Q: Do you have a green phone company?
Not really, rather a non-profit phone company that transfers all the profits to projects in the South. Even better: you can choose between the 8 projects they have to which one your money goes to. The rates are the same as the normal rates and I now pay around 30 euro a month for my cell phone, being an average user I think. The company operates in Belgium and is called Ello Mobile. They use the network of one of the 3 operators so the coverage is the same.
Q: I want to get involved in North south initiatives. How can I help?
You can either help by staying in the North or by doing volunteer work in the South. The latter option is probably the hardest but also the one that changes you most, usually for the good, I think.
The first danger is to fall into the hands of a bad organisation. Unfortunately, you have to take that very seriously as many of them only try to gain financially from you, and some who are honest, have no clue on dealing with foreign volunteers and don't have a long term vision. Just going there and finding an organisation when you're there can be asking for trouble. The safer bet is to contact an organisation in your country with volunteer opportunities in the South and ask them a lot of questions. Read full response
Q: Where do you find children toys in good shape that are sustainable?
Second hand shops of course! We never buy new toys. There are so many of them in the second hand shops. And you will receive plenty from friends and family. If that isn’t the case, asking around usually opens huge stocks of toys.
Q: How do I start trekking? First steps?
There are many ways to start. Almost totally unprepared is one way and it actually often works better then when you buy loads of stuff and plan everything in advance. Just try it.
That said, there are a few things that do come in handy if you want it to be a success. A little physical preparation really helps you to enjoy your trip. Do yourself a favour and go jogging, cycling or swimming for about 3 times a week, 2 months before you leave, in a gradually more intensive way.
The most underestimated and forgotten part is the mental preparation. That will be crucial, not for starting maybe, but for enjoying it and for wanting to do it again.
As for practicalities: I don't believe you need a lot of gear to get started, although buying some lightweight materials do help when you trek for longer and longer periods. Especially once you start trekking with a baby in your backpack. Read full answer