TOMS inserts = Korean academy fun

Old Man Pops sent me a care package a few weeks ago full of food (black beans!), clothes, and new TOMS.  I have packages sent to our school for two reasons:  1) I don't know my home address, and 2) I don't think a package would stay put outside my door all the live long day without some peek-a-boo neighbor "checking it out" for me.

It's as exciting for the kids as it is for me when I get a package at school.  While I was dancing around with my can of black beans, two of my students were obsessed with the inserts that came inside my new TOMS.  The enthusiasm lasted the entire rest of the school day - it was absurd. They were hats, gas masks, hackey sacks, umbrellas...you name it, they got creative with them.  Two weeks later, one of them showed up to class still playing with them.  Apparently...when kids go to school for 20 hours a day, shoe inserts are magical.

I'm concerned.


BAPS again

Remember this post about BAPS?  I wrote it before I was even in Korea, and I've since been able to visit and see the facilities and the dogs and meet 'the man', Leo Mendoza.  I've picked out a foster dog who will be coming home with me in a few weeks, and even aided a fellow volunteer and giant-hearted friend in putting together a BAPS fundraiser at a local bar.  I like this group. I like what they do.

Here's what I've learned in 90 days here:  Korea doesn't have an abundance of rescuers/welfare'ists/activists.  Sure, people like animals and think they are cute, but there's a severe lack of consideration for the quality and well being for another life.  Fish and other sea life are crammed by the hundreds in tanks outside of restaurants, chickens are stabbed in the heart and dropped to the ground at the meat market for customers to take home and cook, dogs, goats and other animals and crammed into cages filled with their own feces, waiting to be killed (I've seen with my own eyeballs dogs electrocuted out in the open), etc, etc. The mindset is that if the animal is for eating, it doesn't matter how it lives and feels and dies.  It's food, it isn't real.  But if it's not food, it's cute and adorable. At the meat market, the dogs for meat are living a holocaust on one side, and the white fluffy puppies for sale are 20 steps directly across from them, and no one seems aware of the irony.

So, people like dogs and think they are cute.  But, pet ownership is a new thing here.  People buy (problem #1, people BUY and never adopt - strays are "dirty") puppies and don't know how to treat them and raise them to be wonderful pets.  So they don't get potty trained and wind up with behavioral issues.  Naturally, they get dumped at the shelter. This is typical in any country, really.  But as mentioned, there aren't any rescuers here, there is no place for unwanted dogs.  The dogs have no options and are euthanized (hopefully humanely, but I'm not sure) or sold to meat markets.

BAPS is one of the few groups in Korea that routinely pulls dogs from shelters for a second chance.  They've got some great dogs.  Unfortunately, as any small group in a welfare-less  country, they have pretty limited resources.  The dogs all live in cages and only get a visitor every few days because there is not enough money and not enough man power for someone to visit daily.  Some dogs get into foster homes with foreigners, but since we are all here for such a limited time, they are often returned or jump around from home to home, which of course does a number on their mental stability and sense of abandonment.  It's certainly not a perfect arrangement, but, the alternative is hell, and the group is run by a man and his wife who have hearts of steel and they are constantly evolving to make it the best place possible.

Also, they are letting me take this little dude home.  I don't even normally *do* little dudes like this, I love the giant mutts.  But he's got some potty training issues that seem to be the only real reason he's not getting adopted, so I'm totally up to the challenge of fixing that in a snap in order to get him home for good (just not with me - I AM ONLY A FOSTER).

More incredible dogs:

Think they are cute and deserve better?  Think BAPS is doing a great job?  You should send some love their way.  You can donate easily via Paypal on their site.

Korea made my head hot

It's really hot here.  Humid hot.  Sweaty hot.  So I did this:

I kept it tied up nice and neat to send it off to the great Locks of Love.  

so peaceful..

This is the second time I've donated to Locks of Love.  Some child somewhere is/will be wearing me.  Is that weird?  I don't know.  And I'm still sweaty in Korea with short hair.  But there we go.