I can't turn the news off. I try to limit the time I spend deep in the news cycle but it's hard to resist. I feel we are witnessing history and years from now I don't want to say "oh, it was all too much so I just focused on cat videos and artisan cheeses." We are on the precipice of a massive civil rights movement and I want to be, no I need to be helping and engaged. But how?
Record numbers of refugees are coming into Manitoba now. People are walking across the border and declaring refugee status, during Canadian midwinter. They are desperate and end up walking for hours across prairie farmland. And sadly they are ill-prepared for cold and snow.
Manitobans are proud of their hardiness, and I suppose I'm not the only one with an overflowing drawer or cupboard of winter gear. So I cleared out my stash of mitts and scarves and toques and brought them to the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute. It wasn't much but it was a start. Everyone I met there was so welcoming and grateful, their sincerity was inspiring. As I was leaving I gave my gloves to a lady on the street. She was pulling one of those folding grocery carts and every so often she would stop to blow on her bare fingers. It was an easy decision before I got into my warm car.
Still I felt it wasn't enough. I mulled over the ways that I could help and, thinking about the two men who nearly lost all their fingers on a seven hour trek, I decided on mittens. I'm a fairly crafty lady and a pretty proficient knitter and crocheter, it should be a perfect fit. At first I thought I could crank out one mitten a day, but two weeks in I'm just starting my fifth pair. They are coming along faster the more I make them.
It still isn't enough, but I feel useful. I'm trying to motivate friends to get involved. I'm looking for more opportunities to be involved on the local level. There's talk of a crafting class at the Muslim Women's Institute and I'd like to be evolved with helping teach crochet.
I saw a tweet the other day that really got me thinking. It said "Remember sitting in history class thinking" if I were alive then, I would've... " You're alive now, whatever you're doing is what you would have done." It's some good advice.