February 07, 2006

Heading Back to Thailand

I fly on Thursday night! Read all about it here.

Posted by sedda at 08:15 PM

December 14, 2005

Almost a year has passed

The Khao Lak hotels are filling up with tourists, families and journalists for the one-year remembrance of the tsunami. Here's a BBC story on a Khao Lak resort.Thailand rebuilds after Tsunami (there's a nice photo gallery to go with the story as well).

Posted by sedda at 08:59 PM

November 18, 2005

2005 Scrubbie project raised more than $2,000 for tsunami survivors

selling handmade washcloths to raise money for Thai tsunami survivors
•61 volunteers from 3 countries and 12 states participated
•274 scrubbies were donated to the project, which opened a few days after the Tsunami and closed Labor Day Weekend, 2005
17 scrubbies were sent to a shelter for hurricane survivors on the American Gulf Coast
Many were stitched into more than 10 baby blankets that were sold or donated to hurricane survivors
•More than $2,000 was raised for tsunami relief and sent directly to programs supporting survivors
•Thanks to Edna Hart and Needlework Attic for yarn donations

Posted by sedda at 11:55 AM

October 20, 2005

Thanks to Knitzilla from NATR

This came today on a beautiful handmade paper greeting card, in thanks for our $50 donation from the distribution of five scrubbies:

13 October 2005

Dear Sedda and your knitting group,

North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR) would like to thank you for the support you have provided us and the local tsunami affected communities.

With your donation, the children of Bak Jok will be able to experience a fun-filled two day summer camp during which they will learn English and about the environment around them.

You have given us the chance to breathe a sense of hope into their futures.

With many thanks and Best Wishes,

From all of us at NATR

Posted by sedda at 05:04 PM

September 29, 2005

How you can continue to help Thai tsunami survivors

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has helped with the String Scrubbie Project. The project has sent more than $2,000 to help Thai people who survived the traumatic waves to rebuild their lives. This includes a recent donation of $50, but doesn't even include a few more out there that have been promised but not yet received.

Remaining scrubbies have been stitched into baby blankets to help survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We have sent eight to Louisiana, we have two more on hand, and at least two more are out there being stitched -- along with new squares and blankets for our afghanalong.

And most importantly, crafters have come together to send a lot of heart to families, by doing what they love to do. All of you have proven that if everyone gives even just a little -- people who need it benefit a LOT. This is what brings our communities together and builds peaceful relationships worldwide and nationwide.

Although our dishcloth project has come to a close, the Thai people still need help! They will need help throughout 2006 as well. Many villages were washed completely away. NGOs have set up schools, education, craft, housebuilding and conservation programs. If you still want to help the Thai people, please consider the following two groups, which I worked with extensively in Khao Lak and Kura Buri, Phang Nga Province, Thailand: North Andaman Tsunami Relief(NATR) and TsunamiVolunteer.net (TV).

NATR is located in Kura Buri (where I taught English), helping the most ravaged parts of Thailand rebuild after the tsunami. They have an eco-friendly and "teach a man to fish" philosophy. They are supporting school teachers, creating projects to support local economy and support women, selling handmade paper greeting cards, and building bridges, among other things. Donations are definitely tax deductible.

TsunamiVolunteer.net is located about two hours south of NATR in Khao Lak, which also was hard hit. TV focuses on providing volunteer labor for a variety of projects that they sponsor, or are sponsored by other caring fundraisers. They have built a boatyard for building and repairing boats, build homes for fishermen, teach English and create furniture for schools. I was able to participate in those projects, and TV has many more. TV is working on getting a 501(c)(3)status.

Thanks again for all of your hard work.

Namaste, and chok dee na ka,

Sedda K

North Andaman Tsunami Relief (tax deductible)
Business for the Environment Tsunami Relief Fund
3524 Dutch Way
Carmichael CA 95608

(tell Bodhi I said Hi!)
-------------------------------------------
TsunamiVolunteer.net

New! Now taking credit cards online!

or make a bank transfer:
Khrung Thai Bank Public Company Limited
35 Sukhumvit Rd , Bangkok 10110
Swift Code: KRTHTHBK

Routing No: 007895
Account Number: 000-0-01965-8
Account Name: Tsunami Volunteer
After making the wire transfer you should send an email to
Fundraising Coordinator (Tirian Mink) at fundraising(at)tsunamivolunteer.net
(and tell Tirian I said Hi!)

