01 June 2006

Seriously Mixed Messages

A close friend travels every year to Mexico with a group of Americans. This group spends several weeks across the border building shelters and facilities for the indigent of whatever town the charity chooses that year.

Admirable. To spend one's free time (or to make free time) in the service of those less fortunate is a valuable gift to both parties. When my daughters asked if they could participate this summer, I applauded their willingness to be sweaty, blistered and generally uncomfortable for the sake of others.

The travel coordinator for this group advises, "There are no laundry facilities. We recommend purchasing multiple inexpensive t-shirts at Wal-Mart to be discarded after wearing."

Let's recap, shall we?

A humanitarian non-profit, committed to bettering the lives of the poor in poverty stricken areas of the world are advocating the patronage of a massive corporation responsible for the closing of countless independent businesses in the U.S. and who routinely contracts with known foreign sweatshops to produce their wearable goods.

Additionally, they suggest throwing away clothing that has been worn one time. One time! Because it's dirty and can't be washed right away! Landfills be damned, let's all put our shirts in the trash! Two kids, times 7 seven days, equals fourteen shirts if I'm not wrong.

Sorry, girls. We might have to tie-dye 'em when you get home, but you will not contribute one single Wal-Mart t-shirt to a Mexican dump. And shame on those who do.