Saturday, May 27, 2017

We Ate a LOT of Dust!


Kenyans are a gracious, but competitive people. They have a wonderful, quaint expression when challenged to a race, "You will eat my dust". And of course we did. We placed well towards the back of the pack (OK...at the back of the pack) in the inaugural Mully Half Marathon . But the race was a tremendous success on a number of levels! Thanks for partnering with us. Here are some highlights:

1.      The Run

·        Close to 2,000 runners participated in the 5K, 10K or half marathon including us 7 Canadians (Bernie, Ann, Ross, Sophia, Liam, Jake and Nick) and hundreds of children from Mully Childrens’ Family.

·       The race attracted some of the top runners in the world with finishing times in line with the best events anywhere on the planet.

·       The event was sanctioned and monitored by Athletics Kenya (the group that governs the Kenya Olympic team). This first run appears to have met AK’s standards and we anticipate having their approval for this to become an annual event which will include the full marathon starting next year!

·       The net result is that the Mully Marathon will become a significant annual source of funds and awareness in Kenya and internationally for the great work of MCF providing new futures for kids who had some of the roughest starts in life one can imagine. Old Guys in Action is proud to have played a part in making this happen.

 The Drought

·       We changed the focus of this year’s fundraising to help support MCF during a period of severe drought. While rains have now come and crops have been planted again, the reality is that many months of production have been lost and MCF is deeply grateful for the support you provided to help them while they wait for the delayed harvest.

·       True to form, Charles Mulli was proactive during the crisis providing food and water to surrounding communities. He also took the opportunity to employ local workers to harvest mountains of sand from the dry river bed for use in future construction projects…and he built a wall along the river bank to prevent stray hippos from endangering the compound.

The Experience

·       Bernie and I were thrilled to have our families and ultra-marathoner Nick Brendisi from Collingwood, Ontario join us this year to see first-hand what has inspired our efforts for more than a decade. MCF saves and truly transforms the lives of children in its care…something that has to be seen to really appreciate.

·       God willing and knees permitting the Old Guys will be back next year to run the full marathon. We hope that many Canadians will join us and would be really thrilled if you came along as well.

Monday, April 24, 2017

When Charles says "JUMP!" We say, "How High?"


..."Why" you may ask?

Well, for one, Charles Mully is an amazing person, father of the largest family in the world. He has 2,500 mouths to feed and the current drought in Kenya (the worst in 65 years) has wiped out the crops they depend on.

Our May 14 half marathon in Ndalani, Kenya is raising funds for drought support at Mully Children's Family and for surrounding communities. Support MCF by supporting Team Old Guys in Action. Visit www.mullymarathon.com and click the DONATE button. This will take you to the MCF Canada site where you can make a tax deductible donation online. At the last step be sure to mention Team Old Guys in Action. Team OGIA cover all their own expenses so all funds raised go to drought relief managed by MCF. Thanks!

And here are some other great reasons for us to JUMP and for you to give...

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mully Half Marathon, Ndalani Kenya, May 14, 2017. Come with us!!!



 
We've told you about the story of Charles and Esther Mulli before. Orphaned at 6 years old, barely surviving in his dusty Kenyan village, Charles miraculously becomes a wealthy entrepreneur, an African millionaire! Then he gave it all away to adopt street kids from the slums. At over 10,000 children Charles and Esther have, literally, the largest family in the world.

As the Mulli family grew, Charles and Esther increasingly found that local schools were unwilling to take on kids from the slums. Charles’s solution was to start his own schools. Over time they became some of the top ranked elementary and high schools in the country! Many of the graduates qualified for post-secondary education and Charles sent scores of them to university. But that is an expensive proposition. His next big idea? Build a university!
And he asked Old Guys in Action to help. That’s when the idea of an annual fundraising marathon came about. Mully University College has been operating for two years now and will soon become Mully University. Come, run the half marathon, 10K or 5K race in Kenya...or donate to help academically qualified, financially needy young people grow into tomorrow’s African leaders. Become part of their story! Visit www.mullymarathon.com for more information.

Update: The drought conditions in Kenya have continued to worsen and are now the most severe in seen in 65 years. Crops have failed, fish ponds have dried up and water must be trucked in to meet the needs of children supported by MCF. MCF is also providing food and support to local communities. Given these circumstances, Charles Mulli has asked that all funds we raise through the half marathon be directed to MCF drought relief efforts. Donate at www.mullymarathon.com. Click "Donate" to be redirected to MCF Canada. On the final page in the comments section please reference Team Old Guys in Action. Thank You!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gracious Article in The Kolbe Times

“You Can’t Just Sit There”

Check out this gracious article from the lovely folks at the Kolbe Times. The interview was a fun walk along nine years on Memory Lane. Thanks to those of you who have journeyed with us!



http://www.kolbetimes.com/you-cant-just-sit-there/

Saturday, January 7, 2017

They're Good...Real Good!

