out of the letterbox

Most mail that arrives in our box has one of those little windows that screams THERE’S A BILL IN HERE. But yesterday we got a mulberry paper one with two big blue foreign stamps on it. We’ve seen that paper being made, seen the frames stacked in the sun drying out.
And yesterday some of it arrived at our place. All the way from Laos.
Inside was an explanatory newsletter, a hand-written thank you card and a CD filled with photos and decorated with another hand-drawing……an excited jumping mouse.
Yes, it was from Big Brother Mouse.

Before we went on our trip we raised enough money to sponsor the publication of a book in Laos (a country where most kids do not have access to engaging books, even the kids lucky enough to go to school). Sasha, a retired book publisher from the US, set up shop there a few years back and is trying to change that situation. He (and his team of Lao nationals) is doing a fantastic job. The pictures on the CD are testament to that. So’s their website, if you would like to take a look for yourself.
We were so impressed with them that when we returned home we decided to save money to sponsor another book. Every time I cut the kids hair they can put the money we would have spent at the hairdresser’s into a ceramic elephant that is looking after our savings. Jboy14 mows lawns, Jgirl15 has knit and sold felted slippers, we’ve sold spare books and picked up dropped coins at the supermarket. The elephant is feeling heavier and we remember back to seeing the work in action:

BBM

Big Brother Mouse book Party 8

You can see the joy in the children’s eyes when they get a book to keep for themselves. We never want to forget, in the midst of our plenty, that Lao kids have so little.
So we save our pennies for them.
Could you do the same? Here are some of the books that need sponsors right now.
If you can’t sponsor a whole book, how about sponsoring a book party? We went to one when we were in Luang Prabang and it turned out to be one of the biggest-lump-in-my-throat-days. If you’re unsure what a book party is, take a peek here.

Big Brother Mouse book Party 7

Big Brother Mouse book Party 5

From Laos to Auckland, exciting mail.

And soon we hope, from Auckland to Laos, the promise of more words.

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