We are still in Chengdu, but we don’t want to leave without a Cause for our project. And that is where Peter Coff comes in. He explains us a lot about his Hong Kong based NGO Sichuan Quake Relief and we decide to wire our donation to him. He has gone through all the paperwork and it is still hard to get through all the checkpoints to reach the disaster zone, a trip he undertakes nearly every weekend. I respect him a lot. We tell our story and earn recognizing nods. We will write a short article about Quake Relief and showcase it as one of the ngo’s in China that are “supporter friendly”.
At night we meet Asgeir and two Chinese women working for ngo’s to do some more networking. We have worked here all day and went out only for a quick noodle soup in a local restaurant. They tell us about the popular Chinese grassroots ngo “1kg more”, simply encouraging (Chinese) travelers to take schoolbooks on their travels and hand them out to needy rural schools. The concept is working successfully for a couple of years already. A strong point is the low overhead: the organization consists essentially of the website, maintained by volunteers. Travelers read about rural schools and contact them individually. Given the fact that most airlines allow for thirty kg of check-in luggage, travelers could freight serious aid packages and on a minor detour from their sunny holiday destination, distribute it to the needy.
Asgeir, a Norwegian anthropologist on a quest to get to know all those interesting travelers, tells us a lot about South Asia and Bali, where he has been earlier. He lives in the other free room in Dhane’s apartment and we have made friends with him the other day. We exchange travel tips and I must have seemed a bit conceited as I revealed entripid travelers’ insider knowledge about Lapland, a Russian visa, Belarus bureaucracy, Kiev, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, the Transsiberian, the Baltics, the Crimea. Well, the atmosphere is very nice and we take smiling pictures.