Categories
World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day 2022

This post first appeared on Godspacelight.com https://godspacelight.com/2022/11/19/world-toilet-day-2022/

Melissa has asked if I would do my third World Toilet Day post in a row. How could I refuse!

Did You Know?

More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet. Of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines – meaning that 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation.

https://www.worldtoiletday.info/

I want to start with this quote. I do like a good statistic. But the more I look at this I see that there are 1 billion people who do not own mobile phones but 2.5 billion people who do not have proper sanitation. From my reading of this there are people who own mobile phones who do not have proper sanitation. How can one see owning a mobile phone as more important than being able to go to the toilet in peace, safety and hygienically? 

Is it lack of knowledge? Is it lack of understanding? Is it lack of awareness of the importance of good hygiene? This really has left me pondering. 

All of you who have read my previous posts on World Toilet Day will know how passionate I am about toilets. I am having a bit of a worry at the moment because I am going to stay with a friend who has just moved house and I am wondering about how many toilets she has in her house now, especially as she has told me her daughter and her family, which includes a husband and two kids, might be staying the same time as me. 

I decided to google the history of toilets and it turns out they have been around since Neolithic times with an understanding of the need for bodily waste to be somewhere away from where people are living. So why do 2.5 billion people not have access to proper sanitation? 

Another quote:

accepted patterns dissolve and uncertainty grows, we become more vulnerable to feelings of insecurity, anxiety and fear 

Michael Meade, Mosaic Voices podcast page – healing and making whole https://www.mosaicvoices.org/episode-299-healing-and-making-whole

I think this quote might be of help. As Wikipedia says, the developing world is struggling to get good sanitation. I wonder if the above quote is a clue. All of us across the world are facing a time of “accepted patterns dissolving and changing” which we are all struggling with in the West but imagine if you are in a developing country, a war-torn country, in a refugee camp where you have no stability. War is raging. There is famine. You are displaced from what you know and love. The whole population is dealing with “feelings of insecurity, anxiety and fear”. What is going to be most important – communication or sanitation? 

I know if I was fearful for my family, my children, my friends, I would want to be able to contact them so would put my money into making sure I had a good phone that could be charged up quickly and easily. If I could get money through to feed myself and my family via my phone I could see that as the most important thing. When I needed to go to the toilet then I would wish there was somewhere safe to go but for the majority of the time it may not occur to me. And for the men who are very much leading in these countries it is only when they need to defecate that they would probably think about it at all. 

Also what is more glamorous if you are a young man wanting to look good in your developing country – making sure there are toilets or carrying a gun and a phone? 

So as I ponder this I do not blame the people who have the phone but no toilet. I think of the unstable world we all live in and pray “Your Kingdom come, Lord” as well as “please help us all to forgive ourselves and each other”. 

And then I will donate some more money to https://www.toilettwinning.org/ or https://www.wateraid.org/stories/toilets-save-lives or https://www.christianaid.org.uk/ or other charities like this. 

Photo by Gabor Monori on Unsplash

Categories
FIFA World Cup

The World Cup and Human Rights

From BBC.co.uk’s coverage of FIFA world cup page https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015ypx

I think there are lots of issues to do with holding the World Cup in Qatar but I think there are very few that are unique to Qatar. The main one is that the World Cup is usually held in the summer so the players can play for their clubs as well as for their country. Because it is being played in the winter this year there are going to be differences within the club games. But I am not quite sure why there is being such a fuss about the human rights issues.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think there are major human rights issues in Qatar and much of the Middle East around woman’s rights, LGBTQ rights, migrant rights, but I do not believe this area is unique for it. The Olympics were held in China which also has a poor record on human rights. The world seem to have forgotten the Tienanmen Square massacre, where Chinese troops slaughtered their own people for protesting. But still the Olympics went ahead.

There are many countries that have appalling human rights records whether to do with sexuality, gender, race, religion, age, and yet still major sporting events happen in these places. But then like many of the people who are allowed in as refugees does it depend what are view of these people are?

