I am simply without words. (You may all take a moment now to ponder the magnitude of that statement.)

Look at the total donations to MSF. I can scarcely breathe I am so overwhelmed with the kindness and decency of all of you. The total can only grow too…since this does not even begin to cover the donations made by those of you who are taking the Harlot MSF Challenge for the week. I’m going to have to have a lie down when you break $10 000. I applaud each and every single one of you.

The MSF (Mitaines Sans Frontiers) are apparently taking their name a little too seriously.


Last night I cast on the first braid. (Yes. Multiple braids. Look at the total. It’s the least I can do.) I worked the yarn-twisting lunacy of the first row, then began the row that slants in the opposite direction. Halfway around the second row, I glanced down and noticed that I was no longer making braid, but instead some sort of very clever multiple row latvian twisty looking thing. I looked back at the beginning…fine. Checked my second row…the trouble started about halfway around the second row.

The first row of the braid goes like this ///// ,

the second…like this \\\\\\\

when you stack them, you get this >>>>> .

Get it?

Unfortunately it turns out that I am a stark raving moron with no right to be knitting, and a shame to decent latvians everywhere. (They will hear my name and spit in the dust.) What I did, was this:

For the fist half of the first row I did this ///////////

For the middle, .I did this \\\\\\\\\\\\

Then, having suffered what I can only surmise must have been some sort of knitting seizure…I reverted to this //////////

This means that when I went on to knit the second round…the charming little Latvian Braids came out like this. >>>>>>>////////////>>>>>>

Thusly, the Borders of the MSF were screwed beyond all recognition and I ripped it out with an appropriate use of expletives. I think is time to learn to swear in Latvian.


Questions from the comments yesterday…

Question: Nanette lives in Atlanta, and she asks….”How about knitting a Latvian bikini?”

Answer: Nanette…with all due respect and the utmost of love and concern for you and all you love….NO. (I don’t know what is says about me that I actually spent some time last night thinking about how I would do the crotch. Don’t let me start.)

Question: Natasha says “If they’re to be Mitaines Sans Frontiers shouldn’t they be more than just Latvian?”

Answer: See above – and are you people trying to kill me? Is it not clear to you that my sanity is a fragile little thing to be tenderly protected from this sort of dare?

Question: Kelly asks “When is the deadline for this?”

Answer: I’ll keep the tally going in the sidebar until the Mittens are done. Clearly, you have some time.

Question: Debs asks ” Are you looking into any organizations that would take donations of knit items?? ie, socks, blankets, etc??”

Answer: Not right now…but thanks for reminding me to tell you that the current deadline for getting items to Afghans for Afghans is Jan 16th. (Thanks Sue…for the heads up)

Question: What’s up with MSF not taking Pfizers money?

Answer: It’s not just Pfizer. It’s an issue of MSF remaining independent and free of a conflict of interest. They do not accept money from any company that manufactures drugs, alcohol or tobacco. It’s a question of medical ethics, and one that I think is honourable.

Question: How come MSF is saying they don’t want any more money?

Answer: HOLY CRAP. Where did you get that? While MSF has indicated that Donations designated strictly for Tsunami relief are no longer appropriate, the thought that they don’t want your money is….well, desperately wrong. The problem with donations made for a specific cause is that they MUST be used for that cause. If the time comes when the money is not needed or cannot be absorbed by the community or relief agency it cannot be diverted to other causes.

Ben writes (thanks Ben)

The generosity of people worldwide has been amazing. As of this

morning, MSF had raised close to $67 million (Canadian) worldwide during

the past week and the number will continue to rise. As pointed out by

some of your readers, MSF is now asking people to donate to our

emergency fund so that we can direct surplus funds to forgotten

emergencies …where the humanitarian situation is horrific but CNN, CBC and ITN

are never seen with their cameras. Two weeks ago I was in Ivory Coast

and saw that some NGOs had left due to lack of funding. Back in April,

I saw the same in Sierra Leone. There is nothing like being in a

feeding centre (belonging to Action Against Hunger) with sixty kids

under five and in various states of malnutrition receiving supplementary

feeding and knowing that the project was to close down the next month

due to lack of funding – just as the post rainy season “hunger gap” was

about to start. Western governments did not want to fund the project,

believing that Sierra Leone was at peace. Never mind that it was a

recent, fragile kind of peace. Also, there were no TV cameras to create

public pressure for them to act.

So believe me when I say that surplus money coming to MSF will go to

worthy projects. In fact, I have a real problem with organizations

still voraciously fundraising when – like in Rwanda in 1994 – it may

take them years or decades to spend it. People’s generosity must not be

abused and this is why MSF is taking such a seemingly strange position

on tsunami donations.

Remember, this is a fundraiser for MSF. We don’t want to limit their ability to help people. MSF is an experienced relief organization. They won the Nobel Peace Prize, for crying out loud. I trust them to make good with the money. Would it really be so bad if they spent some of your money on the next Tsunami? Or earthquake? Or famine? Or in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Ben writes again:

One estimate is that 31,000 people die per month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to man-made, not natural reasons. That means that every 5 months, DRC has the same death toll as the tsunami.

Read more here.

I’ve assured Ben that I can’t imagine people only being interested in reducing one kind of suffering. Dig deep. I’m going to try and get some borders on these mittens.