Posts Tagged ‘ Mocha Club ’


Artist: Katie Herzig

Song/Album: Lost and Found/The Waking Sleep

Date Released: September 22, 2011

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

How I heard about Katie: She is a Nashville artist and a Mocha Club artist.  I’m sure it was one or both of these things that put her on my radar.

What I like: For starters, the lyrics and the music are a perfect fit.

It could be the theme song for this season of my life or maybe just life in general.  Some areas of my life have never felt so right while other areas feel completely disjointed.  I’m guessing this tension never really goes away.  The space between lost and found is what it means to be human, I think.  It’s nice to know that I can exist in both places simultaneously.  That’s where I am right now anyway, and this song says it so much better than I know how.  It says all of this and leaves the taste of hope on my lips after I’ve finished singing.

I also love the video.  The idea of looking for a glimpse of light is just part of being human I think.  Some say it’s fate, some coincidence, and on my more hopeful days I attribute this light to a loving Father.  No matter where we think our light is coming from, it’s something that we can all understand.

Also, that final chorus straight up soars.

What I don’t like: I have no complaints.



I’m not sure why I haven’t blogged about this yet.

Mocha Club recently launched something called Live FashionABLE.

It’s pretty simple.  You buy a scarf, you sustain a life.  These scarves are hand made by women who have graduated from the Women at Risk program.  The same program that I visited when I was in Ethiopia.  These women do everything from dying the fabric, making the scarves on a loom, to sewing on the tags.  They make the scarves, Live FashionABLE sells them, you buy them.

This whole thing is special to me because somehow I got to help all along the way.  When I was a Mochatern last Spring, I was appointed to research the tags before the scarves were even made.  Then I helped bring back a couple of suitcases busting at the seams with these puppies when I left Ethiopia.  Now I’m getting the word out as a Campus Rep.  I’m so glad I got to see this whole thing unfold. And if you really love me, you will buy a scarf.

So today head over to  Get 25% off (today only).  Buy a Christmas gift and sustain a life.

Street Boys. Update.

A couple of days ago I told the devastating story of Birhanu and Gaytar. They are two teenage boys with out families, living on the street. No mother, no father, no loving arms to support them through the formative years of their lives.

I have a special connection to these young men because I spent 6 life changing days with them in Ambo. They are in my blood. I will never forget them.

Last week, I learned that they are back on the street. My team is currently trying to figure out how to rally around them. With help from one of my favorite people, it looks like we are going to do just that.

I want to introduce you guys to Samson, or Sammy as I know him.

Me and Sammy

If I ranked people, he would have an all access pass to the top 10 (not that I do that or anything). Anyway, Sammy is a side of Ethiopia that isn’t often told. He is one of the kindest, most gentle people I’ve ever met. He has an amazing singing voice, and his shoulders shake when he laughs (which is often).

Sammy is in his last semester of college. He will graduate with a degree in Christian Leadership. He is already showing extraordinary leadership as he is the one who is keeping us updated with our beloved boys. He is the one helping to make plans to find a place for them to live.

In his last update he wrote, “As you know, these boys have no one. It was everything for them while we were there. It was like they were with a family. I even remember some of their friends calling them names like “traitor” because they were hanging out with us. So, I’m glad to know that they have us who really care for them. I myself am in love with them. I have been keeping in touch with them and also praying for them. I know that God has big plans for them and they are important to him just as I am to him.” I thank God for Sammy and his example. I hope that I can be as in love with every person I meet as he is.

Now here’s the tricky part. Support. I was very surprised and encouraged with everyone who offered their support. It is tricky. I wish I could give my whole pay check to meet the needs of Birhanu and Gaytar, but that could counter greater support that is on its way through Mocha Club. Mocha Club is developing a program to not only reach these boys, but all 300 or so in the Ambo community. I don’t know what stage the process is in, but I know the ball is rolling.

