Saving Lives for Christmas

With the recognition that Christmas is not my birthday, I am trying to go against my natural tendency to get as much junk as I can for myself when, to be honest, I have everything I need... and more!

So, my friend Raphael (who I really know... not an email forward) lives in Nigeria and has a project that he has been planning and will be launching
middle of next year. Basically, he is going to be training two-hundred leaders how to build (and train others to build) a fuel efficient cookstove and a biosand water filtration system (see below) to stop the senseless, needless deaths due to dirty water and smoke inhalation in their communities. Here's the thing. To give each person all the supplies they need for those two items, travel, lodging and food for two days, it comes out to about $50 per person.

If all that ever happens is that the families of these leaders do not die from those two ridiculously needless reasons, that is $50 for a life. I can do that. I have already asked my friends and family to give me as little in the form of a traditional present so that I can give the remaining money they would spend to Raphael. I know this is not for every
one, but I wanted to offer that if you are interested in sending some money his way, I will gladly give you that information or do it for you. Email me at

Fuel-Efficient Cookstove
Smoke inhalation from cooking over fire in the kitchen is the fourth leading cause of death in this region of Africa. By taking 17 bricks and arranging them in this particular pattern almost complete combustion occurs which means no smoke! Raphael says that one of the keys is the way the bricks are made. These have straw in them which make them far better insulators for the stove. The main goal, however, is to make sure that the inlet and the outlet of the stove are exactly the same size so that the air flows correctly.

BioSand Filtration
Dirty water is one of the worst, most deadly problems worldwide. This system uses a 50 gallon drum with four different sizes of sand and gravel to purify water. After constructed, the filter is filled with water from a single source for about a month. During that time, the bacteria from that water source colonize the top layer of the filter. After colonized, the super-strong bacteria feed on the weak bacteria when it is poured in and the water comes out over 95% pure!