The Rose That Grew From Concrete

over 8,000 people will receive access to safe drinking water for the first time – thanks to you

Thanks to everyone reading, this is the message I am able to deliver to you:

By the end of this week, Argisa, Ethiopia will have clean water!

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Most of you know that you all raised, over the course of one week, the money we needed for our first phase of the Ethiopia project. That, in and of itself, was a miracle.

Jack, from Waves for Water, boarded a plan on December 12, and I have just been informed he has landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Jack will be bringing 80 Sawyer filters to the rural village of Argisa, Ethiopia on Lake Awassa. This is where Sister Donna Frances has been living for the past decade. She lives in an area with an extremely high malaria rate, flooding, famine, and drought and is committed to living with the people without bringing in too much western influence.

Water has been a huge stress on Sister, but no longer. Everyone in the village will now have an overabundance of safe drinking water.

I was excited to also hear from Sister Donna today. I had written her quickly to let her know Jack was on his way, and was worried she would not receive my email before he arrived.

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What I love about this letter is how genuinely surprised and excited she is by all the different kind of cloth diapers that the village received from you guys:

“Hi Jamie, wow, I just arrived in Awassa and read your Email.  Today is the 12th of December, so they will arrive tomorrow. WOW, really exciting…Do you have a phone number for them?  I will wait for them here in Awassa, they will arrive on which day do you know?  Exciting, exciting.

Also 4 packages of diapers came; two full of colorful snap type diapers, and a box full of new Gerber prefold diapers, 5 packages… OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH what a god send, and there was a full box of diaper pins with them.  Lots of thick folded liners to go in the snap pants, soakers of knit wear, and just about all one could imagine under the rainbow.”
Loving thanks for helping me in Gods work with the children,
Sr Donna

We started this in October. It is now December, and in that time frame you all have single-handedly made a tremendous impact in a small village thousands of miles away from where most of you call home. Instead of water that brings death, you have provided water that gives life. You have also met the needs of the area with cloth diapers! While we have a long-term goal of bringing out an EC expert (still need to find someone willing to come with us in March), for now you are meeting the immediate need with hygiene and comfort.

Way to go, guys! I can’t wait to update you more with Jack’s pictures!

Waterlink Africa: Water Changes Everything

Clean Water Projects Image 2Did you know? $1 can give clean water to one person for over a decade.

Why is water life-altering?

  1. Unsterile water is the number two killer amongst children. Around the world, fetching water is a woman’s task. Thus, one of the most crucial health issues for women in Africa is the clean water shortage. 1 in 5 children worldwide dies of a water-related disease.
  2. Water is a women’s issue. In order to get access to clean water, women and girls must carry up to 50lbs of water every day over typically 5 miles or more. Carrying this water has shown to stunt growth in young girls which has contributed to the extremely high maternal mortality rate in these areas, but girls and women also face dangers along their way to a water source.
  3. Water improves education and economy. Education has been proven to be the greatest way to improve a community. When kids get sick from water-borne diseases, they can’t attend classes – then fall behind, then drop out. Most students suffer from severe dehydration because they try to drink as little bad water as possible. When the brain is dehydrated, it has a very hard time focusing on tasks such as school work, and chances of success are greatly diminished. There are some children who walk daily to get water and are unable to attend school, and the adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. When children have the opportunity to be educated, they can become problem solving members of the community and have a hope of contributing to their society.

Waterlink Africa

Fayye Foundation has teamed up with Waves for Water to pursue a series of clean water projects throughout Africa. The filters that will be installed use the highest filtration rates available, can provide clean water for an entire village for pennies a day, and have a high flow rate which eliminates the need to store water. The filters are self-sustaining and easy to maintain. If cared for, each $50 filter lasts for many years, providing clean water for up to 100 people a day.

waterlink Africa: a chain of friends, spanning generations, from Africa to America and back to Africa. Donor, healer, helper – each link is necessary. Waterlink Africa delivers solutions from inventors to people in need of safe drinking water in every faraway corner of Africa.

