WORKSHOP IN CUERNAVACA
It is super hard to think that we have been around and making the Bugz for more than two decades. Not me but Paul and his team of Zimbabwean refugees and Zulu tribal people. Over the years they have worked hard and we have appreciated every moment with them and their dedication. But two years ago we made a decision to add another workshop in another emerging economy.
We chose Mexico. It took us the better part of a year and two trips down there to different areas before we chose Cuernavaca. It's called the City of the Eternal Spring. It is that, with evening temperatures hovering around 72 It is in the Mountains about an hour and a half from Mexico City. There is very little work there and it took us an additional trip last January to actually find a worker to start.
We had a lot of hiccups and mountains to climb but after a nearly 3000 mile trip in the car in January 2018 we set up our Bugz Team Workspace and started training. We were lucky to find our first single mom of two children and she has been with us ever since. Her name is Zintia and she has a teenage girl and a boy of 11. Life was very difficult for her and the kids because there was no work to be found. Paul trained her over the past year and now she is very skilled and loves her job. She also speaks pretty good English which is an added benefit as she translates my English to Spanish...LOL.
The work is in a safe and secure location which has bathroom facilities and a lovely big terrace for taking the sun on a break. We value our team and show that in how we take care of them on a daily basis. They are like family. We do everything in our power to make them happy and comfortable in their work and they appreciate it and love the Bugz. Our time in Mexico has been amazing and to watch the girls glow with happiness has been an added gift.
School just started again and that means books, pencils, paper and teachers meetings. I told Zintia that now she has a vacation from the kids but she insisted that having them around is her vacation. They are wonderful and growing so tall and smart. I hope we have contributed to their growth.
A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS!
To brighten everyone's day I want to share one story of success...African style. My housekeeper ( who is actually my second mother) has been with me for 9 years and her daughter Patience lived with her in my home. She graduated Wynberg Girls School 4 years ago and then told me she wanted to become a Nurse. I sponsored her for the first year and then she was given scholarships for the next 3 years by the school. She just graduated as a full on sister and she is the very first person to be educated in the family male or female. That is an amazing feat. Before I left the country I wanted to make sure that she was taken care of. Now she has a lovely apartment overlooking Table Mountain right across the street from the Hospital where she has a contract for the next 3 years. We also sorted out a car for her by giving her my car as a trade in on a lovely Diahatsu Sirion with all the bells and whistles. She doesn't have a drivers license yet...but she does have a car. It is such an exciting thing to know that we have been able to take Patience out of the townships totally and put her into a proper apartment and give her a future anywhere in the world.
These are the squalid shacks of our team, each one housing four workers. Raw sewage and garbage littler the dirt and run through the shacks. There is no sewer system in the township.
These proud Zulu tribesmen travel over 1,000 miles from their homeland in the Kwa Zulu Natal area to Cape Town to find work so they can support their families. One worker supports seven to ten family members.
Our Zulu team are illegal squatters who live in the Imizamu Yethu squatter camp in Hout Bay South Africa.
This is a picture of some of our Bugz Africa team. Two of these men died of HIV Aids related illnesses; one is currently recovering from tuberculosis; one recently barely escaped with his life when a fire caused by a paraffin lamp ravaged six shacks including his and destroyed it and all of his belongings; one had his shack blown away by wind and another lost his fragile roof to rain.
The challenges are the same but different for our new team in Mexico. These lovely single moms are blessed with children and were unable to find work. Now due to our new workshop they are employed full time and making a good income so that they can provide for their families. We will be updating everyone on the progress of Mexico but we are thrilled to have them on board and they are eternally grateful.
Our Bugz Commitment
BUGZ is a Humanitarian company, supporting native South African tribal people and Single Moms from Cuernavaca Mexico who had no hope, with sustainable employment. We believe that job creation is a healing process. Every butterfly and dragonfly that is sold helps create more jobs. By teaching an individual a skill to make a product you empower him with more then just a product that he can be proud of, you enable him to put food on the table for his family, give him hope, a desire to live and to ultimately gain self-respect. In turn you help a community lower the crime rate and ideally you heal the community. Here are some of the amazing things we have accomplished over these past years.
Our Hope is to continue providing dignity and creating jobs for our Team in both Mexico and South Africa.
CRISIS IN AFRICA...ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER STORY!!
Many of you already know about the incredible reunion that has taken place over this Holiday Season but for those of you who don't...I want to share a story that will help you understand why we are here and how your sales of the BUGZ moves mountains.