Our Dipsters, donors, divers and directors are so good...well, we think they just about walk on water!


83 Dipsters...12 Distance Dipsters...and $85,000 raised for the great work of the SA Foundation providing programs and homes for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation (and their children) in Canada and 8 countries around the world.

Thank you everyone for making the 8th Annual Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip so successful and for making a difference!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

IT'S COOL TO BE COLD!!!


The experiment has grown from 7 guys plunging into a beaver pond, mid-winter in Discovery Ridge, Calgary in 2010...to an annual spectacle with colourful costumes, performances, heated tents and winter divers ensuring safe passage through chilly waters near the Elbow Valley Residents Club. Last year almost 90 Dipsters and Distance Dipsters participated. (Distance Dipsters are people who get cold remotely and post videos. We’ve had Distance Dip submissions from BC, New Brunswick, England, Dubai and Guatemala). Over the years the Icebreaker has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the SA Foundation's work to stop human trafficking and provide long-term recovery programs to survivors of sexual exploitation in 7 countries around the world. 



How can you help? Doing one or more of the following options will make a difference:
·     Donate100% of proceeds go to the SA Foundation & are tax receiptable. Two generous donors are matching the first $2500 donated to Team Old Guys in Action. You give $1; SAF gets $3!
·     Dip: 100% of Dipsters agree “It’s Cool to be Cold”®!
·     Distance Dip: 100% of Distance Dipsters weren’t even in Calgary. Dip, then share your video on social media.
·     Watch: 100% of spectators were glad they came last year.
·     Share/Like: 100% gets the social media leverage going! Like, Share, Tweat & Retweat. PLEASE! PLEASE!

Visit CALGARYICEBREAKER.COM and Facebook @CalgaryIcebreaker for details

Friday, October 21, 2016

Say Cheese Two!!!
Old Guys in Action: Grilled Cheese Night at Javino
November 10, 2016 5-8 PM

Fundraiser for Discovery Skate Shack

Javinos and Old Guys in Action are teaming up for their second Grilled Cheese Night at Javinos, Thursday, November 10th, 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. All proceeds from this event will go towards the purchase of benches for the new Discovery Ridge Skate Shack. 

Why benches? “We care about your bottoms” says Bernie Potvin, who along with Ross Weaver founded the philanthropic group Old Guys in Action.  “The DRCA suggested this would be a real help as the hut gets closer to its grand opening.”

“The community provided wonderful support for the last Grilled Cheese Night in March” says Ross.  “We are making some big changes so we can efficiently handle big crowds in a short period of time. We’re committed to making this event bigger, better and cheesier than ever! “

How cheesy you ask? According to Bernie, with enough encouragement the Old Guys will perform a Latin dance routine while lip syncing to Michael Jackson. Very cheesy!
All proceeds go directly to the bench fundraiser.  Food, wine and beer have been donated by suppliers and people in the community. Javinos is donating their venue, time and energy; and staff are even donating their tips!  Please take time this month to express your thanks to Ruby, Aladdin

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mully Children's Choir is Coming to Calgary!


The amazing Mully Children's Family Mission Choir is touring Canada. Join us for one of their fantastic performances of song, dance, drumming and testimonies of courage and hope. The shows also feature acrobatics and karate demonstrations from the MCF Team (current Karate champions of East Africa)! We have seen these kids perform in Kenya and on a previous tour in Calgary. They are spectacular! You will be inspired!
Sunday May 8, 7:00 PM Bethany Chapel, 3333 Richardson Way SW, Calgary
Wednesday May 11, 7:00 PM - Centre Street Church, 3900 2nd St NE, Calgary
Friday May 13, 7:00 PM - St. Michael's Catholic Church 800 85th St SW, Calgary
Check out this great video to get a feel for MCF and what this choir tour is all about. And there is more information at: thecanadiansafari.com or read "About Mulli" below. Hope to see you there!



About Mulli
MCF is literally the largest family in the world. Charles Mulli, a man abandoned by his parent at age 6, was a Nairobi street kid who rose to become a wealthy entrepreneur and then gave it all away to adopt orphans from the streets of Kenya. 25 years later, Charles and Esther have over 10,000 children! Charles has asked us to help him start a university in Kenya and that is the focus of the Old Guys in Action 2017 Run across Kenya and the Mully International Marathon.

