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Can you imagine how tired someone with over 60 years of age would be, after 24 years of providing care for as many as 33 special needs orphans in her 3-bedroom apartment? Wow, I know that is a lot to take in, but that is the case for our friend who leads the special needs orphanage in China supported by Global Partners in Life.  Would you like to meet her?

Care Provider at Chinese Orphanage

The photograph above shows one of the few times I have seen the director of the special needs orphanage sitting down. As you can see, bunk beds are a big help to her and the children, because they can hold many children and they save space. These bunk beds were actually donated to the orphanage after the leader played a huge role in a successful Special Needs Olympic event held in the city. The event grows annually as more and more people volunteer and participate! I am very thankful for all of the assistance she can receive! 

If my words about her being over 60 years old made you think she had some limitations on her due to her age, nothing could be farther from the truth. This photo was taken during my last trip to China in the first week of December — but during several of my warm weather trips, I have seen her jumping rope with the best of the rope-jumping children! Also, I have to give her credit for keeping her energy level up with not much sleep. She gets up several times during the night to check on the children.

To me, it is an honor to be affiliated with this loving special needs orphanage, and I am extremely thankful for everyone that contributes to Global Partners in Life, so we can meet the needs of these children that can’t provide for themselves! 

I had been traveling for about 30 hours when I saw this ramp going to a jet in India. Perhaps it was my lack of sleep, but I thought this advertisement was really funny.  By the way, I was using an airline called Spice Jet. It makes me wonder where they got their name!

Speaking of advertising, how about this for a jingle to remember! I can’t remember the last time I saw a Lucky Strike cigarette, so this display really caught my eye.

I like the guilt trip this message places on smokers. If you don’t care about harming yourself, think about those around you! 

Are L&Ms more harmful than other cigarettes?  It seemed interesting to me that this brand had each type of warning message on it. Talk about buyer beware!

When I saw this sign, I thought, is the leader of this department called an Air Head? To me the irony was overwhelming, but I had been traveling for about 33 hours straight at this point of my trip!

When you are traveling, please keep your head up, eyes open, and camera ready. You never know when you will see something amazing, beautiful, or in this case, funny. 

Enjoy your travels!

After traveling for about 33 hours, on my last trip to India, I was with my friends and we went to a leper colony somewhere a little north of Vishakhapatnam, India. Technically, I am told, the caste system has been removed from the constitution of India–but in many ways, it is still in practice. Would you like to know one of the ways?

The people with leprosy in India would be considered even a lower group of people than the lowest group in the caste system. Even the family members of people with leprosy are discriminated against, and their opportunities in life are extremely limited. Above is a photo of a leper colony we visited soon after I arrived in India.

The people from the leper colony are not allowed to use public transportation, so this tricycle is a good option for them when they need to move around. Apparently a local doctor prefers to do amputations for the people with leprosy, and that is why there are hand cranks to use on this tricycle. While at this leper colony, I saw many people missing limbs and using crutches. 

The people in the leper colony are not allowed to use the same water as people without leprosy, so this is the community water pump. While we were there, we gave them words of encouragement and provided them with clothes and food! This village had a very sweet and humble vibe to it.

I am very thankful for everyone that invests in Global Partners in Life, so we can continue to meet the needs of people that–through no fault of their own–can no longer provide for themselves!

SARS and the Coronavirus

February 14, 2020 — Leave a comment

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, it has brought back many memories of when I was teaching at a university in China in 2003. If you recall, that was when SARS broke out. I am going to share a photograph with you from the end of the SARS outbreak.

People were truly frightened by SARS, and rightfully so. For anyone who hasn’t been to China and witnessed the population density, well, you just can’t imagine how many people live in close proximity to one another. That is how a virus can spread so quickly in China.

To help you understand, I will share with you what the director of the special needs orphanage told me when she shared with me that the main thing she wanted when we remodeled the kitchen was a dishwasher.  Believe me, there were several pressing needs to be addressed when we remodeled the kitchen; but she told me that the reason she wanted a dishwasher so badly was that, when one child got sick, they all got sick. She had no way to sterilize the dishes, so what she told me made perfect sense! Does that help you understand how quickly a virus can spread in China?

At the university, I truly felt sorry for the freshmen. They were all at a different campus outside of town, and nobody was allowed to leave. So, these were 18 year old students away from home for the first time, and they couldn’t go home or leave the campus. For me, if I wanted to leave the campus, which was in the city, I had to wear a badge; and I had to wear the badge to return to the campus. Honestly, back then the air quality was so ugly that many people were wearing masks before the SARS virus infected so many people. The university did all they could to protect everyone. The classrooms, offices, and apartments for the teachers were all sprayed with a liquid designed to kill germs. I think the local TV station sent a crew to film this, so everyone would know the government was doing all it could, and so the parents of the students could have fewer worries.

