A friend of one of my daughters, a Chinese scholar, once posted a picture of her with one of these cups, saying in jest, Here is N drinking tea from 14th Century Yuan porcelain, though this is a 20th Century Staffordshire adaptation of that design.
But this is about tea from Sri Lanka, not China, and the working conditions of the pickers. Pay has long been poor, schooling for the children lacking; and poor pay tempts parents to bring children to work for the few pence they can earn.
USPG’s partners are bringing schools to the children, and they are starting to attend with their parents’ encouragement. People overseas, like us, can help by buying Fair Trade tea.
Here is a prayer from Sri Lanka to go with the tea.
Even as the water falls on dry leaves, and brings out their flavour, so may your Spirit fall on us and renew us, so that we may bring refreshment and joy to others,
I’ll drink to that!
We read Saint Teresa yesterday saying:
But even now it gives me a feeling of devotion to remember how early God granted me what I lost by my own fault.
This reminds me of Newman’s words:
And with the dawn, those Angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost a while.
Whose were the angel faces smiling on Newman? I suggest we read in another place:
Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3.
Childhood should be time for play, for loving those angel faces which smile lovingly on us. William Blake may have seen angels in London and Sussex, but even without his eyes, we can see the messengers sent to us wherever we are; flesh and blood angels though they may be. I am not sentimental about calling children angels, for they are sent to us to call us to love and respect as God’s image. Blake saw children in London oppressed, sent up chimneys, doing dangerous work for paltry pay, and not playing. We have changed some things for the better in Britain, but our children are numbered among the least happy in the world.
How can we support children? Let us get to know our children through spending time, rather than money, with them. There are many elsewhere doing dangerous work for paltry pay, missing education, stranded from families for many reasons. Please visit http://www.streetchildafrica.org.uk/ to learn what is being done to reduce the number of children on the streets in many African cities.