what’s the best humanitarian cause EVER?

Congrats to these GreenSmoothieGirls who won three free products from PrimalPitPaste.com! They jumped right on it when we posted the last giveaway blog about non-toxic deodorant.

DeAndra Jarboe, Watauga, TX

Ashley Hardy of Springfield MO

Elizabeth Fiorentino of Durham, NC

Do you know a great charitable cause? Something that helps people help themselves? Something innovative, and preferably related to health? Something that doesn’t have bloated administrative overhead? U.S. based?

When we launch the Detox (January? I hope hope hope! But maybe February)….I’m going to give $1 for EVERY pound everyone loses, to the best causes I can find. And $5 to those causes, for every testimonial you write us, about your experience with the Detox.

That way we’re ALL “releasing” not just weight, but TOXINS—bye-bye forever! And funding things that change the world, at the same time.

We’ve had about 35 beta testers of the GSG Detox program now. It’s a 26-days program, and everything is detailed for you: daily diet and habits, recipes, shopping lists, lots of info if you want to know WHY you’re doing all this.

Two levels to participate at, one for beginners, and one for the hard-core.

Everyone has lost between 7 and 20 lbs. My daughter and I were the only ones who lost only 7 lbs. More importantly, my beta testers reported their joints are free of inflammation, their head is clear, they need less sleep, their mood is positive, and they universally report feeling AMAZING.

Well. Matthew did report a few days of feeling homicidal, because he wanted to eat peanut butter. Or I don’t even know why he said that. I just tried to stay out of his way. You know how skinny people are. They’re not used to being deprived of anything.

Anyway, the point is we are VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT! Stay tuned around here and we’ll make a BIG DEAL about it when it’s ready. Every day you get a video or conference call with a detox-expert doctor on a different related topic. You get my coaches’ help (they helped test it!). You get a forum to talk with others participating. You get an email from me every day. You get a complete manual with all the recipes, information, shopping lists, and supporting information and science.

So back to the charities. I love Food Democracy Now, an organization that educates and fights against Monsanto, and fights for labeling laws so that we know what’s in our food, so we can eventually overturn the power that Monsanto has. My dream is that we stop genetically modifying our foods. At a minimum, tell consumers what’s in their food so we can OPT OUT!

That’s something I’m passionate about, where some of our dollars should go.

Tell me, WHERE ELSE? I intend to give thousands of dollars to some great places, starting in 2013! GreenSmoothieGirl staff will check out any U.S.-based humanitarian cause you send us to.

Colorado, here we come—and help for Aurora shooting and fires victims

As Kristin and I leave for the 10-hour drive to Colorado tomorrow, we are mindful of the terrible tragedy and suffering due to the shooting and the fires. Yesterday my team forwarded me an email about a woman attending my lecture whose daughter was shot in the face but has miraculously survived and has a good prognosis. My prayers are with you, Aurora.

If any of my readers are able to help, give through this organization recommended by the governor of Colorado:

www.givingfirst.org

Then write support123@greensmoothiegirl.com with the amount of your donation, and GSG will match.

We are excited and are loading our road bikes on the back of the GSG-mobile tomorrow, so we can stop and bike in Moab, and on the trails heading into Denver too. We passed them, longingly, on our way to Denver a year ago, and vowed to come with bikes this year.

 

See you soon, my Colorado friends!

Under the Big African Sky, part 2

In the village of Muukuni, everyone lives in huts made of mud and straw. The “palaces” of the female and male chiefs are just BIGGER straw-mud huts. Virtually everyone drops out of school at age 15 because their families cannot afford to send them to secondary school through age 18.

I am fascinated by this very large village comprised of smaller villages–with fenced compounds for each family. I believe I was there for a reason, and I intend to find out what that is. They don’t seem to have any help in sending children to school. Only 3 in the village with 3,400 school-age children have had the chance to go to college, which makes them local celebrities.

My guide, Philip Muwba, is 32 and wishes he could study to become a math teacher. Instead, he has a part time job giving tourists elephant rides. My other guide, Lumba Simulube, is a single mother of a 4-year old daughter, and she would love to study to be a nurse. I asked how many children would LIKE to go further in school, and they said, “Many! They just can’t afford to.”

But after age 11, parents must pay for uniforms, exams, and tuition. The exciting thing about this village I found in Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia), different than working with villages further north in Africa, is that Victoria Falls (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world) is just minutes away. So the large town of Livingstone has grown up around it, with secondary schools and a college where young people from the village can be educated. I am gathering more information to find out how directly I can work with those schools and the University of Zambia four hours away.

It’s very inexpensive to send an African child to school. I am hoping to put together a great way to sponsor the students who excel in school but have no way to access higher education. I have a contact in the village who is highly motivated to help ambitious, smart kids who have a desire to help their people, become educated and return to help their people. I hope to put something together that’s really cool and tell you about it, but first I have to research how you get money directly to the educational institutions to sponsor kids, etc. I’m talking to my full-time humanitarian friends.

Check out my photos of the children in the village fascinated by the photos we took of them. (You could entertain them for hours by taking their photo and showing it to them, as they have no mirrors and have never owned a photo of themselves.)  

We took four of the kids from the village (with their adult chaperon) to our five-star resort for the day. I can’t even describe how fun it was to watch 12-year old Precious, 6-year old twins Austin and Herbert, and 2-year old Kala, swim in a pool for the first time. Eat in a restaurant. Play with my two iPods. Watch soccer on TV. Kala couldn’t stop stroking my white skin and hair. All firsts for them.

