How does one count the value of things we give away? (click to enlarge)
Originally I had divided this blog into 2 categories:

    This included a silver/gold chalice, a framed piece of art from France, a fancy metal lighter from Paris, a heavy metal flask with leather carrying case, a large unused candle encased in glass.
    This included 6 water bottles and a blood pressure cuff. A local Respite Center had put a notice in our parish bulletin that with the hot summer days, they were in dire need of water bottles for their residents and guests. I also got an email from an old friend who started a non-profit in Kenya and he was collecting medical supplies for the Kakuma Mission Hospital. One thing he especially requested was rechargeable blood pressure cuffs. Well, I had several old water bottles from camping plus a few extra modern ones. I also had a 10 year old blood pressure cuff that I seldom used.

So, good. I figured I had an easy July blog post. BUT, Jim and I just got back from a 2 week visit with the indigenous people of the Ecuador rainforest. It was a journey sponsored by The Pachamama Alliance (click for short video) in which we visited the Achuar and Sapara tribes. We learned their ways and their commitment to protect the rainforest from the encroachment of oil and mining companies. Of course this was a meaningful but challenging experience as we trudged through muddy terrain, lived without electricity (much less internet connection), revived our camping skills, but spent time with joy filled people throughout it all.

So what’s this got to do with my 2 major give-away categories? I decided to reverse the usual value assigned to “expensive” goods as opposed to “cheap” goods. Water bottles are cheap. BUT, in the rainforest, water is life. Yes, they have plenty of water because the rainforest earns its name honestly. But WE, first world visitors, could not safely drink the local water. We always had to carry purified water. We came to value water highly. THEN, when I returned home and went to drop off our extra water bottles to a local shelter, I got the address wrong and went to the wrong center. As I was about to walk the block to the correct agency, several local people standing nearby heard me say that I was looking for the place to donate my water bottles and they said, “Hey, can I have one of them?” Then another asked; then another. I never got to my intended destination. Indeed I realized that water – and the means to carry it – was an item of great value.
Likewise, I get my blood pressure checked every time I go to a physician or dentist. Plus, if I really need to I can get it checked free at the local supermarket. Yet, the Mission Hospital in Kakuma didn’t have enough. Its value immediately rose in my mind.

Decorative items and precious metals can be beautiful and good, but they are not life and death items. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded about the inherent value of things we take for granted. I donated the decorative items to Legacies, a local high-end consignment shop. Maybe I’ll get a small tax deduction for them. 🙂