Monday, October 25, 2010

More news from the middle of the Atlantic

Some of you, and by that i mean none, might remember one of my neighbors in Cachaco, Arlinda.  She is a cooker, baker, alcohol maker extrodinarre, and thankfully has the luck of having not only I, but another amazing Peace Corps volunteer living next door.  Below is the project the PCV is working on to make her place more official and welcoming to tourist and locals alike.  I can honestly say that while this project is focusing on one lady, the benefits will be felt by many.  She has and will need help, and that means she will have other women or girls helping her, which means they will make some money, have a small job and maybe be able to partner or go off on their own.  Studies show that helping women helps everybody.  

Cafe Business Startup

The summary below was provided by the Peace Corps Volunteer and the community administering this project.
The objective of this project is to provide the means necessary to enable a single local woman, to create and run a small home-style restaurant and catering business. In doing so, the ultimate goal is to create a much-needed source of sustainable monthly income for this woman and her three children. The village is a remote and impoverished rural community of about 400 people on an island of Cape Verde. The village is located at the entrance to a national park – “Parque Natural de Monte Gordo” (PNMG). It is the islands primary tourist attraction. Such opportunities are scarce in these small rural towns, where unemployment can run from 40-50% and the vast majority of the island population depends on subsistence agriculture and or foreign remittances from family members living and working abroad. Overcoming this challenge through creating sustainable opportunities, locally, is one of the primary goals of the government and people of Cape Verde.

More specifically, the goal is to increase the monthly personal income of the project beneficiaries by 75% after the first three months of business operation. In order to do this, the business will need to turn a minimum monthly operating profit of 11.250$00 CVE (approx. $137 USD) per month. Of this amount, a minimum of 25% (2.813$00 CVE/ $34 USD- approx./rounded) will be designated to be set aside into a personal savings account. The remaining money will be available for household/family expenses and or for reinvestment into the business. As a community leader and President of the local women’s association, she will serve as a powerful example for empowering other women to pursue similar entrepreneurial endeavors. The required resources will be obtained through a combination of the donated funds received, local funds and locally donated material and labor: • Construction of a bathroom with functioning toilet and sink (restaurant) • Structural improvements made to the outside patio “dining area” (restaurant) • Miscellaneous business supplies and marketing costs such as printing business cards and other relevant promotional materials targeted towards the tourist market
If you have questions about this or other projects, email our office

Go directly to the peace corps website to donate to this project:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What is the Totality?

It is the high residues of hazardous and potentially lethal chemicals inside your fat cells. It is you sitting inside and turning on the television or computer on a beautiful day. It is you shopping when you are depressed. It is the feeling you get that something is missing. It is your worries that a fire may destroy all of your possessions and your plans to try and take them with you. It is the thought that tells you to go on a diet. It is the excess fat on your body. It is the headache that won’t go away. It is the bleeding in your intestines from years of pain alleviating drug use. It is the birth defects of your children. It is your killer when you die from a car accident. It is your savior when it attempts to fill your void for you. It is your carpal tunnel syndrome. It is your tumor. It is your expensive coffin and burial clothing. It is the drugs you take when you need an escape. It is the bulldozer that destroyed the woods you might have known so well. It is the towering skyscraper that makes you feel forever tiny and powerless. It is your boss. It is minimum wage, it is maximum wage.
It is your prison, sometimes with bars, sometimes without. It is all your fears. It is what is keeping you up at night. It is the lock on your door. It is the bullet in your gun. It is your noose and your tie. It is that thing that you don’t want to do, but you feel that you have to. It is the turned cheek. It is the cold shoulder. It is the ad that tells you the internet will provide affection for you. It is the new appliance that you never knew existed, but you can’t live without. It is poverty. It is inequality. It is the sink or swim economy. It is the thing that has categorized you. It has stopped you from doing the things you want. It is what makes you jealous. It is your hate. It is your love. It is your purgatives that you feel might be somewhat strange. It is your clenched fist. It is your mace spray.
It is the police. It is the nightstick. It is the protestor and the media which tells you not to listen to them. It is the corporation which creates a new truth for you daily, one which provides you with the knowledge to buy what they make with confidence. It is the gold star you earned in kindergarten. It is the A you got in high school. It is your college degree. It is your paycheck. It is your therapist. It is your bill from the medicine you bought to ‘fix your brain’.
It is the ache in your back. It is your swollen knees. It is your worsening eyesight from the incandescent glow of our institutions. It is your hearing loss. It is the ‘white noise’ that drives you crazy. It is your adrenaline. It is the tears that pour down your face after a sad movie. It is your longing for a dramatic romance with a happy ending. It is your lust for sex. It is the objectified woman, and the powerless man. It is the rapist. It is the murderer. It is the thief. It is the profiteer. It is the worker. It is the dead union organizer.
It is the solider that is willing to kill and die for cheaper oil. It is the victims of a government enflamed over unwillingness to follow their way of life. It is the activist hung for saying they don’t want to be killed for profits. It is the rubber bullet. It is pepper spray.
It is the extinct species. It is the dying world. It is polluted air. It is tainted water. It is the accident at the nuclear power plant. It is the oil spill. It is the break in the pipeline. It is the brakes that failed. It is the dwindling biodiversity. It is the patented seed. It is the farmer killing her/himself with the pesticides that were going to make life better. It is the seat belt that mangled you, but didn’t kill you entirely. It is the blood dripping from the cut you got at work, but can’t afford to let it heal. It is the concrete beneath your feet. It is the stairs you fall down. It is the train that went off the tracks. It is the plane that blew up. It is the boat that sank. It is the drink you take to just forget it all. It is your misery. It is your world.
It is everything to you. It is civilized existence and the mindset which maintains it.
It is what makes devastation seem not so shocking. It takes you through the day. It dulls you out at night. It gives you nightmares, it gives you dreams. It is your feeling of not having of not having accomplished enough. It is your desire to have a child to complete yourself. It is the physical and mental barriers of civilized life. It is civilization and it has become you. It is a mindset. It is power. It is physically reinforced to block off the reality of it’s powerlessness by mediating human existence from the natural world. It is the feeling of superiority, which supplies the reason to destroy all else. It is unnatural. It will fall, but will you fall with it? It is personal and it is individual. It is defeatable and it’s defeat is needed for our liberation, as well as for that of all else that human kind has set out to conquer and overpower. Freedom is only a thought away. Liberate the mind and the body will follow.