Archive for February, 2015

February 28 – Midnight, March 1, 2015

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People

by Dennis Cardiff

Free on Kindle Unlimited  ~  .99 Kindle Download


Refreshing tales of a simpler world. Sid is a great writer who has taken me on a journey back to my childhood.

Highway 51

Posted: February 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

A tribute to those unnoticed. ~ Dennis

James Robert Smith

Homeless, cold and hungry.
One voice gripped a frozen heart
Along the open road on winter nights.

‘Twas then a starry sky.
She stood between a visionary
And the foundation of the realised.

Vision can go about unnoticed.
Never seen but by the Prophet
That lies beneath his dusty bones.

On an open road they look at him.
Gripped by a frozen heart.
The homeless, the cold and the twisted unnoticed.

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Two Macro trends we need to heed

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

This is a very important and informative post, especially for citizens of the United States. ~ Dennis


Since our public debate in political circles tends to focus on what donors want or who is winning the political “gotcha” game, I thought it might be important to repeat some comments about macro trends for which we need to plan ahead. Looking forward from a report sanctioned by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that was done in 2008-09 timeframe, several macro trends were identified by leaders in business, education, foundations, and governments. Two are highlighted below.

First, a key concern is simply demographic and it has and will shape our economy and budgets for some time. The world population is aging. It is getting worse here in the US, but it is much worse in places like Japan and Greece, e.g.  In fact, a key reason Greece is struggling today is trying to fund financial commitments made to people who have already…

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Two Macro trends we need to heed

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Two Macro trends we need to heed.

Please, add your support to this wonderful group of Authors who dedicate their time and efforts to promoting other Authors like me and many of you.

The Marquee Project

Today is the last day of Pay It Forward week, and I thought it fitting to end the week by placing Rave Reviews Book Club on the marquee.

If you have had many personal converations with me, or you follow my daily personal blog, The Year of Blogging Faithfully, you know that self-promotion is a struggle for me. I just don’t like doing it. I am a fairly confident person, extremely proud of my work, and I know that self-promotion is absolutely necessary for an indie author. And yet I hate it. I love promoting my friends. I love being someone else’s advocate. I love shining the spotlight on someone I believe in. I just love that! But that doesn’t sell books – at least not mine. That doesn’t bring awareness to my work.

Or does it?

Self-promotion is necessary. I know that. If only I could find a group…

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5.0 out of 5 stars
An Introspective Journey of a Man’s Views of Homelessness, February 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People (Kindle Edition)


This is the first book I’ve read from the author, and I’ll admit I’ve never read such an intriguing story about homeless panhandlers in Canada.The book in itself is a journal recounting multiple encounters with different people whom Dennis socializes with on a daily basis. Gotta Find a Home depicts the heartbreaking stories of those who got left behind or the choices they made turned them to the streets.

The author paints a real scene with real characters who have back stories; some with painful pasts and others who do what they do to survive. I especially connected with Joy and her story truly touched me.

Cardiff displays poignant prose abilities and the writing style is real and gritty. Reading this book has shown me the unknown side of homeless people and sometimes we forget they are human beings like us- seeking a connection without judgment or prejudice. They simply desire understanding and their voices need to be heard.

Next time I see a panhandler, I won’t look the other way. Perhaps a sesame bagel, tea and a hug is what needs to be done.

Brava, Cardiff. Five stars from me.




A Conversation with Michael Daube

By Shaun Mader

June 2011

Copied and pasted from:

Speaking with Michael Daube, one gets a sense that his parents never handed him the rulebook for life.  And if they did, he was clearly infused with the notion that the rules are made to be broken. As we sat down for his portrait session, the topics of conversation meandered from art and sound design to the local politics of rural tribes-people.  The personage of a renaissance man quickly emerges. This is only reinforced when phrases like, “painting one’s life,” offhandedly find their way into an explanation of how he makes his ambitious projects erecting schools and hospitals in remote areas of India and Nepal happen. I first met Michael at a fundraiser for his organization, CITTA. We came to find out that we had both worked in the same area in Calcutta and the conversation grew from there, so we decided to sit down to discuss some of the issues that affect social work in that part of the world.

