#WATWB August 2020 – Hope In End of Life Care

If I, or a loved one, were dying from Corona virus, aka, COVID 19, I’d like someone such as Dr Kate Gregorevic on the palliative care team.

Picture: ABC Life accessed 30 August 2020 9.43pm

Before going further, I say that as part of the latest series of #WATWB We Are The World Blogfest Posts. The co-hosts for this month are:

Lizbeth Hartz , Roshan RadhakrishnanShilpa GargPeter Nena and Sylvia Stein. Please hop on over to their pages and any others with the #WATWB that you care to read.

ABC Life, from ABC News Australia, featured Dr Gregorevic recently. She works in palliative care here in Australia. You can read the fuller story. But here are some samples.

Looking after patients at the end of their life can be incredibly rewarding especially being able to bear witness to the joy and love they have created in their life as their family hold vigil to mark their last days.

Dr Gregorevic describes some of her experience.

My work constantly reminds me that life is fragile, precious and finite, and to appreciate all the small, beautiful moments that make a life. Part of what makes the challenges of work manageable is knowing I provided the best care I could at such an important time.

She has a sense of the mutual benefit between the families and her team.

The families I speak to show the most incredible empathy and generosity, expressing sympathy for the work I am doing, saying thank you for the work I am doing. And I cannot express how much this helps me through these days.

It is good to know that medical staff like Dr Gregorevic and her team are helping treat people with COVID-19. Clearly they see the person. They also see the patient’s loved ones. That makes all the difference.

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#WATWB July 2020 Late Edition – Letters from the Lecturer

Well the first bit of good news is that the We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB is back again for another month and has been running for years.  As life changes for some of us it can be a slog, at times, to keep up the momentum. There are months where we struggle to find enough co-hosts.  If you have been with us a while, and may be able to help, contact one of our co-hosts.

Speaking of co-hosts, this month our valiant leaders are:

Eric Lahti – https://ericlahti.wordpress.com

Susan Scott – http://www.gardenofedenblog.com/

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal – http://inderpreetuppal.com/

Shilpa Garg – https://shilpaagarg.com/

Peter Nena – https://drkillpatient01.wordpress.com/

 

Please hop on over to their pages and others on the #WATWB.

Now for a late edition of some other good news.

 

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Dr Murad Jehangir Yusuf Tayebjee.  Image from ABC Life, accessed 2 August 2020.

As the coronavirus aka COVID-19 hit, many schools, universities and other educational centres rapidly moved to a more online presence in all manner of operations. This can be very socially isolating for students and staff so…

Dr Murad Jehangir Yusuf Tayebjee wrote letters to his students. We pick up the report from ABC News Australia in its ‘Life’ team.

Dear students,

As I submit your final grades for this term, I wanted to take a moment to write you a note.

Maybe you made it to university after studying hard in year 12. Maybe this is part of a career change for you, or a return to study after having kids.

Whatever your story — and there are as many stories as there are of you — you certainly didn’t expect to undertake your 2020 undergraduate year in the middle of a global pandemic.

We didn’t expect it either.

He moved on to outline some of the things they may be doing, like getting their hands dirty and building small-scale solar powered cars.

Tayebjee even told them that they inspired him by staying with the course. What an encouraging teacher from the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia). You can read more of the story yourselves.

Lock-downs have been really tough for people. This fellow, who admitted that he too, “had to adapt fast”, adapted well. He not only engineered his courses, but innovated the communication needed in order to reach his students.

Those who follow this blog know that I love poetry and also try to share a poem with the story.

Poet, Michael Ryan, writes of letters in an institution. Just like lecturers use their imagination to reach students, so too do poets, like Ryan, explore the world of the imagination. An excerpt is below.  Full text at Poetry Foundation.

Letters from an Institution

The ward beds float like ghost ships
in the darkness, the nightlight
above my bed I pretend is a lighthouse
with a little man inside who wears
a sailor cap and tells good old stories
of the sea. The little man is me.

