It takes me a lot of time to digest the emotional toll of different situations. I'm trained as a scientist and I can detail facts and rattle off data easily. I can draw conclusions from data. Summarizing facts is an easy feat for me. I'm methodical. Making sense of emotional situations takes me time. Sometimes it takes me a lot of time. It always has. For the past several months I've been digesting the very different situations I saw in orphanages in Haiti and Honduras. In both countries, there is a huge disparity between orphanages supported by Rice Bowls and those that are not; however, there was a very different feeling between the Rice Bowls supported homes in Haiti and Honduras. Children in both homes were loved, fed, educated and now benefited from having a future colored with hope. In Haiti there was peril. In Haiti you could hear screaming through the night from the nearby voodoo temples; you could smell the burning garbage....it permeated you skin, clothing and hair. In Haiti, the house mother and father received death threats. In Haiti, you felt called to stand up and help. In Honduras, the home is located outside the city. In Honduras, the home is situated on a large plat of land near an agricultural college. In Honduras, you see the tropical mountains, the lush fields and hear the children giggling and playing; you smell tropical flowers. In Honduras, it was almost easy to forget the peril that exists. However, a lush landscape and a large safety margin do not negate the need for support. I am proud to be a continued supporter of RiceBowls and to continue matching the donation provided to them by Bridgewater candles. Its an amazing thing--to feed a child, change a life. I continue to be utterly grateful for Green Springs' customers who see the need and want to be a small part of something big. Let's go feed some kids!
It’s the small details that haunt me. After traveling to Haiti the image of a young girl in a frilly Easter dress with the zipper unzipped haunted me. After traveling to Honduras, two dichotomous images burn my mind.
It was night. A cool gusty evening, darkness had enveloped the children’s home. I trekked across the play yards, on my way to Casita 8, to pick up the five year old boys and girls. The wind whipped my hair and muffled my ears. I arrived to the door and knocked, asking permission to enter. The Tia, the house mom, opened the door and I spied inside to the cozy living room. Ten little boys and girls, expectant smiles on their faces, sat patiently on the sofas. They were warm. They were cared for and they were fed. They were safe. They ran into the cool night, grabbing my hands, ready for the fun in store. Lily looked up at me, her round cheeks, rosy in the cool air, “Estoy fria!” She was cold. I rubbed her hands and pulled her sweater a little tighter as we lopped across the yard to the party. Lily quickly forgot the chill in the air when greeted at the party with popcorn.
The images of Lily, and all of the happy healthy children of Good Shepherd Children’s Home, stand in stark contrast to another girl I met in Honduras. There is a mountain in Honduras, a mountain made of garbage, of waste. At the pinnacle of this mountain there is a battle for survival. Stray dogs, vultures, cows and people, all are in the contest of survival, scavenging for food and for a life. On Wednesdays, a truck drives to the top of the mountain with huge pots of rice, beans and tortillas to provide a meal for these people, likely the only warm meal of their week. One recent Wednesday, I was in the back of that truck, scooping rice. That is where I met a fifteen year old girl. She hopped in the back of the truck to help distribute food. She lives there, on this mountain. She has a five month old baby who is sick. That haunts me. Somewhere, amongst the chaos of vultures, garbage trucks, cows, dogs and scavenging people, there was a sick five month old baby, whose mother loves it but cannot provide for it.
Despite the despair and extreme poverty that inhabits Honduras, hope and happiness colored my week there. I traveled to Honduras with Rice Bowls, an organization about which I am passionate. Rice Bowls helps to support orphanages around the world and helps provide healthy meals for orphans. I became a supporter of Rice Bowls after traveling with them to Haiti as a member of the Bridgewater Candle team. For each jar candle sold, Bridgewater Candle Company donates enough money to Rice Bowls to feed a child for a day. To date, Bridgewater has provided 3,534,942 meals. After seeing the need and the good in action, my store, Green Springs, started to match—for each jar candle sold at Green Springs, two kids are fed for an entire day. To date, Green Springs has provided 9,534 meals. It matters. For me, Rice Bowls is a success story. Rice Bowls is about the transformations, hope and the future. This is why Green Springs will continue to fight for children in need. Our soldiers in this fight are the good people of Rice Bowls and Bridgewater Candle Company and our wonderful customers who buy these great candles.
Thanks for reading. Make a difference, feed a kid.
It has been one year since I visited Haiti. That trip changed my life and changed Green Springs. We continue our focus on American made products, but now we also focus on Fair Trade items.
