Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Thank You All

You wonderful, wonderful people! I always knew I was blessed with some of the best readers on the internet, so I shouldn't be surprised that you can put your money where your fingers are. I posted my request to fund Cambodian building materials on a Sunday night, knowing that not many people read on the weekend, but that Monday would be a big traffic day, and hoping that perhaps a few people would see fit to contribute to the cause. It looks like more people read on the weekend than I thought. Before midnight we had enough for at least half a house! It literally brings tears to my eyes that so many people are willing to share in this way.

I giggled at the rationalizations you came up with for the various eCards you chose. You're right, it's a somewhat odd selection to go with charity donations, but it was fun clicking on them. I think dandelions and kittens were the leading choices. The pictures didn't matter because your words (and numbers, as that was the point of the exercise) carried the message.

I don't even know what the current total is, because many of you let me know you donated without telling me the amount of your donation. I estimate you have given enough to build at least two houses. In a couple of days I've gone from feeling the responsibility of being the out-of-town team member who isn't there to pull her weight at the pub fundraiser nights, to the completely different responsibility of being the one whom all of you have entrusted to take the materials you have purchased and make them into a real home for someone whose own community has judged them worthy.

It really is that simple. The money has to be all collected eight weeks before the build because the administrators use it to literally purchase lumber and nails and tin and concrete. Local contractors will lay the foundation and frame the houses before we arrive, and then we complete them. I and my team will arrive and presumably see your donations laid out on a tarp. I'll photograph that and then get to work assembling them into the very best homes I can provide.

For me personally this will be a rewarding, exciting experience because I get to travel to a part of the world where I've never been; see cultural and historical sites; attempt communication in some combination of English, French, Russian and Khmer; build something with my own two hands and give people a gift that proportionately will be the biggest most important gift I've ever had the opportunity to give anyone. Giving a home to someone who really needs it is generally the province of a government, corporation, or billionaire.

I think it make a difference as a person grow up what he or she believes the world thinks or expects, and that a child who discovers that the world cares enough to build his family a house will care about the world in return. You've all won yourselves good karma, and if at any time in the future you're feeling that you're not appreciated or not doing anything worthwhile, remember that there's a family in Cambodia whose kids might have died without you.

It's possible I could raise more money with a month-long nagging blog fundraising drive, but the way this worked is the way I like it. I said please; you answered generously; and I'll be saying thank you for the rest of the year. I will drive every nail with care and gratitude. It means a lot to me that you readers see the worth in this project, and agreed to support me.


Anoynmous said...

You're welcome.

You are truly special. Thank you for sharing some small part of yourself with your readers.

car01 said...

Yep, totally agree with anonymous.

We had a little bit of back and forth email communication, and your secrets (including hair colour!) are safe with me, but now I'm in even more awe of you than ever before.

May there always be wind beneath your wings :)

D.B. said...

Looking forward to hearing of your Cambodian adventures. But I recommend that before you go, you dye your hair to match the color listed in your passport, whatever that is.

townmouse said...

Damn, just tried to donate and it refused my card. Not sure if it's a glitch with the card or the site or some combination of the two. What is the deadline for donating if we want it to go to your trip?

Aviatrix said...

The donation deadline is September 22nd. People from several different countries have successfully donated, so perhaps your credit card company is just extra leery of the internet. Or you've all worn out the site from all that donating. :-)

townmouse said...

Aha mystery solved. It turns out the site does a very small transaction to check the card is valid before putting the amount through. Which is the same thing fraudsters do to check a card and my own credit card company flagged it up. Just verified the transaction and my (rather token) donation should be on its way