Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Deposit paid!

Well, I've paid my deposit, there's no turning back now!

I'm trying to stay on top of the fundraisers and plans- but have been dealt a little set back with my health that needs attending. While I'm tending that I'm trying to keep my eye on the fundraising ball, so to speak!

The next thing I'm going to do is get the paperwork together for my passport. I've emailed my doctor about the vaccinations I need (yellow fever and any others I want to update) and how that will work with my treatment, so I'm waiting to hear back from her. I also will need to figure out how to get malaria prophylaxis ahead of the trip but I have some time to sort that out.

Right now I'm working on getting my health issue settled, keeping momentum behind the fundraisers and starting to talk with the other trainers about our 10-day doula training! I'm very excited and can't wait to meet all of the folks who will be teaching this workshop as well as attending it.

Please keep your eye on my fundraising plans and participate as you are able to. If you have questions at any time, don't hesitate to let me know, I love hearing from people with their enthusiasm and ideas!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Deposit done!

Wow, I have to say- it's pretty amazing that in I think less than 10 days, I was able to raise $500. I haven't even held one of the planned events and haven't done any sort of solid marketing outside of Facebook- and look at the outpouring of just generosity and love that I have been so lucky to receive!

So what's happening now?

I will get my deposit done so that I can hold my spot- only 10 people are going and I'm hearing that the two-day doula training (we need to plan/schedule/develop.. ah!) is a major marketing piece of this trip. No trainers, no training! So I definitely need to get my buns in gear on the fundraising.

I have had the most amazing and creative ideas come my way for fundraisers, including offers for help. Here is what I'm working on right now (and could use help with minding the details, if you're interested!)

* Portrait Fundraiser courtesy of Elaine Turso Photography.
  -- $20 gets a 15 minute session and a free 8 x 10, and I keep 100% of those proceeds
  -- $50 gets a 30-minute session and two free sheets, and I keep 100% of the proceeds

* Pin-up Portrait Session by Raina Skye Photography
 -- We're still working out the details of this (it was conceived literally, five minutes ago) but it's looking like we need someone who wants to do pin-up hair and make up. Sessions will be $50 and you get a treasure to send to your partner (or keep for yourself!)

* Multiple direct-marketing fundraisers, including Scentsy, Creative Memories, Tupperware, all linked right on my blog so hit those up!

* Fundraiser from Little Earth Co., an awesome WAHM who makes soaps and other treasures, also linked on my site

* If I can raise the funds to do a Comedy Night fundraiser at the Cloverleaf in Bremerton (it's $400 down and then we keep profits), I'd love to schedule that - we'll see if I raise funds in time to make that happen. I think it would make a major dent in what I have to raise AND we'd get to have a great time out!

* Bake and Rummage sale at The Clothes Line in Old Town Silverdale. The date is currently scheduled for the end of August but it looks like I need to have all of my funds together by August 1, so we may need to rethink this one.

So my next goal is another $400 so that I can pursue the Cloverleaf Comedy Night, which I think will really go a long way toward my goal!

I can't thank everyone enough for your donations, for sharing the information about this trip and for investing in me in all the ways that you do. I am so grateful!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I'm convinced that if I just open myself to all possibilities, and say yes to the things that arise (as they resonate with me), that I'll make it to my goals.

I'm less than $160 from my first goal- to pay the $500 deposit to hold my spot. Only 10 people are going on this trip and I so clearly see my future on the plane, landing, dreaming and amazed, that I just can't fathom that not happening. I see it as clearly as I see this computer in front of me.

I have to look into this yellow fever vaccination. Curious how sensitive I can be about vaccinating my kids but when it comes time to take a trip to Africa I'm pretty much ready to sign up for whatever they want to throw at me. Tetanus? Sure! Yellow fever? Absolutely! Malaria prophylaxis? Yum!

It does make me nervous that I could get sick on the trip but not so nervous that I would stay home. The fact that Jane has been there before, with her own daughter, too, makes me feel a lot more comfortable but I wouldn't say that over all I'm anxious about it. Just aware - and wisely so, I think.

