Feel like doing something?

Meistersinger Rehearsal at the Royal Academy

Meistersinger Rehearsal at the Royal Academy

I’m slowly coming off an overdose of Richard Wagner after an intensive rehearsal week for a big chunk of Act III Meistersinger. I have worked for this company as a language coach for some time. It’s nice to come back and see familiar faces. The final performance was yesterday in the Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. KL, brilliant as always, played his socks off at the piano and JR had another go at the role of Hans Sachs. He’s scheduled to sing the entire role next year and everyone with a ticket will be looking forward to a breathtaking performance as he is an amazing singer – and a lovely colleague. DE, our producer, had – like always – concocted a wonderfully weird production and maestro TL was keeping it all together and conducting the whole thing with a twinkle in the eye.

Since I worked almost non-stop all week I totally missed the first of Advent. Every year I want to reconnect to my charity work. It has been tradition in my family to work/give for charity on a regular basis. I didn’t have the time to organise something myself, as I originally wanted to, so I’ll have to wait and be part of one of the many project that are already out there in the meantime.

But if one is looking for charity project one is likely to find mostly English speaking projects. Somehow this annoyed me. Is Germany really a charity free zone? So I set out on a quest to find out more about it.

Adveniat, the charity belonging to the Catholic church for Latin America, will be collecting money for people in big cities under the heading ‘God lives amongst us’. The protestant church follows with their project Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) a mission to relieve world hunger, now in it’s 50th year. This year the motto is ‘there is enough for everyone’. Last year both charities together raised almost 90 million Euro.

UNICEF has a brilliant scheme where you can choose not only how much, but also what you want to give. It goes from 4€ (for a mosquito net or a football) up to 15.318€ (for a cross country vehicle), my favourite one (the goat) was so popular that it’s already sold out!

Don’t know what to give? For all you people who need  presents for someone but never found what to give, because a) the person already has everything or b) you find out that they sell your presents on EBay after Christmas, give something that they definitely don’t have and can’t give back: make them a ‘Schafpate’ (a sheep godparent) for 60€. This is a project organised through the yarn manufacturer TUTTO in association with the German shepherd association (no idea that something like that existed – but then we are an organised country…) The cool thing: they are giving all their shepherds a GPS device so you’ll be able to see on Google Earth were your sheep is grazing.

If you have a premature baby born in your family you’ll probably want to knit for them. G’s niece was premature and they struggled to find nice clothes for the tiny girl. The German knitters for premature babies are organised through a Yahoo Group – a website would probably make them more accessible and easier to find, but the essentials are there. I haven’t checked them out, but if you’d like to knit for them please go their group.

Unite the world through knitting

Last but not least a knitting for charity project organised by Save the Children ‘Eine Mütze voll Leben’ (a hat full of life), knitting hats for infants. You can knit (I guess crochet is welcome too) a hat for infants/children in need. Unfortunately a deadline cannot be found on the website (and don’t get me started on the familiar ‘Du’ in the pdf flyer!) only something like early summer 2009 indicated a time line. (After some extensive research it appears that the project runs until February 2009). A couple of sample hats can be seen on the website, which show how much care people put in those little hats. A simple pattern, a pre-designed card that you can attach to your hat as well as an example letter to our chancellor can be downloaded through the website. The Knit-o-meter is only at 3000 and they aim for 50.000 little hats. So let’s get started! G, J and I are already in. Feeling inspired? Get out your thinking cap and/or your pointy sticks and do something!

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