Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘news from around the world’ Category

The Spirit of The Camino and the spirits on The Camino.

When I first contemplated walking The Camino my head was filled with inspiring thoughts of happy, adventurous people all walking along; a merry band of comrades, climbing mountains and being amazing in their aspirations to reach Santiago. I had a somewhat romantic view of cosy alburgues, relaxing snoozes in the sun and the cameradie we saw in the movie ‘The Way’ (which, by the way, I must watch again before I go).  I had this notion of admiring locals who opened their homes and hearts to the ‘pilgrims’ who walked their way up mountains and down, along paths and through villages and towns, strolling into their chosen alburgue in the evening to find a cosy bed and a hot shower, of meals shared with laughter and fun.

And yes, this does in fact happen; the Spirit of the Camino.

I’ve read some extraordinary stories of people ‘rescued’ by kind-hearted locals who seeing their distress take said distressed person under their wing and guide them to a hostelaria/alburgue, or give them a hot meal, a lift in their car/truck/lorry to a place of safety. How pilgrims help each other out, lending money, clean clothes, toiletries, guidance and very often a shoulder to cry on. The Spirit of the Camino.

The Camino is also, by all accounts, tough!! Some people die. The spirits on the Camino.

There is also the dark side, a little of which we saw in The Way. People die on the Camino. People start walking and never reach their goal; their journey cut short by the grim reaper. The reasons are many: heart failure, complications from surgery, falling off a mountain, falling off their bikes (those who cycle) and some die from traffic accidents; knocked over by trucks or cars. Some people start the walk in the hopes that they will reach Santiago, but knowing that they likely won’t. It’s their final walk. Some people have reached the steps of the cathedral only to drop down dead right there at the last step.

And then there those that are murdered. Wow, I can tell you when I discovered that last year…. it came as one hell of a shock to me. The prospect of dying on the Camino had never entered my head!! I learned about this quite by accident last year when I first joined the Camino forum on Facebook. It literally took the wind out of my sails. Just a simple post to say that she, the person who made the update, had laid a stone on the cairn for Denise Theim, an Arizona lass who had disappeared while walking.  If you have the stomach for it you can read about it here.

I immediately set about investigating the story and that lead me to the reports of her disappearance, death and the eventual discovery of her body. The perpetrator as per the above article has since been captured and tried, soon to be incarcerated.

But what startled me most of all was reading the many stories of people who have died on The Camino. I often see photos on the facebook groups of memorials to people from across the world, both young and old who never left The Way; the spirits on The Camino.

I often think about these people now as I prepare for my Camino in September and of course the thought crosses my mind. Will I die while walking? Of course I have no idea, that is, as they say, and depending on which religious or spiritual belief your follow, determined by fate or the book of life…..your death predetermined before you are even born. Not sure I believe that notion, but there it is.

I have to say that it does bother me a lot. The f.e.a.r. presents itself in many ways, and I am in constant conflict with the emotions that arise from these thoughts. My daughter is getting married next year and I will be walking her down the aisle, guiding her to the man she loves, watching as she and he join their hands and lives in marriage and walk into a new future. I would be devastated if by dying on the Camino I caused her any pain and spoiled her special day by not being there. Although I’m sure she would kick my ass for saying that!! 😉  Mind you, she’s already advised me that she would be seriously pissed off with me if I die while walking. LOL We have discussions about this from time to time. About the reality of death.

I’ve questioned myself over and over. Am I being selfish? Am I not putting her happiness first instead of my selfish desire for adventure? Should I have waited till after the wedding…? I did contemplate that.

See what I mean? FEAR – false evidence appearing real. It manifests on a daily basis and gives me palpitations – and I haven’t even started yet!!!

But after many talks and encouragement from her I went ahead and booked my ticket. Not because we are fatalistic in any way, not because we discussed it in depth and not because I have a flippant answer “it won’t happen to me” (I don’t believe in making promises like that!), but because life is life. I could just as easily step off a pavement in my day to day life and get run over by a car or bus…. I could get knocked over on the many walks I take in my day to day life, some of which are along narrow country roads where cars whizz by at 80 kms p.h. leaving dust and a shivering wreck of a walker in their wake. Or I could contract one of hundreds of diseases that abound and die anyway.

