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How One Person can Make a Difference: May’s Kiva Loan

It’s a daunting task to want to make a difference as one person.

As an individual its difficult to know how you can help elevate poverty, create opportunities, support education and strengthen weak economies. Those of you who read my blog regularly already know Kiva is my favorite non-profit organization, providing a world-wide network of micro-finance institutions that lets individuals donate as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Each month I donate $25 to an individual or group and as re-payments are made I re-lend those payments to new individuals or groups, in a sense, recycling opportunity. I also recently started my own lending team, Heathers Harmony, if you’re interested in becoming a Kiva lender we would consider it an honor to have as a member on our team!

To learn more about Kiva and Heathers Harmony’s involvement please check out my previous posts here.

May’s Kiva loan is going to a group of women located in Sengal, Africa. I first learned of this country via a blog full of witty humor about the life of an American couple living in the country’s capital of Dakar; girl, guy, globe.

The “Banc Villageois” was created on April 9, 2011 and consists of 34 working women who live in the same village. Fattening up livestock and small retail business are their main activities. It is worth noting that one of these women is not taking a loan during this cycle, as she is choosing to take a break.

Momy, the featured borrower, is 54 years old. She is married and the mother of six adult children whose ages range between 20 and 33 years. She is a retailer and buys her goods (groundnut, cowpea, sorrel and the edible wild fruit “sump” or “desert date”) at weekly markets, before reselling her goods in the capital city. She is quite experienced in her field. In the photo, she is standing at the far right, dressed in a large boubou with a shawl wrapped around her shoulders. She is also smiling broadly.

Each time Momy takes a trip [to the capital city], she transports a minimum of 100 kilos of groundnut, 100 kilos of cowpea, large quantities of sorrel, and most importantly, several kilos of sump (an edible wild fruit also called “desert date” which is used for processing into oil and syrup).

Her profits will be used in part to strengthen her savings while the rest will be used to cover daily expenses and to meet the family’s day-to-day needs.

Have you made your first Kiva loan yet?

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A playlist made for the Mobster in you!

Ever wonder what you didn’t know about Las Vegas’s illegal history

Try visiting The Mob Museum on your next visit to Sin City and to get you in the mood I’ve even made your very own Mobster Playlist with some of the most infamous mafia theme songs, dark and raspy tunes from the prohibition era and the smooth lyrics of the Rat Pack’s finest.

I loved the clothes worn by museum guides, each one was a little different and made for a unique an authentic experience!

You will begin your tour in the same court room that held some of the Mobs most elusive and seemingly guilty mobsters, although as the accused go, they are innocent until proven guilty. As I enter into the dimly lit courtroom a video begins to play real clips from the Kefauver trials, there were hundreds of notorious witnesses such as Frank Costello, Tony Spilotro, Lefty Rosenthal, Virginia Hill known as “The Queen of the Mob” Louis “Little New York” Campagna and Mickey Cohen who later served time on Alcatraz Island.

What makes the Kefauver hearings unique was not only the prescense of television and radio media but the large amount of public attention to the trials. Televisions were not in every household as they are now so the hearings were also shown in bars, restaurants, businesses and even in some movie theatres.  Corruption wasn’t just central to Las Vegas but was also a national problem, the amount of documentation, evidence and dedication to expose and gain control of America’s organized crime is overwhelming. The Mob Museum includes over 600 artifacts and holds the biggest collection of memorabilia not only of the mob but of law enforcement including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre wall and the barber chair where infamous mobster Albert Anastasia was murdered.

There are dozens of multimedia exhibits and interactive displays.

You can learn about how the best of them  turned the game in their favor by weighting dice or employing gambling tricks to turn out big bucks!

Ever wanted to have a stake out but never had a reason too? Now you have a chance to try it out for yourself, listen to the real audio and watch real surveillance tapes of notorious mobsters.

 

Continuing throughout the museum I learn what happened to some of the most influential men and women during the Kefauver hearings and about the drug and narcotic trades.

It doesn’t take a History major to want to make a stop at The Mob Museum find out the secretive and seductive history of one of America’s most infamous cities.

The real question is which mobster will become your favorite?

Want to learn more about the Mob Museum? Visit them on their website, Facebook and Twitter: @TheMobMuseum

Many thanks to The Mob Museum for providing my admission. As always the review and opinions are my own.

Saturday Snapshot: Sea World

The original dream for Sea World was to create a restaurant with a marine show by a few fraternity brothers, needless to say that dream has evolved immensely since 1964. 

I remember as a little girl I used to dream of the day I could go to California to visit the beach, Disneyland and to Sea World. My mother saved for years so she could take my 3 siblings and I to visit the iconic destinations and loves to reminisce about the days I would wake up and excitedly ask,

“Is today the day we get to go to California!?” 

Little did we know that I would be asking a similar question for the rest of my life, a constant lust for travel and discovery.

 

 

Have you visited my friend Shamu at Sea World San Diego? 

 

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Cemetery with the Best View: Kauai, Hawaii

Is it morbid to visit graveyards while traveling?

 

It wasn’t until my trip to Kauai, Hawaiithat I realized how much I enjoy visiting cemeteries when I travel. Each has a different atmosphere and elements that make it special. I visited PereLachaiseParisCemetery where Jim Morrison is buried and it was a beautiful and picturesque scene, the cool autumn breeze with bright orange leaves all around my feet. I recently read an article from Chicky Bus about photographing in cemeteries and when it might not be appropriate to snap a few shots.

I began to wonder if I had ever crossed that line while photographing in such sacred and significant spaces. After some discussion on her article it seemed most everyone agreed it depends on the purpose of taking the photo and what the cultural beliefs are.

This specific cemetery has my absolute favorite view, I couldn’t help but pull over and take advantage of what little sunlight was left.

Personally I don’t fear death; I can attribute my healthy approach on such a controversial and personal topic to a college course I took on death and dying. I view these gravesites and burials as a way to share their story and another way to observe someone’s culture.

During a bike ride along Kauai’s coastline I found a few spots with memorials for people who I can only imagine were taken by the sea. As I stopped to view the beautiful remnants I could only wonder what had happened to these people and how magical a place to be remembered.

What are your feelings on photographing gravesites or cemeteries?

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Saturday Snapshot: Visiting the Louvre

While the Louvre certainly is a landmark and attraction all on its own given that it is the most visited art museum in the world! The stunning glass pyramid has become an even greater iconic symbol since the release of The Da Vinci Code movie. I was lucky enough to have seen the movie months before my trip toParis and even though I don’t necessarily believe in the story’s premise, a little mystery goes a long way with me!