A Day in Our Travel Life - 4/11/09

April 11th, 2010 by Craig

Hamburg, Germany - Copenhagen, Denmark

Woke-up and had breakfast, then Frauke took us into Hamburg for a quick tour. It couldn’t have been quick enough. The city is based around a port/waterfront area that would make the Gulf of Mexico look beautiful.       -Craig

We left and headed north towards Copenhagen, Denmark. The landscape was water, windmills, forest, and more water all the way there.       -Craig

Frauke escorted us into town, telling us along the way how beautiful it was. Craig and I were a bit disappointed as all the buildings were very plain and red brick. The canals were good, but nothing compared to Brugge. They did have a beautiful town hall though and very pretty town center.       -Jen

The drive into Copenhagen was pretty great with lots and lots of water, bridges, small islands, and windmills.         -Jen

Money Spent 4/11/09:  Euro’s and Denmark Krones - USD $54.18

Total spent at this point on the trip: $26,760.00 USD

Number of countries visited: 31

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A Day in Our Travel Life - 2/13/09

February 13th, 2010 by Craig

Plovdiv, Bulgaria…Happy B-day to me! A memorable one in Plovdiv, Bulgaria for sure!      -Craig

Happy Birthday to Craig!!! Because it was Craig’s day, we did everything he wanted to do, which was, of course, explore Plovdiv…First and foremost, we wandered around “our” area, had a wonderful cheese-filled pastry and coffee for breakfast, then walked across town to the Hill of the Liberators. This hill, of course, required climbing and I think I counted 600 steps up.      -Jennifer

We got up on the 13th, grabbed a pastry from a local shop, then started wandering. We shoppd in a 3-story shopping mall inside a renovated 19th century building, looked at art set-up along the center of a small square, found a Bulgarian flag patch, and wadered around the old town on cobblestone streets.      -Craig

The views from the top were nice though and the monuments were interesting.     -Jennifer

For lunch, we had pizza at a little trendy restaurant. The people here seem nice, intelligent, fashionable, and always looking ahead. This could very well be a nice country.      -Craig

After our naps, we headed out to have my birthday dinner at McDonald’s and then to the internet cafe. Got in touch with my mom and dad on SKYPE and told them that we are coming home to visit on February 20th. They seemed excited/confused. Mom cried a bit, dad seemed like he thought there was something more to the story.      -Craig

Craig’s dad thinks something is wrong, we think, and his mom is just pre-occupied with Grammar. I had no luck again with my mom.       -Jennifer

  

Money Spent 2/13/09: 73.13 Bulgarian lev = $47.42 USD

Extra for SKYPE credits, exchange fees, money kept = $20.00 USD

Total Spent at this point on trip: $21,801.15

Number of Countries Visited: 19

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Rainbow Children’s Home Email

February 7th, 2010 by Craig

Hello readers! I know you have read our notes and pleas concerning Rainbow Children’s Home in Pokhara, Nepal. The following is an email that I just received from them concerning some new improvements made possible by donations. Have you ever had a time when you didn’t have your own bed or a table and chairs to eat dinner on?

How are you? I hope this mail will find you all well. We all are fine here in Rainbow Children Home and hope the same to you. We have made all bunk beds for the children. Bunk beds are more comfortable and taking little space in the room so change all old beds and put new bunk beds for all the children beds. Also we have made dining tables for the children. Now onwards children can sit in a chair and put the disc in the dining table and eat comfortably. All the children are so happy to get bunk bed and dining table.

I have attached some photos of the dining table and bunk beds in this same mail, Please have a look and comment, your suggestions and support is always highly appreciated to Rainbow Children Home. Because of your help, support and care inspires to do more for the children welfare. So, I would like to thank you all for your continuous helping, supporting and caring for Rainbow Children Home. We do hope the same in the coming days.

 Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

New Bunk Beds!New Tables!

New Tables!

 

For more information about Rainbow Children’s Home, their current needs, and how you can help, please email us at craig (at) alsupsworldtravels (dot) com.