So should I not go on this walk? Should I allow the fears to win? Or should I grasp life and go anyway. Well since I’ve already booked my ticket, obviously so far, that is what I will be doing.

But it still doesn’t stop me from thinking about the people who do die. I’m sure it must be absolutely devastating for their families. I can’t imagine what it must be like for them to receive the news. I have read of one Mother whose daughter died before they started their Camino. She will be taking her daughter’s ashes along with her to distribute at special places along The Way. God, I can’t even imagine how hard that would be.

I was doing some research this morning and found this blog https://gabrielschirm.com/2016/08/22/deaths-on-the-camino-de-santiago/

Gabriel gives a number breakdown of the more recent deaths on the Camino. It’s not a macabre list, just a matter of fact observation that yes, people do die while walking the Camino.

I also found this amazing blog; a beautifully compiled memorial to Camino pilgrims who have died on the way – some on their first day, others as they completed their walk.

http://amawalker.blogspot.ie/2016/12/memorials-to-pilgrims-who-died-on-camino.html

It makes a sobering read. The spirits on the Camino.

So again it brings me back to the age-old question! Should I or should I not? F.E.A.R. But as mentioned earlier I’ve already booked my plane ticket for this year, booked and paid for some of the accommodation, bought the backpack, the badges, the clothes and equipment, the books…..and so on. And with my daughter’s blessing, I will walk the Portuguese Coastal Route in September.  I certainly plan to discover the Spirit of the Camino; but I have no plans to become a spirit on the Camino. And yes, despite the fear, I am excited 🙂

 

 

Read Full Post »

Last year, a gentleman named Bill Howell eloquently wrote the below letter (as seen on Facebook). Feel free to share & exploit it by the millions.

“Dear Mr. Trump,

It’s taken me a while to realize this and to admit it, but I’m grateful to you.

For the past few months I’ve spent a good deal of time lamenting your campaign and the poison it has so effortlessly generated. I’ve watched our country imploding, our public discourse become polluted, our political climate grows ever more corrosive, and wrongly assumed you were to blame.

It’s only lately I’ve come to understand that you haven’t manufactured our current national ugliness—you’ve simply revealed it.

By saying the irresponsible, mean-spirited, ignorant things you say so freely and so frequently, you’ve given other like-minded people license to do the same. You’ve opened up the floodgates for our corporate sewage to flow fully. People no longer conceal their vile mess, they now revel in it, they broadcast it and retweet it.

You’ve made bigotry and racism socially acceptable again and that has been a kind of twisted gift because it’s allowed me to really see people; not as they pretend to be on the surface—but in the very depths of their wounded, weaponized hearts.

Over and over as your campaign has persisted, your supporters would tell me that they like you because you “speak your mind”. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve realized that you speak their minds. You’ve given credence to their prejudices and made those prejudices go mainstream.

Thanks to the terrible ground you’ve broken, politicians, pastors, friends, and strangers, both in person and on social media now regularly out themselves as hateful, intolerant, and malicious—and they remind me just how close they are to me, just how deep the sickness in us runs, and just how far we have to go together.

You’ve emboldened people to be open about things they used to conceal for the sake of decorum, and though it turns my stomach, I know that this is the only way we can move forward; to have that cancerous stuff exposed fully so that it can be dealt with. Our progress as a nation is predicated on authentic dialogue, no matter how brutal and disheartening that dialogue is.

In other words, you’ve let us know what we’re really dealing with here and while it’s been rightly disturbing, it’s also been revelatory. That’s the thing about that kind of harsh light: you’re forced to see everything. Beauty and monstrosity equally illuminated.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think you’re the least qualified, least knowledgeable Presidential candidate we may ever have had participate this far into the process, and if you somehow were elected I’d fear gravely for the world my children would inherit—should it survive your Presidency at all. I believe you’re reckless, bitter, and completely reprehensible; the very worst kind of bully.

