Friday, December 17, 2004

Bazaar update

I think the bazaar went pretty well from what I saw when I got there...its good - wemade some more money - I dont know the exact statistics yet, but if I know, I'll update it. Thank you team! I think we did great working as a team and helping make it a success!

Final exams are over today and almost everyone is done. However, I still have a homework due tomorrow (no one else's fault except mine :( ) I am trying to work on it ... but I just felt like blogging some and so am up here. Almost everyone must be home or wherever you are going for winter break by now. I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Hope the new year brings even more happiness.

I will be going to London on the 22nd. I am on campus until then. Trying to get my graduate school applications done before I leave. :) If you have time, please take a moment to post here what you are doing for the break, everyone! Lets keep in touch over the 3 week winter break! Take care and have a safe holiday :)! Bye.

Kumar

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Welcome to Bazaar

Alrighty, the day we've been working hard for is here. Its Bazaar today. Its actually going on right now - I'm at work and so can't be there, but I am waiting for the clock to turn 5, so I can get done and join the rest of the team.

The Bazaar has been organized by the Spring Break Mission Week program as a whole - every team is doing something or the other, trying to raise money. Chaplain is going to be Santa and Matt Laferty is going to be his elf (:o). Melanie had proposed we make crafts - little cristmas decorations/toys such as reindeer, angels etc and sell them to children as pre-made or make-it-at-home kits. A few members from our team have been working hard on it to get some crafts ready for the past two weeks. As of yesterday, we had already sold some to our friends/college students in dorms and made about $200. We will hopefully make even more at the bazaar today. Melanie and Chaplain also brought some slates and a few team members, who could make it, had gathered and painted them. I saw them last night and they looked awesome. Thanks to John Schaffer and ?? who have helped so much although they are not on the team. We also have Vietnamese food - spring rolls - we made about 100 of them yesterday. We have different varieties - vegan, vegetarian, & ones with chicken. They should bring in some more money! yay! So thats what we as a team have done. Thank you everyone for helping out so much - ideas, manufacturing, sales, and marketing! The money is rolling in.

Good luck to all our team members who are suffering through final exams this week! 4 more days to go! YEAH!

Kumar

P.S. As a reminder - If you're reading this and you like what we're doing, please help our team get there. You can do so by donating to our team (even a dollar helps), it will go a long way in getting us near our goal. We have to raise around $20,000 before end of Feb 2005. Please click here to go to our team-website to donate to us online. (Click on the "Click and Pledge" logo and enter your amount in the box next to "Kids without borders: Vietnam" link)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Yay for our team! Did I tell how much I love this team. Its awesome. And I just hope we all can go there...It is really hard to cobble up a team that is so different and yet meshes so well together.
This team is really strong and I feel that it is my responsibility to do all that I can and all that is expected from me to help our team go there in its original avatar. Everyone who was originally selected - no one left behind.

Good luck to all of us who have been facing some or other problems. With God's grace, all the problems that are being faced will get resolved before the next semester begins :). If not, we will still work on 'em and make sure they get resolved. Good luck to all and Merry Christmas.

Love,
Kumar

P.S. I think our stuff for the bazaar is coming along really well. Good luck and thanks to everyone.

World in 90 Days -- Vietnam Log

This is part of the log from an American tourtist in Vietnam. For the complete article, visit http://www.worldin90days.com/vietnam.html

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In the US, it seems that the war with Vietnam or, the American War as they call it here, is just a distant memory. As far as our generation is concerned, it's been over for a long time. We only know it through the films that we may have seen or through the veterans who we might know. Here in Vietnam however, the effects of the war are still everywhere. Whether it's the middle-aged beggar with no legs working a Saigon street, the completely pock-marked countryside of Cu Chi, or the child whose parents' exposure to Agent Orange caused him to be born with awful deformities, it isn't hard to find the war's presence here. The fact that the country is still recovering from a war that ended almost thirty years ago isn't surprising given that the US/South Vietnamese forces dropped more bombs on this small country than the total number of bombs that were dropped in the Korean and Second World Wars combined!
I think that all US citizens should visit this place. Certainly, the way that the war's history is presented here is peppered with blatant propaganda but it's important for Americans to see that our great country made a horrible mistake in waging war with these people and that some of the worst attrocities were committed at the request of our leadership.
In spite of all this, the Vietnamese people that we've encountered have the intelligence and grace to recognize that the American people, including the GIs, were, for the most part, strongly against the war. I have been treated with nothing but pure hospitality and generousity since we arrived and my initial fears of the people's reactions were quickly abated.