Posted by sedda at 09:44 AM

September 01, 2005

Scrubbie Project contributes to Hurricane Katrina survivors

The String Scrubbie project has ended just in time. We are taking remaining scrubbies and stitching them into baby blankets so that Stitches from the Heart can send them to Hurricane Katrina survivors on the Gulf Coast of the US.

While survivors really are in great need of food and water, those aren't things we can knit. But we can help babies and children who need some comfort and covering.

We encourage you to donate to Stitches from the Heart to help them with postage for knitted shipments, and to the Red Cross, who is helping hurricane survivors

American Red Cross -- Hurricane Katrina Relief
P.O. Box 37243
Washington, D.C. 20013
or call 1-800-HELP-NOW

We also will soon be officially launching the Rad Bad Beanie project, which will help kids in the hospital and urban teens in wilderness mentoring experiences. This is sliding to the back burner for a while, so we can focus on helping Katrina survivors.

Posted by sedda at 11:23 AM

August 29, 2005

Sunset Junction fundraiser a mild success

The Sunset Junction street fair fundraiser was a mild success. We raised about $100, largely in part to the sale of a beautiful state baby blanket.

This week I will be sending $220 to Tsunami Volunteer. This brings our total tsunami relief effort to $1970!

I feel good about wrapping up the project, having helped in the ways we can. Remaining scrubbies will be stitched together into baby blankets for sale or donation -- likely to help survivors of this week's hurricane Katrina.

Posted by sedda at 11:38 AM

August 26, 2005

Come see us during Sunset Junction!

Come out and see us near the Sunset Junction festival! Tomorrow's the big day! Scrubbie fundraiser! We could use your help donating and hawking scrubbies! Corner of Effie+Hyperion, a block north of Sunset. Check out our website for more info!

Posted by sedda at 12:19 AM

Thankzilla to Knitzillas!

Many thanks to Erika, AJ and Lyndsay -- and especially Rhonda -- for knitting and assembling four beautiful cotton baby blankets made from State Scrubbie Squares. They are just as cute as can be and hopefully will raise a lot of dough for the Thai people in Khao Lak. When the photos are updated, look for them in the States photo folder on the Knitzilla site (a couple are there now).

Thanks in advance, too, to Ans, who is finishing up the sweet toddler sweater out of the lovely cotton yarn donated by Edna Hart and Needlework Attic, of Bethesda, MD. That one will be a great fundraiser, too! We'll post a photo in her folder on Knitzilla when it's ready.

All this is just in time for our sale coinciding with the Sunset Junction street festival this weekend! Come on by the corner of Hyperion+Effie if you want to help!

It's raining today in Khao Lak, but the report is that it's quiet and beautiful there, and boat construction continues. For more project updates in Thailand, please see tsunamivolunteer.net.

Posted by sedda at 12:08 AM

May 06, 2005

Final Donation Tally

Here is a summary of how your donations have helped the people of Thailand. Thank you so much for your generosity!

$810.00 School tuition for 10 students in Kamala
$ 40.54 School uniform for a young Kamala student
$262.50 Support for monks at Kamala Temple
$ 54.05 Support for Tik's Place tsunami relief efforts
$ 50.00 Pakarang Boat Building project
$ 20.00 inexpensive suitcase for carrying donations, left with Tik
$200.00 Sikkha Asia Foundation, for purchase of books for Thai tsunami children. SAF is opening new libraries and circulates bookmobiles to areas where kids need books.
$ 11.00 Colored pencils for children
$ 2.00 Teaching materials for students of Kura Buri
-------
1450.09 in donations and scrubbie purchases

I also was able to hand deliver nearly 200 stuffed animals, hundreds of pens+stickers, donated colored pencils and two Thailand flags to the students and teachers of Kamala. That's in addition to the t-shirts and shoes I carried that Shanti had gathered from corporate sponsors.

As you can see, a little goes a long way when people are in need. I encourage you to keep giving -- if not to tsunami relief, then to other causes you believe in -- because every little bit you do helps a whole lot.

Thanks, too, to the friends who supported me personally and helped get me to Thailand. Your support means a lot!

Posted by sedda at 03:50 PM

April 08, 2005

Still Taking Donations

For those of you who haven't had a chance to support tsunami survivors, they still need your help -- despite what you may be reading in the news. Many of these listed here are 501(c)3s, some might not be--check out their sites.