But whether you win or lose, you’ve already allowed me the blessing of Truth; about me, about you, about other candidates, about our nation.

And in the process you’ve also shown me that I am not alone in resisting you and this ugly thing you’ve revealed about us.

You’ve generated an equally loud, equally passionate response to it and this is where I find my hope these days.

I find it in those for whom equality isn’t just a cheap buzzword, it’s the most precious of hills to die on.

I find it in those people who refuse to be silent in the face of our impending shared regression.

I find it in those willing to be bolder in defending the inherent value of all people.

I find it in the growing army of those who will not tolerate hatred as a core American value.

I find it in those who reject violence as our default response to dissension.

I find it in the ever rising voice of people who will not let malice and bitterness represent them in the world.

Today I find my hope in those who, like me, will not be complicit in allowing bigotry and intolerance to become a source of national pride, because we’ve seen where that leads.

Yes, Mr Trump, you’ve unearthed our hidden sickness and you’ve allowed it to go viral.

You brought every awful thing about us out into the open.”

end of letter.

And as of today 07/05/2017 we have seen just how low the current incumbent of the White House can go, how villainous his policies, how terrible his rhetoric; hate and spite. He’s revealed his lies and how false his promises. As the days go by he destroys more and more and makes the American people who voted for him, the fool for believing in him. He is the worst type of human being you could imagine. I don’t know him personally, but from what I have seen so far; I hate him. For his disgusting attitude to people who are not cut in his mould, for his bigotry, racism, misogyny, and for the hate speech that spews forth from his mouth every time he opens it. He represents everything that is wrong with America and the wider world.

People ask why I despite and yes, hate him? Especially they say in that it doesn’t affect us. But oh how wrong they are. If America sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold. And at the moment we are spiralling down into a nasty fever of vileness, a messy vomit of all the evils of the world. The sooner he goes the better. Before he takes us slap bang into World War 3.

President? No!!! He is no president, he is just a bilious representation of the nasty, ugly, vile specimens that you see in the paintings of hell.

Read Full Post »

When I read about the underground Metro bombing in Russia yesterday, my first thought was for Syria and the retribution Putin was likely to exact with the cooperation of Assad.

And so it has come to pass. I’m sharing this via a friends Facebook update. Someone who is intimately involved with trying to offer some help and hope to the many Syrians that she knows and is friends with – people who are on the ground in the battle zones, able to share the reality of life in Syria under this horrendous bombardment.

I don’t have words to express how I feel after yet another Russia/regime atrocity in Syria yesterday. Hundreds of people – including many children – injured and killed by barrel bomb attacks using Sarin nerve gas. So many horrific images and videos and I just cannot bring myself to share all of them.

6 years of this horror. 6 years of Syrian people – just like you and I – living under Assad’s bombs, chemical weapons attacks, illegal detentions, torture, forced displacement, siege, demographic change,… 6 years of begging, pleading, campaigning and hoping against hope that someone… anyone… will step in to stop these atrocities, so that Syrian people may live their lives in freedom and peace.

So many “red lines” breached… So many broken promises “If Assad uses chemical weapons, we will step in”, “If Assad doesn’t break the sieges, we will airdrop aid”,… All of it lies by international governments too wrapped up in their own alliances and vested interests to care for even one second about the millions of innocent people either forced from their homes or condemned to live in this hell-hole.

Can you imagine how it might feel to live that situation and to pray every day for someone… anyone… to stop your men, women and children dying under illegal bombs? To hope and wait for help to come, only to realise that it isn’t coming?

I don’t know what good writing this will serve. It kills me every day that I cannot do more… that we cannot stop this genocide and support Syrians in rebuilding a safe and free Syria for all Syrians, not just a select few.

To my brothers and sisters in Syria, I am sorry. So sorry. We have failed you. My heart is with you and I am so sorry.

I haven’t given up and I won’t stop trying.”

My heart breaks for her pain, and my heart bleeds for the people of Syria…and let’s remember Yemen too.

This is happening on our watch. When I wonder will it stop? 

