Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4 Bags and a Bark

Well, the dog is not enthralled with her travel kennel.

But after a couple of Xanax, she will spend as much time in it as I want. (Heck with 2 miligrams of Xanax I'd probably let Jill ship me to Cambodia in a kennel). But dogs metabolize the stuff differently, so don't send me letters and emails. We are following the vets orders.

We leave in 5 daze for Siem Reap. We've packed our bags and are washing clothes every 2 days. What we're wearing now will stay here.

We've packed up the house, and gotten it ready for the renters we hope are coming.

We've shampooed the carpets and scrubbed the grout.

We've painted the bedrooms and put in solar screens in the living room and the den

We got new cushions for the backyard.

We bought a new grill.

We cleaned out the garage.

Hold on........I don't think I want to leave........

I talked to my amigos in Siem Reap this week. Our little house is ready. The water works. The electricity is on and on Thursday they hook up the Internet and the TV. I may be moving to Cambodia, but I AM moving there to work. We'll have room for guests, so if you want to come, call and make a reservation. haha

We leave Sunday from LAX and fly direct to Bangkok. Then we have an 8 hour car ride to Siem Reap. We'd fly, but the plane is not pressurized and it would be tough on the puppy. So we have a taxi driver picking us up in Bangkok and driving us to the Cambodian border and then a friend picking us up at the border and driving us to Siem Reap. Should arrive about 30 hours after we leave LA. About the same amount of time it normally takes me to get into LA on a busy day.....

Lots of good things happening after a very rough year.

Now we just need to raise the other $10k for the new truck.

Babu (almost) in the jungle

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Increase in Federal Grant to $100,000

Well, what can we say....

The State Department has increased our federal grant from 6 months to 12 months, and doubled the amount of money of the grant to $100,000.

This grant is not a replacement for the continuing support we all have given Aki Ra and CSHD.

This grant is seed money for Aki Ra and Cambodian Self Help Demining. The intention of the grant is to assist all of us in increasing the reach and scope of the work we do. The USDS was impressed enough with the objectives we presented and the unique qualifications and motivation Aki Ra and his team has demonstrated over the years, to fund us quickly and at the full amount requested.

This grant comes with qualifications. $10,000 can be used to buy a new truck (you have no idea how badly we need one). We need to raise the balance, $10,000 more.

The grant helps us hire a teacher who will work with the deminers, teaching them English and helping them improve their basic skills. We have to maintain the program.

The grant gives us the money to install a Rapid Response Team, who can respond to ERW (explosive remnants of war) threats outside the identified mine field in which we are working. We often have villagers come to our work site and tell us of mines they have found in nearby villages. We now have a way of quickly responding to those calls for help. We need to maintain the team.

This grant gives us some breathing room.

If we meet the many objectives we set for ourselves, we stand a good chance of receiving continuing grants from Department of State. But that will only happen if supporters like us continue to help CSHD with contributions.

And please, don't think for a minute that any contribution is too small. If everyone who gave $20 stopped donating, we'd have to close our doors.

Become a continuing donor. Go to and click on the PayPal button.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

$50,000 Grant

I am very pleased to announce that on the 9th of September, the Landmine Relief Fund received a $50,000 grant from the United States Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

In response to an acknowledgement of the grant award and a thank you, they said: ”... You brought in a good idea and made a very convincing pitch for it, turned the idea into a sound proposal, and navigated the flaming hoops of the bureaucracy in record time…”

The grant, which is for a period of 6 months, will be used to help Aki Ra’s demining NGO, Cambodian Self Help Demining, make Cambodia a safer place. Working with the VVMCT-Cambodia, the Australian veterans group that has been so instrumental to CSHD’s existence, we can help CSHD continue changing the lives of Cambodians living in ‘low priority’ villages throughout the Kingdom.

This grant was not awarded to replace money we raise, from you, on a regular basis to fund CSHD. It was awarded to assist in the growth of the NGO. We’ll be using $10,000 of the grant to buy a new truck. It’s half of what we need, and we’ve agreed to raise the balance. Right now CSHD is driving a 1997 Toyota Hilux p/u truck. Let’s just say it has seen better daze. We can buy a very good used mid-sized Toyota pickup for $20,000. We’ll keep the old one for backup.

Here’s a chance to ‘double up’ on your donation. The US government believes enough in what we are doing that they are matching the $10,000 we will raise, and they’re doing it up front.

And how often do you get to buy the 'back end' of a pickup truck!?

CSHD exists because of the help Aki Ra’s supporters and their abiding belief that Cambodia can be made safe. Pitch in now with our newest supporter and help CSHD grow so it can save more lives.

Donate at