Little Goody Two Shoes
Invest With a Genius
Joys of Live Alchemy
Worry Causes Wrinkles
Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think
About the Author
The Goody Two Shoes of 2007 - Inspirational Good Deeds Contest
The inherent nature of natural human beings is one of divine, unselfish devotion towards their fellow human. Everyone that entered is a victor in their own lives on earth and I am encouraged and harkened by them all.
The prize winner of $500.00 is:
Leslie T Wake from Ohio - Guitar Lady
The three runners up are:
Bill Asenjo - Water for Life
Gabriel Constans - The Pied Piper of Rwanda
Marsha Jordan - Angel Hugs
Honorable mention goes to:
Sharon Alsop - Quilts of Valor Kamala Sarup - My Motherland For Peace Jessica Kenned - A Dad's Love Snehal Subhash Thakur. -I took it as a challenge Ms. Frances Roberts - The Other Mother Jonathan Lederman - A Man of Inspiration Eve Hall - Poetry in Motion Charlene Smith - Untitled Jerry Silverberg - Stoem Ellaraine Lockie - An Act of Kindness Patricia D'Ascoli - Dolly Whitney Loves to Help Others Nadja Zajdman - Lost and Found Bonnie Neely - Nelle Burgess Charlene M. Ashendorf - I am not worthy Dusty Reed - Friendly Persuasion Amberly White - A Love for Animals Dallas Woodburn - Greg Woodburn Elizabeth Thomas - Play Ball Paola Fornari - To England's Green and Pleasant Land Dwayne Pagnotto - A Christmas Carol Revisited Kelly Matter - Change Stanice Anderson, - The gift Mary Brotherton - My Aussie Angel Danella McCormick - Robyn CJ Mouser - Absent Minded Maureen Brown - Little Goody Two Shoes Ciara Bogdanovic - Not a Stranger Robin Ehrlichman Woods - They've Got My Back Marcia L. Sinclair - Someone's Shoes Morgan Sweere - Caught Being Good Matthew Sweere - An Upright Man Sonja Herbert - The Lipstick Devon Flanagan - My Best Friend Marketa Henderson - My Father Carol Dee Meeks - Life, Laughter, and What we Make of our Journey Michelle Borinstein - Chicken Lady
The Winning Goody Two Shoes Contest Essay
Guitar Lady by Leslie T Wake
Water for Life by Bill Asenjo, PhD
THE PIED PIPER OF RWANDA by Gabriel Constans
Sylvestre Nzitukuze was a good soldier. He served in the Rwandan National Defense Forces until an inescapable vision tore him away to a new life. "I don't know where or how it came, but I knew I had to leave the army and help the street kids," he exclaims. With permission from the military, he took an honorable discharge and became the pied piper of the street children in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, a predominantly Catholic country still reeling from the 1994 genocide that left over a million orphans.
"With the help and support of churches and organizations here in Rwanda and in the U.S., we have been able to house, clothe, feed and educate over four hundred children that use to be living and dying in filth, left to fend for themselves in the alleys, gutters and fields of our beautiful country," Sylvestre explains, with a smile that would light up the darkest night.
If there is such a thing as a hero for the abandoned children of the world, Sylvestre fits the bill. Until he received some assistance from a local church, that lets him use a dilapidated large brick warehouse, Sylvestre was bringing child after child into his own home, which now includes his wife Felicite and their 3 children. He helped the kids that nobody seemed to want and often called "street rebels", to get off of drugs and stop prostituting themselves for food. With prayer and a new technique to treat post traumatic distress, he showed them how to heal the nightmares and horrors they have experienced and gave them hope and stability. Sylvestre became the Data (father) that so many youth were missing (through genocide, abandonment or AIDS).
Our first meeting with Sylvestre took place when we descended the steps into the main room of El Shaddai Orphan Center and were met with exuberant children singing and dancing greetings in Kinyarwanda, the national language of Rwanda. Sylvestre stood out with his gigantic grin, big embrace and heartfelt welcome. After the ceremonies were concluded, he took us on a tour of El Shaddai and pointed out what was working and what was needed. Within minutes he had made us feel like it was our home, as much as its residents.
