Sunday, June 25, 2017

They Call Me Musawo

'If you’re living on one dollar per day, thriving is nearly impossible. We asked Joy, a health care promoter for Living Goods, about her experience here.

Years ago, Joy’s husband had been stationed in the army. He died fighting in Rwanda. He left her widowed with a toddler, a baby and pregnant. Thus began the period of her life she called “survival.”

She walked 10km to a charity offering scholarships, for the chance to enroll her three kids in school.Her walking paid off, but only for one child. To eat, a kind neighbor who was HIV+ forged his test results in her name, so she could register at a clinic for free food. She traveled around Kampala, and registered herself at five.

“I have always been skinny, so everyone believed that I had HIV,” she says, raising her forearm and gently circling her wrist with her index finger and thumb, so they touch in the middle. She was ashamed, but with three young children, she was desperate.

Recalling those memories wasn’t easy for Joy.'

To read more click, 'Now I have a name.  Now they call me Musawo.'

The Big Hearted Ice Cream Guy

'As a kid, he sold his drawings door-to-door to neighbors on Colton Street. Many were willing to pay more than the price on the tags he attached to each artwork. At School he sold candy out of his backpack until the principal ordered him to stop. A determined entrepreneur, Karagiannis created a candy catalog with order forms – and sales increased.

Now, at 36, Karagiannis is sold on his city. So much so that he has built his ice cream cart business on serving the underserved.

On business days, Karagiannis and his crew leave the North Buffalo headquarters of Ice Creamcycles pedaling three-wheelers, each pulling an ice cream cart, to destinations on the East Side, West Side and Riverside. There, they sell ice cream and frozen novelties for $1 apiece.

“We’re driving through inner-city neighborhoods,” said Karagiannis, who started his business in 2007.

“When I first started, everyone said I should go to Elmwood Avenue, Thursday in the Square, Delaware Park. But I needed to be right here,” he said during a stop at a street corner in Central Park. “I like bikes. I like joking with the kids and exploring my city.”

With his reflector sunglasses and sneakers the color of a blueberry Popsicle, Karagiannis is a familiar sight in many parts of the city. There, he is known as James the Ice Creamcycle Dude.

But after almost a decade in business, Karagiannis still feels the sting when saying no to a kid who doesn’t have a dollar for ice cream. So he and his drivers keep a stash of freebies to give to children who cannot afford a frozen treat.

Still, nothing is free, he said. So he asks the youngster a math or history question.

Whose picture is this? he asks, unrolling a dollar bill from his pocket. Karagiannis hints heavily until the youngster answers correctly.

George Washington? the youngster says.


You Can Only Get There From Here

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” – Alan Watts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Dalai Lama's Website for Inner Peace

'The Dalai Lama, who tirelessly preaches inner peace while chiding people for their selfish, materialistic ways, has commissioned scientists for a lofty mission:  to help turn secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans.

That is, of course, no easy trick.  So the Dalai Lama ordered up something with a grand name to go with his grand ambitions:  a comprehensive Atlas of Emotions to help the more than seven billion people on the planet navigate the morass of their feelings to attain peace and happiness.'

To read more click, ‘Technology is for my next body’

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hidden Villa’s Summer Camps Promote Cross-Cultural Understanding

Covey Cowan has worked in the construction industry since 1975 and now serves Van Acker Construction Associates as a supervisor and project manager. Alongside his professional pursuits, Covey Cowan maintains an interest in the concepts of mind/body medicine and works to give back to the local and global community. In the past, he has assisted several charitable organizations, including Hidden Villa. 

Located just south of San Francisco at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Hidden Villa is a nonprofit educational organization that sits on 1,600 acres of open land. Each year, the organization welcomes 30,000 visitors to the property, which features an organic farm and gardens, wilderness trails, and rustic barns. Dedicated to protecting the environment and fostering social justice, Hidden Villa oversees a variety of programs for people of all ages. 

Since 1945, the organization has operated summer camp programs that focus on promoting cross-cultural understanding and addressing racism. Designed for children and youth aged 4 to 18 years old, Hidden Villa’s summer camps engage campers in activities exploring broad topics such as the environment, race and class, and family and gender. Each year, more than 1,300 youth participate in the camp programs. 

Hidden Villa’s summer camp offerings include day and overnight programs as well as multiday backpacking and youth leadership programs. For more information, visit