New York Times article on Plumpy’nut

I learned about this article from a post by Kara Powell. For me, it’s a great illustration on how something that can provide so much hope can also have mixed motives woven throughout. Check out the whole article:

Patents are meant to offer incentives to innovators by giving them a time-limited right to exclusively exploit their ideas for profit. But many say that lifesaving products should be treated by a different set of rules. There has been a long and bitter argument, for instance, over the affordability of patented AIDS drugs in Africa. Critics have made a similar case against Plumpy’nut, which is fairly expensive, costing about $60 per child for a full two-month treatment. “We were concerned because of the way Nutriset was managing their intellectual property,” said Stéphane Doyon, a nutrition specialist with Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity. “We felt that there was the possibility for the creation of a monopoly.”

“Poverty is a business,” Patricia Wolff, a St. Louis pediatrician, said. She founded Meds and Food for Kids, the other local producer of fortified nut paste in Haiti. When I first spoke with her in May, Meds and Food for Kids was struggling to raise money to expand its operations, and Wolff complained mightily about the difficulties she faced because of Nutriset’s market dominance. “There’s money to be made,” she said, “and there are people who have that kind of way of thinking.” Two months later, Wolff made a tentative deal for Meds and Food for Kids to become a Nutriset franchisee. In the end, she said, she couldn’t afford to battle hunger on her own.

Four Problems Bigger Than The iPhone 4 Antenna, And What You Can Do

I saw this from Russell Martin, and I had to share it here. Make sure you check out the full post.

Since its release the Iphone 4 has been plagued by customers complaining about its antenna design flaw. Apparently if you hold the phone a certain way your signal drops significantly. Apple has responded saying that some loss is normal for any phone, depending on where you hold it. While this is a valid complaint, a legitimate problem let me suggest some bigger problems that exist out there.

Problem #1: Malaria

Malaria is a disease caused by the blood parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria, from the Medieval Italian words mala aria or “bad air,” causes 350 million to 500 million illnesses per year and kills more than one million people – mostly children under the age of five.

Serve Ogden 2010: Our Church’s In-Town Mission Trip

This week, our church is taking part in a week-long local mission trip. A little over 500 people from our church are working on 24-plus homes in our city. This has become bigger than we could have imagined. God has shown up in amazing ways this week. I’ll post more on the week once it’s over. Here’s an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Heatherlee Corrigan walked gingerly down the steps of her 88-year-old home, where 20 volunteers from Ogden’s Washington Heights Church sawed branches and dug out brush that nearly had obscured her house.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” said Corrigan as she shuffled in fuzzy socks down her driveway, which had been covered by a canopy of branches just hours before.

“It’s awesome. It’s just so, so awesome!” said Corrigan, who broke four ribs while feeding her cats last weekend. Awoman in her early 30s, she suffers from a hereditary disease that makes her bones fragile and her ability to keep a job unpredictable.

Corrigan and 23 other homeowners in a central Ogden neighborhood this week were the beneficiaries of house makeovers by an army of volunteers from Washington Heights Church.

The church, where 2,200 worship on a typical Sunday, decided to volunteer in Ogden this year rather than send out members on foreign missions to Cambodia, Guatemala, Japan and Romania, as it typically does.

“We need to see our community through God’s eyes,” said Jimi Pitts, the pastor in charge of missions who came up with the idea for the five-day Serve Ogden 2010. His idea, Pitts said, “happened to hit a nerve.”

The Denver Post: A Prom To Live For

This is a really cool story:

The teens, most of whom know each other from ski camp or monthly get- togethers organized by Children’s, snacked on chips and pop and dug through each other’s bags for lipstick. They chatted about normal girl stuff: boyfriends who push too far and vegetarianism and tattoos. About how some high school girls are so judgmental at other proms.

But this prom, they said, is different. Having cancer as a kid “just completely changes who you are, because you have a completely different set of priorities,” says Krahl, now a Colorado State University student. “The little things high school kids go through, when you hear them complain about how they are dressed or their hair, and you don’t even have hair, that just kind of puts you in a different place.”

30 Hour Famine

A couple of weeks ago, the students at our church took part in the 30 Hour Famine. When challenged, it’s amazing to see what teenagers can do. Our students raised $16,136.13. Their reward? They got to shave their youth pastors’ heads the following weekend:

The 30 Hour Famine is a great event. Essentially, participants spend 30 hours going without food. The goal: to get a taste of what it is like to be hungry (for many students, this is their first time fasting), to raise awareness about the hunger epidemic, and to raise money to feel children in Jesus’ name.

For most of the 30 hours, we were together as a group doing different activities, such as worship, learning about poverty around the globe, and putting together “Manna Bags”–which include a clean pair of socks, a bottle of water, granola bar and crackers, and a list of local resources for those in need to hand out when one encounters a homeless person–to sell for $5 each at church (and raise more money toward our goal). At night, we slept outside on the pavement in cardboard boxes, which were ruined when it rained and hailed on us (we had to go inside at 2:00am for safety reasons when the lightning started).

There are a wide variety of approaches to the 30 Hour Famine, so the event can be customized for your particular group. Our students were impacted by what they learned as well as the experience of being hungry and sleeping outside int he cold. We will definitely do it again next year, and I commend it as a fantastic event for just about any youth ministry.

By the way, here’s a video I created with from photos we took at the event.

The Harmonica Man

There have been many times when I’ve heard–as I’m sure you have–the almost cliché question, “What would you do with your last days if you knew you only had a month to live?” Well, one man answered that question in a very real way when he thought he only had one month to live; then he did it for the next eleven years. Check out this amazing true story:

NYT: What Could You Live Without?

This is a great story, make sure you read the whole thing:

It all began with a stop at a red light.

Kevin Salwen, a writer and entrepreneur in Atlanta, was driving his 14-year-old daughter, Hannah, back from a sleepover in 2006. While waiting at a traffic light, they saw a black Mercedes coupe on one side and a homeless man begging for food on the other.

“Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal,” Hannah protested. The light changed and they drove on, but Hannah was too young to be reasonable. She pestered her parents about inequity, insisting that she wanted to do something.

“What do you want to do?” her mom responded. “Sell our house?”

Warning! Never suggest a grand gesture to an idealistic teenager. Hannah seized upon the idea of selling the luxurious family home and donating half the proceeds to charity, while using the other half to buy a more modest replacement home.

Eventually, that’s what the family did. The project — crazy, impetuous and utterly inspiring — is chronicled in a book by father and daughter scheduled to be published next month: “The Power of Half.” It’s a book that, frankly, I’d be nervous about leaving around where my own teenage kids might find it. An impressionable child reads this, and the next thing you know your whole family is out on the street.

Quote of the day…

…from a leader I met with today:

“Kids need to see injustice to know what justice really is.”