Chris Morgan's Wildnotes

Great picture! Great cause! – if you can help, please do.

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Great picture! If you can help my friend Erik help the people of Zambezi, please do. Erik is an amazing man who does so much good for the world……if you are ever wondering how your dollars might be spent, then this is a project from the heart that needs attention for sure. Read Erik’s letter below – it’s entertaining and moving, and for an amazing cause.

Chris

______________________________

Hi Chris!

Last May I checked a lifetime dream off my bucket list by visiting Africa. I went to Zambia looking for an animal experience but wound up having a people experience that changed my life. I’m headed back in 8 weeks to help some very special people I met there. I’m writing because you’re a friend and I think you might want to help too.

If you’ve ever seen the hilarious British TV series “An Idiot Abroad,” in which an irreverent guy like me travels to foreign countries and struggles with the cultural differences he finds, you can only imagine how out of place I felt living in a small village called Zambezi for almost a month. No Starbucks, no hot showers, very little food, deadly black mamba snakes and lots of mosquitoes carrying malaria. Not to mention everyone singing and dancing all the time — two of my greatest fears.

Take a look at the photo I attached to this email. When I sent it to my son Dane from Zambezi last May, he posted it on his Facebook page with the question, “Guess which one is my dad?” The most common response: The kid with the Batman shirt.

Made me laugh — but the day before I left Zambezi, I was sitting on the dirt in a circle with this group of women, children and two young men — all of whom have HIV/AIDS — crying as I listened to their harrowing life stories. One mother said she didn’t even know she had HIV until her husband died of AIDS. By then she had already passed it along to their newborn son through breastfeeding.

I learned that antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are very effective at helping people infected with HIV/AIDS lead longer, better lives. ARVs are plentiful and cost-free in Zambezi, but taking them on an empty stomach makes them severely nauseated and the drugs don’t work well. People can’t take their medicine because they’re literally starving.

This is why I decided to take a sabbatical and go back to Zambezi. I’m going to help start a food bank and build a large chicken coop that will provide a sustainable source of food and income for HIV/AIDS support groups in Zambezi. Call it a micro-financing project. As a legislator, I helped move money around but it was hard to know if I was really helping people. This work I know will actually save lives.

Here’s a website where you can learn more about my project: http://www.hopeforzambezi.org. You’ll see I’ve assembled a great group comprising the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, a well-respected 501(C)3 charitable foundation located in Spokane, along with the two Gonzaga professors who introduced me to Zambezi, and students who are helping organize a fundraiser featuring Alex Kalukangu from Zambezi. Alex is Zambezi’s HIV/AIDS support group leader pictured next to me above. I’m flying him here in late April to share the story of why they need help and raise money.

So now for the hard part. Bear with me — I didn’t like asking for money when I was campaigning for public office because it was for myself. This is different. Every penny donated to Hope for Zambezi will go directly to feeding people with HIV/AIDS.

I just contributed $2,500 to Hope for Zambezi and hope to find 10 other generous people who will do the same so we can build some momentum toward our food bank and poultry project. If you can’t afford that much, can you please give something? Gifts are fully tax-deductible, I will personally oversee how the money is spent — I’ll even name a chicken after you!

All joking aside, starting Hope for Zambezi feels like one of the most important things I’ve ever done in my life. We’re not a big national organization trying to save the world, it’s just me and a few others trying to help some very special children, mothers and fathers in Zambezi eat so they have a better chance of surviving this deadly disease.

I’ll leave you with this thought. When you ask someone in Zambezi how they’re doing, the answer’s always the same. They’re either sick, or they’re fine. Please go to my website and make a donation so you can help me to help them live and feel fine.

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Erik

http://www.hopeforzambezi.org

Hope for Zambezi
c/o Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund
820 N. Post St., #603
Spokane, WA 99201

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