AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

End the stigma now!

It is not just the physical deterioration of the HIV/Aids epidemic that makes it so painful but a HEKO3more emotional and spiritual attack that takes place that most people don’t know about.  To be affected with HIV is to be outcast.  Teenagers and young adults who are affected either from hereditary reasons – their parents passed on the infection at birth – or they were involved in at-risk behavior that led to the spread are dealing with a heavy stigma & discrimination that they must deal with alongside their physical health.

“As a result of delayed treatment and the overbearing stigma and discrimination associated with being HIV positive, about 29 percent of all new infections are among adolescents and young people according to a survey released by the Ministry of Health on World Aids Day this year on 1st December 2015.

As a result, HIV-AIDS related complications are the leading course of deaths among the adolescents and young people with 9,720 adolescents and young people dying of such in 2014 alone.”

HEKO2Our partners at HEKO – Heritage Kenya Organization – work with HIV+ members of the community. Peter, founder of HEKO, shares his insights from his many years of work in the field. The stigma and rejection from their community and peers “makes it challenging to attract and sustain their focus on maintaining their health, particularly for those with chronic illnesses and this explains why those infected with HIV would rather stop taking ARVs than keep answering questions on why they are on pills.”

Sarah*, a 17 year old high school student was invited to speak during World Aids Day. Born with the HIV virus, she has been on ARVs (antiretroviral medication) since her childhood. When her time came to address the gathering, her message was very simple, “end the stigma and discrimination”. She did not ask for a great deal but instead something every human being could afford.

“we the young people are the most vulnerable group. We are one of the segments most at risk of HIV”. “We need prevention strategies tailored and testing campaigns-focused especially on adolescents”. “Many of us are dying young because we do not know our status or because we are of the stigma and discrimination associated with the HIV virus!” Sometimes our parents think we are too young to know our status or to know about the sex and or HIV. Nobody wants to discuss these things with us! They mistakenly think they are protecting us by not disclosing it to us on how it is spread! Yet some of us were born with it and yet still HIV and sex amongst the youth and teenagers is a reality. The earlier you know your HIV status the better because then you are put on medication and you will protect yourself and others”.

Our friends at HEKO are dedicated to not only bringing nutrition education & health care HIV+ women but also to inform the community, friends, and family that the discrimination needs to stop. Your support of this health care program through Mocha Club allows for this important message to be shared and for eradication to come quickly.

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Before working as part of the staff at the Mocha Club, I joined as a member back in 2007 supporting the health care projects and HEKO. And this summer after 9 years of support, I will get the chance to go visit Peter and Monica at HEKO and see this life-changing work first-hand. Will you join me? For some of you, traveling to Africa may not be the call for you. But maybe joining me to support these women for $9 a month is – we can’t do this work without your help!

End the stigma now!

Written by: Fallon Klug

*Out of respect & safety of our partners, names have been changed.

Uncategorized

Give LOVE!

LOVE

Give a scarf for Valentine’s Day. Give LOVE!

Give a gift that makes a difference through loving women in Ethiopia. Your purchase is helping rescue women from the streets and providing them with counseling, skills training, and job opportunities. 
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Uncategorized

Mochatern Monday 2.1.16: “What if…”

Happy February, Mocha Club!

And, Happy Mochatern Monday! This is the beginning of my fourth week, here; at Mocha Club, and in one month’s time I have engaged in several different tangible, learning experiences. For example, last Tuesday a couple of members of the Mocha Club team, and myself explored Brand IMG_1810Imaging Group (a company that helps Mocha Club by producing tablecloths and signs for certain events), and we saw some of things that they create like massive stickers, signs, and advertisements that we would typically see on buses, or benches, or outside of football stadiums. I had never even thought about how buses, for example, get images printed on them, and since last week every time I see one, I tell my friends, that is a sticker! It is a giant sticker, and someone had to create it large enough, to then wrap it around that bus without any of those annoying air bubbles. No one has yet to be as amused.

