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If this summer’s tourists feel like their pocketbooks are being picked, Thora Soot is hoping they’ll at least return home appreciating the craft and charitable value of those empty wallets.
Soot, 27, who moved from Oslo to Longyearbyen in March, put a cryptic message on a community Facebook page about a month ago seeking 1,200 empty milk cartons. While plenty of interested donors responded, she remained elusive about her intent until starting to collect them a few weeks later: making wallets to raise funds for books and other supplies for the refugee school her sister teaches at in Rwanda.
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I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.