Our way of life is changing…
March 29, 2020
Greetings from Phnom Penh! There seems to be no news these days, but Covid-19 news. We check online what is happening in our area, our country and around the world too often, our minds and hearts are full of sadness, grief, anxiety, uncertainty. The numbers of infected and dead keep going up and the shut downs are spreading. Economies are grinding to a halt borders are closing. But we are not giving up! Keep reading to learn how you can support Cambodia Knits through this.
Cambodia currently has at 104 cases officially, but it seems testing is not widespread and we have anecdotal evidence that more are possibly infected. At CK we are deeply worried about our knitters and the country as a whole. The health care infrastructure here is at a fraction of the capacity and skill that is needed. Should an outbreak on the scale of what is happening in the USA or Italy occur here, it would cause untold pain and suffering.
Social distancing is a privilege
I was struck by something I read yesterday. It was a message being shared on FB written by a doctor in India: social distancing is a privilege (full text below). I realized how lucky I was to be able to stock up on canned goods, pasta and to keep ordering in groceries. I have a fast home Internet connection. I have running water and health insurance and a bed and towels and Lego to entertain my child and savings and am generally healthy thanks to my economic position, and I know my family and I will get through this. I can also entertain myself with endless memes and videos of the trials of self-isolation and drink wine with friends over Zoom and have a laugh about it in between the tears and stress of seeing CK struggle.
But for millions, none of this is possible. Where do the homeless go to self-isolate? How do the people who live day-to-day, hand-to-mouth on their tiny, now disappearing earnings, stock up on food? How do children in poor families keep up with their school work when they don’t even have electricity let alone computers, smart phones or tablets. There is a humanitarian disaster building alongside of the Covid-19 pandemic itself, one which threatens to plunge millions back into poverty and suffering.
Apply Stoic Philosophy
As a follower of the Stoics, I have been keeping this quote close to my heart:
The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. — Epictetus. Discourses 11.5
I have no control over the length of this pandemic, the shut down of countries and borders, how others respond and react. What I can control here at CK, is trying to keep our knitters working. We have a rooster of 200+ women we have trained and we are doing everything possible, mostly from behind a screen, to stay financially solvent enough so they can keep knitting and earning with dignity. Many are the key breadwinners in their families, so stopping our production would harm their children and their communities as well.
How you can support us to keep our knitting knitters knitting
You can help us too. We have set up a page on Patreon where you can sign up to donate $ each month starting at $5. You can change your pledge at any time, increase or decrease it. If things change for you, you can cancel and stop as well. We will completely understand, because no one knows where we are going to be in a few weeks or months.
If you can, please consider supporting us to keep our knitters knitting. Without us, many of them have no other source of income and will face more uncertainty than any of us reading this newsletter. If you’re in no mood for Patreon, you can also make a one-time donation to us, either through ABA in Cambodia, through RBC in Canada or PayPal from anywhere else. Send me an email at email@example.com for the details.
Thank you for you taking the time to read and I hope you are all safe, secure and healthy!