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#WATWB June 2020 Work for Refugees

It’s that time again already.  The We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB has more stories for you.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are Sylvia McGrath, Susan Scott,  Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Belinda Witzenhausen

I nearly lost the story I was going to post. But I found it again thanks to SBS Australia journalist Jennifer Scherer.  It’s about refugee Bill Ngo who fled conflict and came to Australia. In time he began a business. Sadly, his business is dwindling due to losses in these COVID-19 days. But Bill is undaunted and plans to get going again.  Scherer tells his story on audio (put the sound on!).

The other part of this news is that there is good reason to believe small businesses like this are probably near us too. We can find out where they are and support them.

In a similar vein, back in January 2020, SBS News Australia also told a story of a Sri Lankan Restaurant ‘Colombo Social’ giving refugees and asylum seekers their first jobs. Or, you can check out their Facebook page.

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Shaun Christie-David. Image: SBS News Australia, 10 January 2020

“Sydney restaurant Colombo Social hires refugees and asylum seekers helping to kickstart their careers in Australia, and it’s run by two friends who met in high school, ”  says SBS News Australia.

What a great pair of stories in these days where we long to create greater harmony between the peoples of our earth and ensure the underprivileged find a home and a way to share their gifts.

And, for a poem…. by Miroslava Odalovis called ‘Silent Refugees’

What are we left with
When years and health are gone
When tents fall down under the roofs
When the shelters no longer shelter

When winters close down frozen and fireless
When summers burn crying for some ice
When springs forget to grow
And autumns die within a leaf

more at PoemHunter.com.

 

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#WATWB May 2020 and Kind20

Sometimes, as we surf the net and scroll the feeds, we absorb cyber-toxins at a rate of knots.  There are days that humiliation, personal attacks, and cynicism are just too much.

So, to counter such a trend, just over three years ago, Belinda Witzenhausen and Damyanti Biswas called together a group of bloggers.  From it came the We Are The World Blogfest or #WATWB.

We’re still here!  This is the latest installment.  We are grateful to the co-hosts. This month they are …..

Susan Scott , Lizbeth Hartz, Shilpa Garg, Mary Giese , and Damyanti Biswas.

At #WATWB we tend to give politics and religion a wide birth.  Not to undermine their function or some of the good they can bring about. No, more to try and get to the heart of kindness in the course of life that can exist in simple human interactions.

The post I share this time may have arisen from a convergence of religious groups. But it is about kindness that goes beyond any of their own statues or rituals.

What I’m talking about is Kind2020.  You can visit their website or Facebook page.

Basically they are suggesting we all do what is in the photo below (From their Facebook page)

If you looked up their “about us” you may find

Express and Inspire

Working to Unite Humanity Through Kindness.

#KIND20 is a global movement for social empathy and worldwide kindness. It is borne of the Coronavirus world crisis and has been created as a unifying platform to turn despair and insecurity into positivity and hope.

We invite citizens of our world to take a video expressing “What Kindness Means to You?” and share on their social media nominating at least 3 others to do the same.

If one person passes it onto just 3 others, and they in turn pass it onto 3 more eventually creating a continuum, where our world will be full of messages of kindness, hope and positivity. These could also include a positive expression or acts of kindness experienced, seen or a personal commitment of change.

By the year-end, we are confident there will be more cases of kindness, than cases of COVID19.

Please do post your stories of kindness too!


Why not check out other #WATWB posts too!

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#WATWB April 2020 Agents of Environmental Change

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Image: APNEWS https://apnews.com/726ff63bb43bdca65e41625b1e223040

Change is such a part of life.  This post looks at environmental change. But it sees it as part of an integral ecology, where physical and social environments are aided to a better life for all, indeed a flourishing.

Welcome to #WATWB We Are the World Blogfest April 2020.  Our co-hosts this month are Eric Lahti,
Susan Scott,
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
Damyanti Biswas,
Dan Antion.

Please visit their posts and others who bear the #WATWB, and share across your social media platforms.

