Glamorous garage sale raises thousands of pounds in the desert

Our wonderful volunteer Vera ran the first ever MicroLoan garage sale in the desert, here is her account…
I had spent most nights after work, for the previous 2-3 weeks, going to the theatre house (where the garage sale/auction were being held), and accepting tons of stuff from people who had taken the opportunity to have a good clear out.

I woke up at 3am on Thursday morning (our weekend over here) with tons of things in my head that needed to be done, so up I got, shoved some clothes on, and went off to the Commissary. The guys there must have thought I was a crazy woman, coming in before 4am when they were replenishing the shelves. I was carrying armfuls of clothes out to the rails by 4.15 am. My helpers were coming at 7 (sale starting at 8). By the time I’d moved all the clothes out, my biceps were throbbin’ like Popeye’s! However, I had a great bunch of helpers – they all turned up on time and showed willing. I opened the doors, expecting a mass influx of people – but as it happens, we had a steady – if small – flow of people throughout the 5 hours, and about 2/3 of the stuff was sold which, apparently, is good going.

At 1pm we set about arranging the tables and sorting out things for the evening Auction. The musicians came to set up their gear in the afternoon, the Commissary delivered their donations of soft drinks and water, and the caterers arrived with their bounty of food for our evening guests.
So, there we were – being entertained by great music and fed for free with some really yummy grub, which everyone commented on. The small crowd was really happy and eager to start the auction. I had asked Ron and Debra (two long-time members of the Theatre Group and experienced actors), to be the auctioneers, and they did a really great job. Generous bids started flowing and didn’t stop all night. I was so relieved! It was a really fun night, I had helpers displaying the stuff, and the auctioneers were a very good double act. Everyone was blown away by how good the band and singers were. A colleague in the office did a couple of numbers on the night, which went down really well. She even did an acapella number at the end, when there were just a few people left – a nice relaxing end to a very busy day.

All the hours of hard work and preparation beforehand had paid off. I had given myself a target of raising £2,000 (12,220 riyals) and I raised almost 23,000 riyals! (£3,770) on the day. Since then, I have received more donations, with the final total reaching £4,250.
Just think … based on the average size of MicroLoan’s first-time loans to families, this will help around 130 women and their families on their way out of poverty and give them a means of feeding their families. But not only that. Those 130 families will eventually repay their loans, so then another 130 families can be given a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ (as MicroLoan say) – truly inspirational, yet so simple.
Thank you to everyone who helped out/donated/bought items/bid at the auction/provided refreshments/cleared up next day … it was a real TEAM EFFORT!