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Buy an Orphan a Book or Some Sparkly Shoes

LeannaAt Chump Lady, we’re all about the new beginnings here. That’s why I hope you won’t mind this post today. I know chumps are giving people (right, duh, or we wouldn’t have lopsidedly flung ourselves at relationships with cheaters… we’re good kibbles too!) So I’m doing something unprecedented here — I’m making a charitable suggestion — Check out Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC).

It’s a school for orphans and vulnerable kids in Juba, South Sudan. Yeah, that place on the news with the civil war.

I’m sorry to say Juba orphans would be one more sad story in a world full of sad stories that I could ignore, if I didn’t happen to have a heroic friend LeAnna stationed in Juba, South Sudan building schools as a USAID officer.

On Facebook this morning she wrote that in lieu of holiday giving, she was going to buy stuff on Amazon and deliver it to the orphanage school, and asked if we wanted to help by getting some items on her wish list. (One of the perks of working for the State Department is you get a diplomatic P.O. box — so you can get stuff sent overseas at regular postage rates!)

So I checked it out and got some sparkly red shoes for some lucky girl somewhere, some sturdy sandals for a boy (why are boys clothes so much duller than girl’s things?) and some children’s books, noticing a few of LeAnna’s favorites. (Little House on the Prairie? Really? In South Sudan?)

And then I thought — what better way to mortify her this holiday season than post her face and her Wish List on a blog that gets over 10,000 daily page views!

I do hope you’ll help. It sucks to be cheated on. It sucks a lot worse to be an orphan in a civil war.

There’s my shameless guilt trip.

Did I mention how cool the shoes are?pinkshoe


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      • Okay, but my privileged white first world self shouldn’t get a vote — orphanages need MONEY.

        • It all works out the same IMO. If you send shoes and books, the orphanage then can redirect the resources it might have used for those things to something else. It is a win-win no matter how you do it.

          Thank you for this opportunity Tracy. You rock!

          • Thx For this opportunity to devote some resources and prayers to a worthy cause. Since I don’t have the “financial drain” around anymore (I’m being kind here so as not to delete any good karma) – I’m able to donate where my heart leads me – Wounded Warriors, Doggie Rescue and a bit to this worthy effort.

  • Thank you! No better way to show gratitude for all we have than to share from our bounty. Happy and love filled Sunday to each of you here in Chump Nation!

    • 🙂 Well you’re the person who has to haul all the Amazon loot to school. Good luck with that. 🙂

  • Fantastic idea – gratitude for what we have (instead of thinking of our losses) really helps with healing. I’ve gone for ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.’ Reading has been my saviour throughout life and I’m grateful that I was taught to read from an early age. Very happy to support a charity that gives children this opportunity. If you’re UK – you can still donate via

    • Big C.S. Lewis geek here. LOVED the Chronicles of Narnia. We should send all 7 books to every kid everywhere. Who’s with me on the C.S. Lewis air lift?

      • C.S. Lewis is great, but I’m voting for whole collections of Roald Dahl (“The BFG”–best children’s book EVER!!!!)

  • CL, ordered 4 things from the will list! Hope your friend gets everything she wished for!

  • Got the crayons! We should do a giant garage sale with cheater stuff to buy the rest of the gifts. That would be a good way of turning the evil into good…

    • Karmic recycling ! Can just hear cheaters wailing -‘Wah, where’s MY stuff?’ even when its gone to a better cause than them…..

      • Is there a WORSE cause than “Send a cheater a book or sparkly shoes”? They get an F minus on the charitable ratings.

    • Oh that’s a great idea. Sell a cheater (thing) Buy an orphan (thing).

      I love the cosmic justice in that. If only I could go back in time and sell all three of my ex’s motorcycles. I think that would buy a lot of sparkly shoes and books.

    • Funny you that that, Susan. I gave my exH one more week to move his crap out of the garage otherwise, I’m having a “special” yard sale next weekend! We’ve been divorced since April and his stuff is still in the garage! It’s not that I could use the space or anything, just that it’s still there!!!

      On that note, I’m sure now I’ll be having a yard sale next weekend so I’ll take those nice funds and use it as my contribution for today’s post!

      Thank you CL and CN for giving me my daily dose of “I’m worth it” and allowing me to live an authentic life with my daughters instead of alone and probably in prison for having killed the ex.

