Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Broadcast & Infrastructure in Haiti

Quite the eye sore!

As you will no doubt notice, there is an addition to our blog that is going to eat up some space on the side bar to the right. This thermometer will help all of you to easily keep track of where we presently are with our fund raising efforts.

If it bothers you to see it hovering so close to the bottom, then I encourage you to make a donation. If not, then just look away (like I do for now) and hope for the best!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Alliance World Coffees and the CIMT

It's unseasonably warm for Central Indiana when my father and I roll into the poured-gravel parking lot of the "Coffee Church" in Muncie, Indiana. Muncie is nothing like the town that Steven Spielberg showed us in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. For starters, there are no mountains here like you see in the movie. It is unbearably flat here, save for the rolling shores of the White River as it cuts like a fat snake through the heart of "Middletown USA."

A few minutes before 9:30AM, Guy Pfanz bounces into the lot, driving his small car. The man that emerges seems taller than the car can accommodate but he manages to unfold himself into a tall and slender form, topped off with a sleek grey hat.

Moments later, my father and I are inside, shaking hands with Guy.

The church looks about as normal inside as it did from the outside, save for the gourmet coffee bar in the lobby, decked out with some serious coffee-making machinery. Guy switches on the steam-powered instruments and then digs for his keys. We follow him away from the lobby as the bar gurgles to life behind us.

Slipping outside, we leave the main building and twist around the back corner. No more than 10 feet away, a modest secondary building swallows us. Stepping inside, we are immediately wrapped in the comforting aroma of freshly-roasted coffee beans and burlap. This is where the magic happens. As Guy gives us the tour, we meet a gorgeous roasting machine, a warehouse stocked with un-roasted coffee beans from several countries, and a laboratory-styled room where the various blends are drafted and eventually refined.

The whole experience was inspiring.

Those who labor here are mostly students, interns who are specifically focused on growing their spirits and learning a trade. Each is provided housing (if needed) and paid a stipend from the coffee business to offset their living expenses. By the end of their internship, they will have learned a valuable set of new skills (both practical and spiritual) and will walk away with no new debt to show for it. The model is beautiful and I intended to explore ways that we can apply it similarly for our students in Haiti.

After the tour, we returned back to the lobby where the luxurious coffee-making-machines were eagerly waiting for us. Guy poured my father and I a couple of beautiful cups of Java and we sat around and proceeded to delve deep into conversation.

By the time we left, Guy, my father, and I had agreed that what we are collectively doing is deserving of some form of partnership, some form of shared-learning and information exchange. I really cannot speculate about what that might look like, but I can promise you, if there is something to be gained through community and cooperation, I am completely open and welcoming to it. As Guy expands the work of the "Coffee Church" to include a possible video production internship, we will be readily available to offer our advice, encouragement, and support. Beyond that, the possibilities for student exchange between Muncie, USA and Cap Haitien, Haiti has already been considered and the river of ideas has begun to freely flow.

For more information about what Guy Pfanz and his team are doing, or to order your own bag of extremely-high-quality coffee, please visit Alliance World Coffees online.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Contribute NOW, save even MORE on taxes

Kim Klein from Network For Good has provided some really useful information to those of you who are considering making a donation. According to Kim:

You can transfer up to $100,000 in any given year directly from your IRA to a charitable organization and pay no income tax on that. Normally if you withdraw money from your IRA you pay a tax, whatever tax bracket you’re in that year. And of course if you donate it, you claim that tax donation. This is a very nice provision that allows you to avoid taxation and still claim the donation, so it’s kind of a double tax advantage.

With that in mind, I ask you to consider reaching out and making some sort of contribution before the end of 2008. We have a long road ahead of us. The financial goal is to raise $250,000 in start-up funds. Can you be a part of what we are doing?

Please click here to make a secure online donation.

Thank you and have a blessed holiday season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 09 - Lagosette, Haiti - Haitian Rhum

Just up the dirt road from Children of the Promise, with the Citadel lingering like a dominant, ever-watchful threat from above, you can smell an aroma that is very common in this area. The very fist time I smelled this odor (several trips ago), I remember being somewhat repulsed by it. For sure, there is a certain degree of difficulty in distinguishing the scent from that of stinking, rotten, burning garbage.

I call it a "sweet stink."

