charity

A little perspective

Today is my second day doing the 30 Hour Famine. It’s my second time doing it; I did it years and years ago in high school and we all camped out at the school and had plenty to keep us from thinking about how hungry we were. This time I decided to do it by myself, and unfortunately it coincided with Sweet’s trip to Minneapolis, so I’ve spent the entire time home alone and it’s been slightly harder. But I decided to use the time wisely, and in addition to cleaning my house and picking up some new contacts, I educated myself a little bit more about the cause I’m doing this for.

I found out a tonne of statistics and watched a bunch of documentaries that just moved me to tears.

• Number of people in the world who suffer from chronic malnutrition: 923 million
• Percentage of children living in poverty in the world: almost 50
• Estimated number of daily child deaths linked to extreme poverty: nearly 30,000
• Number of people worldwide who do not have access to safe water: 1.1 billion
• Number of people who die each year of water-related diseases: 5 million
• Number of children forced to flee their homes and live as refugees: 9 million
• Number child soldiers worldwide: 300,000
• Number of people under 25 who become HIV-positive every minute: Four
• Number of people who die each day due to AIDS: 5,753
• 1 in 8,000 women in the UK die during childbirth; in Africa, the figure is 1 in 8
• Malaria kills a million children in Africa each year, and the worst thing is it’s an entirely preventable disease, and a malaria net only costs $10.

I watched a documentary on a group of people climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which was SO inspirational. 1 in 3 people who try and climb it don’t make it, and they went through months of training and fundraising to try and raise a million for malaria nets. Over 7 days they struggled through exhaustion and altitude sickness but they made it, and ended up raising THREE million, which was just incredible. I have a copy of the documentary – if anyone’s interested, I’d be more than happy to share. I think you can also find it here in clips on YouTube. Just seeing the footage of people whose children have started off so promising, doing well in school, and then being affected by the disease and wasting away, and eventually dying after a grandmother has carried them for miles to try and find the nearest clinic. It’s heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine. We are so lucky to be living in this country, and people complain about our health service and about the costs of things but we have no right to. I wish people would just take a second to imagine what life would be like if they’d been born in a country like Uganda, had no access to hospitals or medicine, safe water, or even a malaria net. We have so much to be thankful for, and right now I am thankful to everyone who donated to this 30 Hour Famine. If you have a second, you can send a net, and save a life.

Anyway, onto the rest of the week. We’re still buried in snow and it’s still making me want to move away every single day, but things are looking brighter for next week and I’m ever looking forward to summer. I had my first Reiki session on Wednesday, which was slightly bizarre, I spent an hour lying down while the therapist waved her arms around my body and then told me afterwards things that were frighteningly accurate in terms of issues I’d had, things I was dealing with, and I’d never mentioned a word of them to her. Very interesting evening!! I also had my first proper April Fool’s Day at work, which was TONNES of fun; I arrived to my desk and all my photos had been replaced with pictures of a very pregnant co-worker from the 90s; I had someone return a call from “Mr Lyon” and listed the number of the Winnipeg Zoo, there was Vaseline on earpieces, nametags set in jelly and keyboards’ keys all switched around… all in all a very fun day. 🙂 I got some freelance work this week too, which came at a REALLY good time (although I did turn into a bit of a hermit as a result), so I think next week is just going to be a lot of catching up with friends, and making up for lost time with the boy. Oh, and as of six hours from now, eating a great big cinnamon bun 🙂

Clubby McGee, re-inspired

Since Thursday I’ve been affectionately addressed by my boy as Clubby, after I fell down my exciting shiny new stairs (whose novelty has since very much worn off) and broke my wrist. It’s been a few days since I’ve got used to my uber-cast and felt okay enough to write, but I’m off today and figured I’d spend it with a combination of blogging, watching a girly movie, and with my current love, The Time Traveller’s Wife.

Tomorrow, at work, is the end of my 30-day probationary period. I believe this comes with some kind of Employee Review. I’m hoping my boss looks more at me showing up with a broken arm, sick, offering to redesign the corporate image and getting referrals from my old work rather than missing 2 out of my first 30 days and going home because my throat hurt so bad nobody could understand what I was saying. I’m not hugely worried – I’ve had lots of positive feedback and I get on well with everyone, I’ve just had a bit of bad luck… right?

Other than work, I’m happy to say I’ve reconnected with a couple of very dear friends who both recently took (separate) extended trips away; one to Germany, Amsterdam and Rome and the other to Egypt and Morocco. Both these people arrived back in Winnipeg in the middle of a bitterly cold winter after experiencing new cultures, new people, and entirely new ways of life that are all happening all over the globe this very second while we sit here in a city so cold nobody wants to leave their bed for 6 months of the year. It reminded me of when I got back from England and Ireland last summer – I’d gone to a place I feel at home, I’d seen historic sites, spent a day in a wonderful city full of life and colour, visited a university I spent the next few months researching in a desperate attempt to find a way to attend and live in, and saw manuscripts over a thousand years old that moved me to tears. Seeing my friends again who’d taken trips come back into the Winnipeg Blues brought it all back; I heard stories of camping out under the stars in the Sahara desert, taking trips down the Nile, standing next to enormous pyramids that defy historical engineering, and how their way of and thinking had changed entirely after seeing the value of food, of water, and of people in places so far away from the life we lead here on a daily basis. Me and the boy had a Big Talk soon after, about how badly I wanted to go somewhere and experience something like that again, and how desperately I wanted to share it with him. I admire his way of thinking and finding positivity in everywhere he goes in this little city, but I so badly want to explore and learn and just take him with me. We talked about taking a trip, maybe in a year or two, but then we talked about maybe doing a World Vision trip.

I get the e-mails every year. $1,000 – $1,500 and you can take a “Destination Life Change” trip. You join a group travelling to either El Salvador, South Africa, Ecuador, Indonesia or Rwanda. You get to see child sponsorship first-hand and really experience what it’s like out there. I think I want to go. I’ve been sponsoring a little boy in Ghana for the last few years and in just over a month I’m doing a 30 Hour Famine to try and raise money for the charity. Right now I’m sitting at $35 in donations. A lot of people are giving me their apologies, which is fine – but all I’m asking for is a few bucks. If everyone chipped in the cost of a Starbucks it would go a REALLY long way, and I just really want to not only spread awareness, but try and make a little bit of a difference too. So I’m doing that on the 3rd of April. But I’m definitely thinking about looking into one of these trips. How life changing would that be?