Waves for Water and Fayye Foundation are certain that everyone who lacks clean water deserves to have unlimited access via an endless chain of caring, of which each of us is a single link. Experts are confident that the water crisis will be completely eradicated in our lifetime, but the only way we can do that is by every person in the link working towards this cause.

To donate to our first Waterlink project (Waves for Awassa/Project Ethiopia) you can go here. Your tax-deductible donation has the potential to give 20,000 people access to clean water. Every dollar counts.

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Recipe: Armenian Monti

I completed the first of my Pre-30 Bucket List! #13, learn how to make Monti.

Monti, is an Armenian dish I LOVE. When my mom first made it for Brian he went crazy. It is now his favorite food of all time, and he’s not the only one.

I’ve been around my mom making Monti since I could remember, but this time I was actually going to learn and be able to replicate it at home.

My mom and me making Monta in the same kitchen!

Apparently, true Armenian Monti uses lamb which I am a fan of, but my mom is not. That is why we always have used beef. She also adds Garlic into the meat.

Here we go!

The Recipe!

Chopped up onions, garlic, parsley and melted butter, before the ground meat is added

egg and oil to start the dough

If the dough is done it should feel like your earlobe

roll out dough into thin strips

cut into squares

spoon meat mixture into dough squares

pinch ends

line up on baking sheet

spoon melted butter over all uncooked monta

in the oven!

This is what they look like when they’re done.

Although, completely good on their own…..

We serve it in a bowl with hot water, garlic yogurt, and topped with slowly grilled “crispy” onions.

I would have taken a picture, but we ate them all before I could get my camera out- So here is a picture I took from another blogger with a different recipe(looks like she’s also an adoptive mommy):

Recipe for Monti from written by my mom:

Mama’s Monti:  From a Scandinavian Mama!  They can blame it on that!  The ingredients are for 1 batch, however when I make it for you all I make it X4

Ingredients:  Single Batch=  About enough to fill 1 cookie sheet

Dough:

 

  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons All purpose Flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 Pound Ground Beef  (It’s customary to use Lamb, but you all love the beef)
  • 1 Onion, chopped very fine
  • 1/4 cup or so, finely chopped Parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground P
  •  Salted Butter, melted  Used to drizzle on just before putting in oven…2 to 4 Tablespoons  (I use more, the Scandinavian thing again!)  And, to answer what you’re thinking,  my cholesterol is low!

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 Cups (at least) of plain Greek Yogurt (We like the Fage Brand)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, or more to your liking….we use more, of course

Broth:

I have never used the broth recipe, but some people use the following:

  • 3 Cans of Beef Broth (or Homemade), or Chicken Broth
  • a Couple Tablespoons of Catsup
  • a Couple of shakes of Tabasco Sauce

To Make Dough:

In a food processor, combine Egg, Water, Salt, and Butter. Process until mixed.
Add Flour and process until mixture forms a ball.  If it’s too sticky, add a bit more Flour.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead a bit until dough is smooth and elastic. About a minute.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest while you are making filling.

To Make Filling:

Combine Ground Beef, Onion, Parsely, Garlic,  Salt and Pepper.  Mix until well-blended.

To Make Yogurt Sauce:

Combine ingredients and refrigerate until serving time.

Set Oven to 375 Degrees

Prepare Pan.  Spread a light coating of butter on pan

Now it’s time to work!  


(First of all picture the end result in your mind so you see where we’re going with this.
They look like a little fat canoe with a ball of meat in it.)

On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough at a time to form a 9 inch square about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares.
Note:  I just roll out some dough to the right thickness as long as you get little squares to fill.

I take a baby spoon and fill about 1/2 Teaspoon of filling on each square.  Then pinch two opposite ends tightly.. It now should look like a little boat with the meat inside.  As each Monti is formed, put it meat side up in the prepared pan.  You can put them fairly close together, as long as they aren’t touching.
Ok, now you can leave this part out, but it’s not going to taste as good as mine!….Drizzle the melted butter over the Monti!.