 

 

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A Day in Our Travel Life - 2/05/09

February 5th, 2010 by Craig

Pamukkale, Turkey…This morning we slept late. When we woke up, Craig tried to take a shower though it turned out to be cold water only- not sure why we expected any different.     -Jennifer

Got to Pamukkale, paid the outrageous entrance fee ($25) and headed in. We walked through the Necropolis of Hierapolis first and looked at all of the tombs. Sadly, these cities are beginning to look a lot alike. But, I don’t wanna get home and wish I had seen ‘em…Anyway, we really came for the “travertines”. It was a huge area covered in pearly white travertine with a thermal stream running through it! We took off our shoes and soaked our feet in the hot water awhile and enjoyed the views of the travertine and the mountains covered in snow in the distance.      -Craig

What an amazing place the Romans chose to build Hierapolis! Right on top of such a beautiful thing!       -Craig

The ruins were much like all the others we’ve seen, except the theater was huge and quite impressive. After wandering around for awhile, we visited the white travertines. Now this was amazing! It looked just like a snow-covered mountain and spread across a huge site.       -Jennifer

Turns out Adnan (our Couchsurfing host) isn’t so useless. He arranged a futbol (soccer) game and said I could play! Even loaned me a jersey…That happened to be #5! Oh yeah! Excited is an understatement. Elated. Gassed. Fired up. Torqued. “Legs, break out of your useless state. You are needed!”, I said. Jen can never understand how excited I get when I get to play. No one can. Except maybe Daniel Hodge. I believe he loved it as much as me. Maybe…         -Craig

The game was an hour long with no breaks, half-time or anything. Safe to say I was dead tired in no time. Very quick play. High scoring game. I played defense most of the time, but got a couple shots, both on target and good shots, but sadly both blocked. Got one assist. Saved a goal or two. Gave up a goal or two. Got hit in the groin with a ball. Busted my knee. Not a bad time at all. Actually, an amazing time though I played fairly poorly compared with my former play as a youngster.      -Craig

Money Spent 2/5/09: 125 Turkish Lira = $78.13 USD

Total Spent at this point on trip: $21,306.12

Number of Countries Visited: 18

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A Day in Our Travel Life - 2/1/09

February 1st, 2010 by Craig

Izmir, Turkey…We slept in a bit this morning and decided to spend the day with our Couchsurfing host and his friends to have a traditional Turkish experience. They said we were going to have breakfast, but we didn’t leave home until 11:00 am. We then drove two hours into the country to reach the restaurant in a beaultiful outdoor location.     -Jennifer

We had a long table outside with mountains and pastures all around. The place was really in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful country though. We ordered collectively and were brought tons of stuff! Honey, olives, 3-4 cheeses, eggs with pepperoni’s (weird), bread, butter, cheese fajita things, water, tea, etc…       -Craig

We ate, talked, and had a good time until about 2 pm, then drove out onto the peninsula and walked around the shoreline as a group. The water was blue green, the shore rocky and hilly. Very pretty.      -Craig

Back at the bottom, it was decided that we needed to go for coffee. Back in the car, we drove for another two to three hours to get to a bar…I guess the coffee urge passed in all that time. Craig and I split a cheeseburger and had a cappucino. Everyone else had beer and fries.      -Jennifer

Longest breakfast in history for me!    -Craig

Craig and I stayed home while Onur took his girlfriend home. He brought back another dinner…Some kind of meat with rice and veggies to put in wraps. It was pretty good. We also had baklava, a sweet pastry.      -Jennifer

Money Spent 2/1/09: 46 Turkish Lira = $28.75 USD

Total Spent at this point on trip: $21,126.56

Number of Countries Visited: 18

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A Day in Our Travel Life - 1/27/09

January 27th, 2010 by Craig

Istanbul, Turkey…we planned to do so many things, but wound up just visiting the 1500 year old Galata Tower, wandering around on Istikal Caddesi, taking a ferry cruise for 1.5 hours on the Bosphorus. Wandering in the city is quite nice, actually. We found several old bookstores where I was able to drool over old books and maps (but, alas could afford none) and some clothesshops for Jen.     -Craig

We awoke, had a shower and brekkie and set out on foot to see the city on foot!      -Jennifer

Istanbul is so amazingly spread out! It just goes on forever!      -Craig

Back at home, we cooked and ate dinner then showed some of our pictures to Serena (our couchsurfing

hostess) and her mom and talked about our trip, then went to bed! :)      -Jennifer

