Friday, August 5, 2011

Something To Do


Something To Do


As I sat down to breakfast a few mornings ago, I took a sip of coffee and popped a fat, red strawberry into my mouth and unfolded the Times, still warm from the early morning heat of the driveway. It was then I saw the photograph on the front page, and everything in the sunlit room began to fade into shadow until that sad image was the only thing I could see clearly. A dying child, a victim of another monstrous famine in Africa, a victim of another deplorable regime so determined to hold onto power that they are actually blocking their people from leaving the country at the same time they are blocking aid from entering. Heartbreaking, and so horribly familiar.


I took that child with me all day. She joined me in my closet, where I stood in front of a kaleidoscope of clothing, deciding what to wear for the day. She was beside me as I went down the over-stocked aisles of the market where, looking through her eyes at the sheer volume and variety of food available, I began to feel a bit nauseous. She listened alongside me to the news that afternoon - one more account of the recent performance by our intransigent congress, a spectacle that was not only frustrating, but downright embarrassing. The problems we all face as citizens of the world are far too monumental for our elected officials to behave in such a childish, obdurate fashion but unfortunately, so many seem unmotivated by anything but winning the next election. When I contrast the starkness of that child’s pain with Washington’s impotent silliness I find it both appalling and sad.

When one takes even a cursory look at the world today, it is incredibly easy to become so overwhelmed as to risk inertia. I must admit that sometimes I have to skip the front page and go straight to the arts section, the news being just too dreadful to bear. After all, I think, what exactly can I do about anything? But then, sometimes, I try to do something. I send a check, I sign a petition, I write a letter. Small, tiny acts that, I have to believe, add up for good down the line.


Later that evening, that tiny Somalian child sat beside me as I opened an email from Style Blueprint informing me about a new project being launched by a fair trade shop in Nashville, Tennessee called Ten Thousand Villages. For the month of August they are partnering with Little Dresses For Africa to see how many new pillowcases they can collect. These ordinary pillow cases are then repurposed into dresses for little African girls who have need of them. From Style Blueprint.... “With the wide-spread AIDS pandemic, young girls are many times left orphaned, often becoming the primary caretakers for younger siblings. Little Dresses for Africa was started to show these girls that they are also cared for and to bring them a bit of joy from a new dress made from a simple pillowcase. Shorts for boys are collected and distributed, and each distribution gathering provides a chance for the volunteers to teach about nutrition, clean water, sanitation and family skills. More importantly, it’s a chance to spread love.”

Go HERE to read more and see the little girl at the top of this post receive her new dress.


Something so small as a pillowcase, from people who have so much. Oh, I can do this. And I hope many of my readers can do the same. Tell others about this. You have my enthusiastic permission to link to this post. How wonderful it would be if, during the month of August, from all over the world, pillowcases came into Nashville, Tennessee for these children.


If you, like me, are looking for some small way to do a little bit of good, this is a lovely opportunity. I’ll be sending my pillowcases this week. If you would like to join me, simply pick up a pair of new pillowcases and mail them to:


Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville

3900 Hillsboro Pike

Suite 20

Nashville, Tennessee 37215

USA


Edward and I thank you!

30 comments:

  1. Oh Golly....you sure know how to pull at my heartstrings.....And looking for pillowcases is what I do after all!

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  2. Thank you for letting us know about the Nashville group. And I find I can no longer bear the news. Today I had to get off the Huffpost site. Paul Ryan and his tea people want to slash Medicare by 60% I read that and all I could think was- no more. I feel despair in this country now. People are shell-shocked and we are going into another recession. But there are still decent people in the world.

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  3. Terry

    Thank you for caring.
    I will send some pillowcases to the Tennessee address as you suggested.
    Many thanks

    Helen xxxx

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  4. I am going tomorrow to pick up a few and do this immediately. I know, I saw a similar image of a dying child while I was eating. I felt awful. Thank you dear for this address. Anita

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  5. I will definitely send some; I am oh so familiar with the plight of Africa through my suppliers in Madagascar, which is the 13th poorest country in the world; travesty that people live in these conditions...my heart goes out...I hope to visit this year. Bless you for promoting their need....

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  6. Pamela,

    Your post rendered me as silent as I was when I read of the controversy yesterday concerning the New York times. Apparently they received a lot of flack over the front page image and story, which featured a dying child from this region, people could not understand why they made that the lead story when here in the US we were in the midst of the debt crisis.

    I agree with you 1 million percent, these politicians should be ashamed of themselves because guess what folks, they do not have our best interest at heart! If they did this debate would not have gotten this far, nor would they have left on their vacations for a month before they decided the fate of the 75,000 workers in the FAA. These people will be without pay until these fat cats who are out of touch with reality come back from their month of paid vacation!

    In the meantime little girls are dying! People over there have nothing and will get nothing because their regime is as selfish as ours.

    " a journey of a thousand steps begins with one" if we all take one step to helping these people and passing along the pillowcase information one person...us, you, me, can make a difference.

    Sorry to use this space to vent, but this post stored something in me, as did the dying child and the news cast on the dame story and yet it seems as if there is no one who cares. Thank you for caring enough to post this information, I will do the same tomorrow.