The closer you get to the source, you begin to see that in fact, something is burning. Piles of sugar cane are strewn about like an abandoned game of Pixie Sticks.

The process used to extract their sweet sugar and convert it into alcohol is an old one. To begin, freshly cut sugar cane goes to the press. As each cane stick passes between the tight rollers of the press, an ultra-sweet liquid is extracted and deposited into large wooden casks where the brown pulp will ferment (rot) for some time.

Back at the cane press, as honey bees gather to plunder the sweet, dripped remnants from the edge, each sugar cane carcass is cast aside, to be reintroduced to the process once the fermenting juice has been properly aged.

The piles of pressed sticks themselves begin to ferment in the open air as the pulp-filled casks stew nearby, beneath a makeshift shelter. From time to time, villagers pass by to pull a flimsy, discarded shaft from the pile and gnaw on its tart flesh. This byproduct certainly makes for a local treat. Taken in moderation, there can be some value in the remaining juice and it costs nothing.

After the pulp has sufficiently fermented in the casks, it is transferred over to a large boiling device... an oven.

Have a look at the delightfully rotten sludge! Anyone thirsty?

Here's where the discarded sugar cane stalks are reintroduced into the process. The discarded piles of cane stalks are inserted into this large oven and burned to provide the heat necessary for boiling the sludge and distilling the alcohol.

Personally, I love the fact that this process makes use of the entire sugar cane stalk, leaving very little waste product in the end. Quite literally, the plant that contains the sweet juice is eventually used to refine itself.


After passing through this contraption, the evaporated byproduct collects and begins to steadily pour through a pipe, situated just above a small collection bucket. From the pipe pours a highly concentrated liquid. According to our host, this rhum ranges anywhere from 80% to 90% proof and is much stronger than what will eventually make it to your glass, ice cream, or gourmet dish.

Nonetheless, I felt there would be no honor in this experience unless I took the time to sample the fruit of so much labor.

Many thanks to the gentlemen who walked us through the process. I am glad to say, I have a couple of new friends!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Days 7 & 8 - Haiti adventure continues!

Cap Haitien was beautiful as ever! I totally love this area. In truth, it is the surrounding countryside that REALLY makes my heart sing. When we finally get around to building a facility of our own, I would love to put it out there. For starters, it's GREEN! There is a wealth of agriculture, a number of trees, and much less polluted air. Absolutely terrific. Add to that the ever-watchful gaze of the Citadel (one of Haiti's most awe-inspiring landmarks) as it looms strong above, and you've got me sold.

I'll tell you more about these guys shortly.
Let's just say, it was a fiery encounter!!!

Kyle and I hoofed it up to the Citadel through a thick cloud. When we got there, it was far too cold to draw a crowd. Literally, they unlocked this mighty fortress just for us. We were the only ones there. We had the run of the place.

With the ever-present cloud, it was straight out of a movie. From the top, you couldn't see one end of the Citadel from the other. Thick. Soupy. Wet. Delightful.

I have been there many times before, all on sunny days, and I can say that this trip was by far the most eerie, mysterious, and ultimately rewarding visits of them all.

There is SO MUCH history in this region of Haiti. Most of her leaders come from the North. We passed by the Breda plantation monument several times and laid eyes on a number of forts and military strongholds along the coast. It was just remarkable.

Suffice it to say, as a lover of history I am eager to call this home!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 06 - Cap Haitien, new friends, and more progress.

We had a very uneventful flight into Cap Haitien, save for the special flyby that our pilot gladly supplied.

From there, we were picked up by Pritchard Adams (a great new friend, along with his wife, Dana). Pritchard and Dana have been working and living full time in Haiti for something like 26 years. Incredible, no matter how you slice it. They were SO KIND to Kyle and I. We had a lovely meal, saw some historic sites, and stayed up chatting for a long while. Dana even serenaded us with her BEAUTIFUL piano playing. Many thanks to them for their kind hospitality.

It was wonderful to see 4VEH again. If all works out, we will be holding our first classes at 4VEH, sometime next year.

Anyway, that's a good day in Haiti. Stay tuned for more.

Day 05 - TapTaps & Future Thinking

Spent a good part of the day filming a tap tap for the creation of a new opening for Joel Trimble's show, La Bonne Nouvelle. Should be fun. We even had the chance to hire a few extras and cue them to walk through the shot as "sidewalk traffic" in the background. Simple but effective.

