Heather A Maxwell\’s Afrika Soul

Hey! New project: Heather A Maxwell\’s Afrika Soul

Heather A Maxwell
Heather A Maxwell is a musician, ethnomusicologist, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a new client of mine. I\’ll be helping her set up a website to promote her band\’s February trip to Mali to play at the Festival on the Niger as well as to serve as her \”web presence\”.

The coolest part about this band, to me, at least has to do with the songs they\’re singing. I\’ll tell you the details but since they\’re going to be on the same stage as Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangaré and other artists of their caliber, this should tell you what a Peace Corps nerd I am. The lyrics of there songs include some Heather wrote as a Peace Corps Volunteer in health education and so the songs are basically health education lessons, with a good beat you can dance to.

Fund raising
They were invited to Mali by the Prime Minister, I believe. But, if this trip isn\’t going to leave Heather flat broke, she needs a good bit more money. Anyone know of any quickly available grants or sponsorships? She\’s planning on talking to USAID via contacts in Mali, local Dave Matthews Band related juggernaut Music Today, local tv news outlets, AfroPop.org and possibly talking directly with pro-Mali musicians Ry Cooder and Robert Plant (well you know through their \”people\”).

Let us know any ideas you have!

In Charlottesville, Virginia (US):
Jeff Lavezzo

Communication, Communication, Communication

While it will be wonderful when the mythical UltraWideBand Wi-Fi eXtream wireless networking protocol has the reach of shortwave radio and blankets the world with Internet connections, The Freeplay Foundation is working right now with lower-tech one-way communications. The is the development organization founded by the company that invented the hand crank power generator. They SELL flashlights, radios and even a power source to plug into that are charged with their hand crank. But they also have some great projects where they\’re distributing the radios as Social and Economic Development tools.

Mostly it seems they provide their unique service to other agencies. For example: An organization called PEARL set up a cooperative among coffee growers in the devastated Rwandan coffee growing region. National University of Rwanda begins collecting information about the global coffee market. Freeplay steps in and supplys the coops with 70 radios and helps the University broadcast their information. There are also programs where school children listen to lectures via radio.

So, to my friends out there working in development: think about how a project you\’re working with could benefit from some old-school one-way communication. And if you\’re going into the bush for a while and want a reliable radio, C. Crane and Simply Radios will donate a Freeplay Lifeline radio for each one you buy.

In Charlottesville, Virginia (US):
Jeff Lavezzo


World\’s thinnest wallet?

A coworker showed me a Christmas present he just got. It’s a very very thin wallet. They laid out four ‘card’ pockets next to each other, used really thin and strong material and made the edges very thin. They even have a traveler\’s version that has a large pocket for your passport and (if you’re in Congo-Brazzaville) your Carte de Cooperant or other large ID. This is going on my list.

The most surprising part is the folded up dimensions are the same as my current wallet. It’s just designed to hold a lot more.

In Charlottesville, Virginia (US):
Jeff Lavezzo