A Travellerspoint blog

December 2009

Oh, The Questions Of A Thousand Dreams

A New Day, A New Way, And New Eyes

My Friends (June, 1985), Photo Courtesy of Randy Martens Photography

My Friends (June, 1985), Photo Courtesy of Randy Martens Photography


The above photograph was taken in Niger by my brother-in-law back in 1985. He, along with several other "adventurers", toured Africa by traveling in the back of old trucks, using local buses and other assorted forms of transportation. Like many of you, he chose what is commonly considered the traveler's (versus tourist's) version of experiencing the world. He has since visited countless other countries (well, I quit counting them years ago) but his journey through the various African nations has been the one trip he's held closest to his heart. The walls of my house are home to many of the photos from that sojourn.

I have chosen this particular image to make a very simple point. Over the past several months TPF has made 28 loans to assorted global regions for assorted global reasons. We have covered agriculture, food production, housing, clothing, health care, transportation and most recently, retail sales. All of the Entrepreneurs are adults. Almost all of the Entrepreneurs are parents trying to provide for their families or young adults trying to provide for aging parents. Either way, the above photo (in my mind) depicts the true benefactors of our efforts - the children, as they are the way of the future.

They say the ringing out of the old year and the ringing in of the new is also a time for reflection. I've not always held to that belief as I usually choose to look forward rather than back. I do have my "nostalgic" periods but rarely for the 365 days that have just come and gone. Today is a different story. Today, I am more than willing to do the "2009 Year In Review" because, through the Travellerspoint Foundation, all of us have tried to make a difference in our world. Okay, I'm almost done with the sentimentality thing but please bear with me...


Thanks for sticking around and bearing with me!!

I take this time to express my sincerest gratitude to Travellerspoint, Sam, Peter, Eric and everyone single member who has supported the Travellerspoint Foundation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know that I can speak for the TP Overlords with this show of gratitude. We have had such great participation in this project that it has brought me to tears. Okay, it's made me almost weepy. Keep up the good work and I will be in tears. Between the AdSense contributions, Amazon Associates contributions and the Tour de France Competition, TPF has been able to do wonderful things. Come the end of February, the Hippo Roller Project will just be the cherry on top of that luscious (pick your favorite) dessert.


I will bypass all of the commentary and just say four more $50 loans were made on December 26th. We received several repayments which allowed us to add to our portfolio. So, without further ado...

Evelyn Rosaura Soch, Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Evelyn Rosaura Soch, Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mohamad,  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mohamad, Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Joyitas De Cosmos Group,  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Joyitas De Cosmos Group, Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Rezel Paderas Group,  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Rezel Paderas Group, Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org



This is where I would usually give the "bottom line" for each of the TPF accounts and projects. But today, you have been spared. Okay, I just don't have the tallies for the end of the year yet. By my clock, I still have 10 hours left to go before year end. And, since California is still 2 hours behind me - make that a good 12 hours or better before we have an accurate accounting. I'm even going to give it until January 2nd before making a report. All I can say - 2009 has been an exceptionally profitable year for a project that was just a spark in someone's mind not that long ago.


A very giant THANK YOU to everyone involved in this project and to those of you who have supported TPF along the way. We couldn't have made 28 loans and created the Hippo Roller Project without your help!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks to all of you who have been AdSense Contributors. Without you, this project would never have come to fruition!!!!
  • Thank you to the "Gang of Four" (Greg, Derek, Tina, Brendan and Kris) for your editing expertise with the Travelled Unravelled blogs. (Yes, there are 5 names there but sadly we had to say good bye to Brendan and happily said hello to Kris as Brendan's replacement.)
  • Thank you Michael, for being my mapping genius. I've learned how to map but there are 6 unconnected points that need connecting. Help!
  • Thank you to the Book Review contributors. Please keep reading and writing reviews. The written word has power.
  • Last, but certainly not least... Thank you Sam, Peter and Eric for creating such wonderful opportunities where members of this website can make a difference. You have my round of applause.

With that, I'm done pontificating for 2009. Let the decade roll over and that's just my two cents worth...

Little Accordion Player (Sept, 1999), Photo Courtesy of Randy Martens Photography

Little Accordion Player (Sept, 1999), Photo Courtesy of Randy Martens Photography

As her father looked on, this little girl was playing accordion on the sidewalks of Krakow to help support her family


A special thanks to Randy Martens (my brother-in-law) for the use of his photographs and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for the lyrics used in the title.

Posted by Foundation 12:30 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

Have You Ever Seen A Hippo?

They Just Keep Rollin' Down The Road...

Green Park Chairs stretching to infinity, by GregW

Green Park Chairs stretching to infinity, by GregW

Yessireebob! That time has come again where I am allowed to pontificate about whatever strikes my fancy. Well, within reason. Guess what?! It just so happens I have a reason (maybe even two or three) and I am oh soooooo willing to share. I'll give everyone a couple of minutes to grab a beverage of their choice, pull up the easy chair and get comfy... (Insert "Girl From Ipanema" music here.)


