We’re Building a Well

As you may know, I’ve been fortunate to find places to call ‘home’ in many locations, the most recent being Sierra Leone. I’ve been there twice and am heading back for a third time this January.

This time, we have an amazing opportunity – to finish building a well at an orphanage in Sierra Leone. Please join me in sharing the best parts of the holidays – the giving and gratitude – to further illuminate the future of these kids.

I can’t say it much better than this video – Orphfund is the group building the well that has just started construction, and a trusted friend is helping oversee the project. They need $1,000 to complete it, and I know we can provide these funds.

Here’s how to contribute:

  • Mail me a check or I can send you a paypal request for an electronic transfer boyle.mariah at gmail.com
  • If in Santa Cruz, I’m going to offer to turn in everyone’s spare change – drop it by my house anytime before Dec 21


I’ll keep you informed as to how much we raise and hopefully even take photos of the project during my trip.

If cash isn’t available – I’m also accepting donations of items to bring over:

Donate Items- small and light is best for me flying over there, or even better I can use your donated money to buy items in-country, helping the economy. Here’s a specific list of items I’m looking for to bring to some special folks:

  • Kids clothes (1-10 year old boys & girls)
  • Educational games ages 2-10
  • Games for all ages (minimal English & game pieces – get lost easily)
  • Colored pencils and small blank sketching notebooks
  • Teacher lesson handbooks for primary school
  • Anything for the primary school classroom (world maps, posters, etc.)
  • MP3 players (with power cord or batteries & loaded with music)
  • Laptops (to teach computer skills)
  • Headlamps/flashlights and batteries for security staff
  • Solar lights for families
  • Frisbees

Anything extra I receive that I can’t bring I usually donate to Goodwill. If you want anything that doesn’t fit in my luggage back, please let me know.

Continued Support

To continue to support this work, you can donate to Orphfund which has orphanages throughout Africa, including Sierra Leone:

  • One time or recurring donation. I sponsor a child in Sierra Leone named Amadu, and I’m going to meet him for the first time this trip!
  • Purchase items from the Orphfund store that sells beautiful photos or crafts made by women in east Africa
  • Send money to me to donate for you or donate via Paypal directly here

Vote with your wallet

This holiday season let’s choose our gifts carefully. Every time we make a purchase we’re voting – for the social, environmental, and economic practices of that company and their supply chains.

If you want gifts that do a huge amount of good in the world, here are some of my favorites:

Bureh – handmade belts from Sierra Leone with beautiful African fabric

Nuru Project – sells stunning photos to support non-profits

Somaly Mam Foundation – purchase scarves and jewelry to help this foundation continue its work – helping girls leave the sex trade in Cambodia

Umoja – jewelry made by women in a women’s-only village in Kenya

Orphfund Sewing School – hand-made aprons, purses, oven mitts in beautiful African fabric

“Providing 12 months of free vocational training to four disadvantaged women. The aim is to remove them from the poverty cycle permanently.”


Kiva.org - Give a gift card for a microcredit loan.

“We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.” I loan through this site and it is an amazing reminder at what $25 can do, and how we’re all connected.