Ever been so terribly cold that you thought you would never be warm again. Maybe you just came in from playing in the snow, maybe you got wet in the fall ...and though it was fun at the time was chilly afterwards, maybe you just walked across Malone's campus in next to freezing weather, maybe you were driving to work in the dead of winter in a car that has a really slow heater...... What did you do to get warm? Add more layers? Take a hot shower? Wrap up in a blanket?
Now that you are sitting there with goose pimples (yes goose pimples) just thinking about the last time you felt that cold .....imagine living in house made of scrap pieces of wood, cardboard, bark, cloth, and anything else you can find. Picture that house on the tip top of a mountain somewhere...exposed to any rain, wind, or bad weather that sweeps through. Your own shivering body is no concern to you at all as you pile every scrap piece of cloth around your 7 month old baby. With only the one cloth diaper you are scared that the soggy diaper will get your baby sick but he just keeps soaking through everything you wrap around him. As if that isn't enough you have the two other kids to worry about....they are cuddled up in the corner of the house with cardboard around them in an attempt to block the wind that is almost tearing your house apart. You whisper a silent prayer of thanks that today it is only windy and that as of now the raining hasn't begun.
Can you imagine?? Remember with me once again what that cold feeling is like. Now think of your kiddos being that cold and being unable to get them warm. You long to provide for them but your limited resources prevent such luxuries. Any extra cash that week had to go to medicine for the baby....
This story is more true and real than I could ever put into words. We will never know "cold" the way people here know cold. I shamefully admit that I am guilty of uttering the phrases "I'm freezing!" "I'm going to freeze to death" "I've never been this cold in my life" or even simply "gosh it's cold." Yet again...we have no idea what that word even means. Try walking into a meat freezer with nothing on but a bathing suit. Then try spending an entire night in there like that. (ok so I don't really want you to do it...just think about doing it) That is what these people are dealing with here. Literally. When it gets in the 40s at home we crank up the heater and snuggle up under a blanket. Let me tell you...HEATERS DON'T EXIST IN HONDURAS. Although Casa doesn't have a heater that we can click on it is a strong structure with windows that close (fairly) tight. We have blankets, sweatshirts, socks, and plenty of other layers to put on when the cold comes. Yet I can be found whimpering about being so cold my toes might fall off.
Let me just say it again....we don't know what it means to be cold. I don't know what it means to be cold. How often do we use the phrase "freezing to death?" People here are literally freezing to death....while people in the states just talk about it. If someone in the states froze to death we would think what a pity it was because it was preventable. When someone here freezes to death the people think it is part of life. They have NO WAY of preventing it. The people on these mountains not only live in less than structurally sound houses but they also have no blankets or "extra layers" to keep them warm.
I'm by no means want this blog to come across preachy or condescending. It is written as much for this heart as it is yours. Yet I do want it to make you think. I want the words above to hit a note in your heart that leaves you unsettled. I want you to join with me in a fight to do what we can. If your house is anything like mine then you have a place where you store your "extra" blankets. You pull them out when you have company or to use while you wash other blankets. They just sit there waiting. If your house is anything like mine you have those few blankets that have gotten worn over the years so would be your last choice when picking one out for company. Therefore, it gets shoved to the bottom of the pile or the back of the closet. As I sit thinking of the blankets we just have sitting around in our house I'm sickened by the thought. Why did I get born into a country, a family, a life that offers blankets and warm? Why are there people out there who really are freezing to death while I just think I am every time I get a little cold?
I've started a blanket ministry for here and I'm asking ...no begging you to partner with me in it. Start digging out those unwanted blankets and give them away. Don't stop there. Get the word out. Do a blanket drive at your church, work, neighborhood, school, etc. Lets see how many blankets we can get collected. Starting May 1st I'm going to begin counting each blanket that is brought down and given away. There are lots of ways to get involved....you can collect blankets, make blankets, dig out old blankets, or even just set aside money intended to be used for the "blanket ministry." You can send blankets or checks (made out to Stockport United Methodist Church...with a note inside stating that it is for "Ashley's blanket ministry") to Teresa Lauer 3515 St Rt 266 Stockport OH 43787. OR you can save them and give them to my mom or even me when I am home this summer. If all else fails shoot me an e mail at email@example.com telling me you have a blanket and I'll send someone to you. Regardless of what it takes lets commit to doing this. Here today I'm setting a goal....I want to have collected and handed out 500 blankets before May 1st 2009. I will remind you along the way to keep it fresh in your minds but start now. Make a plan of how you personally can come up with 5, 10, or even 20 blankets to donate.