Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet the Mozambique Team #2

I hope all of you enjoy "meeting" each other at this posting. Now you can put a face to the name you keep hearing about, and will soon be living and working together, 24/7!! So best to get to know each other ahead of time.

Members: Bob Bell, Leslie Bell, Melody Burns, Tim Culpan, Carol DeNatale, Karin Egeland, Gregory Flick, Christa Gadola, Barb George, Chelsie McKnight, Kim Morrison, Crystal Nieslanik, Rick Nieslanik, Tammy Vandevender, Sally Zhang, and Joanne Zylla.

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Melody Burns. I am in my sixth year of service with Habitat for Humanity, Idaho Falls and F.A.I.T.H., Family Assistance In Transitional Housing. I am a third generation American Red Cross volunteer. My family says I came out volunteering. I graduated from Rockhurst College (now Rockhurst University) in Kansas City, Missouri. I am a transplant Idahoan; that means I live and work in Idaho. My service activities include: American Red Cross, Beta Sigma Phi, Rotary, and Affordable Housing Task Force. My hobbies include: gardening, reading, playing tennis, dog obedience/agility and photography.
I have two four-pawed wonders. Ruffian, a Pembroke welsh corgi, who visits nursing homes with me and Benson, a.k.a. Lenny-Benny, a Briard, I rescued from the Portland, Oregon area last year. Lenny-Benny's name is in transition. He reminds me of Lenny Kravitz, hence the name change in progress. He has some serious hair!
I love music and play the piano; unfortunately team 2 members may discover as a singer I'm horrible. I'm a melody that can't carry a tune. Think Cameron Diaz and yes I'm that bad! Ouch!
The young man in my photo is my nephew, Christopher. The last vacation I took time for was in 1997. I went to Disney World in Florida with him. Yes, I'm due for a hiatus, so Global Village here I come to balance my joy in life.
If you look closely, you will also see I'm holding a camera. I love photography! I hope to be blessed with a few good photos to enter the annual Smithsonian Competition.
I guess I'm so excited about this build opportunity and meeting everyone that I feel like Tigger from the Winnie the Pooh Books. Hoo-hoo-hoo! Somebody remind me to breathe! Hugs to you all until we meet in Mozambique. Melody B

I'll keep this short & sweet since before you know it we'll be meeting in person in MOZ. Hi all, I'm Carol and will be part of the MOZ 2 team. This is my second GV trip - the first was about 5 years ago in Alaska (with Leslie and Bob as my team leaders) and it was by far one of the best experiences of my life! I feel so fortunate to be able to join a second "Bell" team and how great that it is in Africa - a place I have always wanted to visit. The thing I love about Habitat GV trips is that they give me the opportunity to combine my love of travel with doing something for others.

I am from New York (grew up on Long Island and now live in New York City). After 17 exhausting and challenging years at Merrill Lynch I have taken advantage of the upheaval in the financial services industry to take a break and do some traveling and just get back to the basics. In addition to traveling, I enjoy riding my bike (believe or not we have great bike paths in NYC) hiking and reading.

Can't wait to see you all in MOZ....Until then...

This is Kim from Portland, traveling for the first time to Africa, traveling on vacation for the first time with my dearest friend (not for a conference or meeting). 3rd Habitat Build. I'm a self professed addict in the early stages. Something about loving a vacation that involves hard labor...and the now consistent curiosity of "how can I be working this hard and not lose any weight?" Best line from another build - "I'm just 2 labor camp days away from my goal weight"! - Tim from LA

Things about me just aren't that interesting, but this is what I've picked up from travel and the wisdom of others:

- years ago in a hostel in London while backpacking around Europe a senior Irishman told me "Look up lass, God took the time to create the sky, trees and birds, or someone had the creativity to design the architecture several stories up" I've tried looking up ever since and even though I trip now and then, it's been worth it. I missed a lot before that.

- From a German friend now living in China..."slow down. Slow travel is a gift, savor the moments"

- From a man in Istanbul walking with me to practice his English who took me to a literature enclave of the Grand Bizaar

- "Smell, Taste, Sense the culture"

- From the man in a shop in Istanbul - "Take the time to get to know us, know why Rumi is an interpreter for all of us"

- From a homeowner in Tajkistan when I said "Rahmat (thank you"...he said "you're welcome very much" just like Elvis! Never underestimate anyone, they know more English than I know Tajik

- From a friend who sent an email wishing me well before the last build. "Travel Grace" (now the name of my blog, a very neophyte blog)

- From my neighbor - "Talk less, listen more"

- From the free button I picked up from Mercy Corp "Be the change you wish to see in the world"

Travel has introduced me to some of my dearest friends, my greatest appreciations and terrific lessons. I'm always humbled as I stumble through, I appreciate another opportunity for brief emersion in a new place, a different culture, a chance to leave a place a bit better because of our work. We claim to give but somehow it seems we receive more on these builds.

