I Don’t Support Piracy

Over here in Kenya you can buy very few legitimate DVD’s and CD’s. For Christmas we bought our daughter a CD and they physically showed us that it was a new one and that it wasn’t just burned off a computer. When we put it in the first time, iTunes wouldn’t recognise it and said it was empty. ‘What a waste of $6’ I thought. The second time it worked but wouldn’t bring up the artist of song name. That was bought was a real music store.

Anywhere on the side of a road there will be people selling all sorts of things from kites, to DVD’s to fruit. When Skyfall came out at the movies within a couple of days the DVD also came out by a very friendly salesman not far from home.

For most people, they think nothing of spending $6 on a pirated DVD or illegally downloading something off the internet. To them it seems okay to photocopy whole books for their schooling. We had two overseas students living with us for 2 years in Sydney and they saw nothing wrong with spending $10 at a shop downtown photocopying an entire book. Neither did they mind copying and pasting stuff off the internet without giving reference to the author. In one assignment I saw that they hadn’t even bothered to change the font from the source to what was in their assignment!

I don’t support piracy because it’s stealing, just wrapped up nicely. One could say that it’s keeping people employed. Do we then buy drugs because it keeps people employed?

Stealing is stealing. I’ve told my girls off several times for illegally downloading things via sources like Torrent. You can justify it as much as you like but it’s still taking something and not paying for it.

I tell you who pays for it. It’s the artists, musicians, writers and actors who have put their time, effort and skills into creating something we love to watch or read. I was watching the making of Inception (on a genuine DVD) and the writer took 8 years to create the story. Eight years of developing and sacrificing to bring forth a story that entertains millions, only to have it sold illegally for a couple of dollars.

It’s also the buyer that pays for it. Why do you think they cost so much?

As a Christian, I refuse to buy illegally made software, DVD’s, CD’s etc no matter how ‘real’ they appear. It’s against the rules people!

I have plenty of musician friends who I am proud to support by paying for their songs. As a photographer nothing grates you more than when people use your photos without permission, and don’t give credit for the source. Sure Instagram has given a lot to the photography world but it doesn’t make you an artist.

While lots of people say there are no copyright rules in Africa, that’s simply untrue. Everyone complains about corruption but here it is on the ground level. If we continue to support piracy we have no right to complain about officials who are doing the same thing but in a different form.

Pay the price and keep your conscience clean. Support our artists and show people we don’t have to scoop to illegal acts just to get what we want.



Why I endorse Neways Products

I very rarely endorse anything because there’s always pitfalls, people are only human and will let you down, or some things are just a fad.

However, I’ve been on the road for a few months now, and based in East Africa for a few weeks more. I’ve lived in several homes, motels, units and even tents in that time.toothpasteNow we’re actually settling down in Nairobi, I’m able to start setting up home. In reality, we’re only in our transformed container cottage for another 5 weeks and then we house sit for friends for 5 months, but a sense of home and belonging is important. The day we can stop living out of a suitcase will be a day for celebration.

While there are a few supermarkets here, there seems to be a myriad of household and personal products. That is except for a scrubbing brush for the dishes and some good quality things like shampoo and conditioner. In the past few months we’ve been to 6 different countries and I’ve yet to find anything that measures up to the Neways products.

Either the shampoo leaves your hair feeling like straw, or just about every personal product has aluminium or palm oil in it. That’s not good for our bodies nor the environment. You know that stuff like moisturiser is watered down and unless you are going to pay through the roof prices you can’t get anything decent.logo

After only 3 weeks of being in Kenya people are asking ‘So, are you ready to call it quits and come home yet?’ Quite frankly, we are home and although we’re short of the few comforts of life, it’s not that bad. It all comes down to attitude.

However, I am darn sure to get some good quality healthy homecare products from organisations like Neways. Their toothpaste needs no water, their shaving gel means less razor use and the shampoo actually is good for your hair and the skin cleaner actually works. Unfortunately I can’t get them delivered to Kenya but have friends who can pick up some goods for me and wait for someone to come through.

If you haven’t heard or tried Neways before, contact my friend Ginny Parker (ginny@aslanassociates.net) and she will help you out.conditioner

Not A Working Holiday

It was Pete’s Dad’s birthday last Sunday so we Skyped him from Nairobi. While it wasn’t the best line for them, we could hear them clearly. His parents are so old school, they have a mobile phone but don’t ever use it and the internet is something other people use.

I had to snicker as his Dad said ‘Have a good working holiday or whatever you’re doing over there’. We are so blessed we’ve travelled more places than either of our parents, seen more of the world and the wonders it holds.

Every trip we’ve undertaken has been paid for by ourselves. We’ve never received grants, been paid for by organisations or used fundraising tactics to get our flights. It’s been a lot of hard work and sacrifice, especially the last 5 years. We’ve gone without a lot so that we could jump on a plane and visit all sorts of places.

This is the first time we’ve asked people to partner with us to live long term in Kenya serving communities and working with young people. It’s quite a different and humbling experience. There’s no way to make extra money for surprise expenses. Normally if we need something like a car we’d go hard out making the extra dollars. Now, we need to live as cheaply as possible and make every dollar count. We’re helping to run a camp this weekend, and we’ve pitched in to buy extra things needed to make it happen.

That’s how it works here. Everyone pitches in because we’re all in the same boat.

Our biggest splurge since coming here has been the Christmas tree. Life here is so different, so to have something normal like a tree is unbelievably nice. We even managed to find some lights for the tree, so we’re quite happy.

A working holiday entails working a bit to make some money, then take time off to see the countryside and relax. What we’re doing is quite different. We’re either in the office, out on the farm, organising events, writing reports, learning a new language, spending hours in traffic jams, writing endless emails, in meetings, and every now and then take a breather. Because we’re newbies it can get overwhelming, but we’re realistic about giving it time.

We weren’t even going to try and explain it (again) to Pete’s Dad what we’re doing. All we say is that we’ll be back for a visit in about 3 years and that makes him a happy camper.

So, if you do get to go on a working holiday – go for it, but for the rest of us – it’s back to work!