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May 04, 2009

Where am I going?...

And why am I in this handbasket? Come let me tell you: this weekend we went to an artisan fundraiser. (keep reading it's gets Along the tables we stumbled upon a table with small handmade bags.

Handmade by orphan children in Rwanda (can you feel where this is going?...) You know Rwanda -- as in Hotel Rwanda - an amazing film (really you should see it) and Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure Of Humanity In Rwanda written by Gen. Romaeo Dallaire (have the book - if you ever want to read it). You know Rwanda right?

So this artisan table was selling bags handmade by poor, unfortunate, Rwandan children - there were photos of the orphans making the bags (wait it gets better) along with the NUN (see!) who was selling the goods at the artisan fundraiser. Dear blog - we have a moral obligation to buy a bag from the Nun and the Rwandan girl behind the table. We must!

An a-ha moment hit: Dear blog - we should get 8 bags and give them as loot bags for Thing 2s upcoming birthday party. Damn the "made in China machine!" - no one needs any more dollar store crap in loot bags. Let us buy one good item as the required "loot bag" - and give our money to those poor orphans.

So I ask, in French (did I mention it's a French artisan fundraiser?)

Me: "Combien ça coûte?" (How much does this cost?)
Nun: "Payer ce que vous voulez" (Pay what you want).

Swept up in my A-ha moment of saving the orphans and keeping an eye on Thing 1 getting a henna tattoo over there and Thing 2 pulling me over to the henna table - I gave over the entirety of cash in my wallet (@ $30). I paid all that I had. And then borrowed the last bill - $5 - from Thing 1's treat money.

The nun took the money and thanked me. She said the orphans are no longer left-overs from the genocide - they were are AIDS orphans. Left parent-less because of AIDS. Apparently, if Rwandan orphans don't go into an orphanage; they may become child soldiers, could be sold by adults into the sex trade or could be sold by adults for their organs (this is what the Nun said - I did a quick google search and couldn't confirm any child organ harvesting - but Nuns are pretty reliable sources).

Dear Blog! (no words).

I came home with the overwhelming guilt that $35 was not enough to give (and especially not for 8 bags). "Give what you can" was lost in translation and in the motion of the moment.

I - Caroline - have ripped off a nun/the orphans/the moral point. I am in the handbasket and I know where I am going.

The term: going to hell in a handbasket: derives from the use of the guillotine and the decapitated heads being caught in woven baskets - the victim, presumably, going straight to hell. [for those who want to be "in the know"]

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At May 4, 2009 at 9:55 p.m. , Anonymous Tatiana @ said...

Your intentions were pure and you did what you could. Honestly I think it's awesome that you picked up the bags as loot bags. I'd stick a little story in them about where they came from too.

At May 4, 2009 at 11:20 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn those nuns :-) I don't think you're going anywhere in a handbasket. What a great idea for loot bags though(I went through the same 'avoid crap for birthday bags' this year too).

At May 5, 2009 at 12:08 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider your action as part of a process.
ie: children received a good feeling about themselves in actually doing worthwhile work; you helped to recycle; the Nun could do nothing more with the bags, but when you exchanged them for cash she had the means to buy more material to give the children something more to do to fill their time in useful accomplishment. Almost as important as the amount of cash you paid was the fact that you kept the "process/advancement" in place.
As an insite to the ongoing struggle of the third world, I recommend "An Imperfect Offering" by Dr. James Orbinski (former Canadian chief of Doctors Without Borders).


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