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Old 28-02-2019, 17:19   #1
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Making a difference in the world while cruising

I'm curious what full-time cruisers have found as means to do charitable work or "make a difference" in people's lives.

like most of us I've dreamed of cruising full time but I got to thinking about how I would donate my time/energy to help the less fortunate while cruising around. Other than tipping well and being generous to other sailors, does anyone have some examples of how you've made a positive impact on the locals you run across?

Trying to envision my future retired life and what I can do to still make a difference if on a boat. thanks!
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Old 28-02-2019, 18:38   #2
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

One exemplar in the SW Pacific is Hans Clemmensen who sails s/v Seagoon out of Cairns, Australia.

Starting 6 years ago, Hans has run his own project installing solar photovoltaic panels, storage batteries, and LED lights in remote communities in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.

The island communities in general lack electric power, so homes, schools, and hospitals rely on candles, kerosene lanterns, and (only for larger institutions) diesel generator sets.

Hans sought donations in Australia, of everything from new solar panels to solar panels that are replaced well before their service life has expired, plus storage batteries, cabling, and LED lights. And then transported those goods to PNG, taught locals how to install and maintain the batteries and solar panels, and so on.

The results are obvious: school students able to read and write after dark; mobile phone users able to charge their phones to share information; less smoke (from kerosene lanterns) and exhaust pollution in homes and villages; hospital-assisted births taking place under LED lighting instead of with candlelight and kerosene lamps; a slightly lower birth rate because of lighting at night providing other avenues for distraction ...

Cargo space on a sailing boat is of course limited. Hans is always looking for other cruisers to carry solar panels, batteries, cables, and so on. Money donations help too, of course.

Here's a clip from a local cruising magazine: page 6 from the March 2019 issue of Cruising Helmsman.
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Old 28-02-2019, 19:07   #3
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I avoid spending my money in expat bars as much as possible..
I would rather eat at a rib shack in Marigot or Sandy Ground than the burger bars in Phillipsburg or Pallapa for example.
I travel to escape the tourists/expats and taste the local atmosphere and people.
Apart from that its usually much cheaper and tastes better..
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Old 28-02-2019, 19:09   #4
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

THere's a couple of youtubers that have some sort of program...the one I like best is a vet who offers her services for both domestic and wild animals. Another has a berth full of eyeglasses and does eye exams and distributes glasses to remoter villages.
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Old 28-02-2019, 20:06   #5
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

I have been in 38 countries in the last 17 years for work and pleasure. And from 77-2000 I traveled the world in the Navy. Like most travelers I have seen the worst that can be imagined. Starving and desperate animals and people. I think it's an honorable desire to want to help people you encounter. Kids and animals come to mind. Old people. The incredibly poor and the sick. I would say it can easily consume you because it's a sad fact that you can't save everyone and truthfully you can't save many at all especially if you are a typical cruiser possibly on a fixed income. Sometimes I think the best thing you can do is just be kind to those you encounter. But..if you are so inclined join or partner with a church group that has the backing and infrastructure to help with donations or services. Church groups all over America send groups to various places in the Caribbean, Africa, Central America. They paint schools and churches. They distribute water and other supplies. As a cruiser you could possibly rendezvous and provide some level of support. I couldn't see myself doing that but I could absolutely envision the possibility of sailing to a specific locale and meeting a group or acting as a liaison.

I think it's an honorable idea that can escalate rapidly into something consuming. Good people tend to get used and used up.
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Old 28-02-2019, 20:24   #6
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

My wife and have earned and saved up enough good Karma points to last two lifetimes just doing our nursing jobs when not out cruising. So when we cruise... we enjoy a well-earned vacation from do-gooding.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:56   #7
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

Participating in a rural Filipino community since 2002, the most important insight came from this presentation by Enesto Sirolli:


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Old 01-03-2019, 10:35   #8
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

I think there is never an appropriate vacation from doing good, and it's wonderful to do something good, every day, for someone who will not know that you did it, nor credit you for doing so......which is not easy!
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:38   #9
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

There is a very interesting philosophical discussion on the difference between "doing good" that benefits yourself, and just plain "doing good" that does not. The former may be a means to an end. The later is a lifestyle, and tends to be less situational.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:47   #10
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

Picking up plastic trash you find is easy, and feels good. With the long life of plastics, we are unfortunately heading for serious and very unsightly issues in the future.
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Old 01-03-2019, 13:16   #11
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
One exemplar in the SW Pacific is Hans Clemmensen who sails s/v Seagoon out of Cairns, Australia.