The major areas of support needed are (in no particular order):
-building homes
-building boats
-educating kids
-teaching english to adults and kids

You can make a general donation to Tsunami Volunteer, where I'm working, by clicking here. If you are able to afford shipping and want to support the volunteers' spirit, they always will appreciate peanut butter (small jars for better rationing), CDs/cassettes, playing cards+games, mosquito powder packets, sun cream, CHOCOLATE and first aid supplies.

You also can earmark a donation for specific projects we are working on.

You can donate to the Pakarang Boat Building Project via Tsunami Volunteer, or through the private group that funded the project (Click here). The boat shed is nearing construction, and now fishermen are queueing to build and repair boats. A boat costs about $3,000 to build from scratch, and allows a fisherman to support his family and get back to his normal life. If you have the means to ship goods, the project is in need of at least two outdoor-style push brooms, and likely boatbuilding chisels, etc. You can send them c/o Scott Carter, Pakarang Boat Building Mgr, to the volunteer center. Tools can be purchased here, but you can't find a pushbroom anywhere.

If you don't want to do a bank transfer, you could mail your donation to the center:
THE MIRROR FOUNDATION PHANG NGA OFFICE
KHAO LAK NATURE RESORT 26/10 MOO 7
TAMBON KHUK KHAK
Takua Pa, PHANG NGA 82190 THAILAND
Tel +09 882 6187 Fax +66 (0)76 420179

Today I found out about a project that will build 80 homes for the people of Kura Buri, north of Khao Lak+Nam Kem--also hard hit. The group is called 4Kali (and here for the whole story, whether you want to donate or not--they have a positive spirit to share.) The family was in town a couple of weeks ago to cremate their daughter in a moving ceremony some of the volunteers attended.

The guys at North Andaman Tsunami Relief always can use a hand with their community projects. Click here for their site. They have a group of 20 (?) volunteers as well, lots of Americans and some Brits, as well as Thais who could use care package and financial support as well.

Tik and Neil down in Kata Beach are still taking donations for the kids of Kamala, and I think they are supporting some Khao Lak and Nam Kem groups as well. They would like to support the children of Kamala who lost one or both parents. Click here for more info. If you scroll to the very bottom, you can donate via PayPal (Please consider adding a buck or two to your donation to take care of the PayPal fees they will incur getting your money). They give a hearty thank you to all of you who donated via Knitzilla (here) on their site.

If you send any donations to the Knitzilla mailbox, I will forward them along in early May after I return. Or you can buy a wonderful handmade cotton dishcloth. These funds will be routed to one of these projects, or to UNICEF. You can write checks for your scrubbies directly to the project and we'll send a scrubbie in thanks. (Please include a SASE or a couple of bucks for shipping so I can mail it to you, thanks.) Also if you'd like to support my trip here specifically, please send the donation to the Knitzilla address (or my home) with a note explaining that's what you want to do. I'm not shy--the plane ticket was $850, plus I have a change fee, so I'll take any help you'd like to send.

I would love to hear about any donations that were made because you read about them here. Please drop me a line and let me know! (s crubbie[at]r aincircle(dot)com). Thank you!

Many of these groups still are looking for volunteer help, if you are interested in donating time. If you are a medic specializing in tourist motorbike wrecks and exhaust-burns, you won't go out of work here, especially when it rains. There is a great need for a spay/neuter program for cats and dogs -- I think I have yet to see an animal that isn't pregnant or with little ones.

Posted by sedda at 08:19 AM

March 29, 2005

Long Night

Moira and I had stayed late at the Volunteer Center last night, working on various projects (I have a new one, but more on that another day). Scott, who runs the boatyard project, gave us a lift home since it's hard to find a hitch after 11pm. Moira crashes with us in our hotel room when she's in town.

I grabbed a quick shower to get all the bug juice off, and Moira got a late call on her cell. It sounded like bad news, she said Oh. Okay. very seriously as though someone had just died. Then she turned on the TV, explaining there had been an earthquake in Sumatra of 8.2 (which later was revised to 8.7).

We all knew what that meant. About a week and a half ago, an earthquake in Indonesia had sent all of the traumatized and superstitious Thai people into the hills, fearing another 33-foot wave. But that was in the afternoon. It was after midnight now, and we were staring at the CNN graphic lamely trying to figure out where we were on the map. The newscast was entirely in Thai, and Dee already knew that we didn't get any English stations.

