I Don’t Want My “Have” to = Less Than for Someone Else

My girl has big feet.

That’s where the whole thing started today.

We all need to have good walking shoes.  Good ones.  As in walking for miles.

And no one really has shoes that will hold up under that kind of pressure and not leave our feet regretting it.

So I loaded up Aub and the littles and we headed to the sports store to see what kind of shoes they had that might work. I refuse to buy top of the line for Cooter or our Princess because their feet are still growing.  But good ones?  Yes.

Our Princess, who is destined to be very tall like my Fella, has big feet.  For her age.  She and I can wear the same shoes.  Only she prefers a half-size bigger because her feet don’t like being cramped and in tight spaces.  Flip flops are her best friends.

The sad thing happened today when she realized she is no longer able to shop where they have the glitter and jewels and fancy colors on the shoes.  She now has to choose from the same boring, plain, rarely lovely selection that the rest of us do.

And she had her heart set on a pair of purple sparkly sandals.

Sparkles, y’all.  Poor thing.

So she did what most nine-year olds would do.

She pouted.  She was tearful.  She was a bit angry.  She insisted that we go to another store.  She despised the one really suitable, good pair I handed her to try on.  They fit her feet but not her spirit.

After much *ahem* discussion, she finally succumbed to pressure and said, okay.  I told her if she wanted to we could put purple designs on the straps with t-shirt paint.  I mean, I’m not a total ogre, right?

She smiled wanly, and wiped her eyes.  *sigh*  The hardship of being big for her age.  One of them anyway.

So we got those shoes and headed to our next spot on our OutandAbouts for today.  As we were getting out of the car, this girl who doesn’t let go of anything easily, said indignantly, as she read on the shoebox, “UGH, Mama!  Do you know where these shoes were made?  And you still wanted me to get them.”

My girl's new sandals, Miss Sophie's sock monkey and my toes (which fit, along with the rest of my feet, in these shoes as well).  But yeah, my girl's new shoes.

My girl’s new sandals, Miss Sophie’s sock monkey and my toes (which fit, along with the rest of my feet, in these shoes as well). But yeah, my girl’s new shoes.  We plan to add purple or sparkles later.

I knew exactly what she was talking about.  I just nodded resignedly (did I mention I’ve not had a nap FOR DAYS), and said, “Sometimes you do what you have to do.”

Meaning, sometimes you have to buy things “Made in China” because it’s hard to find anything suitable otherwise.  I’ve tried to find shoes made in this country, but I haven’t been able to.  I found a company that used to manufacture their shoes here, but they have since outsourced much of the production to China, so I was back where I started from.

My children have heard me rant (I guess more than I realized) about this problem.  I was so excited when I found socks made in the US at a local farm supply store.  I have a hard time finding apple juice made in our country–are we not growing them anymore?  I guess I’ve been pretty vocal, because when my sweet cousin knitted me a pair of socks, she wrote down where the yarn came from, how it was made, the environmental impact of the dyeing process, and so on.  Love her for that.  I think she gets it.  And me.

I’m not against these other countries making things. I’m not against us trading with them.  But I am concerned about their employees being treated well and paid fairly for their work.  And when I can buy a pair of jeans for $5, while on the surface looking like a great deal, I wonder how on earth they can pay someone adequately for the job well done.  I don’t have all the facts, but I’ve read things written by folks who say they do.  And it doesn’t look good.

It’s been in recent months that I’ve wondered something though.  While these reports and stories have me worried about buying “MIC” as I call it, I wonder if somewhere on the other side of the world, there is a young person trying to start on his or her own in the world or an elderly person still trying to make ends meet who is HOPING, with fingers and toes crossed, that we will keep buying.  Because it’s a job. Because it might not be much of a living, but if we quit buying, they won’t have anything.  At all.

I’m not saying that’s how it is.  I know my dollar is a vote in how things turn out in this world.  The food and clothes and all products imaginable that I make a choice and spend money on–that’s my vote, whether intended or not, on how I think things should go.  Maybe I’m rationalizing in my mind so that I won’t feel quite as guilty when I buy the Made in China shoes or the Made in Thailand sweater.  Or maybe it’s dawning on me that there might be more to the story.

I have no idea really.

Tonight I’m thankful for shoes that someone in China touched and made so that my child can have good shoes (albeit not fashionably acceptable to this nine-year old) for walking and taking care of her feet.  My fingers are crossed and my hopes are spoken aloud that somewhere on the other side of the world, the person who did make them or who ran the machine that put them together, is doing okay.  Leading an okay life.  Better than okay I hope.  Because bottom line, I don’t want someone else to have to suffer or be “less than” so my child can have a new pair of shoes. Or whatever.   No one should have to suffer for me to “have” anything at all.

