Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm rich!!! Help me decide how to spend my new found fortune.


Your refund for ICANN Fee overpayment


Dear Blake Schmidt,

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN(R)) recently agreed to reduce their Registrar Transaction Fee from $.25 to $.22. What does this mean for you?

Good news. You have been credited $.03/yr for each domain name you registered or renewed dating back to July 1, 2006* -- $.03 has been placed into your Go Daddy(R) account with this customer number: #######.

Your in-store credit will be applied to your purchases at until it's gone or for up to 12 months, whichever comes sooner. If you have any questions, please contact a customer service representative at 480-###-####.

As always, thank you for being a Go Daddy customer.


Bob Parsons

CEO and Founder

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tempestuous times at Iracambi with heavy rains and raging rivers

For those of you who have been following my blog lately you have seen what I believe are two promises of photos of recent "floods" we had in the area due to torrential downpour and over flowing river banks. If you don't believe me after the photo above take a look at the next few. The first in each set was taken on Tuesday the 24th and the second few days later from about the same position. The rain that produced the first of each set was rather hard and lasted for about an hour and it was amazing to come down to the kitchen area and see how the river was being swept away. A few days later when I made the trek down to Casa do Barro I saw that one of the foot bridges we use had been clearly moved by the floods.
As we are in autumn heading in to winter the rain is supposed to lessen and I wonder if this was the last real rainy week I will see here at Iracambi. The bridge we use to cross and head up the hill is almost not necessary as seen in the above photo.
I sure wouldn't have tried to cross this frothing waterway on this day, especially as our foot bridge which is barely visible (mostly underwater) in the middle patch of trees near the far side of the bank, was inaccessible and in danger of being swept away. The furor of this normally calm river (almost stream) was quite amazing.
The group of trees almost to the far right of this picture is the same one where the footbridge was during the above shot and amazingly enough it survived. I stood in almost the same position to take this photo and if I didn't tell you there was water coming down you almost might not believe me.
This is the path we walk across to get to the viveiro (nursery), some trails, and head to part of the community and on this day it was only crossable in boots or bare feet but even then moving rather swiftly from left to right.
Here is that same path!!!! These final two were just some of the calm after the storm which gave a good sign that drier more peaceful times were on their way.
What a lovely way to end a photo story almost as nice as a sunset!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Offline and doing just fact getting a lot done on my capstone proposal and more.

Since last Tuesday, not counting today, we have had internet at Iracambi for just 24 hours and although unwanted and a pain at times it turned out to be a great help for me at least. I am in the midst of my capstone proposal for The School for International Training which I plan to have done and off to SIT in a week. While I did need the net to do research especially for my literature review and bibliography I really didn't need it to distract me with my blog, Facebook, MySpace and more.
The internet returned this morning and was off through a combination of company banking error as they thought we hadn't paid our account and thus they cut us off and technical mess up here as a cord was not properly in place. It is nice to be back online but in truth it was good to have less distractions than normal this past week as I was working on my proposal. Now, I just have to make sure not to get too distracted now that I am online again. As I promised a week ago the pictures of Iracambi's raging river and flooded areas will be coming up soon as I sure haven't forgotten. I just need to get some of the "drier" times here so that you can appreciate the bubbling, red, fast moving river we experienced after a drenching downpour.
In other news Alana, who has been helping me a ton with my proposal, taught me how to make eggplant Parmesan night for dinner, which was enjoyed by all and is one of my favorite dishes. Tonight we will be making "couve" Mocambican style complete with ground peanuts and coconut milk. It will actually be my first time trying this dish outside of Mocambique and will be complemented with equally nice tomato and coconut rice which is ohhh sooo nice. If it goes off well then Carminha our great lunch time cook has asked me to show her how to do it too!!! YUMMY!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Impeaching Bush just took a step in the right direction or left however you see it.

