Dark clouds, spitting rain and an uncomfortable chill were our companions for morning coffee on Saturday. It was pretty dispiriting. Did we really have to go outside and get things done?
By the time we finished our morning ablutions and discussions on the day’s plan, the clouds had cleared a bit — in the sky, in our heads and in our moods — and we gathered up our materials and mettle and mobilized for a day of personal errands and Impact efforts.
Open Bookshelf and Contributing to the Literacy of a Small One
Sidewalk "Open Bookshelf"
First stop was Open Bookshelf, a freestanding “shelf” that’s bolted to the sidewalk a few blocks from our apartment. It’s a free “serve yourself” exchange where anyone can bring or take a book or books. For months, Nils and I have talked about participating. This weekend, we went with a dozen or so mostly English books, and just before we headed out, Nils added a German language book of Hagar the Horrible comic strips.
As we were finishing shelving our books, a woman approached with her granddaughter of about four years old.
“She’s fascinated by books,” the woman explained as the little girl looked on with wide-eyed curiosity.
“Ooh, I have just the thing,” Nils said. He reached back into the shelf with his own child-like enthusiasm.
“She doesn’t read yet …” the woman said doubtingly.
Nils pulled out his Hagar the Horrible like a magician would a rabbit, and squatted down next to the little one. “Look here, you can look at the pictures and have someone read the words with you.” She followed along mesmerized.
Nils offered this prize over to her and she accepted it with a shy smile of gratitude. We watched as she toddled off happily with grandma to the bus stop.
Impact, Yes. Satisfaction, big time! That little girl’s smile yielded at least 100+ satisfaction points! Perhaps some of our other books will find equally worthy new homes.
A darn good start to the day!
Clothing and Toiletries for the Homeless
Back in January, we featured die Gruft, Vienna’s well-known homeless facility. Since then, we’ve gone back a couple of times, but it’s been several months. A quick morning dig through the closet produced a few tops, a sweater and a pair of (too small) nearly-new trousers. They were added to a bag of hotel shampoos and shower gels we’ve been collecting, along with overnight toiletry kits from Nils’ business class flights.
Though still overcast, temperatures were warming, so there were fewer homeless in the shelter this time compared to our first visit in the dead of winter. Nevertheless, our small bag of donations were gladly accepted.
To friends in Vienna: die Gruft’s currently in need of a variety of items including men’s clothing, office, kitchen and first-aid supplies, and eating utensils.
Supporting the Campaign Against Stoning
100 Cities Around the World Against Stoning is an initiative that arrived in my inbox early Friday morning, further proof that Impact opportunities present themselves when you keep your eyes open.
The terrifying threat of death by stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is known worldwide. Saturday, August 28th was the day where people around the world gathered to demand the abolition of this inhuman and barbaric act.
In Vienna, there was no demonstration per se, but there was an information table in front of the Opera House. Nils and I, along with many others, signed a petition in protest against stoning and signed and mailed a postcard imploring the United Nations General Secretary, Ban-Ki Moon, to not accept Ahmadinejad at the General Assembly session in September 2010. (Click here for a letter version in pdf)
Overall, not a bad day at all, especially since we also got grocery shopping done, checked out a couple of kitchen supply shops for needed equipment, and had a nice lunch and conversation along the way.
After having walked (an effort not to add to our carbon footprint) approximately 5 miles/8 km through the city on Saturday, Sunday was a “spud day.” We did, however, manage to do a few Impact efforts from the comfort of our sofa. These included click-to-donates
throughs which we highlighted back in Week 7: Effortless Impact. While we do click-to donate through donations occasionally, frankly, it’s no longer a habit. We’ve pledged to each other to make a more concerted effort to click through more regularly.
Pups like this could be killed in their dens
We also answered to a call by the Defenders of Wildlife and sent a letter to the U.S. federal Wildlife Services agency in a campaign to Save America’s Wolves. I was shocked to learn that this branch of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture plans to initiate shooting of entire packs from the air, surgical sterilization of alpha pairs and gassing of pups. URGENT: Deadline for sending letters is August 31st, 2010.
And, last but not least, in the spirit of Week 22: Pollinating Happiness, we both signed into butterbeehappy.com and updated our Happiness Journals. Amongst other things, we’re pretty dang happy about our Spontaneous Impact Weekend.
Read Full Post »