When the semester was over, which ended a week early because a holiday had been canceled due to the travel restrictions, I took a bus from my small city to Shanghai. Before we left the small city, our temperature was taken. A Chinese cardiologist was sitting near me who spoke English very well, and I became very thankful for him. As we approached Shanghai, the bus pulled off the road by a large tent. The doctor told me we were going to walk through the tent and have our temperature taken. At the end of the tent was a large opening, and if we were told to go to the left, that meant we didn’t have a temperature and we could get back on the bus. If we were told to go to the right, that meant we had a temperature, and we would be taken to some unknown location for at least 2 weeks, and nobody would be able to communicate with us. Yes, that got my attention, and I knew I didn’t want to be put into a quarantine facility! 

I am thankful to say that I survived SARS! Hopefully this story will help you to have compassion for those in the Coronavirus prone areas. Please remember the population density is a huge factor there, and like my friend said — if one child gets sick, they all get sick!

During my recent trip to India, I visited the Baby Adoption Center, which is an orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life.  As always, the orphanage that specializes in getting infants adopted was amazingly clean and orderly. 

One of the ways success is measured for them is by working through the proper agencies and finding adoptive families for the babies.  Would you like to hear some of their unique stories?

Baby Adoption Center in India

The little girl in this photo is one of the children that has been adopted by a family from another country.  Her new forever home is in Italy!

Baby Adoption Center in India

The little girl in the photo above loves to be put in the cradle that swings.  From what I am told, she will go to sleep in about 2 minutes if she isn’t hungry!  She was found abandoned on the side of a road.  There were ants biting her on her cheek and one ear.  Thankfully, all of those marks have gone away!

Baby Adoption Center in India

This baby was abandoned, and she may have had a premature birth.  If I remember correctly, she only weighed about 3 pounds when she was discovered.  Now she is healthy and looking for a forever home!

There was one special needs baby at the orphanage during this visit, and to my knowledge, this is the first special needs baby they have had.  She has partial development of one hand and one arm, and one of her ears seems to lay flat against her head, but other than that, she appears to be healthy.

Thanks so much to the people supporting Global Partners in Life!  As you can see, our donors are having life changing impact on the lives of orphans around the world!

For the second time, my travels have taken me through the airport in Doha, Qatar. Each time I have been impressed — if not amazed — by the high end shopping available… at an airport, of all places. If you want any famous label on your clothes, purse, or jewelry, then the airport in Doha is the place to go. Would you like to see some examples?

Mclaren cars at the Doha, Qatar airport

Mclaren is considered one of the fastest and best made cars in the world. In fact, they fall into the Super Car category. I don’t know how much this one would cost, but hopefully they will negotiate the price! I must admit, this was the first time I had seen a Mclaren in an airport!

Expensive beverages at the Doha, Qatar airport

In the shopping areas, I saw many bottles of expensive alcoholic beverages. Some of the bottles were quite large, as you can see in the photo above. 

Tea options at the Doha, Qatar airport

Speaking of beverages, apparently tea is taken very seriously in Qatar. As you can see from this display, you can have many different ways to prepare your tea, and there are several different types of tea to enjoy.

In the event your travels lead you to Doha, Qatar’s airport, you may want to budget a little extra time and money for shopping. Enjoy your traveling!

If you read my last blog, you would have seen that Global Partners in Life is now serving in Peru. I have found an organization that not only helps orphans, but helps widows as well. The orphanage is called New Life Children’s Home and it is located east of Lima, Peru, in an area called Cieneguilla, Peru. After my first visit, I must tell you I was very impressed… would you like to see why?

New Life Children’s Home

One of the first things I noticed was the large and very clean dining room and kitchen. The staff at New Life Children’s Home are very capable of providing nutritious meals, and yes, even birthday cakes in their industrial sized kitchen. The food I had there was absolutely delicious!

New Life Children’s Home

Probably the first thing I noticed about this children’s home was the wall surrounding the facility. Not only does this keep the children safe, but it had a colorful paint job as well. The children had lots of open space for playing and many different activities available for them. In the photo above, you can see the trampoline, swing set, rock climbing wall, and a structure like Noah’s Ark. In the photo below, you can see the basketball court that also is a soccer (excuse me, but it is called football in Peru) field! 

New Life Children’s Home

The facility was amazingly clean! For the most part, the children live in barracks based on their gender and age. One of the most amazing facts about the New Life Children’s Home is they try to maintain one nanny for every 4 children, and the nannies actually live in the barracks with the children for whom they provide care. To my knowledge, there is only one child there with a special needs, which is different from the main orphanage we provide for in China. Check out how clean and organized the barracks are in the photographs below!

