What's the big idea?

Do you have any big ideas for 2009?

This time last year I was looking ahead to early April when I was scheduled to fly to Haiti with Compassion Australia to see their child sponsorship programmes at work. As it turned out we were only able to stay in Port au Prince for a couple of days before food riots made it necessary to leave the country and travel to neighbouring Dominican Republic to see Compassion’s work there.

There were other events throughout 2008 but the Compassion trip was certainly a highlight.

So what’s my big idea for 2009?

I guess it’s all about moving house and connecting with a new community. Over the past few months we’ve been busy getting our current home ready to sell so the task is now to find a buyer before finding a new house and moving. A big task indeed.

Do you have any major events or plans this year? Is there a change of jobs or a change of scenery on the radar for you? What are your big ideas for 2009?

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Cities in 2008

Tony Sheng has been to quite a few cities this year.

I can’t boast the sixteen cities he can, but with my trips this year I can list a few. Several of my visits were just airport lounges rather than the cities themselves but I’ll take what I can get.

  1. Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. Miami, Florida, USA
  5. Port au Prince, Haiti
  6. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  7. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

So there you are. Seven. Better than most years for me but still not even close to Tony’s sixteen.

How many cities did you visit in 2008?

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7 Days 7 Dollars

az.jpgAz needs a haircut … but more on that later.

It’s estimated that over 600 million children are living on less than a dollar a day. That means they have less than one dollar each day to cover everything from food to housing to clothing and all the other things that most of us take for granted. While we’re promising ourselves not to over eat ‘too much’ this Christmas, millions of children around the world have little or nothing to eat.

Az Hamilton is Compassion Australia’s Youth Communications Specialist and he wanted to do something to highlight the need for something to be done about this terrible situation. He recently decided to try to live on a dollar a day for a week.

The story of his 7 Days 7 Dollars initiative is being told through daily videos on his website, 500DREADS.com.

I talked to Az during my morning programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM today.

Az was on the team I was part of which traveled to Haiti and Dominican Republic with Compassion Australia in April this year. I took the photo at the top of this post at a Compassion project in Haiti. The girls were fascinated by his hair. The trip affected Az so deeply that he is now working with Compassion Australia to see as many children as possible rescued out of poverty. Together we saw first hand the life saving work that Compassion carries out across the world.

As for that haircut, Az is promising to cut off all his dreadlocks once 500 children have been sponsored through Compassion via his site 500DREADS.com. If you think he needs a haircut just head to his site and follow the links.

To hear more from Az you can click play on the audio player at the bottom of this post and listen to the chat we had this morning.

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Dan's shoes helping Haiti

Dan.JPGDan Widdowson is part of the breakfast radio team on Sydney’s 103.2 but he’s probably best known around the rest of the country as being one of the hosts of Channel Seven’s Saturday Disney from 2000 until the beginning of last year.

Dan and I were part of the team that traveled with Compassion Australia to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in April this year.

Dan’s smelly old Converse shoes weren’t looking too good back in April and they’ve completely fallen apart now – but that won’t stop Dan from finding a new use for them.

He joined me on the phone from Sydney this morning on 98.5 Sonshine FM.

Dan tells the story of his old favourites.

So here’s how it began. My wife announced that I was no longer to wear my favorite pair of shoes. Just like that, my most loved item of clothing I have ever owned was to be thrown out! After begging and pleading for a good ten minutes, I convinced her to let me have a “Good-bye shoe day.”

It was on this “Good-bye shoe day”, October 9th, that I realized I did not have the courage or will power to throw the shoes out… so whilst on air I tore them to pieces in a loving farewell moment. It was at that very moment that the smell hit, to call it, “heaps bad” would be an understatement. It was truly rotten.

The next obvious step was to place the stinky broken shoes in Rays office. Ray didn’t find this very funny. Fair enough. However, once he got past that angry outburst and the vein in his forehead died down, he suggested I auction off the shoes to raise funds for a cause that is close to all our hearts here at the station… children in Haiti.

So now my shoes are on ebay and you are welcome to bid. They’d make a great… umm… you could use them for… er… ok, they’re useless, but you can help the beautiful children in Haiti by bidding!

So, if you want to help some children in Haiti and grab yourself some old smelly shoes, just head to Dan’s eBay listing for the shoes and get bidding. At the time of posting the bid was $516.

If you want to hear us reminiscing about our trip to Haiti as well as talking about the shoes, just click play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.


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Compassion Bloggers heading to Dominican Republic

Thumbs_Up.jpgCompassion is taking a group of bloggers to the Dominican Republic in November.

I spent a few days there in May this year after we had to leave Haiti due to the food riots.

They’ve written about the trip on the Compassion Blog in the post Blog Trip to the Dominican Republic.

I’ve seen first hand the amazing work that Compassion is doing in the Dominican Republic so I’d like to encourage you to keep up to date with their journey through the various blogs represented.

Jennifer Donovan – 5 Minutes for Mom
Mary Ostyn – Owlhaven.net
Tim Challies – Challies.com
Marlboro Man, from ThePioneerWoman.com
Melanie – BigMama
Shaun Groves – Shlog

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