Saturday, January 31, 2009

Opt Out. Yellow Pages / White Pages, phone books. (Huge environmental impact!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2 weeks since I returned from 28days in the Middle East. Exactly 14 days before Gaza; 14 days during Gaza. Never the same. Not adjusting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"What leaders and organizations must provide today is perceptible progress." - Tom Asacker [Amen!]
Non-profits: 5 types of content for YouTube Success!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

18-Jan-2009, 1st day of 2 unilateral "ceasefires"

These unilateral "ceasefires" won't last. No chance.

These memories are only one small part of "why".

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza: Time for Peace (please share)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The moral & military meltdown... One perspective:
Gaza Photo. Warning! Graphic -

Gaza: Warning! Graphic

I cannot get this visual out of my mind. Devastating.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golan Heights...

And now news from Aljazeera indicates Israeli forces are receiving weapon fire in the Golan Heights -- allegedly from Syria. And this keeps growing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

10-Jan-2009, Surreal

After 28 days in the Middle East, 20hrs of air travel, I'm back in Houston. Surreal. Re-adjusting to GMT-6 after 28days of GMT+2. What time is it? :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Last day of my 28-day NGO volunteer mission here in the Middle East,Palestine.Lots accomplished. Lots still to do. Sad to leave.Will return.

Day #28 of 28: 9-Jan-2007

28 days ago, there was just the end of my visit as an endpoint. Now there is the Gaza conflict; that's the real endpoint -- that everyone is looking forward to. Sooner better than later. Amen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day #27 of 28: 8-Jan-2009

**Candles for the Gaza Children**
Attended a 4pm joint advocacy event in support for the children of Gaza. It was a moving event. The pictures were brutal.
**Lebanon Border**
Rocket fire confirmed now from the *NORTHERN* border of Israel with Lebanon. Predicted. I'm 100% so far, unfortunately. :(
**Picture of the Day**

Today, I return to Ramallah.
Yesterday great meeting with Software company principal; will advise to move forward with this process. Another meeting with Management Consulting team "Idara" -- big supporters of this NGO, designers of their current strategic plan, the CEO a Fulbright scholar, lead consultant University Professor at age 22. Deep intelligence.
Rainy evening last night (light rain; greatly needed) and rain-like clouds trying to form this morning.
Great evening with Haytham and his wife Malak. Light meal, drinks, and the traditional Narghilè -- for them. :) Great conversation!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day #26 of 28: 7-Jan-2009

**Gaza Update**
Our staff in Gaza report all staff are alive, no injuries. Every day we call. Every day is unknown. They are under tremendous mental, psychological, and physical pressures of everyday life is an unfolding of the unknown, moment to moment.

**ICT update**
Yesterday Jericho (awesome ICT team meeting!) and today Ramallah to meet with and discuss the possibility of the software company Bisan helping this NGO by tailoring an application specifically for Micro-Financing. (The NGO won a huge award in Nov.'08 in micro-financing in the Middle East.)
What I will *not* miss about my current 28-day stay in Jerusalem: multiple daily "tests" of the Hotel fire alarm system. Really. Daily? WTH?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day #25 of 28: 6-Jan-2009

As the string of tensions is drawn tighter & tighter on the Gaza bow, something/someone in the world, not limited to the immediate Gaza area, is going to break.

**NGO Volunteering**

4 days left; 24 days completed. Lots accomplished; lots left to do. Ultimately this is about "capacity building" so that this NGO can continue to develop their own ICT capacity with no/limited involvement from outside going forward. Time will tell.
**Software Presentation**
Yesterday we prepared for and participated in a 60-minute demonstration of hosted software that will help them here manage their constituents. They were very pleased with what they saw. (*note: even though I've told them, they have no idea how difficult it will be during implementation; it's a reality that everyone must experience on their own.)

Day #24 of 28: 5-Jan-2009

Gaza: The weapons, fuel, food, supplies that the Israeli Army brings with them in their ground offensive will be confiscated in massive, unprecendented and unanticipated military tactics by their opposition. This simply following: "Necessity is the Mother of Invention".

**Financing the War**
Putting together some interesting economic tidbits from one of the local papers: Haaretz
  1. Tourism = 6% of Israel GDP
  2. Budget for War: NIS 2.4 billion ($634m USD)
  3. 1st week of Gaza conflict: 700m NIS ($184m USD trading @ 0.264)
(and the 1st week was mostly aerial attacks w/ light support from Navy - but no ground troop activities other than initial "staging")

Prediction: Total=25 days of conflict before budget is depleted - starting at 27-Dec-2008. (Note: this will not make an immediate difference. Just amassing war debt over the long haul that will at some point take its toll on the local economy. And don't forget the 6% of GDP that tourism represents. That's going to take a direct hit -- prediction 50% minimum decline for 2009.

**ICT Sector**

Lots to do today. All leading toward 5pm conference call with constituent management company providing a web conference demo of their solutions as a potential fit for the multi-site NGO I'm volunteering with here.

**Italians in Jerusalem**

Lively Italian tourist group at the breakfast buffet today. I just love the Mediterranean spirit, and the people who embody it! (In stark contrast to the previous German-based group at the Hotel. Nothing against Germans, just different, that's all. :)

School's back in session today. Great to see all the kids with their backpacks walking along to school and all the chitter-chatter; again in stark contrast to all the broadcast "news" in the local Jerusalem area.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day #23 of 28: 4-Jan-2009

Gaza/Israel Conflict
Most of the "official" spokespersons regardless of their name, title, and gender all sound like this:

a real throw-back to the 80's: limited vocabulary, limited phrases, completely random but repetitive.

Jerusalem: From my hotel window this morning, watched children with bookpacks on going to school. Yes, it's Sunday, but this is Jerusalem, afterall. Watching them reminded me that for them this is just another day in their lives here. Where just 100km away, it's truly a warzone. Active. Bloodied. Bombarded. Shrouded in death. The contrast couldn't be greater.

Gaza: ground incursion started sunset last night.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day #22 of 28: 3-Jan-2009

Gaza Updates:
"Black Destiny" - that's today's theme from Gaza. Those words coming from Meshaal from Damascus.

Dead: 434
Injured: 2240

Sunrise Over Jerusalem

Listening to Stevie Wonder's 1973 "Innervisions" - so peaceful, timeless. Calm. Tranquil. Soothing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day #21 of 28: 2-Jan-2009

local time (GMT+2):

Dead: 428
Injured: 2000+

Blimp gone.

Spotted first "blimp" hovering over Jerusalem.


Watching Aljazeera news on TV reporting East Jerusalem protests. Nothing within earshots of my hotel here in East Jerusalem.


Week #3 ends in a completely different and unpredicted way from the previous two weeks: death.

On a more positive note, the NGO I'm working for received another official recognition of their Arab Thought Foundation award in "Micro-Financing" -- see page 57 of the January 2009 issue of "This Week in Palestine".