New Life Children’s Home
New Life Children’s Home

I am very happy to be able to give support to the New Life Children’s Home! The leader of the facility works very closely with the government trying to meet the needs of the children and help find adoptive families for the children. In fact, while I was there, a brother and sister were told they were going to be adopted by a family in the States! 

For those of you that support Global Partners in Life financially, thanks so much! Because of you, the children in Peru are being cared for at a high level while waiting to be adopted! For that, I will never be able to say thank you enough!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

South of the Border

December 13, 2019 — Leave a comment

As I try to increase the size of the impact of Global Partners in Life, I look for reputable people that are serving orphans and widows. I just found a potential partner in Peru. Obviously, I wanted to check them out, so I just had my first trip to Lima. Would you like to see some of the sights?

All of the photos I will show you today are from an area near the airport in Lima. I am not sure what this building is, but I do know I saw several government buildings, historical buildings, and some museums. 

As you can see from the photograph above, some of the buildings truly had some unique characteristics.  This particular building was on one of the main streets going through Lima.

In the photo above you will find another beautiful building. The airport is near the coast, and for some reason, the coast is much colder than just 12 miles to the east. My apologies for the glare on this picture!

The last two photos are of some of the larger buildings I saw. The Peruvian people are very proud of their culture, heritage, and independence they won from Spain. They have many plazas and parks, which many people enjoy. The parks are nestled in between the buildings and traffic. It was interesting to see how just a small space would be used for a park, and many people would enjoy it, and you can see in the photos below. By the way, the next two photographs are not as close to the airport as the buildings.

If you have ready many of my blogs, you know I enjoy traveling. I can tell you my trip to Peru went well, and I look forward to sharing more with you about the trip. Hopefully you can enjoy some trips soon as well!

At the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life, there was a girl that had a huge smile that would make anyone who saw it happy.  Unfortunately, she is no longer there — she was one of the many children removed from the orphanage by the government, because she didn’t have any official registration and she had never been adopted. Would you like to meet her?

Another unfortunate thing about this little girl named Qi Qi is that she had spina bifida with the tethered spine syndrome. What all that meant was that she had a hole in her spine at birth, but it was surgically closed. Also, she had no feeling from her waist down, and she couldn’t walk well at all, and she had to wear a diaper, so she couldn’t attend school. Additionally, she would get sores on her lower body, like her foot that would never completely heal.

Many different medicines were tried to help her with this wound.  Both Eastern and Western medical approaches were tried, and sometimes the wound would almost heal, but then it would open again. Through all of the daily treatments and medicines, she never seemed to let this health issue get her down.

What is troubling to me is that now she has been removed from the special needs orphanage and I can’t learn how she is doing. I truly care for Qi Qi, but now that she is in the government’s care, I doubt I will ever see her again.

There is a new government program in China which guarantees orphans an education and medical treatments, and I have been told by an American doctor this program has been good so far. I do take comfort in that, but I would still love to see her smile again and know how she is doing. Watching her grow up and then suddenly she is gone has been difficult for Qi Qi, the lady that leads the special needs orphanage, and me! 

I am very thankful for the supporters of Global Partners in Life, who enabled us to provide for Qi Qi and meet her needs while she was at the special needs orphanage.     

Learning from Traveling

November 15, 2019 — Leave a comment

It would be very difficult for me to itemize all of the different and surprising things I have seen and learned during my travels to Asia, but I am thankful for all to which I have been exposed. Some things were a little more expected and less of a surprise than others, but always interesting to see. Would you like to see some of the sights from a trip to India?

The photo above was taken in a small city in eastern India. I have no idea how this young lady could keep the sack on her head balanced as she wove through the traffic, but I was impressed — and I knew I didn’t want to do that myself! This sight became very common as I spent more time in India, and I have never seen anyone drop the load off their heads prematurely. 

Many times I saw a water buffalo or an ox pulling wooden carts in India, but I was not sure about what these animals were. They had the bodies of a cow, but I am not sure about their horns. I haven’t seen this combination before.

Being from the Atlanta area, you know I am a Coke guy when it comes to my cola preference. In India, Coke is called Thums Up, and I can’t say that it taste exactly like what we have in the States, but it is very close. Now, if I could just find some that were cold when it is 100 degrees and 100% humidity!

I was never truly into academia, but I can say that I do enjoy learning by traveling. There are many things you can learn through traveling that simply are not in books . . . but books are a great way to learn also. 

How about you? Do you have your next trip planned? This week I booked a trip, and I can’t wait to share with you about it!