Read Full Post »

Did you know that you can cuddle drug-addicted babies? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse one baby every 25 minutes is born with NAS.

http://www.theearthchild.co.za/you-can-volunteer-to-cuddle-drug-addicted-babies-in-order-to-help-them-heal/

I did a quick google search and found these links:

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38732789

http://www.bliss.org.uk/be-a-bliss-champion

http://www.voluntaryworker.co.uk/volunteering-help-premature-babies.html

http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/working-here/volunteering-for-us/current-opportunities/baby-buddy

There are numerous programmes in the US, but I haven’t been able to find that many here. Perhaps a more extensive search is necessary.

Do you know of any such programmes? Please do leave me any links in the comments section. Thank you.

My daughter and I did volunteered at a Convent that took in drug addicted and alcohol withdrawal syndrome babies, in Cape Town many years ago. There was one little baby that I got very attached to. He was suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome…too sad. He was absolutely precious and in the time I spent with hi, I fell in love. I made enquiries about adopting him but because he was a) african and b) likely to die soon c) I worked full-time they rejected my application. Broke my heart. He was so beautiful. I remember the very many little graves in the convent grounds….too heart-breaking. I saw a similar article to the one above a few weeks ago. I’d love to do it again.

 

Read Full Post »

I absolutely love that this man has become so well known, that he’s generated so much media attention. Imad Alarnab arrived in London in 2015 after fleeing the brutal warfare of his home city of Damascus in Syria, and now he’s launched Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, a pop-up restaurant in Bethnal Green in London.

He’s a Syrian refugee. He’s a human being. He’s a great chef. He’s a person with emotions, feelings, love. He has a family. http://www.reuters.tv/v/F2c/2017/03/13/syrian-refugee-chef-cooks-taste-of-home

Because of the enormous refugee crisis Syrians, like Amad, and other people of other cultures have become and are portrayed as a faceless mass.

Due to this we forget that they’re people, the same as you and me.

Because of this portrayal they become an entity to be feared.

This man, along with millions of others, have been demonized, vilified and manipulated by governments, religious organisations, and media and yes, even ‘humanitarian’ organisations wanting to promote their own causes.

I truly hope that this particular story helps people to change their thinking. To realise that on that whole people don’t just up and leave their country of birth with nothing, just the clothes on their backs, a bit of money and a whole heap of HOPE,…. without good reason.

Read Full Post »

I get your perception of what he is doing; successfully alienating main stream media in the minds of the masses so that he becomes the ‘truth’ and they’re the enemy. However, what he’s doing is laying the groundwork for future manipulation of the system, to remove liberties (already happening), to undermine democracy ( already happening), to make people think he’s the ‘hero’ making America ‘great again’. But, he’s not. He’s creating fear, racism is raising its ugly head, insinuating itself into the minds of the populas and becoming Methusela, he’s subverting the system to benefit himself, his cronies, and the future of his family.

Yes he’s doing a brilliant job….. of SCREAMING AT EVERYONE ON TWITTER spouting his hate and lies and anger. He’s a very dangerous individual and although I refuse to follow him or accept his hateful rhetoric, I am keeping a very close eye on his methods….because behind the mask lies madness….of a most evil mind. He’s nasty, a bully, sociopathic, a blatant liar, bigoted, misogynistic, racist, cheat, and deceptive beyond anything we’ve seen except in societies like North Korea, Russia, and many of the despotic African countries. A despotic demagogue.

He’s using social media as a tool to manipulate the celebrity brain-dead? The unable to think for themselves masses, who seldom if ever bother to read an intelligent article, publication or book. With all the personal development & marketing courses I did in 2007/2008, one thing they taught us, that shocked me at the time, was that when marketing/selling to the American market, we should market to the mental level of a 9 year old. And my apologies to any Americans reading  this comment, but most of the trainers were Americans. So not my perception.

#45 is evil. Period.

