A Spark of Hope

This weeks awareness post is about The Prem Rawat Foundation - A major part of the Foundation's work is to help people most in need by providing nutritious food and clean water. TPRF has provided millions of free hot meals to people in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. They partner with non-profit organisations such as Friends of the World Food Program, Oxfam, Action Against Hunger and the Red Cross, to reach a greater number of people in the field more rapidly.

Here is a short video about a food-aid facility the Foundation opened in northeast India.

Million Blog List

And another thing I finally got round to doing - signing up for the Million Blog List. I'd been seeing the badges on various blogs over the last 2-3 months and kept meaning to go and check it out.

Basically, it's an attempt to see how long it will take to get one million blogs listed. It has been going since April this year and this blog is number 1935, so one wonders if it's going to speed up, because at this rate - well someone else can work it out!

Perhaps once it starts to gather momentum it will build up more quickly. So, what are you waiting for? Go and join the list!

Get listed at

The Office

For several years, I had heard from friends in the UK about how funny the comedy series, The Office, was. Although it has been shown in 60 countries apparently, it has never made it to Greece.

Like those films that you keep telling yourself that you should see, but never actually manage to get round to, I kept telling myself that I must get the DVD of the series.

Well, I finally got round to it - and I'm really glad I did. It really does capture the characters of people I am sure that we've all come across at one point or another in our working lives, and the fact that they deliberately used "unknown" actors and actresses made it all the better as you weren't thinking of any of the characters as being a particular actor playing a part.

I don't often laugh out loud, but watching this DVD with my son, we were continuously breaking up - especially with the interactions between Gareth and Tim, for those of you that know the series.

I don't really need to say anything to the UK readers, but if you are going to get one comedy DVD, then let this be the one. As well as having both series and the Christmas Specials, it also has various extras including a documentary about how it was made and deleted scenes.

Enjoy it!

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The Hunger Site

As I mentioned in my post about the Corfu Donkey Rescue, I've decided that I'm going to do some regular posts on issues that I feel we should be aware of - hopefully once a week. If you have anything that you would like me to post about, please let me know.

Today I want to look at The Hunger Site. Until I checked out their site, I didn't realise that they have been going since 1999. They have found an incredibly simple way to use the internet so that people can easily donate to help alleviate hunger - and for free. By just clicking on their button.

Apparently over 300 million visitors have donated more than 500 million cups of food since their foundation.

I know I am shocked by the hunger figures. In a world with a population of 6 billion, 1 billion are suffering from hunger or malnutrition. I really can't believe that we are doing this!

And 24.000 people per day are dying from hunger or hunger-related diseases!! Threequarters of these are children under five!

At least the good news is that the figures are dropping. Twenty years ago, the number was an incredible 41.000!

So please, just click on the button and do what you can.

The Hunger Site

First Starbucks opens in USA closes 600!

The first Starbucks opened in Corfu a few days ago, not long after the company announced that they were closing 600 shops in the USA.

It seems like another example of Corfu following a trend years after it was a trend, and when in fact it is actually a "has been". All the indications seem to be that the "light" of Starbucks is swiftly being extinguished.

One reason is basic economics - with rising food and fuel prices a $5 latte is simply too expensive. Another and perhaps more important reason is that it is no longer unique. Although Starbucks brought the coffee culture to the mass market, you can get a variety of good coffees at most places now at a better price and without the silly names.

People have also become disillusioned with the company due to their alleged unethical practices. Last year, Ethiopia campaigned to get fairer prices for their coffee from the world's coffee giants - in particular, Starbucks. Apparently growers were getting about $1.10 a pound, which was nowhere near enough for them to make a decent living. The roasters can sell the coffee on for about $20 - 26 per pound and the retailers can make about 52 espressos from a pound, which brings them an income of up to $160!

An Ethiopian spokesman was quoted as saying, "This ratio needs to change. Our people are barefoot, have no school, no clean water or health centre. They are living hand to mouth. We need $4 a pound minimum, that's only fair."

On top of that, a couple of years ago this short video came out showing health conditions in a Starbucks shop (not for the squeamish!)

And finally, another basic question - is the coffee actually any good? This may be subjective, but it seems that over the years more and more people have been complaining about the quality of the coffee. As one person said, "Starbucks is for people who don't like coffee"

So, how will Starbucks do in Corfu? Apparently 70% of the 600 shops closing in the USA were opened within the last 18 months, so the omens for a new shop do not seem to be good.

But even if it does do well - do we really want it here?

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