We are off to Cap Haitien for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Not sure of our access to anything. If you don't hear from me in a day or two, have no fear... we shall return.

It's 5:30AM and I must now be off. I am driving to the airport from the mountain. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 04 - Haitian filmmaker reaches out.

It's exciting to see the possibilities that communications technology open up. I received an email today from a burgeoning filmmaker who wishes to find a community to belong to within Haiti. He found us online.

This may seem like a small thing, but I took it as a great sign of progress. Clearly the word is spreading and the response continues to be overwhelmingly positive.

There is limited internet access here and Kyle, my associate, has a good bit that he is trying to accomplish online. Also, in the next day or so, we will be hopping a plane up to Cap Haitien for a wee bit of exploring and sightseeing.

Stay tuned as I will be trying to keep you up-to-date from down here. After that, when I return home, many more interviews will begin to post for you to see. I expect the podcast to explode with content in short order.

As for day 4, we spent time giving back.

Kyle and I shot a ton of stuff for an orphanage down here. Turns out, like many organizations in Haiti, they needed some video promotions material and we were able to assist them. Yet another wonderful side-effect of having a media training school in Haiti. So much is possible.

Until then...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 03 - Haitian perspective matters most.

We spent the day at Radio Lumière, one of Haiti's oldest radio stations. Within the last two years, they have added television and are steadily making the difficult climb up the ladder of technological progress in Haiti. It was great to see many of the faces of students that I had taught earlier this year. Each one seemed to be as happy to see me as I was to see them.

I could ramble on and on but let me opt out of that and just say that Kyle and Joel and I were able to conduct another set of wonderful interviews with the management, staff, and employees of this organization. Without a doubt, it is what the Haitians have to say about The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies that ultimately matters. My thoughts alone are but theories... ideas... speculations. Only when put to the test do they prove to be otherwise.

As it turns out, I am not crazy. The Haitians we have been interviewing have blown me away with their opinions. Honestly, it has been remarkable. One young man actually hounded me; he asked if I had forgotten him. He asked if I had given up. I assured him that I had done neither and that this is a big vision. It is taking time to get the funding.

Please stay tuned, our podcast is about to explode with meaningful content as I share with you what the Haitians are saying about the need for media technologies training in Haiti today.

I can assure you, this has not been mere speculation on my part. I have known in my heart that what we are chasing is relevant, important, and worthwhile. Personally, I have been sold from day one. It has been encouraging however to gather some eye-opening interviews that will go a long way toward demonstrating the real need for our school and the legitimacy and urgency of our cause.

For now, here is part 1 of the interview with Réginald Chevalier. I can promise you, there is tons more coming.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 02 - Haitian Filmmaker speaks out!

Today was a great day as we were able to connect with Réginald A. Chevalier, an experienced Haitian filmmaker and prolific voice among the artistic community, both in Haiti and abroad.

I would not be saying enough if I told you that his perspective on the state of Haitian cinema was both incredibly informed and powerfully persuasive. After eating a lovely meal, he showed us some of his work. How wonderful to see such talent, artistic sensibility, and panache!

Upon returning from lunch, Réginald was gracious enough to grant us an interview (which we filmed). Not only did he masterfully articulate his position, he was also kind enough to answer a few of my own questions regarding the nature of what we are doing with The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies. Look for his interview, soon to be posted to our video podcast.

If you would like to watch this interview when it posts (as well as future media from this trip), please visit our Video Podcast in iTunes by clicking on this iTunes logo:

From there, click the "subscribe" button (in iTunes). It is free, a much better quality than YouTube, and will automatically download new content for you every time we add more.

*NOTE: You need iTunes to be able to do this.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back in Haiti

Greetings everyone!

I am blogging tonight from Haiti. I am here for 10 days to facilitate the work of Kyle Hufford, a student of Ball State University's new Digital Storytelling Masters Program. For those who are interested, you can follow Kyle's blog here. I am excited to assist him in this endeavor and look forward to his final thesis. At some point, there should be some video content and I hope to share some of that with you via our podcast.

Standby for more.

Until then, stay classy!


Thursday, December 11, 2008


"Is that colonialism in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"
One of the eligibility requirements that we have implemented for those who wish to attend The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies is that they have a working fluency in English. This means they must be able to speak, read, and write in English.

