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.