Sunday, February 27, 2011

Skype Hype

At the beginning of MckMama's campaign to get the GHNI village of Garmaam "adopted" by 100 of her readers, she wrote a post entitled, "Tonight is the night!", and it was posted on her blog on Monday morning, February 21. At the end of that blog post, Mckmama wrote the following:
"Additionally, on Thursday evening (at around the same times as I listed above), four of you who join Garmaam’s extended village will have the opportunity to join live with each other and the people of Garmaam in a video call (Both ways! The village will see and hear you…and vice versa!) to the village!! I’ll give you more details in my next post, but if you are planning to help adopt Garmaam, be thinking now about possibly being a part of the call. How will we decide which four will participate? I’m so glad you asked!

The four people with the most creative idea about how you will gather a crowd of people around your computer to meet Garmaam will get the spots. More to come tonight!!"
Approximately 12 + hours later (on Monday evening), she posted another post on her blog, entitled "This is Garmaam." In that post, she announced that the day for the Skype calls had been changed. Here's what she wrote:
"Also, on Friday evening (8:00 pm Pacific, 11:00 Eastern…and yes, I know I said Thursday earlier, but we changed it!), four of the 100 of you who join with Garmaam will have the chance to be part of a live video conference call that we will rise very early and have with Garmaam at sunrise. You will be able to see and hear the villagers, and the villagers will be able to see and hear the four of you on the screen at the same time! But it won’t be just you. To help spread awareness about this amazing Ethiopian village, as well as the beauty and the needs here, please email me sometime before Tuesday evening in the States if you want to be considered for the call. Let me know how you would gather a crowd around your computer for the video experience. Would you gather your neighbors at your house to meet “your” new village? Maybe you work evenings and would bring your computer (Your computer must have a web cam!) to have your coworkers participate? Would you meet with people from your church for the evening call? Have your teenager invite a slew of friends over for an African themed sleepover? Gather your buddies around the poker table? Get creative! We’ll pick the four people with the best plans, and I’ll email them back so we’ll be squared away for the call on Friday evening, when each of the four can carry out their plan and participate in the live conference call!

I will of course attend the live video call and photograph it so I can post about how it went. Technology is amazing. But our neighbors around the globe are even moreso. To learn more about how your $12 a month will help the village, click here. For a deeper explanation of how GHNI seeks to help villages transform themselves, click here."
The "winners" of the Skype calls were never announced.

But information started to surface the very next day. On Tuesday afternoon, one of the "winners" hinted that she was one of the chosen 4 by telling her blog readers that they were going to want to come to her house on Friday night (the night of the Skype call). It seemed a little odd since the village had not yet been adopted by MckMama's readers. MckMama had asked her readers to contact her via e-mail by Tuesday night, if they wanted to be considered for the Skype call, but had the "winners" already been chosen?

People might say that this doesn't matter and it wasn't even a true "giveaway", but I think this is just one more story that illustrates the way MckMama handles these situations.

Before the Skype call on Friday, February 25, a commenter posted here on MWOP. She stated that she was one of the "winners" and she stated that she would be recording the Skype call and make it available online. MWOPers had their doubts, but it turns out that she was one of the "winners". After corresponding with this individual, I was able to confirm her story and the timing of the events. MckMama contacted her on Monday, February 21 to see if she would like to be considered for the Skype call. The wording of that e-mail definitely implies that there was never a contest. It seemed the decision had already been made.

This individual commented here on Saturday, February 26 (the morning after her Skype call took place) and posted the following comment under the username "It's all coming together", but I have removed her name and the identifying information from her comment. With her permission, I am sharing the content of that comment with you below:

"Good morning everyone - you too, Mckmama. I have a full day of kids & work to attend to, but wanted to say something before I sign off for the day.

My name is (name removed) and I was a sheeple. Well, more like a part time sheeple. A few years ago I started reading blogs and came across Jens. We had a lot in common... both had fairly rocky relationships (mine not physically violent thank God), I was pregnant with my 4th child and have since had a 5th (all but 1 were preemies with 2 spending 2+ months in the hospital), we own our own small business, I am an amateur photographer, etc, etc, etc... she lived just a short drive from me.