Within the Mocha Club office, my experiences thus far have ranged from answering the phone and speaking with Mocha Club members, to sitting in on creatively driven meetings about how best to show you all that your participation in Mocha Club is generating change in Africa. I also secretly love putting together packages for people that order from the Mocha Club store. I like organizing the things neatly into the package holder, and printing out the address sticker. I never think about the people on the other end of online orders, as if my clothes are magically placed into those clear receptacles they have at the bank drive thru and are teleported to my house. I think about those people a lot now, particularly the person that packages the hundreds of books I order from Amazon each month. I hope they’re doing well.

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The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about how much I could get done if a day was 72 hours instead of 24. She, of course, reminded me that an actual day is really only 12 hours long, and so I cut a few things and got my desired day down to 36 hours. I could do so much if a day was 36 hours long. Class would only be a fraction of my day, and I could work so far ahead that I wouldn’t have to do homework for another month. I could read more books, bike more places, have more time to dedicate to my friends, and I would probably be able to see the floor of my room. Also, hello, who does not want 36 hours of sleep? However, I know now, after being talked down by my very rational friend, that if 36 hour days were a reality I would be just as warped into a time frenzy as I am now- sleep-deprived, holding tightly to my friends when we have time together, rapidly switching from one subject matter to the other, and somehow managing to spill coffee on each one of my papers. 36 hours would seem too short.

I’ve always been extremely consumed by these “what-if” scenarios. What if I wasn’t born in Alabama, but rather Nevada, and I had two brothers instead of a sister? What if my name was Mallory, and I was really good at math? What if the sky was the ground, and the ground was the sky? What if cars had never been invented, and we had to walk everywhere? And, then what would happen to all the space occupied by interstates? The usual response to these questions is always constructed in the same way. Then you would be from Nevada, your name would be Mallory, and you probably would have taken calculus. As for the sky, ground scenario, we have no idea, but you would probably just walk, and the interstates would be housing developments or shopping centers. And, of course, I know the answer before I even ask the question. If all of these “ifs” were true, then they would be my reality, and I would accept them rather than ruminate on them, moving on to thinking about if my name was Austill and I was from Alabama.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “what-ifs” that I have created in my life, and how I can make them more constructive and less whimsical, considering the time I dedicate to them. And, so, I defined a constructive “what-if” as a thought-provoking question, that if answered could spur on effective change. It’s the idea of thinking thoughtfully, and using our minds to conceptualize things that are probable, positive, and perpetual. What if I offered to help that older man put his groceries in his car? What if I let a stressed looking person go in front of me in the coffee line? And, then, there are the great constructive “what-ifs.” These are the “what-ifs” that are conceived in ill lit dorm rooms, garages, and on long car rides. They are the “what-ifs” that become ideas that become possibilities that become entities that promote actions that ensue phenomena. And, of course, from a very great and very constructive “what-if,” we got Mocha Club.

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What if there was a community of people, who donated monthly to an organization that’s goal was to serve Africa? What if these people believed that their small sacrifices collectively made big impacts? What if, because of this community, we could bring clean water to orphans, health care to the sick, and education to all? What if serving Africa was something we could actually do?

And, so, here we are, here you are, here I am – an intern existing within a thriving, constructive “what if” statement. We should never stop toying with the what’s and the ifs that well up in our minds, but we can weed through the more personal and fantastical ones, tapping into something that we can use to foster change in our world. Great things are born out of the smallest notions, the inkling or the tick that indicates that we are on the brink of something preeminent. What if you had an idea that could change the world?

What if you took the time to make a small, positive change on this Monday?

Thank you for reading!
Austill

MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday 01.25.16 : “$9 in America vs. Africa”

Happy Monday, Mocha Club!

If you haven’t visited the blog recently, I’m Austill, and this is my first post for Mochatern Monday! As I begin my third week here at Mocha Club, I find that I am beginning to navigate my way through the ins and outs of a nonprofit, and gain a sharpened understanding of what it means to serve Africa.

