Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Christmas Gift To Make A Difference In Africa

Same Sky is an innovative program that supports African women living with HIV/AIDS by teaching them a skill and providing materials that help them earn a living. They are given a marketable skill and steady employment, essential factors when it comes to rebuilding lives and supporting their families.

The women are taught to crochet and make bracelets using hand-blown glass beads. The jewelry is sold online and at events around the world, with all net proceeds reinvested into the company to buy more materials and employ more women. It began with a partnership with Gahaya Links in Kigali, Rwanda, and expanded to Zambia in 2011.

If you're in Palm Beach on December 9, you can see what Same Sky does--and support the cause--at Badgley Mischka, 251 Worth Avenue. Same Sky founder Francine Lefrak, Michele Herbert, and Carolyn Grace will be there from 6 to 8 PM. Check the Same Sky website for events in your area or to order directly.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Monday, September 12, 2011

Film Explains How U.S. Supports Congo Rapists

It's not news that the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to be ravaged by Rwanda, Uganda, and its own armed forces under the leadership of its president, Joseph Kabila. What has not been apparent, however, is the extent of U.S. complicity in the exploitation of the country.

Friends of the Congo released a short version of a feature-length film that fully explains the reasons behind U.S. support for the forces that are systematically raping Congo's resources. As the organization explains,

It locates the Congo crisis in a historical, social and political context. It unveils analysis and prescriptions by leading experts, practitioners, activists and intellectuals that are not normally available to the general public.
While the film contains some scenes of graphic intensity, it's a reasoned, well-researched, authoritative explanation of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. Anyone with a conscience should view Crisis In The Congo: Uncovering The Truth.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Clear-Eyed Look At Congo Tragedy

If you want to understand the tragedy that is the Democratic Republic of Congo, put aside the mythology and read Dancing In The Glory of Monsters. Jason Stearns has untangled the snarling mess that is the history of this sad nation.

As someone who's researched and written about the Congo myself, I found new insights into the interminable conflicts that have wracked the country for it's entire modern history. Stearns clearly delineates the players, putting them into context and showing how they interacted to make the Congo what it is today. He carefully explains the role of Rwanda's Paul Kagame and other outsiders in the turmoil, but also delineates the power hunger and shortcomings of the Congo's own leaders, including current President Joseph Kabila.

Most importantly, Stearns shows how there is no one single cause of the Congo's troubles. He calmly shows how tribal rivalries fuel the strife just as much as the struggle to control the country's mineral wealth. He explains how the internal politics of Zimbabwe, Uganda, Angola, and other countries in addition to Rwanda led to their deep involvement in the DRC's wars. While he rightfully deplores the epidemic of rape in the Congo, he puts it in context and doesn't dwell on it--not because it's not important, but because there's much more to the story.

I found it refreshing that Stearns resists the impulse to blame rapacious multinational corporations for much of anything except trying to find a way to do business in the Congo. He doesn't ignore the many shortcomings of most of the deals to exploit the Congo's riches, but correctly points out that most of them were struck by Congolese leaders eager to fund their own ambitions. He leaves the conspiracy theories to other, less informed writers.

Dancing In The Glory Of Monsters is an objective, clear-eyed look at one of the greatest ongoing tragedies in modern history.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Friday, April 29, 2011

Golf Fore Africa Raises Money For AIDS Relief

I am a golfer as well as someone with a deep interest in Africa, so when I heard about Golf Fore Africa, I had to get on the bandwagon to spread the word about this excellent cause.

Betsy King, whose Hall of Fame career produced 36 LPGA tournament wins including six major championships, has dedicated her life to helping others in need. In 2007, King founded Golf Fore Africa to heighten awareness of the terrible plight of children who were orphaned as a result of the devastating AIDS pandemic that is so prevalent throughout much of the African continent. The year before, King had made a trip to Africa with the World Vision organization and was deeply affected by the suffering and desperate living conditions she encountered.

Golf Fore Africa is dedicated to bringing hope and support to African children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS. Funding is made available to a wide range of critical projects necessary to improve the quality of life, such as access to medical care, education, agricultural assistance and clean water resources.

On May 23rd, King will host a limited field event at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, New York, to raise much-needed funds and awareness for the communities in Africa that her charity supports. King will be joined by an impressive list of active LPGA golfers including Jiyai Shin, who was No. 1 in the 2010 Rolex Rankings, Brittany Lincicome, Stacey Lewis, Katherine Hull and Azahara Munoz, LPGA rookie of the year in 2010.

The per person entry fee is $3,000, which includes breakfast, lunch and a clinic with Betsy and the LPGA pros. Each participant will have the opportunity to play with three different pros.
GlenArbor, designed by the legendary Gary Player, enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest private clubs in an area known for some of the country’s most historic and iconic golf clubs. GlenArbor welcomes the Golf Fore Africa intimate event, particularly as the club supports the improvement of educational and living opportunities for underprivileged children.

For more information regarding playing spots in this exceptional event for a worthwhile cause, please contact Debbie Quesada at (408) 284-5818 or

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Free Tales Of Horror To Celebrate "Read An eBook Week"

Like a concert violinist playing bluegrass fiddle, every writer needs to stretch his chops from time to time. I got the itch to write something different and timed the publication to celebrate "Read An eBook Week" March 6-12. It's a mini-collection of three short stories available FREE from

The genre? Horror

The title? "Blind Curve, Three Dark Tales by Dave Donelson"

The price? Free!

The tales....

Bad things happen in "The Alley," a tale told by a narrator who should know--he did some of them. Or did he? Only the victims can answer that question, and they're not talking.

Man's best friend offers the ultimate proof of his loyalty in "Bad Dog." The cute little canine doesn't care whether his master is a good man or an evil one, he simply obeys.

Benon Otema is not a criminal, he's just ambitious. A stalwart leader of his village, a successful merchant, a father and good provider, Benon should know better than to listen to tales told by a drunkard. But he does, and the story takes him to the "Blind Curve."

In addition to these three short stories, the book includes excerpts from two novels. Heart of Diamonds, a novel of scandal, love, and death in the Congo, is a thriller about diamond smuggling in the war-torn heart of Africa. Hunting Elf, a doggone Christmas story, is a comedic romp that's delightful reading any time of the year.

Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, hiring, firing, and motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Tragic Anniversary of Patrice Lumumba's Assassination

As we celebrate the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King today, we should also pause to reflect on the death of Patrice Lumumba, killed on this date 50 years ago. His assassination at the direction of the United States and Belgium is one of the blackest marks on America's conscience. It set into motion the virtual destruction of a nation that should be the beating heart of Africa.

Lumumba's death just months after his choice as the Democratic Republic of Congo's first freely-elected leader was akin to strangling the infant nation in its cradle. It led to the ascension of Mobutu Sese-Seko, who raped the Congo for 32 years with the monetary, military, and shameful public relations support of the U.S. government. The conflict that erupted when he was finally deposed has resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent people. Sadly, it's a conflict that continues to this day.

Adam Hochschild writes an incisive piece about the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in today's New York Times.

Tonight, Friends of the Congo is sponsoring events in Washington, New York, and Toronto. In New York, it's a screening of a fabulous film, Lumumba, at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem followed by a panel discussion. For information, call 212-582-6050 X221.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the