Earle, Mary Anne. “Teddies play important role in Afghanistan” The Diocesan Times 61.9. Toronto, Ontario. November, 2006.
November 9, 2006 @ 12:00 PM
In the spring of 2005, St. Andrew’s ACW joined many other ACW’s and began making Teddies for Tragedies. These small, knit teddy bears are enveloped in a small cloth bag and intended to help children who experience tragedies of any kind. The desired recipients of St. Andrew’s Teddies were children in countries afflicted by war, famine or natural disasters. It was surprising how difficult it was to find passage for these small symbols of hope. Many ACW’s donate their Teddies to police and fire departments to be used locally so there did not seem to be a simple route to follow for their transportation overseas.
Finally, in June, we learned that a Dartmouth native, Lt. Roger Lenten, was serving in Afghanistan. With the assistance of his sister, Sherri Cariou, the Teddies were mailed off to Afghanistan. Lt. Lenten and other soldiers in his unit were able to give these small bears to the children and their families. Lt. Lenten has returned home but we have made contact through the Public Relations Department of the Armed Forces to have another box of Teddies sent whenever they are ready.
Some of the St Andrew’s ACW teddies on their way to Afghanistan
Below is an e-mail letter that was received from Lt. Lenten, Aug. 14, 2006:
Greetings from Afghanistan, Sorry for the overdue letter, Mary Anne, but as you can imagine things have been increasing busy over here. First and foremost, thank you for the Teddies. They have brought a lot of smiles to a lot of children. To put this in context, in most cases these Teddies are the first possession that these children have ever owned. I have personally given your generous gifts and other nix naks to children who don’t even have shoes. Some of these kids and their parents don’t even have a home; I have come across many families sitting around a fire with no tent or anything. These are the Kuchies (Nomads).
I’ve also given your Teddies to the children of Afghan soldiers. These families are very poor and must make do with a paycheque of $16 US a month, if and when they actually get paid. If the father is killed, as many of them are, there are no pensions or support for the wives and kids.
Unfortunately, Mary Anne, I haven’t been able to get any pictures of children with your Teddies as every time I go “outside” the wire it is on combat missions and on the few opportunities
I’ve had to give out the Teddies we’ve been on the move or stopped for just a minute or two.
Thankfully, friends of mine have helped distribute the Teddies.
Please thank all of your volunteers for me. My Afghan experience has brought me great joy and great sorrow, but one thing I can always count on is the smiles of Afghan children, especially those that have received an act of kindness from you and the women of your Church.
Lt. Roger Lenton
TF Orion Int OTFA