"Dee," I said. "Run downstairs to your Thai friends and find out what they know and what they are doing."

To read more, please click continue below.

***Moira's friend called back, saying that a tsunami could be produced from the earthquake, and if it were, it would arrive here within 15 minutes. She said the Thai government had issued a Warning. We didn't even talk about staying put.

In my PJs, I pulled on a pair of pants, then shoes, and grabbed my daypack, which has everything in it for the day--water, a long-sleeved shirt (for sun or temples), sunblock for the day, bugjuice for evening, passport/cash/ID, headlamp (Moosedog rule). On my way out the door I grabbed the rest of my unexposed film (about 18 rolls) and a sarong (for sleep/shade).

Later I realized I left behind: exposed film from the entire trip, extra batteries for the headlamp, the tiny tent. There just wasn't time to pack, or to think. Essentials only: clothing, sun protection, shelter at the Vol Center.

Within about two minutes we were downstairs and out front of the Khao Lak Inn. The Thai hotel clerks and shop owners were gone. There's a TV out front, and word travels fast. Motorbikes were flying by, with entire families on them, the baby's fine hair blowing in the breeze. Cars heading into town were honking, motorbikes bleating. Some volunteers on motorbike saw us and yelled, Get the Hell out of here!

Cars weren't stopping. We started to just walk to get moving uphill. I thought, there's no way we can get to the high point of the hill in 15 minutes, can we? Dee was wearing flipflops, standard Thai attire. Downtown Khao Lak is a flat basin, nearly level with the water. Only two months ago, it was leveled by the water. There wasn't even much to slow down the wave between the sea and what had been rebuilt or miraculously remained standing.

A grey pickup truck had pulled over. The windows were dark (the sun is bright here, so everyone has extra tinting) and we just climbed in the back. The street was slight chaos, people yelling, looking around, wondering about the others they had just seen on the patio where they had just been drinking and playing cards. We didn't know who we were with, we only knew they had good hearts, because they stopped for us.

As we pulled away, Thai merchants were yelling at us. They pointed to the left, 90 degrees to the road. They were trying to tell us we were going the wrong way, that the high hills weren't along the coast, but behind the main highway. The driver continued on.

We rode the breeze, looking out over the moonlit wasteland that once was 6000 hotel rooms, 8000 jobs. The wave they didn't know about snatched it all away. This time, was there a chance to be safe? Would everything rebuilt again be washed away?

We began to climb the hill to the volunteer center. We wondered if we should be asked to be let off, or just continue on with what we assumed was a Thai person inside. We figured whoever it was likely wouldn't want to stop again, but would know how high to go.

The truck turned in at the volunteer center. Loads of people were arriving. It turned out our rescuer was Ashok, a BBC documentarian, working on a film of Bang Naam Kem families. He immediately began asking for petrol, as the truck was on fumes, and he was thinking ahead.

People were asking around to account for everyone. "Have you seen Eli?" "What about the Canadian woman and her daughter, from our hotel? Have you seen them?" "I'm sure they're fine, they were drinking with the Thai guys out front, they would have taken them in the hotel truck."

The monkeys were nowhere to be found.

Inside, the TV was blaring a Thai news program. A woman was translating through a bullhorn for non-Thai. The mood was anxious, but not panicked. The volunteer center is on high ground, and the back of the property overlooks the water meters and meters below. Trying to remind everyone that the center was not troubled by the last wave, she called into the bullhorn, "Remember, this place used to be safe!"

We all laughed nervously at her English.

I went downstairs and dashed off a quick email and blog entry so you all would know I was all right. It was 12:06 when we heard the news, maybe a little before, and we were up the hill within 12 minutes, probably less.

People stood around, or sat, and chatted, or listened to the translation. Some monitored the AP wire via Yahoo and BBC. There were Thai families who worked in the center, Monty the tailor, the German drinker who had told us two nights ago he was staying through "To-morrow, morrow, morrow." There were reports that the ocean had gone way out, like the last time, but not as far. The moon was full only a few days ago, so tides would be high anyway.