      Love you all!!!!!

      • Todova, it is so cool that this was a coincidence with your yard sale! Or maybe there are no coincidences. Wouldn´t it be great if we had a permanent ebay or something page where chumps could sell cheater´s junk and the proceeds would go to charities? It would be hilarious (I can imagine bids for the thong left in CL´s bed), therapeutic and also do some cosmic justice, as CL says…

        • Susan, there are no coincidences. No, ma’am! So, I did have the yard sale today and I was able to finalize the purchase from my Amazon cart! It felt so good 🙂

          My daughters and decided to make thing of this now. Anything we find of the ex, we are starting to put it to a side and will sell as we a come across good weekend to have another year sale!

          We got this…a new tradition for our new lives.

    • Just got the biggest box of crayons I could find too! I used to love those when I was a kid. Thanks CL and good luck to LeAnna!

  • I wonder if there are quantities associated with items on the wish list… they don’t get 12,000 pairs of sparkly red shoes?

    What a wonderful thing to do, Tracy. Thanks for allowing us to participate.

    • I think when you buy however many it is, it goes off the list. I noticed the red shoes I bought aren’t there any more.

  • Thanks CL! What a wonderful idea. I am a great supporter of literacy and learning – especially when it comes to the next generation of women. I wish Leann much success with her wish list and her effort to support the orphans of this terrible conflict.

  • Nothing like abject poverty to make my problems look small.

    Thanks for the reminder CL.

  • Sudan is truly hell on earth, Their need is endless. The young girls there will have sex with any man from another country in hopes of getting pregnant and the man taking them away. They see it as their only escape. It is horribly sad.
    I just wanted to mention that you do have to be careful what books you send as they won’t allow the children to read just any book, so you are best to stick to the list if you can.
    I have contributed to several containers going to Sudan, farming implements and clothes and toys for the orphanages.
    I don’t see a reblog feature on your blog so I will do a post redirecting people here and hopefully generate more interest.
    Excellent cause.

  • She may just have to make a bigger wishlist by the end of the day!
    Yup, us chumps really know how to give, but this time it feels VERY good.

    Thank you for letting me help and give me a boost for the rest of the day.

    I opted for learning over shoes for no reason other than it made me feel good to think of the kids using these items:
    Little Red Tool Box: Magnetic Tabletop Learning Easel
    National Geographic Student World Atlas Fourth Edition
    Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary
    Melissa & Doug Jumbo Coloring Pad – Vehicles
    Crayola 20ct Washable Super Tips (5 Fun-Scented Markers Included)

    Happy Sunday, Chump Nation. We are mighty and very lucky indeed.

  • Thank you Chump Lady… I did send a book… I think it is worth expanding on this theme here.

    A long time ago, I went to Tecate (of beer fame) to volunteer at an orphanage for a week. I fell in LOVE with the children there. I went back as general maintenance woman and mama for about 5 years every summer. After my life got involved/devolved with my NPD STBX, I stopped doing it. Just recently I have started going back and taking my daughter with me. For me it is not about doing good. It is about love and remembering that love is just a simple and sweet thing and not the twisted, demented thing it became with our X’s.

    I wonder if other chumps might want/need to find a great place to love again, with people who need just that, love and kindness. You can find it just about anywhere but mostly in the volunteer world. You can go to to find places to remember how to love. Sending all of you love on this very cool, fire free, San Diego morning.

  • Thank you so much for the opportunity to donate! Feels awesome to be able to help someone else.

  • The children voted for a Despicable Me• game, not very educational maybe, but hopefully we’ll send them some joy.

    •The only one who’s truly despicable does not live here anymore! 😉

  • Thank you so much to everyone and especially to my long time friend, the Chump Lady, one of the most generous souls on earh! The generosity of the folks on the Chump Lady blog is just overwhelming! This will make such a huge difference to some of the most vulnerable children in South Sudan (probably safe to say in the world) and the incredible dedicated staff at CCC. My mail usually takes between 3 to 6 weeks to arrive. So your wonderful gifts should arrive in time for the Christmas festivities. I will send photos to Tracy so that she can share the joy with all of you.

    South Sudan is the earth’s youngest nation, having gained independence in July 2011 after 30 years of civil war against northern Sudan. Unfortunately, in December 2013, violence broke out, fueled by political leaders from different ethnic groups. This has led to massive displacement with many children losing parents or becoming separated from their parents in the chaos. Many still remain in camps for refugees (for those who fled across borders) or for internally displaced persons within South Sudan.