Shaun Mader: CITTA has projects spread throughout India and Nepal. Could you give me an overview of CITTA’s mission and how that’s translated into some of these projects?

Michael Daube: CITTA focuses efforts on remote or marginalized populations that lack basic infrastructure and opportunities. We help build and support hospitals/schools/women’s cooperatives in the most remote and poverty stricken regions of developing countries where we work. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. We focus our efforts in the poorest and most remote District of Nepal, Humla. We have a hospital in the capital city of Simikot situated deep in the Himalayas. There are no wheels or roads in the district! The population is cut off for a large part of the year due to intense snowfall. We are their only access to health care. In India, we focus on Orissa. This is the poorest state of India and home to many of the country’s “tribals.” In the village of Juanga, we have a hospital that treats around 1,000 patients a month. The hospital has the only surgical facility within a radius of 40 kilometers.

SM: You’ve told me the story about CITTA’s inception moment before.  If I remember correctly, it started with a little garbage picking. Care to elaborate on that?

MD: Being an artist, with a strong interest in anthropology and archeology I traveled to many remote areas of the world studying and experiencing different cultures. After a trip to India for a year, I returned home to open an art studio in Jersey City. While I was looking for sculpture materials in a dumpster, I found a David Hockney portrait of Ozzie Clark and decided to sell it and take the proceeds and build a hospital in the region from which I just returned. The area was in desperate need of basic health care. It’s just grown from there! Now we have a full board and regular meetings here in New York City. Dr. Christopher Barley is the President and one of the main forces in sustaining the organizations efforts.

SM: What were some of the initial issues when you first started working in these countries? How have the issues changed as you’ve grown and spread into multiple areas?

MD: The beginning was very difficult as we were upsetting old systems. In Orissa, there was a wealthy family every 3-4 villages’ distance. They usually made their money by lending to the rest of the poor locals in exchange for labor or land. Even for 10 cent’s worth of medicines, people would sign away their life to slavery and lose their land. Wouldn’t you do the same if your child had an ear infection that could lead to death? So, providing free health services definitely upset the wealthy local families controlling the area and we had bombs placed in the road and had to take alternate routes out of the area frequently to keep from being confronted by bandits. Also, no roads and heavy monsoons led to their own set of difficulties. I remember carrying an 85 year old elder on my back out of the region to get him to the city to sign the Trust documents, as he was a board member.

SM: I think the idea of sustainability has become common language amongst the aid community, but still poses a challenge when it comes to achieving it. What are some of the competing factors and do you see trends emerging that may change the traditional models of how aid is delivered?

MD: I agree with the idea of sustainability. But when you provide services to the poorest regions, sometimes you can’t even ask them for school fees of 20 cents a month, if they only eat one meal a day consisting of basically rice and potatoes! But we have developed a women’s cooperative in Bhaktipur, Nepal, that rescues women from vulnerable situations. It’s been quite a  success. They have had clients like J.Crew, Anthropologie, Donna Karan, Golfini della Nonna, Lucy Barnes, and Kate Spade. We are always looking for more clients!

SM: Many of your projects are located in very poor areas with little or no infrastructure.  I’m sure this must force one to be very resourceful and improvise with what is available.  Are there instances that have surprised you or forced you to look at the situation differently because of this?

MD: Each region has its different materials for building as well as unique political environments. We not only have to deal with hard-to-traverse mountains, monsoon-muddied jungles and barren deserts; but in building, politics can also be a big factor. When we made the hospital in Humla, Nepal, the Maoist conflict was in full swing and we were forced to pay the rebels and the government to bring wood and stone from the forests. Our clever “cowboy” builder sat around all day and slowly pulled the fiber fill from his tattered jacket and spun it into a woven rope! This way he could pull the wood across the river at a non-bridge site and bypass the revenue greedy forces fighting each other. That was definitely thinking out of the box!

SM: In light of the 3 Cups of Tea where donors found their funds being misused, what kinds of pressures does that put on you when your work happens in areas few are able or willing to personally go themselves?

