Overwhelmed, again

No doubt a lot of us feel the same way.

I feel it has been an intense 6 months or so, with earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tsunamis. There is no escaping the images of the devastation that these natural disasters are creating. And the suffering, pain, loss and despair it brings to the affected people. Sometimes I just want to hide, turn off the TV and Radio, not read the paper, not see footage via Facebook.

I have great respect for mother nature and her fury and have found an acceptance of cause and effects on its human inhabitants. I wonder if our life on earth is a fine balance between our relationship between nature and us as well as a test of our relationship between peoples and communities. How are we dealing with what is happening here, in Queensland, New Zealand and Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia and  Latin America? Are we reacting or acting? Are we feeling too overwhelmed to act? Are we desensitised by the constant flux of images that it fails to stir a deep emotion, a deep need to help those in need? Can we just flick to another channel?

Well, I have been asking myself these questions, as I watch my children play. We are safe. My children are healthy and unscarred by events around us. We are lucky.

As I was looking for ways to help in a meaningful way, I was contacted by a lovely blogger called Zoe. She writes a blog called Playing by the book from all the way in the UK. As blog friendships go, she has been in touch with another amazing blogger, Bronwen, who is a resident of Christchurch. Luckily, Bronwen and her family were safe, but she wanted to help out in the best way she could. And an idea was born and has spread like a fire throughout communities all over.

Zoe and Bronwen have set up a list of Christchurch families with children who have lost so much, including their beloved books.  As a mother of children, I know too well how important books are to children, what comfort they bring. We read books to go to sleep, when we are feeling a bit blue, when we have a sore tummy, when on a long car trip or on the train, when on holidays we bring our favourite books. Special books come out on special occasions and our children always get a book for their birthday. So, loosing all of our books would be very sad for our children. And I can think of many more reason to have a spacial book read to you, when you have lost all of your special treasures and your home. And when you are living in a tent or with relatives and don’t know when you will be going back home…..

This is why I am so thrilled to take part in this initiative! Zoe has a list of families who would love to receive some new books for their children. Read her own blog post where she describes how this program works and how YOU can get involved.

Below is what Stephanie Borgman, Children’s Specialist at Harris County Public Library, Texas wrote on Zoe’s Blog, referring to her experience after Hurricane Katrina in the US:

“Books in reasonable quantities may be very much appreciated by displaced living in shelters. They need something to engage their minds and give them some relief from their concerns about the present disaster and its impact on their future.

Obviously food, water, medical supplies, and basic shelter are the priorities, but books are also a real blessing – especially for the children. Some of my best memories of that time include walking through the Astrodome shelter and seeing children on their cots absorbed in a book, oblivious to the turmoil around them. It was possible to set up a “library” in the last shelter opened at the Convention Center and it was very popular, serving as a community center providing many of the standard library services plus giving families “some place to go.”

Please don’t send worn and yellowing materials. The children will feel so valued to be given lovely new books. It may be the first item other than clothing, likely used, that they receive as they begin the journey to rebuild their lives.”

Visit Bronwen’s Blog as she visits isolated communities and shelters in the Christchurch area to distribute books to families. I salute a woman with such determination and vision!

So, if you wish to donate books to a family in Christchurch, email Zoe @ <zoe.toft@kuvik.net>. She will get back to you with the details of a family to send the books too.

I am happy I belong to a community that can make a difference not just practically but also in terms of showing human solidarity, support and kindness (well said, Zoe).

Now on to Japan……



PS: I don’t normally post non-sewing/knitting related items on this blog…but this is a cause I feel belongs  here and I am certain that my readers will feel the same.

2 thoughts on “Overwhelmed, again

  1. Thanks so much for this post, Alex. It’s a wonderful idea and one I will definitely pursue. When I was a child, my family lost our home and all that we owned so I empathise strongly with these people and think brand new books would be very comforting for little ones. Something new is very rare and special at such a time and stories take you to another land. Thanks again.

  2. Alex, thank you so much for posting about this. I keep wavering between feeling helpless, depressed, and as you say, overwhelmed and feeling like even reaching out to a single family IS important, and makes a difference that is worthwhile. I don’t want to give in to the bleakness, although when I turn the news on it is so easy to feel almost paralysed with despair. But support like yours then helps me feel like you, me , we can make a difference. And even a small difference is a good difference. So thank you for helping a family in Christchurch, and thankyou for helping me too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s