A TALE OF HIPPOS AND HELPFULNESS
Nilpferd (pronounced kneel-ferd) is the German word for hippopotamus. Nil of course refers to the Nile river in Egypt, and Pferd is the word for horse. How this word Nile horse came into the language I cannot say, but it’s use goes back in history to a time when there were still hippos living along the Nile. Though there still may be rare sightings on the Nile, mostly near the Sudanese border, today hippos are considered extinct in Egypt, which once saw many different species of the animal living on the river. Be that as it may, my reason for posting the pink hippo’s photo is tied into another subject. Some people see pink elephants. Today I saw a pink hippo.
I am an ardent supporter of a charity called Oxfam. Oxfam is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. They save lives, develop long-term solutions to poverty, and campaign for social change in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. For example, they provide seed and animals to farmers in poverty stricken countries and training designed to create better awareness in implementing their solutions. They also most recently raised money to help fight the ebola outbreak in Africa. As a charity organization, when compared to others, they seem to be effective in their distribution of help and in the use of the money that they raise (see the link at the end of this post for an assessment of their organization in the United States). There are far worse charities not worth giving to. They way Oxfam works is that people donate clothing, shoes, luggage, household items, books, LPs, CDs and DVDs, artwork and in some cases electronic items and small appliances that they no longer need. Oxfam in turn then sells these items for a reasonable price, like a thrift store. They also sell a line of fair trade products, such as coffee, chocolate bars, sugar and other items. The employees volunteer their time and the funds collected are forwarded to the central organization.
Now, I am a confirmed Oxfam junkie. I donate many hundreds of dollars each year buying their used items. My apartment is well stocked with household things, books, CDs. LPs, DVDs, items of clothing and various interesting trinkets I have purchased there over the years. Of course, if you know me well enough, then you know that most of what I buy are the CDs, LPs, movies and books. When you think about it though, it is also a wonderful way to recycle still usable things that people no longer want or need. Their donation of the items is as good as a cash donation. And when you buy something you want, your purchase is a direct donation of money to the organization. Everybody gets something out of the circle of donation, purchasing and the subsequent funding of Oxfam’s projects.
Which brings us full circle back to the pink Nilpferd. I purchased it earlier today in Oxfam (along with two CDs and a DVD film) because I have a friend that collects hippos and I know that they will be surprised and pleased when I pass it along. Why, I even discovered that there are two Oxfam shops in Paris, one of which I have visited that is located near the Cimetière du Montparnasse at 61 Rue Daguerre. All in all it is a great way to help fight poverty and campaign for social change in poverty stricken countries. Check and see if there is an Oxfam shop in your neck of the woods…
Here is a link to the Charity Navigation website with an evaluation of the American affiliate of the Oxfam organization:
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