I am a lucky soul. When I was a child, we were really poor. My dad dropped out of school when he was in 8th grade, so he was happy when he could get any job at all. Mostly he worked minimum wage, manual labor jobs. He always said that there was no shame in coming home smelling like cow or dirt or sweat, because at least you know that you’ve earned your way in the world. He instilled in me an appreciation for hard work, and thanks in great part to him, I now live a life where I don’t have to work as hard or as long as he did. As I said, I’m lucky.
I’m also fortunate to know some pretty cool people. I’m not talking about rock stars or business moguls or circus performers. I’m talking about real people who care about the world and actually do something about it. Some have raised children to carry on their commitment to making the world a better place, which make them even cooler in my eyes.
My friend B is one of those people. She’s the music teacher at my school, and she’s about as tremendous a person as you’d ever have the pleasure to know. She has a way of reaching kids that no one else can reach, and she patiently works with them and teaches them that they have something to offer.
Recently her son went on a mission to Africa, where he worked with other volunteers to build wells for impoverished communities. When he returned, he told B some of the most interesting stories about how the people there live and how hard they’re working to try to make their lives better. I heartily agree with B when she says that us folks in America have no way of truly appreciating how hard it is for people in these area.
The women in the communities where B’s son visited are doing what they can to help themselves. They have learned how to make amazingly beautiful beads out of recycled magazines. They cut the magazines into strips as thin as dental floss and then turn them into beads. These are then strung into necklaces. B’s son brought some of these necklaces back to the States to sell so that the money can be sent back to the women who made them.
If you like these, check out some more photographs at my Flickr set. Just beautiful!
When B brought the beads into work, it didn’t take long for the ideas to start flying on how to sell the beads. One person hit on the idea of making a little card to go with the beads. Someone else hit on the idea of drafting a rather creative staff member to help with the card. And B offered to print the cards (or have them printed).
This is where I came in. I love color. I love creative people. And I greatly respect people who are trying to help themselves. So it was my pleasure to put together something for B, her son, and the ladies who make the beads.
I really hope that my small contribution helps.