Here's a bit from the official USGS tsunami bulletin:

WARNING... THIS EARTHQUAKE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GENERATE A WIDELY
DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI IN THE OCEAN OR SEAS NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE.
AUTHORITIES IN THOSE REGIONS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS POSSIBILITY
AND TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION. THIS ACTION SHOULD INCLUDE EVACUATION
OF COASTS WITHIN A THOUSAND KILOMETERS OF THE EPICENTER AND CLOSE
MONITORING TO DETERMINE THE NEED FOR EVACUATION FURTHER AWAY.

THIS CENTER DOES NOT HAVE SEA LEVEL GAUGES OUTSIDE THE PACIFIC
SO WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DETECT OR MEASURE A TSUNAMI IF ONE WAS
GENERATED. AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME THE DANGER HAS PASSED IF NO
TSUNAMI WAVES ARE OBSERVED IN THE REGION NEAR THE EPICENTER
WITHIN THREE HOURS OF THE EARTHQUAKE.


Some candles were rounded up, just in case, some radios, and a printout of every volunteer's name circulated for check-in. There was a report of a second quake, "more Richters" than the first. Then it turned out that only was a correction about the initial quake. By 2:30 an all clear was issued, and people started heading back. I didn't feel right about it, and Eli really didn't, since she was in a room by herself. I told her she could stay with us, we'd figure out a place for her.

As Ashok and his reporting partner rounded us up, I decided, and so did Eli, not to go back to town. I didn't think I could sleep well on low, level, ground, especially knowing that the 100% all-clear wasn't until 8am. We thought our hotel wasn't harmed the last time, and we were on the second floor, but it didn't feel good to me. Moira went back. Dee, we thought, would head back.

I sacked out on a very hard bench to doze a bit around 4am, using my bag as a pillow. One of the dogs had taken the only short couch earlier, and no one had the heart to wake him. The tile floor turned out to be more comfortable, and I dozed until the vampire mosquitoes woke up and made sleeping impossible.

Today will be long on little sleep, and interesting.

Click here for a related story from a local perspective, written from our area.

Click here for a summary of what happened and speculation on further quakes along the same fault.

Posted by sedda at 03:58 PM

sumatra quake

midnite, moira got a call from a friend abt sumatra quake. we got out of our hotel and hitched back to vol cen via bbc jrnalist within 4 mins. vol cen not affected by earlier wave.

people are running like crazy from khao lak, motorscooters full speed, cars honking honking. we are on high ground. mood here is anxious. people calling coastal friends to warn. abt 2 wks ago an indonesian quake gave people a good scare, but that was during daytime. keeping on alert here.

Posted by sedda at 12:23 AM

March 10, 2005

Beanie Update and Thanks

Another word of thanks to teacher and knitter Susan Barth, who found a bargain at Target, and has donated 26 more beanie babies! This brings her total donation to 100! And that's 166 beanie babies in my suitcase -- which barely zips, by the way. That's 50 lbs of beanie babies, folks. Serious. Outstanding help for the Kamala kids!

Susan also cashed in another Staples Rewards certificate she earned as a teacher and added five more packs of colored pencils to the stash going to the kids. And, she's contributed 8 rolls of film for documenting the project! Thanks Susan!

Thanks extended also to Laura Harris, who has collected $60 in scrubbie donations and even offered to send the checks straight to UNICEF!

I also appreciate the efforts of Tnah, a mom from Silverlake, who brought by seven pairs of new and gently used boys' shoes for the Kamala kids. Thanks to her four boys for sending their shoes on to help other children!

And many thanks to all of you and your thoughtful hearts for donating more than $1000 in cash and scrubbie fundraising. The money can go a long, long way -- just $5 can buy school supplies for a child, or food for a week. Your generosity is going to help these kids grow, in so many positive ways.

Posted by sedda at 10:14 PM

March 07, 2005

Beanie Update

Many thanks to high school teacher Susan Barth, who has donated 74 beanie babies and small toys for the kids of Kamala. This brings the grand total in my suitcase to 138 small stuffed animals! With the 50 that Shanti purchased and had sponsored, this is exactly enough for all of the students under age six at the school.

Susan also sponsored a school supply and sticker drive among her students at Fairfax High in LA. They collected a few hundred stickers, a bunch of pencils and pens, and one teacher donated 500 pens! (These are heavier than you might think.)

Thanks, too, to Whitney from the Knitzilla knitting circle, who also brought in a ton of stickers for the kids.

