Helene Richards is one of our committed volunteers who supports us in all kinds of ways from writing blogs, to stuffing envelopes, to donating to our work. We hear from her about her thoughts as we move into 2016.
My January birthday has just gone – sometimes I want to ignore it but my children are amazingly traditional and never allow it so candles on a cake, presents and little speeches are the regular order of that day! And so soon after Christmas…
Strange, this year there was no political discussion round the table at Christmas – one of my nephews was there with his lady friend and as we didn’t know her we were being careful so as not to offend her. In conversation with her afterwards, I learnt that her dad had been high up in teaching in Iran and had to flee with his family for his dissident views, so we needn’t have been so careful after all!
Talking of Iran of course led me to telling her about Peace Direct, which was funny as we haven’t any projects there. As I was telling her about the hostile confrontations we deal with, she groaned and asked how on earth I could bear it every day and what a good question that was….How do we bear it, when I can hardly look at the news with its daily diet of refugees bobbing about on treacherous waters – and those tiny children in life jackets oh on and on with the horror and injustice of it all.
Still, not to get so negative at the beginning of the year, eh!
The thing about Peace Direct and what makes every day a challenge and often rewarding is the stuff we do on the ground in the locality. We don’t draft ‘our’ people, equipment and ideas in – what about all those tractors rusting in the undergrowth somewhere in Africa because they were taken out with a great fanfare but without spare parts and where was the petrol going to come from?? Well, that depresses me. BUT to feel I have a small part to play, for example, in the life of a young man like Farhan in Somalia can only lift our spirits. The way Peace Direct support local people to find their own solutions is the essence of what keeps me cheerful and positive. As projects start and struggle and proceed and then succeed, local people have been empowered to tackle the root cause of conflicts and build a hopeful future.
If you haven’t all forgotten about Christmas already, here are some more warm wishes for a happy, successful, interesting and even surprising 2016!