Ok…go grab your kleenex.  My best friend Diana who traveled with me to China in Feb/08 pretty much says it all in her letter to me below.   I have to tell ya Diana…you had me crying bigtime as well as you beautiful Dalani!!  I adore this photo and will treasure it always as I will the experience of seeing the moonbears for the first time with your grandma. I can’t wait to show off the photos of Mandela she took in tomorrows update!



Hi Sandra,
Thought I would let you know how Dalani reacted to getting a square on the Moonbear Sponsorship Quilt.

I had wrapped up the T-shirt that I bought at the Moonbear Rescue Center in Chengdu as one of Dalani’s gifts.  She is enamoured with anything Panda and was so inquisitive and touched by the Moonbear and all the rescue efforts. She asked lots of very intelligent questions and even wrote about it in one of her class assignments last spring.

You know, the longer I live, the more I believe in fate.  From the time we googled Moonbears after seeing Bam Bam [at the Tiger Temple in Thailand]…….our guide actually finding the Moonbear Rescue Center…..the fact that they were having a tour on the only Saturday that we were there……getting to ‘join’ a tour of grade schoolers. Then there were the camera issues. So many pictures, so many foggy-hazy-blurry pictures. Somehow decent pictures of Mandela.

Then Sandra has an ingenious idea to sponsor one of these creatures for a year and with the help of 25 people, built a ‘quilt’ for the Moonbears.  I don’t know why I checked the list again—but there was just one square left—I bought it—-as another gift for our granddaughter Dalani.

I’m not sure if you have ever waited and waited and waited for someone to open a gift—tummy fluttering—not really sure if the gift will be understood—let alone appreciated. Well that was how I was feeling as the little girls opened their toys…. teenage Connor opened his American Eagle jeans (Sorry Connor-I always thought jeans were jeans–and Levi’s were fine!)

Dalani opened the T-Shirt-oohed and awed and then opened the package with a stuffed Panda and a picture of Mandela and explanation of the Moonbear Quilt Square.  She started grinning from ear to ear-exclaiming ‘OH WOW!’.   She disappeared and came back to the living room in her T-shirt, wanting her picture taken. She never took it off and stated that she was wearing it to school the first day they went back and was taking all the info and pictures to share with classmates and teachers.

I guess the highlight for me was when they were all departing for home and bed after several hours of games and being with family. Dalani gave me a huge hug and said “Grandma, I think the Moonbear Sponsorship is the BEST gift you have EVER given me. I love you.”  I nearly cried–daughter Tara was misty when she said softly, ‘I knew Dalani would love it.’

Dalani has real empathy for animals-Grandpa Jim says she is like me in that respect. At any rate—it was a Christmas with Dalani that I won’t soon forget. Thank You BEST FRIEND SANDRA!!!

I forgot to tell you that on Christmas Day evening at the Extended Family Celebration, Dalani had worn a shirt that is velcroed and the kids can make their on messages on the shirts front and back. Across the back she had spelled out “Mandela” and on the front she had Moonbear Rescue.  She had taken all her pictures and information. When asked what her shirt meant, she would promptly sit down and ‘educate’ the person who had asked who Mandela was!  Telling everyone who would listen the plight of the Moonbear and how she was helping to sponsor one.

It is truely a special thing for her.!

Hugs Diana