Archive for the ‘giving’ Category

MS Ride Wrap-up

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

This update on the ride is a little old, but didn’t want to post it online till now (my appologies for those of you who are getting this twice…)

Yes, this is the final ride update for the year…so please read all of it. It’ll be worth it. Just to give you some incentive, I’ve created a quick table of contents:

1. Good news.
2. Good news.
3. Better than expected news.
4. Good news.

How bad could that be? :)

The first item of good news (and arguably the best news given the purpose of the ride) is the fact that with much support, I raised $5,900! That put me in the top 20 fund raisers out of 2,000 riders! The money is going to a great cause and will help support both research as well as some amazing local programs.

The second piece of news is that my dad decided to fly out and join me for the ride. He rode 58 miles on Saturday and 50 miles on Sunday…definitely a personal best! We had a great time riding with over 2000 people including my friends Jessica and Jack and Mark’s parents. There were people of all ages (12+), with bikes of all kinds (road, mountain, recumbent, unicycle, and hand cycles), and lots of great camaraderie!

The better than expected news is that I rode 82 miles on Saturday and 75 miles on Sunday for a total of 152 miles. A little less than I had planned…so why better than expected? That would be news item number 4.

The final good news is that Mark and I are going to be welcoming the newest addition to the Schenk-Steudel family next March. Yes, that means that I’m pregnant! While riding 175 miles was fine with my doctor, I lost most of August’s training to feeling sick. So, at 13 weeks, I still think 150 miles isn’t half bad :)

Overall the weekend was a great success. I had a really good time, learned a lot more about our local chapter of the MS Society, and it was amazing to cross the finish line with Uncle Ray waiting for me! Getting involved with the MS Society has been a great experience and I definitely plan on making the ride an annual activity. Hopefully I’ll be starting a team with Jessica and Jack and we’ll want you to ride with us!

Jack, Bebeth, Dad and Jessica

Africa doesn’t need your junk (Mark)

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Courtney posted a very poignant post on their blog about how misguided and often inappropriate our efforts are to “help” Africa are. I’m not talking about huge governmental organizations but I’m talking about us as individuals. Let’s see if this scenario sound at all familiar:

Someone at your church, work, or just someone who knocks on your doors says, “Hi we’re collecting things for poor people in Africa, do you have anything that you’d be willing to give away?” You sit there for a couple of seconds and you start thinking about all the things you’ve been meaning to get rid of: a box of books, some old clothes, some toys that the kids don’t play with anymore, some old computer parts, those weird Christmas presents that you got from some distance relative. After rummaging around your house you produce a couple grocery bags worth of stuff and you are now quite pleased with the results of your “purge”.

So now you’re wondering, ok so what’s your point? Let’s take a closer look at these imaginary items and frame them within the following question, How will these things help someone in Africa?

Books – Are your books appropriate for the people and culture you are giving them to? What type of books did you give away: fiction, cooking, gardening, religious, self help books? Do you know if the people that are receiving these books are even literate in English? Are the books appropriate for the climate, culture, predominant religions?

Clothes – Unless you know your organization is giving your old clothes directly to someone, your give-away clothes are being sorted and bundled into big bales and then sold at the local markets. BUT what sort of clothes did you give away? Skirts above the knee, tank tops, low cut shirts, women trousers, in Kenya all of those things would be inappropriate to wear in the village.

Computers – Technology changes at a very rapid pace. Hardware and software become outdated so quickly. In Kenya almost all of the computers we found were running XP. If you give away software that runs on Windows 95 or 98 will it a) even run and b) actually help them develop the skills they need?

So what’s my point, leaving out the whole issue of creating dependencies on donors, poor people in countries all over the world don’t just need our random things we don’t want anymore. Kids have very specific needs, paper, pencils, educational material appropriate to their age, culture, and language. Mothers need food, clothes that can withstand the harsh and highly “manual” lifestyle they lead. I don’t have a solution for you, but we can be more mindful about how we help, and I think that we should be holding organizations that we are giving to to a higher degree of responsibility, why should they waste our money shipping useless items overseas? I think organizations like are steps in the right directions, highly targeted giving.

Anyway if you made it this for, or just skimmed past my rants, read this post, you’ll understand what I mean:

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