#WATWB March 2021 – On the Bus

Welcome to the We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB. We have been going since March 2017, sharing good news stories. Our c0-hosts this time around are:

Sylvia McGrath, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Shilpa Garg, Eric Lahti, and Belinda Witzenhausen.

Picture from Channel Nine News Canberra, Australia. Accessed 28 March 2021.

To join this post you’ll need to hop on the bus! The Sleep Bus to be more exact. Not far from where I live, a city of Queanbeyan, NSW (Australia) has acquired a Sleep Bus.

Like many parts of the world we have issues here with homelessness. People who cannot find or fit in a home to live. The Sleep Bus movement provides a shower and short-term bunk accommodation for homeless people. A great idea.

You can check out a report from our Channel 9 Network that they posted to their Facebook Page.

You can hear more about Sleep Bus from their website, as their founder, Simon Rowe (what a first name!) talks you through with short video updates.

Simon Rowe in one of the Sleep Buses he and his son are making. From their website. Accessed 28 March 2021.

What a rolling, practical way to give some help to those needing somewhere to sleep.

Here’s an excerpt from a poem by Meghan O’Rourke called “Sleep”. You can read the rest at Poetry Foundation. They may even read it to you.

…In the bedroom the moon is a dented spoon,
cold, getting colder, so hurry sleep,
come creep into bed, let’s get it over with;
lay me down and close my eyes…

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Check out other posts on the #WATWB


#WATWB June – Man with no hands sells sketches in bid to raise money for homeless

As soon as I pick that pencil up I feel like I’m healed.

Robert Drew

 

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Picture from ABC News: : Former homeless artist and recovering drug addict Robert Drew has been selling his sketches to get by on the streets. (ABC News: Anna Hartley)

 

Robert Drew was born without fingers. What’s more he has been in the grip of drug addiction.  He tried ice, pot, and alcohol. But his drawing has drafted – pun intended – a new perspective.  Clearly he has a talent. Please check out the article on ABC News Australia.

What a great way to utilize our talents for a better life.

Robert’s story is my (late arrival) focus for this month’s We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB post for June 2019.

Our co-hosts this month are:
Sylvia McGrath,
Susan Scott,
Shilpa Garg,
Eric Lahti,
and Belinda Witzenhausen.  Please head over to their pages and all using the #WATWB.

Robert Drew reminded me of an earlier poem of mine called “We Are More”. There is an excerpt below.

We Are More

(iii)

He takes his “Please help” sign,

Turns it round,

And with

A texta he found,

Begins

To sketch,

Feebly at first,

Then

With gusto,

A portrait

Of her,

That Toulouse-Lautrec

Would be proud of.

Yes

We are more

Than the symptoms seem.


More good news on the #WATWB tag

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#WATWB June – Shelter and Food

Over a year ago bloggers Belinda Witzenhausen and Damyanti Biswas contacted some of their blogging friends about the negativity that invades lives via our screens. They formed a We Are The World Blogfest Group #WATWB. This group posts positive stories on the final Friday of each month.   We are people from all inhabited continents of the world. While coming from many cultural backgrounds and belief systems, we are all united in believing that the power of a good story can change lives for the better. You too, can join.

This month our co-hosts are:

Damyanti Biswas,

Shilpa Garg,

Mary J Melange,

Dan Antion,

and myself.  Please visit their posts and others with #WATWB.

 

This month I have two examples to bring to the fest.

 

The CEO Sleepout

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Photo: Vinnies Sleepout website.

The St. Vinnies CEO Sleepout is becoming an annual fixture. While raising awareness and funds for homeless people it also does something else. It gives people in positions of leadership in government, business, Church groups, advocacy groups and more, a glimmer of  an understanding of what it is like to sleep on the streets. From their website

What is the Vinnies CEO Sleepout?

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a one-night event over one of the longest and coldest nights of the year. Hundreds of CEOs, business owners as well as community and government leaders sleep outdoors to support the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness. Each CEO Sleepout participant commits to raising thousands of dollars to help Vinnies provide essential services to the people who need them.

Last year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised 5.6 million dollars for people experiencing homelessness.

