Wednesday, 12 February 2014

On birthdays, rain, libraries and olive is just one of those days.

Today is Joseph’s, my beautiful son, 13th birthday. He was hoping to play in a rugby match today...but given how hard it is raining outside and the state of all the pitches in...well...all of England, I doubt he is going to play. But he will have balloons and cake and presents.  

I was going to run today, but have postponed it until tomorrow, which of course could be just as miserable. Sigh. So spending the time catching up on some social media and look what is trending: an article about a little boy who wants to put libraries into homeless shelters in NYC. 

“Six-year-old (!) Blake Ansari wants homeless shelters to have libraries, so children can read in the morning and at night. His goal is to help homeless children get into college, so their children will not be homeless. This Friday at 4:00 pm, he is donating a library to Prevention and Temporary Housing (PATH) on 151st Street in the Bronx." 

It is exactly this kind of optimism and hope that inspired my friend James Owens to start his charity, The World is Just a Book Away (wijaba), an organization which builds and maintains libraries for in-need and at-risk children in developing countries. Due to the turbulent social and political situations in these locations, WIJABA libraries become places of safe haven for children as much as opportunities for literacy. 

I too want to be like Blake and James, if only in a small way. For this reason, I am setting myself a series of challenges, to be yapped about by me here, the sum total of which I hope will impress you enough to help me build one of James’s libraries. The library I am raising funds for will be built in Chihuahua, Mexico, a region ravaged by the escalating drug wars. In addition to education, the library will serve as a place of safety for local children, particularly girls, as drugs, gang wars and trafficking are a daily reality. 

If you want to learn more, check out: or “like” them on Facebook.

And I took this photo today of my lovely olive tree, which we brought with us when we moved to London from The Hague. It is getting so battered by the rain and wind I am not sure it is going to survive the that does seem a petty complaint given that the rest of the country is floating away and all current industry seems to be that of sandbag filling....and heavier rain and stronger winds are forecast...

1 comment:

  1. I think WIJABA is an inspired and beautiful idea, providing a haven for children seeking refuge and respite from the turmoil outside. Love the image of the olive branches battered around by the weather, but still carrying on reaching out. Long may it last.