had the wheel spinning perfectly and he assisted me in the forming of my clay pot......
Now this may not seem like the most exciting "India Activity" to participate in.....especially when you could trek the Himalaya's.....but it was a cultural experience nonetheless.....and unique it it's own way.

So unique, that Linda and I even thought that this would be a fun thing to do at an "Adult" party......who knows, after some adult beverages, the clay objects may become quite creative.

Enjoy the photographs of Preston and I the wheel in India!My masterpiece!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trekking the Himalaya's - Preston's Adventure

Preston and the group before they left....Linda in the background with the school nurse who took temperatures

After weeks of preparation...purchasing a backpack, having a friend of ours ship a sleeping bag from the US that would be sufficient for the temperatures of the for hiking boots at several stores.....a compass, a "headlight" flashlight.....rain gear and a nice warm jacket.....he was prepared. Oh...I almost forgot.....Sunflower Seeds.....and while he had a very large bag....he strategically put a small amount into a "zip lock" sandwich bag, so that he could ration them with his buddies.....he didn't mind sharing, but he wanted to make sure that he portioned them out so that they would last 6 days......Shrewd Kid!

While Linda was a bit nervous about Preston's adventure......I was simply envious. What a great experience for him at the age of 15....

It has been some time, but I was trying to remember what was going through my head at the age of 15.....more than likely it had something to do with driving, sports or the opposite sex.

By the age of 15, I had seen the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee....but no snow.....and here, my son was getting an opportunity to trek the Himalaya's. WOW!The night before I put it in perspective for him.....he was about to embark on something no one else in our family had ever fact, he was only the second person in our family that had ever seen the Himalaya's other than in a picture in a Geography Book in School, a National Geographic Magazine, or in a movie or documentary on TV......History making! Something he could share with his kids and grandchildren....his reply....."Really??? That's Cool".

The Trek was arranged by the school.....something they refer too as a "Mini Course" which is meant to serve the purpose of allowing students to experience the wonders of India firsthand.....approximately 30 such trips were offered to the students, to rank as their first choice.....etc. They all didn't involve a 50+km hike in the Himalaya's; some were performing service related projects in villages, traveling to other areas of the country to experience something different, to exploring Delhi.

One of the main concerns that the school had, in lieu of the recent illnesses and Swine Flu Scare, was having a child in a remote area of the country who would become a precaution, the school sent out an announcement the day before, indicating that each student attending a trip, such as Preston's, would have to undergo a temperature screening before boarding the bus.....if they had an above normal reading, they would not be allowed to go on the trip.

Now, Linda was not the only one that had anxiety related to the trip.....there was a minor complication in that Preston was still in the recovery phase of me giving him the "crud" that I had picked up....and had infected my boss with on his visit, and our faithful driver Ramesh. Preston still had a nasty cough that we were sending him off with......but the poor guy must have checked his temperature 3 times that night......he did not want to miss this trip and be stuck in Delhi.....Oh, there is one other thing that could have kept him back.....his grades.....but, all A's and B' C.....I wish they would arrange a trip like this every semester for this reason alone! What a motivation....I think I would have made straight A's for a trip like this (well maybe)!

Saturday afternoon, Linda and I were there to send him off....all the way to the bus.....and as usual, he did not want me to document the event by taking his I was embarrassing him in front of his friends. Interestingly enough.....I think there was only one other set of parents, besides Linda and I to see their kids off.....Linda thought it was somewhat did I for that matter......but such are the way things are.....

Linda was worried that her "baby" would be freezing and made sure that he had warm clothes.....we were both worried that he would have blisters....because, despite our insistence that he wear his hiking boots a few weeks before, every chance he had, to break them in....he didn't.The itinerary was challenging....a 6 day the remote parts of the Himalaya' bathrooms, no showers, this was the real deal..on the third or 4th day....after the most brutal trek, all of the kids had an option to hike an additional 1000 feet.....which took them to 13,500 feet......I told Linda that he would make the climb....she thought he would be too exhausted. Now, in one of my earlier blog entries.....I put this in perspective.....this was only 1000 feet below the highest peak in Colorado, where we once lived.....Way above the tree line and much higher than he had ever hiked in his entire life. Way cool!

My story end's here......he was off and although he has shared some details of the trip with us.....that is his story to day....

But I do have some parting words......we met him later in the week as his group passed through Mussoorie.....we arranged through the school and the Trekking Guide Company to have him dropped off so we could extend his visit in the hills.

The first thing Linda and I asked....."Any blister's?"...."Nope, not a one". His hiking boots......while not inexpensive, paid off and were worth every rupee....and the hike to the highest point.....he made it it to the I guessed correctly!He also looked amazingly good when after not having a shower for 6 days.....quite good actually.....

