Dear Tom, Andrius, Ricardo, Benoit, and All,
I have been reading through these letters and thinking along some of the
same lines as the rest of you, including Tom himself, about
"sustainability", self-help, income-generation, and independence.
It's very important to recognize the "interactive" and even "interdependent"
nature of this project--in an ongoing way--and also to recognize that some
aspects may be, and hopefully in time will be, more self-directed and
self-sustaining, after initial inputs from outside sources.
Tom has spoken in these forums, and also with myself and perhaps others,
about a photography business that would be set in a garden, where people
could have wedding photos taken, for example.
So one question might be: what synergy would or could there be between the
handcart project and the photography/garden project? Plants need water,
after all: would they be OK with water that is not as clean, and how will
that water be transported (would separate carts be used, would it be
dangerous to use carts for both, or would there be some other method of
irrigation)? Do the plants instead need clean water, the same kind that
Another question might be: can this enterprise generate income that is
self-sustaining for one or two individuals (or more), or that at the least
can be directed back into other projects of benefit to Tom (to help improve
his livelihood), and/or to the general and Deaf communities in Kisumu, and
Tom has a variety of ideas, projects, and a wish-list of needs that link to
members of the Deaf community he serves in Kisumu. One is for bicycles,
another is for mobile phones and ICTs (both equipment and learning about how
to use them), though on the latter score Ricardo has been immensely helpful.
Can this handcart project be linked in some direct way to your current
ICTs-related capacities, Tom? And/or could it be linked to some future
needs, ideas, or projects you hope to do, that are ICTs-related?
Ricardo's feedback on this matter is also be greatly appreciated!
Related to bicycles, Tom, I would be interested to consider stretching my
own budget right now to include a loan for a second handcart (you have
mentioned needing two), especially if that somehow might help Evelyn to
acquire a bicycle. Is that a possible trade-off, or do you think it would be
too hard in the short-term to make the $100 needed for a bicycle, from this
I want to make special note of Benoit's response on this issue, because he
frames it in a more transcendent and spiritual way than we have generally
been thinking of it. This is crucial, because safe water is or should be a
human right, and there is certainly something of the sacred about this
Therefore, while it is fine and even important to think of this project in
"material" terms, we will hopefully keep in mind that access to clean water
is not just a "market" issue, but a human-rights concern. Thanks immensely
for helping us to see that larger picture, Brother B!!
Several other items:
1) I have made contact during this past week with a researcher in the
International Program of Gallaudet College, the premier university for
people in the Deaf community in the USA. She is in the process of mapping
where Deaf organizations and activities are located worldwide. She is very
interested to know about Tom and Deaf Impact Ministry, and perhaps the
handcart idea and project would be of special value, including if it could
be disseminated globally as a source of possible income-generation and
independence for people who are deaf. http://cips.gallaudet.edu
2) Also this week is a posting from one of the board members of the World
AIDS Marathon (www.worldaidsmarathon.com), an event that is held yearly in
Kisumu, Kenya (note: I worked on the first WAM in 2004, and this is where
Samwel and I got to know each other...I was already at MS, from an intro by
Joy Tang of oneVillage Foundation, and told Sam that he too should join
us...the rest is history, and herstory :)))). The creator of WAM, Richard
Brodsky, remains a friend and fellow member of the Kenyan Diaspora nonprofit
I mentioned in my last personal update.
This board member was writing to inform those cc'd about the "Safe Water and
AIDS Project (SWAP)", and this is what she says:
"SWAP has been blessed by many loyal donors and has been able to expand its
activities throughout Western and Nyanza Province in Kenya. Over 700 HIV
support groups and other community groups have been engaged as vendors of
safe water treatment and health products. However, in order to think about
its own financial sustainabillity, SWAP has developed a business plan with
the help of a business consultant. The implementation of this would generate
enough income for the organization to pay for its salaries and overhead
costs within three years. This would reduce donor dependancy and achieve
SWAP has the ambition to design, construct and operate a conference facility
and a hotel/guest house and restaurant which would target visitors from
oversees and middle class Kenyans. The guesthouse would accommodate the many
visitors and researchers visiting SWAP. The conference centre would enable
SWAP and many other NGO's to hold their meetings and trainings. It would be
combined with a SWAP model village where SWAP will take some of the
potential visitors to showcase all the interventions, and where SWAP would
put up a water treatment technology to provide water for the
neighboring communities. The intervention would create employment for the
For those interested we can send you our business plan. For those who wish
to donate, please contact us so that we provide you with our banking
details. In the meantime please browse on our website at www.swapkenya.org
for more informatin on Safe Water and AIDS Project (SWAP)."