    Elizabeth

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  7. That's a lovely thing to do. The local school collects clothes and I always donate mine as they are taken straight to Africa. Hope you're good xx

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  8. Reading your post this night after having spent another
    day in vacation I felt as if you were the conscience and
    a reminder of the sad realities in our world, leaving me with such a need for acting...
    I will do just this and send pillowcases as soon as I am back.
    I showed it to my daughter and son and we pledge to make it known to their friends as well.
    Every journey begins with the first step! Thank you for reminding me to look out for the ones in need!

    xoxo

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  9. Thank heavens for big hearts.

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  10. You said it all for so many of us with little girls and boys, and dying babies trailing us through our days, and materializing in our dreams, when the news is worse and worse, and the tide rises to flood hearts and minds till they are benumbed. My blog posts are as dark as my spirit has become, so that I'm promising readers I'll lighten up soon. I should be asleep but I'm trolling the blogs I follow for comfort and inspiration. You just provided some. Thank you my dear, and great hugs to wonderful Edward!

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  11. I am buying used pillowcases tomorrow for my dogs' beds; I will add NEW ones for children in Africa. Thank you - I am incensed at Congress, simply livid; I appreciate the chance to help in a tangible way.

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  12. Hello Pamela:
    We are completely at one with you here and totally support and applaud anything which is done, in whatever, way to alleviate the suffering and discomfort of anyone anywhere. And of course, through the endless reporting of horrific news from Africa, one's thoughts and prayers return constantly to that country.

    The idea behind the pillowcases is an extraordinarily good one and one which the vast majority of people can easily afford. We do hope that it is acted upon.

    However, we were recently with Birkás Ákos, a renowned Hungarian painter, who had painted a very large canvas of a group of African children staring out of the picture, rather in the manner of the little girl in the yellow dress which you show here, but wearing an assortment of ill fitting Western clothes and shoes. The message was very, very forceful.

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  13. Oh my heart. Wonderful post, Pamela, and one that will no doubt go many miles. What a fantastic idea. It really is that simple sometimes. Even in the face of something so huge, still, the smallest acts can make such a difference to so many. Thank you.

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  14. We who won the global lottery (of where we are born) have a responsibility. Lovely cause. And yes, the news is hard to read.

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  15. I'm making a package and going to their site to see what else I can do.
    I am full to crying just now.
    This world is so strange... so much in one place, and so very little in others.

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  16. I probably won't be sending any pillowcases as I live in the UK but I already sent a donation to Oxfam. Whatever we do will never be enough but we should all do something, however small. Good for you for caring.

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  17. Will be sending some of the pillowcases I cross-stitched that are just lying in a drawer. Thank you for the opportunity to be of small service.

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  18. That's a lovely thing to do. Lovely cause. The news is hard to read.


    Year Old Birthday Party Ideas

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  19. *** I don't believe I've ever read your blog before (shame on me!) but, after reading today's blog, (and then reading quite a bit farther back, too), I know I will be a loyal follower...

    As I read, and read and read, it became apparent you are a woman of great depth, and great substance~~~ what a lovely thing to see, especially nowadays... And, the way you put your thoughts to paper is so very engaging... It was an informative & warm reading, as so many of your latest posts are. And I THANK YOU...

    Warmest regards,

    Linda in AZ *
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net

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  20. The news is indeed hard to read these days! It is easy to shut ones eyes and turn to another page, but as you say, the haunting images stay with you.

    The pillowcase scheme is a brilliant idea and I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    Have a peaceful weekend.
    Dianne
    XOXO

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  21. Pamela, I also saw the image on the front page of the New York Times and gasped. The power of that photo. I will link this to others and thank you so much for the information on how to get involved.

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  22. This is a brilliant idea Pamela. I am not sure how it will work from the UK but shall go to the site and find out. I do agree about images haunting one all day and feeling helpless about it.

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  23. Pamela, thank you as always for imparting the importance of life...something we all can do!

    xoxo
    Karena

    Art by Karena

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  24. we have a ten thousand villages here in houston too. what a beautiful little girl. it's so hard to imagine how many people are starving while we just waste food and throw it out and ugggh. what a beautiful story.

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  25. The world is such a sad, sad place for so many children. I, too, will be sending a pair of pillowcases, and will link to here on my next post. The world may be large, and there may be too many children in need, but no act goes unnoticed or is received unwelcome. God bless us all.

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  26. Poor, poor Edward . Is there anything like having a sad PON around the house ? Please let us know how he ( and you ) get on at the vets.

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  27. I do agree with your feelings on the state of the world, our abundant lifestyles (and our politicians); your thoughts echo mine Pamela. The pillowcase idea is a great one, I shall look into it.

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  28. This is wonderful. Thank you, Pamela.

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  29. What despair those people live with year in and year out. Yesterday, I saw photos of refugee camp that is equipped for 90,00 but has 400,000, and I wondered what do kids do when they get lost in that camp; who's to see that they get to their parents again...

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  30. Breaks my heart to think of the despair in lives of the people of Somalia. What an awful time they face. I am sure many will be comforted by this effort. I will be sure to find a way....

    Thank you Pamela for bringing this forward.

    Jeanne xxx

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