Getting Ready For Africa

Jun 10, 2010

<p align="center" class="plain"><font class="quote">&nbsp;<b>Though we have not yet left for South Africa, the heat is on! We have been holding regular meetings to get us ready for the experiences we are about to endure. Honestly I'm a little nervous to leave, but at the same time how many 17 year olds can say "I'm going to Africa"? Not many. This trip though it will take us out of our comfort zones it will be life changing!! </b></font></p>

2010 Africa

May 11, 2010

<p class="plain">Stay tuned for the 2010 Globetrotter trip to South Africa. The fun begins July 12th as we make our way to Cape Town, then over to Johanneburg and Kruger National Park. </p>

2009 Romanian Adventure

Aug 2, 2009

<p class="plain">The Romanian Adventure is coming to a close but the impact both in what has been given and what has been received is immeasurable.&nbsp; The Dustin's GreenHouse Globetrotters will return to the states tomorrow.&nbsp; See you at the airport to welcome home our 2009 team...Ashley Staton</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Chart the journey at <a href="http://www.hopegrowshere.blogspot.com/" link="" target="_blank">www.hopegrowshere.blogspot.com</a></p>

One More Day

Jul 19, 2009

<p class="plain">Hey!&nbsp; This is Ashley Staton and I will be reporting stateside along with the Dustin's GreenHouse Globetrotters who will be reporting from Romania. Together we hope we can give you a unique perspective through our travels over the next two weeks.</p><p class="plain"><img width="375//0104.nccdn.net/1_5/156/221/26f/1248035917252240.JPG?>' bmargin="0" height="219" border="0" daid="4512361" tmargin="0" lmargin="0" rmargin="0"></p><p class="plain"><br></p><p class="plain">To kick things off, the team is departing Greensboro tomorrow and there is already exciting news to share!&nbsp; We have collected just shy of 300 bags for our Give a Gallon campaign that the girls will give out to families in Romania.</p><p class="plain"><br></p><p class="plain">Yesterday, we spent the afternoon together at a farewell pool party hosted by Fanny Taylor.&nbsp; We heard from a former Globetrotter, Frankie Goins, who traveled to Ecuador in 2006.&nbsp; The experience for her was life-changing; she knew what she was going to do with the rest of life and how she was going to do it.&nbsp; How inspirational her message was for the girls to hear. &nbsp;</p><p class="plain"><br></p><p class="plain">'Til we meet again... <br></p><div class="plain"></div><div class="plain"></div>