In the Physical or Natural Environment

We did not ask for the problems that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has visited upon our world. It is a tremendous challenge for all peoples and is bringing out both the best and worst in humanity.  Some good news is what has happened in nature when we slow down heavy industry awhile and stay at home.  AP news reports

As people across the globe stay home to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, the air has cleaned up, albeit temporarily. Smog stopped choking New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, and India’s getting views of sights not visible in decades. Nitrogen dioxide pollution in the northeastern United States is down 30%. Rome air pollution levels from mid-March to mid-April were down 49% from a year ago. Stars seem more visible at night.

And

In Adelaide, Australia, police shared a video of a kangaroo hopping around a mostly empty downtown, and a pack of jackals occupied an urban park in Tel Aviv, Israel.

We’re not being invaded. The wildlife has always been there, but many animals are shy, Duke’s Pimm says. They come out when humans stay home.

For sea turtles across the globe, humans have made it difficult to nest on sandy beaches. The turtles need to be undisturbed and emerging hatchlings get confused by beachfront lights, says David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

But with lights and people away, this year’s sea turtle nesting so far seems much better from India to Costa Rica to Florida, Godfrey says.

“There’s some silver lining for wildlife in what otherwise is a fairly catastrophic time for humans,” he says.

We didn’t ask for this virus and all its repercussions, especially on some of our non-tech savvy elderly who feel doubly isolated.  But while we hibernate it is good to see some of the natural world rejuvenate.

In the Social Environment

An Australian journalist posted the following on her Twitter account after a book release interview with a former Australian Prime Minister.

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“So”, some may say, “that’s a normal day of Twitter at it’s most terrible”.  But, what these posts do is hold up a mirror.  Hopefully it allows us, and the writers engaging in calumny, to see that they are attacking the fabric of a social environment. It is one thing to dislike a review, but another to attack the person and create salacious spin about them.  Calling out nastiness by simply holding it up in a mirror  helps clean up the social environment and is a preparation for further good news. More work in that area can be seen in Ginger Gorman.

That All Life May Flourish

When the good of the natural and social environments is allowed to thrive all may flourish.  This weekend 25-26 April, in my country Australia, and our neighbour, New Zealand, we celebrate Anzac Day, which commemorates losses of valiant lives in Gallipoli, Turkey, 25 April 1915.  It has come to be a day to remember all who have served in conflicts.  In a time where United Nations (UN) agencies are experiencing some moments of scapegoating by some national governments struggling with their stresses, we all remember the work of UN Peacekeeping efforts.

If poems speak to you of the natural environment, then go to the Poetry Foundation for some nature poems, like this one from Mary Oliver, The Waterfall.

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#WATWB We Are the World Blogfest Third Anniversary Post on March 2020 – Not So New Choir

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Cover of Eric Whitacre’s album ‘Light & Gold’.  Picture source: youtube.

It hardly seems a month since we were last here with a We Are The World #WATWB Blogfest post.   Our co-hosts this month are…..

Sylvia McGrath,
Damyanti Biswas,
Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion,
and Belinda Witzenhausen.

They would love for you to hop on over to their pages.  Actually we would all love you to hope over to their pages and other pages on the #WATWB as well! Especially because this is our Third Anniversary!

We live in dark times.  Hiding in our bunkers, we are trying to slow the spread of the dreaded corona virus, aka COVID-19, while specialists work hard on a vaccine. It requires a team effort of being together while apart.  What a paradox!  Debates flow as chatter disputes whether it is social distance or physical distance that we are really calling for.  At #WATWB we live from physical distance but are highly connected socially.  Some of us have been swapping posts for years!

What I share this time is not really new.  It isn’t really a news story – in the news agency or network sense – but it, I think, a great story.  It is a story about creativity, about linking people from all over the world while they remain where they are. It is about bringing many voices together into a harmony of one voice.

I’m talking about Eric Whitacre and his Virtual Choir.  Whitacre was born in Reno, Nevada (USA) in 1970.  His journey with music began with the piano.

