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  • Mellissa Nguyen
    I just recently received this email from a sister of a co-worker - perhaps we can help... Dear Friends and Family: As many of you know, I am in my final months
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 17, 2006
      I just recently received this email from a sister of a co-worker -
      perhaps we can help...

      Dear Friends and Family:

      As many of you know, I am in my final months (only 4!) of a two year
      contract as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia. Before I go, there
      is a project which I must make happen. I am currently working with
      another volunteer to produce an AIDS awareness CD of Namibian
      artists called NamibiAlive!, which will be distributed for free to
      the 5000+ long-distance buses in Namibia.

      So far it's been loads of fun...we've made new friends who are all
      really good people as well as talented musicians. It's also been
      tons of work...we're still full-time teachers, and our primary
      responsibility is to our students. But AIDS is not just a problem
      affecting our villages and our schools. One in five Namibians is
      infected, and this amazing country is in serious trouble.

      So we're taking our fight against AIDS from the classroom to the
      highway (where the highest HIV prevalence rates are found), and
      we're asking you to help. We have a talented group of artists on
      board and great support from the media, but it will cost
      approximately U.S.$10,000 to produce and replicate the CDs. We're
      pursuing local sponsors, but the spirit of corporate giving is a new
      concept in Namibia, so we're also looking for donations from the

      If you are interested in collecting donations at work, school,
      church, etc., I have attached a 'Change for Change' fundraising
      flier for NamibiAlive. If you would like to find out more about the
      project or make a direct contribution, go to
      http://www.myspace.com/namibialive which showcases our new logo
      (we're rather proud) and has links to our Paypal account where you
      can make debit or credit card donations, and websites for Namibian
      musicians, fact sheets for HIV in Namibia, general information about

      If you have any additional ideas for fundraising activities or
      questions about the project, feel free to email me directly, or use
      our project email
      account: namibialive@....

      Thank you, wonderful people! -Amy

      Before I finish my Peace Corps service in December, I have a project
      I want to make happen, and I'm hoping that you can help...if only to
      give me feedback.

      As you know, for almost two years I have taught English in a bush
      school and lived on a traditional homestead, which has been an
      amazing experience. I have done my best to educate my students
      and 'family' members about AIDS-nearly 30% of the population is HIV-
      positive. I feel like I have had some small successes...just last
      weekend we took 12 students for HIV testing and counseling...very
      cool. The problem is that AIDS is no small problem in Namibia.
      So...my fellow Peace Corps volunteer, Dan Cwirka, and I came up with
      a project that would reach a larger population than our respective

      As volunteers, Dan and I are not among the more privileged driving-
      class of Namibia, and along with the majority of the population,
      when we want to go somewhere, we must try our luck in taxis that are
      much like speeding time-bombs; or even worse, when traveling longer
      distances, we allow ourselves to be packed into overcrowded,
      steaming hot mini-buses called combis. Besides being uncomfortable
      and unsafe (they easily tip over), you can rely on combis to blare
      the same terrible CD for the duration of your
      8-12 hour journey. Inspiration strikes!

      Why not give all of the combi buses in Namibia (around 5,000) a CD
      of good, local music with HIV and AIDS awareness messages from the
      artists between tracks? This would be an especially effective tool
      for AIDS awareness, because the messages would be coming from
      musicians...very influential and respected individuals. It would
      also target a group at high-risk for contracting and spreading HIV-
      the combi drivers who are generally young, mobile and with
      expendable income, not to mention the thousands of Namibians who
      travel on combi buses every day.

      Well, we've been pursuing this idea, and we have managed to get a
      full track-list of established Namibian artists to agree to let us
      use their songs and record messages for an AIDS awareness album we
      are calling ALIVE!
      Music with a Message. We've also gotten major media outlets to
      support our efforts. It's been a very exciting month. What we
      haven't done is get the funding to actually produce these CDs. The
      production of a master CD is relatively inexpensive (around U.S.
      $1,000) and the replication of 5,000 plus CDs will cost under U.S.
      $10,000. We've put administrative costs, including promotion, at
      around U.S. $1,000...Grand total, U.S. $12,000. No small amount,
      but not wildly impossible either.

      Ideally, we would get a mix of Namibian public and private sector
      organizations to sponsor the CD and cover its production costs. We
      are pursing this to the best of our abilities-we are still full-time
      teachers who live in the bush...bad cell phone reception, a 2 to 5
      hour journey to use internet, and a good 8 to 12 hours (on a combi)
      from prospective sponsors'
      offices. We are also on a tight timeline as our contract is
      finished December 15, 2006. It is important that Namibians are
      invested in the project, and as previously stated, ideally that
      would mean financial investment, as well as artistic and promotional
      support. But we feel that this project is important enough that it
      needs to happen, regardless.

      So...we are looking to use our connections in the States to help us
      raise at least the initial money used to produce a master CD and
      cover administrative costs (around U.S. $2,000). Any great ideas?
      Possible leads? We are willing to try anything... fundraisers,
      grants, gravelling...you name it. I'm sorry to have rambled on
      so...it's just that this is an incredibly important cause, and I
      have a hard time condensing the urgency and desperation of the AIDS
      epidemic in Namibia into an abbreviated plea for assistance. Feel
      free to pass this email along, and let me know if you require more
      information (or information in a shortened form).

      I hope this missive finds you well, and I look forward to hearing
      from you soon. -Amy Taylor
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