Posts filed under ‘Africa’

The Power of a Three Letter Word.

I remember when my children were small. As they started to understand there might be interesting things beyond the end of their noses the inquisition started. The questions were incessant, off-the-wall and sometimes plain embarrassing. I remember walking home one day with my son, he was three and a great talker (wonder where he got that from). We were happily dawdling and chatting about nursery school when he noticed a lady I knew. She had been ill and had problems with fluid in her legs. To aid her recovery she walked every day but this was slow and painful for her. My son watched her from behind, he asked in that loud and crystal clear voice of his, ‘Mummy, why are that lady’s legs so fat’. To say I hoped for the ground to open up and swallow me was an understatement. I quickly muttered that we had to go back to the shop to get bread so could let my face cool down. He and I chatted ‘later’ on that one.

He was also quite obsessed by death at the age of three. I have no idea how this came about but every night he would look at me with a little solemn face and say ‘Mummy, will you die while I am sleeping?’. I hated that question. Also, I didn’t want to lie to him just on the off-chance so I promised him I would do my very best to stay alive until he woke up. We would then read about Thomas the Tank and sing Postman Pat, Ride a Cock Horse and old King Cole so he would be smiling when he went to sleep.

Not all of the questions were so scary but they did illustrate the working of an exploring mind. My personal favourite will always be my son and my mother. They used to sneak off and lie on her bed reading Ogden Nash, his poetry made them both giggle. One day, they read a poem about God. This prompted ‘Nana, does God wear clothes? And, if he does wear clothes, does he have a washing machine?’. He has always had a practical bent.

However, there is one question that ends up making any parent want to tear their hair out. It is one word and the word is WHY? Let’s go to the shops. WHY? We will go for a walk. WHY? You are too little to play in the street. WHY? Because the cars are dangerous. WHY? Because cars are hard and can be fast and you may forget to watch for them. WHY? This can go on and on and on. My kids did learn that when I just said ‘Because’ the conversation was over….

It does make me wonder though. Do we not use that word enough? Should we not ask WHY more? What would you ask WHY about? I will give you some of mine….

  • WHY don’t we think more about the distribution of water. We are told about think-tanks and quangos and brilliant minds coming together; can’t they think of something that will benefit millions?
  • WHY do we go in to assist those countries that have conflict and oil but not those with conflict but no natural resources? Is this me being simple? I don’t think so.
  • WHY do those who claim to believe in peaceful deities preach hate and intolerance?
  • WHY can’t we solve starvation?
  • WHY is there war?
  • WHY don’t more people talk?
  • WHY do I have to write this list?
I don’t have the answers, we all know I don’t have the answers. I am happy for you to add your questions to this post; I am interested to see what your burning question is. We may not have the answers but at least we are asking the questions. I just hope that one of us or all of us together will figure this all out.

I close with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm 2 comments

Relaxation….

I will be heading off today for a week in the sun. I have packed many books but no laptop or iPad, I will be techno-free. There is no doubt that I will miss my virtual life, I am very fond of it. I admit my techo-addiction, I am currently logged into Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. I am not sure what this makes me, I wonder what those who only inhabit the real world think of people like me. There are many of us out there, we live a mix of real and virtual and love both. I also find my online world informative and laugh-out-loud funny. People also aren’t afraid to challenge each other on beliefs, politics and the best sauce for a bacon butty (brown since you ask).

One other thing that my social media roundabout does is make me think. When we read and watch the news it tends towards the dark and dire but I do get balance from the kindness I see generated on social media. Yes, there are arguments but if you have a bad day someone will always try to cheer you up and send you ((hugs)). There are many good people out there who send out support for charities, raise money and think of new and inventive ways to raise awareness for their favourite causes. This I will miss, I think those who believe social media is only a tool for cruelty and arranging riots would do well to browse a little and see for themselves.

So, I am looking forward to a rest with no work, driving, cooking or cleaning. I will miss my virtual life but I think it can stand a week without my company. I will read and watch news when I am away, one thing I will not give up at any time. I want to see what is happening in the Horn of Africa and the progress towards peace in Tripoli. I am aware of the irony that I seek the sun while those in Africa pray for rain.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 28, 2011 at 11:36 am 2 comments

What is News Exactly? Happy Resting Mr Jobs?

