Protested protesters – Establishing a voice for change when the odds are stacked against you.

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”- Thoreau

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I recently read an article about a bill passed in Tasmania’s Lower House in June called The Workplace (protection from protesters) Bill

The PDF of the bill reads:

An Act to ensure that protesters do not damage business premises or business related objects, or prevent, impede or obstruct the carrying out of business activities on business premises, and for related purposes.
That sounds reasonable. No business, corporation, or person for that matter, wants their property destroyed by a protesters (i.e. activists). That should be a given in any civilized society.
However, from the same article,
There are already existing laws that cover the scope of this legislation. It’s illegal to trespass or harass, for example. So why make some actions more illegal if done by protesters?
… Because this is part of a broader campaign by Abbott’s Liberal Party to roll back environmental protections and cut “green tape” for corporations.

 

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People are becoming aware (and if they aren’t, well holy shit!) that multinational corporate practices are destroying our planet. People know that large groups can solve large problems, and governments and corporations know that anyone with a contrary opinion can disrupt the bottom line – $.  This hasn’t stopped protesters in the past, though legislation has been working on that for years.

This bill in Tasmania is but a reminder for many people of a bill (H.R. 347) signed into law in 2012 here in The United States.

From RT:

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.

While corporations and government accrue more and more power, individuals are becoming more and more privy to their game. It has become essential for people to educate themselves and others as much as possible. Not everything is as it seems – authentic information – truth – can be hard to discern.

  • Research the facts
  • Share what you’ve learned
  • Be open to different opinions
  • Collaborate
  • Start a movement or join one with similar values
  • Don’t fight against – FIGHT FOR!

In a world on the brink of transformation, it is imperative that we question the world around us and stand up for what we believe in. No one can “give” us our rights – they are inherent, because we are here on this planet.

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Let us make the best of it.

 

 

 

Dreaming our world into Reality – Writing for Publishing

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“We can only begin to dream once we have truly awakened from our sleep.” – The Dreamer’s Lotus

 

My first novel is awakening – In less than two months, The Dreamer’s Lotus will be in physical form.

To say it’s an exciting feeling would be a huge understatement. 

Writers are often asked, how did you come up with your idea? Everyone has their own inspiration, be it travel, nature, society – but for me, the concept for this book came through a dream. Five years ago I woke up with a single phrase lingering on my mind like a smoky blue electricity – “At the top of the hill stood a tall tree where the boy with grandfather eyes would go and overlook the village.” I scrambled for paper, and in the dim darkness I scratched out the words, that gratefully, I was able to understand the next morning.

There is so much I want to talk about and share – but for now, I’ll focus on dreams, for after all, they are a key theme in The Dreamer’s Lotus. Mainly, I want to discuss:

 

How can we use dreams to improve our writing and what we are hoping to manifest.

Remembering our dreams is obviously the must crucial component. Our conscious mind is a powerful ally, and when united with the unconscious, amazing things can happen. My most effective way of remembering my dreams (and yeah, it’s gonna seem ridiculously simple) is saying to myself, moments before I feel myself falling asleep, “I am going to remember my dreams.” I repeat that half a dozen times, and more often than not, I wake up with a fairly good recall of my nighttime adventures. The more I repeat this exercise, the more trained my brain becomes for remembering my dreams. There are of course a multitude of tricks that people use, which I encourage people to share below. For me, the simpler it is, the better it seems to work.

We usually have three sets of dreams which correspond to our REM sleep. Sometimes we wake up immediately after a dream and then fall back asleep, which leads into part two.

The second component for most people is the hardest part – a dream journal. We dream every night, but by morning, and within the first fifteen minutes of being awake, we’ve forgotten 90% of our dreams. The dream journal helps mitigate that loss. I’ll admit, the last thing I usually want to do at 3:00 A.M. is start writing. But the easier I make it for myself, the more often it gets accomplished, and the more dreams I remember. I keep my journal and pen within arms reach, and have the pen placed between two fresh sheets of paper. Most of the time I don’t even open my eyes – I just write down as many words as I can to spark my memory in the morning – the more descriptive the better.

