A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Foundation

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)


No Application Required

View Isabel Sanchez De Vargas - Pucallpa-ucayali, Peru & Ayandiji Ayamakinde - Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria & Sabouratou Owatunde - Agoe, Togo & Mrs. Srey Mao Srun Village Bank Group - Thnal Teaksen Village, Cambodia on Foundation's travel map.


I'm sure some of you have been wondering why there haven't been Kiva loans made recently. I'm also sure those of you following this blog will have read the The Primrose, Pine Nuts and Post-It™ Notes entry explaining the Foundation's dwindling resources. Whether you read that entry or not, doesn't matter in the long run - we were fund challenged for a short time. It's going to happen again. It's just the way the game is played at this time. In a nutshell - we earn money, wait for the release of that money, transfer that money and finally get to use that money. It's a process that takes time and patience. I have the time and I know all of you have the patience. So, let's move on to the good news, shall we?! Yes, there is good news! There's always some good news!


On November 6th, we were once again able to make 4 - $50.00 loans to Kiva Entrepreneurs. The Foundation received earnings from both the Google AdSense Program and the Amazon Associates Program. The Kiva account has also seen several repayments from previous recipients which have helped fill the coffers for this round of loans. (Please keep in mind, Kiva Entrepreneurs repay loans as we would - a certain amount per month.)

Without further ado, let me introduce you to our latest Entrepreneurs! Take it away Gang of Four!

Ayandiji Ayamakinde, Nigeria  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Ayandiji Ayamakinde, Nigeria Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mrs. Srey Mao Srun Village Bank Group, Cambodia  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mrs. Srey Mao Srun Village Bank Group, Cambodia Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Sabouratou Owatunde, Togo  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Sabouratou Owatunde, Togo Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Isabel Sanchez De Vargas, Peru  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Isabel Sanchez De Vargas, Peru Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org



In case anyone is wondering about the "WTPF" thingy - it's TP Foundation's FM radio call letters - or would be if we actually had a radio station. I like pretending we do...


When last reported, we had a whopping $46.54 in the Kiva account. With the influx of funds from Adsense, Amazon and loan repayments, we had a grand total of $249.44. We're now back down to $49.44 with several loan repayments due around November 15th. We may end up having to skip another loan period but as I stated above - it's the name of the game. To view our Entrepreneur repayments, please click here.


Sadly, we've had only one entry published in the TU Blog this month. Sadder yet - it was written by me. But, if you want a scintillating read - check out The Scoop on the Poop. Hey, it's everything everyone wants to know and it earned TPF $5.00. (Now you understand the HELP WANTED sign up at the top.) We need help!!!!! Submissions good and they aren't that hard to write. Really! Please contact us at unravelled [at] travellerspoint [dot] com with an article. We have 4 editors who really, really want to read your stuff!!! No, really!!!


My, my, my... The Book Club has seen only one review this month also. But, it's another good one!

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi - Reviewer: Kris

We received a transfer of $11.02 on October 28th. Currently, we have $10.46 in the Associates account which will be released at the end of November. Please keep in mind that Amazon funds take 60 days processing time. We will see that money in January, 2010. So, until then - shop early and often for the holidays and don't forget to follow an Amazon (book review) link. All purchases, including gift certificates, made through one of our links adds funds to the TPF account. You don't need to buy just books. Honest. It says so in the fine print.


Google Adsense transferred $109.27 on October 27th. We have $43.52 currently in the account. It's going to take a few more clicks to reach our next $100.00 threshold. As with Amazon, AdSense funds have an approximate 30 day processing time. It's gonna be a bit before we see another transfer. (Patience.)


With the transfer of the Amazon and AdSense funds ($120.29), we had a total of $128.42 in the account. A transfer of $125.00 was made to Kiva so our ending PayPal balance is now $3.42. WOOHOO! Hey - beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick (eeewwww) and more will be joining that small amount before too long.


