Archive for the 'Kenya' Category

Follow-Up to Steve Jobs & Global Poverty

My blog post on “Does Steve Jobs Care about Global Poverty?” has been republished on the Cult of Mac blog. It seems to have started a small firesstorm of discussion, tweets, and retweets.

Just thought I’d follow up that post with a video. Here’s something a Microsoft employee sent me about the work they do with CARE to save lives in Kenya:

I’m typing this on a MacBook Pro and I just recently came back from a pilgrimage to two Apple Stores in search of a Camera Connection Kit for my iPad. I’m a fanboy.

But I dare you to find Apple doing anything like this.

Thank You YouTube

For this year’s Project for Awesome, I decided to pull out all the stops and show you guys a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing but haven’t had the time to put into individual episodes or videos. I keep saying that this project is less about me and more about the community behind it – hopefully this latest video helps convey that.

And, yeah, this video does use copyrighted music by Coldplay (part of EMI Records). I did enough research into YouTube’s agreement with EMI Records and am fairly certain this video won’t be taken down. But, of course, I also had to forfeit any chance of earning any ad revenue and (as I later found out) any reasonable chance of having this video being featured or promoted. EMI can also reserve the right to take down this video, region lock it, or place ads on it where they can earn all the ad revenue from it (just like the Counting Crows & Universal Music have region locked my Cyclone Sidr video and take all the ad revenue from it).

But that’s cool. This was a kind of video I wanted to make for ages. I just never could find the right match of visuals and music until I heard “Life in Technicolor ii” by Coldplay.

What I Was Doing In Kenya

So what was I doing in Kenya? I had mentioned before that I had tagged along with Vestergaard-Frandsen. It turns out that the CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen decided to single-handedly create the world’s largest privately funded global health campaign.

It was so big, in fact, that even CNN decided to cover it:

The way I see it, the CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen basically packed his bags, liquidated a huge part of his personal savings, and went to Kenya to see how he could make a difference. Why does that sound familiar? 😉

I definitely feel a kinship with Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen – and his willingness to spend his own dime to do this is one of the many reasons I am proud to support these guys in whatever way I can.

Cow Sh*t to Clean Water: The Reasons & Science Behind It

I didn’t drink purified cow feces to be sensationalist. I also don’t consider myself a stunt man. This quick video up on my secondary channel on YouTube shows some of the reasons why I did this particular experiment and some of the science behind why I was at virtually no risk in doing it.

Cow Sh*t to Clean Water

Thomas Hansen and the LifeStraw Family

FACT: Over 1.1 billion people (that’s more than 1 in every 6 human beings) don’t have access to safe drinking water. So what does that mean? Do they go thirsty? More often than not, it means getting water from contaminated sources of water. That includes rivers which, in the developing world, often are contaminated because it contains waste from farm animals upstream.

That can change – and all it would take is $1.66 per person, per year. The LifeStraw Family is a product I learned about during my recent trip to Kenya. I tagged along with Vestergaard Frandsen which, in addition to helping me come to Kenya, was giving away thousands of these water filters to rural villagers in Kakamega. I have a lot of respect for Vestergaard Frandsen but even I was a bit skeptical at the claims they made about the LifeStraw Family.

First, they claim that the LifeStraw Family uses nanotechnology to filter water down to 25 nanometers. Not only does it meet US EPA guidelines as a microbiological filter but, they claim – it exceeds them. Not even their smaller LifeStraw Personal water purifier (which I use and carry with me) is that advanced. And, unlike the LifeStraw Personal, this product is supposed to last 3 years for a family of five. All for a total cost of $25.

It sounded like BS. Oddly enough, while their claims do hold up, a lot of BS was involved in the making of this latest video.


For the more academic approach to testing this product, please check out these test results from a study by the University of Arizona. As always, Vestergaard Frandsen which did pay for my trip to Kenya, did not do so with the requirement that I endorse their products. If I got sick from this test, this would have been a very different video.

Sacrifices, Challenges, & Opportunities

Where do I begin? There was no one word that could describe how I felt as I was packing up to go home. I felt kind of foolish because the real straw that broke the camel’s back was my dead LaCie harddrive. When I got home, after the culture shock, I felt lucky. The blood tests I took here helped explained why I was feeling so sick, tired, and ill those last few months in Bangladesh. But, in the best case scenario, this problem was due to the iron-heavy drinking water in Bangladesh. What does that say about what awaits me when I return? I certainly don’t want to stop this project – although, given the financial (and now medical) strains, it’s only a matter of time until I have to stop.

This video is one of my sadder videos. It’s also one of the least watched videos on my channel. So if you haven’t already, please do take a look:

Some photos of my return trip after the jump.

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