And finally, and I think this may be the most important part, is paying attention to our waking world in the present moment. The more conscious we are of our day-to-day surroundings, the more conscious we become of the dream. When we sit down to write, identify the corresponding details that our focus has landed upon in the two worlds. This can help to pull out the ideas and themes that have been trying to percolate through our awareness.

Not all of our dreams are going to become best selling books, but the process of writing them down, of alchemizing the ethereal into the tangible, we become more adept at our craft, and ultimately, more in tune with our own creations.

 

A community of change

How we do this is how we do everything.

Our life is made up of individual acts and decisions that have created our current present reality. In order to create positive change on this planet we must first evaluate our own motivations and why we do the things we do.

Many people right now are undergoing a major awakening. Suddenly, everything is moving so fast. What has been hidden for so long is finally becoming revealed. We are realizing (not only that, we are understanding) that certain financial establishments, powerful corporations, and both political and religious institutions have been both destroying the planet and profiting from our own ignorance.

The old paradigm reaction is one of anger and blame. “How dare they do this to us!” Yet the new paradigm is asking for a higher level of awareness. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into victimhood. It is a program that only feeds our current problems. We are living during a magnificent time, an epoch where we have the capacity to become fully empowered and take responsibility for our own actions. Self-responsibility has tremendous payoff when we are willing to accept our own role as co-creator.


Truly, we are on the verge of ecocide. Our planet is being over-fished, over-logged, our top soil is being depleted, this list goes on and on. Yes, some people are more responsible for this devastation than others. But ultimately, when the final tree is cut down, who cares who’s fault it was?  We need to start asking ourselves, “What kind of world do I want to live in?” and “What am I doing to create this?” Our individual creations have a tremendous impact. Our thoughts and our ideas ripple out into a broader community where they transform and evolve. No question about it, we are in this together.

Currently in Southern Oregon, where I’m living, communities are popping up all over the place. People from all over the country are pouring out of larger cities in the pursuit of a more simple and sustainable lifestyle.

Community has become a buzz word. People tend to think that if they live “off-grid” with twenty other people away from the matrix, life will be easier. Far from it. Living on the land is hard enough. But living with each other, now that’s a challenge. I’ve been living in community for over a year now and the social dynamics of living together in close proximity has been my greatest lesson.

If my external world is a representation of my inner terrain then I have no one else to blame but myself when something bothers me. We are all existing as divine mirrors for one another. We tend to externalize our own behaviors and project our issues onto other people.

Life in community is a microcosm of this global community we are living in. If day after day the plants aren’t getting watered because someone hasn’t been doing their job,  it is the responsibility of the individual and the community to address the problem from a place of compassion. Creating an argument or blaming only reflects our own issues of not fulfilling our duties to our community. Before we can change these immense problems that we face in this world, we have to learn to truly work together, and the quickest way to work well with other people, is if we know how to work well with ourselves, and taking responsibility for our own behaviors.

As a community of co-creators, we are each taking on the role of being leaders and teachers for our fellow community members. Our daily decisions have the power to influence hundreds of people, all the more reason to be conscious of each moment in our day. I understand that this is easier said than done. Today’s world is engulfed in tantalizing distractions. It is easy to get swept up into someone else’s drama or find ourselves lost in the electronic void of the 21st century. But ultimately, it comes down to this: how are you directing your consciousness? Our bodies are consciousness generators. Our thoughts create universes unto themselves.

So what are you thinking about?

It’s time we start focusing on the solution. And we can exemplify this process through our day-to-day actions. We must return to our hearts. We must align ourselves with motivations of the highest caliber, because without question, that’s exactly what this planet needs right now. The beautiful thing about aligning with our highest purpose is that endless possibilities begin to unfold. By following our passions through the most mundane of tasks we create new ways of being and new avenues of perception take place. Envision yourself living in a global community full of innovative, caring, and responsible people. Trust that you too have something to offer.

The Evolution of Community

As this time of acceleration brings us and like-minded individuals closer together, we begin the process of what role we have to play in this new global community and what foundations we will build for a successful integration.

I leave you with a brief discussion about community and some of the rolls yet to be analyzed. Enjoy!

You are NOT crazy…

The Fountainhead saved my life, I think.

I was 22, finishing college, and was terrified that I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Society was in shambles and no one cared! People talked about nonsense, politicians were de-evolving nations, cats and dogs, living together!