Basic stuff: love my 3 nephews, my 3 dogs, my friends, travel, music, dance, gardening, scuba, reading, learning,....3 Habitat Builds, 3 degrees, I seem to like 3's! Told you it wasn't that interesting. 3 photos above, the third depicting my philosophy on life. Take care,Kim

My name is Tim Culpan, and this will be my second GV build, having undertaken my first in Nepal in March. It will be my first trip to Africa.While I am an Aussie born and bred, I've been abroad for quite a while and have been living in Taipei, Taiwan for the past decade. Previously I lived in Russia.I'm a journalist for Bloomberg News, focusing on business and technology, and was previously a freelance correspondent for publications including the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek and Billboard. This Habitat trip is strictly pleasure though. In addition to wanting to help out and boost my karma account, I am joining the build to look, listen and learn.

hi team! my name is christa gadola and i feel super lucky to have snagged the last spot on our adventurous team to mozambique. i am an oncology nurse from seattle, washington and am in great need of travel and service. i have been a nurse for 2.5 years and although i love my career and feel honored to care for people during vulnerable times, i do get overwhelmed by the amount of sadness on our unit. i think that traveling with a group of caring and inspirational people with the sole purpose of making a difference in the world will excite and nourish me. i have been fortunate enough to travel extensively. just this year, i went to mexico and hiked up nevado de toluca, a volcano of 15,300 feet (see photo). my favorite trip occurred after graduating from college; i spent four months in kolkata, india doing volunteer work at mother teresa's home for the destitute and dying. it was likely the impetus for me to go to nursing school and for my career goal of becoming a hospice nurse. anyway, having traveled to africa before, i know that i will fall in love with the country, the culture, and the people. and it is probable that i will be tempted to take at least one orphan home...

i do look forward to meeting all of you and sharing this amazing experience. i only wish that it was sooner. i can hardly wait!

Bob - Hello Team Mozambique! I wanted to tell you how excited I am to meet and work with all of you in Mozambique. As some of you are aware Leslie and I lived in Alaska for many years where we raised our boys. This past winter, after Leslie and I led a GV team to Nepal, I returned to Alaska and worked in an Eskimo village near the Bering Sea for several weeks. It took some getting used to the cold once again, but I was able to adapt. I let the hair and beard grow a bit and started to feel at home again! I did come down to the “Lower 48” states a couple of times to see Leslie, resupply, and head back again.
I have always enjoyed visiting new places and learning new things. One of the most unique times I can remember was talking with, and helping to guide Buzz Aldrin (astronaut who walked on the moon) around on a glacier in Alaska. Now that guy did some traveling!
Learning to build houses seemed like a colossal endeavor to learn but breaking it up into smaller steps made it seem much more like a mathematical story problem to me and I just needed to work thru the process. Working with interesting people and building houses for folks that are so appreciative is a win/win situation for me.
I enjoy leading teams with Leslie - although on some teams I don’t seem to see much of her as we are busy doing different things. She definitely helps to get people organized beforehand and I’m no exception. She usually even gives me a haircut shortly before our departure to get me more presentable.
I have been accused of spinning a story or two on these GV teams. I really don’t know where that comes from and I definitely don’t think there is any truth to it.
This is a picture of me, just saying "hi" to the team in advance.

Hi All, My name is Karin Egeland. This is my first Habitat trip and I am really looking forward to meeting you all and being a part of this team. I am traveling with my friend Joanne - we met the first day of 7th grade and little did we know then that 48 years later we would be traveling to Africa together on a humanitarian mission. Isn't that awesome!

I grew up Minneapolis and now make my home about an hour north, in Grantsburg, WI. I am a wife of 42 years, mom to 3 grown children and grandma to 4 precious grandchildren. I retired 4 years ago after 26 years of nursing. I now enjoy the 3 G's of retirement: gardening, golf, and grandchildren. You see me pictured here in my garden which is my pride and joy.

I have done a lot of leisure travel around the world, which has prepared me for this new experience in Africa. When I read about this project in Mozambique it really spoke to my heart. During my nursing career, I saw first hand how HIV/AIDS can devastate a family, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to help children and families in need.

I look forward to exchanging emails in the next couple months, then sharing an amazing trip together as we bring hope to families in need.

It's me, Joanne, rounding out the last of your group. What started out as casual conversation with my friend Karin eight weeks ago, has turned into a frenzy of excitement and "paperwork" to make this a reality. The fit for me, working for the greater good for children, is what my life has been about. I spent about twenty years in two different school districts working in Special Education classes with elementary age kids. The last seven years, before retirement two years ago, was with autistic toddlers aged 2-5. I met amazing children and families who faced challenges in their everyday lives most of us could never imagine. I am quite sure this mission we are going to be a part of in Africa will hold for me a most amazing journey.
I am blessed with a wonderful family, some of who you see in the photo with me, who are excited about the task ahead. Besides a husband who has supported all of my wildest dreams, I have 4 children and 5 grandchildren, who think I am still pretty fun. My hope is that someday they too will find the joy that I do in giving myself to others. The picture you see is of a post marathon that my husband, son and daughter ran to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. I am a six year survivor. Many of my grandchildren also participate in races of different sorts for "causes."
I read, write and cook, all for pleasure. I have words in my kitchen that read,"I love cooking for people I love" and that has been true my whole life. I find total joy in recipes, food, and cooking. I would bet I will taste a new culture on the trip! The writing part is really my comfort with finally becoming friends with a computer,you really can teach an old dog a few new tricks. Reading and puzzling keeps the brain active and I do alot of both. That sums me up for now.
I look forward to meeting all of you and sharing this "first time" life experience with the team.