But, to hear more about the Virtual Choir, I’ll let Eric’s website fill us in.

Singers record and upload their videos from locations all over the world. Each one of the videos is then synchronised and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir.

It began in 2009 as a simple experiment in social media when one young woman – a fan of Eric’s music – recorded a video of herself singing “Sleep” and shared it on YouTube.  Moved by the video, Eric responded by sending a call out to his online fans to purchase Polyphony’s recording, record themselves singing along to it, and upload the result. Eric was so impressed by the result that he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, asking Virtual Choir members to sing along to that and the first Virtual Choir was created. The VC has grown from 185 singers in VC1 to more than 8,000 singers, aged 4-87, from 120 countries in VC5.

You can read more about it here. What a great way to bring voices together even for people who are physically far from each other.

STOP PRESS: Susan Cain has found the Colorado Symphony Orchestra doing something very similar. Oh joy! Pun intended.

And also the Couch Choir  Cheers!

Instead of a poem this time I’ll leave you with a Bill Staines song “Place in the Choir”.  This version is from Celtic Thunder.


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#WATWB February 2020 A Fridge for Firies!

Welcome to #WATWB We Are The World Blogfest for February-ish 2020.  Our co-hosts this month are:

Sylvia McGrath,
Peter Nena,
Shilpa Garg,
Eric Lahti,
and Belinda Witzenhausen.

Please hop on over to check out their pages and any others with the #WATWB.

I’m late! And… I can’t blame the short month.  Meanwhile, did you….

hear about a fridge for firies?

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Sourced from The Canberra Times – National Museum of Australia curator Craig Middleton, left, inspects the Bungendore roadside fridge with owners Scott and Claire Hooper. The fridge has been donated to the national collection. Picture: George Serras, National Museum of Australia.

The Canberra times reports it was the fridge by the roadside that stood as a symbol of community spirit through a harsh, dry summer, harbouring icy poles, drinks and snacks for the firefighters trekking back and forth along the Kings Highway.

At first, Claire Hooper was not convinced at the idea of her husband to put a fridge out the front of their house.  It was intended for refreshing passing fire fighters.  Scott convinced her and the adventure began as the Canberra Times continues the story.

Firefighters left memorabilia – helmets, masks and brigade badges – with the Hooper family, thanking them. People kept coming from far and wide came to keep the fridge full.

“The New Zealand guys were here – they were here for a seven-day stretch – and they stopped in to say thank you.

“We’re trying to take photos of them, and they’re making us stand next to the fridge; they’re trying to take photos of us. And we were like, ‘Guys, no. Come on’,” Mrs Hooper said. “It’s just been unreal.”

For many weeks fires raged across Australia.  Much of our forests in the Eastern States were destroyed.  Smoky haze covered our cities and towns.  Some folk on the South Coast were evacuated and returned to their homes multiple times. In the midst of all the horror local stories emerged. It is truly wonderful to be able to tell this local one.

A local radio station MIX 106.3 even organised a convoy to celebrate the fridge and the Coopers generosity in donating it.

It truly is a sight to see people doing such down-to-earth things to make a difference in dark times.  Cheers to all who contributed!

 

 

 

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#WATWB January 2020 -Volunteering Can Help

Welcome to the first We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB  post for 2020!

This month our co-hosts are:

Damyanti Biswas,

Shilpa Garg,

Lizbeth Hartz,

Sylvia Stein, and

Mary Giese.

Please hop on over and look at their posts and any others with #WATWB.

Coming off a conference and in the thick of funerals, I thought I’d not make it this month.  But…. here we are!

I’m leaning on the good ole ABC Life News reporting.

Australian journalist Siobhan Hegarty has provided a story on young people and volunteering.  Right on topic too, for a colleague and I were sharing, on our way back from our conference, how volunteers are truly magnanimous people in the face of adversity.  We were thinking of our State Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS).

Hegarty’s story features a number of examples.  Like Rebecca Cole who joined the SES at age 18.