A few days later, Sylvestre took us out into the streets and showed us where kids are still sleeping in the gutters, fields and crumbling abandoned buildings. We saw teens scrounging through decayed meat in a broken-down wheelbarrow, trying to salvage something to eat. Children everywhere came out to talk to their "brother" Sylvestre, who they know by sight. He greeted these barefoot, dirt-covered children with the same familiar hug and warmth that we were treated to on our first meeting. It didn't matter if they were high on sniffing glue, had scabs or wounds on their bodies or would normally rob somebody of everything they had, in order to survive. When they were with Sylvestre and anybody who was with him, they showed their real selves. They didn't ask to be where they are, but circumstances and the cruelty of adults left little choice. Child after child told Sylvestre they just wanted food, clothes, shelter and an education. And the most amazing thing, in light of! their situation, is that they still believe in God and have faith that someday, somehow, they will be remembered and cared for.
Sylvestre and the committed teachers and staff at El Shaddai would love to bring the kids still on the street into their center, but they barely have room as is and their current situation is precarious at best. Even though it is a far cry from living on the streets, the center dormitories are dark, with no windows or ventilation and rows of bunk beds that have 2 to 4 children sleeping on a single mattress, depending on their size and age. There is one bathroom, consisting of two deep holes, in an outhouse in the backyard and the cooking facilities consist of a small brick room with two big pots that are heated with wood. About 150 boys sleep overnight at the center. There is no room for the girls, who stay with church members and any living relatives or friends at night and attend classes at El Shaddai during the day. To top off an already dire situation, the government plans to demolish the entire area and build new dwellings.
The staff at El Shaddai have worked hard to make do with what they have. Sylvestre has developed a large garden on the property, which is growing healthy food for the children to eat and sale; and with the help of the team we were traveling with (which included medical personnel, a minister and educators from various churches and non-profit organizations), they have now connected with local medical and dental care providers who will assist all the children at El Shaddai. There is also a vocational program, designing one-of-a-kind African quilts, that the older children have now begun and possible funding to pay for books and uniforms for the teens at the center to be able to attend secondary school.
Sylvestre Nzitukuze has never wavered from the vision he received when he was in the military. El Shaddai has been given land on which to build and now must find the money to move ahead. Rather than waiting for that to happen and staying home with his wife and three children, Sylvestre continues to spend most of his days (and evenings) at El Shaddai, visiting the kids on the streets and greeting each person as a true child of God, whether they are a sixteen-year-old girl who saw her mother and sisters hacked to death in the genocide or a group of well-dressed adults visiting from America.
ANGEL HUGS by Marsha Jordan
Ever wonder what angels look like? Are they gray-haired women with dangling earrings like Della Reese in the television show? Or do they resemble chubby, winged babies portrayed in paintings? I've never seen a spiritual being, so I can't say for sure, but I have encountered some "earth" angels who are just as beautiful as any heavenly spirit could be.
There's my friend Eileen in Illinois who tirelessly keeps records of hundreds of sick children, sending out weekly updates on their status to a network of volunteers across the country. After working all day and caring for her family, Eileen creates beautiful blankets which raise money for toys sent to homebound children. Eileen may not have wings, but she's an angel in my eyes.
Across the country, on the East coast, a forty-something preschool teacher, Jan, shares the strength and wisdom she gleaned from her battle with cancer. Understanding the terror of facing this disease and the joy of defeating it, Jan helps others wage their own wars. She gathers them under her wings and upholds them, traveling alongside them on their journeys. A gifted graphic artist, Jan also designs web art for sick children. Maybe she's not a real angel, but to those hungering for a listening ear and a hand to hold, Jan is a gift sent from heaven.
In Oklahoma, there's Fred, a quadriplegic who spends many hours each day typing uplifting messages to lighten hearts and restore hope to those weary of life's struggles. It's the tapping of a computer keyboard I hear, but it sounds strangely like the fluttering of angel wings.
Autumn, in Idaho, packs a lot of love into each box of goodies she mails to hospitalized children. She boasts no supernatural powers, but the smiles she provides are nothing short of miraculous.
In Florida, Cathie moderates a chat group which is really a lifeline for weary parents to find encouragement, bask in acceptance and understanding, and make lasting friendships. Though she has no halo, Cathie is an angel to hundreds of chatters who depend upon her technical skills.
In New Jersey, Terresa, a busy mom of two little girls, organizes fundraisers which pay for beanie bears, balloon bouquets, and books for sick kids who look forward to receiving "happy mail."
These heavenly folks are just a few of the 3,500+ members of the Hugs and Hope Club -- a group of the most caring, selfless angels this side of heaven. They are ordinary people, linked by the Internet, who are accomplishing extraordinary things through their combined efforts. The club is seeking more hope-restoring earth angels to join them in spreading love (and a little heaven on earth) to sick kids and their families -- one smile at a time. To become a Hugs and Hope angel, all you need is a caring heart and the desire to share your love. To learn more, visit the Hugs and Hope web site at http://www.hugsandhope.org/.