Interview About Marco, Not Polo!

Thanks to Jane Chen, who made this interview possible! Check out her Beauty/ Fair Trade Blog.

Rebekka Lien, a creative entrepreneur, writer, activist,artist and dear friend has had the privilege of sponsoring an Ecuadorian child through Compassion International for the past 3 years. Her current accessories shop donates a portion of the proceeds to support her child. Recently, an opportunity arose for her to be able to visit him!

I caught up with her recently to learn more about this exciting adventure!

1. How did you first hear about the organization that sponsors the child and what made you pick this org over others?

 I heard about Compassion International at a conference. The speaker was talking about giving and helping the poor. For some reason, I was really moved to support a child. I have been supporting non-profit organizations for awhile and thought sponsoring and becoming pen pals with a kid would be amazing!

2. Tell us more about your child: (name ,age, hobbies, his dreams,info on family etc.)

Marco Michael will be 11 in December 10, 2012. He is in second grade and likes group games, soccer and cars. His household chores consist of running errands, caring for animals, and cleaning. He lives with both parents and his dad is a farmer. 

3. What is life like for a typical Ecuadorian family? What are people’s occupation, education level, access to resources etc?

My sponsored kid lives in the plains of Tena, home to approximately 33,000 residents. Houses are constructed of cement and brick walls. The most commonly spoken language is Spanish.
The regional diet consists of maize, beans, beef and plantains. Common health problems are flu, dermatitis, intestinal illnesses, parasites, snake bites, broken bones, malaria and tuberculosis.

“Your sponsored child lives on the plains of Tena, home to approximately 33,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement and have brick walls. The most commonly spoken language is Spanish. Most adults in Tena are unemployed but some work as day laborers, animal herders or on plantations and earn the equivalent of $150 per month. This community needs schools, employment opportunities and recreational facilities.

My sponsorship allows the staff of Caminitos de Luz Student Center to education, provide nutrition and hygiene education, special celebrations, academic support and sports activities. The center staff also provides health and nutrition education and parents’ school for the parents or guardians of your sponsored child.”

4. When you meet him, what message do you want to convey to him?

I want to convey to him that he is important, special and unique. I want him to know that he is not just any kid in this universe, but that he was created for a purpose. I want him to have the opportunity to pursue his dreams and passions and not to allow his current circumstance to become a hindrance. In fact, I desire for him to use his hardships, suffering, joy, life experience as his greatest strength to relating to others and having compassion for those that he may have a heart to help in the future.
Personally, my life’s biggest suffering and trials have become my life’s victory and source of hope and inspiration for others. I went through the hardships of immigrating to two different countries, parent’s divorce, constant moving and change, poverty, and alienation in new environments. Those experiences have helped me to be who I am today and continues to inspire other people to overcome their own obstacles.

5. What have you learned from this experience? How has this changed your global perspective?

I learned that world issues are not far off. They relate to us in every way, our world is interconnected and we need to be aware and compassionate for people here and across the seas. We can’t wait for other people to do something, we are ourselves capable agents of change. I have decided to experience first hand the lifestyle and living conditions of a boy I’m sponsoring so I can understand.

If you would like the opportunity to partner with Rebekka in funding her trip to see Marco, please visit:

To learn more about Rebekka’s outreach adventures, visit her blog:


Only Insane People Like Me Would Do Such A Thing

Runny nose, blocked ear, weak body, thoughts of despair and desperation.

Why? Why me, now? And why was I so insane to book a flight to Ecuador without knowing if I could pay for my trip.

Only insane people like me would do such a thing.

I guess you can call it faith, not blind, but a steady faith, a stable faith knowing -I’ve done it before. The heavens supported my way through, it could happen again. Every time I tend to reach a point of “OMG I’M GIVING UP!”- actually I reach that point at least once a month. Somehow the universe likes to make you really really extremely “HELPLESS” and then, something happens. 

That’s my pattern anyway. It’s not my favorite, because it puts me in a vulnerable place of “omg what am I going to do”. I like to think that God rewards the insane for their faith, not based on their current circumstances, but believing my vision is legit, true, and noble for every resource to come together for.

Send me to Ecuador because I make dreams come true for people.

How to light fire, just light it.

IF you can’t believe in your own dreams and yourself, how can anyone believe in you and your dreams?

Preparing For Ecuador: Allow PEOPLE To Interrupt Your Travel Plans

Plans are great.

But they never go the way you expect them to. Something always goes “wrong”.

But perhaps the universe is guiding you to something even better, beyond your wildest dreams.

I got approved to meet Andi Marco today! I’ve been sponsoring since 2009 and will be going to Ecuador to visit him and do some GOOD in the world. His dad is a farmer. He is going to school because I’ve sent him! This is one of the greatest thing you can do for someone- give them education. Education is the first step to opening up a world of possibilities. Join me!

So even though a part of me is freaking about logistics, finance, fundraising, planning my return flight, itinerary, rent, work…

A still small voice says to “calm down and I’ll take care of you”.

This has been true for 6 of my overseas trips. I started going on international volunteer trips when I was 18. I went to Taiwan at 18, Japan at 19, Germany at 20, Taiwan at 21, China/Hong Kong at 22, Australia at 23. At first I went on very structured trips, consisting of waking up at 6 am and sleeping at 12 am. The day was filled to the  brim with ACTIVITIES. Then I went with other organizations that allowed you to have freedom to be, to explore, to engage. Pretty soon, I learned to allow time and space for the PEOPLE of the land to be priority on my trips. It’s unfortunate that people travel only for the sights and scenes.

What makes a country what it is- is it’s culture, it’s people. People are the ones that make the culture.

From my experience, I believe PLANS limit us from the most pleasant surprises that make our trip meaningful. It’s those divine connections, those moments in space that two people meet. That one person you meet, that you could NOT have if you weren’t there. That person will forever change the course of your life, as small as the encounter was. Vice versa.

This is true of our own lives. We can plan when we want to graduate, to work, to marry. We can plan our stability to the detail, but in the end, it’s people that makes our lives what it is.

Thus, allow PEOPLE to interrupt you, not all the time of course. Let people become important in your daily routine, work and life.

Be unconditional, forgive easily, and be offended minimally. Know that people are different and accept their differences; cherish their upbringing and background. Let their hearts be nurtured by who you are.

Note: this is coming from someone who used to plan to the minute, if you are ultra opposite, please take these advice lightly. All that I write about is from my experience, not an ultimatum of law.

The friends I can always count on when I’m back in LA. LA will always be my home!


Switzerland- became friends with a airplane buddy

As I embark on another journey of love- check out my campaign, join me, support me or give! 

I am at $150 and am aiming to raise $4,500 ($5,000 minus website fees) in 20 days. Believe in me and trust that every journey I take, I am making a difference in someones’ life. Our world is interconnected, not one person is an isolated individual. Thus when you support me, you are making a difference in areas of this earth that you may never go to yourself. Thanks for your constant support!