Thursday, December 25, 2008
Lisa and I were just hanging out after I worked today and decided to take Kerry and Isaac's suggestion regarding kiva.org.
We made our first two microloans, which you can read more about on our lender page.
We also decided to show a little more holiday spirit by donating bees and a couple of shares of goat through Heifer International.
Go people, go and do some good things!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
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Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Take a close look at this photo, taken before the start of the 2008 Hilly Hundred. What do you think is most remarkable?
There are many things that are remarkable: The sheer volume of spandex in the photo? The number of physicians in the photo (8)? The number of smiles despite the pain ahead? However, there is one thing that is more remarkable than all of the rest put together.....
LISA KOHLI rode her first Hilly Hundred on Saturday 10/18/08. I'll repeat that, because I can't quite believe it myself. Lisa Kohli rode 50 miles on a bicycle through the best hills that Southern Indiana has to provide. Not only did she ride the whole way, she kicked butt and finished in style. For me, it was a dream come true.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Two weekends ago we went to St. Louis and took in a Cardinal's game with our good friends Katie and Chris. We walked around St. Louis at night and didn't even get shot.
We saw a girl that was near death from alcohol on the Landing which was creepy. I haven't seen someone that sedated, even *at work* for some time.
Check flickr for the rest of the photos.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Went to the Indianapolis Red Bull MotoGP this weekend. Had a great time despite the weather. Kreg, Dad, and Don all came in. We had a few extra tickets for the race so my new buddy Jon, and my old friend Fritz came along as well. The race was certainly exciting, and I reordered our tickets for next year already.
This race blew the 500 and Brickyard away in several areas: for one it's not nearly as massive so it's a ton easier to park and get around. Also, the crowd wasn't nearly as rowdy and there were a ton of vendors nicely laid out in the paddock. You can't beat umbrella girls either. It was a true joy and will be even better when the weather cooperates with riding in.
We also went to the flat-track race on Saturday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I've never been to a flat-track race, and it was really something to see all of those Harleys flying around sideways nearly the whole time. We even ran into Nicky Hayden in the pits, which was way cool, although I screwed Kreg over and missed his photo op - sorry!
Kreg took some great pictures both at the motogp and the dirt track, so we'll look forward to his posts on flickr.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Lisa and I had a great trip up to Petoskey, MI with Kreg and Barb. Everyone survived 26 miles on the Wheelpath. No one rolled into Lake Michigan, which was a plus! Check out some of the new photos on flickr.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Also, another piece of cool software: VirtuaWin which is allows you to have multiple desktops. Just like MacOS X's "Spaces". You can even run a full-screen VMWare player in a separate "desktop". Great for people who don't have multiple monitors.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
One thing that I've really been enjoying lately is a "keystroke launcher" called Launchy. Launchy scans your start menu and allows you to launch programs without the stupid slow start menu. You basically hit "alt-space" and type in the first few letters of what you want to open. So starting up firefox is as easy as "alt-space fir enter" If there are more programs that would match "fir" it will show you a list and remember which one you pick. It's definitely
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
We've been having a great visit to see K & I. Yesterday we spent the day leisurely bumming up and down Highway 1. For a good portion of the day we could see lightening and rain off in the distance, which is odd for this time of year. Eventually we ran on the following images:
They were fighting a forest fire that was started by lightening. It was pretty cool to see the helicopter ferrying water back and forth from the ocean to try to quench the flames. Check out some of the other photos on flickr.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
For the record here's the list of games that I'm going to be playing while not outdoors this summer -
Thursday, March 6, 2008
One of the interesting things that came out of the documentary is this: They did a review of all the scientific publications on global warming and found that out of close to 400 publications there wasn't a single one that refuted the truth of global warming. On the other hand 53% of the news articles published during the same time period disputed the truth of global warming. What an amazing disconnect.
Both of us basically understand that global warming is bad, but I don't think that either of us could pinpoint just how bad, which the documentary does a good job of illustrating. It is obvious that the presidential loss still smarts, and he does use the movie to toot his own horn a bit, but overall it's a good movie that I would recommend to everyone.
Indianapolis Power and Light actually offers green power, so for a $5/mo all of the electricity that we consume in the house comes from renewable sources, which is pretty cool for progressive Indiana.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Rejoicing all over Kenya is the rule of the day.
About an hour ago, an historic agreement was signed by Raila Odinga and President Kibaki. In fact, Kenya TV showed Raila Odinga referring to Mr. Kibaki as “President Kibaki”, the first time he has uttered that salutation since late December.
I received word from Bob to “Let the floodgates open! We are looking forward to any faculty member, resident, and other staff member wishing to visit here.”
