Monday, November 23, 2009

Rex grant keeps giving in Africa


Rex Foundation provided Burners Without Borders a grant in November 2009. Burners Without Borders is a service group of individuals who are Burners, a sub-culture like Dead Heads. Instead of attending Grateful Dead shows, or jamband shows, the Burners work year round on the Burning Man project held every summer in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, 130 miles north of Reno. Some Burners are in fact also Dead Heads and presumably attend jamband shows.

Burners Without Borders was founded at Burning Man in 2005 during the onslaught of hurricane Katrina and consequent destruction in New Orleans and Mississippi. A call throughout the Burning Man event was intitiated to raise money and send a crew of Burners with heavy equipment to help as an act of kindness and civic engagement. Burners Without Borders has since conducted further acts of kindness and civic-minded engagement to assist throughout the world on various projects where the government or local authorities have either failed, or are reluctant to provide assistance.

Two days after receiving the Rex grant, Burners Without Borders' executive director, Carmen Mauk, received a request from a Burner working in Africa named Will Ruddick. Will is assisting citizens in Kenya with their cultural art of fire spinning. The project is called the Moto-moto Circus. The Kenyan troup had been invited by the Kenya National Museums Counsel to a three-day national festival in Lamu, Kenya, to perform for three nights. They did not have the money to send ten people to Lamu let alone stay in another city for three days. Carmen worked out a budget of $500 which would allow the troupe to travel and stay in Lamu to perform their art. An unexpected serendipity; it has been learned that this trip will reunite a Kenyan mother and son who have not seen each other in many years.

The power of grassroots giving is powerful when people like Carmen and Will connect to help those less fortunate than ourselves.




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