A Mother's Day Present That Gives Back


It happens about this time every year. Suddenly you realize Mother's Day is just around the corner, and you have no idea what to get for dear old Mom. Well this year the Marion Institute is offering a unique alternative to the same old greeting card and flowers. Their Mastate Charitable Foundation is currently running a campaign for Mother's Day that not only gives you a great gift idea, but helps others as well.

Mastatal is a small community in rural Costa Rica about two and a half hours from San José, and the Mastate Charitable Foundation for has been working to improve the living conditions there for the past four years. Their most recent endeavor is to build a Community Learning and Sharing Center (CLSC), which aims to serve as a social center in the town, as well as a library and meeting place. That's where you come in.

The CLSC building in Mastatal will be naturally built using local labor and resources. In honor of Mother's Day, The Mastate Charitable Foundation is selling daub bricks that will be used in the construction of this building that will help so many families. Each brick is $4, and you can buy one (or as many as you like) for the CLSC in honor of your mother for an original and unique gift idea. It takes 5,000 bricks to build the entire CLSC, and the Mastate Charitable Foundation hopes to sell as many as possible to try to reach their goal.

Perhaps buying your mom some daub bricks wasn't the first thing that came to your mind when you thought about Mother's Day presents, but the reality is that it's a thoughtful and different gift that most moms would appreciate. The mothers in Mastatal are trying to give their community and their children the best opportunities they possibly can, so why not give your mother a gift that helps other mothers as well?

For more information, follow the Mastate Charitable Foundation on Facebook.


MyDD5 update & back

beta testing live?  Yea, its still somewhat in progress of working out all of the features, at the same time that we get bugs squashed. But, its been 5 weeks from the date of the launch, and things have moved in the right direction. We are working on some of the comment features right now, so those may go through some hiccups in the process.

I am waiting for the spell-check in the editor....

You'll be seeing more changes here, as I am hoping that we get the beta thingy 'finished' by the end of March-- and I think we will... let us know in the comments of any compliments (yea right) or disparaging remarks in the comments.

Oh, I don't know why I didn't just tell them when they called me in Cocles beach just south of Puerto Viego in Costa Rica on Thursday, that my flight was canceled... 'OK, we'll just spend another week on the Caribbean beach' instead of going through the travel detours (which were still fun) of three days waiting to get into DC.


Costa Rica political election vacation

Next week, I'm heading down to Costa Rica for about 10 days, for a family vacation. So when I saw a link to "Costa Rica's wacky campaign commercials" I had to see what was going on:


I haven't been back to CR since '92-93, when I was in the Peace Corps there. And it looks like I'll be there in the thick of the election season, which is on Feb 7th. What a great vacation!

Óscar Arias Contracts H1N1 Flu

Óscar Arias, the President of Costa Rica, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the recent mediator of the Honduran political crisis, has contracted the H1N1 swine flu. Not to worry because Costa Rica, unlike the United States, has a successful public-private health system with the Costa Rican government continuing to provide affordable access to one of the finest health care systems in the world  as measured by health metrics for each and every citizen.

With a government-sponsored network of 29 hospitals and more than 250 clinics throughout the country, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has primary responsibility for providing low cost, health services, to all Costa Ricans and legal foreign residents. The Costa Rican health state-funded plan covers pre-existing conditions, doctor visits, prescription drugs, examinations, hospitalization, dental and eyes. There is no limit on annual amounts paid out by the plan. Yes, there are lines but it works.

Beyond the state-run CCSS, Costa Ricans can supplement their coverage with supplemental medical insurance from Instituto Nacional de Seguros. There is a limit of about $17,500 per year, and it does not cover pre-existing conditions or check ups. Dental work, eyeglasses and cosmetic surgery are only paid if they are needed as the result of an accident. Claims are based on a table rating types of treatment administered. Costs vary with age and sex. This plan pays 70% of prescription drugs, examinations, doctor visits, hospitalization and treatment and 100% of surgeons' and anesthetists' fees. The patient is free to choose the doctor. Approximate annual premiums for men up to age 59 are $550, between ages 60 and 75 $1020. Dependents under 19 are about $245 per year. Women aged 19 to 59 would pay about $885 and between 60 and 75 $1,305. Costa Rica per capita income is $5,800 so private insurance is for those who can afford it but the state system, while imperfect, covers everyone.

If Costa Rica can enact universal health care, why can't we?

There's more...

China Plans Tour For Select Journalists As Western Opinion Sides With Dalai Lama and Tibet

First, more news about brutality being used against protesters in Qinghai:

"They were beating up monks, which will only infuriate ordinary people," the source said of the protest on Tuesday in Qinghai's Xinghai county.

A resident in the area confirmed the demonstration, saying that paramilitaries dispersed the 200 to 300 protesters after half and hour, that the area was crawling with armed security forces and that workers were kept inside their offices.

The Beijing source said resentment at the paramilitary presence around Lhasa's monasteries prompted one monk at the Ramoche temple to hang himself.


"It's very harsh. They are taking in and questioning anyone who saw the protests," the source said. "The prisons are full. Detainees are being held at prisons in counties outside Lhasa."

link: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCri sis/idUSPEK369654

There's more...


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