Political Wonk, Charity Ronin & Oracle Hack

With all of the Buffoonery He allows, God must have a great sense of humor.

Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Callling in All Friends (and Favors)

Posted by Mike O on February 5, 2014

Many of you also may know about my decade-long work in Africa on what many would consider charity (I consider it ‘people investment’). Well, that work is arriving LOCALLY and the Children of Uganda  (Here is a quick intro to COU) music and dance troupe- 22 of the finest and most talented kids you are likely to ever see- have agreed to put on a performance.  I have been working with the Alliance of Elite Youth Leadership to help pull this together, another GREAT group worthy of support.  The basic information:

Children of Uganda Tour of Light
Saturday February 15th, 6:30- 8:30pm (NEW TIME!)
Faubion Middle School
2000 Doe Rollins, McKinney, TX 75069 (MAP)
Tickets will be $20 at the door, $15 for kids 4-11, kids 3 and under free (I pay far more than that for a minor league hockey game that is less entertaining- and far less uplifting and inspiring- than this show will be!)  Any additional donations will be up to the individual but I would encourage them (I’m covering half of the costs for the facility- and feeding the entire troupe myself afterward) .How uplifting are these kids?  Well, the lessons in life I learned from some of these kids are what got my family through the nightmares of my son’s medical drama 18 months ago.  The lessons on how to live life through adversity from my first trip to Uganda to meet these kids have gotten my family through some really tough times.  So, please come and don’t chalk it up as a charitable donation as much of an educational expense over the topic of “How to Live Life, Through it All.”  You want a ‘pro-life’ rally?  There is none more fun than this one!Please come; please bring the family.  Come see the inspiration of kids who have lived through things few of us can fathom- and have come through with joy in their hearts and incredible physical and musical talent. A show NOT to be missed.Sincerely,

Michael B. Openshaw
(AKA Mzungu Mike)

COU_Tour_of_light_med_combo

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Time to ask for help

Posted by Mike O on November 21, 2013

I HATE asking for help; I always have.  All of you know I ALWAYS put my own money where my mouth is and RARELY ask for any help in the things I do, whether charity of politics.  But my resources simply aren’t there for this one.  Not since the wife lost her job and became a full-time ‘family manager’ between her elderly parents and my sones medical nightmare last year.

My girl Winnie Nazziwa needs a new wheelchair.  Her current one is 6 years old and has held up well but there are limits in a country where they serve more as off-road vehicles than rolling on smooth cement like here.  Cost of a new one is $500-$600, since they have to be custom-built (custom ones in the U.S. are $2000 up and generally NOT off-road capable; Alan’s was $4k- covered by insurance, fortunately). It would take me 4-5 months to scrape it together, with the other support work I do over there in Uganda.  And I’d like to get it done for Christmas (spirit of the season and all that).

I will NOT be setting up something up a GoFundMe type online link for this.  Such sites take about 8% and I want to make sure EVERY PENNY donated goes to the chair.  And, frankly, I want to thank every donor PERSONALLY not via internet.

UPDATE:  I forgot to make this clear.  As much as I appreciates generous offers I have already received from some, I cannot, in good conscious, take donations from ANY officeholders or candidates for office.  My role in the Tea Party precludes this at this time.

If I raise more than needed, I will give any excess to Winnie, who is just starting a job teaching handicapped kids and it WILL go to support critical needs- and I’ll get reports on every bit of it.

So, if you feel willing, contact me and I’ll be happy to pick up any donations my friends could manage or when you meet me at various meetings.  Or contact me if you need to mail them and I’ll give you my address.  I’ll have a fund jar at my office at all times.

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For Those Who May Wonder…

Posted by Mike O on May 24, 2010

Where I disappeared to politically.  I haven’t; I’ve just let people who enjoy meeting and running organizations take over, now that the major election cycles are over.  And it’s time I put some time into getting healthy again and into my other passion.

As many of you know, I have considerable interest in charity work in Africa .  I have visited there twice now and am vastly overdue for another visit; the record of my last one is here (http://mzungumike.wordpress.com/projects and yes, sadly, I WAS that skinny then).  I will be going back in October because Winnie, my daughter there (in all but blood; http://nazziwa.wordpress.com ), will roll across the stage in her wheelchair to get her college diploma on October 15th.  As inconvenient as that is in the election cycle for my political friends, I simply have no choice; she only graduates once and getting to this point was more struggle than you or I can possibly imagine.  And she wants Dad there.

