Something To Do

Friday, August 5, 2011

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


Edward and I thank you!