"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded.
And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager

With Ya, my Ga tutor in Mallam
The Rev. Mike Kinman
Executive Director
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Age: 38

Check out Forsyth School ...
where Robin teaches and
the boys attend.

Since you're already blowing time surfing,
why not do some cool stuff

  • Watch the Make Poverty History videos
  • Watch Sara McLachlan's "World on Fire" video
  • Take a seat at Oxfam America's Hunger Banquet
  • Look at the "Eight Ways to Change The World" photo exhibition
  • See how rich you are on the Global Rich List
  • Make a promise to do something cool -- and get people to do it with you
  • Use your computer to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases

    While you're at it, do these things
  • Join the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History
  • Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network
  • Join Amnesty International
  • Subscribe to Sojourners Online newsletter about faith, politics and culture
  • Sign the Micah Call and join other Christians in the fight against poverty
  • Subscribe to a great new magazine about women and children transforming our world

    People who show us What One Person Can Do
  • Liza Koerner (Teaching soccer and doing mission work in Costa Rica)
  • Erica Trapps (Raising money so Tanzanian children can go to school -- check out her photo gallery)

    What's happening in Sudan might
    surprise (and shock) you

  • Episcopal Diocese of Lui
  • South Sudanese Friends International
  • The Sudan Tribune
  • SudanReeves -- research, analysis and advocacy
  • Save Darfur
  • Darfur: a genocide we can stop

    For your daily fix on the irreverent...
  • Jesus of the Week
  • The Onion

    Interesting People Who Are Great To Read
  • Beth Maynard's excellent U2 sermons blog
  • Global Voices Online
  • Neha Viswanathan - poetry, commentary, humor, reflections

    Some interesting organizations and programs
  • Borgen Project - poverty reduction through political accountability
  • CARE
  • Center of Concern
  • DATA: Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa (Bono's site)
  • El Circulo de Mujeres/Circle of Women
  • Engineering Ministries International
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • Episcopal Relief and Development
  • FreshMinistries
  • Global Campaign Against Poverty
  • Global Ministries
  • Global Work Ethic Fund -- Promoting philanthropy and fundraising in developing and transition countries.
  • Karen Emergency Relief Fund
  • Magdalene House
  • The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Natural Capitalism
  • NetMarkAid - Humanitarian Entrepreneurs
  • North American Association for the Diaconate
  • Peace Child International
  • People Building Peace
  • Project Honduras
  • Results - Creating political will to end hunger
  • St. Paul's Institute
  • Stop Global AIDS
  • TakingITGlobal -- connecting youth for action in local and global communities
  • Tanzania Educational AIDS Mission
  • TEAR (Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy, Relief) - An Australian Christian anti-poverty movement
  • Working For Change
  • Xigi.net -- an open-source tool to aid discovery in the capital markets that fund good.

    Some Episcopal churches and dioceses doing cool things
  • Companions of Swaziland - Diocese of Iowa's Companion Relationship
  • International Development Missions -- St. Paul's Church, Sparks, NV
  • The Malaria Villages Project - St. Paul's Church, West Whiteland, PA

    Must-read books and websites about them
  • What Can One Person Do: faith to heal a broken world -- Sabina Alkire & Edmund Newell
  • The End of Poverty -- Jeffrey Sachs

    Learn more about things you really should know more about
  • UN Millenium Development Goals
  • The Millennium Campaign
  • AIDS Matters - a resource for global AIDS professionals
  • Christian Aid's in-depth report: "Millennium Lottery: Who lives and who dies in an age of third world debt?"
  • Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Poverty Mapping
  • Solutions for a water-short world
  • Transparency International: The global coalition against corruption
  • UNICEF's State of The World's Children report 2005

    General cool and/or goofy stuff
  • Alicebot chat robot
  • Bono Quotes -- but what's really wild is that it's from a page on Boycottliberalism.com!
  • Buffy Slanguage
  • Big Bunny

    Useful web tools
  • Gcast - make your own podcast
  • Podzinger - podcast search engine
  • Orb - streaming digital media