So until the program is officially launched, there are 2 ways to show support. First, pray. There are more men like Sammy in the Ambo community who have hearts for these boys. Pray for these men as they work along side Mocha Club to develop the program. Pray that everyone at Mocha Club and African Leadership will have wisdom when developing the program. Pray that the boys day to day needs will be met.

Second, you can give a one time donation toward establishing this program. This seed money can be sent by writing a check to Mocha Club with Street boys in the memo line. Send it here:

Mocha Club
233 Wilson Pike Circle 
Suite 2A
Brentwood, TN 37027

Also, you guys can be apart of my Mocha Club team. We support orphans all over Africa. It’s $7.00 a month, and you get a sweet t-shirt for joining. At least check it out here.

Oh and it looks like Birhanu and Gaytar will have a place to stay by the weekend.

Street Boys

The city of Ambo is about a 2 hour drive from Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. It is best known for its mineral water, but I will remember it because of the people I met there.

My team spent 6 days there.  Everyday we met up with 4 very special guys. Tura (18), Danny (18), Birhanu (19), and Gaytar (16) (I think those ages are right). These guys are referred to as Street Boys by the locals. Basically, it means exactly what it sounds like.  They live on the street.  They don’t have any parents or family to take care of them.  There is somewhere around 300-400 of them from ages 6 to 19.

Tura, Me, Birhanu, Danny doing our best Olan Mills pose.

To be honest, they are seen as a nuisance to most of the community.  They are a burden.  They are good for nothing.

Each boy has his own devastating story.  Here is Birhanus as recorded by Beth.

His parents died when he was 6 years old and was sent to live with his grandparents and uncle about 20 minutes outside of Ambo.  His grandparents were really abusive towards him and would beat him everyday.  For a living, Birhanu and his uncle would go out to the forest and collect firewood to sell.  His uncle didn’t care about the quality of the firewood and would even pick wood that he knew wouldn’t burn.  Because of this, he was really quick to find wood and bring it back home.  Birhanu, in hopes to make his grandparents proud of him, would spend extra time in the woods finding really nice quality pieces of wood to bring home.  Because of this extra time spent looking for wood, his grandparents would beat him even more.  It was a constant battle of him trying to make his grandparents proud.  When he was 11 or 12, he started hanging out with his friends more often and got involved in gambling.  After a while, he quit gambling but because of this brief period in his life, his family abused him even more.  He would go to school but come home and be accused of gambling and get beat, once again.  It was around this time that he left home and walked to Ambo and became homeless.  He know shines shoes for “a living”.  The odd thing is, while we were in Ethiopia, he wanted to take us to his grandparent’s home for a coffee ceremony when we went to Wenchi Lake.  I think he is still in the mode of wanting to please his grandparents and for them to be proud of him.

When we left, Birhanu, Danny, and Gaytar were night gaurds of a small cinema.  It wasn’t a home, but it was a place for the night.
About a week ago, I got good news.  Danny was able to move to Addis where he could live with one of the translators from our trip.  I really couldn’t be more excited for him.

But today my team got some bad news.  Birhanu and Gaytar were kicked out of the cinema and back out on the streets.

I don’t have the capacity to respond to this.  I can’t even begin to explain how much I grew to love these guys in the 6 days we spent together.

Right now it’s about 8 am there.  I wonder how they spent their night.  Where they safe?  When was the last time they ate?  Did they get any rest?

I’m trying to figure out how to get some support their way.  I’ll keep you posted.


Today is my birthday. I am 23. That is weird. I don’t think anyone really thinks about the ages between 21-25. They’re just kind of filler. It’s a time in your life when “stuff” is happening.

I want to be involved in important stuff. I don’t want to be fooled into only seeing what is in front of me. I can’t forget that I’m laying the groundwork for the rest of my life right now. I want to always remember that the choices I make today will be what affects my everything tomorrow.

