Sunday, March 26, 2006
Steal This Idea
Mmm, supper was delicious.
In my post before supper I began explaining a proposal for me to make 100 party hats as a way for people to contribute towards the blogger Potash's pressing immediate needs. Well the idea is people will give me money for the hats and every hat comes with a bonus Bazungu Buck.
The idea of alternative currencies is something I believe is quite powerful. There's so much work that's been done to really tweek the idea and to invent practical applications for alternative currencies. I certainly see that keeping good accounts as a way for people to exchange alternative currencies is a very useful thing. I'm not sure that I'm up to the task as far as Bazungu Bucks go. Really I imagine Bazungu Bucks as a sort of gift currency.
Say that it takes as I estimate about one hundred of my hours to make 100 paper party hats for Potash cash. In the idea of Bazungu Bucks as a Time Dollar currency, one hour of my time is equal to one Bazungu Buck. As the Bazungu Buck banker and indeed maker of Bazungu Bucks the prospects of $100 Bazungu Bucks isn't much to get excited about. The trouble has been that nobody else has seemed very excited about gathering Bazungu Bucks either. At my birthday party guests had many opportunities to grab fist-fulls of Bazungu Bucks and nobody did. My friends are very nice people; even still if I'd set out jars of Greenbacks and encouraged them to take some, I'm sure many more of those would have been pocketed than the Bazungu Bucks were.
The problem with Bazungu Bucks is there just doesn't seem much a person can do with them. What's worse, because the whole reason for Bazungu Bucks is to encourage voluntary service to African people, it really seems that holding a Bazungu Buck means an expectation of doing something for African people. My friends keep telling me that I have to tell them what to do; meanwhile I keep hoping they'll come up with some stunning ideas. So I just tell them: Create something good.
Until yesterday I'd never dreamed that making 100 party hats would be any good for making Bazungu Bucks, yet today I think it a splendid idea. Imagine if many more people were making party hats. The world needs more party hats so! In fact, party hats seems a product ripe for offshoring production. But in the meantime the opportunity is for domestic manufacture.
I mentioned that a good friend is in the hospital. He and his family are from the New Orleans area. When I was thinking of a fiftieth birthday party I knew that I wanted to use it to direct attention to my friend Nathan in Uganda. But last fall after Katrina I saw that the reconstruction of New Orleans would depend on a great deal of voluntary service, neighbor helping neighbor. It seemed that some system of alternative currency could be very helpful in organizing this effort. Big Easy Bucks seemed like such a good name too. It was all more than I could imagine putting together, nonetheless that's where the idea of Bazungu Buck started.
Talking to my friends this weekend about their loved ones in the hurricane ravaged areas, it's clear the needs are very great. I still think people all over the country would be willing to give some of their time for the effort. The question is how? Sure, there are a multitude of ways to give your time, and probably most of them better ideas than making party hats. Nevertheless, making party hats is one way to offer your time. Surely in the New Orleans area there are tens of thousands of people dealing with issues, like: "baby needs new shoes" real life stuff that makes living hard. Do you know someone, or know of someone in that situation? What the heck make some party hats and get a five buck donation for each. Be sure to include a Big Easy Buck with each one too. The point is to find ways to create something good. Real people have real needs and for sometimes there's no better way to meet those needs than with a gift.
Steal this idea of paper party hats in voluntary service to African people too. The world needs more party hats because we need to party more. The connections we make with others have real value and what more pleasurable connections are there than parties? (Okay, there may be a few.)
Another reason that I'm so keen on Party Hats for Potash is that making party hats will give me plenty of blog-fodder. I removed the picture of me in my Afro wig-hat; really I don't mean to cause harm to anyone. Still I look at that wig-hat resting in place atop an old pie safe in my little house and wistfully hope for occasions to wear it again. A picture of me modeling one of my Party Hats for Potash while wearing the Afro wig-hat will surely be taken. It's an open question whether I'll post it. I would hope there will be pictures of people wearing Party Hats for Potash and some will come my way so I can post them here.
So as I make party hats I'll blog about it. I'll tell you how I make hats, perhaps people will look for the ways others make paper party hats, and even invent new designs. In the meantime perhaps all of you can begin laying party plans. The pleasure in dreaming about Party Hats for Potash was enhanced for me last night as I was blaring music from various artists around the globe. Check out Soundroots; check out Benn laxo du taccu to introduce yourself to engaging music from around the world. Actually there are so many great blogs and Web sites to go to. The key thing to remember that there's no better music to get old people up dancing than World music. And when was the last time someone complained of too much dancing at one of your parties!
The troubles in the world today are so big. All any of us can do is only a little. A little is not nothing. It's important that we act in life affirming ways. The troubles are great, but so are the opportunities. We can imagine a better world and do it together. It's so much more fun that way. What can you do with an hour of your time in service to others?