"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

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    Listed on Blogwise
  • Sunday, April 10, 2005
    A Slice of Tukal Life

    During our stay in Lui, we stayed in "the compound" ... a grouping of "tukals" or small mud/thatch huts that also included a latrine/shower. People who had been previously told us that we were not encouraged to leave the compound and that we would always be followed (for our own safety) if we did.

    I think this is one of the big outward signs of what a difference the peace makes. It didn't take long for us to realize that there was no problem leaving the compound and going "into town" (which is pretty much just walking along the road to the collection of buildings immediately adjacent to the Cathedral and compound.) But from the stories people told, you could also tell that, during the war, it was incredibly important to have an enclosed (by fencing) place where visitors could be kept relatively safe.

    Tukals are what the Moru live in (the vast majority of people in Lui and Mundri diocese are Moru. There are also Dinka, and there is some conflict between the two tribes over Dinka cattle grazing on Moru land. But just about everyone we saw was Moru and spoke the Moru language ... which is spoken throughout southern Sudan and in parts of northern Zaire and Uganda). Because the compound was experiencing a growth spurt, we were able to see tukals at various stages of construction. Emily wants to put together a "how to build a tukal" children's book! So ... for the uninitiated, here are the various stages of tukal construction:

    The walls are made from clay bricks that are fired in Lui. You can also see the big bundles of the grass that grows everywhere that have been collected for the roof.

    Once the walls are built and the doors and windows are framed, the construction of the roof begins. The framework is long bamboo poles that are lashed together .

    The grass is then placed on and lashed to the bamboo in layers, which creates an amazingly watertight roof.

    Then you have the finished product. This one was the central meeting place of the compound.

    A couple other things about the tukals. First of all, the Moru people are not a tall people (especially when compared with the Dinka, who are very tall ... but even compared to what we in the West consider average height). It didn't take us long to notice that the tukals ... particularly the entrances ... were built at Moru height. It also didn't take me long to develop "tukal back" ... a condition occuring when you don't bend down far enough when entering or exiting a tukal and the end of the grass roof exfoliates your back!

    At night, you learn something else ... that termites love the tukals, too. Not so much in ours, but in Emily and Lisa's tukal they reported both a crunching sound at night and then were continually covered in sawdust as the termites ate away at the bamboo framing. Ventilation in the tukals was a problem (again, by Western standards). The clay brick walls hold in heat really well (kind of like a clay oven), and the windows were small.

    That said, these are great places to take shelter from the intense sun and are (we were told) almost total protection from the heavy downpours during the rainy season ... and they are literally made from what the surrounding environment provides.

    Here is Reynolds and me in front of our tukal.

    Inside each tukal were 2-3 beds. Even though there were no mosquitos the whole time we were there, I still kept the mosquito netting up -- mostly for the feeling of security. Also because what we did see at night were large spiders (harmless, we were told) that were attracted to the latern light. It also kept off some of the dust from munching termites.

    The other building in the compound was the shower/latrine.

    This building didn't have a thatched roof but one made of sheets of zinc that were brought in from Uganda, and the building had a poured concrete foundation with holes in the floor of the two latrine stalls (the two stalls in the middle).

    Using the shower involved filling a pail with water and then using a cup to pour it over your body. The water drained out the back of the shower stall.

    The water was brought from the borewell in big barrels using the diocesan truck and heated in a barrel over a fire. So ... if you caught it at the right time, you could have a hot shower. Mostly, though, it was so hot you didn't want one and waited until the water cooled down some.

    Again, it was all very practical and worked incredibly well. But you had to change your mindset. And not just in terms of going to the bathroom in a latrine or taking a shower with a cup. You had to adjust to the reality that water was precious. The average American family uses 6000 gallons of water a month. We're used to having it come out of faucets at will and treat it like an infinite resource (which, even for us, it's not).

    This is another area where growing up in Tucson really helped. One of the things I love about Tucson is that it's a community that realizes it's in the desert and tries to live that way. Growing up, I learned to take really short showers. You weren't served water in a restaurant unless you asked for it. You were asked not to water your yard during peak hours and were encouraged to use desert landscaping.

    As we saw flying in, water in this area is literally life. People carry it from miles around to do their cooking and cleaning. And yet water is also the breeding ground for the insects that carry malaria and sleeping sickness (which is why they didn't want us going near the river). We knew we had to drink at least 3-4 liters of water a day just to replace what we were sweating out and avoid dehydration.

    When I arrived in Ghana the first night James Sarpei greeted me with the traditional greeting ... a glass of water, because, he said, "water is life". Our time in Lui drove that home in powerful ways. It wasn't so much getting used to not having indoor plumbing ... it was developing gratitude for the water that we had, and living in a way where stewardship of water was an important part of our lives ... because we recognized that water came from a well that would one day run dry, and that even getting it to us involved much more labor than just turning on a faucet.

    Next, we head out into the bush for confirmation services! Thanks for reading.
    Mike at 4/10/2005 06:51:00 AM

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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