The news surrounds my day. I wake up to the Today programme and start to think about going to bed after Newsnight. In between I will glance at the BBC to see if there are reports relevant to Practical Action’s work.
Last night I switched off the news. That’s a big thing for me. The much repeated reports on the economy, Euro, Greece, Sarkozy and Merkel meetings, etc. All depressing and unnecessarily gloomy.
I wanted to shout ‘get a life’. ‘Remember how blessed we are’ or ‘stop talking us all into depression’.
This time last year I was in Kenya hearing about our work in some of the world’s most terrible slums. I remembered a time when I spent weeks working alongside women there. They had hard lives, lived in shacks, many had HIV/AIDs, they worried about their kids, about their education and safety, and they were desperate for clean water, for decent food for their families. The Church run textile factory where I worked provided us all with lunch and the women were grateful. Sitting together eating, I enjoyed being with them, they weren’t gloomy, they were curious and took every chance to laugh, they worked to try and make the business a success. In terrible circumstances they were striving to make things better.
We have so much – for many of us – I totally accept not all, to have less would take some adjusting but really make little difference in our lives. What would make a difference is if we could savour what we have and if our news stories could help us rejoice in life not feel down.
I’ve just seen Practical Actions December letter to supporters. And I want to join in saying – thanks for helping us provide clay pot fridges, thanks for helping us teach people how to make reduced smoke stoves (so that thousands of lives have been saved and ill health reduced), thank you for gravity ropeways, for helping people get decent loos, clean water to drink, thank you for helping us help people grow more food so that they can feed their families.
Thank you for being positive about life. For knowing you can make a difference.
Thank you for helping the world have a happier Christmas!
As its December I hope it’s not too early to wish you a ‘Happy Christmas’