Thursday, August 18, 2011
Handmade for Haiti
I'm notoriously un-crafty. I gave up on domestic creations twenty years ago when I unwittingly cut a huge hole in the middle of my sewing project while attempting to serge a seam. I don't knit, I can't paint, and even though I now have three kids of my own, I still beg my Mom to hem my pants.
So why in the world would I volunteer to handcraft books, particularly when the project involved... (dum dum dum) sewing?
The answer lies in the sparkling eyes of a girl named Dixie whose bright smile positively jumps out of her ebony face, lighting up the entire room. The motivation is nestled in the clinging hugs of Panashe, the sweet boy who, having been abandoned one too many times, never wanted to let go. And of course, the reason can be heard in the high-pitched toddler voice of Jesús as he belts out a Spanish rendition of "I've Got a Friend in Jesus" through pursed lips, convinced that the song is about him.
The Handmade for Haiti books are thoughtfully composed and gorgeously illustrated. The creator and collaborators should feel extremely proud of their work. Yet high quality as this project may be, I didn't step out of my craft-less comfort zone because I love the books. I dusted off my sewing machine because I love these kids. As hard as I try to envision the children in Haiti, I still see the faces of these orphans from Zimbabwe and Peru. They live on unchanged in my memory, despite the fact that some have grown and some are gone.
So Dixie, Panashe, Jesús, and so many others--these books are for you. Despite the flaws and imperfections, they are crafted with love. They are also for the future--for your children and your children's children. No matter where in the world you may be, please know that you are not forgotten. And yes, there is always hope for the future--in you.
If you are interested in joining the Handmade for Haiti project by printing and assembling a book, please be sure to check out this fabulous website. The books are fun and simple to make, and might even provide inspiration for Christmas presents.