Saturday, May 31, 2008

A New NGO and Baseball in the Jungle

I’m baaacck!

My goodness, I feel like just left Siem Reap and here I am back again. Well, actually, I guess I did just leave.

I arrived in Phnom Penh Wednesday morning and called my friend, the judge, whose been helping us work through the miasma of officialdom, here in Cambodia. He asked me if I thought I was going to have the new demining NGO registered in May? My first thought was, “oh boy, we got the NGO registration!” Then I read the text message he sent me a second time and had second thoughts.

I was wrong.

As I was landing in Phnom Penh, the official registration for Cambodian Self Help Demining was being delivered. CSHD is now an official NGO in Cambodia. We were afraid it would take us a lot longer. It’s taken some NGOs over a year. We got it done in less than 90 days. A remarkable feat, and one that was a real group effort.

NOW we need to finish getting the demining certificate from CMAA. We’re working on that and I will be here until early July to push, pull, and help where I can. CMAA is being thorough and complete on their review of our submission and I can’t ask for more.

And what else am I doing you might wonder? Well, I came a bit earlier than planned so that I could be spend some time with some real interesting blokes…Royal Australian Engineers from the Vietnam Veterans Mine Clearing Team. Three of them are here right now helping Aki Ra: Bomber, who I’ve written about before, Mac and Marty. They all served in Vietnam and they’ve been here for about a month working with Aki Ra to get CSHD up and running. Just some amazing guys, and I am honored to be able to work with them.

As you know, if you’ve been reading this epistle, I met Joe Cook from Cambodian Baseball and got a donation of balls (190) from the Angels and t-shirts (90) from the Dodgers. I packed them all up in 2 duffle bags and carted them off to LAX earlier this week. Now if you’ve been reading the paper you know that the airlines have been looking for any way they can to boost revenues, and overweight bags has been a godsend. Not only did I have 3 bags to check (you get 2), but the equipment bags were each 20 pounds overweight. I was just a bit nervous as I hauled them off my cart and put them on the scale. I saw dollar signs in the eyes of the ticket agent until I told her they were donations from the USA to the baseball players of Cambodia. Thanks goodness baseball is popular in Taiwan, and I was flying the national airline. Cost me $100 extra. Not so bad.

I got to deliver the baseball equipment on Thursday morning to the Cambodian National Baseball Team. I needn’t have worried how we should find each other. One of the guys wore his uniform. It was supplied by MLB and looks just like a Dodger visiting uniform, except it says Cambodia across the chest. Looked pretty good. They had a ball and glove sitting on top of the bags. They saw that too and when I tossed the ball to the them they caught it just like a pro. The young man in the uniform was a pitcher. No curve ball yet, but he can throw it fast.

In 2 weeks I get to help with a tournament. Should be quite the time.

More as it happens.


1 comment:

osheaball11 said...

This is neat and a great idea. i am on the working of creating my own ngo donating used and unused baseball gloves to Kids from mexico. im giving gloves to kids in mexico to help keep them out of the drug cartels down there. i have sent emails to rawlings and easton and they each said they would help donate 100 gloves. soo email them and tell them what your doing and they will probably help.