In case you haven't heard the Vermont Senate made a great first move in the chess match of a lifetime to get impeach President Bush and his little friend Dick. I am proud to say that I lived in Vermont for 9 month doing my on campus portion of my masters degree. I must say that other than Oregon Vermont is one of the best States to see Subaru Outbacks, socks with sandals and Progressives. One of my best memories was the Al Franken show live in a theater in Brattleboro where I lived. At this show people were talking to Al about such moves towards impeachment and I am glad to see it has come to fruition. For more you can read this article from the Vermont Guardian. Go Green Mountain State!!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lost in Translation..a gay mixed race couple in South Africa?...Afrikaans to Portuguese to Dutch to English to Portuguese.

I am not afraid to say that I love this guy and he is one of my best friends in the whole world but this blog is all about Marcilio's stubbornness which must have provided and still be providing laughs for Afrikaans speakers in South African.

For those of you, like me, who can't read Afrikaans that is ok because my friend Ruud from the Netherlands, who left us here at Iracambi on Sunday to return home, graciously agreed to translate the shirt into English. In Afrikaans it reads "Vanaf 25/06/2005 geraak ik die vent niet meer kwijt." In English this means "Since July, 25th, 2005, I can't get rid of this guy anymore.” Which Ruud surmised must have been a “fun wedding present for a bride” a good guess if I say so.

This might explain why Marcilio and I got such strange looks at the “Joburg City Day” concert we went to together. Can you imagine people at the concert who were able to read Marcilio’s shirt and wondering whether the guy he hasn’t been able to get rid of since July ’05 was me? They must have found us to be an unusual couple for sure. Yes, Marcilio you owe me an apology because I warned you on multiple occasions to not wear the shirt without knowing what it means but in retrospect it was a great shirt to wear and I think you should continue to wear it. What a cool international shirt for sure from Afrikaans to Portuguese to Dutch to English and back to Portuguese for me to explain to Marcilio.

A great weekend to you all and don’t forget it is important to have at least one person in your life who you can’t get rid of but also can’t live without like my great buddy Marcilio.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blacked out, off line and out of touch. Electricity and internet back, still waiting on the phone.

If you are one of the many visitors from Canada, the US, UK, South Africa or Australia or myriad of other countries who has visited my blog in the last few days you might have wondered why I haven't updated my blog since Sunday. Well the reason is simple, Tuesday around 1:30 PM a rain storm descended upon Iracambi with thunder and lighting and when it was over some 45 minutes later we were without power and internet and later in the evening when the battery had died out telephone as well. As you might guess this made it just a bit hard to update my blog and hence the 3 day hiatus.

To be honest I don't have much to share other than that we now have internet and electricity the two necessary components that when added to my laptop make this entry possible. Our telephone is a different story as it is a "rural cellular" and the receiver is located on a hillside above us. Yes, any of us could walk up there to reset the switch and get it back on but that would be too easy. So, why haven't we? Well, it is simple the key to open up the receiver is with one of the people who works for the "fazenda" (farm) and as far as I know he has yet to bring the key by so that we can open the box, flip the switch and get our phone back. In fact I spent over three hours this morning going around the property to get to a phone that worked, call the internet and telephone people, find the guy, Joao, with the key and try and get us back online. Tomorrow or over this weekend you can look forward to pics I took on Tuesday of the river below our kitchen running very high/flooding after the rain that took out our communication tools. With pics that compare how it looks today and how it looked after the rain you will see that the river after the rain really was overflowing, fast and muddy. Gotta run as I am off to cook dinner with Gustavo.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Possibly the first and last Brasilian wedding I will ever attend or the longest of Blake's rambling rants ever.

