Thanksgiving is only a few days away. The grocery stores are overflowing with 20 and 30 pounds of that white meat that we try so meticulously not to "dry out", fresh cranberries (one of my favorites of Thanksgiving) and sweet right-out-of-the-oven warm apple and pumpkin pies. People are making plans to spend the day with family, preparing side dishes, tossing around footballs or just relaxing on a national holiday weekend.
I'm preparing some stuffing for a gathering of friends, which will be accompanied by a big deep-fried turkey. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. But, as I make my stuffing this year, I will be thinking about all that I'm thankful for, even in the little things.
It's so easy for us to take for granted electricty, running clean water, sanitation, garbage being picked up… the list is endless. I'll be thinking of how the people of Haiti, the poorest country on this side of the western hemisphere, and how something simple like drinking water is still not a daily reality. I'll imagine what it's like for them, to eat every few days with food that they need to count on others to provide for.
The ladies of HOPE Art met last Sunday night and we began going over some logistics in more detail. As we dove into the fun part – the activities – it became clear to us after some feedback from our Wings Over Haiti contact, Melissa McMullan, that we would need think very thoroughly about our resources – or lack thereof.
At the school, they use laminated paper in which to draw or write alphabets, which can be erased and doesn't create any waste. They do this because there is already so much trash in Haiti, with no where to go.
Instead of cutting and pasting craft projects, now we are looking at face painting or drawing on a single piece of canvas, which we can roll up and take back with us. It makes me a little sad that the kids can't keep their art, but it also makes me smile knowing how we'll brighten their day and exercise the right side of their brains. I want to learn how to say to these kids in their native Creole, as my good friend and fellow HOPE Art'ist Melissa Schilling would say, "I believe in you".