What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
At the start of 2007, I began a year-long service project of quilt-making for orphans and families in Zambia, Africa. My mother had recently returned from a trip there with Mothers Without Borders, and I was doing some fund-raising in preparation for my own trip that summer. She had our family create two quilts during Christmas break of 2006, and once we were finished, held one of the quilts tightly as she told us how grateful the families would be when they received them.
Not having experienced Africa myself, it was hard to imagine how something so simple could be seen as so useful and important.
But then I experienced Africa. I saw firsthand the widespread poverty. I saw the pride held in the simplest of possessions—families grateful for a chair, a bicycle, or a pillow.
Luckily, the quilt-making process proceeded much more quickly after my trip to Africa with the help of my then-wife-to-be. Once the year ended, we had tied 33 quilts. Needless to say, it’s nice to have our living room back.
We’ll be shipping them off to Africa in a few months on the next boat shipment.
This year’s project: beanies for the infants in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit in Lusaka, Zambia. We’ve already knitted 75.