Bake them on the middle rack in the oven for about 35 minutes.  I check them about 25 minutes   The dough should be browning, but don’t let the bottoms start burning.  Cool  on the pan.

To Serve:

Boil some water in a pan with a little salt.
Put as many of the Monti “boats” in a bowl.
Poor some boiling water in bowl over Monti.
I like it with less water and lots of Yogurt Sauce on Top
Daddy likes more water with Yogurt Sauce mixed together, then adds the Monti

That’s it!  Oh no I almost forgot the best thing of all. The Onion Garnish!   Take 1 chopped yellow onion and slowly cook in a saute pan in……butter!  It takes some time so start this early in the preparation of the Monte.  Cook it until it is carmelized and nice and brown a little crispy.  This is the “garnish” you put on top of the Yogurt Sauce  mmmmm

So I do this Times 4 for my family.  It takes me hours to do that much.  If one family gets me to make it a the other daughters’ family finds out it’s a Monti war.

Note: The Monti Boats freeze great.

Christmas Stocking Project: Use Your Stockings for Good

stocking market clean water projects

Did you know? $1 can give clean water to one person for over a decade.

During the holiday season, there’s a lot of tradition in exchanging presents. We want to embrace our traditions and also be able to give back. Here’s our idea: instead of stocking stuffers, let’s put every dollar that would go towards those small gifts towards clean water for our friends in Africa. $10 that would have been spent on stocking stuffers could give life-altering water to ten people.

Why is water life-altering?

1. Unsterile water is the number two killer amongst children. Around the world, fetching water is a woman’s task. Thus, one of the most crucial health issues for women in Africa is the clean water shortage. 1 in 5 children worldwide dies of a water-related disease.
2. Water is a women’s issue.
In order to get access to clean water, women and girls must carry up to 50lbs of water every day over typically 5 miles or more. Carrying this water has shown to stunt growth in young girls which has contributed to the extremely high maternal mortality rate in these areas, but girls and women also face dangers along their way to a water source.
3. Water improves education and economy.
Education has been proven to be the greatest way to improve a community. When kids get sick from water borne diseases they can’t attend classes – then fall behind, then drop out. Also: Most students suffer from severe dehydration because they try to drink as little bad water as possible. When the brain is dehydrated it has a very hard time focusing on tasks such as school work, and chances of success are greatly diminished.When children have the opportunity to be educated, they can become problem solving members of the community and have a hope of contributing to their society. There are some children who walk daily to get water are unable to attend school, and adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. 

You can help!
This Christmas, we can save one child, mother, brother, father or sister by donating as little as one dollar. Fayye Foundation has teamed up with Waves for Water to pursue a series of clean water projects throughout Africa. The filters that will be installed use the highest filtration rates available, can provide clean water for an entire village for pennies a day, and have a high flow rate which eliminates the need to store water. The filters are self-sustaining and easy to maintain. If cared for, each $50 filter lasts for many years, providing clean water for up to 100 people a day.

Your donation is going directly to our March project to bring clean water to a rural area is Southern Ethiopia, called Argisa. We are in close communication with Sister Donna Francis who has been living in the area for many years and has provided empowerment and housing for young girls in the area called Heartland. Recently, the situation has become dire and time is of the essence. Here is one of her last messages to us:

We have had typhoid repeatedly during the last 2 1/2 months, Masame and I, and the kids at Heartland, also repeated malaria caught in our livers.  Filters are a hope…but we haven’t been able to get them implemented yet.  We could use 5 at Heartland to meet the use for kitchen and drinking, with 30 kids coming, it would be good!!  The villagers are in a terrible need as we are the people who live on the lake shore.  The town where we go to get pipe water, treated by the government, is 2 km away, and we go when it is running to get drinking water.  This source was turned off for 2 months last year when the government demanded taxes for the water.  The town refused, and the water was stopped, and the people told to drink the lake!  We were sending donkey carts round trip over 50 km to get good water for drinking, and at 10 times the price!”

