Blessed by an angel for a measly 10 bucks

NO, REALLY: Her place belongs on my parents’ Christmas tree and I know they’ll be delighted to have her

Her name is Kumani.

She’s very pretty and petite, and likes to wear a flowing tiger-print dress in purple with black stripes, punctuated by an orange feather in her hair.

I saw her for the first time Saturday and I just had to have her.

I wouldn’t call her a cheap date, but all it took was 10 bucks to take her home!

She won’t be staying with me though. No, her place belongs on my parents’ Christmas tree and I know they’ll be delighted to have her.

Kumani is destined to be an ornament, but she’s much more than that. She’s an AIDS Angel and she spreads a message of love and hope to people who need much of both.

I met Kumani and her fellow angels last Saturday at the Global Fair Trade Craft Fair. It was held at Timberline Secondary in the gymnasium that better resembled a bustling marketplace in an exotic land.

An orange and yellow tent covered the market centre that was surrounded by lanes of tables where thousands of goods and treats awaited the throngs of happy holiday shoppers.

It was an international smorgasbord of colourful sights and delightful aromas, and a little overwhelming too. But that’s when I spotted two other “angels” who are well-known in our city for their commitment to education and social justice.

I spotted Naomi Wolfe and Thanh Tazumi busily shopping so I stopped by to say hi and that’s when I first saw Kumani and all her friends.

They’re all beautiful, but, as I said, Kumani first caught my eye.

The initial attraction was clearly there, but true beauty is revealed when you make the effort to look beyond the surface. And what I found out was Kumani and the AIDS Angels are created by the skilled and loving hands of the Glacier Grannies (

They’re a group of Comox Valley ladies who’ve been raising money for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. It’s a Canadian-based humanitarian organization providing support for African grandmothers who, because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, are raising their orphaned grandchildren.

Since 2007, the Glacier Grannies have raised more than $243,000, and across Canada 240 groups have raised over $10 million.

This money helps provide food, shelter, school uniforms and fees, HIV testing and counselling, and more.

As Naomi and Thanh closely inspected each angel and oohed over all the little details, my eye went straight for the lady in purple and my mind was made up.

I gently picked her up and read the little tag that told me her name was Kumani, which means “Destiny,” and she’s named in memory of an African child who has died from AIDS.

She couldn’t be more perfect and I left feeling good that my 10 measly dollars went so far: My adoption of Kumani supports the fine charitable work of the Glacier Grannies, it helps a little to improve the lives of African women and children, and it will make my Mom and Dad smile on Christmas morning.