Susan additionally donated her hard-earned Staples teachers' rewards gift certificate for $20. With that coupon, and $11 from the donated fund, I'll be able to bring 13 packs of colored pencils and six sharpeners for kids.

Posted by sedda at 11:14 PM

March 05, 2005

Playground Balls + School supplies for Kamala Kids

Students and teachers at Fairfax High School are collecting school supplies -- like 500 pens -- to donate to the Kamala School, teacher-to-teacher and kid-to-kid. I love this community spirit! Thanks to science teacher (and pro knitter) Susan Barth for organizing the effort!

Baden Sports is donating 20 playground balls for the Kamala School! The catch is, there is a shipping cost of about $20 incurred to get them from Seattle to LA, then I will carry them on the plane (shipping to Thailand was $350!!) But perhaps someone will want to donate that cost?

I am so excited to be able to take sturdy kickballs to the kids so they can blow off some steam. Baden even will send a few pumps and needles to inflate the flattened balls. Thank you Baden Sports! (And thanks to Mary at 9th Street Elementary in Los Angeles, who helped me find the company that makes the best balls.)

Posted by sedda at 09:28 AM

March 04, 2005

Thailand Tidbits

The time difference to Thailand from LA is +15 hours. This means when it is 9pm tonight here in LA, it is noon tomorrow in Thailand. That is, until US daylight savings time kicks in on April 3rd. Then it will be +14 hours. Here is a clock converter to play with. Click here for the current time in Thailand.

A few common Thai customs:
•Squat toilets are common but western style is increasing. Toilet paper is rare - cleaning by left hand is normal. Flush with hand bucket.
•Do not touch others with your left hand as it is considered dirty - see above.
•It is quite insulting to touch a persons head, especially a child's. Don't do it.
•It is acceptable for a male to touch a monk, or hand things to a monk, but a woman should not does this.
•It is the sole of the foot that is offensive to Thai people. You should never sit in such a manner that the sole of the foot is exposed for all to see. Do not 'point' with your foot.

For more customs and tidbits, click continue below:

More customs:
•Ensure that your hands are visible at all times and not in your pockets
•In a theater or auditorium, the front row is reserved for monks and high-ranking officials.
•Touching a Buddha is perceived only as a sign of disrespect
•You should not walk in front of Thais praying in a temple.
•Tipping Not customary. Except porters, and at high class hotels & restaurants.

Some common Thai foods:
•Pat Thai (fried noodle), •Tom Yam (hot, spicy, lemon soup),
•Yam neua (hot beef salad) •Kluay buat chii (banana in coconut milk)
•Khaaw niaw mamuang (sticky rice & mango) •Kluay tort (fried bananas)
•Drink - recommended fruit juices.
•Fruit - recommended Durian, Rambutan, Mango, Papaya, Water melon, Mangosteen, Custard apple, Pineapple, Star apple, Lychee, Jackfruit

Some pricing...things may have changed a bit, this was compiled in 2001. Today the rate is 38.45 bht/$. As everywhere, they make their money off the beer!
•Room from: single80+B, double100+B, a/c d300B
•Noodles: 20B (about 50cents)
•Meal: 40B, Big Mac 59B(set 104B) •breakfast(Cont.)50B, breakfast(Ame.)50B
•coffee(instant) 15B, coffee(real) 35B, Starbucks grande 80B (less than $1 for coffee, but $2 for Starbucks)
•Mineral Water(1 liter) 5-20B
•beer 45-65B, Coke 7-20 B
•toilet paper 6B (see customs, above) (!)
•Ice cream 5+B, T-shirt: 90B+, postcard 3-5B

Phone
The country code is 66. Calling back to the States seems really complicated. I've found calling cards from here with convoluted rate scales...basically you can buy a 100 min card (or whatever) then for Thailand the conversion is 8/1, meaning 8 mins on that card=1 US min. So say you get the 100 min card for $10, you are getting 12.5 mins to talk to home from Thailand, which is 80 cents/min. But you have to do all that math to figure out if the card is a good deal -- and every card has a different conversion rate. Oh yeah -- and if you call a cell phone the rates are times three, and if you call from a payphone, there is a two-minute surcharge. So now you're up to $1/min on a 10min card. And yes, that *is* AT&T. Oy. There are prepaid cards in BKK (Bangkok) that are more in the neighborhood of 50 cents/min, I'll probably try that....Internet cafes are supposed to be pretty common, you can get access for about $1.60/hour. I'm hoping that will allow me to update this site!