I am, as I like to every morning, watching the news. I watch the news as I have my coffee to have some awareness of what is happening in the world. I confess that I don’t read a newspaper every day. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about that as I know this means I only ‘skim’ over the news stories.

I am on a few days off so today I am having coffee, watching the news, tweeting (naturally!) and checking out a couple of news websites. I default to the BBC but will also look at few others.

So, the BBC, what is your website offering me today? Top stories of the day on the Home page:-

  • Rebels appeal for Gaddafi capture
  • Steve Jobs quits as Apple chief
  • GCSE students poised for results. (Good luck everyone).
  • Police could have stopped riots (will read that one later)
  • UN warns on 12 million stateless people
  • US-bound Hurricane Irene swells
  • Man in custody over Jersey stab deaths
  • Riot summit for social networks (will read this one too!)
  • Google pays $500m in drug ad row
  • Savings ‘needed’ in Scotland

I then move to the Africa page on the BBC website and find:-

  • Rebels appeal for Gaddafi capture
  • UN warning over 12 million stateless people
  • Africa heads to pledge famine aid
  • ICC accused Kenya Minister sacked
  • Zimbabwe VP calls for death probe

Now I roam to the Guardian and the Independent. I do not subscribe to any news feeds so will not be covering the Times.

The Guardian has Gaddafi and Steve Jobs as their headliners. Then follows ‘Twitter Study creates Riot Plan Doubt’ and one I will definitely read later – ‘UK in Tax Evasion Deal with Swiss’. One interesting headline on the Home Page is Germany Mourns King of Comedy with the sub-heading ‘Death of Loriot, man who taught Germans to laugh, knocks the battle for Tripoli off the front pages’. An interesting headline that I think will get many readers…

Lastly, I pick the Independent. I pick this on purpose as the Independent is well-known for taking a slightly different tack on the stories of the day. They lead with Tripoli, the headline ‘Terror as Loyalists Fight to the Death’. Then follows Steve Jobs and his resignation. The next two headlines are ones I will read later – ‘Revealed : Climate Quirk that Doubles Risk of War’ and ‘Disaster Looms over addiction to Painkillers’. To pique your interest in the climate quirk story I give you the first paragraph:-

“Wars and civil conflicts are twice as likely to occur during years affected by the El Niño climate-warming phenomenon, a study suggests. The naturally recurring weather system, which boosts temperatures and cuts rainfall over a broad swath of the globe every three to seven years, doubles the risk of civil wars across many countries in the tropics, shows a remarkable statistical analysis by American scientists.”

I can’t decide whether this is a story that links the ‘mysterious’ powers of weather to people and how they behave or you can get a good story from statistics? I will read it later and see but I suspect a little bit of the latter?

I find it interesting that Steve Jobs resignation has made world headlines. Yes, I do know who he is and what he has done for Apple. Apple are one of the few companies who went from success to almost belly up to instant global recognition. You may disagree with my last statement but in business lore and beyond Jobs is famous for bucking trends, be it management style (micro since you ask) or taking a company on the ropes and making it a contender. I applaud him for his successes and wish him well as he struggles with his health.

But now to the point of this blog. Did you notice anything? Was there something conspicuous by its absence? My gast is flabbered. Why was there only one story on the famine in all of those headlines above? Why is it not front page every day? Why, why, why?

Any regular readers know why I do this blog, I want you, yes you, to donate to a children’s charity and then write to me about it. I try not to dictate to anyone which charity they should choose, that is not my place. I understand how some people feel about charities; there are some out there where the revenue percentage that goes to their stated cause is both abysmal and, to my mind, criminal. However, there are well-established charities out there who are open with their accounting methods and spending patterns, surely you can consider them?

In the Horn of Africa right now there are tens of thousands of people at risk of starvation and death. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have lived in the refugee camps for many years as they literally have nowhere else to go. With the arrival of hundreds more every day the fragile infrastructure creaks a little more; how much more can it take I wonder? Many new people arrive simply to die, they have used their last vestiges of strength to get there and have nothing left, even when given help, to recover. This is horrific.

Please consider helping an organisation that will help those suffering in the drought and famine in Africa, please……

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 25, 2011 at 10:38 am Leave a comment


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