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the concept of small, daily sacrifices, and, in a vague sense, how small scale actions affect the “big picture.” And, so, I have been wrestling with the logistics behind how minute, seemingly insignificant choices or gestures can be powerful enough to summon truly substantial changes. Throughout my thought process, I kept repeating in my head “nine dollars, nine dollars, nine dollars.” How is it that donating nine dollars to Mocha Club every month can have such a drastic impact? And, of course, this is a thought born from a comfortable, American mindset.

Nine dollars in America is ostensibly nothing, pocket cash at best, and not typically an amount of money that lands people in the “Fortune 500.” To put this into perspective, nine dollars would cover the average bottle of shampoo, two trips to Starbucks (if what you’re getting is a tall, black coffee), and one meal at a fast food restaurant, entrée only. If you are one that desires a side and a drink (because there is simply no fun to be had in the world of entrée only), then nine dollars is not going to cut it. So, in the preliminary stages of my grappling with the oxymoronic notion of “small impacts,” I could not breakthrough my very American conceptualization of the value within nine dollars. Because, to me and most people with roofs over their heads, nine dollars is just that, nine dollars.

 Having belabored the idea of nine dollars to the point of headaches, and in keeping with the spirit of Mocha Club, I began to contend with the sense of nine dollars in Africa. If I lived in Africa, I imagine that my days would not begin with checking my emails or Facebook on my personal computer, or braving the cold to go to class at a liberal arts university. I don’t think I would debate about whether to get a vanilla latte or a mocha, or whether or not to eat out or to eat in. I gather that, if I lived in Africa, my actions and my decisions would be rooted in need, rather than want. There is no differentiation between to two in America, necessity is luxury and luxury is necessity. While nine dollars for me covers luxury expenditures like coffee, restaurant food, and hair products, nine dollars in Africa is stretched to cover necessities like water, food, and clothing. And, so, my understanding of the impact of nine dollars when I choose to confront the idea within an American understanding of “what is important,” I am unable to wrap my mind around the donation of nine dollars being a real game changer. But, as I begin to maneuver my way through the differences in the action of valuing between America and Africa, I am able to comprehend how nine dollars can be a real power player.
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Here are the things that I didn’t consider. First, as I have already stated, when you or I give nine dollars to Mocha Club, it covers basic necessities for an individual in need. I believe that the example given is that nine dollars covers the cost of an orphan’s school supplies for one year. One year! I would say that that’s long-term impact. And, therefore, what I had not been considering was the reality of American and Africa being, essentially, different worlds, meaning that what I might find insignificant here could be a monumental change agent there. Secondly, I forgot about change or impact growing over time. Nine dollars a month parlays into 108 dollars a year. That’s school supplies for 12 orphans, clean water for entire groups of people, and even medical care. Time is growth and time is change, and over time small, individual impacts build off of one another to create something quite larger, and tangibly significant. Lastly, I forgot to consider that it is not just me, and that collaboration of individual actions produces change. There is me, and there is you, and your friend, and your friend’s friend, and people from all across the country who are making nine dollars into something of extremely positive power.

Finally, I neglected to recognize that nine dollars isn’t what matters. Any amount of donation given has the capability of contributing to constructive change. What’s important is the thought, the thought that you had when you first decided to become a part of Mocha Club, and the belief that that truly makes a difference. It is through kindness that we are able to serve Africa, and better the lives of people who we do not know, but love because they are human. Nine dollars is simply the monetary change that is rooted in sacrificial love, and the asking of ourselves, “What can I do today that will impact others?”

I encourage you this week to engage with the idea that your small sacrifices are making a BIG impact.

See you next Monday!