    Prior to the violence in December, South Sudan was making progress in education. Enrollment in primary school enrolled from 300,000 in 2000 to 1.3 million in 2012. However, even with this progress, more than half of school-aged children had no access to school. The recent violence reversed some of the positive improvements we were seeing, with an additional half million children losing access to schools due to the violence and instability. USAID is funding a large new project here to set up temporary safe places in the refugee and IDP camps to provide emergency education services — trying to ensure that children in these camps continue with their education. The learning spaces also help to ensure the safety of children and provide life-saving messages on cholera prevention and gender-based violence prevention. We also train volunteer teachers on how to provide psycho-social care for their students, most of whom have experienced on-going trauma.

    Even the smallest gesture here can make a HUGE difference in the life of these wonderful kids. Thanks again for your generosity!

  • Done… One set of sparkly shoes and one set of rough and tumble sent. Glad to help.
    I am thankful for the people who can go and be there when we have the luxury to sit on our computers moaning about our idiot stick Exs….
    Today is not about them… Its not about us… Or how we feel a tiny bit better about ourselves for giving to a cause… Cause truth is we can always give more… And share more and be more … With so much less.
    I have had the opportunity to volunteer for 6 years in third world countries helping children and families… Nothing brings home the glaring reality of how spoiled we are when u watch a family emerg from a garbage dump trying to find some dinner… But wait….they are lucky… Cause in other parts of the world… If there was a garbage dump… That family could atleast eat…
    Fortunately and unfortunately I have been in those settings…and when u have to return home u feel like u could have done more…..
    I am blessed to work with refugees and help assimilate them into USA… I am humbled everyday. And I am horrified by the intolerance and creulty that is shown to these people by fellow Americans… They cant win.
    A recent interaction puts a lot of this into perspective…. I got a warm hand off from coworker that tells me …” This is Mr So and So … I have been trying to show him how to fill out the employment forms… But he doesnt read or write and essentially has no skills… So I have no idea how he is supposed to get a job””
    I took the client and the paperwork… Got an interpreter on the line… Turns out this 35 year old man had been held as a slave and imprisoned in his own country for over 20 years. Separated from his family as a teen and enslaved. Filling out the form was not a priority for him… And truth is he didnt want to be in out country and feel obligated… He wanted to go home… But there is no home.
    Sadly, its one of many sad stories I hear about human creulty and injustice…and we add to the secondary wounding with our intolerances and with our judgements.
    Everybody has a story… But you can bet your bottom dollar… There is always someone who has it worse…always.

    Today its not about the dick heads that we married…. Today its not about us chumps. Today we need to put in perspective the energies we devote to thinking about ‘ crap’ and realize that we can do more and better.
    I aint there yet… To Meh… But on the road… And in my travels i want to remember I am not alone in this world … I eat 3 times a day… I sleep under a roof… I have a great kid who is healthy….
    I dont know who said it but its a mantra that I have
    ‘ when you know better, you do better and god help you if u dont’


  • I went for 3 recorders and the book Brown Girl Dreaming which is highly rated. I wish I could have bought a hundred more things. For any chumps with Facebook, this would be a great thing to share on your wall to spread the love and gifts. You don’t have to link CL’s website if you don’t want to, but you can link to Leanna’s Wish List page:

    She’s adding to it as we speak!

    • Great idea, I shared it on my Facebook wall. Not sure if people trust it (ha, I’m just a chump like that, naive, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!).

      I got a free premium trial for 30 days so I had free shipping. Not sure if the shipping would be a problem if you want to give a small donation. Maybe I should add the link to just donate too?

      Just love the idea of giving them a Christmas to remember, something positive. We visited the Anne Frank museum today, our country went through five years of war and genocide many years ago. Cannot start to compare this to what happens in Sudan right now. Perspective, that’s the key word…

        • Wow…great creds, LeAnna. In a former life, I worked on creating the HGSE viewbook one year. So many impressive young people in that grad school, dedicated to making a difference for other young people.

  • Thanks for letting us know about this so we can have the opportunity to help.