I love new experiences which is one of the big reasons that I love to live, work and travel abroad but seriously by the end of this grueling day we were at the point where we could either laugh, cry or get really upset and fortunately we chose to joke about the ludicrous happenings of the day. This might be a good time to remind you all that "this website does not represent the views of Amigos de Iracambi, its founders, staff, volunteers, etc."ONLY MINE, BLAKE H. SCHMIDT.
Myself with the groom, Fabio, and one of his relatives. We are at Fabio's parent's home a few hours before the wedding for lunch and this is the room where the wedding loot was being torn into as the guests were waiting outside for food to be served. The bride wasn't even here to see the present be opened. Not exactly as I have seen it done in the US. The painting was done by Toni, one of our long term volunteers, from Spain (Catalonia) who spends part of his time painting (to bring in some income) and the rest of the time in the nursery and overseeing reforestation projects. All of us from Iracambi (staff, volunteers and researcher) who went to the wedding contributed to buy this painting from Toni and give it to the lovely couple.
"Hurry up and wait" seemed to be the theme of the day and those without patience were basically doomed from the start. The scene before your ideas is of people milling around the tables where food was "soon" to be placed so that the over hundred people at the lunch before the wedding could dig in and fill their faces. For those of us that call ourselves vegetarians we had the choice of beans and rice or pasta which aren't bad options and heck beans and rice is the main staple for what I would imagine is the most of the world's population. That said in Mozambique at weddings I went to even veggies normally got more interesting food or at least something more than beans, rice and pasta. The worst part might have been the dish I served myself having been told it was vegetarian and then finding out after a bite that I had most likely consumed at least a bit of intestines. When you haven't eaten meat in 7 years the last thing you want is the entrails of some unidentified animal for lunch.
From left to right, Rosa Virginia, Ruud, Bryan and Lucy. Rosa Virginia is from SIT (born in Venezuela and now living in the US) getting her Masters in International Education and helping with our Environmental Education program here. Ruud, who sadly enough just left today, was here for six weeks on his vacation from his job at a "handyman" store in the Netherlands to do a ton of carpentry work, step building with rocks, wood and dirt, and more here. Bryan, from the England, is our resident ornithologist and cake/bread baker and it is always fun to tease Bryan by describing some "exotic" bird you have just seen and pointing him in the direction of it and seeing him run off to see it. Lucy, also from England, is a long term volunteer doing grant writing, using her skills as a sound tech, helping Ruud build stairs, Toni and others plant trees and much more. This will serve as our before picture, although I don't have an after, when we were still happy, clean and full of food.
Some of the forms of transport used to get to the lunch. Not pictured horses, cars, a bus and feet. By the end of the night most all of these vehicles would be obsolete as they would be stuck in the mud or overcrowded with those trying to reach home without taking a mud bath. As lunch was finally being served (it really wasn't that late) it started to sprinkle and then rain rather heavily and then after everyone had eaten, chatted and was ready to head out to go to the bus to travel to the church, head home to change to get other transport to the church or go home having enjoyed a free meal it the heavens opened and it began to pour. It came down heavily for a good 45 minutes and when the leprechaun and pot of gold had finally come out most people were gone and those of us that remained started to slow head to the bus. At least it let up long enough to get there but if the muddy roads were any indication what the rest of the day would bring and we had really been thinking we probably would have headed home and called it a day.
Binka, one of Iracambi's founders, along with Alana, a volunteer helping Iracambi and me greatly with volunteer coordinating. Binka is very boisterous and forward thinking person who has written books, had at least one adapted into a radio piece, worked on National Geographic documentaries, founded a growing and successful NGO, Iracambi, lived around the world and much more. Alana, other than being a Florida Gator alum and fan is a great person and has really brought a great spirit to Iracambi not to mention excellent baking that has made most add one or more notches to their belts.
Some scenery after the first rain shower when it was still daylight and could dry a bit and between lunch, wedding and the day that would never end.
These ugly mugs, no not the guys below, are one of the main reasons that this area has been deforested. But we have to live and work with some of the same people that caused the problems Iracambi is working to reverse and this includes keeping our friends close and our enemies closer.
Gustavo, Virgilio (a former volunteer who just came for the wedding), and Rosa Virginia in the background waiting for the bus. As I said below wait was the "word of the day" as Pee-Wee Herman used to call it. Of course the last person to show was the bus driver, 30 minutes late.