Now I won't lie, this decision was not made easily. It comes with certain grand and sweeping implications; specifically, that it rules out a LOT of creative people who would love to attend the CIMT. Nonetheless, it is a decision that I stand beside.

There are several reasons for this decision. For those who care, I shall outline them now.

1 - English is one of the most-spoken languages on the planet.
Depending on your source, English falls as either the second or third most-spoken language on the Earth (Mandarin wins by a landslide - 1 billion speakers). According to most sources, English is spoken by around 500 million people worldwide. French, the language of the highly educated in Haiti, ranks 10th on the list (coming in at 130 million). In terms of global reach, there is no comparison between French and English; English takes the prize. In order for our storytellers to have a global reach, English is essential.

As silly as this may sound, I once told someone, "When Oprah calls, I want the students to be able to speak with her themselves."

Students who require a translator to speak outside of their own culture are immediately isolated and at a distinct disadvantage. In our estimation, this is not the correct place to begin.

2 - A wealth of great resources are available in English.
Software, literature, films, and a great wealth of industry professionals (less than 700 miles away) are readily available in English. To educate in Creole, a great deal of translation and interpretation would make for a drastically reduced level of efficiency (specifically as it relates to the interpretation of artistic matters) and ultimately serve to diminish (if not altogether destroy) the atmosphere required for this sort of technical and artistic training.

While we do fully intend to offer training in Creole in the future, we have again decided that to do so now would not be to play toward our strengths or the strengths of our initial students.

Certainly, this point is made with a twist of irony. When considering cinema, educating in French would make a lot of sense. For sure, French is a language that is intimately meshed with cinema. In fact, one of the first motion picture cameras was invented by a Frenchman (Louis Lumiere in 1895). Subsequently, there are scores of important films and resources available in the French language. Nonetheless, numbers don't lie, and with the enormous gap between the number of English and French speakers worldwide, the scales are once again weighted toward English.

3 - We are training the trainers.
Upon matriculation, the students we train are expected to be among an elite group or craftsmen (and women) in their country. To put it bluntly, these will be the leaders of the leaders, responsible for passing their knowledge on to their own countrymen. In this case, by having multilingual Haitians as seasoned experts in their field, the possibility for non-English-speaking Haitians to receive a quality education is even greater. With a rich cultural understanding of Creole and firm grasp of English, our students will be capable of deeper and better translation and interpretation than anyone from the outside.

We truly come in peace.
The point has never been to come in and change the culture, heritage, or identity of Haiti. Without question, so long as those things do not stand in the way of the development of the basic human rights of every Haitian, I think that they should be preserved.

Those who once settled the island of Hispaniola came primarily with the Christian sword as their authority and the lust for gold as their darker motivation. Their barbarism soon wiped out the native Tainos and introduced the Americas to an unprecedented wave of human trafficking.

When the slaves revolted and won their freedom from the colonizing French, it would be the beginning of a long and ongoing struggle for autonomy in an increasingly shrinking world. Today, with the bulk of her natural resources exhausted, Haiti must find a way to retain her sense of self while integrating herself into the global economy. The rejection of outside influences has long been a matter of protection and pride for many Haitians. After studying history, I can certainly see why. Experience has shown that outsiders cannot be trusted.

But the luxury of isolation and autonomy has run its course. Too much is at stake for the walls to remain. Quite literally, pride or no pride, people are suffering and dying in Haiti under the crushing heel of problems that the rest of the world has long-since solved.

I want Haiti to remain strong and independent. I want Haiti to be free, not just on paper, but in the practical sense too. I want international businesses to feel safe in Haiti again. I want tourists to book trips and cruise ships to travel further than the Northern Coast once more. I want children to be fed and living with their natural parents. I want roads that are well maintained. I want hospitals and forests and wells and decent schools and justice.

It starts with Haiti's ability to visualize herself as part of the world at large. It is time for her voices to be raised and heard around the world, and for that, Haitians must be willing to bend a little and show the world just how versatile... how truly amazing... they really are.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


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Tuesday, December 9, 2008


December is the time of year when all of us are fairly comfortable with the idea of giving to others. This holiday season, I ask that you consider what you might do to help us raise our much-needed funds.

A media school like ours could easily cost millions of dollars. The equipment and infrastructure alone drives the cost up quickly. Thankfully, through strategic partnerships in Haiti, we are going to be able to get this school started for much, much less.