Money Spent 1/27/09: $55.79

Total Spent at this point on trip (almost 7 months in): $20,887.92

Number of Countries Visited: 18

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Rainbow Children’s Home Handicraft Project

January 26th, 2010 by Craig

  Hey Friends,      

We sincerely hope this post finds you all well and on your way to accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions. We are on our way to accomplishing ours, slowly but surely. Please take a moment to read over this message that we just received concerning the orphanage in which we worked in Nepal during our trip around the world and are now sponsoring a child. If you can help financially, great. If not, at least please pray for this opportunity for the women and children around Pokhara to benefit from this project and improve their living conditions. I assure you, the need is quite evident there. If you want to donate and can’t get it done with the bank info which they provide on their website listed below, please let us know and we can either coach you through setting up an account with a company called “Money to Nepal” or we can give you the link to our paypal account and we will forward the money to Rainbow Children’s Home. Please be a part of this project.   P.S.-RCH is still looking for sponsors for some of the 26 children currently living in the orphanage. Please check out this  http://orphancarenepal.org/help.php

 link if you are interested in sponsoring one of these amazing children. If you pick one to sponsor, let us know and we may be able to give some insight into the child, as we have met most of them…   

Project Name : Rainbow Handicraft Project

Project Managed by : Rainbow Children Home Nepal

Beneficiaries : Helpless, socially oppressed, divorced, widow and poor women of Nepal and Rainbow Children Home Organization

Project Location : Dihiko Patan, Lakeside Pokhara-6, (Near by Rainbow Home)

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Our aim is to help the disadvantaged women and children of Nepal. We wish to give disadvantaged women of Nepal independence through giving them work and making them financially strong, enabling them to support their children. Equipping a poor woman with the skills and resources to market her talents will in turn provide her and her family with a source of stable, constant income. We plan to establish a small handicraft industry in order to give job security to disadvantaged women, thereby providing women and their children with shelter, food and education. The women we help will be able to live a family life and lives will be saved through our small handicraft project. Our commitment is to produce the finest handmade products possible using only the highest quality raw materials available.

Objectives of the Project:

The specific objective is to increase income and job opportunities for poor helpless widow, disadvantaged, social oppressed and divorced women in selected rural areas by improving their financial situation and make them financially independent. There are many objectives of this handicraft project, the main objectives is to empower the poor and helpless women. This project will help poor and helpless women to generate small income and financially self dependence also they will able to look after their children and their education after their job security. Sustainable development in the long run is better and necessary for making our home (Rainbow Children Home) sustainable and independent in financial aspect. It will generate some regular fund for sustaining our organization (RCH). The other objective is to help the Rainbow Children Organization financially and it helps the children to learn about small Industry. After some years, our children will be big enough and finish their school education and they might be joining this handicraft industry, they will earn money and will be independent, it helps to manage their life by their selves. At least they can earn their daily salary. Other aim of this project is committed to uplift socio-economic conditions of the socially deprived and economically backward especially poor and helpless widow and divorced women through imparting technical know-how and appropriate skill at the local level. Equipping a poor woman with the skills and resources to market her talents will in turn provide her family with a source of stable, constant income.Main Objectives of throject

· Provide income and job opportunities: The main objective is to increase income and job opportunities for poor, widowed, disadvantaged, socially oppressed and divorced women in selected rural areas by improving their financial situation and making them financially independent.

· Protect children at risk: By helping women to generate income and obtain financial dependence they will be able to care for their children and provide them with an education, protecting them from things such as child labor.

· Sustainable development: We aim to make Rainbow Children Home a self-sustainable and financially independent organization. The project will generate regular funds for the long term sustainability and development of our organization.

· Educating the children of Rainbow Children Home: The RCH children will have an opportunity to learn about the running of a small business. In the future, after finishing school, our children will be old enough to join the handicraft industry; they will earn money and will be independent and selfsufficient.

Profit

Actually the aim of this project is not to make business or make money; even some profit will come to us. Our aim is to give job opportunities and give financial independence to the helpless women, so we divide the profit to the worker as well as we will put some profit in Rainbow Children account for the children of Rainbow. If some one buys our product, their money directly goes to raw materials, wages and small profit will go to Rainbow Children Home Organization.