One of our newer team members has been away from his small family now for one year. His young son is only three and he has not seen him since he was an infant. This is because his son was out of the country staying with his mother while Emerson worked to make money and send home.
His new baby daughter has not seen him as she is barely one year old and his young wife has been taken ill and is thousands of kilometers away from where we work.
This has been just another tragedy for this young man who has been trying so hard to earn a living and support his family from a distance. There is no work where he is from.
At the end of October I was speaking with Emerson and found out about this tragic situation. Paul and I offered to help by advancing him the money to bring his family here. The money was originally to go with a woman who was traveling to his hometown but she wanted too much to do this for him. He then sent the money to his sister in Johannesberg as she agreed to take it to his home.
The money arrived and the paperwork was paid for and the tiny family set out on the road. This meant walking to the bus which was many kilometers away carrying a year old baby, their life's possessions and holding onto the three year old's hand. Once on the bus it was necessary to unload at the border and walk across. It was then that someone stole the money that his wife had left for the passage to Capetown. It was only due to a kind bus driver who gave her R100 so that she could get to Johannesberg that day.
Emerson had to borrow more money from friends to wire up to his wife so that she could continue the trip. Several weeks ago she finally was ready to board the train in Johannesberg however the day before there had been a major crash of two trains and so the train that left on Tuesday with Emerson's wife and children aboard was to arrive 24 hours later on Wednesday afternoon...but instead was grossly delayed until after midnight Thursday morning.
Paul and I needed to go the station to pick them up as it was far too dangerous for Emerson to leave his shack at night. His meager possessions could be stolen if he is away during the darkened hours.
There was little information about the arrival time of the train...she was in a class that is really unknown in the USA and had to sit in a tiny seat without food or drink for more than 36 hours. We went together to the train station and thought it was to arrive at 10:30 pm however found out that it wasn't coming in for several more hours.
Paul took me home and returned at midnight waiting on the platform with a sign hopeful to be able to find this young black mother with two small children. Of course all of the people on the train are young black mothers with small children in tow. But after a lot of investigation and questioning he finally found them. He actually called Emerson to be sure that he had the right woman and children as she doesn't speak very good English so he could have returned with the wrong family in tow.
We put them up in our home for the night as it is very dangerous to go out into the townships at night both for us and for the family. Paul was preparing a plate of dinner for them at 2:00 am while I tried to calm the baby who clearly had never seen a white person before. She cried and screamed so loudly that our dogs crawled into their beds and gave me a look that said...you had better not even think of keeping her here. I laughed so hard...she finally looked me over and decided I was really ok even though I was a bit on the pale side and stopped the caterwalling. That was fantastic!
The very next morning when Emerson came to work we had a reunion that seemed bittersweet as the children didn't recognize him then. The have now been reunited for a couple of weeks and all is really wonderful. They are so incredibly happy and each day he thanks us for our help.
In turn, we thank you for your support in selling and supporting the BUGZ products. We hope you will share this wonderful story with your customers so that they can realize how much they really help.
CRISIS IN AFRICA...WHY WE ARE HERE!
UPDATE ON THE CRISIS IN AFRICA STORY!!
On Tuesday March 25 Paul and I took Marry and Zweli to a private specialist in South Africa. The stress that these two have been under over these past three months is unbelievable and it showed as we made our way to the Hospital.
The doctor was extremely nice and after examining Marry he brought me into the office and said that he could find no evidence of any cancer at all. He realized the seriousness of what had happened to them and told me that he felt we should put this right once and for all and suggested a mammogram. So we pleaded with the xray department to fit us in so that we didn't have to return the next day. Once the results were in we went back to the Doctor and he confirmed his original diagnosis which was no cancer and there never was any cancer. He said that many of the clinic doctors just don't know what the real diagnosis is and so they tell patients the very worst and treat them for the very least. Then if the patient doesn't have anything wrong the Doctor says he cured them. It is really a horrendous way to practice medicine.
We couldn't wait to share this information with Zweli. Marry was in shock. Imagine thinking you had breast cancer and then finding out you never had it at all. They lit up like Xmas trees and became so chatty on the way home.
Zweli said to Paul how important he was and how he would never forget what we had done for he and his wife.
This is why we are here! This is why we are struggling to get a proper medical clinic set up. This is why we are going to continue fighting...and we will win with everyones' help!!
