Trip Start Oct 20, 2004
Trip End Apr 26, 2005

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, January 5, 2005


Well, we have modified our trip and are currently in Singapore. Our original plan was to spend the majority of our trip in Australia. However, in mid-December we decided to make some adjustments to our itinerary, realizing that we could stretch our time, money and experience by returning to Southeast Asia for some hard core travel. So, we changed our tickets and, not anticipating the recent disaster, found ourselves here in Singapore. We will fill in the gaps and update postings and photos from Bangkok and Australia with time. However, we want to stay current with all that has been going on with us here.

We flew into Singapore on the 29th of December. Having been without a television or international media until our arrival in Singapore, we were pretty shocked and consumed by the coverage of the recent tsunami disaster. In light of everything that has happened, we have decided to restructure our itinerary, and forego the plan to backpack and beach-hop throughout Southeast Asia. What's more, our proximity to and relationship with the devastated region has compelled us to become involved with the relief efforts. Therefore, we have established ourselves as volunteers with the Singapore YMCA, hoping to make a small difference in the world.

The Singapore YMCA has become our home base for the time being. We are staying in a modest room at the YMCA's International House, convenient to everything on Orchard Road. Since we've been to Singapore twice before, we feel no need for tourism. We do hope to travel a bit through Malaysia while we're here, but for the moment we're mainly focusing our energies on the disaster relief efforts in Sri Lanka.

Until last week, 38 YMCAs existed in Sri Lanka; 20 of them have been wiped out by the tsunami's wrath. The remaining 18, however, are working together with the Singapore YMCA to reach those in need. In fact, a team from the Singapore Y has already been deployed to assess the situation in some of the affected areas for the teams of volunteers to follow. Using YMCA as a platform, the goal is to implement both short- and long-term programs, and to provide a network of support and aid to the tsunami victims.

It means a lot for us to be involved with this effort. The tsunamis left thousands of people dead and millions homeless. The fact that we are physically present, willing, and able has created the opportunity to give of ourselves. The outreach of the Singapore community has been amazing and inspiring, and we are honored to work alongside those who are so giving of themselves.

There may be a chance for Andy and me to go as part of the next team of volunteers to Sri Lanka. We look forward to giving however possible, and regardless of whether we do so from Singapore or Sri Lanka we are grateful for the opportunity to help.
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