Thank you David Bonderman!

Because of Mr. Bonderman's generosity, I have been given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about culture. As a Bonderman Travel Fellow I plan on traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Northern India and Southeast Asia. I am excited to experience new and amazing things that will better enable me to empower and inspire the next generation of young students.

ALSO!!! If you are interested in following the nasty development of my beard and can follow it at

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to Reality

After being on an all-time high from beating malnourished, pre-teen African children at pointless American games....yesterday, I crashed back to earth and collided with reality...


I'm bigger, faster and older than every kid at the orphanage...but, yesterday I was practically re-taught how to play soccer...10 year old boys nut-megging me left and right...8 year old girls taking the ball right out from under me...and, literally, EVERYONE running circles around me after only playing for 30 minutes

I'm trying to figure out how to get back on top

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Orfanato, Nampula

After living in a Mozambican orphanage for a week and hanging out with 50 portugese speaking kids every day, I've discovered that they're almost exactly same as American kids (with the exception that almost every American child owns an XBox and plays "Call of Duty" without rest, while Mozambican children are lucky to own a deck of cards).

My discovery surfaced on Day 2....Kids LOVE new games!! I was hanging out with Carneto (sp?)and got the bright idea to teach him how to thumb wrestle: "One, two, three, four, let's have a thumb war, five, six, seven, eight, try to keep your thumb straight..." It caught on like wild fire! Now, approximately 20 times per day, a kid offers me a "high five" and it immediately progresses into a short thumb war battle. Naturally, the combination of my competitiveness, "thumb war" expertise and old-man strength means that my W-L record is an impressive 97-5. I keep beating them and they keep asking for more :)

I've made it my goal to teach the kids atleast 1 new "American" game every 3, they wanted to arm wrestle (my W-L: 33-0) 4, i taught a competitive variation of "patty-cake" (24-5) 5, two games: "finger sword fighting" (16-0) and "2-person keep your balance high-five battle" (25-3) 6, "Big cirlce Ninja elimination game" (0-1, i'll come back), it's day 7 and I think i'll teach them "duck, duck, goose" and show them who's boss

Winning feels good...even if its against children 1/2 or 1/4 my size

I'm running out of ideas, so if you know anymore sweet games, share them in a comment!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

May 10th, 1975

Every single Mozambican thinks I look 35 years's heart-wrenching

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mozambique Bus Facts and The Story

-each ticket can cover more than one person...but, everybody using the same ticket has to cram into one seat. I saw 6 people stuffed into the two seats ahead of me
-average price for a 4-6 hour trip is between 3 and 7 dollars
-most mozambican bus users "kill two birds with one stone" (not literally). The birds: personal travelling and business ventures...I've seen bags upon bags of rice, nuts, salt, etc picked up and dropped off in little villages along the way.....I've seen people transporting chickens, goats, and other farm animals.
-African babies/toddlers DO NOT cry! Last month, I remember whining about how hot i was on a train in Italy...looking back, I'm glad I had my own seat, could shift body positions after losing feeling in my legs and IT WAS ONLY 85 DEGREES!

The Story
So, the very first Mozambican bus route i enjoyed was from Maputo (the capital) to Tofo. We woke up at 4:30 am to catch a 5:00 shuttle that would take us to a 5:30 bus. The bus wasn't terrible...I had my own seat as opposed to the 6 people in front of me who were sharing two seats. To be fair, there were only two women and four children...but still, it looked miserable. 3 hrs into the ride, one of the women ahead of me asked the driver when our first stop would be. He said, "not for another two hours." So, the woman proceeded to take out a plastic grocery bag (like one you would find at Safeway) and hold it open in front of her son...he emptied himself with great satisfaction and was left with a half-leaking bag of piss. Obviously, the mom went to throw it out the window...BUT we were going at least 60 mph...naturally, the wind took control of both the bag and it's contents! I ended up with a healthy portion of urine on my face, glasses and shirt...THANK GOD MY MOUTH WAS CLOSED!!! All I could do was dry off my glasses and laugh. I think there will be a few more stories to tell by the end :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What are the freakin odds!?!?!?!?

Yesterday I woke up at the backpacker hostel in Tofo and decided to try and make it to Vilankulo... I knew that I needed to walk 2km and catch a bus from Tofo to Inhambane...then walk 1.5 km and catch and little boat across the bay to Maxixe...then walk 1km and catch a final, 4hr bus to Vilankulo...with no plans, no reservations and no real idea of what to do, I went for it!!! Astonishingly, I made it to Vilankulo at around 3 pm....and checked into my hostel......

