Hugh Bollinger
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Connecting the world

By Reilly Capps Part of the reason we don't help the developing world as much as we could is because we don't know anything about the people who live there. Making things better requires a connection. This is what Marc Heinrich and his wife, Charlotte, learned in Laos. [caption id="attachment_4260" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Marc Heinrich plans his next trip"]Marc Heinrich plans his next trip[/caption] They moved their whole family there a couple years ago and found that there was plenty of opportunity to help them develop sustainable livelihoods. So they did. And now they've got a website -- Ecodana.com -- that links donors here with worthy enviro-projects in Southeast Asia. One of the keys to success is a transparent view of the projects, to allow donors to track the progress. Here are some of their new initiatives in Indonesia, which include tree planting and charcoal composting. Connections can came from spirituality, too. To try and keep poachers from cutting down trees in Laos, the monks bless the forest. It works. So committed to connection are Marc and Charlotte that they let travelers stay on their futon through a website called GlobalFreeloaders.com, a site that connects travelers with hosts willing to put them up. Marc hopes to use it on his trip to Indonesia. You never know how you can make connections.
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