The Goal
We need to raise $250,000 to make this dream a reality.

When you think about it, that's not much money! 250 people, groups or corporations giving $1,000... or 2,500 people giving just $100... that's all it takes! When seen from a community or corporate point of view, I believe that we can make this thing happen.

What are you doing just sitting there?
Perhaps you think this whole thing is pretty cool, but that's where the thought dies. You think, "neat" and then begins the slow and stinky sizzle of brain cells being singed by the flicker of your computer monitor through the back of your retinas.

The reality is... you have a tremendous amount of power in what is happening here. This school and all of the history-shaping change that it can usher in for Haiti (and eventually elsewhere) is literally dependent upon your involvement.

Here are some ways that you can really help us out:

This one is EASY. Just open up your mouth and talk about us. Tell your professor, your friend, your barber... anyone. But MAKE SURE you point them to our website... www.ageofthestoryteller.com


Surely you have a few trusted folks that actually READ your emails. So make a recommendation. It might look something like this:

"Hey dude, I'm a part of this really cool thing that's happening in Haiti. You should check it out."

DON'T BE AFRAID TO TAKE SOME OWNERSHIP! As it turns out... you really are an essential part!


When's the last time you found a dollar laying around? A twenty in your jeans? Some change in the ashtray? Everyone knows that each of us is guilty of practically throwing away a little money (or a lot) on things we don't really need or even want.

For crying out loud, we're not asking you to fund this whole project. Just reach down shallow and see what you can grip with your fingertips. Some of you can do better than that... and by all means, we hope you will! But for the rest of us, there is no excuse. Take a deep breath and give.

With that one, simple act, you are lighting a match under this rocket.

look how easy we made that!


Don't have money to give? Then use some of your time and get creative! Now more than ever, we are keenly focused on raising the funds for this school, and it is a monumental task for sure.

By your sheer willpower, you can organize a local marketing campaign in your own community.

- Have a bake sale!
- Have a rummage sale!
- Get your youth group, church, or rotary club involved!
- Spread our videos around Facebook and Myspace and YouTube!
- Twitter our web address every chance you get.

Are you an artist? Have a fundraising concert or sell a few paintings or donate your earnings from one photo shoot. The sky is the limit!

It's the information age... SO WORK THAT INFORMATION!


Well, there you have it.
That wasn't so hard, was it? With a teeny bit of time and energy on your part, you really can claim some ownership in this adventure.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The Associated Press has reported on the first openly gay march in the Caribbean. The event marks a first for Haiti but it kind of makes me wonder, who's putting this thing together?

Didn't some schools just crush some children? Isn't Haiti one of the poorest countries on Earth? Aren't people starving to death there?

While part of the goal was to raise awareness about the prevention of AIDS, that was not the entire point of the march.

According to the article:
"AIDS awareness marches have taken place before in Haiti, but Boucicault and organizers with New York-based AIDS service organization Housing Works called this one the first march to include an openly gay group in Haiti."

It goes on to say:

"...gay men remain at risk because they hide from social programs due to prejudice and harassment, despite making up one-tenth of reported HIV cases in the Caribbean, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS reported.

In socially conservative Haiti, discrimination runs especially deep."

It's that last sentence that really gets me thinking.

Certainly, EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL PROBLEM deserves attention. I'm not slamming the march and am in no way slamming the participants. I just find it odd that in a country with SO MANY OVERWHELMING SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, and POLITICAL PROBLEMS, somehow gay, Haitians would come up with this idea on their own. The entire thing seems foreign to me. It seems foreign to Haiti. I just cannot imagine the scenario wherein several gay men (or women) managed to see their homosexuality as a more reasonable cause for a public march than any of the hundreds of other pressing problems... problems that they too struggle with (like finding enough food).

Who sits there and thinks, "I have no money, not enough food, suffer terrible injustices, lack basic sanitation or clean drinking water, and am gay. I think I'll march about being gay!"

It just seems like an idea that was planted from the outside world, and if that is the case, it bothers me. I hate to see the political correctness of the USA's hot topics suddenly slip into Haiti and devour the spotlight while more pressing matters go ignored.

Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to assuming the voice of other nations, partly as the result of the tremendous media influence from abroad.

Again, it's not really that the march bothers me... it just seems "off" somehow. Any of you folks in Haiti wanna weigh in on this?

