Friday, December 28, 2007

FACELESS INTERNATIONAL: FAIR TRADE GUATEMALA

dear friends,
as many of you know i helped co-found a non-profit organization called faceless international. we have taken several humanitarian trips overseas with members from various bands in attempts to educate ourselves while helping others.
we here at faceless have decided to broaden our horizons and begin to invite anyone who feels that they want to help better this world to come along with us on a trip.
in june of 2008 FACELESS INTERNATIONAL is going to be taking two trips (june 8-17; june 18-25) to the country of Guatemala where we will devote our concentration on FAIR TRADE. this trip is designed to raise awareness, educate, and work hands side by side with the people in attempts to help alleviate poverty in Guatemala.
if you are interested please contact the project coordinator at sarah@facelessinternational.com. you will need to turn in your application and $100.00 (US) deposit by January 31,2008. space is very limited so please contact sarah as soon as you can, we also have fundraising ideas in place to assist you if you are serious about taking the trip.
-stephen christian
faceless international

Guatemala Fair Trade Awareness Trip
June 2007

(all inclusive: includes travel from Dallas, and transportation throughout the week, food, lodging, tourism activities, and professional movie of trip to teach friends and family about the benefits of fair trade)
Schedule:
Day 1:
Travel To Dallas (group training about Fair Trade, introductions of teams, group activities.
Day 2:
This is a travel day. The team will arrive into Guat City and then we take a 5 hour drive to Huehue. Once in Huehue the team will get settled into the guesthouse and do some team building activities. A perfect time to continue discussion about the week ahead, what to expect, and have open discussion about the purpose of why everyone is there.
Day 3:
This day will be used to start teaching coffee. There will be a chance to go to a Mayan village and see a church and also a market. A great day to get see the people and how they live, learn who they are, and experience the culture.
Day 4:
This will be used to visit churches/community centers in the area and start to meet the people. There will be a lot of interaction with the farming communities.
Days 5- First thing on Monday the team will travel to Agua Dulce which is 2 hours away. This is where the plantations are. During the next 4
days the team will visit several farms and meet farmers. Learn,
see, experience the entire coffee process. The coffee will have just been harvested so probably a lot of the work will be hands on helping with getting the land ready and prepping for the growing season. This is also when a project can be started. Everything from building things that will help the farmers, to playing with kids in the farming community. There will be traditional walks and hikes to tour the plantations and everything anyone wanted to learn about coffee will happen. End of Thursday the team will go back to Huehue.
Day 9
Will travel back to Guat city. On the way we will tour Antigua and do some tourist type things.
Day 10
Go Home. The cost of the trip includes a video of the trip that you can how to everyone to teach them about what you learned about FairTrade. We want you to continue the education!
FOOD
- We have a team of people who take good care of us. The food is prepared especially with North American friends in mind; Clean, safe and delicious. We take all of our food and drinking water to Agua Dulce with us.
ACCOMMODATIONS
- In Guatemala City we use a guest house and there is a guest house in Hue-
hue, with bunk beds and some regular beds. Hot water in showers.

for an online information package or an application for our free trade Guatemala please contact us at sarah@facelessinternational.com .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

war! when is it good for?

it is so funny but if i go some time without writing on modesty it feels like i almost alienate apart of my family in a way.
i don’t know where to begin this conversation and i am sure i won’t know when to end.

i am not one of those people who stand on the side of the road and protest the war, in all honesty i try to look at the positives in the war (debatable whether the word “postive” and “war” ever belong in the same sentence). we all see clearly the negatives, i mean its war. people die. no matter if that’s one person or one million no one should die. but some positive aspects of the war in iraq currently are this.

* "there are now over 100 newspapers in the free press. . . in a free iraq." this means more freedom of speech in iraq! something we americans take for granted.
* "the independent central bank of Germany, it took three years after world war II to establish it-it was established in iraq in two months; that the police in germany were established after 14 months-in iraq, they were established in two months; that a new currency in germany took three years-it took two and a half months in Iraq. the cabinet in germany took 14 months. iraq has a cabinet today after four months."
* "the governing council of iraq is easily the most representative body of governance ever formed in that nation, and is rapidly gaining real powers and responsibilities, such as appointing ministers, representing Iraq to the international community, and beginning the process of drafting the first-ever iraqi constitution." the arab league last week accepted an envoy from the council as a legitimate representative of Iraq.
* "over 90% of Iraqi towns and provinces now have their own governing councils, including the holy Shiite cities of najaf and karbala."
* "schools were immediately stood back up. at all levels the school year was salvaged."
* "hospitals nation-wide are open. doctors and nurses are at work."
* "public services-electrical, water, sewage-are better than pre-war levels."
* "oil production has continued to increase, and recently it has averaged between 1.5 and 2 million barrels per day."
so in some ways we are working for a more “free” and stable country on the other side of the world. the problem rests for me not just in the age old question of ‘is war just or right?’ and not just ‘what makes any war just?’ but who voted america to be the police of the world? i want to help the world i really do but i just feel there is more ways to solve problems without the use of so much death, destruction, and debt.

i recently read an article on an education portal, which was explaining that we pay about $186,000 per minute (total of 443.7 billion). it is not the amount of zeros that make this frustrating its that they went on to say that with that amount of money we could put 21,510,598 (the amount of every high school student in the united states) students through a four year college education at a state school, add 7,689,734 million more teachers to our school system.

how ethnocentric (i hope) some of you are saying!!! here i am ranting on modesty all the time about helping the world but then i turn and use the money used to save a nation from a malicious and malevolence dictator. but honestly if we invest into all the children/high school students in America i GUARENTEE that we will live in a better future for the ENTIRE WORLD down the road. here we could raise up a generation who values the power of the pen over the sword, we could invest into their children’s children by empowering their parents with education (which equals better jobs and a more stable economical environment). the positive reprocutions to the generation who receives the opportunity for a free 4 year education is endless! when there is a suddam (and there will be) in 50 years they will know how to handle the problem diplomatically with more options than just “shock and awe”.

don’t get me wrong, war in american history has done some necessary, positive, and even very valid achievements in our history! revolutionary war freed us from taxation without representation, civil war freed mankind (america) from the oppression of slavery, and world war one and two were vital to defeating emperors and dictators determined to conquer the world. before i got into music for years i wanted to go to westpoint military academy and even visited it in high school hoping to eventually make the military my career. i theologically and philosophically have no qualms with the function of a democratically run military. i believe that we do need a military, not every government in the world can sit down at a table and have a in depth conversation and negatiate problems and come to a balanced and fair agreement. i think we need a good defense because not everyone wants america to be a thriving nation, and due to past experience liquidating our entire military would be asinine!

but where do you see the line?
what is a just war? and when is using a powerful military a just cause?
who should decide to use the military; the government or its people?
what is the point where ethnocentrism and military conquests collide?
i don’t have the answer, just inclinations and opinions.