Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Turning of the season and helping others

I always forget how much I love fall season.  It's so nice to have a break from the HOT and HUMID weather.  Stepping outside when it's crisp, sunny, and cool outside just makes me happy.  Plus...that means winter and the first snow is on its way.  I am one of those weird people that really enjoys snow and cold...I know I know...I'm crazy.

While a lot of people dislike the winter months because of the dreary atmosphere, bad roads and even worse drivers, or inevitable illnesses, others dislike them because of the cold and lack of protection they have from the elements.  This has never bothered me.  I grew up in South Dakota...which really had mild winters in comparison.  Much of my family is from further north, so I got a taste of cold Minnesota winters as well.  Because my parents are from the great white north, I learned how to 'survive' the winter.  I learned that winter gear is essential and one must dress for the cold if one is to avoid being miserable.  Sadly, not everyone living in northern climates are accustomed to cold winters and are not equipped to survive the winters let alone enjoy them. 

Surprisingly, Omaha has a fairly large refugee population.  A large number of refugees from several countries resettle in Omaha.  One of the largest groups in Omaha now are people from Burma.  Burma is experiencing a terrible civil war.  There are many people groups within Burma who want their independence and the right to form their own states.  This desire is being resisted by the existing government through an incredible amount of violence.  Various people groups are resorting to life in refugee camps in Thailand for some semblance of safety and holding their family together...though this does not always happen.  When a family is able to flee Burma and take refuge in another location, such as Omaha, they take the opportunity seeking jobs, education for their children, and above all: safety.  They come with everything they have, which isn't much.  The clothes they have are certainly not enough to protect them from the cold winters in Omaha. 

This fall, I am helping others at my church with a way to help these people meet a very real and very tangible need.  Crocheting and knitting have been a hobby in my family for many many generations.  I learned when I was in college and have learned some very simple patterns for blankets, scarves, and hats.  A few ladys at my church also crochet and knit.  One of them had the brilliant idea of setting a goal of crocheting and/or knitting 150 hats and scarves for the refugees from Burma by October 1 to help them prepare for the winter months.  Refugees new to Omaha have NEVER seen snow in their lives...how could they know what they need to stay warm?  There is NO WAY any one individual could knit or crochet that many hats and scarves in a month, so we're working together as a community to achieve this goal.  Since she's set this goal, I've started to trade my lay around and do nothing time for lay around and crochet time.  My progress is slow since I don't have a ton of extra time between derby and work, but I'm finding the time I can to make just one more hat or one more scarf for one more person.  I've finished one adult hat, one baby hat, and one child's hat.  I'm starting another adult hat now.  I'm hoping to get a few hats done so I can move on to more time consuming scarves. 

I tell you all this to offer you a chance to help as well.  Bust our that hook or those needles and make one or more.  Any contribution you can make will meet a need for one person.  Feel free to send me an e-mail (imv dot 0707 at gmail dot com) and I can let you know where to send them so we can reach our goal of 150.  Don't know how to crochet?  Share this blog with your friends and family that do to see if they want to make a hat or four. 

Thanks for your help.  I'll post some pictures of final products here closer to October 1.

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