Yesterday I got to volunteer with the Korean Peninsula International Peace Organization and North Korea Peace. Led my Mr. Lee, whom escaped from North Korea in 2006, we sent giant balloons carrying letters of love and hope attached to pairs of socks.
WHY? Socks are extremely valuable in North Korea. Especially high quality socks. One pair is worth nearly $10 and can be traded for enough corn to feed an adult for a month. (Mr. Lee said that if we were to send food and the police found it they would poison it just to exhibit exactly how bad the capitalists are.) The flyers attached explain that the socks have been sent out of love and that there are people out in the world that love and care for the people of North Korea. Mr. Lee found a flyer similar to this and it is what inspired him to leave his country. Because he found that message of hope he is certain that others will find his.
HOW? The idea is quite remarkable. Once the box is filled with socks it is closed but not sealed. It is held shut with a thin vinyl rope. A timer is attached to the rope. After 10 hours the timer cuts the rope and socks and love rain down on North Korea while the balloon and box fly away. The balloon is 10 meters long and filled with hydrogen. Yes, hydrogen, because helium is twice the price. Once everything is attached simply throw the balloon in the air and watch it fly away.
The leaflet reads:
“Dear This Flyer Finder,
The world has not forgotten the current hardships of our fellow brothers and sisters in North Korea. From all countries, we pray for your survival until the day of reunification. We love you.”
We sent 2000 pairs of socks.