Many times the end of one thing is just the beginning of another

Jul 25, 2008

<p class="plain">Well we have completed another successful Globetrotter trip. One of the last things we did on the trip was to visit a retirement home in Lima. We had purchased enough food for about 200 people. We also had brought with us 6 duffel bags full of clothing that had been donated by Brad and Erica Harder. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">As we walked in we were greeted an old lady who immediately grabbed Lou as if she were her best friend. As word spread that "the gringos were here", old people started coming out in droves. An old lady walked up to me with a walker and the director of the home told me she was 92 years old. As we walked towards the room where we would set up, this wonderful old lady was racing down the hallway making race car noises. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We set up our food table and started an assembly line to make the sandwiches putting them in bags along with an apple, tangerine and a box of juice. You would have thought that there was a half price sale at Walmart for gourmet meals. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">It was a quite a scene and a study of human behavior. Some people were being very controlled and waited patiently for their turn to get some food, others were climbing over each other knocking each other down to get their bag first. Some people were grabbing a bag and hiding it and then coming back for a second helping. One guy even took the bag back to his room, changed his hat so we wouldn't recognize him and came back in line to get more food. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">After a few minutes it hit me that out of the 400 people who lived here, the people who came to the recreation room for food must be the most ambulatory in the facility and there must be a whole bunch of people who couldn't make it to the room to claim their food, so I grabbed a bunch of the kids and food and we headed deep into the facility to see what we could find. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Wow, was I right, as we walked into the dormitory style buildings we found some of the most incredibly forgotten people I have ever encountered. The requirements for being in this facility were that you had to be at least 70 years old and no family to take care of you. These people were so happy to see a smiling face and receive a hug and some food. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">It really broke my heart to see these people living out the last days of their lives so alone and in such horrible conditions. The rooms were barely habitable with a sink in the room and community showers. I walked into one room where a very old man was curled up on his bed with his wife in his arms. You could tell his wife was just moments from dying. He couldn't even acknowledge our presence as we left him a bag of food. That vision of this couple's last moment of love before being separated will be burned in my mind for the rest of my life. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">After serving all the food we pulled all the clothing out of the duffel bags and separated them into men's and women's piles. Again the mad rush was on and again we gathered a bunch of the clothing to take back to the people who could not make their way to the front room.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Many of these old people wanted to dance with us as we entered their dorms. One of the old ladies we met was 105 years old and still going strong. Every so often you would enter a room and find a surprise, a poster of Britney Spears or some other pop icon. One guy had pictures scantily clad women all over his walls. I guess even old guys still need to dream. &nbsp; </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">I walked back into one of the rooms where we had dropped off food and the old lady was sitting there but had not touched her food. I realized she was not ambulatory enough to even feed herself, so I peeled the tangerine and put a section in her mouth. A look of incredible satisfaction immediately filled her face and her tongue went out like a baby bird looking for a worm. As I fed her each piece of the tangerine you could tell it was one of the best things she had tasted in years. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The visit to the retirement home was an incredibly emotional experience for me, I found myself wiping away tears multiple times at the same time an intense sense of satisfaction that we had made so many forgotten people so happy, even if it was just for a couple hours. &nbsp; &nbsp; </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We spent the night in Lima and the next morning we would begin our journey home. You could see that although it had been an incredible journey everybody was ready to get back to their families, hot showers and their own bed. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">I would like to thank all the parents personally for loaning Lou and I ten wonderful kids, they were truly amazing. I would also like to thank our supporters for making this life changing experience possible. I also wanted to take the time to tell you a little bit about the kids on our Globetrotter team. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Meagan - I remember on the trek to Choquequairo one night I couldn't sleep, I kept thinking about how wonderful the kids had been during the trip and my mind started to drift. I started thinking about what type of plant or animal the kids reminded me of and Meagan was easy. Meagan reminds me of a rose. Like the bud of a rose, incredibly beautiful, delicate, but at the same time complex and strong. Like the thorns on a rose, she has very strong opinions and has the ability to protect her values and beliefs.&nbsp; A wonderfully compassionate person who kept telling people she was going to "knock them in the head" but you knew that Meagan could never hurt or hit anything. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Tahawnis - Tahawnis reminded me of an elephant, strong but gentle. He had a look like he was always thinking, processing what was going on around him. You could see the love that he held inside for his mom and his fellow team members. Tahawnis is the type of boy that you would be proud to have your child marry.