Posted by sedda at 08:36 AM

March 03, 2005

Beanie update

We've collected 64 beanie babies for the Kamala Kids from Los Angeles area donors Karyn, Judy C. and Taylor B.! A bit shy of the 347 for the entire upper school, but there are still a couple of days left! If you have some you'd like to send in or bring over, please contact us (snail mail address in a previous recent post) at scrubbie[at] rain circle (dot)com. We're also collecting stickers for the kids. We leave in a week!

Posted by sedda at 09:07 PM

Maps of Thailand

Feeling geographically challenged? Here are some maps to help out. Thailand is long and thin, with a long peninsula between the Andaman Sea to the West and the Gulf of Thailand to the East.

Phuket Provence, including Phuket and Kata Beach/Kata Centre, Kamala. More Phuket maps here. Tik and Neal are in Kata Centre. The kids and monks we are helping are in Kamala. Here is Tik+Neil's website.
Phang-Nga Provence, north of Phuket Provence, including Khao Lak.
Krabi Provence, including Ao Nang, the islands of Ko Phi Phi (say it "pi pi"), Ko Lanta in the Andaman Sea. Shanti's diver friends Saffron+Darryl are in Ko Lanta. Pon is in a remote corner of Ko Phi Phi.
Bangkok, including Sukhumvit neighborhood. More nice Bangkok maps here.
Thailand, South Thailand

I think using www.athailand.com you may be able to search on the map for popular hotels and destinations as well.

Posted by sedda at 08:46 AM

March 01, 2005

Find the open road

Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer-winning novelist, has an interview posted deep in the archives of RoadTripNation.com (requires Flash 6+ for the megacool intro page). My friend David found it and passed it along today.

RTN:Do you have any final words of wisdom for people like us who are trying to find their roads in life?

Jane: The people I know, who didn't follow their own desires, ended up sort of lost and confused. Even if they were successful, they ended up lost and confused in their late 40s and early 50s. They were left wondering who they were - not just wondering whether they enjoyed their lives, but also wondering who they were. That is a very difficult way to spend your life, especially your later life - not knowing who you are and wondering if you wasted your time and energy. So I would say, even if people say, "No, you don't have any talent" or "No, you should not do that because you won't earn any money", I say go ahead and do it. Do it with your whole commitment. Do it knowing that you're the one that wants to do it - it's your choice and your responsibility.

Posted by sedda at 11:34 AM

February 28, 2005

Thailand Flags for the Kamala School

Thanks to the AAA Flag+Banner company, the kids at the Kamala School will have two brand new 3'x5' all-weather Thai Flags to remind them of the strength of their community.

Posted by sedda at 04:49 PM

February 27, 2005

Thanks to Ladies Who Brunch

Shanti invited me to a women's networking group called Ladies Who Brunch. The brunch meeting of about 100 women was at The Spanish Kitchen on La Cienega. The ladies donated $300 to Shanti's fundraiser for children in Kamala who survived the tsunami. Five of them lost both of their parents.

The fundraiser was initiated by Shanti, who purchased beanie babies and offered them up for sponsorship. For $5 donation, you can choose a beanie and send it to Thailand. She also sponsored flipflops.

And the String Scrubbie Project will contribute an additional $50 to the kids, in donations for scrubbies.

Thanks to the Ladies Who Brunch!!

Posted by sedda at 03:18 PM

February 25, 2005

Shoes, bags and clothes for the kids of Kamala

Shanti has been working her contacts to benefit tsunami survivors near Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. She is taking 65 pairs of donated flipflops from Teva with her for the children of Kamala. She also has daypacks and two large bags from Solomon, and some clothes from Patagonia, Oakley apparel, Timbuk2 and Etnies to give to the Thai people.

Additionally she'll bring about 50 beanie-baby sized stuffed animals that she got on sale at Toys-R-Us.

The next contact she will work is one at China Air, so she can get the Your Bag Is Too Heavy fee waived. "Ohhhh, SkyCap! Over Here!"

Posted by sedda at 03:30 PM

February 20, 2005

Help Thai people in need

Friends,

As you know, hundreds of thousands of lives were suddenly changed by the December 26 tsunami waves that destroyed families and communities.