Everyone situated? Excellent. Let's rock and roll...
According to Robert's Rules, this "meeting of the minds" should begin with old business. Makes sense. Especially if we were holding a bona fide committee meeting. We're not. So, into the circular file goes Robert's Rules of Order! (It was boring stuff anyway.)

Have You Ever Seen A Hippo?

Hippos, by Sponte

Hippos, by Sponte

No! I don't mean THOSE hippos!

(Are you sure those aren't rhino butts? Just checkin'...)

I mean THESE hippos:

"Collecting water can be fun!"  Photo Courtesy of hipporoller.org

"Collecting water can be fun!" Photo Courtesy of hipporoller.org

For those of you who have not been following the Wiki Travel Guide Forum (shame on you for that), a "new" (now not so new) competition was launched November 2, 2009. Aptly, it is The Hippo Roller Challenge:

"This simple technology has already transformed the lives of over 200,000 people.
A safer water supply system that has an immediate and measurable benefit."

Those words are taken from the Hippo Roller Project website and they speak volumes all on their own. It's a great cause and one that the TP Foundation is proud to support. But, it will take you, the members, to make this a success...

"The way this challenge works is very simple: The more people contribute to our wiki travel guide, the more hippo rollers we will donate. There are six milestones along the way, and whenever we reach a milestone, we'll donate a designated number of hippo rollers. The challenge will run from November 2 to February 28. If we reach 20 million characters in the wiki travel guide, we will have donated 63 hippo rollers (at $105 per barrel, a total donation of US$ 6615)!"

Not only has TP thrown down the gauntlet, so has one of our favorite members, Michael (Utrecht):

"I will add one more hipporoller IF we reach 20 million before or on the 28th of February. That's a promise! Anyone else wants to join me on that one?"

So, who's up for it? The wiki is just begging for more contributions!!!!!

Kudos to the TP Overlords for creating this challenge! I would also like to thank a couple of members named Rob and Polly for being the inspiration behind the scenes. You can read about their incredible volunteer work and bicycle journey across Africa on their blog: LONGWAYHOME. They are also contributors to the Travel Unravelled blog (see link below).

Money talks, by Magonia

Money talks, by Magonia



The current Kiva Account tallies out at $161.84. Hey, not bad since we were at $49.44 on the 6th of November! We have received $112.40 in repayments - which is ~10% of our total loan amounts. To date, all of our Entrepreneurs (who are in repayment mode presently) have paid their monthly amounts in full and on time. We still have a few that will begin their repayment cycles in December and January.



The month of November brought with it two new TU Blog entries!

Anyone Have A Stamp??? by Lil (lil_lil)

Lil has written a very good entry on the various ways one can stay in touch with friends and family while adventuring in exotic places. From postcards to mobile phones and most things in between are covered in this article.

How to Plan an Epic African Bike Ride - Part I by Rob and Polly Summerhayes (robandpol)

Rob and Polly have covered some of the important tips and tricks they have learned while touring Africa on bicycles. They are also involved with the Hippo Roller Project and Lulisandla Kwmtwana, which is an outreach program for orphaned children. You can read more about both projects on their personal blog.

How to Plan an Epic African Bike Ride - Part 2 is currently in the editing stages and slated for TU publication December 7th. So, stay tuned for more!!

Presently, we are working very hard to have one TU article published each week. But, we do seem to be having a bit of a problem with that master plan. We need some articles! (Here goes that shameless begging.) Please contact us at unravelled [at] travellerspoint [dot] com with any (and all) submission ideas you may have. As always, our Editors are ready and waiting.

Sadly, our editorial staff has had to bid farewell to one of their members this week. Brendan Harding (zaksame) has stepped down to concentrate on his own novel and other personal commitments. We are sorry to see him go but do wish him much success in his own endeavors. Thank you, Brendan, for being part of the team and we'll miss you.

On an upside, Kris Kalav (TP's illustrious beerman) has agreed to follow in Brendan's footsteps. So, please welcome our newest member to the TU editorial staff! And, by all means, send in some article submissions to keep them all busy!



November also brought two new reviews for The Book Club:

Korea: A Walk Through The Land Of Miracles by Simon Winchester - Reviewer: Rebecca B (bex76)

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell - Reviewer: Dave (TLWH)



KIVA ACCOUNT: $161.84 ($112.40 received in repayments.)

ADSENSE ACCOUNT: $69.96 (Earnings since last pay out on October 27th.)

AMAZON ASSOC. ACCOUNT: $3.32 (Awaiting $10.46 payment for August - October earnings.)

PAYPAL ACCOUNT: $3.42 (It's just waiting for friends to stop by.)

TU BLOG CONTRIBUTIONS: $15.00 (Earnings from October and November entries.)

TOTAL TPF EARNINGS TO DATE: $1234.24 (WOOHOO!!! Not bad at all!!!)


It does appear that my time is up and they want me off the stage. I've been informed I've overstayed my welcome and Disney's "Dancing Hippos Revue from Fantasia" was to begin half an hour ago. Who knew? (I just work here.) Not wanting to be crushed by a hippo in a tutu... That's just my two cents worth and enjoy your adventures!

Posted by Foundation 06:03 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

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