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Quana - Although, like many of the kids, she started out very quiet and reserved as the trip progressed her personality was revealed. Quana has a beautiful glow about her, as I started reviewing the pictures it was amazing how photogenic she is. Her love of dancing was exposed as Karla and her did the Macarena out in the field for a group of farmers. When we hit Cusco some of the kids wanted to go to a club so we went along one night. Quana shocked us all when she hit the dance floor and showed how she can shake it. She is truly a beautiful person inside and out. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Janie - Janie is anything but shy. There were not many times when she was not laughing and entertaining the group. One of those times was the end of the first day of the hike to Choquequairo, it was dark by the time her Quana and Meagan finished the 14 mile stroll, all of them were in tears. That night at dinner I told them that the goal of this part of the trip was to push them to their limit, to experience one of the hardest physically exerting things they had ever experienced and to see how far they could go. From that point forward they seemed to get it and nobody more then Janie, back to her old form joking and encouraging her team even though hiking through the Andes was not in her element. When we went with the girls to the club in Cusco, she was certainly in her element and within 5 minutes she was up with the DJ helping him make music. I'll miss her smile, joyful attitude and Janie's own unique way to make music in life.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Rachon - Rachon is one of the most polite, well mannered teenagers I have ever met. He reminded me of a gazelle, sleek and beautiful in his own way, always soft spoken, always respectful, I never heard him complain about anything. One of our strictness rules was to never go anywhere by yourself. Unfortunately Rachon found himself one day ready to go back to the hotel and the people he was with did not want go so he headed back by himself. When I confronted him about breaking the rule he was so nice and respectful that it really hurt to deal out form any punishment. We finally decided to gave him an early curfew and the rest of the guys respected him so much, they all stayed in that night. Rachon is a true silent leader.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Greg - Greg, or as Lamont convinced the employees in one of the restaurants, Brad Pitt's son, was another one of those who was quiet, polite and never complained. I know that Greg, Lamont and Rachon really bonded together and it was fun to watch them grow as we progressed through the journey. You can tell that Greg is very self confident but not boastful. In my experience that is usually a indication that the kid comes from a family where support and interaction are paramount. When I saw the face of his father as his son returned I knew I was right. Joe you have raised a wonderful son. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Michael - Michael had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and adventure. It was hard to contain Darius and Michael when we landed at a new location, they both immediately wanted to explore. He was also willing to share his knowledge and mentor others, when on the Amazon he spent a fair amount of time teaching the guides how to play the guitar. He also had this mischievous side to him, like when he took Meagan's camera and took about 40 pictures of himself so her card would fill up and when she started reviewing the pictures to see what she could delete she realized it was full of pictures of Michael. You could always count on Michael having a smile on his face, ready for a new adventure and accepted every challenge eagerly. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Darius - Darius along with Michael was interested in learning everything he could. He was like a sponge, soaking of every ounce of knowledge he could hold. He was also the helper, always willing to help give a hand to anybody he could. After the first day's hike at Choquequairo, Lou and I were finishing up the last mile or so and here comes Darius back up the hill. He had finished hiking down 14 miles and now he was headed back up the trail to see if he could help anybody. I can barely walk and he is blowing past us back up the hill to help, Wow. Darius certainly added a new perspective and positive influence to our team. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Karla - Karla is a beautiful soul. It was amazing how many of these kids started out so quiet but ended up coming out to give the adults a chance to see the beautiful people they are. You could tell that Karla, even though she was the youngest person in the group, understood well beyond her years about people in need and how things work in a developing country. She was a true asset when we needed a translator. I was amazed on the first day of the hike that she stuck with the boys and was one of the first to make it to the campsite. The second day she was feeling bad so she rode for a short while then it was back on the trail and she ended up beating me to the campsite all four days. She also showed that she can shake it on the dance floor or field which ever was the case. Karla is also be a silent leader, I'll miss her beautiful laugh and smile. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Lamont (aka Kobe) - It took Lamont a couple days to come out of his shell but when faced with playing a soccer game with the local boys in Santa Tomas, Kobe sprung into action. Although we got our butts whipped Lamont entertained the our team, the other team and most of the town. I saw Lamont grow as the journey progressed more then any other team member. I saw him face some of his biggest fears as he draped a 15 foot Anaconda around his neck or jumped into the Amazon river. As each day passed his confidence grew, his compassion surfaced and my love for this incredible young man grew. Lamont I know that one day you will accomplish the goal we talked about while we hiked towards the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu. I will never forget your smiling face and your pole dancing in the Andes mountains. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">I hope that all who have followed our blog will continue to support us in our efforts to change kids lives. It is a gift for our family to have the opportunity to share these experiences with a group of incredible kids. We hope that these experiences will not only change the lives of these kids but will encourage them to change the lives of the people around them. Thank you so much!</p>