The CRAZIEST part of this whole thing is that as I was checking in to the place in Vilankulo, I heard the voices of two girls speaking in flawless "American"....I was very excited so, after checking in, I approached the girls to introduce myself AND IT WAS TWO GIRLS ON THE BONDERMAN FELLOWSHIP!!!!!!!!! Andrea Gough and Alena Suazo....I had met them in May during our first meeting and had seen/talked to them a little before leaving the states...they're both grad students and they met up in Maputo...absolutely insanity

I had NO idea other bondermaners were in Africa right now...what are the chances? I have no idea, but I'm excited to see people I know!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Off to Tofo...

I'm finishing up my time here in Maputo..when I arrived on Thursday I seriously debated leaving the next morning, but I decided against it and now I've been here for 5 nights...lovin it all

-I initially staggered while looking at my hostel bill of 1750 meticais...but after dividing that number by 35, I quickly realized $50 for 5 nights wasn't too bad...very pumped

-For the first two days I wandered the streets with eyes in the back of my head, looking for people eager to jump me. For the last three days I wandered the streets actively looking for trouble, but all I found were soldiers asking for "cold drinks"

-Today I visited a school and played basketball for the second time since leaving the states. One boy said, "That Mulungu can play basketball..." I think that means that I'm white, bigger than all of the seventh graders and didn't hold back

I'm sad to leave Maputo, but very excited for what's ahead. I've heard some horror stories about road conditions on the highways north and that makes it all the more fun.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I made it across the South African border on Nov. 4th without too much trouble :) I almost "snuck" into Mozambique without getting a visa would've been TERRIBLE!!! Luckily the bus driver stopped me from getting back on the bus and told me I needed my visa (I thought I got stamped through, but apparently I missed out on THE stamp). In Maputo, I've already been asked to show my visa three times, by three different soldiers with AK47's slung around their necks. I'm pretty sure I'd be in a Mozambican prison right now if it wasn't for that bus driver..thankya Jesus!

Besides illegal immigration, AK47's and the threat of imprisonment...Maputo has been AWESOME!!! I feel incredibly safe here, the people are so kind/helpful, I've made friends with other sweet travelers and we've had a few adventures already

I'm scheduled to visit a Mozambican school on Monday and then I think I'm heading north (to Tofo) on Tuesday...slowly working my way to Nampula! I really like where I am right now and I'm excited for more adventures

Foreshadow: A dood from Seattle, named TJ, is working at the orphanage in Nampula and I've been talking with him since arriving on the 4th...He sounds LEGIT and I wouldn't be surprised if we have go on some adventures together...i'm stoked already

Alls good in da hood

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Great White Adventure

After epic adventures in Cape Town, along the Garden Route and on the Sunshine Coast I am back in Joburg, ready to make my way towards Mozambique...

Cape Town proved to be the most dangerous, colorful, exciting and picturesque city I visited in SA....the mix of cultures, city life and natural beauty, rocky mountains and sandy beaches, green landscapes and blue oceans, wildlife and South Africans were unforgettable...I finished my time in Cape Town with a trip to the top of Table Mountain, an excursion out to Cape Point (where we saw wild baboons) and re-learning how to drive (steering wheel on the right, gears on the left, driving on the left side of the road, etc.)...

My next stop after CPT was a quiet, rural town along the Garden Route called Oudtshoorn...not much to do in Oudtshoorn, but nearby in Mossel Bay there was Great White Shark diving!!!!

I showed up on an early Thursday morning, ready to get close and personal with some sharks...but, to my dismay, the boat's captain had something to say: "We're dealing with wild animals in their natural habitat. We, as crew members, have no control over these sharks. We just do the best we can to attract the sharks with fish guts. We CANNOT guarantee seeing ANY sharks today....That being said, we have seen at least one shark everyday for the last two weeks and two days ago we saw a record number, 5 different sharks! So let's go!!!" Needless to say, I was nervous about not seeing any sharks

About an hour into setting anchor and chumming nasty, rotten, dead fish into the water, I heard "SHARK AROUND!!" Instinctively, I sprinted to the cabin, stripped down to my undies, slipped on the wetsuit and jumped in the water before anybody else even moved...I was the first in the water and saw PLENTY of action! While in the water, 3 other sharks showed up and I stared face to face with one of them about 5 inches was AWESOME!!! After 20 minutes of seeing plenty of shark, I hopped out and started taking pictures/videos from the boat deck. Seven different sharks visited us throughout the day!!! At one point, there were six different sharks swimming around our boat!!! And all of them were Great Whites!! It was unbelievable!

After Mossel Bay, I stopped along the coast in Knysna (a beautiful port town) and Jeffry's Bay (surfer's paradise). Those smaller coastal towns couldn't have been more different from Cape Town or Joburg...very quiet, much safer and amazingly mellow...I had some awesome adventures hiking on my own again, jumping off the highest bungy jump in the world, meeting lots of other travelers (including a group of ladies from BC and a dood from Port Angeles, Washington) and replenishing my soul :)

Now, it's off to Mozambique!!