Joe Mamlin stated “Prayers are answered, civil war is averted and Kenya is preparing to rise to heights never dreamed of in Africa. The IU-Kenya Program celebrates this victory and resolves anew to give all that we have to the new energy committed to nation building. We will reach for the sick, the poor and the marginalized as partners with our Kenyan colleagues to do our part to make sure the Kenyan dream is shared by all. We are simply overjoyed today and ready to work…. All of us together waited so earnestly for this moment. After two months, Tonight, Sarah Ellen and I will unpack the two small bags beside our bed. We no longer need an emergency bag as we run for our lives. Our lives are beginning afresh today just as Kenya enters the first day of true independence.”
We can finally begin the process of providing all necessary materials to IU OSAC appealing for a quick continuation of student travel approval. However, as stated earlier, student travel for March remains cancelled. We will alert all to new developments concerning student travel when that option becomes available.
We look forward to participating with Kenya as it reaches for new heights never before imagined or achieved for Kenya.
It’s a great day for Kenya, AMPATH, and all peace loving peoples of the world.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Dear Friends of the Indiana-Kenya Partnership,
On behalf of our Kenyan partners, Joe Mamlin sends along a heartfelt thank you to all of you who acted swiftly and generously to donate to the Kenya Recovery Fund. As you know, an estimated 300,000 Kenyans have been displaced by the recent post-election violence, and many of our patients, colleagues and friends were left homeless and destitute. Your donations helped ease their pain and start them on the process of rebuilding their lives.
Joe writes today from Eldoret, “Dr. Kimaiyo has been a keen steward of these funds and I doubt if any gift in the history of Kenya has gone so directly to the heart of need---and did so immediately devoid of delay and needless paper work. Without these donations, we did not have a dime to do the very thing conscience demanded. Thousands have been touched by these gifts and each recipient would overcome their pain of the moment to embrace each of those who gave.
“Our task is not over. We all pray this week will bring peace. But whatever happens, no one can take away the peace in my heart today for having been able to bridge the hands that gave with the hands of those in such need.”
So far, the Fund has provided support to 401 patient families (with 1,978 dependents), 121 staff families, and support for some of the dozens of the refugees who were forced to come to the IU House compound for safety. A detailed report from AMPATH’s director of social work Cleophas Wanyonyi includes several moving stories of persons who you have helped:
Mary Omusula is 45 years who has been working as a casual laborer. She is an AMPATH client and married to a 48 year old peasant farmer. Their gross monthly income is $25-30. This hardly meets their basic needs given that they have 5 children aged between 12 to 20 years. Most of the school aged children have dropped out of school for lack of school fees. This family shares a one room timber house they call home. They have an extra make shift room partitioned using a bed sheet. The older boys seek accommodation in the neighborhood.
During the election skirmishes, Mary and 3 of their children sought refuge in one of the churches in Kiambaa (worst hit by violence) while the husband stayed home with the elder son to provide security for their home. One of the children had gone visiting their grandmother in their rural home. Hell broke loose when gangs struck; burning houses in the neighborhood. The men of the family scampered to relatively safer areas all around camouflaging themselves as part of the demonstrators. The church haven turned tragic as attackers struck setting it on fire. Thirty plus people burned to death. It was a miracle that Mary and her 3 children escaped from the inferno alive!
She was unscathed but one of her daughters suffered mild burns. The AMPATH social worker came across them in the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp too traumatized to speak! As the social worker got her and the children into trauma counseling, she provided support for this family with 2 blankets, soap, and $50 for basic support and the costs of medical care for the girl. It was a gift well received. The repeat words, “thank you” tell it all. She sees a ray of hope in her otherwise dismal life. It is wonderful that someone did care.
Alice breaks down and sobs! She has just been ushered into the AMPATH social worker’s office. She can’t believe that all that she had spent her life building had gone up in flames…
Alice was diagnosed HIV+ in 2001 after she had been admitted to the hospital with persistent cough and fever. On learning of her status her husband ran away from her and left her the burden of fending for their 3 children. Through the support of AMPATH social workers she had a roof on her head (the program put up a house for her) and had helped recruit her in the AMKATWENDE project where she had grown passion fruits and Soya beans. She had started enjoying the fruit of her labor by delivering her produce to the AMPATH restaurant, Cool Stream.
However, the post election violence began a nasty turn on her life. Her cherished home was destroyed by arsonists who also destroyed the crop in her small farm. All that she depended on for income was destroyed completely. Alice and her children found refuge at a camp for the displaced persons in the Eldoret Show Ground. She met a social worker at the camp who got her on food; gave her blankets for herself and her children and $20 to help purchase a mattress for her 4 year old girl who until then was spending the night on the wet floor in their new home---a tent!. As she bundles up her gift pack at the end of the interview with the social worker, her eyes well up again, this time they are sobs of relief and gratitude for the support! At least somebody cared!