Austill

 

 

 

ARTISTS, Member Spotlight, MOCHATERNS, PERSPECTIVES

Full Circle

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  I absolutely LOVE the nonprofit Mocha Club and everything they stand for. I first heard about Mocha Club ages ago at a Matt Wertz concert… My freshman year of college, the fall of ’08, a few of my friends and I roadtripped from Athens, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee to see Matt Wertz in concert. It was so fun- he always puts on an amazing show! He spoke about Mocha Club and what it meant to him during intermission, and I knew I just had to join.

  Fast forward to that summer. I was back home in Nashville and wanted to get an internship and give back to my community… so where did I land? At Mocha Club, of course! I was a part of that very first intern group, and it was a complete blast. To this day I will never forget one of the first things I did at Mocha Club… I was in a room with Barrett Ward, founder of Mocha Club and FashionABLE, and he wanted to narrow down the project areas and clarify their focus. So we sat there, discussed, prayed, and finalized the maybe 6-7 project areas down to the 5 that still remain today. It was such a great moment, and I felt so humbled to be included in that lasting decision. Hearing his heart behind each one of the projects was moving and made me even more impassioned for their cause.

  As an intern at Mocha Club, we created the Campus Rep program. So, naturally, as I transitioned back to campus life at the University of Georgia, I also became one of the first campus reps. I set up booths all over the place and championed Mocha Club’s message. I spoke a fraternity and sorority chapter meetings, and even had a leadership team. At the first ever Mocha Club meeting, my boyfriend of just a week at the time (now husband), was the only male to attend. (When I learned that he was already a Mocha Club member, joining at a Micah Dalton concert around the same time I joined, I just knew he was a winner!)

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We recently got to volunteer with Mocha Club at a Dave Barnes + Matt Wertz concert in Atlanta, where we now call home. It was a complete full circle moment for us. We were crazy and signed up knowing we would have a 6-week old baby at home. We were exhausted, but oh so thankful to continue to partner with Mocha Club. Thank you to those of you who give to Mocha Club- know that your dollars are well spent: jobs are created, bellies are filled, thirst is quenched, and love is shared.

Written by: Caroline Fausel

**Interested in volunteering with the Mocha Club? Email info@themochaclub.org!

MOCHATERNS

Welcome, Austill!

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Austill Harris | Mobile, Alabama
Belmont University | English and Education Major | Junior

What would you choose for your walk up song? Brown-Eyed Girl

What’s your Favorite Place? Seaside, Florida

What’s on your Nashville Bucket List? The Escape Game

How do you take your mocha? With a little bit of cream

Guilty Pleasure? Law and Order: SVU

I am most excited about getting to see the ins and outs of a nonprofit, and to be able to do some writing, as well!

INSPIRATION

Looking for last minute gift ideas?

Gift a membership to the Mocha Club!

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Gift a membership to a friend or family member in their honor! It’s easy!

  • When you sign up, use the gift recipient’s name + email in the sign up form and YOUR information for the rest of the fields including billing. You will be billed monthly for the contribution & the recipient will receive updates of the work being done in their honor!  
  • Lastly, email info@themochaclub.org to notify us of the gift + the mailing address of the recipient and we will send them the package above!

**Gifted memberships must be submitted TODAY (12/18) for guaranteed delivery by Christmas!

GIVE A GIFT NOW!

Clean Water

Before and After : Clean Water All Over the Continent

Mocha Club has been part of fighting for the eradication of poverty for years & we began by focusing on the #1 problem : no access to clean water. Throughout the years, we have worked with our partners to find sustainable solutions to provide clean water – this basic necessity for life – for our friends in Africa. And today, we are celebrating multiple success stories throughout the continent.

new dawn clean water

 

In late 2012, New Dawn Education Centre reported that the rain water catchment system that was put in place as part of the “greening” efforts (making the most of the local environment), was broken due to heavy rains. The lack of clean water not only affected students who rely on the system for drinking water and for watering gardens while at school, but also impacted the local community which has access to the system. Without it, they would have to walk long distances for clean water. Earlier this year, Mocha Club and New Dawn was able to partner with the local community and fix the piping to the system. This was a success in both the repair and also the ability to collectively work with the community to work together for a fix.