Starting 6 years ago, Hans has run his own project installing solar photovoltaic panels, storage batteries, and LED lights in remote communities in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.

The island communities in general lack electric power, so homes, schools, and hospitals rely on candles, kerosene lanterns, and (only for larger institutions) diesel generator sets.

Hans sought donations in Australia, of everything from new solar panels to solar panels that are replaced well before their service life has expired, plus storage batteries, cabling, and LED lights. And then transported those goods to PNG, taught locals how to install and maintain the batteries and solar panels, and so on.

The results are obvious: school students able to read and write after dark; mobile phone users able to charge their phones to share information; less smoke (from kerosene lanterns) and exhaust pollution in homes and villages; hospital-assisted births taking place under LED lighting instead of with candlelight and kerosene lamps; a slightly lower birth rate because of lighting at night providing other avenues for distraction ...

Cargo space on a sailing boat is of course limited. Hans is always looking for other cruisers to carry solar panels, batteries, cables, and so on. Money donations help too, of course.

Here's a clip from a local cruising magazine: page 6 from the March 2019 issue of Cruising Helmsman.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I'm not sure if they are better off or not without modern conveniences.
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Old 01-03-2019, 13:29   #12
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

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Picking up plastic trash you find is easy, and feels good. With the long life of plastics, we are unfortunately heading for serious and very unsightly issues in the future.
These guys seem to agree with you:
https://toptotop.org

They're a Swiss family of mountain climbers drawing attention to global warming by voyaging under sail in order to climb the highest peak on each continent. Antarctica is the last one left for them to do. Along the way, they pick up plastic and organize school groups to do the same. Their videos show that they're working hard at making a difference everywhere they go, whether it's in the South Pacific or in the Northwest Passage.
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Old 01-03-2019, 13:31   #13
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

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I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I'm not sure if they are better off or not without modern conveniences.
Actually, Dave, this is a huge issue. We've seen a lot of cruiser kindness and "helpfulness" go agley. The first problem is that they don't ask the locals what they actually want. Another is that they really don't understand the tribal form of "government" with its interlocking obligations. We've seen some efforts that failed due to chiefly resistance.

But one one that has worked well is what IMPI has been doing in New Caledonia, providing veterinary assistance by neutering stray dogs. Chapeau there!

I do not think humanitarian aid can go wrong, bandages and first aid supplies. But the need far exceeds one's capability to distribute to the nursing stations. Remember that chiefs want their 10%, too. This is one problem with school supplies, paper, and pens, and National Geographics, and books. Chiefs are like dark ages kings, in their countries, and it is hard for westerners to treat them with appropriate respect, and easy to think them grasping because of not understanding the obligations of chieftancy. If you want to donate to the school, first be seen to make gifts to the chief, that he accepts. If he does not accept your gifts, leave. Seriously. Very conservative, I know, but prudent.


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Old 01-03-2019, 14:05   #14
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

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I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I'm not sure if they are better off or not without modern conveniences.
When we went to Vanuatu there were people talking about what an enviable, simple idyllic lifestyle the people there had. That was until we actually visited the villages, particularly those in the more remote Banks islands.

There we discovered the reality. Universal head lice, tropical ulcers, to the point that many of the kids you see have lost toes due to cuts on their bare feet getting infected... imagine how painful that would be with no painkillers available.... sleeping on woven leaf mats on dirt floors, walking miles every day to collect veggies, virtually no access to medical help...

Most of these people do find a way to raise money to buy some sort of generator, and then have to raise the money to run it. Providing them with solar power (and showing them the basics of keeping it working) would definitely improve their situation.
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Old 01-03-2019, 14:23   #15
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Re: Making a difference in the world while cruising

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I think there is never an appropriate vacation from doing good, and it's wonderful to do something good, every day, for someone who will not know that you did it, nor credit you for doing so......which is not easy!
Well... you’d probably feel differently if you worked 60 hours per week in a locked psychiatric or dementia unit.

We need a vacation.
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