Why Mel (and her husband) went to Ghana

Why Mel went to Ghana (Africa)

Everything I’d like to pass on is in the above link.

Mel, of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe wrote a beautiful post about her trip to Ghana on the continent of Africa. Mel is one of my favorite food bloggers and a person I’d be honored to call a friend. This post – the trip, the photos, the organization…

Please, at least take a look.

8/25 Update:

Now that I have a moment, I do have more to say.

I love that Mentors International is truly a mentoring program. It is the “Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Mentors International funds low interest microloans (typically $125.00 U.S.) to people who participate in the business education, guidance and administration that is provided by local village staff. It is not a big “U.S. we know best” presence in each location. For anyone reading this who has not clicked through to either Mel’s post or Mentors International Main Page: the first location was in the Phillipines. Ghana is the most recent. They also have mentor/lending organizations in Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador and Honduras.

From their page: How we work

We reach the world’s impoverished across four continents.

Mentors International has established six partner organizations—one in each of the primary regions of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao), and one each in Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, and Ghana.

Each organization has its own local board of directors and staff, but is a legal subsidiary of Mentors International and is supervised by the U.S. management team. Mentors provides start-up support, training, operational funding, and loan capital for its partner organizations.

We employ only humanitarian-minded individuals in our partner organizations.

Mentors International hires individuals who are native to the countries in which they work and who have demonstrated a desire to serve those in need. The employees are trained in a variety of business settings and have significant skills to pass on to their clients. A combination of these qualities, mixed with integrity and sincerity, set them apart in an otherwise challenging environment.

The Mentors International Main Page has links to the details of Mentors International, details on each organization and stories of those who changed their lives with a loan of $125 and community support. The site also explains their high rate of success and loan payback which enables them to loan the money again and again either helping new entrepreneurs or expansion funds for those that are ready: an example, a woman who set up a store to sell soft drinks to her village and paid the initial loan in 3 months versus the 6 month term…got a 2nd loan in order to buy a second hand refrigerator so she could sell cold drinks. This story and photos are in more detail on Mel’s post.

If you are inspired to donate, you can donate directly to any of the organizations. Donating through Mel’s post is a donation to the Ghana organization.

Smoke

Yesterday, Sunday, was forecast to be 91 and advertised to be the last Summer day of above normal temperature. We had two morning walks in the cool and then Bear and I decamped to the living room by the air conditioner. Auggie was in shortly after noon.

Mid-afternoon, I looked outside and was surprised to see it looking smoky. I stepped outside and it smelled of smoke as well. Bear and I took a ride down the road to find the valley filled with smoke.

Rats!

I really thought we were going to squeak by this summer without fire or smoke.

Per the news, a smallish fire in Thompson Falls area, about 80 miles as the crow flies, blew up in the heat and accompanying strong wind. The wind was from the exact direction of the fire so the smoke blew into the valley and up against the mountains of the Missions and the Swan Range.

It stayed smoky all night and this morning the sunrise was the dramatic red that happens when there is smoke.

Red ball of fire in a smoky sky.

From the road home the mountains barely visible through the smoke.

Bear was with me – the above photo is looking west. I had a morning appointment in Kalispell and that part of the valley was much clearer with the smoke still stuck against the valley’s eastern mountain ranges.

The “Oh no” barn – the barn looks like it has an expression of “Oh no!” and it is fitting for this smoky morning.

I thought we would be smoked in until Tuesday night when the wind was forecast to move around to the north, but there was a shift to a west wind and at my house, the air was suddenly clear again. Wind and smoke are fickle things so we might not be done with the smoke, but we ended this Monday in better air than morning.

We are all happier…

Much happier!

When the going gets tough, the tough get grumpy

When the temp is hot (90!), we get tired and grumpy!

And we follow a Julia Child-ism: “Never apologize”. She’s talking about food, but I’m adding on … no apologies for being grumpy in the heat!

Fortunately, the current heat is to end dramatically on Wednesday night-Thursday morning. Until then, we enjoy mornings and endure … with much complaining … hot afternoons!