But there is always hope in the recognition of self – like looking into the looking-glass of life and meeting someone’s confident gaze that you do in fact exist.

Who is John Galt?

Six years later, against all odds, I have great hope for where the collective is heading. Every day I meet more and more people who have begun to wake up out of the virtual reality that chronic mass delusion has created. For those of us who have taken the challenge of challenging our beliefs about “reality”, there is much in store for us. At this moment I believe, there is an army that is emerging out of a hyperly complex system, deep in the bowels of the collective unconscious. It is a rolling over – it is an uprise of unconsciousness and inaction, it is the creation of co-creation, a separation of the ego and a new formation of new ideas and spiritual awakenings.

I could go on and on… this wasn’t meant to be some dissertation or a call to action. Just a recognition of hope and a recognition of like-minded individuals, that we are not alone, that things are changing, that WE are changing, that evolution is our birthright.

New Reality Consumption

It is no mystery that what we place in our body has a great and profound relationship with our external world.  Just like all living beings, our physical bodies require air, food, and water; it is the quality of these staples that determine our state of health and vitality, as well of course, as our mental state of well-being.

Over time, our thoughts and feelings become affected by the toxins that we indirectly and regularly consume. As our collective consciousness expands, we are beginning to understand that the planet’s state of well-being is in direct relationship with our own. Many of us are retreating back into nature to renew what is inherently ours: a profound connection between the macro and the micro/ a communication between Man and his Cells – a communion between Human and Gaia.

Yesterday was my final day of a week-long raw foods diet. This diet was culminated with a vision quest with the aid of San Pedro Cactus deep in the forests of Washington state. San Pedro grows predominantly in the Andes mountains of South America and just like its North American cousin peyote, it is rich with mescaline and other healing properties. It has been used by shaman for thousands of years. Recently, western doctors, under the guidance of shamanic discipline and technique, have used san pedro to remedy diseases ranging from arthritis to cancer.

On a mental level, san pedro helps us to formulate a more sophisticated perception of reality. Like many true hallucinogens (magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine) it guides the user into deeper states of consciousness. As one shaman describes: “San Pedro heals by fundamentally changing our perception of reality – our belief in what is real and possible for us – so we understand our true power and the healing abilities we have. “It shows us reality as it actually is, not how we think it is.”

“It changes what we think of as real so we see the power we humans have: we can manifest whatever we choose – if we believe we can.”

http://finalizations.com/san-pedro-the-miracle-healer.html

There is much taking place of which we are not aware.

Altered states of consciousness (taking san pedro, jumping out of an airplane, meditation, traveling) expand our filters of reality; altered states allow us to take in more information about the world at once. Most of us live under the law of expectation – we go into our day expecting to go to work, expecting to see people in the city, expecting things to happen as they’ve always happened.

Other people however are on their own “expectational adventures” and they use their own reality filters. Their reality is dependent on their beliefs about their own day-to-day life. All of our expectations come from a deeply imbedded idea of who we think we are and how we think we fit in with the rest of the world.

Collective expectations are what we are now currently agreed upon. We agree that our particular culture speaks this particular language, that money is of this value, and that gravity does what gravity is supposed to do. We expect certain things to exist. We expect certain things do not exist.

When we enter into an altered state of consciousness, we begin seeing more than we expect to see.

Multiple realities are happening all around us and they are all taking place at once. Every reality has its own certain truth and validity for the particular person who is experiencing it and believes it to be true. With that in mind, the collective reality isn’t necessarily true or necessarily good, but that still doesn’t not make it a reality for many people.

Becoming conscious is witnessing what we don’t expect to see. It is empowering one’s self to choose to be the creator rather than the created…not the garden but the gardener. Imagine your mind as a garden and imagine everything else as a potential seed that is constantly bombarding your mind. Everything you focus your attention on becomes planted in your garden and begins to grow. It is the gardener’s job to cultivate the seeds which enter his garden, it is his job to pull the weeds and that which does not serve him. We have the power to manage our gardens as diligently as we choose. The more carefully we process the external world, the more creative we can become with our filters. We can choose any reality we desire, but that desire must be made conscious, and then, it must be put into action.

