Thursday, November 11, 2010

The ride continues...

Mr. R plays poker once a month, and it just so happened that Friday was his poker night. Still feeling pretty euphoric from the afternoon, I decided to meet a friend for a bit of a night out. There were several low key charity events happening around town, so we picked one, and met there.

It was a nice group of people, a lot of them I knew. I even met some folks that I'm hoping to see again sometime. The event was a fundraiser for Kondanani Children's Village in Malawi. This orphanage was started by a Dutch woman named Annie Chikhwaza. Annie takes care of about 150 children right now, and the costs to run her orphanage and school run about $2500 every day. Books, and classrooms are costly enough, but many of these kids have AIDS, and high medical costs, too. (Yes, it's the same orphanage that Madonna adopted her little girl Mercy, although not a word was mentioned about her.) As I write this, it seems to be a depressing story. Not so, Annie is a ray of light with a fascinating back story.

Annie holds a baby at her Kondanani Children's Village
Photo: Lori Basheda/Cathleen Falsani
Annie was living in South Africa, a divorced mother trying to keep her head above water when she met her future husband, the love of her life. After they married, they moved to Malawi, which had been his home growing up. He was a black man, and at that time, and probably still, there were intense racial struggles for them with family and neighbors. Annie endured beatings and emotional turmoil, but came through with her hopeful heart intact. She started her orphanage, and has been taking care of children ever since. Her beloved husband has since passed away, but she continues her work with open arms for all of her kids.
Happy kids

Ok, so getting back to the evening. Being a fundraiser, they had some art pieces for sale, and once there were plenty of people, the live auction began. The items being auctioned were hand carved wood sculptures, figures of men and women, and this beautiful globe.

The auction was going great. People were bidding on these art pieces, some going for quite a bit of money. It was exciting to be a part of this enthusiastic crowd! A friend of mine bid on and won the globe. Wow, it was so cool, as soon as the auction was over, I approached her and asked if I could see the globe. She looked at me with sort of a funny look on her face, but handed it over just the same. She had just spent hundreds on this item! It was wonderful to touch, smooth in some places, rough in others, and it opened up into two separate bowls. So, I opened it thinking it was a screw top, but it wasn't. The top went flying off and broke into 2 pieces right there on the brick floor.

Everything stopped. My mouth just hung opened in shock, as did hers. 

There it lay on the ground, broken. She had just purchased it not minutes before, for hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS of dollars!

It's funny how things can be seemingly going so well, and suddenly a wrench comes out of nowhere and  hits you over the head. I felt so awful! Awful doesn't even come close, I was completely and utterly devastated! One minute I was holding this beautiful piece of art, hand made in Malawi, the next minute it's broken in pieces because of me. Ugghh!

After about a thousand apologies, I left in tears, sobbing the whole way home. Sobbing still as I pulled the covers over my head and hoped sleep would come soon.

The next morning I was telling Mr. R about what happened. He took it upon himself to call my friend, the owner of the globe. I was actually kind of pissed, thinking I should take care of this myself, and that it may look really bad for him to be doing my dirty work. But he has such a nice way of talking to people, my anger went away. Mr. R knows how to fix problems. He's the go-to guy for problem solving. He made another quick call to a friend, Randy Bader, who is a master craftsman woodworker, and within minutes, I felt that somehow, things might just work out.

I dropped off the broken bits of the globe to Randy, truly an incredible artist who builds the most gorgeous custom furniture. He was so kind to take on this project. Instant relief swept over me, I knew the piece was in good hands. All I could do now was bide my time and wait.

A couple of days later I picked up the globe at Randy's workshop in Laguna Canyon. He's got all sorts of wood pieces in various degrees of completion around his shop. His finished work, beautiful rocking chairs, gorgeous dining tables, unique clocks and shelves are all upstairs sheltered from the sawdust.

He handed me the globe, I looked at it with such trepidation, hoping that in his talented hands this piece would somehow be mended. I searched for the break, but it was nearly invisible. The piece was back together! Randy had worked his magic, and the piece was close to perfect. Relief swept over me. Everything was going to be ok.

Master craftsman Randy Bader 

My friend wasn't there when I dropped off the globe with a nice bottle of wine and a little note attached. I just had to hope that she was as pleased with the restoration as I was. I did my best, there is nothing more  I could do.

Can you see the break?
Nice work, Randy!

Later, I received a phone call from my friend. She was really happy to get her globe back, and was surprised at how great it came out. Phew! But, she had one more thing to tell me.

"Well, it's funny, no, sad really. The other half of the globe was on my dining table, and the dog was going crazy running and jumping, and..." stuttering, she went on, "he knocked it off the table."

"NO!" I said

"Yes", she choked,  "the other half is broken now."

Wow, Can you imagine?! Poor thing, that globe was just not meant to be whole!


  1. OH, Care! What a story! I'm happy to say (well, not reallly happy, but...) that the only pieces of art that have been destroyed while in my care, belonged to me. (Thank you, Stumpy!)

  2. I sure hope it stays that way. I don't recommend it!

  3. You must have been horrified! Glad you were able to have it fixed. And now you can recommend a good woodworker for the other half!

  4. Oh, Deborah, I was utterly horrified! And I did give her my friends phone # to fix the other half. I feel terrible for her!