on being a Hummingbird

Late this afternoon I walked home from our little shop, where we sort and pack donations from kind people who want to reach out and help the Refugees who are travelling across Europe.

The road I walk along, where I live, is a quiet street with houses along one side and an open space on the other.  Across the trees there is a great view of the hills and the sky.  As I am walking it begins to snow.  The flakes fall softly on my shoulder, the temperature is dropping and the sky is heavy.

I am thinking of other women who used to have homes to go to.  Women who have seen their families parted, sometimes through death and often through the destruction of their cities and towns. Women carrying their babies and walking for miles towards a safer life. I am watching the sky and the snow falling and thinking that they too can see the same sky and perhaps also have snowfall on their shoulders.

I am seeing in my minds eye the pictures of the children without winter shoes, standing on frosty ground in summer sandals.  I am seeing the babies, who are so cold and quietly trying to sleep, I am their Mother.  We are all their Mother or Father.  These children are all our children and the sooner the world accepts this the better it will be for all.

I am fortunate, I have a key to my home, and when I arrive, shaking the snow from my coat I enter into warmth and light.  I have familiar things around me and a family, safe and well. I have a fridge and cupboards full of food and a warm bed to sleep in later.  Yet my thoughts are never far from those other women, my sisters under the skin. They have the same hopes and dreams as I do.  They once had jobs and warm comfortable homes.  Their children used to sleep in bedrooms, under blankets and be safe.  Woman to woman I feel the need to help as best I can.

The shop this afternoon was busy as dozens of people arrived carrying warm clothes, winter shoes and many other wonderful things,  Such things have taken on a whole new importance for me, from seeing the absence of these things and the fear and cold in the eyes of those who are struggling.  I know that within the month all these donations will be distributed to people in need, and for a little while I feel content that we have been able to help.

People keep saying thank you to us, in our little shop, thank you for letting us help, thank you for finding a way to send things, thank you for stepping up, thank you for inspiring us. To all of them I say no, thank you, for restoring my faith in people, for helping and for being a part of the change we want to see in this world.

Hummingbirds every one.


on being human in a sometimes inhumane world

I think it has been three weeks since I first saw the film on the news about the camp in Calais. In that time the people there have been on my mind in a way I cannot remember ever before. I was particularly taken with a young man, I think he was fifteen years of age.  All alone with no family around him he was surviving until the day he could get to the place where people knew him.  As he stood outside his tent, I was overtaken with passion to help. This boy was the same as my boys once were.  He needed someone to care for him and help him.

I pondered, I talked endlessly to my family, to my friends.  All were sympathetic and were trying to understand why I was so taken with this human tragedy happening just over the Channel.  I dithered, I wanted to collect equipment for the camp but I didn’t know where to start.  I trawled the internet and found people helping, this gave me hope.  I still did nothing.

Then this week and another news reel, this time it was a photo which once seen was never going to be unseen.  Another boy, not yet grown lying in the waves on the shore.  His journey had ended.  Again I cried, and cried, but crying doesn’t help anyone.  This time other people were ringing me, wondering what we can do. I still did nothing.

Enough was enough I had to do something so that night I made plans to travel to Greece to do whatever it took to help.  By morning I had reconsidered, I was being selfish.  The money spent getting me there would help many more people if used another way.  I was still doing nothing.

Talking with a friend who was involved in gathering supplies for Calais in another town, made my mind up, this I could do.  So, three weeks later than I should have, I did something.  In the twenty four hours since setting up a group we have had donations and promises of more, we are in touch with others who have vans, who can get things to where they need to be.  It felt good to be acting not talking. Turning up at strangers homes watching as they filled the car with blankets, with coats, with shoes, encouraging words, good luck!  I hope it helps! I realised something, we really are all in this together. For every negative word there is a positive, and seeing strangers giving with gladness filled my heart with hope.

What we are doing is a tiny drop in a massive ocean, but there are many more drops also doing the same.  If someone who is cold gets a blanket, someone who is hungry gets fed and if someone who believed no one cares, feels looked after, then that is enough.

We cannot all solve everything alone.  Together however we are mighty powerful.  Together we can change some of the world and reach out to those who need help.

There is much to do in this world.  Governments need to be held to account, arms need to be replaced with love and peace.  Money must not be worshipped at the cost of humanity.

The boy in Calais, the boy on the beach, the families clustered at ports, the people at railway stations scared, frightened, clinging to their babies, holding each others hands,they are at once all our sons, our daughters, our brothers and sisters, they are our global family. No matter what governments say, no matter what the cynical press print, we are human and we can help, and we will.