My week in posts, pictures and ponderings…

photos by https://www.instagram.com/kyriakos_achilleos/

I’ve fallen behind with the blog. Still in it’s infancy, I have been relying on inspiration on the hop to know what to write about. Then, doubts come in. Does it fit in with the blog’s theme? Can I convey what is in my heart? Will I do it justice? And so I have favoured other tasks over writing the next blog post.

The light bulb moment came while catching up with a friend. “What have you been up to? What’s been on your mind?” Within moments my week flashed before me as if a video in fast forward mode. And the idea came. Why not post my week in this way? Why not give you an insight into the musings, wanderings, reflections, and troubling thoughts of my week? So here they are. A small snippet of the mish – mash of my week. The photographs are from my good friend, Cypriot photographer Kyriakos Achilleos. I’m not going to title them, I’m going to let you ponder over them and see what they say to you. I’ve chosen the ones that spoke to me. Let’s see what they say to you.

https://www.instagram.com/kyriakos_achilleos/

Refugees… Never far from my mind or my heart. I’ve been on the frontline, in northern Greece in 2014, watching as they arrived exhausted, thirsty, carrying frightened children, worried, hoping, only to face red tape, political games, cold shoulders, indifference or even anger. If we could just stop to put ourselves in their shoes. To look at life through their eyes, to fear for the safety of our children the way they do. Would we still turn our backs?

I met Salam Noah through a friend who was helping him in Greece about 3 years ago. He had crossed the border with his wife after a most treacherous journey. Having forfeited university in Iraq several times in order to work and put his younger siblings through school, his turn finally came to study and in his last year of university, war broke out and he decided to flee. He succeeded where others did not. Not allowed to work, not allowed to move, he decided to turn his hand to painting for whatever he could get. Years later, now settled in France, his paintings tell us the stories of what he has witnessed and the heartbreak he has felt over and over again. This is one powerful example and reminder for us all.

Things we carry On The Sea”

We carry tears in our eyes: good-bye father, good-bye mother

We carry soil in small bags: may home never fade in our hearts

We carry names, stories, memories of our villages, fields, boats

We carry scars from proxy wars of greed

We carry carnage of mining, droughts, floods, genocides

We carry dust of our families and neighbors incinerated in mushroom clouds

We carry our islands sinking under the sea

We carry our hands, feet, bones, hearts and best minds for a new life

We carry diplomas: medicine, engineer, nurse, education, math, poetry, even if they mean nothing to the other shore

We carry railroads, plantations, laundromats, bodegas, taco trucks, farms, factories, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, temples…built on our ancestors’ backs

We carry old homes along the spine, new dreams in our chests

We carry yesterday, today and tomorrow

We’re orphans of the wars forced upon us

We’re refugees of the sea rising from industrial wastes

And we carry our mother tongues
爱(ai),حب (hubb), ליבע (libe), amor, love

平安 (ping’an), سلام ( salaam), shalom, paz, peace

希望(xi’wang), أمل (’amal), hofenung, esperanza, hope, hope, hope

As we drift…in our rubber boats…from shore…to shore…to shore…

by wang ping

Acrylic painting on canvas 
Size 60*46 cm
By Salam Noah 
#refugeesart

My friend Laura lives in the UK, raising her family and doing life like all of us. But she is a woman of action. She sees a need and acts. For years, she has been making little blankets for newborn babies and sending them all over the world. Recently, she decided to start creating goodie bags for refugee children stuck in camps in Greece. Faithfully she has gathered items for each bag. Finally, they were ready to be sent. 1200 children will receive gifts they could only dream of. 1200 children will smile and squeal with joy. 1200 children will know that someone somewhere cares and thinks about them. 1200 children will receive renewed hope…

“I’ve made 1200 goodie bags for the refugee children on Samos Island. These kids have nothing. They live in shoddy tents, with extremely limited facilities. They need to smile! :)” Laura.

https://www.instagram.com/kyriakos_achilleos/

I came across this article in my LinkedIn account and it has been on my mind for days. I struggle greatly with understanding the logic behind decisions that leave people in desperate situations. Although I don’t have the experience of raising a disabled child, I have friends who do. I don’t have the words to describe the daily highs and lows, the terrifying sound of alarms on devices that are keeping their children alive, the humanely impossible efforts to give able bodied siblings quality time with their parents, the utter exhaustion. But I cannot accept that we live in one of the richest countries in the world, able to fund entire wars, send millions of pounds in aid to other countries and yet are unable to care for our most vulnerable.

I urge you to click on the link and read the article that Daisy’s mum has written about the plight of children’s hospices in the U.K. It is eye opening.

http://www.wasthisintheplan.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/kyriakos_achilleos/

We have the opportunity to make a difference just by being a little alternative, by looking at things through a different lens, through taking a step back and considering. This story of a senior who celebrated his graduation by throwing a pizza party for the homeless folk, is just one example. Click the highlighted link.

https://www.instagram.com/kyriakos_achilleos/

Another example of using what we have at our disposal to make a difference is this story of a farmer who planted a wildflower meadow to raise money for charity, Elliot’s touch. Not only is he benefiting the charity, as well as the meadow, the soil quality and the local wildlife, but he is improving the mental health of all who come to sit on the benches and soak in the majesty and beauty of it all.

https://www.instagram.com/kyriakos_achilleos/

Tongue cancer survivor Elly Brown not only survived cancer but she also refused to allow it to rob her of her singing career. Despite losing most of her tongue, she determined to not be beaten and with much hard work she has learned to sing again. May Laura’s determination and beautiful voice, inspire you to keep going, to not lose hope, to not be beaten and to know that you have been gifted so as to bless others.

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