Monday, April 4, 2016

It Was a Cheezy Fundraiser!

Thanks to all who came out to the Old Guys in Action Grilled Cheese Night at Javino!

It all started with Bernie and Ross wanting to thank the Murjis (Ruby and Al) for all their support of the Old Guys. Ruby has raised more for the SA Foundation through her 3 polar dips than any other Dipster outside the organizing committee. We said, "Ruby, you and Al take the night off. Sayed, Bernie and I will take over the restaurant. We'll only serve grilled cheese sandwiches. How tough can that be?" In true Ruby fashion, she accepted but said we should make it a fundraiser for the DR community's efforts to build a warming hut for the local ice rink. We loved the idea. It gave Ruby and Old Guys a way to say thank you to the Discovery Ridge community that has been so supportive of Javino...and so supportive of Old Guys in Action events.

March 10, 2016 was a night to remember. Javino has never had so many people through its doors in one night. We served close to 200 grilled gourmet cheese sandwiches, Brewsters supplied the beer, Sayed was brilliant in the kitchen and with the help of volunteers and great support from the DR Community Association we were able to raise close to $2,000 for the hut.

No, Ruby and Al never did get the night off...but everyone had a blast!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wet and Wild! Calgary 2016 Icebreaker Polar Dip was a Great Success!

Thank-you Dipsters, Distance Dipsters, Donors, Volunteers, Sponsors and Spectators for a great Dip January 1, 2016! You helped raise close to $50,000 for the great work of the SA Foundation.

Highlights? Costumes that get more creative every year, the Sundre REFIT dance troop (video), the hopefully not to be repeated Sr. Men's Synchronized Swimming demonstration (video), celebrity dipster. Global's Gary Bobrovitch, Distance Dips from Guatemala, Victoria, Dubai and England, wonderful coverage from a very supportive media community. Great people, great fun!

See you next New Years Day!
  • You can still donate through the CalgaryIcebreaker.com website.
  • A very cool music video of the event here!
  • Check the Calgary Icebreaker Facebook page for more great videos and pictures.

Friday, December 11, 2015

January 1, 2016 Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip...#It's Cool to be Cold

It’s the 7th annual Old Guys in Action Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip! Last New Year’s Day over 80 dipsters joined us in this wild and crazy event…and generous people like you helped us raise over $80,000 for the wonderful work of the SA Foundation.

 
·         Donate: 100% of the proceeds go to the SA Foundation and are tax receiptable.
·         Dip: 100% of Dipsters agree “It’s Cool to be Cold”®!
·         Distance Dip: 100% of Distance Dipsters weren’t even in Calgary on New Year’s Day.
·         Watch: 100% of spectators were glad they came last year.
·         Volunteer: 100% chance of being really appreciated.
 
Visit our sister site calgaryicebreaker.com for location, event details and lots of great pictures and videos.

The SA (Servants Anonymous) Foundation fights to stop human trafficking and provides long-term recovery programs for survivors of sexual exploitation in Canada, Nepal, Hungary, Greece, Germany and Bulgaria.
 
29 million people are victims of slavery today; and the vast majority are trafficked girls and young women. “There are more slaves, now, in our time than at any other period in history. We just can’t sit there when this kind of heart-breaking cruelty and injustice is going on”, says Bernie.

“The situation in Nepal is what first motivated me to support SAF”, says Ross. “Nepalese girls as young as 12 are sold by their families or tricked, then taken to India where they are brutalized and introduced to their new life of being abused by dozens of men a day. When they are used up they are discarded”.

Some terrible facts:

Ø  Human trafficking is a global criminal business, bigger than the arms trade.
Ø  An estimated 29 million, mainly women are currently victims of human trafficking.
Ø  In Nepal 10-15,000 young women and girls are trafficked to brothels in India each year.
Ø  In Hungary young women and girls have been purchased from orphanages.
Ø  In Canada the average age of recruitment into the sex trade is 13 years old.
Ø  It is estimated that 85-90% of trafficked women were abused as children.

#calgaryicebreaker #cooltobecold #dipordonate #safoundation #oldguysinaction
 
 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

$45,000. Humbled and Happy. Thank You!!!

