The mood swings are so extreme, from euphoria and satisfaction at living the simple life, to a selfish and overwhelming desire to be back to my cushy life in the US. Thankfully though, several weeks into the project, a routine and excitement for the project are winning the mental battle. Every open air ride into town, stroll up the hill to check on our radishes, laugh shared with a little kid, or inspiring interview with a neighbor, fortifies my resolve and determination to take advantage of this opportunity. This is a once in a lifetime look into a different lifestyle that I am so fortunate to have in my lap right now.

       My time here is finite, and while it may be hard sometimes, it will end and I will return to steaks, beds, and family. I should never complain, as this, and all struggles are relative. While impossibly more trying than life in Connecticut, we still cannot replicate the continual struggle of poverty or truly demonstrate the difficulties that plague our neighbors for a lifetime. For Anthony, Carlos, Chino and our new friends in Pena Blanca, this is no 8 week experiment, but life; and a life that contains no safety blankets of trust funds or finite timeframe. We will continue to try our best to gain glimpses into aspects of extreme poverty, and shed light on it through reflective and comedic video blogs, but the fact that a billion people live like this makes my insides burn with sadness and my mind swirl with methods to end it.

         Why can we not create more businesses in the western world that create products or services that provide benefits to this world? I´m not saying that capitalism or making money is wrong, but rather that we have proven ourselves innovative enough to design businesses that help the poor. This is far from a new concept, yet I never once heard ”the double bottom line” mentioned in my micro economics class last semester. In economics terms, you have an almost infinite market of more than 2 billion people that need services and products to rise out of poverty. And if social businesses become so successful that they tap the market, thank god. We will have proven that business can be a variable sum game, where both the west and the rest can benefit. There are a number of ways these social businesses can be designed and modeled, and a number of them already exist, Grameen Dannon, Tom´s Shoes, etc (Google it). The principle at the core though, as in any business idea, is to recognize a need and find a way to provide the service or product that addresses that need. Observe, be innovative, and take the challenge to make a sizeable living while actively pushing the boundaries of traditional business. Who knows, maybe the knowledge that you have the potential to help others will revive your tedious job with a fresh wave of inspiration. Please feel free to tear apart my arguments or build upon them. This is simply an overview of a complex subject, (written in a journal on a dirt floor), designed to provoke thought. Thanks.

         Fun fact of the day: I wander around brushing my teeth for around 25 minutes a day minimum. It tastes so good and kinda makes me feel like I’m eating.
Dumbbbbbbbb
7/6/2010 11:51:18

Question: have you found that the percentage of your worries that are "real" have changed since the start of your trip? I guess that could sound like a cynical question, but it's not meant to be. What I mean is this: I find I waste a stupid amount of my time worrying about non-material things (which I suppose I would define as meaningless things, vain things or things that I have no ability to change--or perhaps, wouldn't even want to change if I could). For instance, I worry about some stupid conversation I had with a friend or about whether Anjie is going to like the movie that I'm making her watch or whatever. Obviously you're not watching movies, but I've often wondered if my/our worrying is a product of the fact that we have nothing "real" to worry about or if it's just part of who we are and we'd do it no matter what?

Do you worry about the stupid stuff at $1/day as much as you do at $20 or $50 a day? And if not, do you prefer worrying about the stupid stuff or the real stuff? (And if the real stuff, then can I have your car?)

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Jean
7/6/2010 12:04:26

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Jean
7/6/2010 12:30:50

Dear Chris,

You are all so amazing. It is just incredible what you are all doing. You are an inspiration to the world and accomplishing what you set out to do.
You have brought tears to my eyes with your belief and resilience and strength. We are all behind you and have much to learn and contribute as well. We love and miss your presence. Hewitt sends his love and is so proud of you!! Much love and aloha, Jean

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Johnno
7/9/2010 07:17:46

Watch out for ingesting too much toothpaste. Spit it out or you will get fluoride poisoning (google it)

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Veronica Pugin
7/13/2010 14:14:30

Chris,

This is awesome, as I'm sure you have heard from many others.

I completely agree with your point on the power that lies in social business. It's really amazing what social innovations such as Grameen Dannon, new approaches to affordable health care, and cyclical financial empowerment programs are doing now. If we can all think of new innovations in technology and the private sector, it would be amazing to see what translating that genius into addressing these social issues could do. Not only is it much more sustainable but could impact so many millions of people.

I'm sure you've already seen Dr. Yunus' new book "Building Social Business" but just thought I would suggest it in the case that you haven't had a chance to look at it before you left for this amazing experience in Pena Blanca.

Take Care,

Veronica

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Ian Temple
7/14/2010 01:57:26

Speaking of social business, check out this one I recently found out about with a "triple bottom line": http://egg-energy.com/blog/

Basically, they make a profit by offering a netflix-style subscription to people in Tanzania for renewable batteries to power their homes. Not only is the annual subscription well less than the cost of kerosene, but the batteries are also more environmentally friendly. So for a small annual price, people without power in Tanzania get a renewable energy source and the company makes money. Everyone wins?

Just an example of how right you are about us having the creativity to innovate and design businesses that help the poor. I'm waiting for you guys to come up with the next big idea for the future...

Congratulations and keep it up!!!!

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Chris Temple
7/16/2010 01:34:51

I love the triple bottom line! I looked into EGG and it seems like a very legit organization. I would love to see their balance sheets, etc, to monitor how they balance profit with their social benefit. They are not very transparent on their homepage, so im curious if they have reached sustainability yet.
Also, it would be interesting to see if they have considered partnering with microfinance institutions in order to reach a broader range of customers at the same time as reducing transaction costs.
Thanks for the link. I hope the Slowest Runner tour is going well. Check out our most recent video blog today and you might recognize some of the tune. http://www.myspace.com/slowestrunnerinalltheworld
I think that we should join together to create Temple Inc. the next innovative social business with a triple bottom line. I´ll start writing up the business plan...

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