(Please stick with us until the end of this article where you will learn how you can be involved with this amazing project right from your own couch with the help of a computer!)
How blessed we have been to have found a way to travel with our kids while they were young. From frequent flyer miles to a public charity through our valuesparenting.com organization, we managed to take our children to far-away places to participate in speaking assignments as well as humanitarian projects. Our first plunge into the third world happened when your youngest child was 10 and we were sick to death of the traditional stress and strain of the “I wants” at Christmas time. To make a long story short, we offered two options to our children for Christmas that year. An airplane ticket to Bolivia instead of even one Christmas present, or presents at Grandma’s house while the rest of us went to Bolivia to work on a water project in a remote village in the altiplano at an altitude of 14,000 feet.
It was really hard on our 10 year old and somewhat hard for our teenagers who had to miss not only gifts but basketball practices that meant they wouldn’t be able to “start” on the team for the first few games after the new year began. But they all agreed to go including our married children without children who also jumped on board. On Christmas morning we headed for the airport and joined several other families on our pilgrimage to an arid village of about 300 (if you count the goats) which had never had running water.
Our job was to finish a project that the villagers had already started which to dig trenches for PVC pipe a foot deep into the rock hard soil so that water from a cistern on a hill about a half a mile away could shoot water into the village. Every morning we picked up picks and shovels at the work shed and headed for the hills. While we could barely breath for the lack of oxygen, old grandmas and grandpas of the village were digging circles around us and wondering what was wrong with these giant Americans who looked so strong!
The goal was to open the first spigot in center of the village on New Year’s Day. Many of the villagers were skeptical that it could really happen. On January 1st, we, along with our kids and the other families who helped stood at the spigot as water spurted out of the spout. The villagers were overjoyed but the looks on our kids’ faces were….priceless!
After that, humanitarian expeditions got in our blood. The kids learned how to build desks and make bricks for a new schoolroom, and build a cistern in Kenya, help the locals in a remote village in Mexico plant “drip” gardens and even were able to “shadow” a villager his or her exact age for a morning. We did what they did, worked where they worked. After a full morning of making corn tortillas on an inside hot plate with a girl her age, our 15 year old daughter suddenly realized what a blessing it was to be able to go home and go to school, the blessings of which her new friend would probably never know.
Years have passed and we are delighted to see that our children have all gravitated back to helping with the enormous issues held in the third world. Two years ago our son Talmadge married a wonderful woman named Anita Joos and their love for “getting out of their world” and “into the real world” was pretty extreme. Anita had been working at Prada and then Donna Karan in Manhattan for 10 years as their Global Media Director. Tal had been selling with Maxis in NYC for some years there as well. The week before they were married, they quit their jobs and then went on a nine-month Humanitarian Honeymoon. They found an amazing group called CARE FOR LIFE who have worked through all the nebulous issues of International giving and who had done it all right in Mozambique, Africa.
Last week we had an event at our home to familiarize people with this truly amazing project. Instead of pouring money into putting Band-Aids on the problems of third world villages, they are teaching villagers the importance of family life and challenging them to set and accomplishing goals, learn about the importance of sanitation and HIV health and to become self-sufficient when Care for Life moves on to help the next village rise out of poverty. Last year they received one of six awards given in Washington D.C. for their outstanding comprehensive approach to improving Mozambiquan communities, one village at a time. For more information this amazing group go to www.careforlife.org.
Although this organization is completely non-denominational, it was started by Cindy and Blair Packard (left below) who were called to be mission presidents in Mozambique and saw first-hand what desperately needed to be done. They even adopted a darling little Mozambiquan daughter from an orphanage there. With the invaluable help of Joao Bueno who is on-site much of every year and Linda Harper their president along with a many great humanitarians, they have created something wonderful. They are truly champions and heroes extraordinaire!
Below are the first mission presidents to Mozambique who are also immersed in the needs there along with an adorable couple who are presently community leaders in the projects there in Mozambique, are expecting their third daughter in December and have been brought to America by one of the great benefactors and Chairman of the Board for Care for Life, Steve Samuelian.
NOW! Most of you reading this blog post will not be going to Mozambique any time soon but you will be amazed at how much you can help just from the comfort of your own home! By clicking here you will find many items that you can provide by donating from $10 to $1000. For $25 you can provide purification tablets for six families for one year. By donating $40 you can buy seeds for a garden that feeds 15 families. $60 can sustain a child for one year in the Family Preservation Program. $100 can buy 100 bags of cement that will stabilize new latrines in the village. The options are endless. Add to the good of the world by getting involved at whatever level you are may choose. You’ll never regret sending just a little…or a lot…to help these beautiful people who are all part of our great human family!