During the recent bushfires in NSW, Rebecca went on food drops and volunteered at the Queanbeyan fire control centre, operating the radios overnight and logging information for firefighters.

She says being able to volunteer with the bushfire relief effort stopped her from feeling helpless in the wake of the natural disaster.

“It’s so important to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

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Picture accessed from ABC News life, 23 January 2020. Supplied by Rebecca Cole.

 

Another example includes WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Information Service).

Hegarty’s report reminds us that long term help matters too. Some agencies may not be able to take our help straight away but following up is a great idea.

She reminds us all that volunteering can help us feel like we are making difference.

According to Lucas Walsh, an education professor at Monash University, volunteering can lead to better mental health and social connectedness.

It may also help alleviate existential anxieties about the future.

“Getting involved in a meaningful activity will help improve your feeling about the challenges arising from droughts, fires and climate change”, he says.

You can see Hegarty’s full article here.


Follow #WATWB  and check out some other posts too!

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#WATWB November 2019 Surprised by ‘Life?!’

Image source: ABC News Australia

I remember my first experience of supreme pizzas, back in the day. It was fabulous to get all of those flavoursome toppings on one pizza! (Sorry to those Italian style pizza purists who find such complicated pizzas offensive!)

Later in life I found that blessed thing called seafood paella: lots of kinds of seafood and rice all in one place! Yummo! Washed down with vino, of course!

 

images.jpgAh!! Seafood paella.  Image source: https://hispanickitchen.com/recipes/mixed-seafood-paella/ .

I got that same kind of saturated sensation when I encountered this thing on ABC News Australia under the tab ‘life’.

But, let me interrupt the spiel to welcome you to

#WATWB November 2019, where our co-hosts are Damyanti Biswas,

Lizbeth Hartz,
Shilpa Garg,
Peter Nena,
and, myself,  Simon Falk.

Please head on over to their pages.

So, WATWB is all about promoting good news and I found some in that ABC News Tab called ‘life’. Check it out.

I found stories about a coffee seller who left his shop to change a lady’s car tyre.  A ‘substitute child’ who offered a lonely mother a happy Mother’s Day gift was another. 

This one has to be a favourite:

Neighbourhood love

Firefighters have been hard at it battling bushfires across Australia in recent weeks — and some are also there to help their neighbours.

“Our neighbour across the road goes out of his way to help us by mowing our grass for us on a regular basis,” says Terri Maher.

– Terri Maher, Coffs Harbour, NSW

Source: ABC News Australia accessed 28 November 2019

 

These are great stories of good news from everyday life in a neighbourhood.

Do you have any stories like this of your own that you can share?

This ‘life’ segment can be subscribed to by email.  I’ve signed up.

Would you like to join our WATWB each month?  Some details can be found here.

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#WATWB October Late Entry – Horticulture Program

A week late I’ve sneaked a post in our latest #WATWB Edition.  Our generous co-hosts for this month are:

Sylvia McGrath,
Lizbeth Hartz,
Shilpa Garg,
Mary Giese,
and Belinda Witzenhausen.

 

 

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Source: Picture from ABC News Australia.

In a story from Australia’s ABC News “Good News” link I read:

Twice a week, Grace takes a break from her life in the lockup and is able to feel as though she is at home again.

She is one of dozens of female prisoners involved in a horticulture program at the Alice Springs Correctional Centre, which started earlier this year.

The program, situated in the relatively green and leafy yards beside the prison, aims to equip prisoners with practical skills and build up their confidence in the process.

 

Among the key points in the story there’s….

  • Participants report that spending time in the garden and the bush has boosted their mood and taught them a lot.
  • The program manager reports that no task is too much for participants and that the program has given them valuable skills for reintegrating into the workforce when they leave prison.

Originally started for men, this program is now in place for woman.  Alice Springs is in the Red Centre of Australia and very significant for Indigenous Australians.  This program is sure to be win for these women and the environment as well.

Please check out other #WATWB post on online and share the good news with others.


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