Monday, August 3, 2015

“Every child comes into this world as a gift to humanity. It is up to us, as adults, to see that they are properly taken care of and given all the love and attention they deserve.” ― Laurence Overmire

    Last Christmas, Karen, John, and I decided that instead of giving each other gifts, we would give a pair of breeding goats (with the female pregnant) to a recent widow and her four children (picture at the right) so her children wouldn’t go hungry and could afford to go to school.  A cousin of mine in Houston read about it and his grandchildren gave enough money for us to give many more pairs of goats.  After that money ran out, we didn’t have enough to continue because we had so many other projects and issues with which to deal (including paying an attorney to defend us at the High Court of Tanzania).  I had pretty much forgotten about the goats, but others hadn’t.  Most of you know that I collect inexpensive watches and give watches away.  I was down to just one watch when several of the folks on my internet watch forum intervened and sent me about sixty watches and watch bands.  I have given away all but twelve that I am keeping.  I post pictures on my watch forum every day of the watch I am wearing that day and usually a picture from a safari in the Serengeti or a picture of life around the mission.  One of the pictures I posted on my watch forum was of Karen giving some goats to a widow and her children.  One of the men on the forum saw it and thought about it for quite a while because it was months ago.  Now, I don’t know the real names of the people on my watch forum or even what country they call home.  When they sent me watches, I could tell from the package their return addresses, so I knew some were in Italy, some in China, some in the U.K., and some in the United States.  I am writing all of this because yesterday, one of the people on the forum sent me a message saying he wanted to donate some money to buy some goats for the children with no fathers (children mean "starfish" to me) and asked how to go about it.  I thanked him, of course, and gave him the instructions not knowing anything at all about him except that he occasionally visited the “Affordable Watch Forum” where I post almost every day.  Later the same day, I got word from him (confirmed by my son, John) that he had sent money to us via PayPal.  So much money (we were astonished at his generosity) that we will be able to buy two pairs of breeding goats at every goat market day (once a month) for over a year, and we will be able to provide a biosand filter to every family receiving the goats as well—it was that much money.  We were, to use a term my British friends use often, “gobsmacked.”  Overwhelmed, awed, and so very grateful that someone I had never met or with whom I never exchanged emails or even comments on the watch forum wanted to help the fatherless children here.  Try to tell me that there are not angels among us—just try.  I like inexpensive watches and I like to look at pictures of others that folks all over the world are wearing every day.  I just never imagined that my liking to post pictures of my daily watch choice and our daily life here would ever turn out to help the people around us who are in such dire need. Yesterday’s blog was about how I use the “starfish story” to help me when I get down.  Well, someone threw the starfish that is me back into the ocean.  It matters to this one, and it will matter to every family who will be getting goats and a biosand filter over the next year.  What a great day!  Thank you, stranger, and thank you, God.  
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