The first thing you need to know is that Tom Hiddleston plays a minor role in this story. I also have a confession to make. Usually, I keep to beading and mostly stay away from anything political. I am well aware of the potential for anything I post to take on a life of its own, perhaps a life that I’m not too happy about. The third thing you need to know is this is all about helping others. So, I will explain everything – just bear with me and enjoy the ride!
The East Africa Crisis
Let me get straight to the point here. You may or may not be aware of the disaster that is currently unfolding in East Africa. If you are aware, then it may seem as though this has come out of the blue. I happen to know that it is something that I would describe as a ‘crisis in waiting’ and the only reason I know this is because I started following Tom Hiddleston on Twitter after enjoying his performance in the Night Manager.
Tom works as a UN Ambassador in South Sudan and he has been diligent in posting and sharing UN social media campaigns, which is how I came to find out about the civil war. (I should also say, some of these have been about other areas of conflict in the world.) South Sudan only became an independent nation in 2011. Since then, it has been racked by civil war. Now, the people of this new nation are facing starvation. The combined effect of civil war and low rainfall has led to disaster. Crop failures are affecting a huge area of East Africa and this is compounded also by ongoing conflict in Somalia. The last figure I heard was about 16 million people facing starvation. That’s huge.
A Plea for Help
Aid agencies are on the ground out there, waiting to help. They have launched an appeal, so hopefully you already know something about this and maybe you have already donated. Naturally, they need the funds to get aid into the affected areas. Moreover, an amount of money that most of us would consider to be really small, will save many lives.
You may be curious as to why I’m writing about this – I will explain anon. If I’ve bored (or annoyed) you already and you are about to leave, please do two things before you go. One of them is to follow the most appropriate link below to find out more and help by donating. The other is to share this post so more people know about the appeal.
Why am I telling you this?
If you follow me or know me, you will know that the past 12 months have been pretty challenging for me. My personal challenge continues, although I am making slow progress. All of us have challenges in our lives. They may vary in nature, but they seem just as huge, oppressive and real if you are the one dealing with them. It has struck me that it is very easy for me to get sucked into my personal problems and lose perspective.
So, I have always made a conscious effort to combat that. The easiest way is to
remember that old mantra: whatever you’re going through, there is someone worse off than you. It’s not that I’m seeking to find misfortune in others, but if you really stop and think about East Africa, not as foreign countries. Nor as a religious identity, or a racial identity, but as a group of people, it is heart-wrenching. I understand that starvation is a particularly horrible way to die. It could be me facing that fate or you, or my adorable 16-month-old niece.
The way I see it, I’m lucky that lots of people have been kind and supportive to me while I’m facing problems. They’re not even always people that I know well. But I inhabit a community (beading community) where there is a lot of kindness and generosity. I like to think that the wider community (the world) also has the potential to show that kindness and generosity to those members who need help.
Basically, this is my way of passing it forward. I have found the beading community to be full of people with kindness and compassion. So I hope we can set that example to the wider world around us too.
Passing it forward
There is so much conflict in the world at the moment and so many people who are struggling and in need of help. It seems so overwhelming. As a result, I think it can be tempting to switch off or feel helpless in the face of this. The impulse to help someone less fortunate may be strong, but with so many people in that position, how do you decide who to help? The more you revolve that question in your mind, the easier it becomes to do nothing.
So, I decided to start with one little thing: this blog. It may just be me, but it seems like this disaster is getting less news coverage than a lot of less important (to my mind) issues. By ‘less important’, I simply mean, this is about human life. Most of the issues making the headlines have more to do with domestic politics which, although important, shouldn’t really compare. Maybe if we spent more time focusing on human life and less on the political constructs we have created, the world as a whole might benefit.
I donated what I can afford, then thought how I might do more. I don’t feel confident that I can do much, but I can make sure that all the people with whom I communicate know about this disaster, so they have the chance to help too.
So, if I have persuaded you to donate, here are those links again:
The truth about me and Tom Hiddleston
If you’ve skipped straight to the juicy headline down here, then please re-wind a little. This blog is about helping others, not gossip! So, make sure you don’t miss the important stuff above.
The truth is, I went to university with Tom Hiddleston, but we were in different years, studying different subjects and at different colleges. The only common connection was we both performed in the ADC theatre…but never at the same time!
So, assuming you have read all this, you’ve probably worked out that I’m simply using a tenuous Tom Hiddleston link. In this way I hope that it will catch more attention, get this message seen by more people and help more. In fact, the link isn’t that tenuous since Tom is also promoting this fundraising appeal. (As an aside, I can’t imagine why Tom would end up reading this, but if he does, I hope he won’t mind me taking his name in vain!).
I have just one message with which to end here. Please don’t choose to read into this any more than I intend: a simple appeal to help do good in the world. I do not for one minute suppose that I can do anything monumental, but I hope to spread a little love and compassion. So, thank you for reading and please pass this sentiment forward in whatever way you can.