Hi, my name is Tammy. I am from the east coast but after traveling the United States as a Physical Therapist Assistant with a contract company, I have settled in the beautiful coastal town of Pacific Grove. Heaven on Earth! I work in a wonderful retirement community and feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful environment. I have a great group of friends. We spend our time exploring our gorgeous area with outdoor sports and healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) dinner nights. I am currently a big sister for an 11 year old girl named Shevannah. I find it both challenging and rewarding. My two dogs are a major part of my life. Forest was my dad’s therapy dog and Shelly believes she rules the roost. I love to travel and have seen a lot of Asia and Europe. I am looking forward to my first trip to Africa and excited that it will be with Habitat for Humanity. I hope I have a lot to offer and I know I have a lot to learn.

Chelsie is thrilled to join Mozambique Team 2, 2009 for her first ever Habitat GV build. It will be a long way from her native small town New Liskeard in Northern Ontario!

Chelsie ventured far away from her snowmobile to attend the University of Toronto, where she completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. She has been in Toronto ever since, and plays “grown-up” by working at TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications company, where she works on top secret projects (or so she pretends they are) in Strategic Planning.

Family, friends, reading, travelling, craft time, and good food are what she holds dear. She is a dancer, a classic rock addict, and a Toastmaster, and is passionately involved with Camp Quality, a not for profit camp for children with cancer. Chelsie strives to make a difference in her community and looks forward to making a difference in the community of others in Mozambique.

My name is Barb. I just retired from 28 years of teaching, mostly kindergarten, grades one and three. I also spent the past ten years actively involved with the National Education Association , serving on the Board of Directors both locally and statewide as an advocate for children and teachers. I am very excited to be on a GV team to really get away from the classroom - I just keep going back!
I have lived in Alaska for a total of 26 years, including Nome, Adak, Teller, Yakutat, Soldotna and now the past four in Fairbanks. The winters are eternal, but the summers, sunsets and wild animals are fantastic.
I enjoy reading, swimming, and canoeing the lakes of the Kenai Peninsula. This past winter I spent re-learning how to cross-country ski with a group called the Ladies of Leisure. After my first week with them they instituted a new rule for skiers with their group - you have to know how to stop!
I have two adopted children, one from Korea and one from Brazil; and three step children, and a two year old sweetheart grand baby girl. We also have four cats and a year old “manic” border collie puppy who makes life so much fun!
This is my first HFH team. I love that it is focused on housing for orphans. I can’t wait to travel in Africa, meet new team members, experience a new culture and see a giraffe up close and personal.

Hello everyone, We are Rick and Crystal Nieslanik. We haven’t traveled much outside of the United States, but here’s a recent shot of us after a quite delightful hot air balloon ride in Napa. We’re very excited about joining the team in Mozambique. Neither of us have been on a Global Village build team before, nor been to Africa. This trip will be a first for us in many ways! Rick is currently on the Board of Directors for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Idaho Falls, Idaho. We have been involved with the local builds here for the past three years and have really enjoyed the experience. In our 29 years of marriage, we have lived in Denver, CO; Grand Junction, CO; Idaho Falls, ID; and Pittsburgh, PA. (Most of that time in Idaho Falls). We have two sons -one in Portland, OR, and one in Seattle, WA. Crystal graduated from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State) and is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for our local school district. Rick has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Colorado and is the Human Resources Manager for a Department of Energy contractor. We love to spend time with good friends, good food, good books, and in good weather on a good course with mostly bad golf! We are looking forward to meeting all of you!

Leslie - I've been going around and around on this planet for 61 years. On some of those spins around I've met my life partner, raised 3 beautiful sons, lived in Alaska for some 30+ great years, taught the best 8th great kids in the best middle school, have had a great adventure with Habitat the last 13 years, and now I have the most beautiful granddaughter, Iris Peace. Bob and I love working together with Habitat teams, as well as our personal house projects at home. Gardening is my favorite leisure activity. I get my inspirations from other people. Bob teaches me confidence and optimism, my boys teach me about all the different ways there are to look at things, Habitat has taught me that a worthy goal is attainable, and team members constantly teach me that the world has an awful lot of generous, loving people in it. I can't wait to meet all of you.

This is a picture of Bob and I in Cambodia last year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. You guys looks like a great team! How do I get in touch with you guys? Do you have emails or anything? I'm interested in Mozambique because I know I can help. I have certain means that I can use to do something for the people there. Thanks.