I have only included one of the several pictures I took before we sent him off....the remaining four(of the almost 800 that he took)pictures are his......during the trek......

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mussoorie Landmark - an opportunity literally laying in ruin

India....while incredibly fascinating and wonderful......will at times cause frustrations......

I am not talking of the frustrations caused by the minor inconveniences of living here.....those differences comparing living in India to the U.S.; those are issues I have accepted and actually embraced quite some time ago.....and I am proud to say, so has my family. We don't complain about such things......we are enjoying life here in India.

Of course, there are the HUGE issues of poverty, lack of infrastructure (although improving everyday), bureaucracy and corruption......and other social issues and ills.

So why.....with all of these huge issues to deal with am I choosing to express my frustrations about an old house, laying in ruin on top of a mountain?

It is certainly not because I am insensitive to all of the much larger issues.....I head almost explodes at times when I see the corruption in the heart gets twisted and is in pain when I get a soft knock at my window from someone in stomach gets tied up in knot's when I watch a limbless man, with no shirt, in the heat of Delhi, pushing a plate filled with what may amount to $1 US in change, with his forehead while he makes his way along a dirty unpaved street....

I could share more such stories.....but I think you get the picture...I am grounded in "reality".
So....why?....what's the big deal about an old house when there are so many other bigger issues to deal with.

Well, there is no "big deal" actually.....until recently, I didn't even know much about the life of George Everest.....or how the tallest mountain in the Himalaya's was named for him, what his accomplishment's were.....or where he lived for goodness sake. A year ago, I couldn't even point out to you where Mussoorie, India was on a map.....or even that such a place existed.

But it many other places in India; monuments, fort's, tomb's, and other such places of historical significance, that have withstood the test of time.....but are laying in various states of ruin....or disappear as an afterthought in pursuit of progress...

There is much more to India than the Taj much more.

While the pressing issues I mentioned above are very real and extremely challenging to deal with....AND are a tremendous financial burden to the country......I also believe that it is important to preserve the past......the country's heritage......the culture that makes it unique and fascinating.....the history that has shaped the country into what it is today......How can a country, plagued with so many social issues afford to allocate funds for preservation when there are people starving?

Wouldn't this be socially irresponsible?

I am not sure of the answers to the questions I pose to all of you who read this blog entry.....but it is frustrating to see what I consider "NATIONAL TREASURES" being allowed to fall apart.

One could easily argue that the investment in preserving these national treasures would pay huge dividends......much more than one can imagine.....

I suggest that India has an opportunity to focus on preservation....showcasing that India is much more than the Taj Mahal......and it will be a benefit to the people of this great country.....and to me......I would be able to stop pulling my hair out.Now that I am off the soap box......I welcome comments from everyone....tell me how you feel about this issue......or one that may be bothering you.

I would like to hear the perspective from all of my readers from India......please give me your perspective......for those of you in the US or in Europe......imagine for a moment if Independence Hall in Philadelphia was allowed to crumble in front of our eyes......or the Arc de Triomphe.....or any other iconic monument that means so much to the country.....

I look forward to your comments.

By the way......the views from the George Everest Estate are amazing.....but would you expect anything less? He was in charge of surveying the country....measuring the peaks......he had an insider's knowledge of where to locate his house.....truly magnificent....

SUGGESTION: to catch an incredible sunset, I suggest that you leave Mussoorie at 4:00pm, like Preston and I will have time for the hike to the site, some time to take photographs and walk through the house.....and then time to locate a perfect spot to sit and watch the beauty unfold before your eyes.

We didn't make it to watch the sunrise, which I am told is equally incredible.....but I will guarantee you that on my next trip.....I will make my way to the top early one morning to witness it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Prayer Flags -

Many of you know from reading the entries in my blog that I am enjoying my "entire" experience in India....part of the reason is the exposure to new and exciting things and the opportunity to learn something new everyday.....whether I am working or at play.

This past week I finally took some official "play time" away from work, and Linda and I escaped to a beautiful "hill station"; Mussoorie, India.

We had a lovely was not only relaxing for both of was an experience that we will cherish for a long time.

I began each day at 5:30am.....many of you may not think that waking up so early is relaxing.....but I couldn't wait to start my day watching the sunrise and then taking a walk.

One such morning walk took me to Happy is a brief history of what put Happy Valley "on the map" to speak.In April 1959, after fleeing Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama established the Tibetan Government in Exile in Mussoorie. While I am unsure of how many Tibetan's actually fled and settled in the Happy Valley area of Mussoorie at that time, today more than 5000 Tibetan's live in the area. In 1960, the first Tibetan school was established.....however, the Dalai Lama eventually moved the Government of Tibet in Exile to the neighboring state of Himachal Pradesh.

