To say I love books would be a gross understatement. Books have been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can spend hours perusing books in a book store and I still harbor that childhood dream of living in an English manor house with a library where the bookshelves go from floor to ceiling and there is a sliding ladder to help you reach the books up high. Just thinking about it makes me smile!
So, that is why I like to share books that have touched me in some way, in the hopes that they might interest you too. Today it is not a book about yarn, but a book about Africa.
John LeCarré was a British spy and throughout most of his career wrote espionage novels. You may not like this genre (I love it! and there really aren't many that I don't like!) but you will be hearing more about his novels thanks to the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Whether or not you like spy stories, LeCarré is a fabulous writer, and in The Constant Gardener, he delves into a very different subject matter.
You may have seen the movie. It was beautiful. With Ralph Finnes, what's not to like? But the book is one hundred times better and much more complex. The Constant Gardener is my favorite contemporary novel. The first part of the book is written in the third person, different characters describing who Justin Quayle, the main character, is. By the time you get to around page 100, you have formed a pretty good idea of who this person is. Then Justin takes over the narration and everything changes! The character development, from a psychological point of view, is extraordinary!
The film was publicized as a love story and it certainly is, an extraordinary love story. But, it is so much more than that. It is about culture and class, power and greed, prejudice and hate, violence and suffering, poverty and despair, but also love and hope. I have read it many times and know that I will be reading it again.
The only advantage that the movie has over the book is that we see the beauty of the land and the people, but we also witness the destruction and the desolation, the horrendous poverty that the people live in. These were not actors. The scenes were filmed on location in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya is not South Africa (I'm very subtle, aren't I ?) but we can imagine that the shanty towns where the Aids orphans live in South Africa are very similar.
I have mentioned this before, this deep desire to right injustice in the world has been with me since my early teens. This is certainly part of the reason that this book speaks to me in such an important way. And now, that I finally have a way to do something concrete to help, to change, even in a small way, I feel extraordinarily blessed!
And it is thanks to all of you! All of you who have joined the call of Knit-a-Squillion Challenge, who are making squares that will go directly around the shoulders of children in South Africa to wrap them in warmth and hope, you give me faith in humanity and the energy to be a constant knitter for the children of South Africa!
Now to some updates!
Trina from North Carolina, Denielle from Massachusetts and Jayme from Texas, have joined us. Thank you and welcome!!
Tally for Knit-a-Square - squares sent to S.A. - 77, 878
Tally for us - squares I have received - 22!!, plus one hat!
|Our first squares - all 22 of them!!|
I received the first squares this week! Saying I was thrilled is, again, an understatement. Dayle from British Columbia sent in 5 beautiful squares. I have faith in all of you, but actually having this first package in my hands was a fantastic confirmation that this is real!
Jenifer from Michigan sent me this beautiful square. She was planning on using it for an afghan, but changed her mind. Since it is bigger than 8", she told me that I could unravel it and make something else. Perish the thought!! As you know, I don't crochet yet, but I am going to knit this square into a sweater. It is too beautiful to destroy!
|Jenifer's beautiful square. Stay tuned for the sweater!|
|From Trina and to think she's new to knitting!|
I wanted to share a few facts that you might find helpful.
- I have received updated information from KasCare. There are now an estimated 2.4 million orphans in South Africa.
- It takes 35 squares to make a blanket.
(These two facts are meant to ENcourage you and not discourage!)
- If you live in the northern hemisphere, remember that our summer is their winter in South Africa.
- The average winter temperature is 39 degrees F or 4 degrees C. I have had several people ask me why they need blankets in Africa. . .
- Rhonda, who is the incredible person responsible "on the ground" in South Africa tries to give a hat to each child with the blanket. If you would like to contribute hats, please try to make them big and stretchy so the children can grow into them. For most of the children, this will be the only hat they ever have.
-As mentioned, sweaters are also needed particularly for the young children, aged 2 to 8. They also need to be long to cover distended tummies.
So, I can't say it enough, THANK YOU all so very much!!
Please go "Like" the Knit-a-Square Facebook page if you haven't already. We are only 7 likes away from 4000!!