Needs and wants

Things are a little different here at Chez Harlot today. With the recent nightmare of events in South-East Asia I thought it was time for me to try and make a small difference.

Meet Ben Chapman.


Ben is the Director of Human Resources for MSF Canada. He’s also a pretty decent brother-in-law with the good sense to have feet a little on the smallish side. Ben’s wearing his Christmas present socks here, known to all of you as December’s computer socks.


Ben’s life freaks me out. Ben has saved lives before he finishes his coffee in the morning. While I knit in my cozy home all December, Ben woke each morning in the Ivory Coast. He missed his wife and daughters, and they missed him. Ben and MSF (Doctors without borders) attempt to bring medical attention, human rights and a voice to parts of the world that know suffering beyond what you can imagine. They are without religious affiliation and remain completely impartial. MSF is the Harlot family charity of choice and in the wake of the tsunami I can think of no better way to start the new year than with compassion and simple human concern extended to those that need it most.

By any North American standard, I am not a wealthy woman. Still, there has never been a day that I went hungry or wondered where I would put my kids to bed. I choose between my clothing in the morning and at least once a week I throw away food that went bad before we could eat it, buying fresh without even feeling a pang of decadence. I have never wanted for anything more than “more” of what I already have. I am…to most of the people that the tsunami effected, obscenely wealthy…

As are you.

Here then is My MSF Challenge. For one week do this:

1. Each and every time you think about buying something…ask yourself if it is a need (food, water, shelter, medicine or safety) or a want. Be honest. Yarn is not (sob) necessary. Latte’s are not necessary. A seventh pair of shoes? Fabulous pair of new jeans? Eating out? Could you skip a haircut? Search yourself and ask, do I need this, or would the money be better spent on someone whose home, or village…or children, were just completely swept away.

2. At the end of the week (or sooner…if you don’t need that much time to think about it) Donate the amount of money that you didn’t need to MSF. There should be no reason why every single person who reads this blog can’t find at least a dollar.

MSF Canada (The government is matching donations)

MSF United States

MSF International

3. After you donate, email me the amount of your donation (my address is in sidebar on the right), your name and email. I don’t care how much your donation is and I don’t need any proof that you made the donation. (I believe that that planet would smite you for lying about this sort of thing) I’d like to know the amount that you gave only so I can keep a running tally in the sidebar. I’ll know that whatever you give is your best effort, given your unique circumstances.

4. I’ll keep a list of the contributors while I knit my next project…MSF


Mittens Sans Frontiers. (Mittens Without Borders)

When they are finished (they will be Latvian and they will have braids) I’ll draw a name from the generous souls who gave to MSF and helped Ben save lives, and I’ll mail them the mittens.

Who’s in?