I used to try and be cool. It wasn't even a conscious thing but I had this ingrained habit of being non-committal about things. Don't let people know you care. Better yet, don't care at all. Keep your hand close. Smile only occasionally. Be hard to impress.
I don't know why. I have many, many guesses. But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about when it changed for me.
It went like this. Forty orphaned kids from Burma, holed up in a little house in the Thai jungle with their protector, a guy named Chala, who was feeding them as well as he could with what little he could make, working as hard as he could in a 3rd world country.
You can't un-know that. I can't anyway.
I can't go to bed every night and sleep soundly knowing that somewhere out there a bunch of half starved kids need my help and I didn't do anything about it. These weren't just nameless and faceless kids in the general vast cloud of all that is wrong with the world and isn't that so sad. No, these were kids with names and faces and they knew about me, in particular, and had asked me, and my husband, and brother in law for help.
I stopped being cool. (I never really was.)
Cool kept me from letting people see how much I care about this. Cool kept me from asking people I didn't know for help for the kids whose faces were burnt into my mind. Cool kept me from telling the stories that kept me awake at night, worrying and wondering if they were safe, if they had enough food, did anyone have time to tuck them in?
Cool kept me from begging, on hands and knees, for people to help me help these kids.
I'm not very cool, and I don't care. If I have to lose a little of my own perceived self importance to do this then I'm fine with that. It may have taken a life or death matter to do it, but I'm better this way.
Know what happened when I let down my guard and risked a little?
People helped, and while they helped they thanked ME for the chance to do something.
That blew my mind wide open. You mean it's sometimes just as much of a gift to someone to have something they can do to help as it is to the person who needs help to get it?
I never knew.
Today I am begging again.
You see, in the years since that first happened we've done a lot of work. We founded a non-profit called The Charis Project. We came up with this brilliant plan for a self sustaining orphan care model, and we started figuring out how to implement it. (Oh, and I cried a lot, every time a kid left the home for whatever reason, every time a new kid came and I learned their story of what it was like before they got there. I'm not to cool to care any more.)
Part of that plan involves purchasing land to build a permanent home on for the kids. It will be a safe place to live in a good village. It will have a farm on it that will grow enough food to feed all of them and have left over to sell. We're teaching them really cool environmentally friendly high yield agriculture practices that will make it work. Though they will still probably eat dog because they actually prefer it to pork. See Teaching Our Kids To Survive a Thai Orphanage
This is just phase one of our whole plan, you can download and read our executive summary here if you like that sort of thing.
Last year we put down half of the asking price on a piece of land with the agreement that we would pay the remainder within one full year. That time is nearing the end and we still don't have the other half. That means we forfeit on the money we already paid out, and we have no home for the kids, no farm, no plan.
So I'm begging. Because it's a really good plan. It's a good enough plan that once we implement it none of the kids or the adults taking care of the kids will have to beg again. Not only that, we can teach it to other people taking care of kids in 3rd world countries and make it so that they don't have to rely on begging for money anymore either. I'm willing to risk looking stupid to make that happen.
I know you would too.
So will you help us today?
We need to raise $10,000 by Friday. We're at $2,826.50. That's a whole lot better than nothing. I'm so thankful for everyone who has made a donation so far. Why Do We Need to Build an Orphanage?
I'm a little, ok a lot, freaked out by the thought that we won't reach our whole goal in time.
I asked a bunch of people, who donated some really cool prizes, to help make this whole asking for money to build an orphanage thing fun.
They are amazing prizes. A friend, a children's entertainer in Canada named Mr. Ray is, for the next 2 days selling his album for a discount and donating more than half the purchase price to The Charis Project. The guy has 3 kids to feed!
Someone else donated an iPod, and no, it wasn't Apple.
We have, books, music, beautiful jewelry and gem stones I'll be announcing later this week from one of our sponsors
If you can afford to give even 5 dollars please do. People tend to think that if they can't give a lot then there is no point. But that's not true. Do the math. Suppose 100 people read this post and one of them gives $50. That's great. But compared to what happens when each of the 100 people gives just $5 it's just a fraction of what could be done. What you do matters.
Real lives of real children are at stake here.
Would you like to become part of the story of how women who blog revolutionized orphan care around the world?
Please help us tell our story and become a part of it. We can't do it without you.
Carrien homeschools 4 kids and runs a non-profit from the kitchen counter.
More from living