Today, a visit to the area will allow you to explore the culture of Tibet without traveling thousands of kilometers.....the Tibetan culture is alive and well right here in India.....including the practice of hanging Prayer Flags.

Until this trip, I honestly paid very little attention to prayer flags.....I knew they existed, I had seen pictures of them, seen them in movies.....and that was about the extent of my knowledge.While I am certainly not an expert.....I have learned a few things, and can also clear up some common misconceptions about the practice as well.....just from what I have read.

The origins of prayer flags can be traced originally to India....and the practice was later transmitted to other regions of the world; including Tibet. Not all branches of Buddhism recognize the practice of making prayer flags, but they are believed to have originated with Bon, which predated Buddhism in Tibet.

There are two ways of hanging or displaying prayer flags....the practice I was most familiar with was seeing them hung horizontally...square or rectangular pieces of cloth connected along their top edge to a long string or rope.....from high to low between two objects......and typically found in flying high in the mountains. This practice is known as LUNG TA, which means "Wind Horse" in Tibetan.

The other practice is vertical, where large rectangular pieces of cloth are attached to a pole along their longest edge.....this pole is placed in the ground on top of mountains, temples, etc....this practice is known as DARCHOR, which translates to "increase life, fortune, health and wealth to all sentient beings".The colors of the flags also have meaning......each represents one of the five elements.

Blue - symbolizing SKY/SPACE
White - symbolizing AIR/WIND
Red - symbolizing FIRE
Green - symbolizing WATER
Yellow - symbolizing EARTH

They should also be hung along the string in this particular order. However, I do not believe this to be a strict rule, as you will see that in some of the photographs I have taken, this rule has not been followed.

Prayer flags DO NOT carry an "individuals" prayer(s) to the GOD's....a common misconception.....

Prayer flags are deliberately hung in high places so that the "Wind Horse" can carry the blessings printed on the flags to all beings. They are meant to benefit everyone.....not just a single person.

The prayer flags that appear in my photographs are from two sites in Mussoorie....Happy Valley (of course) and the one's that were taken at sunset were taken at what remains of the George Everest Estate.....on another high ridge...just across from Happy Valley.

Enjoy the photographs....but don't miss your own opportunity to
experience the culture of Tibet and Buddhism literally in New Delhi's backyard.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lazy Day in Lodi Garden

Tuesday was a very lazy day for me.....the office was closed for elections.....yes.....whenever an election takes place all of the offices shut down so that people can get to the poles to vote.

Linda had some volunteer work to do at the AWA it was just Ramesh and I asked him to take me to one of the most well known parks in Delhi.....Lodi Garden.

It was constructed in 1936, at the height of the British rule in India.....and was the pet project of the wife of the then Governor was aptly named "Lady Willingdon Park".

The park is located on what was the south end of then British New Delhi...and in the process of making way for the park, the government at the time had to relocate a village of people to make way for Lady Willingdon and her project.....nothing stood I the way of the British!

The park was later named Lodi Garden due to the significance of the tombs that are truly the central features of the park.....tombs that date back to the late 1400's....and the last and youngest, Mughal structure to be built on the site of the park is a bridge that is ONLY 400 years old.

The architecture is amazing.....sometimes you just have to gaze in amazement at how the craftsmen of the time built a structure with crude instruments and without the aid of modern construction techniques......and they are still standing.

During my casual stroll in the park, I took quite a few photographs of the buildings and several very "lazy" dogs that were sleeping the afternoon away. Even the bee's were lazy and were not buzzing around, despite the temperature being in the upper 80's.

Lodi Garden is a very popular place for Delhites...for jogging, walking, sitting together and talking and if so inclined, taking in a bit of the incredible history that makes Delhi an interesting place to live.

Don't miss a chance to enjoy this "urban oasis" when you make a trip to India.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mark Twain's India.....not much has changed!

"In Agra and its neighborhood, and afterwards at Delhi, we saw forts,
mosques, and tombs, which were built in the great days of the Mohammedan
emperors, and which are marvels of cost, magnitude, and richness of
materials and ornamentation, creations of surpassing grandeur, wonders
which do indeed make the like things in the rest of the world seem tame
and inconsequential by comparison. I am not purposing to describe them.
By good fortune I had not read too much about them, and therefore was
able to get a natural and rational focus upon them, with the result that
they thrilled, blessed, and exalted me. But if I had previously
overheated my imagination by drinking too much pestilential literary hot
Scotch, I should have suffered disappointment and sorrow."

Mark Twain, Following the Equator

One day I was doing some research on trying to find some quotes about India....when I stumbled upon one by Mark Twain. Further research led me to what has been described as one of his "least known works of literary"......a book called FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR, A JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD.