THE STORY OF WHY WE ARE HERE AND WHAT KEEPS US GOING!
Zweli has been with Paul for more than 10 years and is a loyal and trusted team member. Last year his mother became quite ill and so he sent his new wife Mary up to Kwa Zulu Natal to care for her. In January, his wife started having pains in her breasts and went to a doctor. Kwa Zulu Natal is the Zulu homeland and more than 1000 miles away from Hout Bay where the team works.
The doctor gave Mary a physical checkup by feeling her breasts and announced that she had breast cancer. He gave her no plan for treatment at all. The medical schemes in this country are available only to those who have money and the clinics regularly hand out Panados (similar to aspirin) for any and all illnesses.
Last month Zweli's younger sister travelled to Kwa Zulu Natal to help both their mother and his wife Mary as she was feeling quite ill. Three weeks ago his sister got a job there and went out on a Friday night with friends to celebrate her good fortune. Some unknown person or persons put poison in her drink and she collapsed at her home and died that evening. She was 18 years old. Zweli returned for the funeral and to support his mother and wife.
Mary returned to Hout Bay with Zweli and more pains in her breasts caused her to go to the medical clinic at a leading hospital in Capetown. They gave her pills and an appointment for August 20.
Paul and I returned home Wednesday the 20th March and went to the factory less than 12 hours later. In speaking with Zweli I was horrified to hear these details and Paul immediately phoned another hospital and spoke to their Oncology Department which is outside of the clinic. Chemotherapy and radiation are simply not available to those without insurance and so Mary was just cast out with a few pills and basically given five months to sort it out.
A series of phone calls made by both of us to private doctors has now culminated in an appointment with a private Breast Specialist on Tuesday afternoon March 25, 2008 . We are going to take Mary there to be properly examined and diagnosed. If need be we will then make an appointment for her to see an Oncologist immediately but they need to have the biopsy report first before making any appointment.
Had I not questioned Zweli about his wifes' condition I would not have known about this grevious mistake until perhaps it was too late. We are both keeping good thoughts that maybe she has been diagnosed incorrectly and that the lumps are merely cysts. If we hadn't stepped in, time would have been her worst enemy if the diagnosis happens to be correct.
This is why we fight to sell the Bugz products. This is why we have our hearts broken in two all of the time. The goal to build a proper clinic, expertly staffed is one that we hold onto. US Doctors for Africa our partner in the Awareness Bugz has agreed to operate the clinic if we can get it built. We are working in that direction for everyone here in the Western Cape. Hope and help are coming!
BUGZ INVITED TO WASHINGTON D.C.
Purple Awareness Bugz are all the rage and are going to adorn thousands during a Legislative Day in Washington D.C.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has asked Bugz to participate in this incredible event. It is their 30th Anniversary Conference and Bugz will be there to bring focus to the Global Issue of Domestic Violence. Help us support this incredible event. BUY AWARENESS BUGZ TODAY!!!
NEW YORK AIDS FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES WITH BUGZ!
Here is Dr. Laura Schlessinger with Richie Rich and Dr. Laura with the Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato wearing our fantastic HIV Awareness Bugz at the New York AIDS Film Festival’s 5th Annual Red Ball Gala at the Riverhouse Sales & Discovery Center. Our favorite AWARENESS BUTTERFLIES were featured at this amazing event.
The event, celebrating World AIDS Day and the launch of The New York AIDS Museum, kicked-off with a VIP sunset dinner and awards presentation, honoring GMHC, Miss Universe (Japan’s Riyo Mori), BET, and fashion design house, Heatherette.
Award presenters included: UN Youth Ambassador Aubrey O’Day from pop group Danity Kane, Lauren Bush, and Supermodels Maggie Rizer and Greta Cavazzoni. Special guests included: Naughty By Nature, Miss Universe Riyo Mori, Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato,Tinsley Mortimer, Evan Ross, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, D. Woods of Danity Kane, Amanda Lepore, supermodels Oluchi Onweagba and Irena Pantaeva, and fashion designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains of Heatherette, Luca Luca, Marc Bouwer, Priestess NYC, Ladies First, Unruly Heir, B. Oyama, Carlos Campos, and Angry Genes.