It's so funny how when people are talking about travel and they say they've been to Africa, it's met with "ooooooh", and a lot of intense curiosity and sort of a group pause, in wonder of the idea of it. Africa seems so mysterious and I think there's something in me that feels connected to our human history. A little piece of me feels like it's always meant to go, belonged there somehow. Countries and politics aside, the land calls to me like gold calls to Pirates (of the Carribean. ;)) I just have always known I would go.

Trying to balance all of this fundraising with dealing with the health issues I have currently happening as well as all of my other commitments and jobs this summer is a trick. I realize that as much as I'd like to protect my family from all of it that I think it would be better and easier for everyone if we all were involved, even in some small way, rather than me putting it all in a bubble and trying to keep life normal. (Whatever 'normal' is around here!)

So right now what I'm looking into are a few things that have a wee bit of momentum behind them already:

  • Three fundraisers via direct sales (see the Fundraiser links on the side of the blog? Click them!)
  • Begging people via Facebook, email and this blog.
  • A rummage sale at a local consignment shop whose owner volunteered her parking lot. She's rather amazing.
  • Book a party with Red Spiral Henna in June and I'll donate 50% of the party proceeds to the fundraiser.
  • A mini-spa/silent auction event where people can come and get pampered and have some snacks and champagne, and hopefully make a purchase too!
  • A friend told me about one of the little bars in Bremerton that does a comedy night fundraiser. You pay $400 up front and then they put together the acts, and then you decide on ticket sale prices. I need to look into it a little more- I don't think this is something I could pull off alone and I'm nervous about risking the $400 - and I understand that the bar isn't going to risk losing money on something like that, too. I have to think about it.
I'm accepting other ideas, and especially offers of help because I am just one woman and while I am pretty amazing, I am not able to do absolutely everything. ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's happening :)

I have officially raised enough money now to make my first purchase - if I were to do it now. My passport! I will need to get my passport but from the website, it takes a couple of months generally to process. I have a little time. I've decided that gathering the first $500 for the deposit for the trip is more important, so that's my first goal.

Today, I gained $175! I need $200 more to reach the first goal of $500. I'm getting a lot of offers of help and will be meeting with a friend this week to talk about a mini-spa/silent auction event. I heard about a local venue that will do a comedy night fundraiser- it costs $400 up front and then we sell tickets and promote the event. I don't know if that's a risk I want to take but it could be a really fun (and possibly press-release-worthy) event, too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

So much to do!

There is just SO much to do to prepare for this trip- to even get close enough to know for sure I'm going. I have to buy a passport for the trip and meanwhile worry that I won't raise the funds for it. I am planning fundraisers that sound like they're going to be a lot of fun and hopefully well attended- and still, I may not know for sure I'm going until it's down to the wire! It makes me really nervous.

Right now I am talking with a friend (I did it, I asked him!) about possibly using his venue for a little event I am thinking might work out well. More details on that when I have them.

Another friend, a local business owner, offered her space for me to do a garage sale and so we're hammering out those details. I'm trying to keep people posted without being overwhelming, and I also am trying to mitigate my nervousness that people won't donate.

The best part though, is just when I feel most nervous about it, someone does donate, offers a silent auction item, or offers to help in some way. I need to trust that what is meant to happen will- and that whether it's what I'm planning or not, it will still be a delicious journey getting there.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

First donation!

After a long day doing prenatals with two lovely women due this spring, I came home to find that I'd received my first donation toward my trip! I literally squealed out loud, I was so excited and happy - it's so funny how one little email with information makes it all suddenly seem like it's real, and it's happening.

I have to give some serious thought to the garage sale idea- it could really be lucrative but I'm allergic to having to dump other people's garbage. I mean like.. my throat closes up. ;) I'm trying to think through it a bit- where to have it, how to get people to help because I know I couldn't do it alone (is any woman an island? I think not!)

I keep wanting to pinch myself because I can't believe this is all really happening!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Full time job -- Kristina

This whole 'raising money' thing could easily become a full time job. I can see why people get paid to do it for organizations!

Today I got to hang out with some wonderful friends in the sun- tonight, I am in a fundraising frenzy. The second the kids are quiet enough I'm researching Shanti, finding out more about necessary paperwork, vaccinations I might want to get before I go, reading about malaria and prophylaxis options, trying to set up my fundraising page at which took way longer than I thought, getting my Facebook Cause page set up and trying to blog too- keeping people connected to what's happening is a lot of fun, setting it up though- a bit of a PITA.