By the way, to the credit of those who have worked very hard BEFORE this march ever took place:

"The country has since been a success story, with its HIV infection rate falling from 5.9 percent in 1996 to 2.2 percent today..."

Now there's something to be happy about!


It's official. As of 5:30 AM on December 02, 2008, our TV Infomercial "The Age of the Storyteller - Episode 01" is ON THE AIR!

Presently it is airing on KTLN out of San Fransisco. Anyone in that area who sees the program might drop us a line and tell us what you think.

Right now, we could really use your prayers and any support you can offer.

Keep an eye peeled. I will announce other stations as they come on board.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dollars & Sense

Who would have thought that in a time of looming financial crisis, your ability to make a PERSONAL IMPACT ON THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET is greater than ever? Seem far-fetched?

The simple truth is this... some methods of giving yield greater results than others. You have ALWAYS possessed the power to shape history. The difference is that now, you are really listening and growing more concerned about what your contributions are actually accomplishing.

It's all about traction.

While every charitable cause has merit, there are certainly some that promise a greater return on your investment than others. When choosing a cause to get behind, it is critical that you weigh the long-term implications of your investment. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

- How many lives am I impacting?
Does your donation help a person, a community, or a nation? One person CAN make a difference... and that one person is YOU. Whenever possible, make the biggest impact by giving toward causes that can ignite entire communities or nations into escalated growth.
- Is my donation adding momentum?
Some charities get stuck addressing the same issue over and over. Examine whether your dollars are merely treating a symptom or addressing the bigger problem. Why give a man a fish when your dollars can teach an entire village to fish?
- Is the cause critical or idealistic?
When money is tight, we need to avoid "painting the trim" and focus on "putting out fires." Alleviating human suffering should be high on that list. Fundamentally, this requires us to get past the "feel good" causes and look more deeply at the "live good" causes. In some cases, the difference is subtle, but in every case the implications are profound.
- Does the objective require patience?
Believe it or not, there really are no quick fixes. Any group that promises a speedy return on your investment is selling you snake oil. In reality, the biggest issues (most important causes) require the greatest fortitude (patience) and will deliver the best result (real and lasting change).
- Is education a primary objective?
I don't care what the cause is, if good education is not a part of the initiative, then it has no legs. One of the leading causes of all of the world's problems is a lack of quality education. When education is offered, progress is possible. Any organization that promises progress without education is creating a constituency of dependents and ultimately, ripping you off.
- Is the success measurable?
How has the charity made a difference? If they offered education, what are their graduates doing? In many situations, educational initiatives are token at best, offering no hope for advancement once the student has matriculated. If it is a new organization (like us), do they promise some form of measurable result?

Incidentally, we do.
- Are questions and feedback allowed?
When you have a question, does the organization respond? Do they seem open and honest or do you feel like they are hiding something? Basic rules of interpersonal engagement should apply. You can safely assume that they have good intentions, after all, it takes a LOT of work to give birth to a charitable cause. At the same time, good intentions are not enough. If your reasonable questions elicit a negative response, then be careful. Likewise, if the organization repeatedly fails to ask for your input, then they may only think of you as an ATM and not a critical part of the team, and make no mistake, YOU ARE A CRITICAL PART OF THE TEAM.
- Are they cooperating?
I have always said that individuals can create ordinary results but it takes a group effort to create EXTRA-ordinary results. I will take this belief to my grave. It is, in fact, the very reason that I started HANDS Across Haiti. In places where "putting out fires" is needed, no one group has ALL OF THE ANSWERS.


I cannot stress this enough.

Refusal to cooperate is the symptom of a much bigger problem and should immediately send up a red flag. Naturally, you cannot expect an organization to always do everything in cooperation with other groups. Nonetheless, save for a few qualifications, a constant willingness should be present and at least some track record should be easily demonstrable.

Okay, that's all for now.

As you enter into December, you are probably starting to think about ending the tax year wisely. As you do so, please consider how your contributions can best lead to meaningful and lasting change in the world. Now more than ever, it is important that you get the most for your money. I encourage you to look for opportunities to transform communities (or entire countries). In the developing world, the truth is, community change is required for individual sustainability.

I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you to contribute toward our cause. If you don't, however, please do try and make the best decision possible as you plan your charitable giving.

The future of humankind is counting on it.