To contribute to the campaign to Stamp Out Measles in Africa, I organised a community concert, drumming workshop, and had local artists engaged in making cards with lino printing or teabag folding or just plain cutting and pasting. That plus individual donors raised $2,882, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the Gates Foundation once I get the funds to them. The Gates Foundation empowers communities to establish the practice of vaccination, and it costs a mere $1 to vaccinate a child.
I joined this mission because I had personal experience of death-by-measles, or its complications, of infants when living in Zambia 1976 to 1978. At the concert, we had too many donated items to auction, so today I set up a stall at the local fortnightly market. Jenny, a musical friend, partnered me in clearing the goods and letting people know what we were up to.
Behind us, young cricketers warmed up and played a rowdy match, visible in the background (right) in this photo. We had three books about Cricket, which were snapped up with four miscellaneous other books, for a mere $7. The buyer was so thrilled at such an economical solution to Christmas presents for the men in her family, she donated another $3. Yes, we made it easy for people to be generous!
At the beginning, we agreed we would at least get the funds to $3,000, which meant a target of $118. As we were selling secondhand books, African jewellery, scrapbooking oddments, and cards, we were not asking for much from each item. Predictably, sales were slow for the first 3 hours. Then, at midday, we achieved our target, and subsequently added to the takings sufficiently to bring the total now to $3,027.96. All I can see is 6,056 children vaccinated, and another nail in the coffin not of a child but of the virus itself. I see a day when measles follows polio and smallpox to extinction. Sometimes, extinction is a Really Welcome Occasion!
When I arrived home, I found the last rose bush had suddenly burst forth with blooms. It has looked so lonely, irritable, despondent for so long, I thought it was going to stay infertile this Spring. The way it has bloomed almost seems defiant. But there I am talking about a rose bush as if it's human, when in fact it has just done what a rose bush does.