Change Starts with a $6 Soccer Ball

The World Cup is underway, so I thought I would share a few soccer stories from around the world from my reporting involving the beautiful game.

In India, I got to spend time with Ashok Rathod, who founded the OSCAR Foundation. I wrote two chapters in my book Where Am I Giving? on my experiences in Ashok’s community. In the chapter below I meet Ashok and learn how he’s impacting his community through soccer.

If you like what you read, consider following OSCAR on Facebook and consider buying a copy of Where Am I Giving? for more stories of awesome givers like Ashok. 

Buy Where Am I Giving? at Bookshop / Indiebound / Barnes & Noble /Books-A-Million / Amazon

 

Chapter 16: Start With Your Local…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

What is land worth?

Winter is almost here and the field beyond the auction sign looks like a desert. Corn stalks as tumbleweeds. Lifeless soil, dusty as sand. Vultures feasting on mammals that couldn’t outrun the reaping. 

It’s a windy day in Indiana, and if you picked up a handful of dirt and threw it into the air, it would blow to the highway? The next county? The Sahel?

Yesterday a mammal lifted a bidding number and bid $15,000 per acre for the land. To be clear, the animal was a human. Although the mental image of a raccoon lifting up a number with its five, long, tapered raccoon hands, little nails scratching on the paper, is one I’d like to sit…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Ugly Truth, Beautiful Game

(These ladies in Mumbai showed me how they played the beautiful game)

In Indiana, when I was a kid, we had wooden goal posts painted white. 

In Cambodia, the goals were orange cones.

In the Mosquito jungle of Honduras the goals were piles of fresh wood shavings–leftovers from crafting dugout canoes. 

In a slum in Mumbai, the goal was a puddle of water filled by a monsoon. 

In rural China, the goal was not to have to chase a ball down the terraced fields. 

Beautiful Game

While reporting around the world from some 60 countries, I’ve seen soccer/football played in almost all of them. Often the ball wasn’t a ball but a plastic…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

FTX, SBF, and EA: When a Do-Gooder Does Bad

One of effective altruism’s biggest givers, crypto-bro Sam Bankman-Fried (often referred to as SBF), may have built his billion-dollar empire on lies and under the cover of goodwill bought by his extreme giving. 

Ross Douthat of the New York Times referred to Bankman-Fried’s actions as “playing Robin Hood using proceeds from an over-leveraged Ponzi Scheme.” And he did so from his penthouse of pills and polyamory in the Bahamas. At least he had fun, but now the entire Effective Altruism (EA) movement is under fire. 

Just look at these headlines written after SBF’s fall:

Effective Altruism Committed the Sin It Was Supposed to Correct

Effective altruism solved all the…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Toilets

I don’t mean to brag, but my son Griffin has flushed more toilets on Ball State University’s campus than any other person in history. And he’s only eleven.

Most Fridays after I pick him up from school, we head to campus and choose a building or three to explore. We start at the first floor and work our way up and down the floors and halls. We check the floor plans, which sometimes show toilets, sometimes not.

We’ve visited the bowels of museums and auditoriums. New buildings with fancy efficient toilets, and old porcelain dinosaurs that flush with the ferocity of a T-Rex roar. 

It’s not completely stress-free. He wants the bathroom to himself. He narrates his…

Read More >
 
2 comments

Election Day in Kenya

Today is election day in Kenya. Presidential elections are sometimes violent and chaotic in Kenya (in the United States, now, too). I was in Kenya for the 2017 elections and thought I’d share an excerpt from my book Where Am I Giving? about what that was like. 

***

Mom thought we were being abducted. But it was worse than that.

Her flight landed in Nairobi at the absolute worst time of the last 10 years. After days of contention in the presidential race, the election commission had declared incumbent, Joseph Kenyatta the winner. Nairobi had essentially been closed since the election—stores were boarded up and the streets of a city with 3 million people were empty. The few times I had ventured out it felt…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Where is Bernie Wearing?

Where is Bernie wearing?

Bernie’s coat is from Burton, a snowboard apparel company in Vermont. Of course, it wasn’t made in Vermont. As someone who has traveled around the world to ask where my clothing came from, I took a few minutes to look at Bernie’s jacket. Some thoughts:

1) It’s sold out because Bernie is a fashion icon.

2) The Burton site simply states that the coat was Imported. Sometimes that’s because an item is made in several countries. Nothing necessarily nefarious, but I like to see companies acknowledge where their products actually come from.

3) The Burton CEO visited 5 of the factories from which they source in 2017. That’s good to see.

4) The company has the addresses…

Read More >
 
5 comments

Good People: Memoirist & Uke Rocker Pam Mandel

KelseyTimmerman · 33: Pam Mandel

Pam Mandel left suburbia for a lifetime of travel when she was only 17. She writes about her early travel days in her new memoir THE SAME RIVER TWICE.

Pam joined Kelsey and Jay to chat about hitchhiking, travel, questioning intentions while doing good, the time she went to the airport to help a refugee, founding a nonprofit, and, of course, jamming in a ukelele rock band.

Buy Pam’s book

Pam’s Uke FAQ

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Good People: Soccer in the Wake of Civil War

Seren Fryatt didn’t want to tape ankles the rest of her life. She quit her job to volunteer internationally with Mercy Ships. In Liberia she was recruited to play professional soccer. She saw what the sport meant to the women on her team and its potential to be a force of positive change. Eventually she founded L.A.C.E.S., an NGO that works to create a sustainable, replicable model of community development using sports as a tool to reach at-risk youth and empower their local communities.

Seren joined Jay and I to chat about her path and the struggles of international NGOs during the global pandemic.

Read More >
 
1 comment

Good People: Eric Henry (Entrepreneur, Farmer, Candidate, Local Citizen)

KelseyTimmerman · 31: Eric Henry (Entrepreneur, Farmer, Candidate, Local Citizen)

Eric Henry’s T-shirt business and North Carolina community were turned upside down by NAFTA. Ever since, he’s focused on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. Eric is a champion for his community, cooperatives, chickens, electric cars, local economies, farmers, and now he’s seeking to represent all of these interests in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Show notes and links:

 

Eric’s campaign 

Read More >
 
Add a comment