Lauren, we don't want you to leave

Our team first down moment happened today at the meeting when Lauren told the team that she might not be able to come along. Almost in tears, Lauren said that the idea of her going to Vietnam really upsets her parents and she has decided to withdraw from the team because she does not want to go against her parents' wishes. We all feel very sad for her. Lauren really wants to go, and she reiterated it so many times. Lauren parents's main concern is her safety, which is completely understandable. We all understand that parents are very protective and the idea of sending a daughter to a place half a globe away is really terrifying. It is very frustrating when you are in the situation though. As a child, what can you do? We all gave Lauren hugs and offered her any help we can give. We have decided to keep this on hold. Lauren will remain on our team for the time being, and hopefully over Christmas she can work it out.

It is true though Vietnam, as a country, has not been pictured very well in American people's minds. A lot of people probably think of Vietnam as a war-torn country with jungles, battlefields everywhere. Although the truth cannot be further away, Vietnam has itself to blame as well for not having done much to portray the real picture and encourage people to come and see for themselves. All I can say is that Vietnamese people are very friendly. Maybe I need to stop talking because I am a Vietnamese anyways and people would think that I am biased. Here is the quote I got online from a traveller,Ray Wittman , responding to a question about the hospitability in Vietnam " My experience with Vietnam is that of a tourist having traveled from Hanoi and envoirns to DaNang and on down to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) with a few stops in between.[..] I found the Vietnamese people exceedingly friendly to Americans. Some of them expressed the fact that they did not like what Americans did to their country during the war, but they really like American people. I found the Vietnamese to be very warm, generous, pleasant, inquisitive, always with a smile and all the good character traits that you could possibly want. All of this is quite surprising when you think that we were at war with this country just twenty-five years ago. All of my experiences in Vietnam have been pleasant ones." http://experts.about.com/q/209/498149.htm

Just as when you undertake a journey, here and there you face obstacles, the most important thing you have to find a way to remove them, go around them, avoid them but obstacles should not stop you from reaching your goal. We will keep Lauren, her parents and our team in our prayers and hope that we will be able to make it all to Vietnam without leaving anyone behind. If you have anything to share with Lauren, feel free to post it here.


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Weekly Journal Sign-up

Just as we discussed at the meeting today, it would be nice to have a person be responsible for the journal each week. This does not keep us from posting our thoughts anytime, any day, anywhere as we wish though. Below is the first 13 weeks starting this week. I volunteer to take this week. So if you can please post a message or a comment here to tell me what week you would like to take, that would be great!

The week of:
Nov 8: Thanh
Nov 15:Jenny Fabritius
Nov 22: Kumar
Nov 29: Jennie Brunsdon
Dec 6: Melanie
Dec 13:
Jan 10:
Jan 17: Jess
Jan 24: Dr. Lisa
Jan 31:Nga
Feb 7: Eric
Feb 14: Kevin
Feb 21:

Preparing, Sharing, and Growing

This past week’s meeting was focused on planning for our next major fundraiser. The Christmas Bazaar @ Ohio Wesleyan University is coming up on Sunday December 12th from 1 to 5 pm. Our team has decided to set up two different booths at the Bazaar. The first will be selling Christmas ornaments and slates, while the second will be selling Vietnamese finger foods. Team members who were interested in making the ornaments and slates arranged to meet Saturday (12/4) morning and the members helping with the food will be preparing it on Saturday (12/11) in the afternoon. Both groups will be meeting at Melanie and Nga’s house to work. Of course we couldn’t forget a special thanks to Eric our first buyer of the Christmas ornaments :) !

It’s difficult to believe that six weeks have already passed since our team’s first meeting. Throughout these weeks, we have kept busy with fundraisers and making arrangements for our trip, and we have also begun to bond. It is through this time of preparation that each member will join together to form our team. I believe that one of our most important team strengths, thus far, is our diversity. Looking around the room at our last meeting it was amazing to realize how different each one of us are. We all come from different backgrounds, countries, majors, and extracurricular activities/interests. This then enables each person the ability to bring to the team a different idea, concern, or perspective. I look forward to the upcoming months of continued sharing and growing into a team that will be able to make a difference in the lives of the children we will be visiting.