The Burden of Care
The post election violence had an adverse impact on many AMPATH workers! Many had a change in lifestyle as they assumed new roles as caregivers! Isaac, a data manager in AMPATH data centre, played host to 11 persons in his 2 bed-room house. His parents had their house torched after the violence broke out. His brothers and their spouses also had their houses torched in various parts of Eldoret: Isaac’s home was a refuge for them all. He had to use up all his savings for the month to feed the increased dependants as he met the cost of relocating some of his relatives to safety. He looked confused even as he worked religiously. Recovery fund support came in handy to provide relief for Isaac and his family.
The tragic recent events in Kenya have only emphasized the importance of AMPATH’s work, and how critical your support of that work continues to be. On behalf of Mary, Alice, Isaac and the thousands of others who you have helped, thank you very much.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I'd urge any and all of you who live in the area to check it out.
Friday, February 8, 2008
The Daily Nation reported today that opposition leader Raila Odinga stated that ODM was no longer demanding to be given their alleged presidential victory. UN mediator Kofi Annan said “The topic is a crucial one, and proved divisive at times, but the talks proceeded in a good spirit, moving more slowly than in previous sessions but moving steadily ahead.”
Regardless of the speed of movement, progress is progress … even if at a snail’s pace.
AMPATH started with just one patient in 2000. A short 7 years later, over 60,000 HIV-positive patients receive care and over 30,000 people per week, receive food. Beginning with one single patient, a generation of Kenyans will see their children grow up to become adults. From one small crack in the dam of immovable positions, the weight of a country’s yearning for peace could overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of those freedoms.
AMPATH continues to serve those in need. The 900+ heroes of AMPATH continue to demonstrate the true human spirit of care and compassion.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Another update from the IU Kenya Program:
Today’s issue of The Indianapolis Star contains a page one story entitled “Courage and Hope Amid Kenya’s Carnage.” This article describes the extraordinary bravery and generosity showed by Joe and Sarah Ellen Mamlin and many of our Kenyan colleagues and friends during the most frightening days after the disputed year-end election. You can see that article online at http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080204/LOCAL/802040382
After reading this moving story, I think you will be proud to be associated with the Hoosiers and the Kenyans who showed so much compassion and grace in the crucible of Kenya’s worst days since independence.
Star reporter Bobby King wrote a terrific piece, but limited space forced him to leave out some inspiring stories. You may be interested to learn about the selfless heroism of IU House staffer Javan Odinga:
Late last Wednesday night, Joe and Sarah Ellen received a frantic phone call from a small bible college in Kapsabet, about an hour’s drive from Eldoret. There were rumblings of tribal violence coming the next day, and the school had three Kikuyu students who desperately needed to escape the area. But they did not have a vehicle, and the roads were filled with crude roadblocks set up by gangs for the explicit purpose of searching each car for Kikuyus.
Just before 4AM Thursday, Javan decided to take an IU vehicle and head for Kapsabet, even though getting caught in the car with the students would have likely meant gangs burning the car and killing him and his passengers. Because of the early hour, none of the roadblocks were manned. For most of the trip, Javan was able to slowly move the jeep around the boulders, railroad ties and logs left in the dark road.
Then he came across a huge log set up as a road block. Javan could not drive around it, and the log was clearly impossible for a normal person to move alone. But Javan is not a normal person in terms of strength: he happens to be a heavyweight champion body builder. Like some kind of Kenyan Superman, he got out of the car, leaned his muscles into the weight of the log, and heaved it off the road.
Javan arrived in Kapsabet and quickly put the three Kikuyu students into the car, ready to hide them under blankets if the car was forced to stop. They were able to make it to the Eldoret airport, where the students flew to safety. Hours later, Kapsabet exploded into violence. Cars burned and several people were killed. Joe Mamlin says he has no doubt that these three students owe their lives to Javan.
But that is not the whole story, as Joe reports: “Let the record show that Javan is Luhya and he risked his life for three Kikuyus. This kind of story doesn't make the international media reporting, but it is the best of Kenya in action.”
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
1. AMPATH is up and running. Joe Mamlin reports from Eldoret: "The first week of the violence resulted in less than 10% of patients and staff able to find their way to clinic. But the very next week a remarkable rebound occurred in nearly all of our sites. We have multiple large displaced persons camps [many housing 10-20,000 people] all around us now. We have been able to work closely with all relief agencies and have AMPATH teams engaged in every large camp. We clearly have hundreds of patients in the camps and many others [unknown numbers] moved far beyond our reach. But every day our register of displaced patients becomes more complete." In order to reach those who are displaced, AMPATH has created a hotline number for patients and launched a successful media message campaign advising HIV patients how to access medicine. A U.S. State Department Travel Alert has led to the cancellation of Indiana University student and resident travel to Kenya for January and February, but we expect our faculty and staff who reside in Kenya to return very soon.
