Ok, so it has been awhile since I last wrote but many things have been happening and I promise to get you completely caught up in the next few weeks. We have been having great conversations with the CARE directors about our project. If you're not familiar with the CARE organization, they are an amazing NGO doing work in over 70 countries - they started the famous Care Packages following World War II. Check out there website at www.care.org. In fact, CARE has made it possible for us to speak with many of their country directors in preparation for our research trip (more about that in a few weeks). It was through them that we met one or our favorite people ever! Her name is Michelle Carter and that's me pictured with her in LA. She is the country director for Burundi. We have had the good fortune to meet with her on several occasions (at a CARE Skirball Center event here in Los Angeles and at the CARE National Conference in DC). In fact one of the countries we will now be visiting is Burundi. We are going to get to see first hand their Village Savings and Loan Programs in action. I guess you could call it a form of micro finance but in this case the women gaining assistance use/pool their own money and make the decisions about how it is invested and who among their group gets a loan. In addition to talking about her programs she's been giving us really handy tips about traveling in Africa - not the least is to bring a mosquito net. Since I am reasonably allergic to mosquitos, I really valued that piece of advice. The other interesting thing about Burundi is that they work on a cash only system - no credit cards. This will be the adventure of a lifetime so stay tuned to our next blog for all the details about this trip!