 

sierra leone clean water

 

In Sierra Leone, without any Stateside influence or unnecessary “how tos,” we received a fully detailed plan, based on the framework laid out in our handbook, on the need for a clean water solution in the leader’s community. The water well would be self sustainable through revenue generating services and completely built and maintained by the local community! We were so thrilled to receive the plan for this water well, especially considering we, in the US offices, have never spent time “doing” community development in Sierra Leone. The only thing it needed was a one-time donation to get things rolling. And, thanks to the Mocha Club Community giving up their small sacrifices, we were able to make that donation! Celebrate with us the creation of the newest Mocha Club clean water solution in Sierra Leone.


 

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And from Lizulu Orphan Care , we hear from the founder, Everton Kamangire:

“We are happy to share that we now have a full water supply to the main centre of the project. Although the project faced difficulties to be implemented and completed, finally the project has succeeded and safe and potable water is flowing down to the centre, and the challenges encountered are just history. We are also selling surplus to the people renting in three nearby houses and to the local Secondary School. We are pumping the water using solar energy.”

“We have embarked on food production (maize) to help reduce costs of some of the food items for the Project. Another reason is to equip the children with different techniques and skills for food production so that in the future they can use and benefit from them especially when they will become independent. We also grow beans. The maize has yet to be harvested.

The Project is also developing a program of giving children food, like the maize, to take home so that they have food at home to eat before they go to bed (supper). This food distribution will occur during the time of year when most households in the villages experience food shortages.”

MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday: 12.07.15

I want to thank everyone who came out to the Mocha Club Christmas House Show last night! We had a blast listening to the artists Rand Walter, Ernie Halter, and The Orchardist perform!

Annabelle and I enjoyed sharing about Mocha Club and we hope you will get involved, whether it be through joining as a Mochatern, becoming a Mocha Club member, or telling your friends about us!

ernie

Ernie Halter

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Rand Walter performing

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On that note, this is our last week in the office! We can’t believe how fast this semester went by, but we are thankful for the experiences we had. This week will be an exciting one as we get to attend the Mocha Club office Christmas party and help out with a Matt Wertz concert on Friday in Nashville! Maybe we will see some of you there!

Thanks for following along and reading!

Lana

INSPIRATION, Uncategorized

Be Inspired : Cadence Turpin with Commontable

Our team at Mocha Club loves working and living in Nashville, Tennessee – a place known for it’s community and the inspiration from it’s members. These individuals are the best in their craft and we want to share them with you!  This blog series features locals that inspire us through their unique/beautiful/innovative…we could go on and on..approach to life, business and community.  We love their businesses and  want to showcase them in this new series – where simply,  we want to inspire others by what inspires us.

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Cadence Turpin :: Commontable

 
1.     What motivated you to start your business, and how has it grown since it began?

My friend Simoni and I were introduced because we shared a common vision for hosting dinners, and within months of meeting, we were hosting the first Common Table together. When I moved to Nashville in May 2012, table culture was on the rise, and pop-up dinners and supper clubs were showing up everywhere. As someone who loves sharing food and the community that inevitably unfolds around it, I wanted in. But we never saw hosting dinners as an opportunity to create community as much as we did an opportunity to showcase Nashville’s community in a way that invited people to love it even more. We wanted, more than anything, to celebrate what we already believed was so great about Nashville: the food scene, the music scene, the various artists behind it, and the people who show up to appreciate it.

When we started Common Table, we threw 50 people we knew (or knew of) into a hat and drew 10 out. Those 10 were the first guests, and they were all our friends. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to host almost 200 others, many of whom have been complete strangers. With that, we’ve stuck to doing dinners bimonthly, with 10 guests at each one, and we’ve loved it that way. Our team members all work full-time, so we budget to break even, and see our contributions as a way to serve our neighbors in a really unique and meaningful way. We occasionally do private catering for likeminded businesses and organizations, and we’re currently working on a publication that will highlight recipes and stories from the last 3 years, but the heart of what we do is still setting that table for 10, and we’re grateful that Nashvillians keep putting their name in the hat to be a part of it.