While I’m there, I’ll be doing work for the charity- the Children of Uganda (http://www.childrenofuganda.org)- that made this all possible for Winnie and hundreds of others who would simply not survived to get there.  And they are great kids, with more coming up the pipeline: I picked up Godfrey Mugisha last year; a brilliant 13-year-old- who is top of his class. More work to be done and this organization is one of the most efficient small groups I’ve seen in terms of translating donations to benefit.  I have seen them in action, on the ground, and doing the right things.  They now have a substantial agricultural program going (the orphanage sits on almost 100 acres) and are providing significant nutritional enhancement internally.

I dump a significant amount of money into such a trip; including transportation, food, lodging (I only live at the orphanage for half my time in), and significant ‘project money’, upwards toward $6,000.  However, the more money and supplies I have available, the more gets applied directly to ‘doing good’.

If you wish to help out, there are three different ways possible; choose whatever you feel comfortable with.  The first is standard: go to http://www.childrenofuganda.org, click the donate link and make a straight-forward monetary donation.  Or you can give the donation to me directly and I will apply it directly to the orphanage on my trip; taking stills or video of the usage and will return with a receipt (I’ll also get a confirmation letter on COU stationary, as well).  The last way is actual supplies: I try to take a boatload of over-the-counter medication and basic supplies; if you want to go this route, contact me for specifics, as the 2 bags, 50 pound limit keeps things tight (unless someone wants to donate enough to cover a 3rd bag- $150-$200).

It doesn’t take much to be a big help;  I ended up playing emergency weekend nurse on the last trip once and used maybe $10 of supplies.  But some of that was Benedryl, which stopped a serious peanut allergy reaction (actually in a volunteer).  A kind donation from a family friend made that Benedryl available.

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Are you a Real Conservative?

Posted by Mike O on December 25, 2007

Two things that real political conservatives- of all stripes- believe in are personal responsibility and ‘traditional’ values. Note those traditional values are found in all of the great religions and deal with good and evil, as well as sacrifice and charity. In this season, we Christians celebrate the birth of one who later made the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind and, in this season, it is appropriate to consider sacrifice. We must think of those great people in our military, so far from home during these holidays, making such sacrifices for our country and the causes of peace and freedom.  We must especially think of those- American and her allies- who gave the ultimate sacrifice in those causes and the loved ones they left behind.

Even when they don’t come up to the level of those in the military, we must also contemplate our own sacrifices.  If we truly believe in personal responsibility, we cannot leave it to others.  And by sacrifice, I don’t mean merely signing off on a United Way pledge, or writing a check to a charity (although that, too, is needed).  Sacrifice comes as a personal commitment, generally long-term, to serve others that you are not obligated to serve. It means to follow through, make a difference and see it done.  Personally, I feel we are all judged at one point or another- whether in this life or after- and it’s best to have enough ‘good points’ over bad; sacrifice helps tilt those totals.

As I look back on this year and all the people and projects I’ve dealt with (primarily on my trip to Uganda), and consider that I’ve done just fair. ‘Fair’, some would say “You went to Africa for weeks to work personally, spent 12-15% of your income on this work.  Only ‘fair’??”   Yes, considering people like this, my family obligations made it difficult to make that kind of sacrifice.  More importantly, how can it be classified as sacrifice when I get so much out of it?  How much would you pay to be happier with your own life?  To gain an attitude that has led to less complaints and the strength to deal effectively with the adversities of my son’s serious medical issues?  To get the privilege of associating with great people of sweetness, character and strength, both workers and orphans?  However, fair will have to do, since that is all I’m capable of doing and still fulfilling basic family obligations that naturally have priority.

I ask everyone to- in this holiday season- consider the commitments in their life.  If you don’t already, consider making a serious commitment of sacrifice to support your belief in traditional values and personal responsibility.  It doesn’t matter what form it takes (though you are more than happy to support the group I work with, even if it’s a simple contribution.)  As the Nike ad puts so well, ‘Just Do It!’  Prove you’re a Real Conservative.

May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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