It appears that great minds think alike, and that there might be some
wonderful synergies between SWAP, Deaf Impact Ministry and other groups in W
Kenya and beyond, Minciu Sodas, and others. HIV/AIDS and a focus on clean
water is an inspired pairing, as the latter is so essential to health,
especially for those with compromised immune systems.
Deaf Impact Ministry and so many other groups and individuals in Kenya, in
this forum, and globally are deeply concerned and affected by HIV/AIDS, so
linkages between health, safe water, sanitation, environmental and human
sustainability, ICTs, and more are either already present, or can be easily
created. Note the focus on sustainability (Sam, Tom, all), and on tourism!
I am thinking that perhaps Tom and his handcarts could somehow be a part of
the World AIDS Marathon. Tom is a member of the Kenyan Community Abroad (the
Kenyan Diaspora nonprofit I have mentioned), as is Richard, and I am one of
its officers. Richard undoubtedly already knows about Tom: now all it takes
is a personal introduction!
I will close on that note, and look forward to the unfolding of this
project, including how it might be helpful to our other MS members, in Kenya
With blessings always and excitement! Janet
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrius Kulikauskas" <ms@...>
To: <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 2:48 AM
Subject: [holistichelping] Re: Water cart loan questions and plans
>I spoke with Tom Ocuka just now.
> His deepest value in life is "Have an environment where people can adapt
> to changes". This is very helpful for us all to know because it helps
> us understand and support him, know where his leadership is most
> natural, understand the personal relevance of his projects and hold him
> accountable to himself.
> His question is "How to empower the community?" and specifically "How to
> involve people to make them independent so they can find water solutions
> for themselves?" as in "How to get water without depending on the common
> I approve a loan of 8500 Kenyan shilling (currently about 111.40 USD)
> from my Minciu Sodas funds that Samwel is holding. The loan is for
> constructing one hand cart for water as Tom described. The terms that I
> suggest are that Tom be ready in 6 months to return 75% of the loan per
> my instructions, either to return to Samwel or to hold further. The
> other 25% is for research on this project that Tom will do and share on
> the questions above and other questions that Ricardo, Benoit, I and
> others might ask. This research will include regular updates (at least
> once a month) by email and photos of how the project is unfolding and
> what Tom is learning.
> Tom, do you agree to these terms? If you do, please write us and I
> agree that Samwel release the funds.
> Samwel, do you have any questions? My thought is that Samwel will coach
> Tom on research aspects, what we can all learn and what might interest
> us. This project will be part of Samwel's worknets lab and I hope we
> can build further on that around Samwel's and Tom's leadership,
> including others as well.
> My suggested terms show my economic logic. Minciu Sodas and other
> Worknets labs are about organizing around independent thinkers. So it's
> vital for our investments that we know Tom and focus on his own values,
> questions and growth. That is what builds our economic assets, too. A
> successful research project like this is easily worth $1,000 or more in
> terms of the relationships that it builds amongst us and opens up with
> others. For example, it can link up connections with Mark Chambers of
> http://www.akvo.org "open source for water and sanitation". The
> project needs to stand on such merits for it to be worth me investing
> myself in, for it to be self-sustainable. Whether or not it makes a
> profit or even covers costs is, for me, secondary, if it is
> strengthening our network.
> Samwel, Tom and all, I look forward to thinking through more such loans
> and how best to distribute and apply our resources.
> Tom, thank you for your initiative,
> Andrius Kulikauskas
> Minciu Sodas
> +370 699 30003
> Dukiskes, Lithuania
> Please note our rule: Each letter sent to the Holistic Helping group
> enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN unless it explicitly states otherwise. Thank
> you! http://www.ethicalpublicdomain.org
> Yahoo! Groups Links
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