One dollar brings clean water to one person for over a decade. No amount is too small, and it will make a difference! We do ask for a minimum of $10 to receive a gift from Africa in return. However, if you even have 50 cents to give, it will assist  this project insurmountably. Please click below to donate:

 

 




 

 

 

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Brian and I took a weekend vacation to Carmel!

A big part of my childhood was spent there, so I love going back.

Carmel Then:

Carmel Now:

 

We do encounter one problem. The men in my family (and the ones we marry) tend to be abnormally tall, and the houses in Carmel are built for abnormally small people.

Eating is one of my favorite things to do, and some of the best restaurants are in town.

We met my best friend from Carmel, Heather, and her husband Adam.

We went to the Flying Fish for dinner.

This is my all-time favorite restaurant.

The best abalone!

After dinner, we went to a dive bar in downtown Carmel (didn’t know one existed there!)…complete with a WII, disco ball, vinyl wall decals and boom box as the “sound system”….

Living it up at Ody’s Tavern

The next morning, we went to the Tuck Box for scones. Brian was very reluctant to go here when we first came to Carmel together years ago. We’re both not scone people and a feminine tea house is the last place he wants to hang out….but there is a reason it is huge tourist attraction. The scones are really good, and the atmosphere is very Alice in Wonderland. Now we always make sure to go at least once.

For dinner we went into Pacific Grove to Peppers! They have the best tamales I’ve ever had (half of the time they aren’t available…). And great margaritas…..and classic window lettering.

 

Overall, our trips are always memorable. I need to make a custom calendar with pictures from our trips during different months. It would be great to see them all next to each other. Other places worth eating:

Marinus at Bernardus Lodge.

The Little Chicken House!  (My favorite!)

Little Napoli

Mission Ranch

Fun Facts about Carmel:

  • High-heeled shoes are outlawed (the law used to be enforced long ago..)
  • The city of Carmel-by-the-Sea does not have numbered addresses. You must name your house. Some of the names: Hansel and Gretel, Periwinkle, Sea Urchin….
  • There is no mail delivered (post office only), but if you wanted to order a pizza you would give the address as the name of your house.
  • There are no parking meters
  • Father Junípero Serra (the first President and founder of the early Missions) is buried there

 

 

Bottle Feeding, Breastfeeding, Famine and a CALL TO ACTION

I vaguely remember meeting Aram for the first time.

He was three days old and they wheeled me into the NICU. One of the nurses rolled me up to a little plastic container holding him.

I went to peek in but before I could see him another nurse stopped me. “I’m sorry, I just need to check your ID bracelet and make sure it matches the baby’s. I know, you’re thinking ‘but I know my own baby!’ I’m sorry, it’s just protocol.”  Overwhelming sadness came over me. I had never seen him before…I wouldn’t know my own baby and I was happy she was checking the bracelet to make sure.

Then, I finally got to see him. He was so little and a bit jaundiced. They wanted me to give him a bottle of the milk Brian had been pumping for me (obviously, my breasts, but he was doing the work) while I was in what I felt like was a coma the past three days. They warned me he was born without a sucking reflex and we would probably end up gavaging after 15 minutes if he wasn’t taking any in through the synthetic nipple.

They snapped a photo while I was feeding him:

 

 

Aram ended up refusing bottles and only wanted to breastfeed once his sucking reflex developed. Breastfeeding ended up working out for our family. It was something we fought to do, but we know a bit of luck was involved, as well.  I was able to produce milk without a problem, Aram was able to latch, and I had a very supportive family – these factors contributed to our success. I also think knowing that there was always another option, and no matter what my baby would get fed, led to a peace and relaxation in the process of finding out how we would eventually nourish our child.