Donating

directly assists people experiencing homelessness, by:

  • funding new initiatives
  • ensuring existing homeless services, like food vans and emergency support, continue
  • expanding the reach of our existing programs to ensure every Australian can access accommodation, meals, and emergency assistance when they need it.

 

There is some footage on youtube such as this video.  You can also check out the stories by people like

As first time CEO Sleepout attendee Helen Yost braved the cool winds under the Story Bridge in Brisbane for the annual event in June 2017, she was reminded of her past and her own experiences of homelessness.

Now for an excerpt from Juliet Kono’s haunting poem:

Homeless

My son lives on the streets.
We don’t see each other much.
Like a mother who puts white lilies
on the headstone of a dead child,
I put money into his bank account,
clothes into E-Z Access storage
and pretend he’s far away—
at a boarding school, or in a foreign country.
Nights, I dream fairy tales about him…..

Read more here at Poetry Foundation

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Food Sharing ‘Grow Free’

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PHOTO: The Grow Free cart in Joondalup has been running for 12 months and is well used by the local community.(ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne) Courtesy of ABC news

The Grow Free movement is sprouting.  Emma Wynne, from ABC News, began her report with:

Outside the Joondalup Family Centre in Perth’s northern suburbs, a small wooden cart is laden with lemons, capsicum, celery, black olives, red chillies, curry leaves and parsley seeds.

A sign above the cart (a former change table) reads: “Grow Free — take what you need, give what you can”.

It was set up by local music teacher and mother Kathryn MacNeil a year ago, and is one of numerous Grow Free carts around Western Australia based on a movement founded in Adelaide.

“The idea is to create a place where people can bring their excess local produce, their homegrown produce — it could be food, it could be seeds, it could be seedlings,” Ms MacNeil said.

You can read more here.

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More about WATWB by reading this link from Damyanti Biswas.

 

 

 

 

The Cleansing Light of Orange Sky #WATWB July

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ORANGE SKY 

Welcome to another month of  We Are the World #WATWB Blogfest.

Cohosts this month are: Sylvia Stein, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Damyanti Biswas and myself.  I want to thank them and ask you to check out their posts too.

The day I found out about The Sydney Story Factory I also discovered the story of Orange Sky on this clip.  They have been in the Aussie news again recently because of a wonderful thing – they are growing. They are even in Canberra, the nearest capital to my part of the world.

 

Who or what are Orange Sky?  They are people who do laundry – wash and dry clothes – for people who live on the streets.  

First they did the washing.  

Then they made friends.  

Friends with street-people, with business people, the civic minded and anyone who is moved by their work.

If you are a blog tragic, check out their blog here.  Here is a smidgen from the blog

“With nothing more than the clothes on their backs, $10 in their pockets and their cell phones, Nic Marchesi and Nich Kristock of Orange Sky Laundry recently spent two nights living on the streets of Sydney. Having never experienced homelessness personally, the goal of this unusual exercise was for the pair to gain a greater understanding of what it actually feels like to be homeless and to challenge some of the stereotypes which surround this vastly complex topic.

NK: “I guess you can’t ever fully understand what it’s like to be homeless if you’re just doing it for a few days, but I would like to get a better understanding of what it means to really feel that disconnect from people that are walking right next to you. Even though you’re both just people, there’s still that feeling of inferiority when you know you don’t have a home to go to. I want to understand better what it’s like to feel that way, so I can have a better conversation with a homeless friend.”

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Looking for some stories of hope!

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~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1.  Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news, about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
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  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List here.

CO-HOSTS. 

As many of you know, keeping a blogfest going needs a pool of positive co-hosts.  We started with 20.  But, with the wear and tear of life on people’s health, we need some assistance with co-hosting.  As Damyanti says:

…five co-hosts leading each month will ensure that none of us are overburdened, and can host every few months. 
Each month needs a minimum of 5 leads, but you’re welcome to sign up for more as well. We’ll keep it flexible— if you have an issue hosting in a particular month, you could exchange with another co-host.
Can you help?  Contact Damyanti on – atozstories at gmail dot com.
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