The main square in the small town of Belahorzario, where Fabio and his bride ???? got married. I know it is rude to not know the bride's name but I hadn't even met the groom until earlier in the day and supposedly we were invited by him. To be fair his brother was working here up until the end of last month, his mother is our cook and he has other family that works for Iracambi. In fact their family makes up over half of the family in the community of Graminha which is one of nine that Iracambi calls its neighbors and with which we are trying to work to fulfill our mission "to work with the community to make the conservation of the forest more attractive than its destruction."
More pics from around this little town. It was clear that the wedding was the "thing" happening last night. I think that many of the people in the church were most likely neither friends of the groom or the bride but those who decide to join the wedding and see what the "fun" was all about.
This building with the radio antennae is where Iracambi's weekly radio program, written and recorded by Junior, is broadcast each Thursday. Supposedly it (the radio signal, not our segment) is only supposed to cover a small radius but illegally reaches far beyond its boundaries. Lucy who is our "Coordinator of Fund Raising and Sound Engineering" is working with Junior to improve the quality of our segment and also get it up on the internet in Portuguese and English as a "podcast".
Lucy and Alana having a snack before the wedding still on a honeymoon of sorts where the idea of attending still sounded like a good idea. Oh ye of little premonition.
The blushing bride and her father (I assume) but like most of you I have never met him and only said "ola" and "parabens" to her so I honestly don't know their names or much more about them than you at home do. Now I know this might not seem very SIT (my very politically correct grad school) to say this but at 16 years of age how the heck does she know that she is in love let alone have the education and life skills to get married. Just something to ponder and her, now husband, is only 20 so he is not far ahead. Really though it was great to be invited and involved and the alternative would have been sitting home emailing or doing something else "outside" of Brasil and it was good to have this cross-cultural experience as painful as it might have been at times.
We weren't really sure which side to sit on so we choose the right which might have actually been the wrong side but since many of the events of this wedding day were different then what most of us were used to it didn't seem to matter anyway. The part that I haven't photographed mainly as mud, rain and an expensive digital camera don't go well together happened after the "reception" at the bride's parent's house. We were told to get on the bus immediately after the ceremony so 45 minutes later when the driver started the bus we dashed on only to wait a few more minutes for those who obviously didn't take the driver revving the engine as a sign that we were leaving. Then we rushed to the bride's parent's home only to wait about an hour for the bride and groom to arrive, take photos for over 30 minutes and finally almost two hours after getting there start handing out the BIGGEST cake you have ever seen in your life. At least it wasn't chocolate but it also wasn't moist. When it became clear that food, drink and entertainment was hours away, that is if it was even going to come, we thought to leave. We found the driver who was also thinking to bail, rounded up the rest of the people who had ridden with us, said our goodbyes and got in the bus. Upon entering Ruud was good enough to point out that our bus was nose to nose with another bus on a road just barely big enough for one road to go down. This was perfect as that bus was loaded and it began to rain. Now rain, dirt and two big buses facing each other on a hilly rural road with not enough room to pass each other go really well together. For a while we followed the other bus (which was in reverse) until surprise surprise it got stuck. A heroic effort was made by some (not us as we knew it was impossible with out a tractor) to push the other bus and get it going and after playing "10 fingers" for about 45 minutes we decided to walk home. 10 kms, 2 plus hours and lots of rain and mud later we made it home and I haven't risen from my bed since. J/K (just kidding). In fact Rosa Virginia and I got a ride about half the way home but the others spent another hour or so walking. It sure wasn't we had bargained for or envisioned and I am sure we each could come up with a list of all the "important" things that we could have done with our Saturday instead but really it was a day we can't and don't want to recreate, won't forget and really couldn't miss. From noon on Saturday until almost midnight we were "victims" of circumstance and complaints aside, while I wouldn't choose to do it again, this was the kind of thing that I came to Brasil to experience. Best to the bride and groom!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Petition to get rid of Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz, once a top Bush aide on the Iraq war, has been an ineffective president of the World Bank--and now he's been caught in a corruption scandal. Sign the petition calling for him to be fired.