FUNDS

Price = Raw Materials + Staff Wages + Overheads + 5% Profit (for RCH)

We have included a margin of 5% that is used to provide our members with additional skills training, manufacturing equipment, performance bonuses, scholarships, and aid to members who become injured or sick. RCH will manage an Employee Welfare Fund for the employee’s help and support to be used if employees have monetary problems.

Approximate start-up costs for the handicraft project

S.N. PARTICULARS in NRs. In USD

01. Land (1 year lease) 50000.00 NR     694.44 USD

02. Building works (3 x rooms & 1 x office) 500000.00 NR      6944.44 USD

03. Sewing machines x 3 50000.00 NR     694.44 USD

04. Craft machines x 3 40000.00 NR     555.56 USD

05. Over locker and interlocker machines x 2 30000.00 NR     416.67 USD

06. Equipment, furniture, and raw materials 250000.00 NR     3472.22 USD

07. Training for employees (3 month course) 50000.00 NR     694.44 USD

08. Generator for power supply 90000.00 NR     1250.00 USD

09. Staff salaries - 10 staff 70000.00 NR      972.22 USD

10. Miscellaneous 30000.00 NR     416.67 USD

Total 1160000.00 NR     $ 16111.1 USD

The US dollar amount of $16 111.11 is based on the current exchange rate of 72 Nepalese

Rupees of 1 US Dollar.

A small donation can make a big difference to the life of poor, helpless,

abandoned, orphan children and poor, helpless, widow, divorced, oppressed,

neglected, disadvantaged women of Nepal.

Thank you from all at Rainbow Children Home family, Nepal

 

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A Day in Our Travel Life - 1/25/09

January 25th, 2010 by Craig

Spending the night in the Amman, Jordan airport was surprisingly not at all that bad. We found cushioned seats that we could lay out on, it was a pleasant temp. in the airport, and we could put our stuff between our chairs/bed and the wall for safety.     -Craig

We are currently on our way to Istanbul, Turkey! Finally a place in Europe. We are so excited!     -Jennifer

We met a very nice guy and girl from a university in Indiana that were coming from Baghdad where they had been working to setup academic programs. They are brave souls!     -Jennifer

They gave us first hand info. about the progress that Iraq has made as a result of the U.S. being there. Good job George Bush! Our conversation was interrupted by a Turkish-looking fellow telling me to ” move to the other seat ” and that my “American accent” was making him “nervous” and that “that is why everyone hates Americans”.     -Craig

….we tried to get $$$ at an HSBC atm and were turned down repeatedly until we finally tried successfully to pull out euro’s instead of Turkish lira. So stupid! Hate! Hate! Hate! HSBC!     -Craig

We followed the cobblestone streets through the very quaint area of town past old walls and city ruins, past nice shops with nice smiling faces, and through the many parks with monuments reminding us we were standing where Constantine founded Constantinople.     -Jennifer

We walked between the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque and wandered up and down old cobbled streets until we found a cheap-enough hostel for the night. Got some spaghetti, ate it, settled in for the night.     -Craig

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A Plea for Haiti, the Developing World, and All of Us

January 23rd, 2010 by Craig

    I found myself engrossed in a thought pattern today that is becoming increasingly prevalent during my daily hustle through life: How long will it take people to get sick of all this crap? When will we, as a people, do something decent for another human being as a show of goodwill and common decency, in total absolution from thoughts and feelings of whether we will or will not receive an adequate reward for our troubles? Or will we all get sick of hearing about the poor people in Haiti and other stricken countries and give them and their story the “boot” from our televisions and our news stations in order to substitute in more political banter and self-ingratiating squabbling? Is it going to be soon?

    This week has been a tough one for me, as you may now imagine considering my interminable banter up until this point in this post. If you read my posts titled Help For a Friend 

 and One Perfect Day  , then you perhaps understand that Jen and I have a bit of a soft-heart for those less fortunate than ourselves. Maybe my current work as a children’s crisis therapist and the frustrations that are seemingly inherent in this position are fueling my breakdown…breakthrough tonight. Maybe the fact that the celebrity fundraising drive for Haiti was on television tonight and I doubt that even all of our supposed “role model” celebrities and professional athletes have engaged themselves to send a dime to the relief efforts.