    July 2003August 2003November 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007September 2007October 2007December 2007February 2008July 2008December 2008April 2009

    Listed on Blogwise
  • Wednesday, June 30, 2004
    A slow day in Ghanaland ... catching up on video editing mostly ... so I'll take this chance to catch you up on some little bits of Ghana culture (popular and otherwise) that might have slipped my previous accounts. Call it "An Obroni's Guide to Accra"

    And I would be remiss if I didn't start with the absolute highlight of my trip. Forget the wonderful people. Forget the amazing hospitality. Forget the beautiful children. You come to Ghana for one reason and one reason only. You come for the...

    Fan Yogurt - Among the infinte number of things that people young (way too young) and old sell in the middle of the streets to anyone driving or riding by is Fan Yogurt. They carry huge tall boxes of it on their heads and run alongside cars selling it ... defying several of what I previously thought were immutable laws of physics. One of them is that frozen things in cardboard boxes in the heat should get warm ... but these don't. Fan yogurt is frozen yogurt or ice milk that comes in little packets. You pay 2000 cedis for one, they hand it to you wrapped in an old lottery sheet, you wipe off one corner, bite the corner off and suck on it for all its worth. I thought the strawberry was good UNTIL I HAD THE CHOCOLATE. Here's a tip ... it doesn't matter how bad a day you are having in Accra, a ChocoFan will make it better. It's like really good frozen chocolate milk that melts as you are sucking it down. MMMMMMMMMMM. You can see us often sitting on tro-tros sucking on our ChocoFan like babies with binkies!

    Water Satchets - Same principle as the Fan Yogurt (though healthier albeit far less satisfying). If you're from the West, drinking tap water here is not a good idea seeing as there are little critters in it that our stomachs don't have enzymes for. No worry. In addition to big bottles of water, you can buy water in satchets from hoardes of people who run alongside cars and sit in the markets yelling out "Pure Water!" Only not all the water is pure. Lisa and Rachel clued me in on this the first day ... first you have to look for the "official Ghana seal of approval" on each bag. That tells you that it really has gone through a place that actually purifies the water, not one that just puts tap water in little packets. Then ... and here's the cool trick ... try to get packaging that has more than one color on it. R&Ls theory is that the ones that can afford more colors probably have better machinery and the water should taste better. Don't know if it's all in my head, but it seems to work. (A sideline to this ... if you're a big fan of ice, don't come to Ghana ... no ice for Westerners -- it's all made out of the tap water and the critters are alive and well when they thaw out!)

    Movies - People say they have American movies here, but I haven't seen any theatres with them. What they have everywhere is Nigerian movies ... which are absolutely hysterical. Picture American 1970s and 1980s B-movies where everything is WAY overacted. They are also usually pretty violent ... not a lot of gore but a lot of gunplay. My brother would be in heaven here.

    TV - Accra has three channels, which carry similar programming. By far the most popular thing on TV is the EuroCup soccer, which is in the semifinals this week (I'm in the minority pulling for Greece because Schroedter's cousins are there right now). Other than that, the staples are Spanish soap operas, lots of news, the occasional made-for-TV American movie that you have never ever heard of, and lots of religious programming. Imagine my chagrin to be getting ready for church on Sunday and hear the 700 Club on in the living room. By far the best is the Ghana News. For a Millennium Development Goal nut like me, it's wonderful. You never hear news about international development in the U.S. Here ... it's ALL you hear. There's also no real crime here to speak of (other than the occasional robbery) ... and I have yet to see ONE news story about a killing or really any crime since I've been here. So refreshing after American news! The best part is the weather on the nighttime news. They play all this really funky hip-hop music for about 30 seconds with pictures of clouds and rainstorms and sunsets as an intro and then you have this really hip guy dressed to the 9s in his native garb with a big smile on his face telling us what the weather is going to be like tomorrow (basically, every day it's 82 degrees with a chance of rain). We call him the happy disco weather guy. He's our hero.

