Friday, 16 October 2009

Woof woof!

When I'm not responding to emails or packing, or fretting about responding to emails or what to pack, you will probably find me in my back garden enjoying a sneaky ciggie or two. No lectures thank you very much, I do know it's bad for me.

Anyway, quite often when I am having some 'quiet time' and admiring my mom's various plants (which she keeps trying to teach me the names of but I hold firm in my resistence), I am joined by my canine neighbour, Charlotte ("Charlie"). She is a sweet Jack Russell who lives next door with her owner - who she kindly lets play 'proprietor' of the shop beneath their home. Charlie loves to have a nose at what I'm up to and warns me when imposter cats are trying to get into our garden. When she's not at the back of our row of houses keeping watch, you can find her outside the front of the store greeting customers and soaking up the sunshine. She is a familiar face around these streets and everyone adores her. In fact, when my mom and I first came to view the house before we moved in, Charlie was the first to welcome us! I snapped this pic of her peeping over the roof at us when we first moved in:
Last night, Charlie and I were chatting away as we do - her owner was around somewhere ... pretending to run Charlie's shop again probably - and I was updating her all on my African adventure. I had just finished packing up all the donations (for about the tenth time!) and was expressing my frustration at having to pay out £70.00 to British Airways to take these bits over for the school. Don't get me wrong - I don't begrudge doing this at all. But I do begrude BA for being so tight with their charity policy! Seriously, never flying with them again. I've said that before and now I remember why.

So I was chatting away to Charlie, and Charlie was listening intently, and then - out of the blue - she offered to donate the full £70.00 I need to transport the shoes to Africa! I swear I'm not making this up, she really did! :-) I cannot express properly how much this gesture meant to me, nor the warm feeling that flooded me at that moment. I know I run the risk of sounding quite 'hippy' by saying this but ... there is so much goodness and love in this world, and I have seen it in action in its purest form these past few weeks. Charlie is never going to go to Africa to visit this school; she will not be able to see with her own eyes the children's smiles when they are given their shoes; she won't sit in a classroom and witness for herself how the school supplies are being used and see how eager those children are to learn. I don't suppose any of my generous donors will have this opportunity, much less my canine neighbour. Strangers helping strangers - with nothing to gain in return - that is beautiful!

So, from the bottom of my heart which is now absolutely fit to burst, thank you Charlie. That is a huge weight lifted off me and I am very very touched by this. I know that when I am presented with an opportunity to pull a rabbit out of a hat for a friend, I will reflect on your kindness and "pay it forward".

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