2. The Kenya Recovery Fund has benefitted from your remarkable generosity. Many individuals and organizations have given to the new Kenya Recovery Fund, established to help patients and staff who are now in dire need of housing, medicine, food, clothing and other support. We thank especially Abbott Laboratories, a longtime partner of AMPATH, who donated $25,000, and to the friends of ASANTE partner Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. Total pledges to this fund have exceeded $100,000, so AMPATH has already been able to provide desperately-needed help. If you or others still want to contribute to the fund, please visit our website, www.iukenya.org.
Thank you so much for all your donations, prayers and good wishes. And thank you for sticking with our program through this challenging time. As Joe wrote today, "We're keeping our eye on the target: Careful attention to those infected and affected by HIV in western Kenya. That problem has not gone away, and neither will we."
Monday, January 14, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
So, Lisa and I have been reading everything on the news that we can, as well as waiting patiently for e-mails from the IU Kenya program. We appreciate everyone who has e-mailed or called to give us an extra piece of info. We received this morning another e-mail that painted a bleaker picture than the following. We haven't made a final decision, but both of us are leaning toward canceling our trip unless things change dramatically. As I have told some of you on the phone, we are in no way turning our backs on the program. There is no question that we will be returning to Kenya, the only question is when.
Please read the message from Joe Mamlin below. Obviously, travel remains up in the air and we continue to monitor the situation on a constant basis.
I find comfort as I take a moment amid the madness here to catch you up a bit on what we see on the ground.
First, let me assure you that Sarah Ellen and I are safe and fine. We feel fortunate in getting the US community out of here for the time being. Our British friends will fly out on a charter today if we can find fuel for the plane.
As far as I know, we have not lost a single AMPATH staff member or patient. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to run clinics since there are no matatus [van-taxi] running. It took almost three hours for one of our pharmacist to walk by foot to give us access to drugs. Most staff are busy securing safety of loved ones and most patients are either afraid or can’t travel. We will have some fairly unique decisions to make if we can’t move supplies around safely and soon.
I took heart in an ER this morning when I no longer needed to step over a body.
Eldoret is quiet today but all roads in and out remain blocked by unpredictable gangs. Many residential areas of Eldoret are insecure and many of our friends are simply scared to death. We are doing all we can to help with the food and shelter needs of our Kenyan friends seeking safety.
We can find food as of today since a few markets reopened. And we have our farms. Can’t get the food out to patients so will harvest food to help feed our compound and the many refugee centers that have popped up in churches and jails.
We have seen some things over the last few days that cannot be described in this note. We have witnessed sad evidence that we as a human family have a lot of growing yet to do. When you think a moment, you realize the IU-Kenya Program is at its core symbolizes what is so critically needed by Kenyan leadership. This is not a program dedicated to building medical schools or even stamping out a pandemic. At its heart, it is a program that screams “Yes” in a world to ready to say “No”. This program puts love and compassion front and center. Those values build the rest. When that message is embraced here, we can go home. We are unable to stop what is now happening, but we are rock solid in keeping to our core message.
Deep in our heart, Sarah Ellen and I believe Kenya will find a way to move back from the abyss now staring them in the face. As they reclaim their lives, programs and pride the IU-Kenya program will be there for them. Please do not be discouraged. Stay with us as we stay with our Kenyan family. Shortly they will need us all more than ever.
Pray for each other as we go forward with hope one day at a time.
Joe and Sarah Ellen
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
As the New Year began, I was hopeful that we could report that the situation in Kenya was improving; unfortunately that is not the case. Eldoret has unfortunately become a hotbed of fighting, lootings and much violence. Currently, Joe and Sarah Ellen Mamlin remain safe. IU House has become a refuge and is becoming just as full as was predicted for January, but this time with frightened Kenyan friends. Joe and Sarah Ellen are doing their best to feed those many who have come to IU House for aid.
Our originally estimated date for safe travel to Kenya (January 9) seems to be ever more elusive. Consequently, please make no plans that involve travel to Kenya prior to January 15. Until we are able to assess the situation from a medical needs perspective as well as the infrastructure needs to IU House and Eldoret, we are unable to continue with the program as scheduled.
I will continue daily updates, but as originally stated by our offices, no travel is permitted until further notice.
--Marc and Lisa