Monday, December 29, 2008


Once we set up our itinerary and realized that we would be in China for the duration of Hanukkah, we pretty much gave up on the idea of any type of celebration. That was until I ran into two Israeli travelers at the acupuncturist who told me that there was a bar in town owned by an Israeli. I soon left to check out this story and sure enough, there is a bar in Yangshuo, China, The Alley, owned by 2 Israelis and a Chinese. Oren, Israeli #1 told us that they would be lighting Hanukkah candles at 8:00 PM. We all returned for a candle lighting on a menorah made out of beer bottle caps. It wasn't the prettiest menorah we've ever seen but it will certainly be one of the most memorable Hanukkah celebrations we will ever have. Oren, thank you for making Hanukkah 2008 one to remember.

Since Hanukkah is typically oriented towards children, Marty and I receive no presents at this time of year. Avocet and Siena, however, usually receive one present per night for 7 of the 8 nights of the holiday. On one night, they receive no present but instead, we all give a present to someone whose need is greater than ours. Given the gift that we all have of taking this one year trip around the world, we decided that all 8 nights of Hanukkah this year should be dedicated to giving to others. Based on our travels, we have chosen the following organizations for our donations.

Night 1. Tibetan Children's' Village (TCV) - A school and home for orphaned and refugee Tibetan people for the purpose of education, care and survival of the Tibetan culture.

Night 2. Elephant Nature Park - Provides a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants in Thailand.

Night 3. Malaria Foundation International - Supports awareness, education, training, research and leadership programs for the immediate and long term development and application of tools to combat malaria.

Night 4. The Hunger Project/India - An organization committed to the sustainable end of hunger in India. It seeks to end hunger and poverty by empowering people to lead lives of self reliance, meet their own basic needs and build better lives for their children.

Night 5. Dalai Lama Foundation - An organization that promotes world peace and is working for a free Tibet.

Night 6. Lao UXO (Unexploded Ordnance Program) - An organization created to reduce the number of casualties caused by unexploded ordnances (bombs and land mines), and increase the amount of land available for food production and other socio-economic development activities.

Night 7. Nightlight/Bangkok - To meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of women in prostitution and their children, by building relationships and providing a center that offers emergency aid, educational and employment opportunity, emergency child-care, language tutoring, literacy training, and biblical teaching and healing for their community.

Night 8. Spring Bud Plan - Due to uneven social and cultural development in China, there are a large number of illiterate children, predominately girls. Spring Bud Plan assists girls of poor areas of China to return to school.

It's a strange way of looking at it, but we have been blessed to have had the opportunity to see misery and heartache in the world. We hope that our decisions will make a difference. Change can occur one small step at a time.


Anonymous said...

Oh what a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday! Your gifts will help so many. far as I'm concerned a bottle cap menorah sounds perfect!


Anonymous said...

You are my new heroes.

Sophia said...

Those are truly amazing gifts! I am inspired....