I have decided I need to do more to help. On March 11, I will be traveling with two extraordinary women to Thailand to lend a hand for tsunami relief for three weeks. My main traveling companion will be Shilpa Rajpara, who is using her vacation time from her HR job to make a difference. We will meet up with Shanti Sosienski, a freelance writer, who has raised more than $4500 in cash to give directly to Thai citizens rebuilding their lives. Shanti has inspired us to make the journey.

Shilpa and I will spend a few days learning about the Thai culture, then we will travel south via Krabi, where we will be helping people who need it. We have plans to assist villagers of Koh Lanta fix boats so they can return to their livelihood. We hope to help out rebuilding temples, or schools, or daycare centers. Other opportunities await us. We plan to bring back many stories of hope, rebirth, and new beginnings.

The String Scrubbie Project, begun about a week after the tsunami happened, organizes volunteer knitters across the country to donate handmade dishcloths/washcloths as a tsunami survivor fundraiser. We have sent $200 to UNICEF that we have raised by Scrubbie sales. Future scrubbie sales will be split between UNICEF and assisting Thais in need.

HOW *YOU* CAN HELP TODAY:

There are several ways you can get involved to help tsunami survivors, without breaking your piggy bank. No donation is too small. We encourage you to skip that latte or pack a lunch once, and send just $1, $5 or $10 toward the following efforts:


1. To HELP THE THAI PEOPLE DIRECTLY, you may do this in a couple of ways: You could buy a scrubbie and write the check to me, indicating 'direct relief' on the check. Or, you could send a check/cash to me outright. Note that this part of the fundraiser will continue throughout the year and funds can be wired directly to the Thai people later, if you miss the 3/11 deadline.

2. HELP ME TO HELP OTHERS. If you would like to help sponsor my March 11 tsunami relief trip; I am footing the bill on my own expenses and am open to donations. Please indicate 'bug' in the memo of your check, if you can help.
Other Items I am looking for specifically:
--Loan/donate to me a 12" Apple Powerbook with Office for documenting the project
--Fresh film and batteries
--A lead bag for the xray machine
--A few 'flags' or banners of various designs that say thank you, for use in photographs. We could use two of them, $25 each, and a graphic designer to make a cool PDF so we can get them printed.

3. HELP AND GET A TAX DEDUCTION. If you would like to make a difference, but prefer to earn a tax deduction in the process, you may donate $10 to receivea Hand-knit 100% Cotton Dishcloth suitable for kitchen or bath. You may make the check payable to UNICEF Tsunami Relief. If you prefer, your money can benefit the Thai people directly, just write the check to me and let me know.
It would be most excellent if you could slip an extra buck in the envelope for postage, or send a large SASE, so I can mail the scrubbie back to you. I know this sounds a little cheap-o, but I'm really finding these small expenses add up--and my pockets aren't quite deep enough.

4. Knit scrubbies for the String Scrubbie Project.

Donations may be sent to the Knitzilla! mailbox:

Knitzilla! String Scrubbie Project
4845 Fountain Ave #11
Los Angeles CA 90029

Many, many thanks for your generosity in supporting tsunami relief. If you have given generously already, I completely understand and do not wish to pressure you again. But I hope you will let your friends know, so they have the opportunity to help, as well.

Peace and love to you,

Sedda K (Ms. Bug)
project mail: scrubbie[at] rain circle (dot)com

Posted by sedda at 03:18 PM

February 04, 2005

Tsunami survivors need our help

Do you wonder where our funds are going? Here are some updates:
•Red Cross:Tsunami aftermath photos
•UNICEF:Update as of 17 Jan 05
•Red Cross:Update as of 1 Feb 05

Why should we continue to contribute?
•Red Cross: Uncertain Future Hangs Over Thai Tsunami Survivors
•UNICEF:For tsunami homeless, sanitation a critical concern

We hope you will donate through the String Scrubbie Project, or can contribute your knitting or crochet. But it's most important that you give at all, whether through us or through another venue. Thanks for contributing to a community of worldwide togetherness.

Posted by sedda at 02:42 PM

January 14, 2005

Harrowing tsunami tales

There are thousands of tales of horror and help from those who have experienced the tsunami and earthquake in December. One story that made it more real for me is this first person account from Emma Squire, a tourist whose family was caught up in the washing-machine-like rushing waters in Sri Lanka's Arugam Bay.

Posted by sedda at 11:11 AM