Now that I have introduced you to our new Entrepreneurs, made my pitches for our assorted money-making "schemes" and given you the financial report - I think it's time to just shut up and finish with "That's just my two cents worth".

Oh wait - here's a little song for you too. It'll help pass the time while we wait on the "A" lists to give us more money. Take it away Bobby McFerrin!

Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy......

Posted by Foundation 09:39 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

An Apple A Day...

View Ali - Lebanon & Ben Ruhinda's Group - Ibanda, Uganda & Vith Chanthy - Phnom Penh City, Cambodia & Dilshodi Djumakhoni - Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Foundation's travel map.


By now, you all know what time it is! So, pull up a comfy chair, sit back, relax for a bit and I will tell you this week's tale of good fortune!

Tada! We have just completed the fourth set of loans to Kiva Entrepreneurs and as luck or fate or whatever you would like to call it prevailed, a light from above shone down on the Foundation this time around. I'm goin' with aliens from the star system Baba Ganoush or maybe the worms from Men In Black 1&2, but that's just me. Okay, I got it, on with the story. Anyway, as laid out in earlier entries, the category of health was to be the "Pick of the Week". It wasn't lookin' good for the home team and hadn't been for over a month. No Entrepreneurs. Not one. It appeared that Plan B (education) or even Plan C (transportation) would have to take health's place...

Au contraire!! Whether aliens or the worms, some little voices said to check Kiva on September 14th so what did I spy with my little eye - our first two Entrepreneurs. Mr. Djumakhoni was just $50 shy of his $500 request. By the following morning, Dr. Chanthy was fully funded and Ben Ruhinda's Group had made a request. (Being formally trained as a veterinary technologist, I had to definitely go with that one. They will be using the loan to purchase medications and supplies for Mr. Ruhinda's veterinary pharmacy.) With no additional (health) loan requests and none available under education, our fourth loan did indeed go towards Plan C - transportation for the delivery of fruits, vegetables and consumer goods in Lebanon.

Now, with having said all that, I shall leave you to become acquainted with our latest Entrepreneurs. I also take this time to say thank you once again for everyone's participation and support of the Travellerspoint Foundation. Oh, Don't forget to keep reading. I'll meet you back at the bottom of the pictures for more Kiva, Travel Unravelled and Book Club updates. Hey, there's news to share down there. Stop by.


Dilshodi Djumakhoni, Tajikistan  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Dilshodi Djumakhoni, Tajikistan Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Vith Chanthy, Cambodia  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Vith Chanthy, Cambodia Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Ben Ruhinda's Group, Uganda  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Ben Ruhinda's Group, Uganda Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Ali, Lebanon  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Ali, Lebanon Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org




TPF has made 16 Kiva loans revolving around food, clothing, shelter, health and transportation. Of those 16 loans, 6 have begun repayments totaling $42.37, to date. Only one loan is still in the funding stage. Our current Kiva account balance is $242.37. Four more loans are scheduled for September 30, 2009. (Maybe something under education will come along between now and the 30th.) The Kiva account also received an additional $50 from the TPF PayPal account.


The TU Blog has seen 8 entries so far, the latest being: I GET THE HEX! - by Gretchen Wilson-Kalav (Isadora)

Again, each published article means a $5.00 donation to TPF. Peter recently transfered the TU Blog earnings ($40.00) to the PayPal account for a total of $58.13. As mentioned above, $50 has now been moved over to Kiva leaving $8.13 in PayPal.

TU Blog article submissions are open to everyone. If you have an idea for one, please send an e-mail to unravelled@travellerspoint.com. Include your subject, a short description of the material you would like to cover and a request to be added as an author. If possible, send a short sample of your entry. One of our very happy (and bored) editors will gladly work with you on getting an article published. (Hey - see your name in lights!!! As soon as we find that damn switch!)


A new entry has been made in The Book Club Blog by Rob Atkins (magykal1). Please check out Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart. This book is going on my Christmas list (and hopefully, I'll be able to find tamarind at my local grocery).

