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A note about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

About 1 P.M. yesterday here in Laos, I was putting the finishing touches on an article when the first reports of the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami arrived. I watched the live footage of the debris-filled waters sweeping through Sendai with a strange sort of disbelief — sometimes you have no doubt about how real a thing is and, at the same time, you can’t believe what your eyes are seeing.

While events continue to develop in Japan, I think it’s best to wait a few days before continuing the content for the “Help In Your Own Way” Giveaway. We’ll try to pick things up on Monday or Tuesday and I’m extending the deadline until Friday, 18 March.

Many of my friends, their families, and Veritrope readers are Japanese — and it’s difficult for me to think about anything else but them now. I imagine many of you feel the same. My thoughts and best wishes are with them at this very difficult moment.

In Laos, opening up a usable connection to the wider world takes money — and patience!

A Fistful of Kip: "You should have seen how big the stack would've been before they started printing larger bills", Carol said.

Here’s a quick “Help In Your Own Way” story… the one that started the whole project!

When Lauren and I first visited the @My Library last June, we noticed two things right away: That the students loved using computers — and that their shared internet speed was slow… painfully, glacially slow! When one student named Morthor asked us to sit with her and help fix her web email, we couldn’t even get through to the website. Our connection was so bad that, essentially, it was refused.

“How much does faster internet cost?”, I asked Carol.

“A lot — especially when adjusted for the cost of living here.” After I left, she sent me the exact figure: $1900 per year for a connection speed which, in the United States, would cost 1/10th that price.

[Read more…]

Today’s Featured Prizes: Chris Guillebeau Donates 2 $100 Gift Certificates for his Unconventional Guides!

CHRIS GUILLEBEAU is a man after my own heart.

Probably best known for his book ”The Art of Non-Conformity” (and the blog that inspired it), Chris has spent the last few years documenting ways that people can create remarkable, meaningful lives. Since returning to the United States from several years of volunteer work in West Africa, Chris has chronicled his ongoing personal development and used it as a springboard to inspire others. He’s leading his small army on a mission to eliminate artificial limitations and to change their world — from the inside out!

Not a bad gig, right?

When I asked Chris and his teammate Sean Ogle for their help, I had a feeling that they’d come through for you guys… and I was right! They’ve added 2 $100 Gift Certificates for their Unconventional Guides Store to the prize pool for our Help In Your Own Way Giveaway!

How Can You Help In Your Own Way?

Chris and Sean each know the value of engaging the world on your own terms — and then doing what you can to make it better. Their Unconventional Guides help people just like you to travel the world, to run successful businesses, and to spend more time doing things that excite them. If you appreciate the idea at the core of our Giveaway, these guides are going to be right up your alley — and two of you are only a step away from being able to receive $100 worth!

Take a moment to see the work that The Language Project and Village Science are doing… and then find a way to give them a boost! Maybe you could…

Come up with something else remarkable? Just click here to tell us all about it… and be sure to follow the Twitter Feed for more prize announcements!

Do you have a tip you would like to share? Click this link!