    Music - Gotta tell you ... haven't been too impressed with music here. Emmanuel loves reggae, so when I'm with him, I get to listen to some good reggae (Robin will love that!). Other than that, the main kinds of music are (in no particular order) -- American top 20 hip-hop and rap, really bad (IMHO) techno, ultra-sappy Christian pop, almost as sappy American and British pop (lots of Bette Middler and Celine Dion and they love the boy bands here), and ... by far the funniest ... local covers of old U.S. Top 40 hits (One day I was walking down the street and heard a cover of "I got you, babe" in Ga). Even the music at church has been disappointing ... they sing mostly things right out of the Church of England hymnbook. Emmanuel and James are trying to get them to jazz it up a little with local rhytymns, but they are slow to come around. Actually, some of my alarm clock music from the Pentecostal church isn't bad ... but a lot of it is songs I used to sing at church camp. Nothing wrong with that ... unless Jesus Loves Me, This I Know isn't your cup of tea at quarter to five in the morning!

    Food -- In a word -- outstanding! You have to be careful what you eat ... gotta make sure the meat is well-cooked and never have any dairy (exception: FanYogurt) or mayonaise because the power goes out pretty often and you never know how long it was out. But with a few simple precautionary rules, you can have a culinary delight daily here. I was reading somewhere (maybe it was the Poisonwood Bible), about someone going back to America after being in Africa and not being able to taste the food. I believe it. Everything here is just bursting with amazing flavor ... even the stuff that isn't really hot and spicy. And the produce ... let me tell you about the produce. Bananas and mangoes and watermelon and pineapple and fruits I'd never heard of that just explode and melt in your mouth. I've gotten used to fresh fruit and homemade bread/toast and an egg that's pretty much just out of the chicken every morning for breakfast. One thing, though ... the Atkins diet? Not gonna happen in Ghana. This place is Carb Central. Everything is fried and breaded. The only thing I haven't seen fried or breaded is the goat (the other white meat).

    Radio - James gave me a radio for my room which gets BBC World, so I am a happy camper with my psuedoNPR fix (but better, because like the news here, it's heavy on the international development news. Also, it's really interesting to hear how the world reports on America ... if you hadn't caught on, we've become pretty much of a tragic and dangerous joke). But the rest of the radio is either music (see above) or talk shows. The talk shows drove me crazy for awhile because I could swear they were speaking in English and then I wouldn't be able to understand it and I thought if I just listened harder I would be able to and then ... hey... there was some more English again and then I couldn't understand it again. (All this is happening on the buses ... which play the talk shows at full blast in the afternoon). Turns out they don't stick to one language on the talk shows. Pretty much everyone here is multilingual and they switch back and forth with incredible ease. Also turns out that many people speak "pidgeon" -- which is what you would guess ... something that is barely recognizable as English but is basically angloslang. So when you listen to the talk shows, you will hear a couple sentences in English and then the conversation could be in Ga, Twi, Pidgeon, English or any number of languages. I've stopped trying to follow it, BTW.

    Tomorrow is Republic Day. Nobody works. It's the anniversary of Ghana becoming a republic and joining the U.N. (It's really cool how people include that part ... it was a really big deal for Ghana to join the U.N. They really take pride in it here!). I think I'm going with Nie Aboe, Mackinnon, Ann and a bunch of the crossroaders to a waterfall a couple hours from here for an outing. We were thinking of going to Buduburam today, but that fell through. We'll go next week.

    Bye for now!

    Mike at 6/30/2004 01:25:00 PM

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    Episcopalians for
    Global Reconciliation

    EGR is an organization resourcing a grassroots movement of spiritual transformation in the Episcopal Church to end extreme poverty on this planet.

    The structure for this movement is the Millennium Development Goals -- 8 goals committed to by all member nations of the UN and a unique partnership of governments and civil society to:

    *End extreme poverty
    *Achieve universal
    primary education

    *Promote gender equalty
    *Improve maternal health
    *Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    *Promote environmental sustainability
    *Build a global partnership for development

    EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.

    Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.

    "Christ's example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't, it will be irrelevant."
    - Bono


    What I'm Reading
    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin