Tag Archives: people

My Very Big Family

I guess we all have a different way of viewing both ourselves and the world around us. That may be influenced by the culture in which we have been reared.

I think the majority of people would agree racism is unacceptable.  In fact, if you do think racism is fine, I really don’t think you will like this post in all honesty.

I have seen in my travels to various lands that people are people everywhere.  I find everywhere I go there are a mix of happy, sad, quiet, noisy, confidant, shy, strange, brave, funny, serious, fascinating people in every place I have ever visited.

I love people.  I am politically neutral.  You may wonder what that means?  Well, I have worked with international charities since I was fifteen, who maintain their view of the world as a human family and an earth-wide realm in which a lot of work has needed to be done.

For the charities I have worked with, it is imperative to remain separate and unaffiliated from any political regime, but at the same time to be respectful of the laws and taxes that are asked within that land. We have been able to get in to places where some other organisations cannot go, and we usually get in first, because we are strictly neutral.

I find it extreeeeeeeemely interesting to learn about other cultures. I love learning about and exploring new food, music, and humour. One of my favourite travel presenters is Michael Palin.  I saw a show last week which I think was the first of a two parter…about Michael Palin in North Korea.

I did not see the whole show, just a few minutes, but I am going to try to catch the second part.  In those few minutes, what I did see a lot of, was people.  I saw members of the human family eating, working, playing, in love, talking about their interests and hopes and dreams.

I had a teary eyed moment when I wondered why there are borders and wars and weapons.

My way of viewing the world…is a family, a very big family.  I would love to get to know every single member of my family at some stage.

Storms And Rainbows

Despite everything that is causing anxiety, it has been an incredible spring. I have had a taste of it each morning and each evening when I am going to work and walking home. I walked down my road the other day listening to birds and admiring the colours of flowers and the scent from the wisteria. The trees are bulging with heavy green foliage.

Background, Beautiful, Bloom, Blossom

It has been glorious. My family are still staying at home. We are helping each other, supporting one another – physically, emotionally, financially and there is no shortage of home entertainment videos.

My boss likes to make sure we end a shift at work with a song and a dance. It is great fun. We need that lift after a hard day at work. I am working again today. I am looking forward to coming home and resting after a busy week at work. Sleep is so delicious of late. I am still sleeping nine or ten hours every night, which is incredible for my body and my brain.

Although I have spent more time than usual on my own of late, I keep on thinking of the incredible people I have met on my voyage through life, people who inspired me and encouraged me to make brave decisions. I spurned the world’s economic system to work full time as an international volunteer. People laughed and asked how I could live without any wages. I lived. I truly lived. I felt rich.

I have been thinking about the Liberian refugees we met in Ghana seventeen years ago. I have been thinking of my cousins who were in Rwanda working on a project with Hutu and Tutsi volunteers when violence engulfed the region. I have been thinking of Katrina, who I cared for until she took her last breaths – she was one of the most beautifully hearted people I have ever known. I am so grateful that my life has been so rich with people who have taught me that even in the most terrifying of situations, unexpected acts of love and self-sacrifice arise.

Even in storms there are people who help you see rainbows everywhere you look.

Rainbow, Thunderstorm, Storm Clouds

 

Without Water I Would Wilt

There was a young woman on the bus today gazing at me…I tried to ignore it.  I started to feel rather uncomfortable.  I recognized the look in her eyes.  I was nervous that she was eyeing me up with the glint of lust in her expression!

At last, I noticed it was not me she was looking at, it was my water bottle.  The little cogs in my head began to turn.  She was thirsty!  There I was sipping at my sparkling water without a thought to my fellow passenger.  As soon as it clicked in my mind that I was making her abstinence from food and water a bit difficult by sitting there and guzzling in front of her, I felt so guilty.

When I considered that the young woman who was sat near me on the bus must have been very thirsty on this hot hot day…I did feel guilty of being insensitive.  I slid my water bottle in my bag and I did not have another sip until she had left the bus.

I should have known.  I have several co-workers who are fasting at the moment.  I knew a little about their fasting.  I knew they don’t eat any food during sunlit hours, but they can eat after sundown, which of course at this time of year is pretty late.  Until this year, I was not aware that they don’t drink any water though.  It is really hot here…of course nowhere near as hot as many of the countries where millions of followers of Islam live.

Ay karumba!  I would struggle.  In this heat, I do have much less appetite for food, but I consume twice as much water on sunny days.  In fact, if I stop drinking water during this glorious weather I wilt.  Years ago, I spent some time in Ghana…I realized then my utter dependence on water just to stay alive!

One of my co-workers made me laugh telling me about her own experience of fasting.  That day they knew that sunset would be officially at 8.58pm.  She said before that time they start cooking.  Everything is ready for the meal.  They lay the table, put out dishes containing their meal.  The whole family sit around the table watching the clock.  Then as soon as it is 8.58pm….woooolf!!!  They start scoffing.  She did make me giggle imagining her and her family around the dinner table like that.

She explained that fasting during the daylight hours helps them to think about those who are poor and do not have food and clean water.  Fasting helps them to be mindful of the poor and generous to them and teaches them to appreciate what they have.  She said there are spiritual benefits and it purifies their inner person.

Of course, it is commendable to think about those who struggle to obtain their basic needs.  It brings tears to my eyes when I remember a man we met from Liberia who had travelled to Ghana to flee from violence.  His wife has been killed in an outbreak of violence.  We met him and his six children.  I will tell you all about them in another post, such a special day to meet this inspirational and appreciative man.

I must admit…being aware of the injustices of this world makes me feel very uncomfortable at times…I really thought our family were poor until I had the opportunity to do some travelling and then my eyes were opened.  Every teenager that grows up in Western Europe or North America or in any other country abounding in far more than we ever could really need…should travel…and then they should never whinge about not having the latest i-gadget or snazzy sneakers…how petty and insignificant those things seem after you have seen countries where people live on around $1 a day!

For many years, I have loved visiting beautiful estates and National Trust properties. When I was younger I used to imagine myself floating around in a pavlova style dress, as if I was the lady of the manor.  Please tell me I am not the only one!  However, as I learnt more about history and how this enormous wealth was accrued, often on the backs of atrocities like the slave trade…the more I learnt the more guilty I felt about being born in a land that has such a shameful history.

I know it is complicated…I know things are not black and white…but for me I think that as long as I know there are injustice and suffering every moment of every day, inequality on a deplorable scale and that there is an agonizing outcry of “why?” and “when will this end?”…I am always going to feel a sense of guilt living in a land where things are relatively easy.

Surely you agree with me, that guilt will always be there while things are not fair.  I long for the day when every single member of the human family, no matter which land they were born in, which language they dream in, or the shade of their skin…will be safe and happy and healthy.  A world where nobody will go thirsty or hungry again.  I long for the day the whole earth is at peace.  I am no relation to John Lennon…despite my Liverpool roots.

I just know it in my bones that this world is not right…and it will not be right until every inhabitant of Planet Earth is thriving without feeling guilty that others are scraping by just to keep their families alive.

Every member of our huge and delightfully different human family drinking life to the full…no shame, no pain, no fear, no guilt, no anxiety, no hatred, no prejudice…

Water.jpg

Guilty