I came away from this san pedro experience feeling fresh and revitalized. Synchronicities have already begun to stack up. The future looks hopeful.

I challenge the individual to maintain and cultivate how we choose to see the world. Place yourself out of your expectations, breath consciously and with intent. The more I do this, the more I find that certain things really start to stand out. Individuals make eye contact and a conversation leads to synchronicity. Reality expands on many levels…

External perceptions abroad and the sitcom “Friends.”

I have been back from Ethiopia for just over 5 weeks now. I have begun to settle again into what I once thought of as normal and what I now think of as a damn interesting game of energy exchange.

This morning, I received this email from an Ethiopian priest, one of the first Ethiopians we met on our trip and one who overwhelmed us with his kindness and hospitality. An excerpt:

Dear Mike, I frankly, am in financial crisis at this moment. I ask for pardon for asking money in our first contact via email, please, understand ! if you could intervine no matter how little, if you were able to send some thing via Western union, it could help me to push a little bit and move around for mission appeal. Mike and Amy, I consider you as my real brothers and friends.

Before I received this email, I was able to count 3 Ethiopians who we met on our trip who did NOT ask us for money during anytime in our relationship. Father Goesh was among this small number.

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There are several harsh realities we as travelers have to come to terms with.

Reality 1: our plane ticket to said country probably costs more than the majority of the people in that country earn in 5 years. (round trip ticket from Seattle to Ethiopia = $1,300)

Reality 2: the color of our skin tells people more about you than anything you could attempt to explain – whether it’s true or not

Reality 3: We get to go home at the end of the trip. They ARE home.

Anyone who has traveled to a more impoverished country than their own understands the challenges of being perceived as the financial savior sent from abroad. On any given day, it was common for us to be asked for money somewhere between 50-100 times in Ethiopia. This request was at times very serious, other times more like a kind of joke, while for others it was something that was taught to them by a parent, i.e. “When you see a ferenji, politely ask them for money and wait patiently until they give you some.”

So if we take the low estimate and multiply that by nine weeks, that means that we were asked for money roughly about 3,150 times during our stay in Ethiopia. There are obviously people you want to help and people that need help. But giving money to everyone is not practical.

A quick look at the average backpacker –

-Many of us have low paying jobs (if we are in fact employed),

-Most of us do not own our own home but are rather renting ($520 for a shared apartment in Seattle),

-Cost of food is considerably more in our own countries

-Does the average backpacker even have health insurance back home??

-Some of us have vehicles but after tacking on gas, insurance, parking, maintenance, etc….

-Entertainment is expensive ($3-$10 for a drink in a bar not to mention cover)

This is something that I have tried to explain to others abroad and I have been met by laughter and at times been called a liar. But the reality is, 1 out of 2 “backpackers” living in the United States between the ages of 18-28 would be considered to be living under the cultural economic standard of living.

Consider the fact that America is the largest soft product producer in the world. We export more culture than any other nation through a wide variety of media, and no matter where you are in the world, you can’t help but come across a coca-cola sign and a Brittany Spears poster.

Because of this, a lot of people in other countries think that wealth and comfort are simply benefits of living in America. I call it the “Friends” delusion. People across the world turn on the tv and watch an episode of Friends and can quite understandably assume that everyone in America is Caucasian, sits around and drinks coffee, doesn’t have a job, and has lots of money.

Anything that is considered “good” comes at the sacrifice of something that is also “good.” I highly recommend a documentary called “The Lost Boys of Sudan.” It follows five men orphaned by civil war who leave their huts one day and the next find themselves in Houston, Texas of all places, where they pursue the American dream only to discover that there “truly is no paradise on earth.” “No one in America has any friends,” one man tells a friend in Sudan over the phone. “I don’t have time to do anything.”

We travel to challenge who we are and to challenge our beliefs about the world at large. It is a two way street. Our perceptions about the world are just as subjective as the world’s perception about us. Our interactions with different individuals will result in different experiences for all involved. I may act pleasant with all I encounter, but not everyone will consider me to be a pleasant person. So is it more important to be perceived as pleasant or is it more important to believe yourself to be pleasant? Which truth is more true?

