Among the several charity organizations for which I knit and donate, Afghans for Afghans is one of the ones I have very warm feelings for. They are a wonderful group of committed, caring people who have figured out a totally non-partisan, peaceful way to make a difference in the face of war. They have rallied knitters and crocheters all over the US and Canada to make wool blankets, hats, mittens, sweaters and other items for the people of Afghanistan. I know there are lots of needy people right here in the US, and I know that it might seem like a small knitted item from a stranger far away would not make much of a difference, but my heart tells me differently. I just feel good about helping the people of this particular country. They've been at war for so long, and I have been aware of their struggles in a major way ever since I was about 14. The mission of A4A goes along with my attitude toward the current political climate in the US. Frankly I'm tired of it, and my motto is "Shut up and do something." I can't stop the wars, I can't totally understand the reasons behind them, I can't always know what's really true, and I can't stop the media from making everything so scary. But I can send a pair of socks to a lady in San Francisco who will put it on a plane to Afghanistan. And some little kid might have warm feet this winter. Maybe that kid will get a good feeling and pay it forward someday. And on and on. Maybe.
Over the past couple of years, I have tried to knit something for them every year. This year it was socks and hats. Here is a slide show of the kids receiving the socks that were sent over in the spring. In the very last picture, the pair of socks 2nd from the left on the front row is a pair I sent! Now I can put that little face with my socks and think of that boy or girl wearing them. I think she's a girl, but most of them seem to have their heads covered, so I'm not sure. This just makes my day. I share this not in the spirit of self-aggrandizement, but in the spirit of the pride I feel for the good people who do this, the love I've developed for the people of this nation, and the little light of hope that it plants in me to have this tenuous but now tangible thread of connection between me and a child so far away.