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Sharing some love on my way out the door

I’m flying to Ghana today. More regular posting will resume next week. In the meantime, I want to share a few worthwhile projects from others.

The Wise Routes Project

My friend Claire and her boyfriend, Brandon, just rode their bikes from Vancouver to San Francisco. Along the way, they crafted an open source curriculum that is on its way to becoming a book that anyone can use and adapt for a bike tour of their own. Having taught in a factory-like classroom for 3 years, I appreciate any and all efforts to innovate in the field of education. Check out their blog and follow along.

The Wise Routes Project is a shout-out to get more students on bicycles, riding far with their questions and curious minds, proactively designing their own futures.

By sharing narratives of bicycle touring as a vehicle for learning about the world, and joining a chorus of other creative minds that are taking to the streets on two wheels, we hope to inspire more high-school and college students to hop on a bike and ride somewhere far.

How? In 2012, we will publish a book that shares stories and provides practical tips and resources to help beginners to design their own epic bike adventure as part of their education.

Project Repat

Bamako-based hydrologist Stephen Jones recently directed me to Project Repat, an enterprise that is turning gift in kind donating on its head. While companies like TOMS disrupt local markets with their donations, Project Repat supports them by buying back used tshirts, restyling them, and then re-selling them in America. Now they are raising funds to take the project to the next level – partnering with artisans and seamstresses in Kenya to completely re-fashion the shirts. Check out their kickstarter here.

While we were in Kenya, we were amazed to learn about all the creative modifications that the Kenyans were making to the secondhand American t-shirts dumped there each year. We found local artisans and seamstresses modifying shirts to meet the latest fashion trends of Kenya: re-sizing, re-purposing, and re-fashioning. This was true Kenyan ingenuity!

Inspired by this new concept, we teamed up with Jacquelyn Yau, a fashion designer from Boston, to design some incredible, unique, and eco-friendly new prototypes made entirely out of t-shirts. We’re raising money during this Kickstarter campaign to travel back to Kenya so that we can collaborate with local artisans and small businesses in Nairobi to turn Jacquelyn’s prototypes into reality!

Life Without Lights

I came to appreciate the work of photojournalist Peter DiCampo after seeing the care he took to responsibly document the very underreported situation in western Cote d’Ivoire during the post-election crisis earlier this year. Now he is working to document global energy poverty, an issue that is widely overlooked. If you haven’t seen his work before, have a look at his Life Without Lights website. Then, check out his kickstarter and help him advance the project.

At a time of constant debate over the future of energy, it is easy to forget that 1.4 billion people – nearly a quarter of humanity – still live without access to electricity. Through my Life Without Lights photography, I strive to reveal the economic impact of global Energy Poverty while exploring energy’s future.

Lastly, if you are in NYC tomorrow (11/17), I strongly suggest checking out this fundraiser for Essakane Film:

Andrea, one of the producers of this film, is a friend and former Ghana study abroad classmate. Hearing her enthusiasm for how the project is coming along has me very excited about this film! Check out essakanefilm.com and watch the trailer if you are not already familiar. This film is not just a documentary of one of the world’s most unique music based gatherings, it’s a way of shedding light on northern Mali and the beautiful Tamashek culture that has been dragged through the dirt by western travel advisories.

And that’s all I got. Lots of fundraisers, lots of worthwhile projects. Alright people, I’m off to Ghana.

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Tami November 16, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Thanks for the post. I’m checking out the Life Without Lights site now. When I was in Kenya, one of the things I longed for most was simply an electric light to read by before bed. I honestly didn’t miss my clothes washer, fast Internet, or any other convenience; just the luxury of light.

    So…safe travels. And I am looking forward to hearing about your further adventures and projects!

    • phil November 22, 2011, 6:07 am

      Yeah, I’ve become a headlamp user in recent years for this very reason. Thanks for the well wishes. Let’s keep in touch!

  • Katrina November 17, 2011, 8:18 am

    You always post the most informative, interesting stuff, Phil. Shared Wise Routes on the Secondwheel page and Twitter. :)

    • phil November 22, 2011, 6:08 am

      Thanks, Katrina :)

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures November 17, 2011, 5:01 pm

    What incredible projects!!! I wish you a safe flight/s!

    • phil November 22, 2011, 6:09 am

      Thanks, Andi!

  • Laura November 18, 2011, 8:44 pm

    With TOMS’ good intentions/poor implementation and the amazing used clothing markets in Nairobi, I am loving the idea behind Project Repat. I checked out their website and it’s a cool method to search for a one-of-a-kind shirt. Thanks for sharing! Glad you made it to Ghana okay :)

    • phil November 22, 2011, 6:10 am

      Hey Laura, it’s a great project. Spread the word :)

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