Along with Rob, I've been able to add 3 additional authors so stayed tuned for more reviews!!! No, I'm not going to say who they are. You'll just have to check the blog to see what is recommended (or may not be recommended) for your reading pleasure. And yes, I will have Paradise Updated (Mic Looby) reviewed soon too. I'm not a slow reader, just a busy one.

To date, The Book Club has earned $13.31 for TPF. Of that, $11.02 should be coming our way at the end of October. (Amazon Associates works on a 60 day release cycle.) So, read a review, click on a link and make some purchases. Christmas is coming. Nothing like getting a head start on the season! Really! TPF will thank you!!


Yup, and that's just my two cents worth...

Posted by Foundation 10:56 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

A House Is A Home

When It Shelters The Body And Comforts The Soul

View Jackeline Argentina Mairena Carache - Managua, Nicaragua & Mohammad Yousef Abdul Rahman - Kabul, Afghanistan & Laurice Enomar - Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental, Philippines & Marcos Antonio Cardenas Medrano - Managua, Nicaragua on Foundation's travel map.

Thank you Phillip Moffitt for a fitting title.


As stated in previous blog entries, we're spreading the "wealth" around and this week's contributions have been made in the name of housing and construction. All four of the recipients are using their loans to improve their living conditions - from installing an indoor bathroom to adding a room for their children to building a new house large enough for their family to purchasing equipment to accommodate their rental rooms.

Since I don't have much else to say until the end of this entry - please say hello to out newest Entrepreneurs!!!


Marcos Antonio Cardenas Medrano, Nicaragua  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Marcos Antonio Cardenas Medrano, Nicaragua Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Laurice Enomar, Phillippines  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Laurice Enomar, Phillippines Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mohammad Yousef Abdul Rahman, Afghanistan  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Mohammad Yousef Abdul Rahman, Afghanistan Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Jackeline Argentina Mairena Carache, Nicaragua  Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

Jackeline Argentina Mairena Carache, Nicaragua Photo Courtesy of Kiva.org

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.” - Mahatma Gandhi




Since out last update, two more entries have been published. This brings the TPF contributions to $35.00 with another entry waiting in the wings for editorial input. (Funds are only contributed upon entry publication.)

Please check out:

A Few Ways to Avoid Getting Robbed in Central America - by Marina K. Villatoro (mvillatoro)
This entry will give you some tips and tricks for keeping you valuables (documents, jewelry, money, luggage, etc.) safe while in transit. Marina shares her experiences (and those of some friends) as "victims of theft". Along the way, you will also be given sound advice on how to avoid the same fate.

Travel along with Derek as he takes the cab rides from Hell. Okay, not all of them - but some. Learn which drivers can be trusted and which can not. You'll never look at a cab driver the same way again.

Stay Tuned for: I GET THE HEX! - Mwahahahahaha!!!!


I'm afraid nothing has changed since the last blog entry. We're still sitting at $11.02 and we won't see that come available until the end of October. (The Amazon Associates Program takes 60 days to release funds.) So, until that time - somebody please read a book and write a review! I'm begging! Really! On hands and knees!

Oh, on that note, another review will be in the works shortly. Thank you Dr. P. (Eric) for having a book sent to me by a Affirm Press. It arrived a few days ago and I have begun the journey through it's pages. It is Paradise Updated by Mic Looby who is a former Lonely Planet guide book author. I'm 50 pages in and it's proving to be an interesting ride through the guidebook industry. (Now, if a review on a book such as this doesn't garner some interest...)


To date, we have the following funds waiting in the wings:
AdSense: $71.54
Amazon: $11.02
Travel Unravelled: $35.00

To date, we have made twelve loans to Kiva Entrepreneurs. Of those twelve, nine have been fully funded and most repayments begin October 1, 2009. For more information about our funding, please check out:

Travellerspoint Foundation - Kiva Entrepreneur Recipients

Havana Good Day, Evening, Night - depending on your time zone - and that's just my two cents worth...

Posted by Foundation 11:05 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

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