This Ukulele Will Change Your Life and The Lives of Others. No, Really.


Things I like better than the ukulele. Um. Yeah. I mean, besides, you know, obvious stuff like loved ones and quality baked goods and the adventure of travel…Uh. Um. Oh, you know what’s about as good as the ukulele? Seeing how happy you are, hooked on your own ukulele. And this one, this ukulele, this brand new shiny Kamoa E3-T, well the mere idea of how happy it’s going to make you makes me a little crazy. And better still, it’s for a great cause.

Give a tenner and your name goes into a drawing for a Kamoa E3-T uke, shipped to you anywhere in the continental US. That tenner goes to a project sponsored by to build wells in Haiti. You can read more, or go here now to give.


I helped found Passports with Purpose, a fundraiser that taps into the huge network of travel bloggers, five years ago. By finding great stuff to give away in our online sweepstakes, we’ve raised enough money to build a school in rural Cambodia, 25 homes for deeply disadvantaged families in Southern India, and two libraries/learning centers in Zambia. We started this organization because, as people lucky enough to travel the world, we’d received kindnesses from people with so much less than we have. We felt, collectively, that we wanted to do something to give back, to make the world a little bit better than it was yesterday. On the grand scale of things, our projects are small, but the changes we’ve helped make are personally big — kids in a community that had no school get a place to learn. Families get roof that won’t be blown away in a monsoon. A whole room of books opens to an under-served community.

This year, we’re funding a well building project. It’s staggering to think about not having access to something as basic as clean water. Even when I traveled in East Africa, I had access to a ready supply of safe drinking water — the guides and handlers provided it. But it’s not readily available to everyone there — and I remember one day in camp when the local water supply just… stopped. It was temporary for us, we moved on. But a day to day life without access to clean water, this defies my imagination. It’s why this year, we decided to support a water project. The $100,000 we hope to raise (your ten dollar donation is part of that) will go towards five wells in communities that are still recovering from the 2010 quake. People will get clean water, you might get a uke.


If you know me at all, you know I’m nutty for Hawaii. And along with that, I’m nutty for the ukulele. I’m on the board for the Seattle Ukulele Players Association and I’m a proud member of Seattle’s loudest ukulele band, The Castaways. (Heads up Seattle-ites. Also up for give away? A Seattle area performance by said band.) I get to Hawaii once, twice a year. This year, I visited Kauai shortly after band mate Ed was there. “Oh. My. God. You gotta go check out the Kamoa ukes,” he said.

I spent an hour, maybe more, in Sam’s shop in Kapa’a. I kept picking up and putting down the same sweet ukulele, it sounded great, the action was great, I circled around and around. We talked ukuleles and Seattle and music and Sam just noodled away with the gorgeous ukes, he didn’t try to push me into buying any thing, just said, “Here, try this one…” (Sidebar: I think that’s how you can tell a great music store. No pressure. They get that buying an instrument is really personal.) I had to head up Waimea side where I was spending the rest of my time on the island, but I kept thinking about that one ukulele back there in Kapa’a. Fates transpired to keep me from going back, and really, I did not need another ukulele. Had I been staying closer to his shop, there’s no question I’d have returned to Seattle carrying one of his ukes. It got under my skin.

If you’ve been thinking you might like a ukulele, this is a deal you can not refuse. Sam generously donated a E3-T to the cause. (Thanks, Sam, for sharing the aloha.) They retail for $279 and they are lovely, I am here to tell you. And the ukulele. Picking up the ukulele has been, I do not exaggerate, life changing. I learned to play, I tackled my stage fright, I joined a band, I was on TV, I have a tiny clip in a movie (talking about ukuleles and Passports with Purpose). And most importantly, it has been a source of endless adventure and joy. I  want that for you. And this particular uke, while I can’t say how it will change your life, it will change the lives of others by providing them with clean water if you just throw in ten bucks.

Get a shot at uke. Change some lives by supporting a clean water projects. You don’t need more convincing. Go on, give.

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