Back in America-Student from Ragsdale

Jul 24, 2008

<p class="plain">Hey, </p> <p class="plain">I know the trip is over but i miss South America. Don't get me wrong i love America but the people are rude and the people are way nice over there for the most part. You can really compare the differences of the two countries but if i wouldn't have went down there i would have thought its in the same condition as America since there so close. But i glad to be home and looking forward to college. Thank You <b>Mr/Mrs. Green</b></p>

trip

Jul 21, 2008

<p class="plain"><b>well its the end of the trip and i had alot of fun and met some interesting people. Cuzco is alot of fun, the hike was the hardest thing i ever did so far but i guess i need to start challenging myself more in life.&nbsp; I do want to come back and start my own program cause there are alot of kids that need positive people and need to get on the right track to see more what they have to offer. But i want to thank the Greens and all the leaders that shared this journey with me.</b></p>

Choquequairo

Jul 20, 2008

<p class="plain">As we headed out for Choquequairo none of us had any idea what was in store for us. After about a 4 hour drive we arrived in a little Andean town, our guides served us lunch while they loaded up about 10 mules with our stuff, tents and provisions for the 4 day trek. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The trek started simple enough, with a winding path that twisted and turned, slightly up and down, really a pretty easy walk. The scenery was beautiful, rolling hills and fields with small farm houses dotting the landscape. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The more we walked the more beautiful the scenery became and the more unrelentless the terrain became. I had asked our guide, Eve, how far we would have to walk and he told me 33 kilometers, or about 20 miles. I assumed that was the round trip there and back, unfortunately I was wrong. Quickly the Wow of the scenery turned upside down for many of the kids with a¨"ma" added. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We found ourselves walking about 14 miles the first day with the last 7 miles or so straight down about 5000 feet (that is the altitude of Denver Co). Everybody was going at their own pace with Germ bringing up the rear with horses for people too tired to walk. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We walked until after dark and Lou and I arrived at the campsite utterly exhausted and our feet feeling like they were going to fall off. We were not the last to arrive, several of the girls arrived last in tears. Announcing that they could not make it another day. Our tents were already set up and after dinner we all hit the sack. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">I explained to everybody that a major part of the Globetrotter trips is pushing yourself to your limit. To find out what you are made of, to find how far you can push yourself. They seemed to get it because all started the second day with a different attitude.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The second day was even harder then the first, a little shorter, this time we only hiked 8 miles but it was straight up, from about 1000 feet to over 7000 feet in altitude. Switch back after switch back your eyes would search for the end. At times you made your feet move, counting your steps. Just 20 more steps and I will take a rest, just 20 more steps and I will rest, over and over again. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">When we arrived at our campsite, we were on a crest of a mountain, overlooking a valley that was absolutely gorgeous. The view outside the tent flap was breathtaking. The only bad part was we had hiked over 21 miles over two days, with no shower in a dirty dusty unrelenting environment. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Everything seemed opposite of what we are used to on the trail, the water and soda was hot, and the food and showers were cold. All the leaders headed for the showers. Yes there were showers here, the bad part was they were so cold, if you stuck your head under them for more then a few seconds you would get a brain freeze, just like when you drink an ice slushy too fast. Needless to say you washed one part at a time and for us guys we got a new definition of shrinkage. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Again after dinner we all hit the sack, sore, bug bitten and only the leaders close to being clean. It was really weird to be in bed by 8:00pm almost every night. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The next morning we got our chance to tour the ruins, but only after about another mile hike. Choquequairo is vastly larger then Machu Pichhu and much less excavated. You can tell by what they have uncovered that the ruins cover the whole side of the mountain. This is already an incredible ruin to tour but when they get finished many scientists believe that it will dwarf Machu Picchu.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The dwellings seemed to be more advanced then those at Machu Picchu also, many having two floors and more complex construction. They also had some paintings they had done of llamas, these are the only art that has been found at either site. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">To see the llamas required more hiking about 350 feet down and back up. Only three people choose to take this trek on, yep you guessed it Michael and Darius and the surprise trekker Lou Green. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">As we headed back we had to traverse back to the campsite, all the way back down the mountain to the Apurmeric River and back up a couple of kilometers. Again most finished after dark. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Now we have had three days of some the toughest hiking I have ever experienced. By the end of the day I had given my walking stick to one of the kids (believe me a walking stick really helps in this environment), I had run out of water and I had a 15 lb pack on my back. Again I was counting the steps and wondering if I could make it. I did and so did all the kids. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">That night Germ and Lamont entertained us after dinner with Germ on the&nbsp; flute and Lamont pole dancing. Yep, you read it right Lamont grabbed a pole and started shaking it to the delight of all the guides. He even got some of them up there with him, shaking their booty. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">I don´t know how we would have done it without the guides. They would break down the camp each morning as we began hiking, pass us running up the trail and have camp set up when we got there. Anybody want a job being a guide to Choquequairo?</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Lamont has kept us laughing much of the trip, in Aquas Caliente he went into a restaurant and convinced the staff that he was Kobe Bryant, Rachon was a professional basketball player and Greg was Brad Pitt´s son. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The next morning Eve had told us he recommended that we leave at 4:30am, to beat the heat and get back to Cusco at a decent time. So we took him at his word and started out at 4:30am, hiking again in the dark, hiking again straight up. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">The hike to Choquequairo was the hardest physical activity I have ever done in my life. All the leaders and about 5 of the kids made the 43 mile trek without the aid of a horse. Although most would say they will never see Choquequairo again, it was something we will never forget, the beauty, the biting flies, the unrelentless terrain, the incredible accomplishment. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We arrived back in Cusco about 5:00pm and this time we put the kids in one of the nicer hotels in Cusco. They have slept in the airport in Lima, the bunkhouse in Iquitos, the platform in the Amazon (all without hot water), a couple nights in a moderate hotel in Cusco, and 4 days on the trail without a shower. This was a really "ripe" bunch of kids. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">All of them headed for the first really hot shower and nice bed they had, had in over two weeks. Needless to say we put a smile on their faces. Then I told them they were going to get their first professional massage which created more smiles. This is something we have done on every Globetrotter trip. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Our agenda is to show these kids how lucky they are to live in America. How life is not fair all the time, and for many people in the world it is not fair at all. What it means to give back to less fortunate people then yourself. How to face your fears and push yourself beyond any limit that you thought you could possibly go and finally if you stay in school, set your goals and work hard you can accomplish anything. Finally we give them a taste of luxury, with a beautiful hotel and a massage. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">You can tell this is all new for the kids. We told them there was a really good buffet breakfast in the morning so about 9am Rachon, Lamont and Greg come strolling into the restaurant, with their heads high, their bathrobes and slippers on to the shock and amazement of the maitre´d and most of the people in the restaurant. Paul gave them the gentle suggestion that they go back and put on their clothes.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Last night Jim took a couple of the kids to a early evening mass. As the mass was about to begin Tahawnis looked around and then nudged Jim who was finishing a prayer, he said Mr. Mac I think this is a wedding. Sure enough, right about then the wedding march started and here come the bride and groom down the aisle. After snapping a few pictures they all snuck out the back of the church.</p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">After dinner we went with the girls to a club on the square and Janie jumped up in the DJ booth and helped the DJ all night. These guys have had no problem adjusting to the good life in Cusco. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; </p>