MD: When the general public’s attention falls on one character to symbolize “giving” it gets a little dicey. When 3 Cups of Tea became a bestseller, I felt Greg Mortenson wanted to capitalize on getting his message out while the attention was on him. He did a lot of footwork and talks. In doing so, he became even more iconic and I feel lost touch with the activities that he was actually preaching about. Many people came to trust him as the ultimate source of dedication and charitable giving in the farthest parts of the world. It all seemed to spiral out of control. Generating so much funding and attention just seemed to require more of his attention to the lack of focusing on his ground work. It’s difficult to manage projects in remote regions. It requires a lot of attention, patience and creative thinking to dodge all the obstacles that come your way.

I think having such a small budget as we do, and having such an incredible output in the regions we work in, should be something we pull to the forefront of our message. None of our programs have ever diminished or closed. They only grow and become more productive. I think in the future, organizations like CITTA have to make sure people connect more with this information, maybe through increased volunteer programs? Donors will be more skeptical in the future I’m sure.

SM: I know from personal experience that international aid organizations often have administrative costs that result in a low percentage of donated money reaching the people most in need. With your organization’s projects being in such remote areas, how do you deal with those issues?

MD: It’s very difficult making giving to remote communities sexy to donors. Especially when you have so much social focus and attention on places like Africa. You have Bono and Oprah jumping into a “red” convertible to raise funds for Africa. This has a lot of pull in the public. But this also comes with a high price to get the message out. Look at the overhead recently exposed at Madonna’s Raising Malawi foundation: they spent over 3 million dollars before even dropping a brick for a school! We are in the process of opening 3 new schools this year in the northwest of Nepal. It is a district that is so poor and remote that 10,000 dollars will fund those three schools annually! Though it’s difficult to fundraise 10,000 dollars without getting the word out. Especially when you see someone putting 1.5 Million into advertising their mission, and getting 3 million back! I don’t know the answer, other than we try to move slowly, in small increments, to maintain a low budget and stability in the projects as well as making sure almost all the funds reach where they are meant to.

SM: When you travel to these areas what would be a typical trip to one of the project’s locations in Nepal be?

MD: I usually land in Kathmandu after seeing the projects in India. It’s much cooler there and always a relief when I arrive. After meeting at our office and contacting local government and other agents I need to communicate with, I make plans to go to the hospital in Humla in the northwest of Nepal. It’s the most remote and poorest District in the country. When I plan a trip to Humla there are so many factors to consider: climate (they get up to 13 ft. of snow in the winter and no flights can travel there), political situation (Maoist rebel movements often hampered travel in the past), etc. The only way to get to the region is by flight. There are no roads in the District! First flight is from Kathmandu to Nepalganj, a city on the southwestern part of Nepal. It’s on the Indian border, flat landscape, and usually very hot. We make our way to a hotel, usually a not-so-charming small cement room. From there we wait to see if we can secure tickets to Simikot, the capitol of Humla. At the small cement bunker looking airport in Nepalganj, there is usually chaos! Flights are often delayed or cancelled due to weather and high winds over the Himalayas. Many locals are backed-up due to cancellations and are all vying for tickets as well. After lots of negotiating and waiting, we clear tickets and make our way through security.

The flights are usually small 15 seat aircrafts filled with locals. It’s a very colorful sight to see: Tibetan-looking local women with large nose rings, some breast-feeding, eating, men screaming and moving about staring out of the windows, most flying for the only time in their lives. The view as you leave the flat terrain and enter the deep Himalayas makes it a dramatic flight! It’s only 45 minute to reach Simikot. When you near the city, the flight makes a plunge to meet the dirt runway. You can actually see goats out the front window as you make the decent!

The flight pulls into the airport like a taxi, spinning around at the end, coming to a stop then throwing all the supplies and luggage on the ground like bales of hay. I’m usually greeted by some staff that help me carry supplies to the hospital. After reaching the hospital, we drink warm water from thermoses and eat dahl and rice, and sometimes Tibetan bread dishes like kapsi. Sleeping there is difficult the first few days due to the altitude. I wake up frequently at night breathing deeply trying to pull air into my lungs. After meetings and discussing the project for a few days it’s just as difficult to leave. The winds might pick up and no flights will land for days or weeks!

