Unity not Divison

Forgive me for being away but, like many of you I am still trying to digest the tragic events of last week. Not only in Paris but in Beirut. It has my thoughts reflecting on the numerous senseless acts of terror committed around the world and the needless loss of innocent lives.

Friday the 13th started as one of the best days so far since I have been fund-raising for the refugees in Calais. One of my wonderful contacts in Agricola Farmosa  arranged a donation 22 tons of melons to be delivered to the residents in the camp in Calais. A company that makes a loss on many of their lorry loads of fresh produce as desperate people try to flee the camp boarding their lorries, headed for England in the pursuit of a more stable life for their families. Even after this Agricola Farmosa showed compassion and spent approx £9,800 transporting the melons to the camp. ‘ Why’? I hear you ask…

… So, they could bring much needed happiness to the camp. Understanding the plight of many of the families in the camp they extended a hand of kindness, as many of the residents have not had any fresh fruit for months.

When we opened the doors with the Melons there was a sharp intake of breath and lots of smiles and no one left the queue, the queue’s just got longer and longer and we had to tell people what time we would be back to ensure those that missed out were served by the next van. Now when I walk through the Camp the Refugees come up to me and say “Melons, Melons!”
The benefit of these Melons is hard to describe. Firstly, these people need urgently fresh fruit and vegetables they live on a fairly basic diet and feeding them is a big problem. The biggest benefits of the Melons where  that they were different and just for a short while gave so much pleasure, sometimes all we can deliver is the ability to make that day a better day. – John Sloan – Calais warehouse manager

The day had been a tremendous success and it was so lovely to see so many happy faces in my FB news feed.

But, by the evening it was another story entirely. I watched in disbelief as the story in Paris unfolded. Sadly, as I have helplessly watched many stories of atrocities unfold  on my screen over the years. A million thoughts raced though my head, just like you I felt a helpless pain for those who had lost family and friends as I frantically texted to find out if my friends where ok.

On this same night a fire ripped through the camp and destroyed over a dozen tents including all contents and possessions.

The last few days have seen a outpouring of love, hate, sadness, overwhelm, anger, frustration, pain, confusion, hurt and fear. Then I saw this heartfelt article in the  FT by Simon Kuper.

But tonight, for the first time, I am asking myself whether we can stay in Paris.

All this may be hysterical. I am writing this on an emotional night. Perhaps in a week or two things will get back to normal, as they did after Charlie Hebdo, and as they did in New York a few months after the attacks of September 11. If so, I might stay in Paris for another 13 years. But I am pessimistic. I fear that fear and danger might become the new normal here.

I do not know how to tell my children this. They love Paris. They consider themselves Parisians. They have never lived anywhere else, and have repeatedly told us we are not allowed to move. But I cannot pretend to them that everything is fine. – Simon Kuper – FT

He spoke the words we are all feeling about FEAR. Fear of … will it be us next? Who can I trust? Where are we safe? Then, it suddenly struck me…these are the very same thoughts that had the innocent people of Syria fleeing with their families for their lives. In their country these acts of violence have become the norm. Fearing for their families they had to make the decision to take what they could carry and take their perilous journeys to safer shores. Many not making it or even loosing their entire families to the sea in the process.

At times like this it seems impossible to know what to do and who to help and if you are helping the right person or people. I got asked that very question today. “Nina, how do you know that you are helping the right people?” My answer “I can only do what I can from my heart and if the kindness reaches the people it was meant for, then that is all I can ask“.

That is all I give to each of you … kindness from the heart. If you like me can see that the refugee’s are not the one’s we should fear – they need our help, then please do what you can to reach out. Go the extra mile…one random act of kindness is all it takes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

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