Pondering this again.  Won’t be the last time.

Love to all.

 

 

One Thing You Can Do

Today was an emotional journey for me, but that’s a story for another day.

Because this story begs to be told.  Yesterday.

While I was with my little guy at lunch, I got a phone call from Becca, co-founder of ABAN–the organization in Ghana that transforms litter and changes lives, whom I’m honored to call friend.  We talked about their journey and how far they have come and how excited they are with where they are heading.  Beautiful.  It was wonderful to hear her voice, and I strained to hear every word as I sat in a south Georgia buffet restaurant at the noon hour.

When I got home and took a moment to catch up on Facebook, I saw this video shared by Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary.

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/2rgt3x/-bringbackourgirls—rosemary-nyirumbe

In the response to the question, is the “#BringBackOurGirls” helpful, the nun being interviewed, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, answered yes.  We need to shout it.  And often.

We need to care.  If we can do nothing else, we have to care.  And if you don’t, this nun wants to punch you–it’s the most peaceful thing she can come up with.  I love her.  She’s on my “I want to meet” list.  And it’s not as long a list as you might think.

As I pondered the story of the young girls forcefully taken–kidnapped–from their school in Nigeria last month, I thought about the young women of ABAN.  These young women, practically still girls, no longer live on the streets.  In the words from the ABAN website–they care for the whole person.

ABAN operates a 2-year holistic in-residence program in Ghana, Africa, that transitions young mothers out of poverty and off the streets of the capital, Accra. After a series of interviews, ABAN selects 20 apprentices aged 17-22 who show a strong desire to work hard to change their situation.

The coursework focuses not only on education and vocational skills but also on health and well-being. Our curriculum takes into account each woman’s innate sense of self. We believe that her identity, dignity, and ability are significantly molded by the health of her body, mind and spirit and her experience is guided by these principles.

In addition to taking care of the young women, the program also provides for their children.  And it takes care of the environment by upcycling 20,000 water sachets a month.

They are making beautiful things from trash and creating beautiful lives for those that had been left to the streets.

I know it won’t bring our girls back, but supporting ABAN and the work they are doing will protect these girls in Ghana, whose welfare is just as important.  It will provide them an education, a place to live, a future.  For them and their children.  It’s something.

There are several ways to support them.  You can shop for gifts or a treat for yourself.  It’s the season for wet towels and bathing suits and the like.  Their sachet lined bags are perfect for such as that.  I love the looks of their new products too, and I know the blessing bags will be perfect for keeping things organized in my tote bag.

Another way to change lives and the environment is to invest in these young women and their futures by making a one-time or monthly donation.  As of this afternoon, they still needed nine more sponsors of $150/month to be a part of the Annual Sponsorship program.  But even a $10 one-time donation makes a difference–it provides a Sister Scholar with National Health Insurance.  Check out more options here.

There are other ways to support them and be a part of the team making a difference in the education of young women in Africa.  Like them on Facebook.  Sign up for their newsletterHost an ABAN party for your family and friends.  Share their story. None of these cost anything. Tell folks about this program that was started by three college students in 2008 and has grown to include 25 employees, 20 apprentices, and 3 interns on 2 continents.  Amazing.

No, supporting this program won’t bring back those precious girls from Nigeria, torn from their families by the dark and evil in this world.  It won’t change things for them.  I believe, like Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, that we have to care, no matter how far away this might seem to us in this country, and that we have to make our voices heard.  #BringBackOurGirls is one way of doing that.

But supporting the life-changing good work of ABAN will change lives.  It will help them bring girls and young women out of the horror of life on the streets of Ghana.  It will protect them from the evil and darkness that threatens to engulf them.  It will be a turning point for their precious little ones–who may never have to remember or know what it is like to live life with uncertainty, without shelter, and filled with physical hunger and emotional needs.  And fear.

Because someone cared.  Because someone shopped for a gift that changed lives.  Because someone gave generously from their heart.  Because someone clicked like or forward or told their Mama, sister, uncle, best friend’s cousin’s groomer…..the more we share the story, the more impact it can make.  It’s another way of wrapping someone up in our love and offering refuge.  Another way to #bethefeather.

Hashtags are cool, and they can inspire change.

But today I’m throwing out the challenge for us all, me included.  Let’s go one step further.  Let’s do one thing today that can change the world.  One child, one young woman, one upcycled piece of litter at a time.  Let’s put our actions where our hashtags say we are.  The more women and children we share light with, the smaller the darkness in this world becomes.

Love to all.

                                                                 =============

This was an interesting read here regarding social media and its impact in this situation.

 A story I shared last year about ABAN, all they do, and how precious they are to me.  Beauty From Trash and Healing Hearts