Eating the elephant, bite by bite.

I think this post might need a public health warning – that here be deep thoughts and reflections. It is not meant to be depressing but just to say there is so much to be done. That indeed, every small thing each of us does matters. That one sponsoring of a child or volunteering with Youth off the Streets or baking a cake for a friend who’s feeling down – it all matters.

But I also think we need to be demanding more from our leaders – thumping our fists until we get brave, visionary leaders willing to make the hard hard decisions and manufacture real change from the top down. A fish rots from the head – great leadership equals a great nation, likewise lacklustre, short-sighted and self-serving bureaucrats gives us greyness.

I’m kinda sick of the greyness.

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I haven’t been that nice to my kids these last few days. With the good of reduced meds – no side-effects, improved libido, a return of my creativity, ENERGY – comes the bad – quick to anger, emotions ON THE LOOSE.
I have joked that I now realise why I was medicated – to be able to cope with our living arrangement and Oscar. But I’m not really joking.
I have been apologising to the boys for me being angry so easily. So often. For the poison that can just roll off my tongue before I even realise it.
I have been really struggling to be patient with Oscar.
Today he totally wigged out. A complete and utter screaming, crying, wailing, fighting mess of a meltdown. He didn’t know why and does not have the capacity to reign it in. It went on all day, from around 8am this morning until the last teary wake-up he had at around 11pm.
By that time I was just crying big lumbering tears with him, incapable of understanding what the fuck was going on, feeling so so guilty for just how short I’ve been with him this last week, my heart aching for him and his own confusion as to why he was behaving like this.
Someone had posted a picture to Facebook yesterday with the tagline, ‘my child is not giving me a hard time, they are having a hard time’ and HOLY CRAP PEOPLE why not administer some physical blunt force trauma to me as well because the emotional stuff is well and truly covered.

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This last week had my friend Eden in Africa with World Vision.
Just like that.
She was in Niger to see – and thereby raise awareness – the famine that is gripping the country and the plight of its people.
Many people commented and rallied around Eden, pledging support and sponsoring children.
Doing something.
She does not profess to have the answers or the solutions. The problem is bigger than huge.
I don’t understand how this has been allowed to happen, over and over again.
Famine, war, death, more famine, more trauma and on it goes.
Oscar has a friend who comes from Africa, his birth nation I am not sure but he and his brothers and sisters were brought to Australia to be by their mother’s side, who herself had been brought here for medical treatment by a Catholic missionary service.
I see them here, their mother now dead, being raised by people with so much love in their heart, so much generosity of spirit they are raising four children, three of which have additional needs when they were at a stage of their life their own children were just flying the coop.
These children, full of laughter and life. Who would they be, what would have become of them had these remarkable people not come into their lives.

Can you imagine being a mother watching her children die in front of her from a lack of food or water? or from a completely treatable, nay PREVENTABLE, disease?

At the blogging conference last week I was reduced to weeping tears from one mother standing in front of us sharing her story of her son Avery, who died inside her.
One mother.
One tragedy.

Multiply it by HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS.

I haven’t sponsored a child, I haven’t donated money. I’m really conflicted over this. Yes, each of us doing something small adds up to something big. But. In my brain there is a but. What are the governments doing in these countries? What is happening at an international political level?

I think each of us doing whatever we can is critically important. It keeps us engaged with the world on a much deeper and beneficial level. But if it’s just us with pick-axes while the powers that be sit by in their idling front-loaders, we’re not going to get very far. The bandaid on a cankerous sore.

So much at stake by shaking up the status quo.

A few weeks back Four Corners ran a program about the brutal austerity measures being metted out in Ireland. About deals struck which somehow see the people who can least afford it now being the ones made to ‘tighten the belt’ to make up for the gross excesses and greed AND MISTAKES MADE at the top of the pile.

Isn’t that like punishing your kid because you’re tired?

The pressure, the expectation for us as individuals to be doing something is not misguided, I believe it ties firmly to my own political belief that no one gets left behind, but that it stands on the battlefield for humanity without the back-up of the senior forces that are world leaders and nations of power just seems unfair and downright unacceptable.

Every day everyday people stand up and make a difference. I’m just so sick of people in positions of political power and clout not doing the same thing.

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Today we drove down to my Dad’s and Chef made me listen to a podcast called Two Chefs – or some such – out of the States.
Did you know, that of ALL the pork and chicken produce sold in the USA, only ONE PER CENT of it has been produced in natural surrounds – ie, outdoors, SUNLIGHT, room to move.
ONE FUCKING PER CENT.
In Australia it’s still ONLY THREE.
ONLY three per cent of the chicken or pork products sold in our country have been raised in a NATURAL environment, with SUNLIGHT.
In the US, the Defence Forces have reported that recruits are not reaching the fitness standards within the timeframe that they should be because they are NOT GETTING ENOUGH NUTRIENTS in their diet.
In the US there was an eColi outbreak in an organic spinach crop. How could an effluent born disease be transmitted by plant matter? Because an intensive feedlot nearby had contaminated the water table. That’s how.
In the third world they’re malnourished because of famine. In the developed world they’re fat but malnourished because of corporate greed.

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A few weeks back I went to an event in Sydney’s gorgeous Centennial Parklands to learn about the Vicks Breathe for Life is supporting Save The Children in Bangladesh by training local women to become nurses and providing immunisations and antibiotics to bring down the dramatic child mortality rate in that country.

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I watched Samson and Delilah for the first time last night. I spent most of the movie feeling nauseous – for the petrol sniffing, for the brutal reality it portrayed.

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There is so much that needs to be done, so much.
Violence.
Greed.
Abuse.
Poverty.
Hunger.

Irrespective of where you live.

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In 2009-2010 there were MORE THAN 286,000 reported cases of suspected child abuse in Australia. There are different reporting thresholds for “risk of harm” and “risk of significant harm” – wouldn’t it be a relief to just fall into the former rather than the latter.
Surreal.
From that 286,000, just over 131,000 cases were finalised, there were 46,187 substantiated cases of child abuse and just under 36,000 kids were in out-of-home care.
46,187 substantiated cases of child abuse.
Emotional abuse
Neglect
Sexual abuse
Physical abuse.
I’m trying to imagine how you can visualise that number. I guess imagine a Swans game in Sydney at the SCG versus a Top 8 team. That many.

Here we are trying to keep kids alive in third world countries from hunger and disease while the flip side sees a developed rich country such as our own we actually abusing their children ourselves?

I just don’t get it.

So I’m not going to sponsor a child in Africa, not because I don’t think it would make a difference but because for me, there are children here than need my help, whatever that may be and in whatever form it may take. That’s how I want to help.

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There’s just so much to do.

No one gets left behind.

Onward.

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