Michael Daube is a NYC based artist who founded and is the Executive Director of CITTA. He is also the subject of an upcoming documentary titled, Way of Life.


CITTA Official Site

WAY OF LIFE Official Site

Michael Daube by Shaun Mader

Written by Shaun Mader

Edited by Tyler Malone

Photography by Shaun Mader

Design by Marie Havens


Cover/Page 1:

Michael Daube, NYC, May 2011, Photography by Shaun Mader

Page 2:

Michael Daube, NYC, May 2011, Photography by Shaun Mader

– See more at:

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This story was copied and pasted from the following website  
I take no credit for the content. My sincere admiration and love goes to Linor Abargil for her years of counseling and fighting against the cowardly,  violent and sometimes deadly crime of rape. Love and support also goes to my many friends who have been victims and bear the lifelong scars of rape.


Linor’s Story

I was 18 years old when I became Miss Israel in March of 1998, and was sent to represent my country in the Miss World Competition. A month and a half before the contest, while I was modeling in Italy, I was brutally raped by an Israeli travel agent, and in November of that year, the world saw me cry onstage in the Seychelles Islands when I was crowned Miss World.

Immediately after the rape I called my mother, and with her support I went to the police station and the hospital in Rome to report the crime and undergo a medical exam. When I returned to Israel, we were asked to keep the matter quiet in order not to deter the rapist from coming to Israel where Israeli police, in co-operation with Italian authorities, were waiting to apprehend him.

Those weeks of silence were particularly hard on me in view of the upcoming Miss World pageant. I was scared to leave home and did not want to go. But with my mother’s encouragement, I did agree to represent my country. After being crowned Miss World, the story of my rape was uncovered by the Italian press. The next day the affair was reported in the international media, and overnight I became the face of rape victims around the world.

Fortunately, the rapist failed to read the headlines and was arrested at the Tel-Aviv airport when he tried to return to Israel. While I was trying to recover from the trauma of the rape, I faced a trial that generated extensive press coverage. During the trial, I had to relive the events, and face the rapist’s denials. I advised other women not to be afraid of reporting their rapes, and to seek punishment for the perpetrators. As a result, there was an increase in the rate of rape victims reporting the crime in Israel.

After the trial ended in October of 1999 with the conviction and imprisonment of the rapist, I stopped talking about the rape publicly. I had to figure out how to heal. I found it helpful to study drama and to I sought rehabilitation through introspection and therapy.

Upon finishing my drama studies, I started working in theater in Tel Aviv. I was cast in “The Blue Room”, in the role played by Nicole Kidman in London and New York.

In 2006, I got married to an NBA player Sarunas Jasikevius, and moved to Los Angeles. The marriage didn’t work out and we divorced after a year. I returned to Israel and enrolled in law school. I hope to use my law degree to represent women who are victims of sexual violence. In 2008 I launched this website and started speaking out about rape. In August of 2010, I got married to Oron Kalfon, who is my partner, my friend and my true love. With his support and the support of my family, I have been documenting my journey and in the film I tell my own story, without shame, as I reach out to other women around the world, encouraging them to tell theirs.

– Linor

5 Stars
on February 11, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Dennis Cardiff has written a book that inspires, and I believe would assist others; help the unemployed or anyone going through hard times.The interconnecting stories that author Dennis Cardiff tells shows me that Dennis has a lot of love for the people who he mentions in the narrative of this fascinating book. The story takes place over an eighteen-month period.

I’ve worked with students who display the types of features mentioned throughout this story, and they are often very had to keep on the straight and narrow. They would often prefer to be out shooting up than learning a trade that would help them overcome some of the adversities in their lives.

Cardiff made me smile at times. At other times, my emotions were tugged at. I became deeply concerned, as I was when I was a teacher, as I was caught up in the author’s efforts to understand the complexities of the troubled characters portrayed.

It takes writing skill to engage a reader intensely as I was drawn into this work. Five stars.


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