Garden Glove Love: Update

To read the original post please click here.

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A young mother sorts through rubbish in Kathmandu, using gloves from the original Garden Glove Love scheme: photo credit Liesl Clark

Some of you will recall a post I wrote earlier this year about a scheme set up by Liesl Clark of Pioneering the Simple Life. Liesl is a documentary maker and she and her family have close ties to Nepal: they volunteered there after the devastating earthquake and have been involved in various schemes to help local people, including setting up children’s libraries.

Liesl’s family are returning to Nepal this summer and they are taking with them lots of used, new, discarded, odd and paired gardening gloves to give to the child rag pickers. These children and young people support themselves and their families by picking through rubbish tips for recyclable items which they sell to India. They suffer injuries and infections from this work, sorting through sharp rusty objects, glass, faeces, chemical containers and so on.

imageSo often we read about the awful circumstances of people’s lives and feel helpless to change them. This was one instance where I decided this was something that was easily doable. Within minutes we had found 3 gloves in our house and shed.

We composed a letter to our neighbours, which my husband posted, telling them about the scheme and asking them to have a look around their homes and gardens, sheds, roadsides etc. I heard nothing for a long time and thought that was it. I’d failed miserably.

Then slowly, they began trickling in. We found a bag of gloves on our doorstep one morning, we still don’t know who left them, imageand a neighbour brought a bag of new ones in children’s sizes, then the lovely lady who eventually took our piano also brought some. Gradually, we built up quite a collection.

This was the pile that were new or unsoiled.

Then there were the very soiled ones that had to be washed and hung out to dry – a difficult task as it wouldn’t stop raining for more than an hour at a time!

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Eventually, they did dry out and were parcelled up. Liesl has arranged for an archaeologist friend to take them out for us.

And off they went.

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We wish Liesl, her family and Mark bon voyage and hope we have helped in a small way to improve the lives of some of the most economically deprived people. They have welcomed Liesl and her family and friends into their community, taken care of her children, taught them skills and customs, enabling them to experience a different culture and a new perspective on the world. Liesl has made a documentary about their lives after the earthquake. She continues to support them and to highlight their strengths and their needs.

This was the least we could do.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Garden Glove Love

This is such a simple but potentially life-changing scheme initiated by pioneering the simple life: collect discarded/lost gardening gloves, pair them up and send to Nepal to help child rag pickers protect themselves from glass, excrement, chemicals, and infections. We should all get behind this: we’ll be searching the shed, the cupboard under the utility room sink and collecting from our neighbours and family – it may take some time, we are spread over the country, but eventually we’ll parcel them up and send them off. Great idea!

Update: 3 days later, we have the beginnings of a collection!

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Pioneering The Simple Life

Roadside Garden Glove. Photo © Finn Clark

It all started on a bike ride. We kept seeing garden gloves along the side of the road. In fact, we had seen the gloves lying there for weeks and finally decided to pick them up. One by one, over the course of about 2 weeks, we had managed to collect 20 pairs!

I Have Good Garden Glove Karma. Photo © Liesl Clark

We’re an island of avid gardeners, farmers, and a world-famous garden tour called “Bainbridge in Bloom.” Twelve months of gardening weather here on Puget Sound has afforded us 4 seasons of dirt digging. The problem is that the gardeners’ (or perhaps it’s the hired landscapers’) gloves too often end up along the sides of the roads, having fallen from the backs of landscaper’s trucks, farmers’ tractors, or islander’s cars. Being a food-grower myself, I couldn’t just let those gloves rot in the ditches.

Garden Gloves Rain or Shine. Photo © Finn Clark

My children and I have been collecting them: pulling to the side…

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How Underground Networks Can Outperform Aid Orgs

We all sit at home watching or reading the news about disasters such as last year’s earthquake in Nepal and, other than donating money to relief organisations, we think there’s nothing else to be done and move on to the next news item. With supplies being tied up in red tape, stolen or resold at exorbitant prices and eventually running out, these individuals looked at the bigger picture and via social media organised an underground relief network that really did make a difference to many villagers who might otherwise have perished. With so many disasters of one kind or another in the world, it can often be overwhelming if not paralysing. This article shows how it can be done and will hopefully stir others into action. Please read and repost.

Pioneering The Simple Life

It was less than a week after the April 25th, 2015 magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal that we came to realize little-to-no relief had reached villages beyond Kathmandu. Roads were dangerous; But even worse, as time progressed, supplies for temporary shelter for the over 2 million now homeless had dried up. Tents and tarps were sold out in Kathmandu. Foreign governments and aid organizations were being shut down at the airport, their incoming supplies requisitioned by Nepal customs, and much-needed food, tents, tarps, blankets, and medical supplies were sitting on the runway, tied up in a confounding wad of red tape. 

7_Damaged house.anup © Anup Gurung

Our friends in Nepal were frantic, texting us asking for any means to get materials over to the remote villages. Aid organizations trucking supplies to villages were stopped along the roads by desperate, angry, and hungry people who lived right along the road who also had seen no relief. Supplies were…

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