Sunday, March 22, 2009

World Water Day

What $20 will buy:

Check out this video from charity: water

And CNN's coverage

100% of money raised goes to digging wells.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rebecca in Africa

Despite all the fears about the economy, I am excited and raring to go for change, and I have an amazing opportunity to work on a documentary short film in Ethiopia this May.

I rarely write letters asking for financial support to travel somewhere to work. Those who know me and know my love for travel and wanderlust know that if I did, you’d be receiving this email every other Tuesday.

But when I feel something is worth it, when I feel a strong connection to the work, I’m willing to set up shop on 3rd Street Promenade and mime for money. With JJ Peterson, my good friend and a creative, crazy spirit, I have the opportunity to co-direct and co-produce a short film to raise awareness for Life In Abundance (LIA), a non-profit founded by African nationals who work with street kids, AIDS orphans and at-risk kids in eastern Africa.

Though the goal of the film is to raise awareness and funds for the needs and the work that LIA is doing in Ethiopia and Kenya, the film will be far from the typical statistic-filled PSA you may see on TV and film. We know the statistics; they’re overwhelming and feel insurmountable. Our goal is to make a short film that uses story telling and the power of the visual medium to take you into the lives of a few individuals. Through the life and experiences of Marta, an African woman who works daily with the street kids, you will connect on a human level with the powerful stories of both the needs and the transformations that are happening. The film will be finished by the fall and we will begin the submission process for film festivals, as well as use it as a fund-raising tool for LIA.

Our hope is to break down the “us and them” walls that statistics build, that the film will be one more step in realizing how much we all have in common in our hopes, fears and dreams for this life. As Madeleine L’enge wrote, “that which connects us is far greater than that which separates.”

If this project sounds like something you would like to invest in financially, I need to raise the cost of my plane ticket (approximately $2500) and, since I am unemployed as of the end of March (a whole other story – email me for details), I would like to raise a salary for the 10 days I am gone and working on the film, to cover expenses, electricity and rent. Your donation is tax deductible, please donate online at, scroll down to "You choose" and put my name in the subject line, or make the check out to:

Life in Abundance International

Attn: Ethiopia film (Rebecca Snavely)

1605 East Elizabeth St. Ste U-7B
Pasadena, CA 91104

And write Rebecca Snavely in the memo line of the check.

If you’re unable to give financially, I would greatly appreciate your good thoughts and prayers about the project and the kids, who are the entire purpose of all the efforts made.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, and pass on to anyone who might be interested in supporting the film.

Here’s a bit about LIA, a couple of statistics with more specifics about how the non-profit works with the kids:

It is estimated there are approximately 48 millions orphans in Africa. LIA’s Street Children Rehabilitation Program targets hard core youth who live full-time on the street. They enter into a three year program where they are placed in peers houses with other street youth. Each youth receives a food stipend, school fees, basic household necessities, counseling, tutoring, vocational training and discipleship training.

Surprisingly, 95% of orphaned children actually have family to care for them. Their family members, however, are largely too poor to keep the children. The result is that they bring the child to an orphanage or put them on the streets. In order to keep the family together, LIA and our church partners support vulnerable families through food stipends, medical care, micro enterprise training and support, school fees, and spiritual counsel.

When both parents have passed away, LIA works to empower family members to serve as orphan care-takers in our Community Orphan Based Care program. If family members aren’t available, LIA and our partner churches find safe, neighboring families for the child to live with. We then serve to empower the family through food donations, paying school fees, offering medical help and providing micro-enterprise opportunities. Community based orphan care provides an opportunity for orphaned children to remain in their local context, preferably with a family member, in their local culture.

Thank you for considering giving toward the making of the film, and most of all, I am thankful for your good thoughts and support as a friend.

(If I knew anything in Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia, I would write it here.)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Riddle me this -- life lessons at the bar

"I've got a riddle for you," he said to me and my friend.

I was drinking my smart juice (kamikaze, on the rocks), so I felt pretty confident.

"A man and his son are in a car accident," says Jason (or James? or Scott? doesn't really affect the story). "The man dies immediately, and the boy is taken to the E.R., in critical condition. When he gets into surgery, the surgeon takes one look at him and says, "I can't operate on him. This is my son."

"How is that possible?" asks J___.

His friend clarifies, the boy's dad died instantly in the car crash? Right. He takes a stab -- it's a gay couple?


I'm impatient and my drink is running low, and all my metaphysical guesses about angels and a time-space continuum are missing the mark, so we finally demand the answer.

"The surgeon was the boy's mother."

I wanted to kick myself with my kitten heel. How had I not thought of that? I'd like to blame an alcohol-addled mind for thinking "angel" but not "female surgeon," but I was sobered, and by the way, not in the mood to be hit on at a bar.

I still feel a little sick to my stomach to realize how the socialization of our country, our world, has warped my thinking.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.
Life's a bitch.
You've got to go out and kick ass

~ Maya Angelou ~