[caption id="attachment_8696" align="aligncenter" width="718"]RC-192652-01082016 Camping, Malawi style[/caption]

How often has someone said to you "Are you hungry?" and the immediate response has been "I'm starved!".   I know I've said it many times.  But in reality most folk reading this blog entry haven't ever experienced true hunger.  The sort of hunger that leaves you without the energy to do anything.  The sort of hunger that means concentrating on any one thing is difficult, as all you can think about is being hungry.  The sort of hunger that means you are willing to scratch through bins and rubbish tips to find something to eat.  THAT sort of hunger.

We've seen programmes in the UK about school meals which children are able to get here, and how important a good, balanced diet and healthy nutrition is to their well being and their education.  We all know ourselves how important it is to eat healthily and we know how quickly our health suffers if we don't eat properly.

When I began thinking about doing a special colourway to raise funds for a charity this year, I looked at various options, but I kept coming back to one small, but busy charity - Mary's Meals.

Mary's Meals has one aim

"At Mary’s Meals, we are focused on one goal – that every child receives a nutritious daily meal in a place of education."

 They go on to say:

"These life-changing meals attract hungry children into the classroom. The food fills their empty bellies so they have the energy and opportunity to learn, giving them the chance of a brighter future. The meals also support families struggling to feed their children while boosting the country’s wider economy."

[caption id="attachment_8698" align="aligncenter" width="718"]RC-192650-01082016 Rowing, with friends, on Lake Malawi[/caption]

It is at this point that I should explain a little why there is a very personal reason for choosing Mary's Meals.  As many of you reading this blog will know, I spent much of my youth in southern Africa.  I never managed to visit Malawi, but Stevan, my husband, spent quite a bit of time there.  His family moved to Malawi for a few years, and it had a long lasting effect on him.  He remembers his time there with great fondness, but he especially remembers the people with whom he came into contact and recalls them as happy, friendly folk.  Nothing was too much trouble.

[caption id="attachment_8700" align="aligncenter" width="718"]RC-192829-01082016 Choose your hat![/caption]

Mary's Meals have worked in Malawi for some years now, where poverty is rife and malnutrition a very real problem.  And while Mary's Meals offer school meals in many countries across the world, the Malawi programme is their biggest, where they reach over a quarter of all primary schools across the country.  This equates to approximately 814,000 children receiving one proper meal every day.  The food is simple - porridge, but it is healthy, warming, and nutritious.

In April this year, Malawi declared a state of emergency after complicated weather resulting in both droughts and floods.  Approximately 2.8 million (about 20% of the population) are now what they call "food insecure" (a political term if ever I heard one!), i.e. hungry.  Mary's Meals are working hard to try and alleviate a small part of this suffering by feeding as many primary school children as they can.  But they need support to do this.   For £12.20, Mary's Meals can feed one child for a whole year.   And while the primary aim is to feed children, a further aspect of the work that they do is to provide employment in the areas that they work.  In Malawi there are currently 70 people employed on the project.

And so, Mary's Meals is my choice for fundraising this year.  I hope you approve.   The cost of this special Mary's Meals colourway will be slightly higher than the normal price for the Reliable Sock Yarn.  It will cost £13.00 to buy, but £6.10 from every hank sold will go to the charity.  The reason I settled on £6.10 as my donation is because with every 2 hanks sold one child will receive one daily meal for a year.


"So what IS the colour" I hear you cry!  Well, I'll be honest.  There was a lot of trial and rejection for this one.  I had so many of Stevan's old photographs for inspiration, as well as the beautiful pictures on the Mary's Meals website.  Africa is so colourful, and so vibrant, but everything I tried didn't quite cut the mustard.  And so taking a leaf out of Mary's Meals books, I decided to keep things very simple.  The overriding colour in all of Stevan's photographs (and my own memories of Southern Africa) is blue.  Blue skies, blue lakes, blue land rover!  And the colour used by Mary's Meals  on their promotional material is also blue.  So, blue it is!


Each hank will be slightly different because of the dyeing method I've used, but the deep blue shade gives way to a paler blue.  At the moment I am only offering it on my reliable sock yarn base (if you'd like it on a different yarn base please get in touch).


I've just managed to knit a tiny bit of the first hank out of the dye pot:


I'd be absolutely thrilled if I sold 20 hanks of this special colourway - that would allow me to donate £122 to Mary's Meals, meaning 10 children would be supported for a year.  Can we do that?  HERE is the link to the yarn.

UPDATE:  Wow!  you lot are wonderful!  Within 2 hours of this blog entry going up you had very kindly bought the first 20 hanks that I put up.  Thank you!  I have added a further 20 hanks - lets see if we can arrange for 20 children to have at least one good meal a day shall we?  All hanks will now be dyed to order, so there will be a delay in getting them out to you but they will be on their way soon, I promise!