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Tuesday Tell All Toipic: Pioneer Spirit

A pioneer is defined as "one who is the first to do something," or "one who opens up the way for others." Using this definition, tell us about pioneers in your family.

When I was a teenager my father used to do work for an organization called VOCA that would send him all over the world, Mongolia, Russia, Azerbaijan, China, as a canning consultant. Then a wonderful and exciting thing happened. Our church closed a large quantity of it's canneries and my dad was able to buy the equipment for an excellent price. This gave him the opportunity to start his own non-profit organization called Worldwide Canneries. It is the culmination of a lifetime's worth of knowledge and a desire to do good in the world. He still works with VOCA and some other large groups, but Worldwide Canneries is his own.

So what does my father do? He goes to poor countries and communities and teaches them how to can food. What they do with this food depends largely on them, in Africa he taught women in a small village how to make Mango Jam and sell it. In another country he worked with a company that wanted to increase their canneries output.

He has traveled all over the world since I've grown up. Kenya, Venezuela, the Ukraine and so many others that I can't even remember them all.

This week he leaves for Iraq (yes, we're all so thrilled about that), where a cannery has been found, in the Northern Kurdish area, and isn't being used. My dad has been hired as a consultant to go over there, get the place running and teach the locals how to use it. The project will take him about a year (he isn't there the entire time).

So what has it meant for me to have a world traveler as a father? Well, his children have all been instilled with an over abundance of wanderlust that baffles our spouses and loved ones. But more seriously I've had to deal with a whole lot of pride for his work and worry for his person. He has been in some interesting situations.

When he was in Africa he contracted Malaria. (he was taking the pills too) Evidently, if you didn't know, Malaria doesn't go away, once you have it, you have it for life.

When he was in Russia his companions left him sick in his room while they went out to see the sites. They were mugged.

On Sept. 10, 2001 he decided to skip a trip to Afghanistan and fly directly home from Mongolia. He got into the US at around 10PM that night.

In Africa all of his canning equipment was stolen by the man running the plant and the officials were bribed to rule against my father. He is still trying to recover from that one.

He has literally devoted his life to helping those with less than him. He is a pioneer in my family. And I have to say that I am extremely proud of him.

So in way of online product plugging, go check out his site and maybe donate some money. It helps more than you can realize.


Robert said…
I would say he definitely is a pioneer. Did you have a link to his site?
Lisa said…
As some of you may or may not know, AZ has many people on welfare.

My mom was a Jr. High teacher and invented a class called, Financial Success. She taught it for umpteen years and it spread to other schools. She is now being hired by the Dept. of Economic Security to teach it to other schools and teachers.

She did this to help people help themselves, so they can be financially successful in life.
cannwin said…
Yes, the link is in the words Worldwide Cannery.

Lisa that is so exciting is she going to be moving or will she stay in AZ? I'm really happy for her. It's nice to see people get recognition for the things they work so hard to accomplish.
Sara Crandall said…
That is awesome! My father is an architect and has gone to Mongolia often these few past years to help build schools.

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