BOMB? Phew. Nope, a gift from the marvelous "Ten Thousand Villages" @VillagesCanada

Recently, the doorbell rang and a minute later I opened the door to find that a large package had magically appeared on my doorstep. No one was in sight.


Having devoured a number of suspense novels recently, my mind instantly conjured up thoughts of a bomb on my doorstep. Had I ticked off a client? Angered a fellow church-goer that one time I started snoring in the pew? Sung off key during the worship service?

I approached the package carefully, listening for a tell-tale ticking. I bravely flipped the package over.

Fortunately, my imagination screeched to a halt when I turned the package over and recognized the mailing address from Graf-Martin Communications, who graciously send books my way to help review and promote. However, as I wasn't expecting any books at the time, I couldn't help but immediately tear into the package. Seconds later, packing tape was flying through the air and my wife and children were gathered around to examine the contents.

Imagine our delight when I pulled out a Shesham Dominos Set from India, courtesy of Ten Thousand Villages! 

Soon, my children were exclaiming over the delicious chocolate, and dominos were being carefully constructed into towers and other products of their imagination while I read the accompanying material from Ten Thousand Villages

Now, I'm hoping you've heard of Ten Thousand Villages. I come from a Mennonite heritage myself, and so for years I've been familiar with their organization, which is a program of the Mennonite Central Committee. But, if you've never heard of them, let me enlighten you:

What is Ten Thousand Villages?

Ten Thousand Villages is an organization which sells handicrafts from “developing” countries through its network of stores in Canada and the USA, as well as hundreds of annual Festival sales. Ten Thousand Villages is a program of Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and development organization working in more than 50 countries around the world. Ten Thousand Villages has its roots in the work begun by Edna Ruth Byler in 1946.


Where does the name Ten Thousand Villages come from?

The inspiration for the name came from a Mahatma Gandhi quote: “…India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages…we have hardly ever paused to inquire if these folks get sufficient to eat and clothe themselves with.” To Ten Thousand Villages, each village in the world represents a unique and distinctive people, offering extraordinary products born of their rich cultures and traditions.

Where does everything come from and who made it?

Products sold by Ten Thousand Villages come from 29 countries in the developing world. Ten Thousand Villages buys from more than 100 artisan groups which provides work for more than 60,000 individual people. About 70% of the artisans are women. Some artisan groups also seek to employ persons with physical disabilities. Ten Thousand Villages intentionally looks to work with people who are unemployed or underemployed. Products sold by Ten Thousand Villages are often made in small group settings or in homes where artisans also manage household responsibilities or farm work.

And finally, their Mission Statement:

Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

You can learn more at their website:
So, come on all you online shoppers looking for special gifts for this Christmas Season. Head on over to Ten Thousand Villages, and spread dignity and hope to the world while you do!

Blessings!  :)