Milton (driver); Paul Carrick, Founder CAUSE Canada; Jon Carrick, CAUSE Director Micro-credit; Jorge Sandoval, CAUSE Canada Country Director; and Old Guys Andrew Lawson, Bernie Potvin, Adam Weaver, Ross Weaver and Ann Potvin (below...well someone had to take the picture!)
 All involved in the Old Guys in Action 2015 Ride Across Guatemala for Mothers and Babies and thrilled that as of this week you generous people have contributed $45,000...$5,000 over our original target...to support the great work of CAUSE Canada in the highlands of Guatemala. With the 6.5 times matching by the Canadian government this is close to $300,000 and it will go a long way to making a difference to indigenous families in this region. Thank you so much!
 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We're not done yet!! Reflections on Guatemala Land, People and Purpose

Lots more pictures can be found at https://www.facebook.com/oldguysinaction

Although the trip is over, memories remain. Plus - we haven't quite reached our $40,000 goal, so here goes one more post from Old Guy Andrew Lawson:

Reflections on Guatemala Land, People and Purpose


Land: Privilege to transverse in Central America by bicycle from high 12500 metres near the Mexican border (where thin air causes one at times to struggle with sufficient oxygen intake) to sea level near El Salvador (where the thick humid 32 feels like 39 and sweat pours from every outlet).

Dramatic elevation shifts provide scarily fast downhill stretches followed by impossibly steep granny-gear up hills, punctuated with 29 volcanoes and 17 significant Mayan ruins.

People: The most populous Central American country at over 16 million clinging to hillsides; exporting coffee, bananas, and vegetables from rich volcanic soil. 60% Spanish speaking of Conquistador European descent and 40% Indigenous Mayan people speaking their own dialect. Historic conquest and prejudice hold some similarities to Canada's indigenous peoples. General impression of Guatemalans as being poor but friendly with a ready smile.

Purpose: two fold ~ personal desire to engage in physical challenge and adventure in a meaningful way and ~ draw attention and funding to a need we can tangibly impact: namely, Maternal Health and Child Survival.
5X as many babies die before age one than in Canada. 10X as many Moms die from pregnancy related causes than in Canada. 50% give birth at home without help from a skilled attendant.
CAUSE Canada has been making a difference among the most vulnerable sector with contributions
multiplied by our tax dollars at 6.5 times. Opportunity to donate through CAUSE Canada website and specify OGIA special project. 

http://www.cause.ca/Oldguysinaction2015

Moving steadily toward our goal of $40,000 translating into excess of $300,000. Every bit helps. Thank you for generosity already expressed. 

Andrew

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 10: Healthy "Choices"?

Lots more pictures can be found at https://www.facebook.com/oldguysinaction

Besides viewing work that CAUSE has already accomplished in Guatemala (see Day 10 blog), we visited community health units to start the needs assessment of requirements for CAUSE’s new initiative through the matching grant from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development. This project – to improve maternal and child health – is the project that many of you have contributed to through your generous donations to CAUSE (CAUSECanada.com/donate) when you specify the “Old Guys Guatemala” project.
Bev with one of the midwives. 
As we surveyed the health units, we saw that maternal and child health care was sadly lacking. Cause’s program, over 4 years, has the potential to make a huge difference. Communities that were lucky enough to have a concrete building for a health centre had one to three small, cold rooms and were equipped with a rope hanging from the ceiling with which babies were weighed. They also had posters addressing health concerns such as how to properly wash and feed the babies. The irony is that for many, there is no running water and very little in the way of food. The health units also have no running water or bathrooms inside. Only one of the units we saw had a pila (outdoor sink) with a tap – albeit with no handle. There was a pair of pliers kept on the pila to turn the water on and off.
Health posters in the sparsely equipped clinic
 The units also had limited supplies, such as: stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, and some immunization materials. Each health centre had a nurse assigned to it, as well as a non-accredited facilitator, often without medical training. It appears the nurses were hired as auxiliary nurses (assuming less accreditation required than a nurse-and less pay).

One unit we saw was fortunate to have a full-fledged nurse – although she was paid as an auxiliary nurse. She was very knowledgeable, but somewhat discouraged with the work to be done and lack of supplies and help with which to do it. Like her colleagues in other communities, she had a wide swath of area to cover and only her feet with which to get her there. We asked her how long it took her to get to her farthest designated community, and she said just over one hour – if she walks fast – carrying supplies – and then an hour plus back after a long hard day of visit made all the more difficult by the high incidence of malnourishment.
 
As Ross mentioned in the Day 6 post, the nurses are able to get to each community about once a month. This leaves the health unit either locked up or with the un-trained facilitator in charge. In the case of the baby who died that Ross told you about, it appears that the facilitator made a judgement call that a trained nurse would not have made – with sad consequences.
 
