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Our Adopted Rats

Name: Ikemba

Job: Mine Detection Rat

Meet Our Past Rats: Nala and our beloved Cheeky who is now watching us from above.

Recycling Funds

2012: $105.63

2013: $118.63

2014: $56.45

Featured Team Members

May Events!

Aloha everyone!

For the May volunteer events, I'm going to share two events that are near and dear to me. A good buddy and fellow HURT member of mine is battling cancer and we're holding two events in his honor. One is being put on by his fellow paddlers and the other is a HURT run, both up on the beautiful North Shore. Both events are donation only and every cent goes to George to help pay his medical bills.

I'm personally helping put together the running event and it will be a blast! I'll be volunteering during the race and likely running around dressed as a banana along with other costumed crazies. Want to just come hang out in costume? Please do! We always have the best food, people, and the most fun around! Did I mention prizes? Come check it out and make a day of it and hit the beach are free to run any distance or walk or skip...anything goes, it doesn't have to be the full 8 miles. Kids/family welcome. Or if you have a banana tree and want to donate food for the race or bake some cookies, anything is appreciated! The trails we're running on are not really open to the public so this is a rare opportunity.

Read the full post of the paddle event

Read the full post for the run event here.

FYI for June, I'm thinking of doing the He'eia Stream Restoration per Lynn's request. As always, ideas or requests of what to have as our event are welcome!

Thanks everyone!

BTW, we are TOTALLY going to win the Portal of the year next year...  :)


Quarterly Update from Cheeky

Hello friend,
Greetings from the TB Detection Center in sunny Tanzania! I am on a break from my training, and just couldn’t wait to fill you in on everything I’ve been doing here. 
After a bumpy ride from the breeding kennels at APOPO’s headquarters, to the Tuberculosis Detection Facility a few kilometers away, I settled into my brand-new kennel and felt ready to start my important work as a TB Detection rat. And it all began when I met my trainer, Tony. Tony is one of the newest HeroRAT trainers here in Tanzania, and I am one of the newest TB Detection rats – so we both knew it would be a great fit.
After we got to know each other a little, Tony started me on a process called “click training.” He told me there would be food involved, so I was enthusiastic right away. But the first time we practiced, I admit I was a little confused! Tony placed me in a clean glass cage, and for a few minutes, I ran around, sniffing excitedly before I wondered what came next. Finally, I heard a loud “click” noise from the side of the cage, and before I knew it, Tony was handing me a delicious cocktail of banana, avocado, and rat chow (if you ever get the chance to try this delicacy, I recommend it)!
It didn’t take long for me to realize that whenever I heard this “click” noise, all I had to do was run to Tony’s side of the cage to get my reward. When Tony thought I was ready, he moved me to an even tougher stage, called “one hole” training.
At “one hole” training, I was introduced to the delicate bouquet of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tony would place me in the same glass cage, but this time, there would be a sample pot with the smell of TB beneath one of the holes at the bottom. Whenever I wandered near the sample, I’d hear the familiar “click,” and I’d run over to Tony to get my treat.
But now, he is a bit tougher on me. Before I can graduate from this stage, he insists that I must practice concentrating, and keep my nose in or above the hole long enough for me to prove to him that I really know what I’m doing. It’s tough – I know that he’s waiting for me with banana at the ready, so sometimes I get carried away and run for a treat before it’s been long enough. But I am a young rat, and still learning my craft!
Soon, I will have graduated and move on to the next stage – in no time at all, I will be proudly serving as a second-line screen for TB patients in Tanzania. How exciting is that? And I could not do this important work without your important help! Thank you for your support, and stay tuned until I write to you next.
Love and whiskers,
Cheeky the HeroRAT

Waimea Valley Volunteer Day & Shoe Drive Wrap Up

I'd been excited to come to Waimea as this was the first time I'd ever been in the valley. I'm so glad Janet mentioned that they had done a cub scout project there earlier which sparked the idea for us to go. I grabbed my best friend, packed the Jeep and arrived about 30 minutes early. We got to see Peacocks walking all over like they owned the place and in crazy high trees. People then started to arrive and Hoku, our volunteer organizer, came out to greet us. I didn't find out till later in the day that it was actually supposed to be his day off, but he hooked us up anyway and came in so we could volunteer...just off a vacation no less!

So from the main entry Hoku told us we'd be heading back in to the valley to clear debris from one area that had recently been flooded. We started it off with a Hawaiian prayer and he gave us some insider knowledge on the area and about the cool birds that live there (one was so endangered there are only 300 left and these birds were just flying around...crazy!)

We stopped to pick up tools and gloves then walked back to the work area. He gave us instructions to pick up debris, garbage, leaves, anything covering the base of the plants. The goal was to keep the roots from being crowded and harming the plants (paraphrasing here).

Once we started, we scattered and created 4 or 5 piles where we dragged our bounty to be picked up later by a truck. It was nice working in an area that wasn't in the public path (I didn't realize this was such a popular tourist spot there were lots of busses and people coming through)

After about 1.5 hours we called it a day and Hoku took us on a short tour and walked us up to the waterfall where we were free to wander the grounds for as long as we wished.

When we got the waterfall many brave souls jumped right in (myself not included) to the freezing iceberg water.

It was a fantastic day! View the photo gallery.

On another note, I've wrapped up the shoe drive. Thanks everyone for participating! We kept a good amount of shoes out of the landfill that can now be recycled to make new playground surfaces.

Next up, not sure yet, anyone have any ideas they'd like to do for another drive? Coin jar? Food drive? Blood donation?