    So anyway, I was in a training meeting today learning to pre-evaluate people for committment into mental hospitals, and the only thing that kept running through my brain was the question of whether or not I am currently being of any service to anyone other than myself and further, if not, why not? Does a lack of current expendable income have to detour my ability to help others less fortunate than I? Am I not capable of love? Of prayer? Of writing a compelling enough argument that people will respond and do something to improve upon the current hopelessness and degredation of this world in which we live? Do you ever consider these things? Alas, I do have a format. The same format that gets politicians the vote of today’s youth (Barrack Obama 

). If we, as a people, will embrace a man who speaks in lofty terms about ”change” and “belief”, and seriously expect him to better our home and our world, then will we take that same intitiative and do something ourselves? The same amount of energy that it took for the young people of America and the world to stand up and stand for something that they could believe in equivalent to the energy that it would take to donate, to pray, and to care for and about someone around us. The following list includes several places that touched us in our travels along with several ways to do something for those in Haiti, those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and those in Cambodia affected by the Khmer Rouge:

  1.     SON Valley ICF/MR  - The Mission of Son Valley is to build and operate a quality Christian Community for adults with Mental Retardation, ministering to their physical, spiritual, mental, vocational, and recreational needs. This was Craig’s workplace for a little over 1 year. There are some amazing people there in need of just a little assistance.
  2.     Tuol Sleng Prison Museum - The reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia destroyed everything that Cambodians knew of their lives prior to the takeover. Millions of Cambodians were killed or seriously maimed by their own countrymen only 20-30 years ago. This museum is a monument to the desctruction that humans can cause upon their own people and a good way to help to ensure that this does not occur again ion Cambodia. The museum is housed in a former school (prior to the Khmer Rouge) and torturous prison (during the Khmer Rouge rule). As the government of Cambodia is still coming back from the destruction of the past 30 years and is heavily supported by humanitarian organizations, the museum needs money to keep the place functioning.
  3.      Rainbow Children’s Home - This is the orphanage in which we are volunteering during our time in Pokhara. There are 26 children here at present. Some have parents who were killed in recent uprisings. Some lost their parents to illness. Some have parents who were mentally ill and uncable of taking care of them. Some have parents that were useless and sold them into slavery. Basically, they need help. The kids are AMAZING!
  4.      Seeing Hands Massage - This program has been setup in Cambodia by the Associationof Blind in Cambodia. It is now spreading to several other countries in the region. During our stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia, we each received a wonderful massage by a blind masseuse. Not only was the massage great, but we were also able to help support someone who would otherwise have probably been on the streets begging. This is an amazing program!
  5.     American Red Cross - Provides immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support to those in crisis throughout our world.
  6.    ClintonBushHaitiFund - Two past US presidents finally doing what they were elected for in the first place: helping people. 
  7.    Baptist Haiti Mission - One of the places where you could invest your money and be sure to make a lasting difference in both the physical and spiritual lives of those in Haiti.
  8.    The Salvation Army - Help for people in emergency situations worldwide. 

    So, I will make the plea again as I have several times on this blog: Please do something to help someone TODAY. We have some amazing friends that helped us throughout our travels and made special things happen for people we met along our way. I just pray that these people and the readers of this blog will step up and make a change today by beginning a continuous movement to effect change in our world, one helping hand or donation at a time.

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A Day in Our Travel Life - 1/17/09

January 17th, 2010 by Craig

Today was a travel day. We drove the long trip back to Eilat from Afula today. Good desert scenery, so not a bad drive. Made it to Eilat, ate, and relaxed a bit. Going to Jordan tomorrow.          -Craig

Last thoughts on Israel: Israel has been a trip within our trip. At times, Israel ticked me off, made me sad, frustrated the crap out of me. Other times, I was amazed and blown away to be walking where Jesus walked, seeing things He saw, and praying where He prayed. This is an amazing country.         -Craig

This experience has taught me that people worship in many different ways and it encouraged me to define mine. I may not do two hours worth of rituals a day, but I certainly love the Lord and I think my worship will be forever enriched because of this experience.        -Jennifer

The Dead Sea was fun to float in, bad to taste. The Nigerians were plentiful and humorous when they banged their rocks against Lott’s wife’s remains. The Sea of Galilee was powerful with it’s remnants of the Jesus Christ. The ruins were on par with any we’ve seen in Tzippori.       -Craig

Money Spent 1/17/09: $97.36USD

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