Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude Project – Giving Haiti a Hand

I would call us middle class. We have a very nice life. Not glamorous by any means but still comfortable. We have two incomes and have committed to helping our two kids through college as best we can. There were times in our marriage when things were tight – especially when I left the workforce to care for our children. But we were never without food, shelter, medical needs or education. Like most of us, for this alone we feel blessed.

Awhile back, our church welcomed Fr. Larry Canavera to serve as our associate pastor for a brief time. Fr. Larry is the founder of the mission Friends of Haiti and following his retirement from parish life, he has dedicated his time to this important service to the poorest people on earth.  Fr. Larry’s message each time I attended a service that he celebrated was of human dignity. Those words resounded with me. HUMAN DIGNITY. It is easy for us to live dignified lives when we have all the comforts that we do. But Fr. Larry’s broader message was about areas likes Haiti where basic needs like food, shelter, medical needs or education are scarce and continue to be at risk. Those words, human dignity, become even more complex. I felt compelled to do a little something about that.

The riches we have as humans should not be only defined by our treasures. With two kids in college, the “treasures” my husband and I have are often limited.  But I’d like to think I have a bit of a talent. After knitting dishcloths for over a year, I was ready to try something a bit harder – mittens, knitting in the round, double pointed needles and cables.  Oh my! 

And then I had this bright idea to knit mittens to sell and donate the funds to Fr. Larry’s Haiti mission. A mitten took me about a week to knit so in two years I could have 100 mittens. Yes! That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to knit 100 mittens to raise funds and awareness for the Friends of Haiti.

Right? Nope! I then realized that mittens, like hands, usually come in pairs. So those 100 PAIRS of mittens were going to take me twice as long than I originally thought. Even though I was getting better and faster at knitting mittens my spirit deflated. My hands were starting to ache with arthritis from knitting too much.

Then I had to remember those words HUMAN DIGNITY. So I ramped up my efforts. I started commuting to work with my husband. He drove – I knitted.

We drove our daughter to college – a 16 hour drive one way. They drove – I knitted.

We flew to go visit her. The pilot flew – I knitted.

We visited our son 5 hours away. My husband drove – I knitted. Anytime there was any amount of waiting involved, I knitted.

Determined to reach my goal by next fall, I knit and knit and have already knit 43 PAIRS of mittens. I try to knit 1 ½ pairs a week or 3 mittens. I’m just checking to see if you are following my fuzzy math.

Where does it go from here? Hopefully that’s where all of you will help. I don’t know how or where I will sell these mittens but when I have all 100 pairs done, I want to sell them for $10/pair with ALL proceeds going to Friends of Haiti. Yep – that’s 100 pairs x $10 = $1000. Bet you didn’t know there would be so much math homework in this post.

I encourage you to follow my crazy journey through this blog.

Random Thoughts
  1. Cranberry salad is my most favorite Thanksgiving dish. I hated didn’t like cranberries as a kid because I only thought of that cranberry gelatin that comes out of the can with the tin can ridges still on it.  Ewww. That stuff is a disservice to the cranberry itself! This tart-sweet fruit deserves better! I am determined to elevate the lowly cranberry to a greater status!
  2. I love hanging out in airports. It is the best part of air travel. Personally, I don’t really like flying but the airport is so cool. The logistics of getting all those people to the places they want to go at the same time as their bags (when all goes right) is absolutely mind blowing to me. I’ll get to hang out in airports a lot next week. For this alone, I’m excited. Of course, there will be knitting going on.