Friday, February 15, 2008

Cyberfriends - In rememberance of Sara

Definition: Friends you talk to online through messageboards and chatrooms but haven't met in real life.

There's a forum that I go to quite frequently and have been going to for many years. I can vent, celebrate, and whine if I need to. I give my opinions and advice (hopefully good). I ask questions and look for other's ideas. I've never met any of the women or the one known man who also post there in real life even though I "talk" to many of them almost daily. Is it possible to really have friends you never met?

Yes, I think it is. Three years ago today, our forum friend Sara died from an aneurysm. She was 39. She had gone to bed with a headache posting that she'd be back on later that evening. She never logged on again. The next day, her husband let us know what happened. Sara was a practicer of Wicca and her screen name was White Witch. People from all over went to OK to go to her crossover. I saw pictures and it looked like a beautiful ceremony. People still remember Sara, quote her, and laugh as they retell some of her stories. That's especially true today as we are remembering the last time we "talked" with her. When Sara died, I felt the loss of a friend. It didn't matter that I had never seen her except in a picture she posted online. She always seemed to know when people weren't feeling well or were down. Out of the blue, she'd send a PM letting you know she was thinking of you and wishing you well. I don't give out my address online but people who do have talked about surprises they'd find in the mail from her. Sara was opinionated but would listen to your side of an issue.

Sara, I hope wherever you are, there are lots of poptarts. Rest in peace.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Little Mouse Emergency Fund

I'm sure many of you have heard about the horrible snow storms in China and how unprepared they are for weather like this. When we were in Guangzhou last February, we wore shorts and t-shirts; that is the type of weather they are used to. Half the Sky is an organization which helps children in orphanages in China. They have been in contact with the orphanages they support and have passed on the following information:

Changzhou, Jiangsu – UPDATE: The orphanage now reports they are running out of diapers and need 750 diapers per day for an estimated 10 days.
Chengdu, Sichuan – UPDATE: Chengdu repeats their request for a large heater and disposable diapers. They also request 80 warm quilts.
Chenzhou, Hunan – UPDATE: The largest hotel in Chenzhou is running on one emergency generator and townsfolk who’ve been without power for days have filled all rooms and lobbies. There are very few places in town with even emergency power now. Hopes are to get some electricity by next weekend. We are in daily touch with the orphanage. They know that everyone is thinking of them and determined to get them the help they need.
Chongqing – UPDATE: Temperatures continue to drop - request warm blankets and floor mats.
Chuzhou, Anhui - UPDATE: Reports that their industrial clothes dryer broke down two days ago. They’ve tried to repair but it is still not working and they have no way to dry clothes and diapers in the cold. They ask for purchase of a new dryer and for disposable diapers.
Guiyang, Guizhou – UPDATE: Power is intermittant. They repeat the request for diapers and now understand that HTS has okayed the purchase.
Hangzhou, Zhejiang - Because of snow, they’ve been unable to get vegetables for several days. They request a subsidy to purchase food at higher prices and also ask for disposable diapers.
Hefei, Anhui – UPDATE: The orphanage now realizes they will soon run out of disposable diapers. They ask for funds to purchase 7500 diapers.
Nanchang, Jiangxi – UPDATE: Their boiler for hot water supply has broken down. They ask for funds to purchase a new one.
Qingyuan, Guangdong – UPDATE: With HTS funds, they have purchased 110 sets of quilts and padded jackets but have been unable to find heaters anywhere in Qingyuan. They are going to try to send someone south to Guangzhou to find heaters.
Shaodian, Henan - HTS supports a Family Village here for children orphaned by AIDS. Due to the heavy snow and bitter cold, the children suffer from chilblains on their hands and feet. Water pipes have frozen and they are now able to get water only a few hours a day. Food costs are rising. Power supply is intermittant. They request heaters and cream for chilblains as well as a subsidy for food.
Xinyang, Henan – UPDATE: It seems first information on Xinyang did not come from director of institution. Today’s news is not so favorable. It has been snowing since January 10 and temperatures are the lowest in history. Some heaters are broken. The institution has gathered all of the children together in the largest HTS activity room to kep them warm. Due to the weight of ice, the roof has cracked and there are leaks into some of the HTS activity rooms as well as the nurseries. They are installing a “temporary” toilet on the same floor as the big activity room so children and caregivers don’t slip on the icy corridors and stairs. They ask for disposable diapers, winter clothes, cream for chilblains for the children’s hands and feet. HTS staff continues to walk to work through the snow and ice; there is no public transportation.
Yangchun, Guangdong - reports a need for space heaters and hot water bottles for 88 babies at two sites.

My heart breaks for the children who are there and for the parents here who have children there and must feel so helpless. Donations to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund which has been set up to help the orphanages deal with this situation can be at