I am a firm advocator of challenging your beliefs and traveling is a good way to do this. Always remember, that once your beliefs have been challenged, you will hang in a limbo state as you restructure your views of reality. This may take a year, a month, or a moment. I have been able to do some major restructuring since my last trip abroad, but nothing permanent has been put in its place yet.

Reshaping the collective – abandoning fear

We have the ability and capacity to change everything. We can use certain influences that have previously been against our own individual thought, i.e. television. It is becoming more commonly known that information, along with the power of individual choice are spreading like fire. We have the power to show the world, the collective, another reality. That life isn’t all scandal and that it certainly isn’t fear. Before I left on my 21 month hitchhiking trip through Latin America, nearly everyone I came in contact with told me I had a death wish. Because this is what the media proclaims. That life outside of our homes is uncertain and dangerous. That people, our neighbors!, are suspect to God knows what.

Most of us, I believe, are waking up to this reality…the reality that life is much more than we have been led to believe. It is a blossoming reality that is happening at an individual and collective level. We are magnificent co-creators and when we choose to link up with other like-minded people, or dare to discover familiarity in unfamiliar situations, we begin to recreate what has been deemed destroyed, or worse, static.

It doesn’t cost a cent to question the world we live in, to ask ourselves if the reality we live is the same reality that other people see. The purpose of our films is to convey a new reality. A reality that all of us live but few of us see.

These volatile times are very exciting! As the forest burns down new growth is emerging in remarkable and powerful ways. We are becoming the leaders we have been asking for. In this new phase of leadership, we must lend our secrets of success to all who are willing to mutually succeed. Dare to create collectively, share the power of information, and question, always question, if reality is really what those in power tell us it is.

Entering Ethiopia

The ten hour car ride plunged us into a vivid collage of images the expectant traveler dreams he will see as he sits in the comforts of his first world home. Darkness veiled the dark continent an hour into our ride until a neon pink sunrise escaped behind an escarpment of tall thin trees and emerging Ethiopians. For the next few hours our weariness was postponed as we witnessed the experience of being in Africa for the first time. Amy and I looked at each other with side-long smiles, sharing the knowledge that we had finally made it to Ethiopia.

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I feel that this trip waour way of testing the practice of remaining calm in the face of overwhelming challenge. It is incredibly easy to breath through a difficult situation when that situation takes place in your own country, city, and can be discussed in your own language. But six hours into our ride south, fatigue was taking its toll. (We had been traveling two days straight by air and then thrown into a vehicle for a 800+ kilometer trip.)

Perhaps because of the obvious lack of rest, I was not as conscious as I should have been of my deteriorating mental state. My external world was challenging the calmness inside me yet I was no longer aware that my beliefs were also in danger. The road that we took was less traveled by car than it was by foot and hoof. Thousands of cattle and goats combed the roads guided by their human counterparts. Every ten meters, we passed twenty Ethiopians. Our vehicle weaved with ease around this living obstacle course, though from this ferenji’s perspective it appeared far from simple. By day three I was impressed that we had only hit one cow.

Still driving south, we stopped to fix a flat tire in the middle of nowwhere. The reality, there is no middle of nowhere in Ethiopia. For as far as the eye can see there is at least one person in the distance, and behind that bush or bend there are 300 others. Alex and our driver got out to assess the situation. We had in fact stopped next to a woman standing on the side of the road, resting in transit from wherever she happened to be going. Beyond her was a child, beyond the child another child, and onward for 100 meters. It was the same in the opposite direction. Within five minutes there were twenty people within arms reach and children could be seen running top speed in our direction. The people spoke to each other but not to us nor we to them. In fact, it seemed odd that neither Alex nor our driver said as much as a hello to them. Being ignorant to this I extended smiles to the children (who outnumbered the adults 10-1) who in turn eyed me with curiosity and suspicion.

The tire being fixed, we got back into the truck and were encircled on all sides, peering into the car as one might do to a limo. Finally, it came. “Money?” They smiled at each other and then immediately mimicked, “Money, Money!”