A little Haitian girl haunts my thoughts. She wore a frilly dress. It glinted and glimmered in the hot sun; it was a hot October day in Port au Prince, Haiti and this little girl was wearing what was clearly an Easter dress. Once, the dress was likely a different little girl's most favorite article of clothing, treasured for a week, perhaps a month? Now, the dress was likely this little girl's only article of clothing. The zipper was unzipped. This image haunts me. This little girl, all alone in Haiti, wearing an Easter gown with the zipper undone, haunts me. Such a small detail, in a land of macroscopic problems, resonates with me. This tiny detail was profound to me because it meant no one was there who cared enough to zip her dress up for her. No one was there to take just a moment to zip her zipper. Her tired eyes still had the glean of hope in them.
There is hope in Haiti and there is hope in other destitute areas of the world. In part, that hope is the children. Feeding, sheltering and educating the children is paramount. That is why I believe so strongly in Bridgewater Candle's Light a Candle Feed a Child program. For every jar candle sold, Bridgewater Candle Company makes a donation sufficient to feed a child for a day. Green Springs is proud to match this donation. Now, for every Bridgewater jar candle sold at Green Springs two children are fed for an entire day. Let's change some lives.
The benefits of Bridgewater Candles extends beyond the Light a Candle Feed a Child program. They are made in South Carolina, so we are supporting local jobs and the local economy. The quality of the candles is superb also. I stand by them and want you to try them. Every one of our eNewsletter subscribers will get one free votive candle this month. No purchase necessary, just by being on our subscriber list (as you are if this was sent from me to you), you get a free votive this month. Come by before Halloween to try out Bridgewater votive candle on the house!
I was fortunate enough to be selected to travel to Port Au Prince with a team from Bridgewater. The goal was to meet the children and see the lives transformed by Bridgewater's Light a Candle Feed a Child Program. In the most simplest terms, it changed my life. Here are my thoughts from the trip:
It was chaos. It was amazing. It was life-changing. I had been warned about arriving in the Port Au Prince airport, but it still was a jolt to the system. After the trials of customs, The Bridgewater Haiti team and I retrieved our bags–each of the 11 bags full of 50lbs of supplies for the orphanages. The doors to the airport opened and chaos ensued. First the skies opened up and rain fell down in such magnitude that we were immediately up to our ankles, trying to maneuver carts of our bags through a crush of people. People were everywhere, coming from all angles, attempting to get our bags and take them to their “tap tap” or privately owned taxi. The magnitude of noise, the pushing and shoving of people, the smells of Haiti, everything all at once….but then silence and peace. The silence came when I opened the door to the orphanage’s vehicle. Suddenly all sounds seemed to stop. The peace came when I looked inside and saw Francois. Francois, a little Haitian boy of 7 years. He sat in the car, wide eyed, staring at us. Although it seemed he was a timid shy little boy, his personality quickly came out. I can still hear his laugh. The remarkable thing was that in those few moments of transitory chaos, Francois was my place of silence and peace; yet, Bridgewater candles and Rice Bowls have transformed his life from disorder and chaos to a peaceful environment in which he receives an education and healthy meals in a loving environment.
Francois is not an isolated story of a child in need being saved by Rice Bowls and Bridgewater candles. Since its inception in June 2010, Bridgewater’s Light a Candle Feed a Child program has provided 840,846 days of food for children around the globe. Green Springs is proud to be a part of that and thankful for everyone who buys our candles, and thus helps feed children! In Haiti, I got to meet Vanessa Belle. She is a spunky 3 year old girl, who had only been at the home for a few weeks when I met her. While she only spoke Creole, she would proclaim her name “Vanessa BELLE!” I also got to meet Angelo. Angelo is a precious 5 year old boy who had only been at the home for 7 months when I met him. He was my buddy while in Haiti, insisting on holding my hand or being carried wherever we went.
Haiti was amazing. It changed my life and Bridgewater candles have changed the lives of so many orphans around the world. To all of my candle loving customers, thank you for being a part of such a remarkable program.
For every jar candle you purchase, Bridgewater donates money to feed an orphaned child for a day. This is such a needed, critical program, that we have decided to MATCH. So, for every jar candle sold, Bridgewater donates enough money to feed a day, and so does Green Springs. So, for each jar candle sold at Green Springs, TWO CHILDREN IN NEED are fed for the entire day.