However, I promise to return full-time this week. In the meantime, I am going to be tacky and ask for your help.
You all remember my mother, the infamous Mama Virgo:
We know that she bleeds U.K. blue and would prefer to breathe sea air than Kentucky air...but she's also committed to selfless-service, and has been for quite some time.
Mama Virgo left for Zambia last Wednesday. She and a small team of volunteers from my hometown church in Frankfort, KY were going to construct a building or two, conduct camps, and just try to improve the quality of life in general. They have had limited Internet and no cell phone service, but this afternoon, I received the following progress report:
Hi All!Here's the latest on Jane and crew! I just missed a call from her but she left the following information on the machine. On their day trip yesterday they encountered a situation in one of the villages where there has been a school built - except for the roof. The area is holding school for a bunch of kids in a tent and the building is just setting there unfinished. It won't make it through another rainy season and the work that has been done so far will be lost, so she and Steve (Mission Team Leader) have committed the $12,000 that it will take to get a roof on the building. The mission team is pooling their funds for $1000. She asked me to spread the word at church and among friends for anyone willing to pitch in to help out. Anyone else willing to pony up should send the money to Jane at home. She says a lot of kids will benefit from the school and it's okay if she doesn't get the money back, so no pressure here - just help out if you feel moved to do so.
I am simultaneously inspired by the mission team and appalled that the government would allow the school to remain 2% uncompleted and totally unprotected. According to some opinions back home, the Zambian government is unconcerned about how the children are educated and what conditions they must endure to receive that education. I cannot imagine settling for a tent when an actual school is within sight. Mama Virgo and her band of dedicated workers are reaching out for financial assistance so that they can provide the physical assistance. Mama Virgo has agreed to supplement the gathered funds so the roof can be built. She understands that she may not get reimbursed, but wouldn't it be great if she was?
Rarely am I so inspired to share a story and encourage others to participate like I am right now. This is first-hand assistance. I wrote my check to the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina and I texted my money after Haiti, but this is my mom in Zambia, asking for money so they can build a roof. Mom has always taught me that while our lives here seem ordinary and middle-class, we are indulgent compared to many cultures. And if the people in those cultures are lacking, it is our duty as a member of the human race to try to help. Mama Virgo has already fronted her own money to travel to Zambia and work for 2 weeks, and she understands that she could be writing a large check for a small roof. It would certainly not be pocket change, but she's prepared to do that. I just want to make it a little easier for her.
If you would like to help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do not have a Paypal account set up or any donation sites prepared. You would just be sending her a check in the mail to her house and she will be sending you pictures of the work you helped make possible. It's a very simple process with a huge impact.
And here is what they've seen and done so far:
I echo Anna Banana's sentiments...please do not feel pressured to do anything. People give or don't give for a variety of reasons. I just think I would be doing Mom a huge disservice by not putting the information out there. As her daughter, it's the least I can do.