So my least favorite activity of this trip so far has been fundraising - I *loathe* asking for money. But I did ask, and received generous donations from my church family, from Computer Troubleshooters, from friends, and from my business partners at MerryMeeting. One thing I did want to make sure of though is that all the monies donated are spent with total transparency and accountability. So here's where we are so far:
Before I left we had collected $1658.33, which I brought with me in cash (there are no ATM's and almost no places here take credit cards). So far I've spent:
$613.98 on two Garmin GPSMap 60CSx handheld GPS units from Amazon.com. These will be used by ARDR - I found out they had been having to rent these from other companies at a cost of $70USD per day in order to complete some projects. Now not only will they save that money for use in their Rwandan rural projects bu they can be a source of income by renting these to other companies.
$249 plus tax on an Asus EEE netbook. Not sure if this will be for ARDR or GodCares yet, it depends in part on where we allocate the other computers - both organizations have requested computers to help with their projects in Rwanda and Congo.
$200 to provide support for Ivette, the 15 year old girl from Congo currently living as a refugee in Kenya (see my photos on Facebook for more information)
And today I'll be venturing into Nairobi's computer supplier market to purchase $800 in used notebooks and possibly $250 in a used desktop, these also to be allocated between ARDR and GodCares based on need. I expect to pay $100 in freight to get them to Kigali too.
So the total spent so far is $1063, plus the $800 to $1050 I expect to spend today, which will already take us past the $1658 received so far. I'm happy to help from my own funds of course, but I'm also paying all my own travel expenses, which will run around $3000, so I could use more help.
My big concern so far is there's no money raised for the village roofs in Kalingi village. These are people who currently live in mud huts with grass roofs but are making mud bricks to build new, better homes for themselves. We had hoped to raise $700 per house to buy sheets of tin for their roofing so they won't have to use grass thatch again (which provides little protection from rain and wind), and there are 55 homes in the village, for a total cost of around $40,000. It's a huge number, and maybe we can't reach it - but I'm hoping we can try.
If you're able to help us help these folks, please visit my fundraising page at www.godcares.us for more information about the projects and how you can make a donation. Thanks!