When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and hit hard, there were challenges in my life and in the lives of millions of others in our country. Our team was so busy trying to figure out how to keep the business going, how to help support front line workers, how to show up as support for all of our partners and, yes, how we might use this as an opportunity to grow by being nimble and by being willing to explore other platforms to continue our important work. And so we did. We ALL had food, shelter, clothing, access to clean water, could have groceries delivered and as a team, we were very aware of how incredibly blessed we were.
But this is a story about how other people, in a place where none of us had ever been and only dreamed of visiting, were impacted. It’s a story about the people of Bali, in the country of Indonesia, that lost its major source of income because it shut down and tourism literally died in a single day. Hang on – there is a twist and you will want to read this “all the way down.” It’s a story that will inspire you and bring you joy at a time when joy and good stories are still much needed. It’s really about how taking one single action, connecting one single dot, sending one email or making one phone call might end up helping to feed families who are literally starving to death. It is the epitome of how one pebble in one pond can truly cause a ripple effect beyond belief and, yes, it is a story about recycling!
Somewhere in the middle of the mixed up mess, a woman named Marion Hook contacted me. Enter the pebble! She told me about the women in her neighborhood who literally had no way to earn money, feed their children, pay their rent. You get the picture. She asked if I would consider approaching my Rotary Club about gathering yarn for the women. Marion and others were teaching these women how to crochet all kinds of adorable hats and scarves and sell them to family and friends of Marion’s and others by shipping them to places like Australia.
I admit it took me awhile but once I realized I was the next pebble, I contacted the person in charge of service projects for our Rotary Club and the rest is history. Two people, who I would like to acknowledge in writing, Isabel Banerjee and Ginger Garcia, literally swung into action and created more of what I would describe as a tidal wave. They reached out to our entire membership and other Rotary Clubs asking if they would collect yarn for the “Bali Project.” The response has been overwhelmingly positive – from my Rotary Club, another Rotary Club and from strangers who have contacted me personally who want to help, who want to donate cash for shipping and who are being the change they wish to see in the world. So affirming during the most challenging of times for our planet and most of its inhabitants.
Fast forward with this yarn’s tale…so far over 80 lbs of yarn has been shipped to Bali – which is NO easy task and very expensive. I am one Rotarian who visited about three Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona and literally hit pay dirt! They have an abundance of great yarn donated by people like me who used to knit and crochet and then life got in the way. Talk about great finds!
The conclusion? One pebble does a ripple make! One phone call, one email, one action can result in literally getting rice on the plates of children around the world. Because of the COVID Delta variant, Bali is still closed. There are no tourists allowed in and people continue to struggle beyond anything I personally can possibly imagine. And the ripple continues to grow as another Rotary Club in Germany has agreed to SELL the products made by the women in Bali AND those very same women are now asking for help in learning how to “set up shop” online so they can sell their products around the globe.
I hope these pictures make you see and feel the impact of what I described but most of all, I hope it inspires you to ask yourself “How can I be the pebble in the pond for a cause I believe in?” Be the pebble!
From about the age of five, Gina has been on the path of being a disruptor for good. A dreamer at heart, Gina is madly and passionately in love with this great planet of ours and is tireless in her efforts to preserve it.