Paul Wolfowitz -- architect of the Iraq war, president of the World Bank, and self-styled scourge of corruption -- has been caught red-handed in corruption himself, arranging a huge pay raise for his girlfriend and hiding the evidence.

Wolfowitz's rigid ideology, unilateral decision-making, and domineering style have demoralized the Bank's staff and undercut the Bank's efforts to reduce poverty. This corruption scandal could be the last straw. World Bank board members are deciding on his fate now--and a massive global outcry could ensure that his presidency comes to an end. Add your name to the petition below: (This text was taken from, click here to sign the petition)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus is done, for now, shouldn't others be told to hit the road? Try Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Savage and the other racist, sexist media types.

My dad just forwarded me an email from Media Matters for America which quotes David Brock the President and CEO of Media Matters on Don Imus being fired by CBS. Part of the text from that email is below and you can visit to sign up to their mailing list and learn more about the state of our media today.

“Washington, DC - In the aftermath of CBS Radio's decision to cancel Don Imus' syndicated radio show Imus in the Morning, David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters for America, released the following statement regarding the overall tone of talk radio and cable news today.”

"I applaud CBS for listening to reason and canceling Imus in the Morning. Viewers and listeners sent the clear message that they would no longer tolerate bigotry on America's airwaves," said David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters for America, the organization first to post on Don Imus' racist comments of April 4th. "It is our hope that this incident will begin a broader conversation about the responsibility that news corporations, journalists, and media figures have to the American public. This is an opportunity for the media to truly raise the bar to a higher standard and return to the fundamentals of journalism."

For more you can also visit the following link with the entire email my dad forwarded to me or this one which gives an even more complete set of examples of how Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Savage and others have truly gotten out of control. Aren't there enough problems in our world today without these idiots sitting in front of the mics and cameras and filling our heads with such hateful speech?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Become a Republican

Dear friends,
I know that many of you think that I am a progressive liberal loving lily-livered socialist who bleeds blue but that is just not true. I love the dream of a small federal government so by cutting social security, Medicare, education and more down to the core and increasing our spending on stealth bombers, ray guns and invading sovereign nations. Hell if we ain't gonna police this planet that God put us in charge of who is? I say we should mount a posse, yell our war cry "yippee kaye mother f@c&er" and take over all countries from Cairo to Capetown, Bangladesh to get the point.

So if you want to join me in a crusade to liberate ourselves from the evil ones go to the following link and learn how to "become a republican"
We sure can't celebrate being red, white and blue before we turn that blue in to red and celebrate monochromaticness since white isn't a color and we sure don't want any diversity in our nation. BTW, by the way, WE the world's policemen have the right to make up words like monochromaticness because if anyone gets in our way we can just blow 'em away. And better yet if it already is a word we can just claim it is our own and sue those jerks who are stealing our original idea. Isn't America great!

Bleed red with me,
Blake H. Schmidt

Not trying to take Nate's job as funny man of the family but sharing a "knee slapper" with you all.

Thanks Sherwood for sending this joke out via email about a month ago around St. Paddy's Day time. I add this "tongue and cheek" email to my blog knowing that the reality about the subject joked about below is devastating and too close to home for many thousands of people each day around the world. Don't worry Nate I won't be trying to take over your stand up/improv spot in the family so for now you can rest well as the thrown remains yours.

"At a U2 concert in Ireland, Bono asks the audience for some quiet.

Then in the silence, he starts to slowly clap his hands.

Holding the audience in total silence, he says into the microphone..."Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies."

A voice from near the front of the audience pierces the silence..."Fookin' stop doin' it, then!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sick to my stomach and he calls himself a "good person". Don Imus you should be ashamed of yourself and out of a job!!!!

Again out of the loop thanks to being out of the country which with stories like these sounds better and better each day. Why do these idiots have jobs let alone the kind that let them influence hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. It is too bad that sex, inuendo, discrimination and just plane bad taste sell because if people didn't tune in and turn on these jerks then they wouldn't make money and would be out of a job and doing some real work for a living. And then those of us with a conscious, sense of decency, interest in colors beyond the green of dollars and concern for our fellow humans and the planet could have the helm of these instruments that disseminate information to the masses and influence opinion and action.

Wouldn't it be great for the leader of an organization in Washington D.C, Johannesburg, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong or Kiev doing work to help people get skilled up to get better jobs, volunteer to help others, clean up dirty river beds, fight forest fires, etc. had the mic instead of Howard, Don, Rush and the rest of these people who use phobias, mis/lack of education, isolationism and more to create legions of mindless viewers, readers, listeners who in an attempt to mimic their "role models" wreak havoc in the life's of others and the one and only planet we can and most likely will be able to inhabit. Isn't it funny how people hide behind "our" free speech protections when it is convenient for them. Enough of my diatribe now on to the reason I began writing this in the first place which were the recent racist, sexist, completely inappropriate and stupid comments that Don Imus, his executive producer Bernard McGuirk and sports announcer Sid Rosenberg, made on Imus' show. For more I suggest you read these three articles from which will surely make you want to find more at Salon, BBC and where ever you get your news from.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The World Bank and State Department can't be. Well actually just ask Wolfowitz and his girlfriend and you might get a different answer.