2.     How has the Nashville community embraced your business?

As if we weren’t enough already, we’re more amazed than ever at the quality of people living in Nashville. Over the last three years, the amount of name submissions to join our dinners have grown every time we’ve announce one. And our guests are not only friends of friends anymore, they’re a diverse community of people who are drawn to Common Table for a variety of reasons, whether an appreciation for beauty, love of food, the opportunity to meet new faces, or just plain curiosity. We love that we live in a city that is constantly growing and attracting people who value new experiences.

Beyond our guests, we’ve been so honored by the tens of artists, designers, stylists, and hosts in Nashville who have cheerfully offered their talents and time to help make each of our gatherings beautifully unique and special. Every gathering is truly a team effort, celebrating a creative community that values collaboration over competition.

3.     Is there any way that your business has given back, to the community or in some other way?

Our hope is that each gathering feels like a gift to the guests in our community. As I mentioned, we don’t make a profit from Common Table, because we never really saw it as a business idea as much as a way to give back. Most people don’t know this, but because we do things this way, it allows us to keep our dinner costs at an approachable price, and we love being able to do that! We all love our full-time jobs, and our team of friends truly sees it as a joy to be able to serve our neighbors together in this really unique way every couple of months. The act is our reward, and we hope that in some small way, it blesses people as much as its blessed us to be able to do it.

4.     What is special about the way you bring people together and why do you do it this way?

Well for one, we kind of let fate choose our guests. We allow anyone who lives in Nashville to submit their name and then we draw 10 of them at random from a hat. One of the things Simoni and I knew we didn’t want to do when we started dreaming about Common Table was create something exclusive—that market was already covered. So that’s when the magic hat idea was born. Our long-term goal was to host as many new people as possible and create a space where all types of people felt welcome. We also keep the size of our dinners down to 10 guests so that the experience is intimate enough for people to relax and be able to bond in a really authentic way. Each dinner is hosted in a different home, which is a blast. It’s fun to always be working with a new space and being able to partner with people who love to host people as much as we do. Again, it’s truly a team effort!

Once people are at the table, we ask them to go around and introduce themselves and share how they ended up in Nashville. From there, we leave it up to them. There are a few conversation starters placed in the middle of the table, and we encourage them to pull one at the beginning of each course if they feel inspired, or to just keep enjoying one another without them. What continually amazes me is that I have never really heard an awkward silence take place. Something about choosing to actively be with one another around the table really makes it easy to connect and oftentimes, they sit around laughing and enjoying each other’s company long after we’ve dismissed them. We think that’s the coolest part.

5.     Where does all of your recipes and food come from, and why do you buy it from these places?

Our chef, Simoni, could inform you in more detail on this, but we buy local anything that is possible to buy local. Simoni is a full-time sous chef at Josephine in 12 South, and even prior to that, has always worked in farm-to-table restaurants, so his knowledge and appreciation for local ingredients is evident in every meal. Some of the farms we consistently buy from are Delvin Farms, Green Door Gourmet, Bear Creek Farms, Hatcher Dairy, and Noble Springs Dairy.

Simoni dreams up every menu, which is usually themed around what’s seasonally available. In warmer months you’ll see a lot of lighter, fresh herbs and produce on the menus, and in the colder months you’ll see a lot of heartier ingredients, like squashes, root vegetables, and roasted meats. But each recipe is innovated by Simoni, and he doesn’t serve a course until he’s mastered it. Many of his ideas are inspired by what he’s working on in the restaurant or reading about in his latest cookbook, and that inspired creativity shines through his presentation of each course. Our hope is that our guests are inspired by his ingredients and drawn to the farms that supply them.