Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sharing the Love.

Yesterday, I gave my wedding dress away.

Even though there were tons of opportunities for me to wear it again (to our romantic beach getaway, to a renewal of our vows, to the grocery store), I made the supreme sacrifice and gave it to someone who could use it more than I could.

In fact, I think I gave it to a whole lot of someones.

A few years ago, Dean saw a blurb in a church bulletin in Columbia, South Carolina, asking for used wedding dresses. It turned out that there was a wedding dress rental business in Kibungo, Rwanda, and this South Carolina church was taking ongoing donations of dresses to send there.  The rental business is woman-owned, and provides employment opportunities for women who alter, clean, and store the dresses, as well as a valuable service for women who want to rent a traditional Western wedding dress for their special day.

Dean was intrigued, and saw the beginnings of a fascinating play in that blurb.  There were lots of questions:  Why Christianity, why the white dresses?  Why did these SC women feel such a passionate connection to this cause, and what made them travel multiple times to Rwanda in an effort to help?  How was Rwanda different after the genocide?  And there were lots of less serious questions, like what to pack?  And will there be a chance to hold a baby gorilla?

We learned that getting the dresses to Kibungo is prohibitively expensive, and the best way to transport them is to send them with someone who is already traveling there.  So yesterday, Dean left for two weeks in Rwanda with an extra suitcase filled with donated dresses, including my own.

It's neat to think that someone else-lots of other women, potentially- will wear it on such a special day.  My dress can help some women make a living.  Make a life.

My little dress served its purpose here.  I had a great time in it, and even got to wear it TWICE- once at the wedding and once at the party two months later. And I have lots of photos to remind me how happy I was wearing it on those days.

Passing it on to lots of women I may never meet is a pretty good feeling.

And since I couldn't travel to Africa, at least my dress could.

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