Went with a team to a Tottenham High School and with 4 classes of 200 students each period we made 39 mats, about 50 pillows and prepped strips of bags for another day of weaving tomorrow. Happy Earth Day (tomorrow) everyone. The music was Rocking and it was a good time.
Another day, another school. With almost 400 elementary school children we made 17 mats today. Lots of busy hands and good hearts happy to help.
We could go on and on!!!!
A few interesting things have occurred though, and one was a huge shipment of the large adult sized mats to Greece. I was contacted early in April with the prospect of sending mats via Air Canada to Athens, Greece. The mats were going to be picked up by someone in the Salvation Army who is working with the Syrian refugees in the camps. When it rains the camps are mucky and the people have virtually nothing to sleep on, so with an excellent price of only $1 per kilo, Air Canada took the mats for us. Cardinal Couriers picked up the pallets of mats and again, charged us very little for the delivery to the Air Canada Cargo warehouse. I am waiting for photos of the people with mats in Greece.
Zambia.. I have met someone who is Zambian and has a heart for his people. This man lives in Mississauga, and has sent shipments of supplies to his people in the past. He wants to start the milk bag project with ladies in his town with his sister being in charge of the plastic. He was supposed to go to Zambia in September to meet the container and get the bags delivered, but his partner is unable to help him financially with the cost of the container. Shipping is one of our most difficult issues with the project. In order to ship to Zambia, $11,000 US is needed. On his own, this cost is too exorbitant, so we had to put the shipment on hold for now. One good thing about Zambia is that it does not have a ban on non-biodegradable plastic.
Burkina Faso.. another country where we will be working with ladies to make mats. Last November I sent 6 adult sized mats to Burkina Faso. The mats arrived, the ladies were thrilled with them and they want to make mats. So what is the problem??? Sending a mat is okay since it is a product, but sending the raw plastic bags is a problem. Burkina Faso has a ban on non-biodegradable plastic. Our man in Burkina has been to the government asking for special permission to import the plastic into the country. The government loves the mats, but right now are not willing to give us papers with permission to bring in the milk bags. There is a chance we can have a company over there make us the bags, but they would be made out of biodegradable plastic and we all know that the mats would break down in about 3 years. The ladies want the chance to make money by producing mats and selling them. We are still thinking about how we are going to get this project going over there.
Our goals.. Our goal for 2016 is 4032 mats. Why that number? 2016 times 2.. why not. We are well on our way with almost 2000 mats for this year. This means we will have made close to 10,000 mats since milk bags unlimited started. This does not even include the mats made by other groups, and in Ottawa, they make a lot of mats.
The school year is coming to an end and with it I get dozens of teachers coming to my home with mats and unused bags. I have a request, teachers, if you could keep your bags over the summer. Then in September you will have bags ready for making mats as soon as the kids go back to school. If you are changing schools or don’t have the storage space I understand, but if you can keep the bags, I would appreciate it.
There are people who will be weaving over the summer.. I have probation offices, summer camps, church groups, community centres, work places and independent people who weave who will need bags. I would like to offer you a “pick up your bags day” on June 9th from 9 AM till 9 PM. As usual, just let me know how many boxes you would like. I have a lot of bags in storage, and need to get them to my home for you. This is also a good day for teachers to bring their mats to my home