Monday is turning into letter-writing day for me, at least many Mondays it is. Sometimes it's every other Monday.
On Monday, I try to get out some sort of letter to the Compassion kids. Sometimes it's an e-mail, which is nice but kind of boring. When I get into it, it's a letter and a little gift to go along with it, and probably a photo. There are all sorts of ways to get creative, but you are limited to something made of paper and not thicker than 1/4". I've found that things like stickers, and page from coloring books, post cards, and a few other creative things I've found help make it possible to send each child something each time.
Then there are the letters themselves. On Mondays when I'm feeling creative, I write a separate letter for each child. Other Mondays, I write a generic letter that can be sent to each of the six children. That's what I did today. With school starting, I wrote a description of my grammar school and the walk to get there and what the building was like. Then I just copied that same letter for each child.
They all got something different, though. Fred got some pages from a book I bought awhile ago called "Prayers for Boys." It has very cute pictures and though I'm not big on the religion stuff, they are and I know they will like it. To Pedro, who is older, and Brasilian, I sent a package of socceer stickers. Anjali in India got a little gift bag (the kind you put gifts in) that I removed the handle from (since the rope-y material wouldn't go) and I put a couple of stickers inside the bag. I sent Shallon in Uganda some pages from an activity book. She can read and write English, and I knew she could understand the instructions. Briana from Haiti got some stickers from a book of fairy stickers and Esther from Indonesia got a pad of note paper with a smiley face on it and "God Loves You."
With all of the sponsored kids taken care of, I also wrote a letter to Bri on paper that I decorated with stickers and put it inside a blank Mickey Mouse card, I'm writing in larger letters so that when she starts to read, it will be easier for her. I wonder if she can understand "BRI" yet....
Finally there were post cards. I joined something called "Postcrossing," where you send postcards to others who have signed up for the program. It doesn't start any sort of dialog at all, since they don't have your address so can't respond, but I'll see how it goes. I've already heard from someone from Facebook who has been doing this for many years. I hope to confer with her and find out what her experience has been like.
I took all my goodies to the post office, bought stamps, stopped to buy post cards (you only get 5 addresses at a time, but I decided to send out all 5) and then came home to check Facebook, whereupon I saw an ad for Women to Women International. I'd heard good things about the group before, but this particular ad tugged at my heartstrings because they were asking for help for women of the Democratic Republic of Congo, women who have been devastated by rape and AIDS and who have lost all hope.
My heart went out to these women, especially because we have friends from Congo, now living in the United States. and I remember their horrible tales of persecution, and how desperate they were to get their families to this country to prevent their torture and/or execution.
I could not turn my back on a request for help for the women of Congo, so I immediately applied to become a "sister" to one of the women from Congo (my second and third choices being Rwanda and Afghanistan, if there is no woman in Congo who is in need right now). The commitment is a monthly stipend (of course) and letters to be written to my "sister," when she is assigned to me.
I realized that my monetary sponsorship commitment was getting up there so I thought about where I could cut back. I ended my Audible.com subscription. Now that I have all of the big-ticket Diana Gabaldon books, to buy a regular book is not all that much more than to pay the monthly fee, and I have a huge backlog before I will need to buy another audio book.
And I also ended my membership in Ancestry.com. While I enjoyed finding out about some of my father's relatives, the amount of time I have available to spend researching genealogy there does not justify the monthly cost and, frankly, the cost will just about cover my Woman to Woman sponsorship.
I dare either of those organizations (Audible or Ancestry) to try to talk me into keeping my membership, when I put forth such an eloquent case for what I was going to do with the money instead!I won't know about my sponsored "sister" for about a month, but she will then go into the Monday letter writing queue. At least those letters, with imbedded photos, can be sent by e-mail and I won't have to go to the post office and buy stamps for them!