Doing something.

I am trying to do something to make a change. I have written about the refugee situation, and how¬†it broke my heart, but I didn’t want to just leave it at that. I joined a local facebook group that is gathering donations and arranging trips to take them out to Calais. I also offered to do a run out myself. It makes me feel nervous, I don’t know what to expect, but I have read some wonderful stories written by people that have been out to do the very same thing, and I feel that if I can make even a fraction of a difference, to help just one family, I will have done something.

My heart still hurts when I think of all those children, senseless young lives cut short, but so many more are out there, tired, cold and hungry. I have had a massive clear out too, it was actually easy to give things up. My friend gave me a badge once, it said ‘All these things, of which we have no need.’, and in my case, I feel that that is more then true. I have a hoarding gene and am loathe to throw anything away, ‘just in case’ or if it holds a sentimental memory. Trouble is, everything can hold a sentimental memory! I keep clothes, birthdays cards, shoes, coats, toys, books, nothing gets thrown away. Now however, I have filled bags and bags of things. Things I know for sure I won’t really wear again, a cropped shirt may hold many fun memories of nights of but come on, I’m a 32 year old mum of two, the way my diet is going, by the time I get my body in a fit state for anything shorter then mid thigh length, my daughter will be at an age where I will be a crippling embarrassment to her, in a neck to ankle covering outfit, never mind a flesh flashing top! ūüėÄ

This is just my stuff, I've not even started on the rest of the family's things yet!
This is just my stuff, I’ve not even started on the rest of the family’s things yet!

I am splitting our things in two. Half will go to the refugees and half to another charity who collect through the pre-school my daughter attended. After all, there are people suffering everywhere, including in our own towns and not everything is suitable, not sure there is any need for pretty high heels in the jungle!!

I will keep you updated with how the trip goes, I’m not sure when it will be exactly, but I know there will be people in desperate need for a long time to come, and so help will still be needed when the initial drive has eased.

I had one negative comment on my previous post, and while the woman’s attitude really shocked me, her words made me think. She believes that it is a ploy to get terrorists into the country, she fully blames the father for the deaths of his family. If she truly believes that, surely even blinded by hatred she could see that by offering gestures of kindness, warm clothes, a kind voice, a smile, we can try and mend relations? These children are going to grow up. They will remember kindnesses shown to them now, and maybe we can make things more peaceful for future generations.

I’m not naive, I know that not everyone will be in genuine need, I realise that we can’t support everyone, but surely by donating some old clothing, showing some compassion, giving up some time, we can try and spread some love and care rather then fear and hate.

Don’t tell the kids though, I’m going to have to tackle their things when they are both out! ūüėÄ

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Something today broke my heart.

The¬†photograph of the refugee toddler being carried from¬†the sea¬†broke my heart today. Ripped it out in fact. I cannot imagine how his mummy felt, if she even made it. I’m sure she would have gone under herself first if she had been with him. That last breath, knowing your baby was going to go under too. (Since writing this, I found out that she didn’t, nor his brother but their poor father survived.)

Until now I have avoided it a bit, I mean, I’ve said how awful it is, felt sad for the people but was guilty of not digging too deeply into finding out more, probably knowing how upsetting it is, preoccupied with my own life. Seeing that image today has ripped me from my denial, brought it home to me how real this is. All this and I had only seen the photo of him being carried from the water. I have now seen all the images and am in tears.¬†The thing that has disgusted me the most¬†has been the attitude of some people, the few that have accused these refugees of having an agenda.

These people don’t want our jobs, they are desperate, desperate enough to risk their lives and their beloved babies lives to escape. They deserve our help, as fellow humans. What it must be like there to take this as a better option. I just can’t imagine. Today I had a hideous day with my children, I was near to tears by the time I got home from a horrible stressful trip to London complete with cancelled trains and¬†the tube¬†at rush hour, but¬†the whole day I couldn’t get that image from my mind. I felt terrible, and so guilty because¬†I still have my babies to cuddle, I am stressing about a fun trip to see the dinosaurs, a train journey that I could afford to pay for, a trip across a country that I am free to explore.¬†This summer we went on holiday, we were free to travel all over Europe, having a lovely time, and all the¬†while people were¬†clinging together in the dark waters off the beaches more used to seeing bikini clad holiday makers, in the freezing cold, praying that their boat isn’t the one to sink, holding their children close in an effort to keep them warm. Wondering if you will ever be saved, if you will be able to get them food.

The reason for my easy life and my ability to come and go as I please is because of the place I was born. These people are the victims of their place of birth. It could just as easily have been you or I in that position. What atrocities would be bad enough to make you get into a leaky boat with your tiny children having no idea if you would ever get out again, or where. If you eventually did make it somewhere, the relief you felt would be short lived. Unable to speak a word of the language, met by hostility, angry faces, razor wire. Forced to sleep on the rocks, to bed your children down in the grass at the side of train tracks, not able to provide them with any food or water, or dry clothes.

No matter who you are or what your status, I’m sure you can relate to that. You may not have any money to donate, and that’s ok, I understand, but maybe you have some old clothes, maybe you were planning to¬†have a clear out of your children’s outgrown clothes and toys,¬†think how much a person who has¬†left their homes and everything they own would appreciate that jumper that Aunty Meryl knitted¬†you ten years ago. I’m pretty sure they won’t care a jot about the too long sleeves or the green and orange polka dot pattern, they will just be thrilled with the warmth and the fact that someone cared enough about them to send it.

If you do have some spare money and you would like to give something,¬†this is a link to donate to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, who are working with the fantastic Doctors Without Borders/ M√©decins Sans Fronti√®res (MSF) to find, rescue and treat refugees stranded at sea. I think it’s called operation Phoenix if you wanted to google them. You can donate with paypal, easy as buying a pair of shoes on ebay!

I don’t want to post the photos here. They are so upsetting. But if you wanted to see them for yourself and read through the article; this is the link. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/if-these-extraordinarily-powerful-images-of-a-dead-syrian-child-washed-up-on-a-beach-dont-change-europes-attitude-to-refugees-what-will-10482757.html

In the meantime, I will leave you with the image of these little lads in happier times. May they rest in peace.

Aylan Al-Kurdi and his older brother, Ghalib, died yesterday when their dinghy sank off the coast of Turkey (Qattouby/Twitter)
Aylan Al-Kurdi and his older brother, Ghalib, died yesterday when their dinghy sank off the coast of Turkey (Qattouby/Twitter) Taken from The Independent newspaper.