Thursday, October 25, 2007

a gift

recently i spent a couple of my lunches outside of the office, sitting in the sunshine and losing myself in the streets of india. not literally, of course - the skyscraper canyons of hong kong islands business district is a far cry from the dusty streets and masses of people of mumbai. but for those short hours the book i am reading carried me away from the frenzy of the trading floor to a different time and a different life - a place i have never been, being experienced by a person i have never met.

such is the magic of reading, a pastime i have enjoyed since it was instilled in me as child by my parents. through books i learned to expand my imagination, search for education on my own terms, and experience the private joy of escape into the world contained within the pages i read.

i remember once teaching a deaf man in the philippines. we communicated largely through pictures i poorly drew to illustrate principles and ideas. he could not read and therefore depended on these pictures to illustrate the ideas i was trying to get across. i struggled in frustration and effort to try to distill ideas that could have been communicated in a few words into a drawing. i think it was only then that i imagined what it would be like not to be able to read. now i think about what it would be like to be able to read, but not have anything with which to satisfy that desire.

our little family is joining with the lefler family this christmas to journey down to a small island in the central philippines. it is not much of a tourist destination, but a rural town in samar. as part of the christmas season, we thought carefully about the kinds of gifts we might bring to celebrate this special time. we have decided to round up as many books as we can to donate to local schools severely lacking such reading material.

together we have enlisted the support of dymock's, a large chain in australia and hong kong, to house a donation receptacle for us. we will collect as many books as we can until the beginning of december, and will then ship the books down to our destination in the philippines. in the meantime, we will use our previous help one future model of working with local government officials and school administration to pass out the books where they are needed most.

we welcome all donations - in hong kong, please let us know if you have books to donate. outside of hong kong, it may be difficult (and costly) to get the books to us. if you wish to donate financially to help one future, your donations are tax deductible as we are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. please direct any questions to

and keep on reading!