I had other pictures from the same day we met him that showed me breastfeeding him, but we somehow lost those photos. Only the very first photo of him bottle feeding remains, and I’m glad.  I remembered the relief I felt when the NICU nurses were showing me how they and my husband (overly tired spreading his time visiting me in one area of the hospital and Aram in another) were feeding Aram while I was gone.  I still had thoughts I might not live much longer (PTSD had already started). I had such comfort in the fact that if I wasn’t there my child would still be cared for and loved, and the bottle symbolized that for me.

I am proud to be a breastfeeding mother. I also love the above photo of Aram with a bottle, and everything I feel it represents. We should be so grateful we are living in a part of the world where our children have multiple ways to be nourished. There are many areas of the world where there are no options:

Photo of a malnourished child in last year’s famine in Somalia. One article explained once the mother becomes severely malnourished she stops producing milk there are no other options to feed her child. Many children die on the cracked dry breasts of their mothers, desperate for one last effort to produce a few drops to keep their child alive a little longer.

 

If someone wants me to bash bottle feeding I won’t do it.

Education is extremely important. I don’t think the research on formula or breastfeeding should stop, but judgment needs to.

Just think if we focused all of that energy hating one another and put it toward something truly worth hating?

I say let’s do it. No time like the present. Mothers are forces to be reckoned with and once we find a cause worth fighting for, we are unstoppable.

Dr. Llyod Greig spoke about the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s in a recent interview. All these years later, he still was visibly crying as he spoke about how he just wanted the people to die with dignity, but it was impossible to do when dying from hunger.

My fellow mothers, this is what we should be fighting. We need to be at war with something truly evil – starvation.

Thinking about this tonight, I’m not just going to suggest we do something. I’m giving a call to action.

 

*Update* We’ve looked into the famine, and found that an equally urgent problem is the water crisis. While there has been some relief for the famine, the WHO and UNICEF have reported that the number two cause of death under five is water-related illness. Water is also the first step in being able to grow crops. 

Waves for Water is currently working on a project really close to our heart. If you’re interested in learning more, check Waves for Water here. You can also donate below. 

Water Project Update July 2013: We are so pleased to announce that thanks to this community of mothers, 20,000 people have received water in Ethiopia since we announced this project in December 2012! Waves for Water is about to start phase 3 of our Ethiopia project, so if this is a cause close to your heart, please click on the link above for more information.

Hunger/Nutrition Project Update July 2013: We are so excited to announce that we are working on a project directly related to addressing hunger and improving nutrition in a rural community of South Africa. Please visit Raiseitup.org for more information.

 


 

 


 

A Californian’s Guide To Two Days In New York

Travel Entertainment:

If your plane taxis for two hours before take-off, take photos of yourself in your seat at different angles to pass the time.

Jet Lag:

Drink white sangria – a pitcher. It helps.

Attire:

Avoid at all costs wearing anything remotely resembling this:

And regardless of how you sleep at home, it is a good idea to remember to bring pajamas for travel situations where you’ll be rooming with someone other than your spouse. If not, expect the discussion to naturally progress to the topic of laser hair removal.

 

Hotel:

These clever little establishments have come up with a rouse to make you feel good about giving them senseless amounts of money for the sake of convenience. Resist temptation!

Apparently, movies are more entertaining when you spend $12.99 for them vs. the $4.99 price at home on demand for the same movie.

During a $50 binge at the mini bar, I bought a can of Pringles for $5 that had 10 chips in it, 3 $7 bottles of water (to use for our “free” coffee in the room), 1 package of cookies for $10, and trail mix for $12.

Just say no!

and finally-
Food:
Word of warning: when someone suggests an Indian restaurant for the “experience” rather than the food…there is a good chance you will be vomiting the next day… At the airport in a garbage can, in the first class cabin after they serve an aromatic egg breakfast, in an air sickness bag next to a business man working on a deadline, and in the airplane bathroom…and sink (don’t judge me, I didn’t make it in time).

The ceiling heavily adorned with Christmas lights in July should have been our first clue. Oh look, is that a Christmas tree ornament, too?

It definitely was an experience:

Take it from us – stick with an old favorite:

 

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