Since our book was published in February, we've gotten lots of mail. We've been overwhelmed by the writers' eagerness to share their stories -- all of which have inspired us.
I received one tonight from a high school junior who read the book for her English class. (For privacy reasons, I have removed her name and school.) Enjoy; we sure did.
Dear Salwen Family,
I just finished reading your book, The Power of Half, for my Advanced Placement Language and Composition English class. I was incredibly inspired after reading your book. I will admit that I have a lot of trouble giving up items that I own, such as clothes and old childhood memories. I definitely could never imagine selling my house and moving into one half the size either. However, after reading your book, I was amazed at the lengths your family took to help the people in Ghana. What your family did must have taken an unimaginable amount of courage, and I want to thank you for following through with, as well as finishing, the project you started.
I was able to relate to a lot of the topics in your book, being a teenager myself. I too feel the need to constantly create a “New Normal” just to live up to the standards of my community. I am pressured every day by TV and my friends to go out and buy the new and improved electronics being made, or to go on a shopping spree for the clothes that are in style. I was so surprised when I read that Hannah, at such a young age, was willing to give up buying new items to help people she didn’t know. I could feel her passion to help people less fortunate than her when I read that she didn’t mind giving up her room, spacious home, and half of her clothes. After completing the book, I aspire to imitate Hannah’s willingness to improve the lives of others and become less selfish.
I’m not only writing this letter to sum up what I learned from your book, but also to thank you for doing what you did. I have never met a family so charitable as yours. Thank you to Joan and Kevin for believing in Hannah’s dream and helping her make the image of a better world come true, and also to Joseph who, although nervous about the project at first, decided to put both feet in and help fulfill the dream however he could. Hannah, thank you for having the courage as a teenager to be different from the other typical teenagers surrounding you. Most importantly, thank you Kevin and Hannah for writing this book and sharing your project. It is both inspiring and helpful for citizens who are looking to help the world, and I am currently encouraging my parents to read your book as well to hopefully get them involved in helping our community.
I am interested to know the total outcomes of your project and how the family feels about it all. I hope to hear back from you via letter or email. Thank you again for everything you have done!