I posted about this in my other blog, manygrandadventures.blogspot.com, so sorry if you have heard some of this from that blog.
Taiger and I have decided to go to China. We will leave in June or July of this year. We are both SO excited to go!
I am going to spend a lot of time reaching out to the homeless and orphaned while I am living there. I always wanted to go help, but didn't know what I would do to help! Katie inspired me, totally!!!!!! (If you don't know Katie's story, PLEASE read her blog kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com. Start with her first entry and read all of her entries if you really want a good read. You will feel so inspired and uplifted!!!!!) I want to set up some kind of food aid program, somewhat like hers. She sponsors kids for school and provides those kids with food. I want to first feed them, and then see about school. I am not sure if attending school is an option for many of the children, but we will see. God has a plan for Taiger and me. We will serve as He wishes and follow His guidance to know how to help. I THINK I will have a certain time each day when those who need it can come to my home and have a meal and sit in my house and get warm. I want to have a kind of "Dinner and Rice Bag" program, where they can come and eat dinner and get warm with a rice bag (those are those fabric sacks sewn with rice in them. You microwave them and they heat up). I don't want to send the rice bags with them for fear they may be stolen for the rice inside. So, they can come and eat and get warm. I have a feeling I will not be able to take back the rice bag and kick everyone out, so I am sure I will have many visitors sleeping in my home! I wouldn't have it any other way, really. :D I was thinking of doing a family food sponsorship program, too. Some families have shelter and maybe even work (farming, for instance) but still cannot make ends meet so they beg on the street. I want to provide them with food. I would like to distribute food to those in the countryside who may need some extra help, especially in the winter when work is slow (especially for farmers, but also for migrant workers). I think I will try and grow a few veggies at my house to have on hand to add nutrients without adding a huge cost (I won't have tons of money). I think I will grow tomatoes, zucchini and beans. It's not a lot, but it will help feed people who truly need it. Anyway, I will be teaching school and also taking care of Taiger, so I am just praying and having FAITH that God will give me the strength to do everything, and give me enough hours in a day to accomplish it all.
I wanted to write a little about some of my plans. I know this will not interest most of you, but I want to write it down and here seems to be a good place to do so.
For any of you who have been to JingMen, you know the bed covers they use to keep warm. For those of you who don't, let me TRY and explain. They use things that are similar to feather ticks. They are a thick blanket filled with some kind of filler...it reminds me of sawdust. I am sure it must be some kind of fiber, but it is almost grainy. Anyway, they cover them with duveys (how do you spell that?!??!!) and use them as bedspreads. They are quite warm in the winter...although I still suffered miserably with a form of frost bite from the severe cold. Anyawy. It gets very, very cold in JingMen in the winter time (hence the frostbite!). My apartment is made of concrete and has tile floors, so needless to say, it is quite cold. NOWHERE in JingMen has central heating, so when you walk into a store you THINK you will go in and warm up, but really it is just as cold as the bitter cold outside. It is just out of the wind. There is no reliefe from the cold!! The classrooms where I teach are also cold. There were four windows down each wall (single payned, of course) which were not only very drafty, but were usually opened. Anywhere we ate was outside...yes, OUTSIDE, and even many of the shops where I bought things were small, cold stores, sometimes without a door or even a front wall. The food market was, of course, outside, with produce and vegitables spread on tables in the open air. (I didn't shopt there much though...too cold, dirty AND SMELLY!) Although I had a heater in my room, it did little to take off the chill. When the school found out how cold we were, they bought us space heaters. I pulled my desk next to my bed and put my heater on it so it radiated heat to me all night. I used it until it burned out. I got another and the same thing happened. That was the end of my attempt at heating a concrete and tile room with a space heater!! Needless to say, I woke up cold, I worked at the school cold, I went home cold, I ate cold and I went to bed cold.
Well, in my matured and more thoughtful state, I have decided there are more measures I could take to keep warm. Things I never thought of before (I was young and foolish...?). So, here are my ideas for keeping warm:
* I will be bringing rice bags, sewn three and a half sides. I will fill them once I get there and hand stitch them closed once they are filled with rice.
* The Chinese cook over these indoor "outdoor fire pits". They are a brick that looks like some kind of charcoal. They light them from the inside and place pots on top to cook. I will buy one of those and use it in my home. If I don't cook on it (which I probably won't because I have a gas stove!) at least it will warm my house!!!!
* I will buy a space heater and take it to school with me. I won't be able to heat the classroom, but I can set it by me and warm my hands and feet. I can also let the students warm themselves by it.
* This idea may seem TOTALLY crazy, but I think it is the best idea yet (or at least a very good one). I will buy several of those "ticks", cover them and put them on the floor in my bedroom. I believe they will really help insulate the room and keep the cold from coming up from the floor. They will stay clean with the covers and will hold the heat. Also, because they are so thick and soft, if someone needs to sleep at my house they can just sleep on the floor and be comfortable enough.
* I will be cooking more at home and this will serve three purposes. One, I will cook the food for the homeless there, so I will be able to provide more food. Two, it will keep Taiger and I in out of the cold night air. Three, it will heat up the house!! Especially if we are cooking things like stew that simmers for a while and can warm things up.
* I am going to either cover the windows and door at my house or put draft-stoppers at the base of windows and doors to keep out the draft.
I am very sick and right now I am so so so so so so tired. I will finish tomorrow.