There is a ferenji madness in Ethiopia. Massive tour operators have for years trucked out foreigners to the south to see tribes that are living on the brink of cultural extinction. Arriving, tourists take pictures of these painted people like they are animals on two legs with plates in their lips and scarred tattoos on their body. All the villages and people in-between that day long journey are nothing more than visual stimulation for the tourist on wheels. The locals reap nothing of the tourist’s 10 second stay and this brief cultural interaction is about all they experience from the white man. But every now and then a truck will break down along the way and a tourist will take pity on a shoeless child carrying a back-load of vegetables and give them some money. This child, not knowing what he did to deserve such good fortune, goes out and tells his friends that the ferenji gave him money for no good reason, who in turn tell everyone they possibly know. Because of this, ferenji madness grips the population with relentless intensity.

I would be willing to imagine that 9 out of 10 children that we passed on our 10 hour car ride ran after us – no matter how fast we were going.

(We arguably passed 50,000 children, and I would say that’s a low estimate.)

This leads us to this week’s topical video about education, on which I will elaborate more as the week evolves.

For those headed to Konso in southern Ethiopia, I would recommend staying at Strawberry Fields, a comfortable tourist eco-lodge which also teaches perma-culture to anyone interested for a fair price.

Conscious Evolution

How do you expand your consciousness?

This is one of many questions that we ask the people we film on our travels across the globe. Almost two years ago, a friend of mine came to me in Seattle with a proposal: “Let’s buy a camera, go to another country, and film everything that happens to us along the way.” Six months later we were traveling through Colombia with a camera and a list of questions. Among them were, “What do you think is the greatest problem in the world right now?” and “How can average people make the world a better place?”

The world is changing, fast. Soon, the problems that we collectively face will become a tangible reality for us all, if they haven’t become so already – climate change, over-population, teetering economies, take your pick. Across the globe, people are questioning the methods that our leaders are taking to lead us. In a world of over 6 billion people, how can one person possibly make a difference?

The title of our documentary is The MapMakers:Project Colombia. Before going to South America, everyone I knew warned me about the infamous country I was about to visit. I was told that I was crazy to go there. I would probably get kidnapped, robbed, or killed. None of these people however, had ever been to Colombia themselves. Their information was usually relayed from whatever television news source that they regularly watched. Consequently, their beliefs about the rest of the world were also very similar.

Fear, unfortunately, has become a staple in the American media diet.

Consider that. If we are constantly bombarded with problems with no real call to action, other than fear, how are we supposed to meet the challenges that we now face?

The answer may be surprising.

After asking hundreds of people what the average person can do to make the world a better place, we got an overwhelmingly similar response: Change your attitude.

“If I change my attitude about the world, about the world’s problems, and about myself, and this change in attitude is positive, then I am on my way to improving the world,” said one person.

“Many people are always looking to blame something exterior. It’s the government’s fault, it’s the media’s fault. But if we change our attitude, and look inside ourselves, then suddenly these problems are not so big anymore, as long as we take the next step to change our own behaviors,” said another person.

Hence the name of the documentary, The MapMakers. Each of us has the power and opportunity to look at life any way we choose to – we each travel through life using the map we ourselves have created. We can believe that the world is full of scary people, scary situations, and hopeless scenarios. Some of these beliefs may be true, and some of them may not be true. Life is of course, a very subjective experience.

Now with that in mind, we can choose to look at life the opposite way – that the world is full kind and helpful people, that not everyone is out to get us, and that these big problems that we face are not as overwhelming as we have been led to believe. My point is this: we are at a critical moment in history and our collective beliefs will shape the outcome of our world. If we continue to believe that our problems are beyond fixing then we have already failed the challenge to fix them.

Luckily, we can wield our positive perceptions of the world and share them with those around us. We can begin to map out a new reality, one that is not based on fear but on cooperation and open-mindedness.

Creating your own map of reality is not always easy. But fortunately, you don’t have to go to Colombia to do it. All it takes is a bit of courage and curiosity. It takes courage to question your beliefs about the world, and it is curiosity about the world that creates the canvas on which we will draw our maps.

In March we will travel to Ethiopia to film our next documentary. Literally halfway across the world, Ethiopia couldn’t be further from our concept of “normal”. My own perception of that country comes from what I see and hear on the news – poverty, AIDS, war. But like all else, there are two sides to every coin.

I invite you to visit our website www.themapmakers.org for more information about mapmaking and how we can begin to solve the problems that we all face. I do not believe that these problems are so great that they cannon be solved. But it will take more than just one perception of a positive future…