I think of the people crossing both the Mediterranean and the English Channel in tiny boats at exorbitant prices. First the question needs to be ask about the human rights in their countries that they are leaving, second why do they not stop in other countries along the way and work so hard to get into the UK, and then third why is the UK so reluctant to let people in? Do we have a good human rights record in the UK when it comes to certain people groups?

I do think it is right to use these big events to raise issues about the state of human rights in these countries and challenge the leaders of these countries about how they treat others. But I do think so much in sport also comes down to money. Qatar was willing to pay billions to get ready for this event, and they are preparing for other major events too. These oil rich countries do have the money to do this. With the budget, if that is what it is called, that has come from the UK chancellor this week is anything to go by the UK cannot afford to hold a major sporting event.

Yes these countries to do need to sort out how they treat women, LGBTQ people, migrants, and others, but then so does the UK. Perhaps instead of just muttering about it there could be a major campaign by world leaders to look at human rights issues, to change their own policies first and then to encourage other countries to do the same.

But I do think we need to stop looking at the economic issues and what we really want. If the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics or Formula One motor racing or major golf tournaments or other sporting events can only happen in places that can afford them and who treat others well then maybe they would have to cease. Who would be happy with FIFA announcing that there would be no more World Cup because no one could really afford it as we are in a world recession?

Categories
enough Listen to my heart

Enough And No Further

This is just a good excuse to put a photo of my friend Tessa on my blog post. She has been very ill and since before lockdown wasn’t able to get to the sea side. She lives about 50 miles inland and it was all too much for her. Well she has since been diagnoised and getting treatment so my daughter and I took her on the train to her nearest seaside just to show her she could do it. This was the place on our walk on beach where she said “that’s enough. I’d like to turn round now.” So enough and no more. [Picture was taken about 11.30am but it was a dark old day!]

Today I was reading a book about women in history. I had been struggling along with it and its many references to Mother Goddess. Not because I believe God is male but more because it was being placed as a fact. I then reached a line which quoted John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God”. It went on to say that this was a lie and that history had invent him.

Now as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous blogs I think we’ve missed something amazing by giving God a gender and that when the Bible says about how God made man and women in God’s image then God must be male and female, all genders and none. So I’ve got no issues with the argument that God isn’t a “he” but I do have issues with then the creator god being a “she” as though that makes it alright.

But the for me what has made me stop is that sometimes we all have to say “enough and no more”. It is not that I want to make this author believe that God is male but also I find that I reach a point in reading where I had to say this is enough for me and put the book down. I come across this sometimes in historic books or programs, where I feel that author or presenter has gone too far off piste and I am not ready to go with them.

My son used to ski. My husband went out to join him once. My son skis off piste. My husband doesn’t. My husband had to go his way and let my son go his own. Both within their comfort zones so to speak.

So it isn’t that I am not open minded. I hope that I am. But sometimes it gets to a point where I am not ready to go as far as the author or presenter and you know that is ok. So I would not say this author is wrong, but I would say, like with my friend and the walk on the beach, that this was enough and I’d like to go back now.

I was reading some stuff about listening to your heart and going with your gut feelings and how too often we don’t do that. Well for me my heart says that is enough and so I will listen to it. Something I am learning more and more to do.

Categories
Keepsakes memories

What Do You Keep?

Back in December 2021 my dad died. I didn’t know about this because we hadn’t really spoken for a while and his late wife’s daughter had chosen to nurse him herself without letting me know. Sometime in January she sent me somethings of my dad’s. I was going to take a photo of them but for now I am not ready to show them to the world so you’ve got a photo of what the tide going out on my weekend dog walk.

But it is what my dad held on to for so many years that has amazed me when I look through the parcel or when I think about it. There was a photo album, an address book and a diary all from not just before my parent’s married but from before they got together. From what I know they were dating from about 1957 and then married in 1959. So these things predate that.

