I was watching my daughter play with a bubble machine today. She and I were laughing as she was running through the bubbles, and we were both looking at the bubbles floating up to the sky trying to see different images. I looked over at her as she watched the bubbles drift away and she had the biggest, sweetest smile on her face. I wondered in my mind if she would remember this extra special ordinary day because I knew I was making an imprint of it in my own mind…these special moments with just the two of us in the middle of the day in the middle of a week are starting to slip through my fingers… (more…)
My parents were poor so we never went on any family holidays abroad. But that’s no excuse for not having some fun family activities. Yet, when I try recalling what we did as a family, my mind is often a blank. We did visit some places of interests but these were more treats than a regular feature. I suppose one of the reasons was that we were financially challenged and outings do cost money. The other reason, I thought, was that my dad’s job had been tough and the weekend was a time to catch some rest.
But we did have fun in small little ways.
I always remember how my dad would catch dragonflies (and another kind of insect which I never found out its name) for me and tie a thin little string on their tails and I would fly them as if they were kites (but we never killed them – we would always return them to nature). Or my dad would bring me to this theme park at night where I loved trying on clip earrings at one of the stalls. I was just a little girl then – probably not even in kindergarten yet!
But somehow, mom seemed often missing in the picture – I couldn’t remember why. She must have stayed home to catch up with house chores which she couldn’t do while looking after me during the day.
Now that I am a mother, I want to be different. (more…)
My mom loves to tell stories about her girls…to anyone who will listen. One of her favorites is about my first plane ride home from her native Peru. At age 6, as I sat in the window seat watching Lima fade away beneath us, I turned to her and said (with wisdom far beyond my years my mum will add) “the trouble with Peru is that the Peruvians don’t take good care of it.”
Admittedly it is one of her less embarrassing stories, better by far than the one that has me passing most of a Greek holiday with a potty on my head. And lately, as my son gets older, I’ve been thinking more about it.
By the time we leave Morocco this fall, he will not quite be three. Throughout our time here, that fact made me sad. There is likely little if anything that he will remember about our year in Morocco and our travels in North Africa. But now, this has also made me slightly grateful.
I have started to see the cogs turning in his little head when we pass the women begging on the street, with toddlers his age strapped to their backs. I see him watching the kids selling cartons of tissues at the stop lights as I guiltily roll up the window.
When he asks me about these babies on their mothers backs, or the ones selling on streets, what do I say? Moreover, how do you explain your own role in the perpetuation of this inequality. How do I explain that being asked for the 19th time in one day to spare just 1 dirham irritates me more and more in spite of the fact that had I given one each time, I would now be short only $2? How would I explain that the shoes he’s wearing would cover our gardeners weekly salary?
I am a big believer in my own and my son’s capacity to save the world. I take part in fundraising campaigns, donate to charity and volunteer. I will always encourage him to live a life of tolerance, patience and understanding. But when you live in the midst of an unequal society – to what extent are you compromising your principles by continuing to live in the manner to which you are accustomed?
So while I doubt that I will ever come up with any Nobel Peace prize winning solutions to global income inequality myself, I would at the very least time to come up with a way of explaining poverty to my son. I would like to be able to explain to him that he is lucky without teaching him conceit or entitlement. I would like to teach him that our relative wealth comes with a responsibility to those less fortunate in such a way that empowers and doesn’t leave me stinking of rank hypocrisy when I look away from the outstretched hands on the street.
How do you teach your children about income inequality when you are living on the “have” side of an unequal society?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Natalia Rankine-Galloway, who writes at The Culture Mum Chronicles. She is now writing from the U.S. Embassy in Morocco.
Photo credit to the author.
Beginning today in Kuala Lumpur the world gathers at the Women Deliver conference, the third global conference to be held focusing on the health and well-being of girls and women. Starting today and running through May 30th International leaders, policymakers, healthcare professionals, NGO’s, youth leaders, corporations, and media outlets recognize the value of girls and women and take on solutions to issues affecting girls and women around the world. It is becoming increasingly clear that the most valuable investment we can make is in girls and women.
With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline rapidly approaching, the time is now to deliver for girls and women, and Women Deliver 2013 will serve as a global platform for ensuring that the health and rights of girls and women remain top priorities now, and for decades to come.
Luckily we do not have to travel to Malaysia to participate; You can watch the conference livestream or go back to find the sessions that have been recorded that you may have missed. You can chime in or follow using the hashtag #WD2013 on twitter, and get the days re-cap by looking through #WDLive.
The +Social Good community also launched in Kuala Lumpur this week, and was inspired by the Social Good Summit, as a community of innovators, connectors and global citizens come together with the shared vision to make the world a better place. There are many ways to join in on the global conversation this week around women, girls and social good, we’ll see you there!
Jennifer Burden traveled by invitation of the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign to Uganda to observe UNICEF’s Family and Child Health Days, where children are provided life-saving vaccinations. This post reflects on Day 3 of her adventure in October. She has previously reported on day 1 about UNICEF offices in Kampala, Uganda and day 2 of her trip at a UNICEF Family Health Day in Mumbende, Uganda.
On Day 3 of our Ugandan adventure we took a detour. We were scheduled to meet with the health staff who were going to be working at the Family Health Days that we were visiting on Sunday, but they were still busy preparing for Sunday. So, we found ourselves with unexpected free time. What better thing to do in Africa when your plans fall through than to visit one of Uganda’s national parks?
Saturday’s adventure led us to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we went on a river safari cruise on Lake Edward. We saw a multitude of hippos and buffalo, as well as, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and beautiful birds. We hopped a riverboat and spent the entire time out on the water. I have never seen so many hippos in my life. Apparently, some had been brought to the park in the 1960s, and they’ve been expanding every since! One moment the waters would appear empty, but the next many hippo heads popping up out of the water! Babies followed their moms. They swam around together in groups. Absolutely incredible!
Culture & Signs of Extreme Poverty
The excursion was a fantastic opportunity for our delegation to get a feel of the country’s natural beauty and a great team building exercise. We were bonded going into the next Family Health Day. However, driving through the extreme poverty on the long bus ride through the country really put into perspective how much UNICEF’s efforts were needed.
We saw homes made of only big sticks and mud with reeds or tin for roofs. Although they are great “green” homes for the country’s beautiful African sun drenched days, they are unsuitable when temperatures become very cold at night and there is no running water or electricity.
Also, children were seen walking long distances in school uniforms, many alone. Women, men and children carried large yellow containers to collect water in and walked for miles home. An image that will never cease to amaze me — the site of an African woman balancing her load on her head and walking on the roadside barefoot.
Unfinished homes and store fronts were quite common. We were told that owners would save up for bricks and then add gradually to the structure over many years. It was not uncommon to see unfinished storefronts in use or piles of bricks that had been delivered to unfinished residences. Bricks were made of heated, dried mud.
Here is an example of a typical storefront. This one is a bicycle shop and a clothing store. Often times, the storefronts were painted by companies seeking to advertise mobile phones and other products.
We were truly humbled by our trip out to western Uganda. The further we drove away from Kampala, the more common it was to see mud huts. And storefronts were everywhere, often with mothers manning them and children playing outside. Day 3 was a truly memorable day. We captured photos that changed us and that will stay in our advocacy hearts forever. This day was good for our delegation to get to know each other better and prepare for the next round of Family Health Days on Day 4.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to the author.