Today we had a great morning. Our friend Paige is majoring in Photojournalism (right, P?) and needed some subjects for a photo project. I happen to have 2 cute subjects. So, we did an outdoor paint project while she snapped pics. Then, we played on the swing set. And made mud pies. Mostly in bare feet.

When we got back inside, we ate lunch before we took a much-needed bath. At lunch, Bean made a comment about not having shoes. I asked her what would happen if she didn’t own any shoes? She laughed as if I was saying something ridiculous. Then, I told her that some kids in the world don’t have any shoes because they can’t afford to buy them. Her jaw dropped. I told her that most of the kids I met in Haiti didn’t have any shoes.

Then, we talked about what would happen to their feet if they stepped on sharp stones. She also said that their feet would get bitten by “lots of ants.” Then she said, “They would need lots of band-aids!” I told her that the kids in Haiti didn’t have band-aids, either. “You should have given them shoes, and band-aids, Mama!” she said, most emphatically. (I love her heart!) I told her that we did, in fact, bring both shoes and band-aids.

We talked more about the orphanage kids who had no shoes and had school under a tent with dirt floors and rough benches. I told her that the dirt floor was full of nails and sharp stones. She absolutely couldn’t believe it.

This entire time Peanut was eating her Cheetos and I thought she was ignoring us. But, I was wrong. As we got ready for her nap, we always pray. I usually go first and then she prays. She always starts by mentioning everyone on her mind. Today, this is what she said: “God, Beanie, Mimi, Poppy, Mama, Peanut, Daddy, Miss Paige, my dolly, and God, are you listening?” At this point she opened her eyes and looked up earnestly. “God, thank you for my shoes. You hear me? Thank you for my shoes. You hear me? Amen.”

I guess you never know what they are listening to or what makes a difference.

Do you want to help make a difference in a teency way? It starts with cereal boxes. In Haiti, there’s a very high unemployment rate. When I was there, one Haitian man we were working with said that the rate was as high as 85%.  For those who want to work, there are few jobs available. But, a group of people at The Apparent Project are making a difference. They are making beautiful jewelry, journals, and other items out of one thing Haiti has an abundance of: trash. There are no garbage trucks or landfills, so there is trash everywhere. However, there are some things (like cereal boxes) we can send to use as raw materials.

This is what we can do. Start saving your cereal boxes. When your family finishes off the Krispy Sugar Krunchies inside — and retrieves the precious, fought-over toy that will be forgotten in 20 minutes — empty out and flatten that box. Then, hang onto it. Stick it in a bigger box. When you’ve got enough, send it to Haiti. And men and women can use this trash to make gorgeous jewelry. Their earnings then feed and clothe their children and provide tuition and uniforms for school. And, your cereal boxes will buy shoes. And band-aids. And the other simple things Bean couldn’t believe that people live without.

Isn’t the jewelry beautiful? This image is from The Apparent Project. They have many beautiful things in their Market Haiti. Love it!

This also keeps the kids in their homes with their parents. Some kids are given to orphanages in Haiti not because their parents are dead, but because they can’t feed them. And these parents feel that a dirt-floor school and cinder block huts are better than what they have. (I know that not all of the orphanages there are in the same condition as the one I saw. And that is something happy indeed. But orphanages like this do exist. And the one I visited had at least 70 kids there.)

The details on how and where to send these cereal boxes can be found at The Apparent Project website. I currently have a huge box of cereal boxes because a) I’ve been saving them awhile -and- b) our family eats a ridiculous amount of cereal. If any of you are local and want to fill a giant box together and split the shipping/customs cost, let me know.

It’s a small thing we can do. Who’s in this with me?