May 02, 2005

White Tara at Work!

(Picture-heavy again; may be slow to load.)

Today I bring you the last of the F.I.R.E. pictures which, paradoxically, are both easier and harder to look at. When I first saw the pictures from last Wednesday and Friday of the children and the destitute families, like many of you, I was disturbed to my very core and motivated to knitknitknit! (or get some more fleece and blanketblanketblanket!) but there were no tears, just some deep sighs and a greater understanding of the seriousness of the situation in Mongolia. But when I looked at this last set of pictures—the ones of humanitarianism and compassion in action, of F.I.R.E. doing what it does best, organizing and distributing the clothing and supplies—I broke down. Which was a wee bit of a problem since I was at work. In my office. Ten feet away from the office of one employee, and fifteen feet away from the office of the other. And all the doors were wide open. And what started as a slight misting of the eyes quickly threatened to turn into A Big Cry, you know, the kind that starts with a burning in your eyes, and then makes your mouth go all twisted, and then goes down to your throat and your lungs and your heart and your stomach and your spine and you know you are just going to Completely Dissolve from head to toe, and make loud, primitive howling noises. Thank Gawd I managed to rein myself in because the whole thing would have been so messy and so very hard to explain. That, and I didn’t have any Kleenex. And wiping my nose on a page of my word-of-the-day calendar sounded painful.

As you look at these pictures, Dear, Dear Readers, just imagine!—when F.I.R.E. goes to Mongolia this October, and when they go through this heartrending process all over again, this time they will be handing out the things you have knit, your mittens, your hats, your scarves, your sweaters! As Rachael would say, “Woot!”

Picture 1: Per Meredith, "This is a packing party in Flagstaff. We get volunteers from the community who help us sort and pack our clothing. We sort out anything that is not warm and fill our boxes with the same items for the same size, so we end up with an "adult, male, pants" box or a "child, sweaters" box. The boxes are labeled, weighed and recorded. We then fill a 40-foot container with 1200 boxes, or 8 tons worth of clothing."

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Picture 2: Again, per Meredith, "In Mongolia, our boxes are sorted into a warehouse where we can easily grab what we will need for each day's distribution."

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Picture 3: F.I.R.E goes directly to established, residential care centers to hand deliver each piece of clothing. This is a woman's prison.

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Picture 4: F.I.R.E operates out of the back of a Russian van. Meredith says, "You never know who will come out to help," but I can't quite tell if she's referring to the man or the cow!

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Picture 5: "Come rain or snow or -10 degree weather, we never stop our distribution until the clothes are gone."

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Pictures 6 and 7: Recipients of clothing.

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Pictures 8-10: Recipients of fleece blankets. Meredith says, of the girl in the first picture, "This is a no-sew fleece blanket made by youth from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This girl was so excited she danced around in circles for five minutes. As we drove off, we could see her showing off her blanket to everyone around her."

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Picture 11: I left my favorite picture for last. Meredith says, "We literally hand deliver each and every piece of clothing donated to us. It will be such a joy to see the reaction everyone has to the hand knitted items."

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Off to procure a box of Kleenex, just in case.

Posted by Ryan at May 2, 2005 11:13 AM
Comments

Some how these pictures speak to me in a way that mission appeals at church don't. I know that we will have no way to know the individuals that our knitting touches, but it seems so much more personal this way. Thank you, Ryan, for sharing and encouraging us to share.

Posted by: laura on May 2, 2005 11:35 AM

Many thanks... Off to knit myself silly now...

Posted by: Kristen on May 2, 2005 12:02 PM

You DID warn us ... Can't wait to finish my work day to go home and knit more hats and such.

My church has a mitten tree and our collection is sent to an Native Reserve up in northern Ontario. Same sorts of temps. as in Mongolia.

I have resolved that henceforth my travel knitting will be charity knitting. I'll be alternating between the Dulaan Project and the Church Mitten Tree.

My friends are now starting to haunt yard sales for yarn for me. :-)

Posted by: Carol on May 2, 2005 12:46 PM

Wonderful pictures! And I definitely agree with Rachael's comments from the last post - we should knit all year and really knock the socks off of F.I.R.E. next time! This time I mostly have just hatts, mitts, scarves, and socks. But next time I hope to have a lot more, and sweaters and such as well! Keep working everyone!

Posted by: Sheri on May 2, 2005 12:46 PM

Good stuff, that! Thanks for sharing the photos. I think it really drives it home when you can see how obviously delighted the wee ones are to have something snuggly warm of their very own.

Posted by: Anne on May 2, 2005 12:49 PM

I was trying so hard not to cry ... and I failed.

I keep thinking what it'll be like while I'm in the Peace Corps, and I hope that same sense of joy and purpose that I see in these FIRE people while carry through me to whomever I am serving wherever I go.

Thank you SO MUCH for bringing this opportunity to us.

Posted by: Sara* on May 3, 2005 07:54 AM

What? Have you got stock in Kleenex???
I made it til the last picture...sigh.
After the last batch of photos I started going thru all our closets, pulling out old winter coats my daughter outgrew, quite a while ago.
I can't knit fast enough either.

Posted by: Aarlene on May 3, 2005 08:06 AM

Gulp.

Posted by: Angela on May 3, 2005 10:48 AM

I managed to make it to the last picture, pass the Kleenex please.

This has renewed my fire for F.I.R.E and I shall be boxing up my things to send off next week.

Posted by: jillz on May 3, 2005 12:05 PM

Okay
I teared up. As soon as i am done with my paper tonight it is knit knit knit to add to my box of stuff to be posted off.
thanks for sharing the pictures, Ryan
d

Posted by: devin on May 3, 2005 12:16 PM

I did my first Dulaan knitting last night: two grey and green "Ken" hats a la Stephanie. I hope they aren't too teeny, but I'll send them along anyway. I'll probably do more this evening.

Thanks for doing all of this and for posting the information.

Posted by: Faith on May 4, 2005 05:52 AM
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