I found the entire work no cost, but I believe that I would truly enjoy acquiring a copy in "hardback"; a bonus would be if I could find a copy that was printed close to the year it was first published, in 1897.

This book chronicles his journeys, part of which he spent in India. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about India through his was his first visit to India as any writer, he has chosen to write about the aspects of his visit that left an indelible impression on him.

While this may have been a "sleeper" when compared to his other works; not as notable or as well read by comparison to others, I have found a "connection" and I am thoroughly enjoying every word he has penned!

Have you ever given some thought to this.....about what makes a book or movie a "sleeper".....when the author, actor or director has created what some would herald as a masterpiece in his/her past?

Without getting too "deep" in my theories on this matter.....I think in the case of Twain chronicling his "Journey"..... it is simply his inability to "connect" with his audience, largely American, who were not well traveled and could not make a connection to his words.....they could connect easily to the mischievousness and "adventures" of a Huck Finn....but found it difficult to connect to his description of his experiences while on his journey....thousands of miles away from their own, with no familiar characters to relate too.

What is amazing to me, is that his words have struck a very common chord with my experience.....our family experience.....since we have been living, working and enjoying our time in India.

Here is something that many of you may find interesting; whether you are from India.....or living in another part of the world and are thinking about visiting......Twain's words, written over 115 years ago, have relevance to the India of today.

You may find it difficult to so many positive changes have taken place since India has gained it's Independence from the British......even in the last 10 years, but it is INCREDIBLE to learn that much is still the same...similarities exist and are intertwined with life in India today.

I have provided the link to the website that has the entire book online.....Twain's time in India begins in Chapter 38 when he sails to Bombay.....and ends in Chapter 61.

Here are some of the buildings, mosques, temples, and tombs that have "thrilled, blessed and exalted" me.....since discovering them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spice Market

Preston and I love to take walks in Indra is not for everybody.....we are typically the only American's in the market, but it is a great place to take photographs and see some interesting sites.Some of my favorite things to photograph are the SPICE BOYS!.....I love the colors......very vibrant.....reflected in the way people dress......the colors of India.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Project Why - Revisited

Place: Northern Virginia, USA

...a trip down to the carefully chosen for durability by the wise parent......and hesitantly parted with by the children....isn't it funny how a toy/game, that has been at the bottom of the toy chest for months/years, suddenly becomes "my favorite" when it is time for it to be is a scene I am most familiar happened in our house on several occasions......a common scene that takes place in homes across the landscape of "Suburbia USA".

Most of the time, toys and games like these make it to the community/church garage sale......or make their way to the Salvation Army or Goodwill locations. Drop off bins are sometimes stuffed to overflowing capacity with toys and clothing items that are donated by caring people who wish for these items to have an extended life cycle beyond the need that it filled in their home. These acts of generosity/charity never quite many times as I have carried things myself to donation centers.....and while I knew that my donation would make a difference in the lives of several....I never saw the smile......I never saw the end result of my donation. Think about it....have you?This box...had a different was filled to capacity.....securely taped to endure the rigors of air travel.... and the loading and unloading of three separate was X-rayed and viewed by several eyes.....the box was touched by countless numbers of made its way from the United States.....briefly stopped in Moscow, Russia for two/three days....and finally, after traveling almost 13,000 miles, it made it to the Govindpuri area of New Delhi, India.....100 yards or so, down a well kept alley off of a very busy street...past the lady sitting on the ground sifting lentils.....each step bringing us closer to the voices of children learning to count in English from behind the open windows and "Project Why".When most of the people in Delhi are just getting started, the dedicated founder, Anouradha Bakshi, has been up at least four hours...organizing her day,planning the next, touching the lives of those who have stepped through the doors and slipped off their sandals/shoes,raising money and dreaming about the future.

Anu, as she is affectionately known, has a heart the size of India, and dreams as large as the world, but runs an organization that serves hundreds on what amounts to just a few U.S. dollars a day.The children that she serves and the lives she has touched are countless......but unlike the commercials for "Visa" credit cards that end with the word "Priceless", the reality is....making a difference in the lives of the real world......has some cost associated with it.

This blog entry is not meant to be self serving....or to bring attention to a caring family from the United States.....I hope that those who read this get a true understanding of what a difference can be made in the lives of others through small acts of kindness and charity.....whether it be in from a box filled filled with toys carried halfway around the world.....donating your time......or by opening your wallet or purse.For those of you who read this and are touched in anyway.....inspired to do something beyond your community, to reach out past the borders of the something. If you are traveling some research before you leave. If you are unsure or feel that it may be too complicated or you just want the assurance that your donation will be well received and will reach the right people...maybe feel compelled to donate to Project Why......I can personally vouch for it's legitimacy and the good work that is being if you can. See the links below.
Just look at this smile!