Archive for the ‘PeaceFest 2010 News’ Category

From a hotel in Rwanda

I sit here after three days of amazing tours, meetings and meals provided by the wonderful people of UMUSEKE.  “Umuseke” is a word with two meanings; first it is a descriptor of a bamboo shoot that is very straight.  The second meaning is that of ‘aurora’ – the colorful light before dawn.  As we bumped down a road in the Toyota pickup truck, Emmanuel at the wheel, Mariette explained this to me.  The two definitions work really well together to capture what they are trying to provide for the kids, and for their country.

Look at these kids!  When I arrived two days ago after a crazy-exhausting set of flights from Stockholm – Rome – Addis Ababa – Entebbe – Kigali, the UMUSEKE team was waiting for me at the airport.  They checked to see if I was not too tired, and then we all (5 of us packed in the Toyota) went directly over to the Ecole APAPER (a primary education school, privately funded).  Now, all the kids were on holiday this week, but the principal (Pierre Muvunyi) and several of the children were waiting for me.

After a tour of the school (provided by the kids) and a game we all played in a circle in the courtyard, the children took turns telling what ‘peace’ means to them.   Their English was remarkably good.    The work that UMUSEKE is doing with them is essential to re-establishing a peaceful society here after all the pain they have been through.

Will send more as I can – one last funny tidbit; it was really cool to hear Mariette and others in the truck (Clement, Constantin, Emmanuel, Jacqueline) talking in the native language and occasionally hear the words “Peace Train” pop out amidst the rapid, and very foreign to me, cadence!



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As you all may know from reading up here, we collect money in Second Life and convert those virtual dollars to real dollars, combine that with whatever has been contributed through our PayPal donations and other events, and the total of all that is divided evenly among the 3 organizations and sent to them as a contribution.

Today, we have a financial update:  There are $132,000 linden dollars in our Second Life account – a HUGE thank you to all of you who contributed online.  ALSO, we have US $640 in donations from those attending our Dining on the Peace Train events.  This is the tally today – final tally will occur later this week.  For now, we estimate this to be about US $1,100 in total contributions.

For each of these orgs, this is significant help!  We’ll have sponsored a child at SafePassage for the better part of a year, ensuring good food, water, medical attention, shelter, and education.  We will have contributed to the materials development and provision for our friends at UMUSEKE, making a real difference in helping the children of Rwanda and surrounding regions have tools to bring people together in peace.  And we will have helped impoverished women in India have an opportunity to achieve financial independence through the Self Employed Women’s Association.

You have done this.

The connection of virtual world and online activities to creating real peace in the world is tangible.

Speaking of connections; I’m now sitting in the warm comfort of the Stockholm airport in snowy Sweden waiting for a connection to Addis Ababa and finally Kigali, Rwanda, where tomorrow I will have the pleasure of meeting Mariette Utamuvuna of UMUSEKE in person.  Stay tuned to this blog for pictures and updates : )

And thank you for helping make peace real.  It’s an ongoing construction.

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Last night we had a collection of people – friends and family – come over to hear the interview with Lisa Jensen of SafePassage, and see the goings-on in Second Life.  It was an interesting time!  Afterwards, we had food and drink, talked about it all and just enjoyed the company.   All part of Dining on the Peace Train.

Our setup: people gathered around to see / hear

I’ll be leaving today for work travel, but will also be stopping in to see the folks at UMUSEKE in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday this week.  I will update the blog at some point with photos, etc.   I have with me a multimedia file created by schoolchildren here in North Carolina to give to the teachers / kids in Rwanda.  We’ll see where this goes : )

In the meantime – I hope you continue to enjoy the scheduled events for PeaceFest 2010 and help us help these fine organizations.  PeaceFest 2010 – See One World!

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Today – it’s all happening at Music Island.  A huge thank you to Kate Miranda and all the performers.  Here you see AldoManutio Abruzzo performing this morning.  See the Schedule for what’s happening for the rest of the day!

A big “thank you” as well to Any1 Gynoid for covering our story in the CNN iReport site.  Thank you!

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As you know, we’re going to be donating to 3 organizations this year.  I am really excited to have already secured time with both SafePassage.org and UMUSEKE for live interviews!  These interviews will be handled by Skype and streamed online through Blogtalkradio and in Second Life.  For those in attendance in Second Life, we’ll have presentation panels running to share photos that the folks from these organizations have already shared with me – photos from Guatemala and from Rwanda.  I’ll add just a couple samples here, and take a look at the SCHEDULE as we get close to November 5 to see the latest.

Kids at SafePassage in Guatemala

an UMUSEKE event in Rwanda

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NEW idea this year!  Dining on the Peace Train.

As many will know and will have gleaned from this blog, our history is one of creating online events in Second Life only.  Well this year we are expanding into the real world!  I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago and we came up with the idea of having small get-togethers – just friends or family coming together in someone’s house, apartment, dorm room, bar – whatever.  Small get-togethers where folks could have some fun and share information about the three organizations we are supporting, about Peace Train, and gather donations.

So that’s the genesis of Dining on the Peace Train : )  Another way to hop on board!  More information here.

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A huge THANK YOU to Alexxa Laval and Jonah Zenovka for once again creating a fantastic logo for this year’s PeaceFest event – you see part of it in the header of this website.

We will be working with three organizations this year:  SafePassage.org based in Guatemala, UMUSEKE based in Kigali, Rwanda, and SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) based in Mumbai, India.

We are terribly excited about helping these three organizations, and look forward to providing updates here on each of them.  AND stay tuned to the schedule for PeaceFest 2010 – for we hope to once again have live, interactive interviews with representatives from these three organizations FROM THEIR LOCATIONS.

Hop on board the Peace Train!

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