Few memories are more precious to me than those of my childhood. Oh those wonderful days I spent with my grandmother on my island of birth during the holiday season, how my heart aches for this time gone by. Its arrival marked by church rehearsal of christmas carols, carnivals, beauty pageants, masquerades, sorrel drink (spiked) ;) and seasonal sugary treats, and yes, the annual appearance of santa claus with his big bag of toys ready to share joy to the crowd of wide-eyed children gathered around the evergreen tree below. I had hoped to share this experience with my child one day but it is not to be. The evergreen tree which marked the centre of the capital was destroyed with much of the island when the volcano rumbled to life on Montserrat in 1995.
Each year, as the holiday season arrives, it brings with it a bit of ambivalence on my part. While I feel blessed to be in a position to share generously with my daughter, I can't help but think of the children back home who are cowering at night under the threat of volcano; those in war-torn countries seeking only the silence of peace; and even children living amongst us (and those around the world) who live in such undesirable circumstances, that the thought of christmas and santa claus are but distant glimmers in their consciousness.
Well, this year, I decided that I will attempt to change this outlook - if only on a small scale. I contacted a local organisation which provide basic support for families in need. I asked them to provide the wish list of a few children and I was most humbled by the response of the children:
*winter hat and mittens and
My heart sunk. Not one child listed a toy?????? I thought deeply about the reality (or surreal nature) of their living situations. In a country that recently spent over $4.2 Billion on political advertisements for one day of elections, how can it be that there are children needing fundamentals like underwear, socks, and clothes? (exhale)...
I thought and thought. Then I decided to meditate and pray for these children...this always brings me some clarity. Of course I can help make a difference. There is an old African Proverb - it takes a village to raise a child. So instead of just sitting back and hoping for the best, I have arranged a way for those who wish to join me to create a memorable holiday season for the children in these four families.
A friend and I created a toy wish list on Amazon.com and we are going to surprise these precious children with toys for Christmas. The gifts will be mailed directly to me and I will personally deliver them to the organisation. Oh what a Christmas morning it will be ;)
*If you wish to help sponsor these children, simply go to the wish list and purchase an item. You can choose to remain anonymous if you wish, however, should you elect to identify yourself to me via email, I will send you a blank holiday notecard from my personal stock of Empress Christina's newly designed collection over at Soul Aperture Paper Goods as a small token of my appreciation (while supplies last). Give thanks Empress!
*if at all possible, won't you please join me in spreading the gift of love to these few children in need? Let's be the Village! Thank you most kindly, from the bottom of my heart. one love.
*p.s. a few people have reportedly encountered technical difficulties with the wish list at times...the issues seem to resolve themselves after waiting a little while. So, if you do, please try again later.
*update: due to your overwhelming response, the holiday cards have been all distributed...however, don't fret. Empress Christina is clearing her inventory with a holiday sale until Thursday.