Machu Picchu

Jul 19, 2008

<p class="plain">Sorry for the long delay but we were on the trail for the last four days. No Internet, no phones, no TV, no radio, just nature in it´s purest form. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We made it into Aquas Caliente late, about 9:00pm by train. Everybody got a bite to eat and off to bed. Michael and Darius continue to amaze me with their thirst for knowledge and adventure. They were up at 5am and headed out before anyone else in the group. The rest of us sleepy heads headed out at 6am. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful combinations of God and man´s handiwork I have ever seen. Looking from the guard tower as the morning sun came over the mountains to expose the famous picture that we have all seen was breathtaking. I have seen a lot of the wonders of the world, the pyramids in Egypt, Petra in Jordan, the Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and they all lived up to their hype. Machu Picchu did not let me down either. It is awe inspiring, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, the pictures do not do it justice. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">We got all the students together and went on a hike up to the sun gate. Each view you got of this majestic place was incredible. Then we got a tour by our tour guide who filled us full of information about MP and the Inca people. Most of the kids skipped the tour for a dip in the hot springs down in town but of course Michael and Darius are there right beside the adults soaking it up. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">It is just incredible the feats that these ancient civilizations accomplished. Much like the Egyptians they were able to move rocks that weighed tons, carve them in unique shapes that all fit together like a puzzle. It´s hard to believe that these to civilizations accomplished many of the same amazing feats so long ago, even though they had no interconnection with each other. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p> <p class="plain">After heading down the mountain we headed back to Cusco by train for a night of rest before heading off to Choquequairo. Will review that incredible experience in the next blog tonight. </p> <p class="plain">&nbsp;</p>

Greg Herendeen

Jul 19, 2008

<p class="plain">Well this is my first tme getting on this trip so I won¡­t repeat everyone said about the trip so far and I will talk about the Inca trail. The Inca trail was one of the toughest things I have done in my life. We hiked over 40 miles and changed elevation by more than a mile in four days time. We would wake up early, hike all day, ad go to sleep on the ground. The days were hot and the nights were, for the most part, cold. All of that wasn¡­t even the worst part. The hiking was tiring, the beds uncomfortable, and there could¡­ve been more food but the bugs were the worst thing there. These bugs weren¡­t mosquitoes, they were biting flies and they hurt and itched. Besides all that though it was still fun and interesting. The ruins were cool and the experience was unforgetable. Now we are staying in a five star hotel and life couldn¡­t be better. This trip has been awesome and I can¡­t wait for the next part.</p>