Now that part's over and I can get on with busting butt on raising funds. I have some great ideas I think- well... I have a couple of ideas anyway. I don't know why I'm so nervous about asking people to help me but I am. I also simultaneously feel like I know a lot of people in this community who are able and might be willing to do a little bit to help me- if only I ask and have some kind of plan.

Yesterday I talked with Nicole Broady from The Perfect Place. She's an event planner and has agreed to help me to create a fundraiser event. I just need to figure out what it's going to be. A friend owns a business where it would be great to hold an event, but I just have to wake up tomorrow with the guts to ask him. I think tomorrow I'll have it.

If nothing else, I'm definitely further along today than I was yesterday- the tools I've put into place will help me going forward. I like being organized.

I am glad that I didn't wait to start working on this, I really have a good feeling that I'll raise more than I need and will be able to bring a nice donation to Shanti, or help one of the other attendees to get there, too.

We're teaching a two-day doula training to anyone who wants to come! Maybe you should put that in your calendar - two day doula training in Uganda? Once in a lifetime opportunity for most people!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

First post! -- Kristina

I created a blog so that I could document this adventure- I like nothing more than to chronicle big events in my life and blogging is one of my most favorite ways to do it. I did this with the Malawi Project, my first foray into assisting mothers in Africa and it was really rewarding. 

So what is this Shanti, and how did I end up here? The story is interesting if you're open minded, and fanciful if you're not- a win either way, if you ask me.

I have Dreams where I get a lot of information. Not generally about future events, but just about my life, or someone else's life, usually. Because my Dreams are so informational one of the things I've learned to do in my Dream is pick one thing and repeat it to myself over and over and over so that I'll remember it when I wake up. It could be, "Tree, tree, remember the tree!" My Dreaming self thinks that if I can remember that tree, it will trigger me remembering the rest of the Dream- well, I usually only ever remember the damned tree.

About a week ago I had a Dream where two women are telling me their names over and over- Megan, Shanti! Megan, Shanti! I thought I'd best remember their names, and I did. Two days later a video went across Facebook about Shanti the elephant which piqued my interest. I know that I need to just keep an open mind and heart when Dream information is on deck so I watched the sweet video of the elephant that loved to play music, but not yet seeing any relevance.

Two days ago, Jane, a midwife I know, posted about going back to Uganda where she'd been a little more than a year ago, assisting at a clinic there with her daughter. The clinic? Shanti

I told her a little about my dream and she said, "You should come!" Normally when someone invites me to somewhere as far away/expensive/seemingly impossible as *Africa*, I feel how impossible it is and I don't generally entertain it. But this time I joked that I couldn't just decide to go to Africa in one day. Jane responded, "Why not?" And I thought- I've Dreamed of Shanti, this is something I need to pursue.

As I thought through it, the only obstacles I could see were my husband's opinion on this whole insane idea, and money. Money can be raised- so can Husband be convinced? ;)

Fortunately he is a man who is used to being married to a crazy wife like me and I think he senses when something is important to me and weighs it a little more heavily than some of my more randomly hatched plans. He took in what I had to say and said, "Well, let's work on raising the money and if something happens that you can't go, we'll just donate it to Shanti." YES!

So off I go- I'm working now to encourage Stephanie to join me on this adventure- my Sister in Crime! I know that going on this trip will change me and I can't wait to go. We'll be working on the ground offering soft-skills/doula training to the midwives working at Shanti - who are skilled providers but whose training was quite patriarchal and hierarchal. Shanti endeavors to provide women-centered care and while many great things are in place, they've asked us to come and help them do some fine tuning.

On top of getting to go to Africa, to a birthing clinic, I actually get to assist my colleagues in offering doula training to midwives! I might just burst- I can't think of a more perfect trip! We will be doing much more than that- drilling for emergencies, sharing knowledge about maternity and postpartum care, breastfeeding training, hopefully attending a birth or two if they happen while we're there, and I imagine, laughing, learning and loving. 

I hope you'll subscribe to the blog so that Stephanie and I can keep you updated about our progress as we endeavor to raise funds, get passports, vaccinations, visas, settle our nerves, not freak out, and process everything we experience.