The challenges for CAUSE are many. Bev Carrick wisely wants to work with health units and nurses that are already in place – thus not duplicating services. This means forming or building on relationships with governments, NGOs, the communities and the nurses, facilitators and local midwives. This requires skill, knowledge and diplomacy – something CAUSE clearly has mastered. I would say that Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development has picked the right organization for this task – CAUSE for the Cause! I want to be on the list of those come back in 4 years and see the results of CAUSE’s work!

Chau!

Ann.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 9: Sow ... Much Great Work

Lots more pictures can be found at https://www.facebook.com/oldguysinaction

It is day 9 of the Old Guys in Action’s sojourn in Guatemala.  While they have been adding up the miles – and elevations – I have had the privilege of accompanying Bev Carrick (co-founder of CAUSE Canada) to get a glimpse of the foundation CAUSE had laid over its more than 30 years of work in Guatemala.

As we bumped along the roads and stark moor-like landscapes in the highlands, I noticed that every homestead had a pila (an outdoor concrete structure that is their only sink) and one or two water storage tanks. Many communities also had large concrete cisterns. All were thanks to CAUSE Canada.
A pila made possible by CAUSE Canada
Another contribution CAUSE has made to the people of Guatemala is their micro-credit program. Small loans of about 90 – 180 dollars Canadian, empower women and their families to hope for a better future.
 
We visited Martina who had borrowed $88.00. This small loan made it possible to buy a sow that provided a litter of 13 piglets. With the proceeds, Martina was able to provide her family nutritious meals, shoes, and a laptop and university education for her daughter. At the time of our visit, the sow was pregnant – an investment that keeps on giving.
 
We also visited a young woman who received a loan of about $175.00 Canadian. She purchased a sow that produced piglets. This enterprising young lady tallied up for us her costs versus expenses. Within 3 months she had doubled her return on investment! This was an ambitious young lady! Besides her pig venture, she worked as a secretary at a university, was studying to become and auditor, and had a goal of starting a pharmacy in town! Here is evidence of the tremendous hope and ambition inspired by these small loans.

For more information on this amazing micro-credit program, check out CAUSECanada.com.

And there will be more on CAUSE’s amazing work in Guatemala tomorrow. Now, off to buy some local pineapple jelly at a tienda (a little locally owned groceteria).

Chau!

Ann

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 8: And we're Done!

Lots more pictures can be found at https://www.facebook.com/oldguysinaction

We got up and on the bikes early to avoid the heat of the day. The plan: head out of Monterrico for 17.5 km towards La Puerto San Jose...return...for a total of 35km to complete our overall goal of 300 km. 

Old Guys Ross, Andrew and Bernie at the end of the Ride!
And that's what we did...but knowing the end to the ride was near, we stopped more frequently than usual to 'smell the roses' and witness the sights and sounds of early morning in coastal Guatemala. We chatted with a lovely young shop-tender, visited the open air butcher shop, walked into fields of huge gourds that are turned into loofahs for spas, visited with a grandmother sitting with her 9 month old granddaughter and waded through a sea of cows being driven down the road.
 
Andy with loofa gourds
Beautiful tienda girl 
Outdoor meat counter













And then, after posing for picture by the Pacific Ocean, we were done. After breakfast we said goodbye to our driver, Milton, and to the gracious and talented Jorge Sandoval, CAUSE Canada's Guatemala Country Director...and spent the rest of the day with CAUSE Canada Founder (Paul Carrick) and Executive Director (Bev Carrick). We have so much respect for them and their work among the poor and disadvantaged in a number of countries...including Guatemala, where they have had a major influence for over 35 years. We heard many incredible stories about their work, but one hit close to home for our driver in particular. Bev and Paul's first project in Guatemala some 35 years ago was to drill a well to provide clean water to a village on the outskirts of Guatemala City were the population, babies in particular, were getting sick and even dying because of the dirty water being used. Our diver, Milton, grew up in that very village and knows the sight of the well...including the plaque at the well giving credit to the Canadians who installed the well. Milton is 35 years old and may have died without that project.
Ross, Andrew, Jon Carrick, Bernie with Milton our driver
 Our ride was to support another great initiative, one focused on mothers and their babies in the highlands of Guatemala. We have no doubts whatever that this project, like the water project of 35 years ago, will save the lives of many babies like Milton in the years to come. 
 
Thanks so much for your support! (And there is still time to give. Go to CAUSECanada.com/donate.) We'll have a few more retrospective post about the trip in coming days.