Friday, January 15, 2010

Intentional act of kindness

One of the things I am trying to incorporate into my life are kindnesses. I'm not actually that nice of a person. The conversation in my head is usually most unkind to most people, and for no good reason other than my own gloominess.

To that end, I recently sent out an email to my co-workers, lawyers, paralegals and assistants, all of whom work for a government agency. (this is for the next time you want to make a joke of lawyers or bash the government) (although I don't like most lawyers either).

It read:

Over the holidays, a friend of my family returned from her volunteer work in Tanzania. She is helping to teach at a fledgling Tanzanian university, and her and other volunteers have "adopted" a local school. So the needs are two-fold:

For the school kids, they have no books, and no toys. They have never seen anything beyond the town in which they live. Amazingly, they have never seen an elephant, lion or other animals which we all associate with Africa. Their sphere of reference is very narrow. The prized possession is a "soccer ball" which is really two socks sewn together with newspaper stuffed inside.

For the university, the "textbooks" they have are encyclopedias from the 1970s.

My friend leaves on the 14th to return to Tanzania, and I am attempting to gather as much as possible before she goes. Please let me know if you can contribute any of the following items, and gently used is great too:

~Soccer balls (or sport balls of any kind -baseball, basketball, tennis, etc)
~DVDs of any kind, especially children's movies
~Recent (21st century) textbooks on any subject matter
~Crayons, coloring books, markers, pens, paper, workbooks
~Children's books, or picture books of places in the world of any kind
~Novels or non-fiction paperbacks
~Jump ropes
~Anything you think would help

I was expecting 1 or 2 used books, maybe a soccer ball. Our office just had two furlough days, which means that we all had a 10% pay cut in our last paycheck.

Instead, the outpouring was overwhelming.

We have textbooks, novels, picture books, children's books, jump ropes, dvds, badminton racquets, backgammon, board games, pens, markers, crayons, notebooks, tennis racquets, tennis balls, footballs, and several soccer balls.

Such a simple thing, and it was so easy. Yet the response is enormous. I knew I worked with kind and generous people, but this is astounding.

When we told the family friend about the loot coming her way, especially all the soccer balls, she became a bit teary-eyed I think.

This is a much better feeling to have than the amused-at-my-own-snarky-wit feeling I usually have.


Robyn said...


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Hef said...

Uhm, excuse me, but you have shown time and time again that you are pretty much a bursting bundle of generosity. Don't try to hide it chick.