But that’s only one way of seeing beyond my day to day. I can never forget the beautiful faces that I met 7,000 miles away. I can’t forget their smiles, their laughs, their heartaches, and their dreams. Now, they are apart of me.

So please join today, September 16, 2010, on my 23rd birthday, in being apart of something bigger than myself. Bless Daniel, Bruhanu, Tura, and Gatar*. Give to them instead of me. I have all I need. These boys don’t have homes. Their bellies are probably empty as they are looking for a place to sleep tonight.

Daniel, Bruanu, me, and Gatar

Be a part of what Mocha Club is establishing in their town Ambo, Ethiopia. Hopefully some day soon, these boys will be in school and they will have a safe place to rest their heads every night. But that is not possible with out you or me. Let’s see if we can raise $230 together, what do you say? There is no amount too small.

If you would like to be a part please mail a check to:

Mocha Club

233 Wilson Pike Circle 
Suite 2A

Brentwood, TN 37027

In the memo line of the check put “Street Boys”, and tell them Travis sent ya.

*These boys are known as Street Boys. Their ages range from 6-19. They have nothing and often think they are nothing. Until about 15 minutes ago, everything I have been wanting to say about them has been dammed up inside. My brain couldn’t form the words. A blog should be coming along shortly to tell you more about them.

Be a Man, Love a Woman

I’m still trying to untangle everything from my trip to Ethiopia.  It’s happening, just slowly.  I decided, however, I wanted to share one or two of my journal entries from when I was there.

Saturday, July 30, 2010 10:40 pm
Some Hotel, Nazret, Ethiopia

I can’t process how amazing this trip is.  The people are so warm.  I feel like they are doing so much for us, and we are barely doing anything for them.

This trip is full of things I didn’t expect.  Each day I come away with a greater sense of the importance of being a man.  I mean I’ve always known how important the male is to society, but now I understand to a greater degree.

Today our team went to visit the Woman at Risk program.  These woman have tragic stories.  One woman was almost raped by her boss.  Naturally she quit, but having no other skills, her only way to make money would be to sell her body.  After she was 3 years deep into prostitution, she met the people from Women at Risk.  She decided to join the program, and her life will always be different.

She heard about Jesus for the first time in the program.  Now is is making steps to educate herself.  She is learning to read and write.  Everything that is going on there is so amazing.

I can’t help but think how the lives of all these women, or the orphans we met yesterday, could be different if they had Godly men in their lives. 

What if…

All of these “what ifs” are so thought provoking but I can’t forget to remain thankful for the great love and care both the women and orphans are getting where they are now.  God’s grace is enough to cover all situations, and he can make good out of anything.

What I can start “what if” thinking about is the future.  What if I was a father to some of those children?  What if I was an example of a Godly man to these women?  How could the world change then?

What if?

What if we didn’t blame the past, but resolved to actively be apart of the present?  How would that change the future?


I’ve been waiting to write about Ethiopia when I could summon more poetic, more stirring words, but it looks like the ones I usually use will have to do.  I don’t know why, but I expected the spirit of Shakespeare, Tennyson, or Elliot to descend upon me when I started to write.  It was my hope that the first sentence would cause a single tear to leak from the corner of every readers eye and slowly trickle down their face as they braced themselves for what would come.  Which would obviously be water works to rival Niagara or Africa’s own Victoria Falls.

Starting on a tangent is never a good thing.

As misguided as it sounds, I did have thoughts of grandeur for my return to US soil.  I hoped to return a new, inspired man.  I hoped Ethiopia would change me and immediately.  But it’s nothing like that.  In the very Ethiopian way, it is taking it’s sweet time.

Ethiopia didn’t change me, but it will shape me.  As long as I continue to remember the street boys, the beautiful women in Nazret, the crazy Compassion kids, then I will never be the same. Truth be told, this has nothing to do with me.  It’s time I get out of the way and let the stories I saw speak for themselves.

More to come in the next few days.