They were completely fascinated by ice floating in glasses of water, and couldn’t eat enough of it. Ditto shaking salt on food. Shaking it on a plate and dipping their fingers, or their food, in it. It was an experience I will never forget.

Crazy times in Peru. Can you help?

You know I went to Peru with my daughter to serve the Sunflower Orphanage near Urubamba. After we were there, it poured rain in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, nonstop for 4 days and 4 nights. You may have heard about people being airlift-rescued out of Machu Picchu.

The hotel we stayed in? Destroyed. The restaurant we ate in? Destroyed. 30,000 homes gone. The Amazon rose to 4 times its normal height–and even when we were there, I stared at it for the 90-min. train ride to Machu Picchu, as it is the wildest river I’ve ever seen.

I’m glad to report that the orphanage (well located high on the hill) and all the kids are fine. The kids cleaned and widened the drainage systems the week before (Leo might be inspired?). Other families whose homes were destroyed climbed up to the orphanage for safety. Their school is okay. But the farm we planted in, that feeds the kids, was washed out. The clothes we sent have been given to many displaced people living in tents.

Another orphanage close by was destroyed, and 12 orphans desperately need a place to stay. Could you help by sponsoring a child? Here’s the link to do so, and may God bless you for helping:

http://www.genhu.org/greensmoothiegirl.html

Peru, part 6 with photos

I wrote earlier of a village we discovered with three people living there who are 110 to 120 years old. These are photos of one of the village elders, with the ancient Incan rings she found when she was a child on her hand.

The other photo is me with Kynet and Marco, whom I wrote about earlier. Marco is 4 years old and has cerebral palsy. Here’s my thought. If this mother in a third-world country, no recipes and no education, with a battered old blender and $200/mo. in income can feed her child a marvelous, whole-food diet . . . can we?

The Sunflower Orphanage, Peru Part 4

I have much more to tell you about our trip to Peru and especially the Sunflower Orphanage. In the swings (THANK YOU to GSG reader Patti for these photos!) are Purfita, Dayana, Janina, and me.

Janina is so cute and sweet, but she is impish and lets you know EXACTLY how she wants things to be! Dayana makes beautiful jewelry and drives a hard bargain. But she also wrapped a set of earrings up with gobs of paper and tape, and she and Janina presented them to me as a gift.

When I think of how badly I would like to take one or more of these girls out of Peru, I have to turn my brain away from the thought before my heart shatters in a million pieces, as impossible as that is.

The day we finished building this swing set, it rained all afternoon. The kids, though, took turns swinging all day long and into the night. No swing ever stood still. Classmates stood above the orphanage looking in, jealously. Some of these kids have never been in a swing. (Don’t worry, they figured it out. It didn’t take them long to learn to yell, “Empujame!” Push me! And to jump out at the height of the motion.)

In this photo with Cristofer, who is 7 years old and new to The Sunflower, whom Emma and I adore, we are hauling grass and rocks away before we built an outdoor wash basin. Cristofer rode in my wheelbarrow over and over, and it’s easy to carry him since he’s the size of a 4-year old! Seventeen percent of kids in Latin America are malnourished and Cristofer came as one of them. Now he gets three meals a day thanks to the generosity of Americans who sponsor kids at the Sunflower, run by two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.

I looked high and low for a humanitarian organization that is truly dedicated to the welfare of street children and orphans, where virtually all of your money reaches the intended cause. I already know the founders. But I wanted to go there to see it, touch it. And I asked the kids, the intern, everyone, lots of questions. This organization, and this amazing home, is the real deal. Let me tell you a couple of examples of why I love this place:

One day I was pushing kids in the swings and Gabriel saw one of the teenage girls get into a swing with a big handful of grapes. He stopped his swinging and walked over to her, to ask for some. She give him half. Then he went back to swinging but noticed 5-year old Janina standing nearby. He slowed his swing to a stop, silently reached over and gave her half of his grapes. Then he started swinging again.

He never even knew I saw this. I never saw a fight the whole time I was at the orphanage. I never heard an argument, never saw meanness or selfishness. (I wish I could say the same about my own kids.) These children were rescued from savage abuse. From hiding and trying to survive in the jungle. From begging on the streets. From alcoholic parents. Many of them don’t even know their own birthday, how old they are. Many have no memory prior to age 8 because of that magnificent ability the body has to protect us from horribly painful memories.

Nora is an MD and PhD cancer researcher at the famous Houston MD Anderson Clinic. She came with a GSG reader (and often translated for us, including letters to the kids as we left, since she is a native of Argentina). Nora decided during the trip to sponsor a beautiful, quiet girl named Margot. (That means she pays the $37/month that covers Margot’s meals, and Nora is going to skype with Margot and send her clothes and shoes.) Margot was confiding in Nora the gossip at the Sunflower. “Papi Leo,” she whispered, “might convert this place to be an orphanage!” Margot ran away from two previous orphanages. At the Sunflower, the gates are always open, but no one has ever run away. The kids seem very genuinely happy to me.

Margot has no idea the Sunflower IS an orphanage. To her, it’s just . . .

HOME.

Here’s where you sponsor one of the kids:

http://www.genhu.org/greensmoothiegirl.html