US DOCTORS FOR AFRICA GALA 2007
US DOCTORS FOR AFRICA
KOFI ANNAN & QUINCY JONES
HONORING EXTRAORDINARY PHILANTHROPISTS
PRESS RELEASE SEPT 12, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BUGZ RELEASES HIV BUTTERFLY INTO COMMUNITY AT LARGE
Atlanta, Georgia - September 12, 2007 - A local humanitarian company with its roots in Africa takes aim at HIV in a unique and beautiful way. Bugz, an upliftment project handcrafts to donate money to US Doctors for Africa HIV work.
Bugz, a small but incredible humanitarian company with its roots in Africa has announced the creation of a grouping of Awareness Bugz, butterflies and dragonflies that carry a human public service message.
This amazing project began with the announcement in August that Founder Paul Hunter was being honored by US Doctors for Africa for his extraordinary work with the tribal people of South Africa. The gala event is taking place October 17, 2007 in New York City where Mr. Hunter will be honored alongside of entrepreneur Russell Simmons. What started out as a gift for the attendees of this star-studded event has now turned into a charitable project within this Humanitarian company.
The Bugz team of Zulu workers is handcrafting a beautiful red butterfly décor clip that attaches to gift packages, floral arrangements, clothing, place cards, table linens and Christmas Trees and holds a message that says “HIV…not just another bug!” This beautiful butterfly is set to take the world by storm delivering its message on wings of hope.
The Awareness Bugz project is made even more delightful by the fact that this Humanitarian company whose mission is to provide sustainable employment for the Zulu by handcrafting beautiful products is donating money from the sale of each of these Bugz to US Doctors for Africa to help support the amazing work that this organization does throughout Africa…www.usdfa.org.
Bugz is sustained totally by the sale of these beautiful butterflies and dragonflies and receives no private or Government funding. Currently they support over 250 Zulu workers and their families with this amazing project. This is the first in a series of Awareness Bugz to be introduced into the line and to the public. Each of these series will donate to specific charities. You can find out more about these delightful creatures by going to their website at www.bugz.com
For more information: Georgene Summers,
Bugz Workshop Inc. 404 879 0400 phone, 404 879 0401 fax
www.bugz.com or email email@example.com
PRESS RELEASE AUG 30, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
US DOCTORS FOR AFRICA HONORS “POWER OF ONE” MAN
New York City, NY September 6, 2007 - US Doctors for Africa recently announced its Honorees for the upcoming Gala 2007 benefit honoring extraordinary Philanthropists who have made a difference in the world.
On October 17, 2007 a modest man named Paul Hunter will accept a Global Humanitarian award from US Doctors for Africa for his amazing work with the Zulu tribes in Africa. He shares the stage with the well-known Hip-Hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons and two other businessmen.
For more then a decade Paul has worked side-by-side with the Zulu teaching them to make beautiful Butterflies and Dragonflies that are sold as gift items throughout the world. The upliftment project that he started in his garage more than a decade ago has become one of the heart that now provides sustainable employment for over 20 Zulu workers and supports more than 250 Zulu family members.
Born on the Isle of Wight the 56 year old Hunter has the boyish good looks that belie his age. He spent 13 years on the road as a keyboard musician with his own band and a recording contract and opened for such stellar acts as Annie Lennox and the Eurythemics, Percy Sledge, the Detroit Emeralds and the Tramps.
Now the humble Paul Hunter spends his time between his South African factory and the USA promoting the sale of the beautiful Bugz products so that he can continue to provide jobs for his “team” as he calls his Zulu workers. Self-effacing and given to blushing about his accomplishments, he initially did not want to accept any recognition for his incredible work but changed his mind after realizing how much it would benefit the “guys”.
This unusual man has given so much to so many including the clothing off of his back and the shoes off of his feet. The Zulu live as illegal squatters in squalid conditions without electricity or running water in Hout Bay, South Africa. Paul’s dream has been to uplift them and to build low cost housing and an emergency clinic for them all while continuing to expand the sustainable employment project he calls Bugz. So much has been done over the past decade but he realizes every day how much more needs to be done. Every step of the way is a struggle as the project is self-funded and receives no Government or Private donations.
It is supported by the sale of the Bugz products. He has even sold off personal property in order to keep the project going and continue employing the “guys”. His belief: “Job creation is a healing process. By teaching an individual a skill to make a product you empower him with more then just a product he can be proud of, you enable him to put food on the table for his family, give him hope, a desire to live and ultimately gain self-respect. In turn you help a community lower the crime rate and ideally heal the community as a whole.
For more information: Georgene Summers,
Bugz Workshop Inc.
www.bugz.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org