Project Archangel Julie

By Princess Rachella

I didn't include this picture in my "Dust Bunnies" photo album because I wanted to use it to tell you a little story. It's about me 40 years ago, the shy scrap of a girl who spent most of her energy trying not to be seen or heard. But that little girl had HUGE dreams, and always wanted to explore the world, and somehow make a difference. Back then, there was really no way to know if it would ever happen.

One thing I'll probably never be able to forget from those days is the feeling of hunger. Not just the occasional growling tummy, but the actual experience of going to bed hungry, and wondering if the next day would be any different.

Now, I grew up in America, so even back then, I guess I knew that eventually, we would get something to eat. Even if it meant waiting for the monthly deliveries of canned mystery meat and "gub'mint cheese" from the federal Commodities Program. If nothing else, we usually had a decent meal on Fridays, when Daddy got paid.

Anyway, this picture reminds me so much of the 1960's era Rachel. These children are eating their meager portions of beans, vegetables and maize meal, or "unga" with such gusto, the way I would savor prime rib or anchovies wrapped in sun dried tomatoes today. The schoolteacher, a lovely young woman named Jecinth, told me most of the kids bring their lunches from "home" (a.k.a. a tarpaulin UNHCR tent), but some children just don't have any food to bring.

Like the little girl sitting in the center of this picture.

Watching these children, I was catapulted back to the days before the Free School Breakfast and Lunch program made it to Cairo, when I had to sit quietly outside in the hall while the other kids munched on their elaborate baloney sandwiches and potato chips, or other lovingly prepared meals from home. Whenever she could, my big sister Julie did her best to make sure we had something to take, even if it was just a peanut butter sandwich, or the hearty soup she used to make with chicken necks and rice.

At that moment, watching these kids at lunch, I asked myself, "What would Julie do in this situation?" The answer was clear: Julie would have ordered somebody to drive her to the nearest market, bought every freshly plucked chicken available, along with vegetables, rice, beans, whatever, and she would have headed right back to Maai Mahiu and cooked it all herself, and made sure that each of these kids went to bed with full stomachs--at least for that night anyway.

Well, I am nowhere NEAR the force of nature that was Julie Ann Marie Jones Newell, so I'm not even gonna try and front like that. But I did learn that there's a fundraising drive for the kids of PCEA Muniu Primary School, to help provide them with breakfast and lunch each day.

It's called Project Angel. If you've been following this blog, you know that the only reason I'm still standing today is because of my own celestial guide, the Archangel Julie. Really, I have no other choice but to take on this project, because I totally believe that Julie will hurl a lightning bolt to scorch my ass if I don't stand in for her on this one.

As you know, I visited the Maai Mahiu IDP Camp on Friday, March 13th. The official population of the camp is 1,313. I'm hoping that for these schoolkids, 13 will turn out to be a very lucky number, and I'm inviting any of who read this blog to help out if you can. Whether you can spare 13 dollars or 13 cents, every single penny of it will go to buy food for the kids at PCEA Muniu Primary.

I'm still working on my strategy for collecting donations, but keep watching this space for more info.

Posted by Princess Rachella at 12:47 PM