Friday, May 25, 2012

Trying to make things better.

We won't talk about how cell phone reception seems to be getting worse, how the hot water was out for most of the day, and how provided wifi quit working randomly (we bought a hot spot thingie so we're good on that). Instead, we'll talk about the new addition to our family!

I heard about Africa New Life through Saddleback Leather Company on the facebook. After researching, I found that this was the perfect charity for us. I decided to sponsor a child! Aaron will pick one out too, as soon we get some info a special case suggested to us. For $39 a month, I am providing education and medical care for a child who really wants it. I can also shop in the "store" to provide sanitary napkins, underwear, extra clothes, soap, lotion, food, a goat (love that), bedding, bed frame, etc. I went ahead and selected a few extra things to get the party started. I can communicate with my child by snail mail, and even send my own care packages. I wasn't assigned a random person in some random part of Africa- the charity has done great work in Rwanda for years, and I got to chose how I wanted to help. The financial transparency of this organization is right where it needs to be, and their strict management allows for nearly 90% of all money to go directly to the child or project you intend it for. This matter a lot to me, as I am one of those "think before you pink" and Charity Navigator people.

Why an African kid? My small donation makes a huge difference. Food. Undies. Shoes. I do believe in food pantries and the local Goodwill/King's Ranch thrift type donation centers and stores. I want what I do to really matter and resonate with whoever or whatever I have decided to support. I have been a "Big" before, and I left the situation with mixed feelings. I know others who couldn't handle food delivery because of the environments of those receiving the aide. This is my choice and I am very happy with it. I hope everyone can find a charity that speaks to them, and fulfills them the way I believe this one will for me.

So who is she? Norah, a 15-year-old living in Bugesera. I decided to pick an older child because I feel they are often overlooked. She resonated with me for three reasons: She wants to grow up to be a politician, listed political education as her favorite subject, and hide-and-seek as her hobby. What a cool kid with whom I share similar interests. Aaron has been to Africa- he's seen what they live in, and what a "few dollars" can do for them. While he feels strongly in aiding our own great nation, he also knows what providing education and clean water can do for another human in another part of the world.

It's time to tithe. We are what I consider very well off- better off than I ever thought I could be. We can afford to do pretty much what we want when we want to do it; we buy nicer things, fill our gas tank, have smart phones, and eat out. We do help out with those we know when they need it, but we can do more and we should. What is $78 a month to us? A night out? A nice shirt? How about an education, clothes, and medical care for two kids who have probably never even seen an iPhone? Yeah, that's more like it. When I want to go shopping, I think I'd feel better if I bought my girl a goat for her to sell at market, or a bed. I have shoes and a purse that cost more than that. Who exactly am I if I buy myself ridiculous, unnecessary things (which I do enjoy) if I don't also cut some of that stuff out and help the world to be a better place?

My joy over this has definitely helped me feel a lot better about our current situation. Which definitely still sucks and is really unnecessary. I am not one to think that it could be worse (which is quite true) because worse to me is a dead husband. We could all be in cardboard boxes. Or dead. So that thinking doesn't really do me any good. I like to  think, "I could do more." How can I be better? I could and should consume less. I could spend less on crap. I can afford everything I need in life (and I haven't always been able to do that and it SUCKS when you're in that situation), and buy a lot of stuff I don't.  I'm always striving to be less materialistic.

I think everyone should find something. Some people love to aide pets, or legal funds for the wrongly charged. Some people believe in military-benefited giving. Pro-life or pro-choice. Find the shoe that fits. But I suggest doing something. It's way better than a new bag!


  1. That is really amazing. I have heard of that organization before and they are a good one! You have me thinking though how I need to get back into volunteering (thank you).

  2. We have been sponsoring a little girl in Indonesia for five years. She is now 16 and amazing. We've seen her through earthquakes and her father dying. She is amazing girl and an inspiration to me. The hubbs actually bought the sponsorship for me for my birthday. It was really cool.

  3. Thank you for sharing more information about this organization--I'm always so wary these days and this charity sounds really reputable and like just what I've been looking for. Every little bit helps, right?