Something to Dream About
While Waiting for the IRS’s Approval

It’s depressing to sit around and wait until I get my approval from the IRS as a not-for-profit charity. I already have my incorporation papers and have many of my ducks lined-up to begin my fundraising drive for a half million dollars. However, I am impatiently waiting, and the government’s shutdown haunts me. I hurried up to get all my paperwork presented in order to wait, and the federal shutdown exacerbated my wait.

Nonetheless, unrelated to the delay of realizing my dream of 1250 laptops for my extended family in Taunggyi, Myanmar, I happened upon something that captured my imagination, which is seemingly unrelated to the laptops. What caught my attention were Himalayan salt lamps, which are from the Khewra Salt Mine in the Punjab area of Pakistan.

To be honest with you, I was mesmerized by them. I first got one for myself and GiGi who lives in Buena Vista, GA. Then I got a couple for Jack and Owen, my grandsons in Indianapolis. Then several other friends in the neighborhood also received their lamps. Then I got another one for myself. It is slightly larger than my first twenty-five pound one. Finally, at least temporarily, I got one that is around seventy-five pounds. The first two lamps are in my living room and bedroom. The larger one is in my office. I don’t grasp why they fascinate me so much.

People in Pakistan, where the salt mine is located, claim that the salt lamps can cure illnesses and address other medical issues. I’m not convinced about those claims, but aesthetically, they have taken hold upon me. Interestingly, the word for aesthetics comes from the Greek word, αἰσθητικός, which means pertaining to one’s sense of perceiving or perception. I will be the first to claim that my three salt lamps are both soothing and peaceful.

Inside the mine

In my several months of acquiring nearly ten salt lamps for others and myself, I have written several essays about them. Sandy, my web administrator, emailed me about when she was a young child growing up in Pakistan. Her father took her to the Khewra Salt Mine. So, my web administrator was born and raised in Pakistan, was an intern in America, and is working in Stockholm, Sweden. She has seen a lot of the world…starting with the salt mine.

Another part of the cave

However, in one of her emails, she mentioned when she and I go to Taunggyi with the laptops, we could stop in Pakistan, go to the salt mine, and meet her parents. The salt lamp issue is coming full-circle for Sandy. And for me, it is morphing into a huge haunting while waiting for the IRS to approve We Are Family in Myanmar, Inc as a not-for-profit charity.

You are probably wondering what it is that draws my dreaming to the salt mine? The answer is that it parallels my interest in Myanmar. Actually, it is an exact parallel. These are some of the apparent ties between Myanmar and Pakistan. I love to go to faraway places that most people haven’t even thought of visiting. I want to visit and learn the history of the distant destinations by traveling to those locations. Also, both countries were a part of the British colony of India.

Therefore, once I get the approval of the IRS, I can make my appeal through GoFundMe to raise $500,000. I will be asking readers of GoFundMe to do three things.

1. I am asking you to contribute to the money necessary to enhance the Internet reception and purchase 1250 laptops. Consider contributing to the purchase of one or a hundred laptops and improving Internet reception.

2. My next request is to send this link, We Are Family, to ten of your friends and ask them to send it to ten of their friends…ad infinitum. Bobby Kennedy said, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” I am a dreamer, but my dreams will benefit my extended family in Myanmar with your help.

3. My final request is to consider returning with me to Myanmar with all the laptops for the two schools. The sooner that I raise a half million dollars, the sooner that we can go to Myanmar and see where your investment in laptops will benefit the education of the next generation.

However, I wonder how many of my potential contributors would be interested in stopping to visit the Khewra Salt Mine on their way to Myanmar? If the history of the salt mine fascinates me, many of those reading my request for a half million dollars for the laptops would surely be interested also. Here is a quick tutorial of the genesis of the salt mine.

The following video covers the time of Pangea, 335 million years ago, to the present-day. Watch the island off the coast of West Africa move north to Asia. When the island connects with Asia, it trapped a huge amount of salt water, which over time evaporated leaving a huge amount of salt. Geologists estimate 80-600 million tons of salt are in the mine. Everyone in the world could have a Himalayan salt lamp of their own.

When I can finally begin my fundraising drive, it will be interesting to discover how many contributors would visit the Khewra Salt Mine and have some local make a lamp for them. These are awaiting some of my contributors.

Salt blocks awaiting an electric light and a buyer

In my video that prefaced this essay, I mentioned the Magnificent Seven. I am inviting them to return with me along with contributors to my fundraising drive for 1250 laptops for my extended family in Myanmar. Several of the Magnificent Seven, I have already contacted. However, I am not sure that some of them have gotten my invitation. If you know how to reach any of them, I would greatly appreciate you contacting those that you know. Please give them a link to both this essay about the Himalayan salt lamps and The Magnificent Seven essay. I thank you in advance….

The Magnificent Seven… My Dream Team

The following two videos are about the Khewra Salt Mine.