My uncle Terry again alerted me to an article from Salon's "War Room". This one was published on Monday and is called "A very expensive neocon love affair" and no it is not about the alleged affair (unless it was proved when I was out of the loop) between our President and Condi but in this case it does show that Miss Rice is being screwed in another way. It appears that the "architect" of the Iraq "war", who for the record I wouldn't pay to design a pillow case, used his power and position to get a new job and pay raises for a "friend" a.k.a lover. For more you can read the article here at Salon. A teaser is below with another link to the article:

"...World Bank employee Shaha Riza was assigned to work at the State Department in 2005 after it became known that she was romantically involved with Wolfowitz, who had just become the bank's president.' For more visit this link. After you read the article you will understand why my uncle ended his email saying"And for those of you looking for the hypocrisy hook, remember that the World Bank often conditions aid to a developing country on the country showing progress in curbing governmental waste and corruption."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spending the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) selling out to Myspace and Facebook....all 2 bring more visitors to my blog, pathetic maybe.......

.....but my hope is that it will prove to be effective and increase the traffic to my blog. As I mentioned a few days ago, a week ago to be exact, I have posted over 100 photos on my blog, now closer to 140, and numerous stories about my work, colleagues, cultural experiences, etc. and especially for all those of you who email and ask me how it is going and for those who will be dazzled by another one of my infamous slide shows when I return the blog is a great way to know more about me and whet your appetite.

For those of you who subscribe to my blog through Feedblitz of which there are a dozen of you it may have come to your attention that you weren't getting your daily email summaries from my blog. That is because sadly enough prior to today many weeks if not months have passed since I wrote an entry on the actual day it was dated for and only those entries written and posted on the same day get emailed to you. I am sorry for being so busy but at least I have caught up with the past few weeks worth of stories and photos for you all to enjoy.

As I mentioned above I have spent many hours this weekend working on adding friends and setting up a new account from Facebook which I did for two reasons. The first was to appease my coworkers and volunteers here at Iracambi who have started our own Facebook group including a cat named Tripod. The crew here was harassing me to join and share photos, etc. so I acquiesced more to promote my own blog than anything and plus on my blog they can find plenty of great photos! As of now 48 hours after being created I have make that 64 friends. Then once I got the hang of Facebook and had a ton of "new" friends I decided to work on my MySpace page which I created last year but really never used. I only have 10 friends in the less than 24 hours since I started it but it is a good start and I am sure that once my friends get done with their Easter egg hunting they will surely accept my generous offer to be online friends. If you want to see my MySpace page you can go to and if you want to see my Facebook page you can go here.

In the end I think this will be a good way to keep in touch with the hundreds of friends in almost 30 countries around the world or at least pass a rainy weekend in the middle of the Atlantic Forest.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A great guy!!!

Just a quick shout out to a great guy who I have had the pleasure of working , playing, talking and living with during my first two months in Brasil. Sadly enough Alexandre can't stay with us forever as he has his studies and ironically enough I don't think any of us are going to realize how much we will miss him until it is too late and he is gone. People come and go here at Iracambi and for someone like myself staying for at least 6 months these arrivals and departures become normal but at the same time it is not always easy to see people go, especially the irreplaceable ones like Alexandre who are artistic, culinary geniuses, team players, creative, willing to self sacrifice and always looking to make others happy. Thanks Alexandre, travel well and do keep in touch!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Using the fancy search engine embedded in my blog I type in Tillman and came up with two entries I wrote in late October last year which both made mention Kevin Tillman the brother of former NFL star and Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan by friendly-fire. Well here is another posting about Kevin and the cover-up that went higher up in the D.C. food chain then the general public knew before. In fact according to the Scott Lindlaw of the Associated Press a "general tried to warn bush about Tillman" and surprisingly enough "our commander and chief" didn't heed this warning but went on lying to the family, pubic, etc. This article can be viewed at One teaser from the article to peak your interest is "The Tillman family has charged that the military and the Bush administration deliberately deceived his relatives and the nation to avoid turning public opinion against the war." Hmmm can you imagine our government doing this?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kenya update: This Duck isn't a chicken.

