Tuesday, March 20, 2007

thanks for viewing - see ya!

This has been a completely amazing journey which we will never forget. A friend recently asked me (Ron) what will be the main thing that I will take away from the trip. That's hard to say, there's many things. However, if I have to pick something it would be the strong sense of connection I now feel with the global community. Fair Trade really is not just a concept, it is a community. I now know first hand that my purchases need to be responsible, ethical, and just. Because the difference it makes is real. I'll never forget the powerful impact that a place like St. Marys Women's Co-op makes on the lives of so many families. Selling women's embroidery to retailers like Ten Thousand Villages is the difference between impoverishment and a decent lifestyle with adequate housing, health, and education. Believe it, it's for real, it works. I've seen it, touched it, heard it.

With June Callwood's recent passing there have been many meaningful reflections on her life's work as one of Canada's great humanitarians and social justice advocates. I was particularly moved by her reflections on the thought that there are no innocent bystanders to injustice. Doing nothing to address visible injustice in your world and, most particularly, your community is a choice. It's not just passive inaction and ignorance, it is a choice. You are complicit in your inaction. I think that caputres how I (Ron) felt on this trip. I literally clung to the idea that my participation in Ten Thousand Villages, however nominal, offered some glimmer of hope and justice for the millions of desperately impoverished persons in India. I now know that, at a minimum, I can turn my copious consumption and indulgence into a sustainable and life-giving income for an artisan. It's not enough, but it's something.

We've received much affirmation for the posts on this site. Thank-you and thanks also for your awesome donation support for the health care centre (nearly $7,000 was donated towards our half-marathon run)!