Shout out to our dad Zedo: Yeschche Odin

“In 1990, when the Zambian education crisis and HIV/AIDS were at their worst, 44% of children did not have school to go to.” The number of orphans produced was staggering. All those children are now in their 20s.

In previous posts I’ve noted that education is very important in African nations. Yet there isn’t enough money in the government systems to fill the need. There are additional grass roots efforts by NGOs to fill the void. But it’s difficult. All nations here have a long history of corruption and hands in the till. It’s just how things are done when everyone, since colonial days, has been beholden to their overlords, and given fish not taught to fish. How do you break the cycle?

By scoring one goal at a time.

Over the years through our amigos and with investment in Latitude Hotels in Sub-Saharan Africa we’ve met amazing pals. Brits, Dutch, OZs, and locals.

Under Stacia’s care and vision we decided to take a shot at one victory. One stone tossed into the pond. We supported a young man, (Chilufya) through his college study in IT. Sounds big, it’s not in comparison to US costs. But in African countries your money goes a long way.  Change one life for a few thousand US dollars, under the hopeful condition he stays here and spreads the good will and good fortune creating a positive cycle of life.

Yet with contacts and trust and trepidation we and some partners are currently building a 7 grade school in Ng’ombe, a very very poor compound on the outskirts of  Lusaka. Wish us luck. (All tolled, it will cost 60 dollars per child in fixed expenses. Sounds like a huge ask? It’s not.) You must have people you trust, and local. If you watto throw money, don’t bother. Just light the money on fire instead.

On May 30, 2018 we began.

And everyone wanted to pitch in.

And our kids learn that both having a good school and studying ain’t so bad. As my dad used to say when I was a kid, “there are two ways you can go. You can use your back or you can use your head. One pays substantially more than the other. Choose wisely.”

еще один.

Pronounced Yeshche Odin. This is a Russian expression I learned as a kid, doing work with my Dad. When he was a boy working with a Russian bricklayer, beginning at closing time of 5:00 PM the man would start to repeat, ‘yeshche odin.’ And kept repeating brick after brick after tiring brick until well after dark…8 p.m.

Suck it up, kids. Because yeshche odin means…

“Just one more”

Don’t give up Dad. We love you Zedo.

Founder: Lamu Uber

Meet Asif, founder of Lamu Uber. Your instinct is to chuckle and move on. But then one trip (no cars here. Boats and donkeys only), we meet the founder who was taken in on one visit by David Brooks of NYT fame, and Anthony Robbins. He has been backed, invited to London to speak and is another fine example of true grass roots entrepreneurship in action. Four boats today, tomorrow…an empire.

Uganda. Latitude 0. Economic development.

Play more. Weigh less.

Economic development. Risk capital. Jobs. Employment. Lives. 168 workers= Latitude 0. This facility will employ 160+people, and each of those support 10 family members. While it may be “en vogue” to sneer at capitalism, personally I think that view is misguided. You know, the old “teach someone to fish vs. give someone a fish” thing…)

Yes, you weigh less at the equator. And no, water doesn’t drain in the opposite direction

Explanation: Earth has a bulge at the equator created by the planet’s rotation and a moving body’s tendency to continue in a straight line. (Sometimes this is misleadingly called “centrifugal force”, but it’s really just Newton’s laws of motion.) The planet’s spare tire creates an uneven gravitational field.

While standing at the equator you are further away from the bulk of Earth’s mass than at the poles, so the planet exerts less pull on you. But don’t quit your diet and move to Uganda: an object at the equator weighs a mere 0.5 percent less than at the poles — less than a pound for anyone under 200 pounds.

Slave trade from Kenyan Coast

“But rather than wish the memories aside, he uses them to inspire locals to work hard and defend their freedoms. In 1822, the main racial groups used slaves to work in plantations in the Indian Ocean islands. Arabs were the main traders. Mr Mohammed says at the peak of slavery, help was out of the way of Africans.

There was very little the captives could do. This was because their very own African rulers sold prisoners taken in battle to the Arabs, who made fortunes from the trade,” he told The Standard, with a tinge of disappointment in his receding voice.

Caravans started out from Bagamoyo on the mainland coast, travelling as much as 1,000 miles on foot to as far as Lake Tanganyika, buying slaves from local rulers. The slaves were chained together and used to carry ivory back to Bagamoyo.

Slaves, who survived the long trek from the inland, were crammed into dhows bound for Zanzibar, and paraded for sale like cattle at the Slave Market.

The name Bagamoyo means ‘lay down your heart’ because it was here that slaves would abandon hope of freedom.

Egypt: safe, stunning, sweet.

Egypt. For some odd reason I never thought I’d get here. Hot. 110 degrees hot. Kids found it enchanting, ex the red faces. There was no one here, still, since the 2011 revolution and violence. But once again a kinder group of folks you will ne’er meet.

Egyptian “threading”? Ouch! But a good spinach wrap and camels milk moisturizer helps a lot. Alex said, “I think I put Egypt in my top 3.  Shukraan.

Dear Mom: Mothers Day, en route to Cairo

We will be in Egypt for 5 ish days, then Kampala Uganda briefly, then Lamu Island Kenya.

After we fly to Lusaka Zambia again to work on building a 7 room grade school we are sponsoring. The kids are very excited about the chance to mix cement, lay blocks and work on rather than just talk about us doing good things.
Then we fly from Zambia, thru Joburg, to Paris where we will close out our around the world tickets, visit friends of both us and kids for a bit, then back to reality.
Smarter, more worldly, kinder, and closer than ever as a family.
Why do I write this? Because as I say every year, my/our pursuit of great things, and the courage to do so would never be possible without the strength and smarts and spirit of adventure you Mom, gave me, and the freedom to pursue dreams…
Thank you, and Happy Mothers Day. We’ll be back soon, but you are never far away, and you and Zedo are now and always in our collective hearts.
Love from across the ocean.
Michael, Stacia, Nicholas, Alexander, and the caboose, Annika.

Capitalism is ok

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”  – Maya Angelou