You may recall last month that I wrote about how many from the US were electing not to compete probably as they were worried a US bomber flying back from bombing raids over Somalia or might drop its load in the middle of the race. I wrote about it here. Well fortunately a few US runners did go to participate among them a fellow Portlander.

It takes a brave Oregonian and a Portlander none the less to compete in Mombasa, Kenya is what Kenny Klotz of University of Oregon recently proved.Klotz representing the UO Ducks was the leader of the (US) American (junior) team who competed at the IAAF Cross Country Championships last month in Mombasa. My dad forwarded me an article from with this story which you can read if you want to know more.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Regional Medicinal Plants Workshop in Rosario da Limeira

This past weekend interested groups and individuals from throughout our state of Minas Gerais and the larger region descended on the small town of Rosario da Limeira (a few thousand inhabitants) for the 3rd Meeting about Community Work with Medicinal Plants and Homeopathy. It was held Friday through Sunday, they easily had the 200 participants that they wanted (200 was the cap on participants) plus some of us who came to visit for shorter periods of time. I went along with Robin, Binka, Alana, Jim and some visitors who had come to talk about potential funding for Iracambi and wanted to talk with community members who have worked for/with Iracambi and some of these people were at the meeting. Below are some photos I took from the meeting of workshops, our booth, volunteers/staff at the meeting as well as visitors from the meeting who came to Iracambi on Sunday to walk on our "medicinal plants", visit our nursery and generally learn more about what Iracambi does and offers to surrounding communities.
Alexandre is to the left pointing and behind him with the teal green shirt is Everaldo who works for Iracambi doing maintenance and more and also sells us eggs and cheese from his farm.Our booth at the meeting with posters designed by volunteers Hannah and Joanna, soaps by Everaldo and Alexandre and wooden boxes and other containers by Alexandre.
Rosa Virginia and Alana smelling some of Alexandre and Everaldo's soaps made from honey, citronella and other plants/ingredients found/produced at Iracambi or by others locally.
From left to right, me of course, Rasmus, Andreas, Alana, Hannah, Joanna, Claudio and Alexandre.
Visitors from meeting walking our medicinal plants trail which I walked on for the first time while taking these pictures although it is just a few hundred yards from my door. I have no real excuse other than being busy and lazy. I have hiked few trails here but figure I have lots of time to do them all.
One of the plants marked with this sign to tell its name (common and scientific) as well as what illnesses/diseases it can be used to cure.
Marcelo who I have mentioned in other entries who is our resident tree and plant expert, great link to the community, great baker, guitar player and all around nice guy, pointing out some of the plants/trees to the group as we walked on the trail.
The entrance to the viveiro/nursery which is run mainly by a volunteer, Toni, with help from volunteers and community members. This is where the seeds are germinated and seedlings raised that we use in our reforestation work. Toni is looking for a helper (no real experience needed) if any of you are interested!
Group discussing what they had seen on the trail and exchanging ideas on medicinal plants, Iracambi, etc.
One of the bamboo tables with various plants in different stages of growth under a makeshift roof out of sacs from rice, cement, etc.
Some of the little guys doing their best to grow good and strong.
One of the greenhouses with wood piled up outside being used to construct new tables and repair old one.
Some of the ground beds where seedlings are transfered and experimentation takes place.
Robin, one of the founders of Iracambi talking with a visitor from Limeira.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fooled ya......

What better day to shamelessly promote my own blog on my own blog through this entry!

Sorry I have been so delinquent in updating my blog these past few months but there is a lot of work to do here at Iracambi not to mention my responsibilities with my capstone for SIT, staying in touch with family and friends around the world, involving myself in the community here and much much more!