When Stellan was having all his heart problem I felt horrible for her. I knew what long hospital stays did to families, and knew if I had to spend time away from family/work etc, I'd be financially ruined. So I helped her. I paid for hotel rooms... sent gift cards... sent money anonymously.

At one point almost a year ago I confronted her via e-mail about some issues I had with her lying. She e-mailed me back and smoothed it all over - very nicely I might add. It was a big band-aid and made everything better for a short time.

Just like many of you, I had questions pop up from time to time. I always told myself that since she was so popular, people were bound to be jealous - and that some people just had NO life outside of trashing Ms. McKinney. And really, some of her "lies" were small - really nothing that mattered (unless you took the time to put the WHOLE PICTURE together). So why bother, ya know? And with all the horrible things happening to her, she needed people who truly cared. I justified it rather nicely, wrapped it up and put a big bow on it - and went on reading her blog.

I felt she was doing such an amazing and difficult thing to leave her family when she headed back to Africa this time. I, too, have 5 kids - and can't imagine being away for 2 weeks! When she asked for people to sponsor the 2nd village, I really thought it would be a great way to be involved. (Identifying information removed)

On Monday the 21st, I got an e-mail from Jen saying she wanted me to be part of the skype chat. It also says, "You guys might need to sign up now to hold a spot for your (Identifying information removed)?" I thought it was weird since I knew the village hadn't been 100% adopted yet - and I guess I thought it was a contest for everyone who signed up to sponsor them. I was excited - as I hadn't yet spent some time researching GHNI. To be CLEAR - I have found nothing derogatory about them. To be more clear - I have found NOTHING. It's all fluff. No #'s about what money goes where - or what percentage of my $12 actually GOES to help them. I don't have the time or the desire to hunt down their non-profit info, or tax return info... but on their website - the information I would want to have as a donor, isn't there.

None of it mattered anyways. It turned out that a girl I work with knows someone who knows Jen. She shared with me some information that I really took to heart. I was told to read here, at MWOP - and read the "Links you might want to read" - and to read back through her blog as well.

Why would I bother to try to dig up dirt? What this girl told me really bothered me. AND... I've spent HOURS over the last few years reading her blog - and have spent my families money to help her. For my personal knowledge, I could easily justify spending a few more hours reading/researching in lieu of being a "sheeple" for the next several years.

The first thing I realized on my own was that the woman who BANNED Susan G Komen ads on her blog is asking her readers to donate $12 a month for a village that practices polygamy. Struck me as odd...

Then came more. LOTS more. You've all managed to cover all the major "OH MY GOD" realizations quite nicely on here.

As for ANYONE who disagrees with my posting those videos to my youtube - Jennifer asked ALL 4 of us skype people to take pictures and record if possible and share with her. I have the e-mail to prove this. She was planning on sharing them all herself.

Also, please refer to the nipple/breastfeeding shots she posted. She could care less about ANYONE'S privacy. It's 100% clear to me that she is ONLY out to make a buck. I believe that with every fiber in me, and I seriously questioned whether or not she owned THIS blog too.... she'd be the one to capitalize on "negative MckMama dirt" faster than anyone else. Then I realized there were no ads here... lol

All I did was participate IN SPITE of wanting to scream at her... Yes, I managed to get a few sarcastic comments in... and post the videos to youtube. After I saw the people from town with her and the CHILDREN, I knew I couldn't say what was on my mind. I simply shared with you before she did. (although I'm sure my video wouldn't have made the cut and she would have said they had technical issues and it didn't get recorded or something).

For any of you who truly LOVE Jennifer... go for it. Just be careful. Share your thoughts with her on her blog. She'll love to hear them. I'm still digging and trying to find facts to back up the stories I've been told this week - and IF any prove to be true I have no problem sharing with you all. I, myself, am walking away from her. She can make all her money off other people and other clicks. I've had enough."
In emails, MckMama also encouraged the Skype "winners" to contact local television stations, news media, newspapers, etc., stating the "positive exposure would be great".