  • What a great idea! I scored Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, the Dr. Suess Beginner Book Collection, an inflatable world globe, two pairs of sparkly shoes and a box of pencils, and boy do I feel good. The pencils are in honor of my late father, who would always offer Halloween Trick or Treaters the option of candy or a pencil. The kids who chose a pencil got both.

  • Candyland. “A Wrinkle in Time,” one of my all-time favorite book. A kiddie xylophone. And maracitas! Whatever they are, in honor of my cousin the music teacher. If the list is still up Friday (payday) I’m going back for more books and instruments. This should be a Chump Lady tradition–buying stuff at the holidays for the orphans. Thanks for the opportunity. This was a lot of fun.

    • I was reluctant at first to do Amazon Prime when I signed up a few months ago, but I’ve probably already saved enough to justify the cost because of the free shipping.

  • I thought of you all when I made my selections: first, “The Giving Tree” because at one time, I loved that boy so much, even more than I loved myself. Next “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, which is about gaining a life. Last, in honor of Tracy and the amazing wordsmiths who populate this page, I picked the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

    LeAnna, thank you for the work you do. I think the dictionary was set up as a Kindle purchase – let me know if I should change the order.

  • Tracy, what a wonderful idea. I chose “brothers in hope” and “everything soccer”. There’s bound to be some aspiring soccer stars of the future among these kids.

  • I got goose bumps reading all of your messages. I just can’t wait for everything to arrive so we can get it over to the kids! Thanks again! What a community here on the Chump Lady blog!

    • Love to hear how many items were purchased.
      Good luck and thank you for the work that you do!

  • Aside from the pleasure of giving to those who have so much less, these purchases had special meaning because so many of them are triggers – but in the best possible way.

    I bought the Sudan kids a hardcover map book because I’ve always loved looking at maps and thinking about how big and exciting the world is. And as soon as I saw the book based on Carl Sagan (“Star Stuff”), that had to go straight into my cart because of my mad, lifelong crush on him and his exquisite language about the universe. Then, the touch-and-feel book of first words, because the first three years of a child’s brain development are so crucial for the rest of life. I can picture sweet little fingers feeling the picture, then the little darlin’ hearing and seeing the word, and “getting” it. At 6 bucks, that’s a bargain!

    We remember what meant something to us as kids, and we want to pass those good things along to other kids. Whether it’s geography, language, sports, art, math or music. Or sparkly shoes. Thanks for the chance to do that. And thanks, LeAnna, for the work you do!

    • You have a Carl Sagan crush? (Are all chumps uber nerds? 🙂 ) You should talk to my husband. He grew up with Carl Sagan sleeping on their fold-out sofa bed as a kid. (His dad was an astronomer.)

      BillYUNs and BillYUNs of years ago…

      • Mr. Chump Lady had the one, the only, CARL SAGAN for regular sleepovers? Envy to the billYUNth power!

  • What a worthy cause…books are the best.
    This year has been a financial drain with my sons cancer and my cheater STBX walking out, but there is still time until the holidays….or any day for that fact, that I could have a small windfall and order a book or two.

  • LeAnna, you need to add more gift ideas. I just exercised amazon’s “Buy Enitre List” option.

    Merry Christmas from Chump Nation!!

  • I’m reading this thread this morning all sniffly and choked up. You guys are the BEST!!! Thank you SO MUCH for this overwhelmingly generous response. Just WOW Chump Nation. You’re WONDERFUL. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  • I’m in awe of these posts. I’ve added a number of new items to the cart, including some children’s Bibles, children’s back packs, more books, and a huge variety of Teddy Bears! A huge thanks to Anonymous — filling the cart! And to everyone. Each and every donation will make a huge difference. I literally have not been this excited for Christmas since I was a kid!

    • Wow, Anonymous! I’ve been thinking about this so much, went back with eldest son to choose something more ‘mature’… giving gives me much more Christmas spirit than receiving! (not even close to December yet…)

  • Chump Lady and LeAnna – Thank you for this!! Today happens to be my birthday. I’ve had a lovely day of well wishes from friends and family that have each helped me by showing their love and support over the past year and a half. Being able to participate in this was the best ending to the day!

  • This is awesome! Done! LeAnna, I think you need to add more stuff! There are only 2 pages up now. I hope you can handle it all! It’s so great to see that what I donate is going straight to the kids. Pictures are a great idea, thank you so much for what you are doing.

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