Read on: 

Shared via:  http://www.bluedotdaily.com/robert-reich-show-this-to-anyone-who-voted-for-trump-immediately/

“While a lot of Trump voters won’t listen to any criticism of the man (much like Trump himself), there are lots of them that have expressed regret over their support for him.  Whichever of those two categories your Trump-voting friends or family fall into, here is something that they need to read, immediately.  There’s always hope we can change the mind of the latter and keep working on the former.

There are lots of reasons to follow Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on Facebook. His sharing of this post from a comment by Rosa Figueroa, and others similar to it, is just one of those reasons.

Next time you get into a little squabble with a Trump voter, bring this into the conversation:

You might want to send this to anyone in your family, or anyone you know, who voted for Trump. (Thanks to Rosa Figueroa who posted this in response to one of my posts yesterday.)

1. He called Hillary Clinton a crook.
You bought it.
Then he paid $25 million to settle a fraud lawsuit.

2. He said he’d release his tax returns, eventually.
You bought it.
He hasn’t, and says he never will.

3. He said he’d divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest.
You bought it.
He is still heavily involved in his businesses, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.

4. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said.
You bought it.
He then proceeded to put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.

5. He said he’d surround himself with all the best and smartest people.
You bought it.
He nominated theocratic loon Mike Pence for Vice President. A white supremacist named Steve Bannon is his most trusted confidant. Dr. Ben Carson, the world’s greatest idiot savant brain surgeon, is in charge of HUD. Russian quisling Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State.

6. He said he’d be his own man, beholden to no one.
You bought it.
He then appointed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, whose only “qualifications” were the massive amounts of cash she donated to his campaign.

7. He said he would “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders.
You bought it.
He then admitted that was just a corny slogan he said to fire up the rubes during the rallies, and that he didn’t mean it.

8. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the Generals did.
You bought it.
He promptly gave the green light to a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though all his Generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained.

9. He said Hillary Clinton couldn’t be counted on in times of crisis.
You bought it.
He didn’t even bother overseeing that raid in Yemen; and instead spent the time hate-tweeting the New York Times, and sleeping.

10. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times “fake news” and said they were his enemy.
You bought it.
He now gets all his information from Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars.

11. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done.
You bought it.
He took his first vacation after 11 days in office.
On the taxpayer’s dime.
And went golfing.

And that’s just the first month.”

Read Full Post »

I was reading an article on facebook recently about the next mass extinction of species on planet earth. I did some further research and found these articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/oct/20/the-four-horsemen-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction

“It was behaviorally modern humans, with their ultrasocial behaviors and complex societies that spread across the Earth, became increasingly larger scale societies, ultimately gaining the capacity to transform the entire Earth. Technology is not the driver of Earth system change – social change is the cause of this.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/01/extinct-animals-could-lose-forever-2017/

“Animal populations plummeted by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67 per cent over the next three years.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/critical-10-species-at-risk-climate-change-endangered-world

“From penguins in Antarctica, to butterflies in Spain, and rodents and coral in the Great Barrier Reef, as the world warms these species are disappearing”.

I believe it’ll not change unless humans have a massive wake up call. The reality is that there are too many people on the planet with no signs of slowing down; as of 2013 7.125 billion. There are millions of people struggling to survive, people for whom a few dollars make all the difference between going hungry or feeding their families, so when someone comes along and offers them money to kill or capture wild animals….

There are the people living in abject poverty who are only looking for the next meal and will do anything to get money to feed their families….they don’t care if the species will become extinct.

And then there’s the mid-range population with their demands for all the comforts and luxuries of consumerism…..the throw away group who buy discard buy discard buy discard without any regard for the planet and what their junk is doing to the space where animal/insect/amphibian/plant species depend on to survive.

Then we have the super rich who are either wild-life hunters or believe that the bones or skin or testicles or heart or whatever is good mojo for enhanced sexual virility or just to show off that they have ‘enough’ money to get whatever they want.

Then we have #45 who is shutting down the EPA and opening up previously protected land for his wealthy greedy buddies to drill for oil or gas or whatever….which we use on a daily basis in our lives of consumerism. The only thing that will save this planet is the mass extinction of the human race.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »