Helping Haiti

17 01 2010

I’ve been so encouraged to see, hear and read about all my friends who are finding ways to help out those in Haiti affected by the recent earthquake. It’s amazing to think of how our “little” contributions may feel like nothing, but together all these “little” contributions can and will make a difference.

I know it can feel overwhelming to think about the various organizations or causes that are working in Haiti, and not knowing what to do or who to give to. But I wanted to share a few things that some of my friends are personally involved with or have shared with me.

[1] Help End Local Poverty (HELP) is selling t-shirts, benefiting Real Hope For Haiti. Taken from the HELP website:

We are partnering with clinic and rescue center called Real Hope For Haiti ( by selling T-shirts to raise funds for their relief efforts in Haiti. 100% of all proceeds will go directly to Real Hope for Haiti, so they can care for the kids of Haiti.

CLICK HERE to order your shirt!

[2] Benefit Concert in Austin this Monday! All proceeds go to Real Hope For Haiti.

Monday, January 18
The Parish – Doors at 6pm – Show at 7pm

T-shirts and prints will also be on sale to raise money for relief efforts.

CLICK HERE to watch a KVUE news interview about the benefit concert.

[3] Craft Hope For Haiti – selling handmade goods, 100% goes to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti.  CLICK HERE to visit their Etsy shop!

[4] Taken from the site:

Take action for the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s debt and to ensure new aid comes in the form of grants.

CLICK HERE to read and sign the petition.

[5] Help spread the word!

The Chicken Project

10 12 2009

It’s been chilly lately here in Austin, and tonight I enjoyed a nice hot cup of tea.  As I poured the sugar into my cup I had a flashback to our time in Zimbabwe. Liz and I had the pleasure to go with Steven Nicholson and Pastor John to visit another pastor from John’s church.  We joined the pastor (whose name unfortunately escapes me) outside his house to have tea and chat for a bit. The kind man, who also worked as a doctor, mentioned that he only had a bit of sugar left and apologized for not having enough for everyone. At a time when bread was even hard to come by, sugar was certainly a special treat. I was touched by the pastor’s willingness to share his last bit of sugar with two complete strangers. And now, every time I have tea I can’t help but picture that moment in Marondera, Zimbabwe, and be thankful for the countless blessings I have.

HELP is currently raising money to help Musha Wevana Children’s Home purchase chickens to supply the orphanage with a steady supply of eggs and meat.  The goal is to raise $5200 by Christmas, and they still need roughly $1500 to meet their goal.  You can go here to donate towards the Chicken Project:

There’s also an interview of Pastor John explaining about the vision and mission of Family Praise Fellowship.  It’s awesome… and inspiring…  and humbling… and awesome some more… I cried.  And missed Pastor John.  You can watch it here:

Eyes to See book – purchase online!!

1 12 2009

Yesterday marked one year since Liz and I purchased our plane tickets for the Eyes to See trip.  It’s crazy to think that a year has already gone by… sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that we were meeting the most amazing people in the tiny villages of Africa or the carpet shops of Istanbul.  I sometimes have to ask myself, “Did we REALLY do that?  Like…really??” Man…it was SUCH an incredible experience…  Many thanks once again to all of you for your support, prayers and encouragement – before, during and after our trip.

Also, we have an update regarding our book! Our book is finally available to view and purchase online! You can actually “flip” through the entire 160-page book online, or you can purchase your very own hard copy.  :)  25% from each book sale goes to one of the non-profits we visited on our trip.

Follow this link to view/order the book:

Help Feed 100 Orphans

23 11 2009

A message from our friends at Help End Local Poverty:

Keepin' this blog alive!!!

30 06 2009

I know Liz and I have been back from out trip now for over 4 months…  but I’d still love to use this blog to continue to share updates with you guys.  So….I thought a good thing might be to post some exciting things going on with the organizations and people we met during our trip.  I’ll try and do my best to post cool stories and updates as they come along.

Here are a couple to get you started…

From Preemptive Love Coalition:

We marshaled all the resources we needed to help Shad and in less than a month he was admitted to surgery in May 2009. Unfortunately, Shad did not respond to the corrective measures of the surgeries as we had all hoped he would. Too many years of living with his heart defects had hindered his body’s ability to operate as it was intended. A series of blood clots finally contributed to Shad’s death a week after his surgery.

Click here to read more about Shad’s story and the Shad Faraydoon Memorial Fund.

Heard about this from Chris Marlow of HELP:

HELP has been running a Campaign to End Poverty, and a church in PA decided to have a garage sale to raise money for the campaign, and they raised $3400!!! Click here to read more about this awesome story.

Chris also told me to check out a book called Scared.  Here’s a little about the book:

Once a celebrated and award-winning photojournalist, Stuart Daniels is reeling from debt, a broken marriage, and crippling depression.  The source of Stuart’s grief is his most famous photo, a snapshot of brutality in the dangerous Congo.  This haunting image indicts him as a passive witness to gross injustice.

Stuart is given one last chance to redeem his career: a make-or-break assignment covering the AIDS crisis in a small African country.  It is here that Stuart meets Adanna, a young orphan fighting for her life in a community ravaged by tragedy and disease.  Now what seemed like a chance encounter will forever change their lives.

You can download a free PDF of the book for a limited time, or purchase the book on Amazon.


23 06 2009

Many thanks to all of you who came out to our photo exhibit this past Saturday! I was so excited to see so many people come by, and to be able to share a little more about our trip with all of you.

I was so excited to see people participating in the silent auction and wanting to help the Children’s Home in Zimbabwe.  All but two of the exhibit prints were auctioned off and several 8×10 prints were ordered, raising $520 for HELP! We also received several orders for our Eyes to See book, raising an additional $180 for HELP!

Also…we showed our slide show on Saturday, and I’m working on putting it online so that those who couldn’t make it to the exhibit can still watch the slide show online.

We will also have more info soon on how to order the book online. Meanwhile, if you already know you’d like to order one, feel free to email us at and we can add yours to an order we’ll be placing soon. Books are $35 each, and $5 from each book goes to Musha Wevana Children’s Home in Zimbabwe.

Thanks again for all of your support!


More info!

19 06 2009

Just wanted to give a quick update with more info about our photo exhibit tomorrow.

1) You definitely don’t have to stay the whole three hours! (But you’re more than welcome to… :) ) Feel free to just stop by whenever you can for however long you can. Also, we’ll have some snacks/refreshments as well.

2) We will be showing the 15-minute slideshow at 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30.

3) We will be taking orders for our Eyes to See book. They are $35 each, and $5 of each book sale goes towards Musha Wevana Children’s Home in Zimbabwe.

4) We will also be silent-auctioning each of the prints in the exhibit.  All proceeds over $25 from each print will go to Musha Wevana as well.

Right now, our friends at Help End Local Poverty (HELP) are having a Campaign to End Poverty, and hope to raise money for new mattresses and school uniforms for the kids in Zimbabwe, as well as help raise money for them to build a new orphanage! Liz and I are REALLY excited to do what we can to be a part of this Campaign. For those of you who have heard or read about our experience in Zimbabwe this past January, you know that we were both greatly impacted by the people we met there.

For more info on HELP’s campaign, please go here:

We are excited about tomorrow! And can’t wait to see you there!

Thanks again, Blanca and Liz

Photo Exhibit and Book Release!!

12 06 2009

exhibit sign - photo on left

Liz and I are very excited to announce that our church is hosting a photo exhibit for us next weekend!


Date: June 20, 2009

Location: Liveoak Bible Church, 7500 WOODROW AVE., AUSTIN TX

Time: 11am-2pm

The exhibit will feature photos from our time in the Sudan. And we will also have a slideshow of photos from throughout our trip. I have been anxiously awaiting to share more photos with all of you, and I hope you’re able to stop by for a bit!

Also, very exiting news – we’ve finished our book!!! Many, many thanks to our friend, Michele Bennett, for helping with the book design. And thanks to Rebecca Evans and Ellen Rees for helping with the editing. I cannot believe we’ve actually done it! We will have a few hard copies on hand at the photo exhibit, but we will also be taking orders that day. (More info to come on how to order the book online as well.)

Also, $5 of each book sale will goes towards helping the children at Musha Wevana in Zimbabwe get new mattresses and school uniforms!

I am REALLY excited!!!! I didn’t realize I was going to be this excited…BUT I AM!!!

I wish I could have printed a billion photos from ALL the countries we visited, but I’m excited to have the exhibit focus on the Sudan. And actually, towards the beginning of the exhibit time, I plan on sharing a little more about my heart and thoughts behind choosing this specific country for the exhibit.

I hope to see many of you there! Feel free to email us with any questions:


-Blanca and Liz

Does She have a Nightgown?

4 03 2009

Beth and I sat in her kitchen where we’ve had many a deep conversation over tea, coffee or hot chocolate in vain attempts at solving the problems of our world or at least our individual lives.  That afternoon was no different except that a new Longhorn mug sat warmly between my hands and a picture of a little girl neither of us had any knowledge of the last time we hovered over the bar together was magnetized to the fridge and to both of our hearts.

Without any transition from our prior topic, Beth said, “Avery asked whether or not she has a nightgown.”

Without any hint as to who she was, I asked, “ The doll?” wondering if she meant the toy clad in traditional Vietnamese attire I’d brought over that morning.

“Nomatter.” Beth corrected my assumption nodding her head in the direction of the picture now on a refrigerator in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park that Blanca took over a month ago in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The question from Beth’s four year old is still swirling around my head today.  Not because I’m trying to figure out a way to get pajamas to all the orphans at the Musha Wevana Children’s Home (although perhaps we should), but because little Avery gets it.

She’s not even old enough to attend school.  Her life consists of making mudcakes in the backyard, helping her younger brother find his blankie, and playing with her prized collection of horses.  She’s never been outside the country.  She can have no real concept of the far off land called Zimbabwe where the economy is collapsing and children are left without parents due to the AIDS epidemic and a host of other harsh realities, but her young mind’s eye still has the power to see.

She saw Nomatter wearing a torn white dress in the photo.  Avery has dresses too.  She also has warm fuzzy footy pajamas for the cold nights and pretty princess nightgowns for warmer ones with Dora sets thrown in for variety.

“Mommy, does she have a nightgown?”

I’m not sure how the logic worked out inside her little blond head, but somehow she moved from the story her mom told of Nomatter and the two dimensional photo she saw, to identifying with a living breathing human being… a girl like herself who should have a nightgown too.

H.E.L.P. Launch Party

24 02 2009

So, the story goes something like this… Blanca met a guy in Italy years ago.  Years before that two guys met in North Carolina.  Somehow through facebook we all got connected which led to all of you helping the orphans we visited in Zimbabwe.  I love how God connects dots that aren’t even on the same page and creates something beautiful.

Anyway, there’s a launch party this weekend for H.E.L.P. a non-profit started by Chris (one of the N.C. guys).  They have big dreams of helping alleviate global poverty.  If you haven’t made it over to their website yet, click on the link on our sidebar to find out more about them.  And please click here for details about the launch party in Austin this weekend.  Who knows what other dots God might be planning to connect…

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