The diary talks about my dad’s time in New Zealand, of things like worming and vaccinating sheep and the odd trip to the cinema or being invited to someone’s house for a good cooked family meal. The address book is great in that women’s names are written as “Miss First-name Second-name” not just first name and a number. It is all very formal. I didn’t see my mum’s name so it must have been before they met. And it is great to see those photos of him in his early twenties or maybe even younger. He was very good looking and seemed to have a love of cars. It is that love of cars which is probably the only thing I remember of him.

One of the poignant things is that even when we were on speaking terms he never showed these things to me and now I cannot ask those questions of “who’s that?” and “where’s that?” and all those other things I might like to know.

But my biggest question is “why did you hold on to these things for so long?” and “why is there nothing else?” These is this huge gap of over 65 years that he’s held on to these things through three house moves with us, divorce of my mum, divorce of his second wife, downsizing with this last wife and all the things that must have been thrown away. What made him keep these things?

At the moment we live in a big house, just me and hubby as kids have left home, so we have lots room and lots of stuff. I have my own study which is crammed with stuff – diaries, notebooks, journals, books, photos, etc. If I had to downsize what would I keep? How many years would it go back?

I’m making yet another start on writing my memoirs which I suppose is why this is wandering in my mind – what do I put in my story and what do I leave out? But also because of moving, of being homeless for a time, of putting the need to keep my children’s things as a priority over my own, I don’t have stuff that goes back that far. Yes my mum has put together a photo album for me but the choices for that were hers not mine. Apart from those things she’s put together I’m not sure I have much, apart from a very small photo album, of a time before I had my children.

Though I do also know I threw a lot of stuff away because at the time the memories associated with it were too painful. Perhaps the reason that there is only one photo album, one address book and one diary all pre-1957 is because the memories of somethings were just too painful to keep?

All in all those it has got me thinking, what do we keep, what do we throw away, and that age old question – Why?

Categories
Begging crowdfunding

Crowdfunding or Begging

Last week I went down South to visit my mum and catch up with some friends. My chosen companion whilst driving is Radio 4. So I drive for about 5 hours listening to various things, some of which stay with me and some I just forget.

One thing that stayed with me was an article about people who were struggling to pay their bills who were putting up pages on GoFundMe or similar crowdfunding pages. The one woman that they concentrated their feature on was a young woman who had only just gained an MA in journalism but was now out of work. She had set up a page to pay her rent and bills until she got the job she wanted. One of the reasons she was on was that she had raised more than she had asked for. At one point in the interview she said that she knew she could take any job but that she wanted to wait to get into her chosen profession.

What I wanted to know were her thoughts to the homeless person she probably walked past regularly, the beggar on the street, the tramp. Did she and those that had given to her campaign see those people as valid? Would they give as much to them?

I think too often we judge by the cover. So people will give to the pretty young woman who has fallen on hard times but not to the smelly dirty person who is on the street.

I also think that by giving on one of these crowdfunding sites one can distance oneself from the cause. It just takes the push of a Paypal button and money is moved to this woman’s account. I do remember my daughter saying that when she was in London more and more buskers especially were getting these free credit card machines and it did increase their takings. None contact. None involvement.

Whether it is the pretty young woman who wants a top job and isn’t willing to be a part time barmaid or supermarket worker or the long term homeless, is it that we really do not want to know the why of how they got to that place? Are we willing to slow things down, get into a dialogue, find out what is really going on? I think I am as much to blame. It is easier just to push that campaign button, that easy give button, that “sign here” button, than it is to slow my life down, work out what areas of live I really do want to focus on and really dig deep into what is going on here.

Just an aside – when I was planning this post it was going to be very much about berating the middle class aspirations and how no one cares about the downtrodden, but as I have written, as often happens with me and writing, I have changed my view point. I am now pointing back at me and asking what would I really do? Am I similar to what has gone on? Sometimes I think it is good for all of us to have a real look at what we are saying and whether we too are hiding behind something.