International Widows Day

I hadn’t really thought much about widows until I read a National Geographic article a few months ago.

In the UK, being a widow is going to be sad – you’ve lost your lifelong partner – and there may be some financial implications.

In some parts of the world, being a widow could be a fate worse than death.  Or death itself.

It is very difficult to know how many widows there are in the world but in 2015, it was estimated to be 259 million widows.  Many of whom will suffer, along with their children, for the rest of their lives simply because their husband or father has died:

  • Mothers and children are often malnourished, exposed to disease, and subject to deprivation
  • Widows are raped, forced into new marriages, evicted from their marital home, social isolated, physically abused and murdered
  • 1.5 million widows’ children in the world die before their fifth birthday
  • If they don’t die, these children will face similar prospects to their mothers; forced marriage, forced labour, sexual abuse and a lack of education

And these aren’t women who were in a great place when their husbands were alive.  The main causes of widowhood are HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and poverty.  So you have people in a difficult situation who are then dealing with the death of their husband or father and on top of that, what little security they had gets taken away.

And this isn’t temporary.  The part of the article which hit me hardest was after a description of being a widow in India when the writer asked the widow:

How old was she now? “Ninety-six.”

And how old when her husband died?

“Seventeen.”

Her entire adult life was defined by the death of her husband.  She had spent 79 years being punished for having the misfortune to outlive her husband.  79 years.

The date, 23rd June, was chosen as International Widows day by the Loomba Foundation.  It was chosen because it was the day that the father of Lord Loomba had died and left his mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba a widow.  She would become the inspiration for the Loomba Foundation which works to support widows.


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An update

So when I started the day of what?! I had assumed that I would be feeling a lot better and I’m not… which is making it all a lot less fun that it should be… So, as you may have noticed, I’m mostly stopping it.  There are some days which I think are too important to go unmarked so there will still be some posts.  Hopefully I will return to this project in the future.

I am managing to do some very carefully paced art and writing though!  I am still doing a bit of dyeing but horrific brain fog and nearly burning my flat down means I have to have supervision to do it… The following are mostly works in progress, some almost finished:

bear claw wip wip

Left: Bear Claw.  Right: Ammonite

goat spine wip

Goat spine

lungs in progress

Human lungs

moorlands in progress

Moorlands nature reserve

scarborough in progress

Scarborough north bay

skull wip

Bird Skull

21st May 

I knew that Amelia Earhart was well known for this but I didn’t realise until today that I didn’t know anything else about her.  It turns out she was a busy lady.  As well as a pilot, she was a social worker, a fashion designer, a nurse, a writer and a psychic.  And I didn’t even know that she disappeared when flying one day.  There are lots of theories over on wikipedia

She was a risk taker, possibly reckless and definitely loved adventure, evidenced by her collection of records:

  • Woman’s world altitude record: 14,000 ft (1922)
  • First woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean (1928)
  • Speed records for 100 km (and with 500 lb (230 kg) cargo) (1931)
  • First woman to fly an autogyro (1931)
  • Altitude record for autogyros: 18,415 ft (1931)
  • First person to cross the USA in an autogyro (1932)
  • First woman to fly the Atlantic solo (1932)
  • First person to fly the Atlantic twice (1932)
  • First woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross (1932)
  • First woman to fly nonstop, coast-to-coast across the U.S. (1933)
  • Woman’s speed transcontinental record (1933)
  • First person to fly solo between Honolulu, Hawaii and Oakland, California (1935)
  • First person to fly solo from Los Angeles, California to Mexico City, Mexico (1935)
  • First person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City, Mexico to Newark, New Jersey (1935)
  • Speed record for east-to-west flight from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii (1937)
  • First person to fly solo from the Red Sea to Karachi (1937)

If you too want to know more about this iconic pilot, there is an interesting talk by Susan Wels, author of Amelia Talks: The Thrill of It.


No Pants Day

The trouble with language…  I always used the word pants for underwear and it wasnt until I was about 6 that I realised it could also mean trousers. This relevation came in the form of a really awkward, embarrassing and painful conversation with a friends mum… We’d been playing in the garden and got muddy and she kept asking me if I wanted to borrow some of my friend’s pants… She eventually realised what was going on and explained how pants aren’t just knickers…  Such a tough item for such confusion! 

I’m going to leave you guessing which type I’m going without today 😉


World Asthma Day

I expect you’ve all heard of asthma and almost certainly know more than one person who has asthma. But have you ever really thought about it?

As the video above nicely explains the biological side of asthma I won’t go into it.


Instead I am taking a much more personal approach. I have asthma and was diagnosed at 11. At that point it was exercise triggered and only really impacted on me in PE lessons…

As I got older and didn’t have to do PE, my asthma was mostly triggered by my many many allergies.  when I was exposed to an allergen my asthma would probably be described as moderate but for the rest of the time I was OK and my breathing was controlled using antihistamines and preventative inhalers.

Then I had a horrific Christmas when I was 18.  I had a really severe allergic reaction (not anaphylaxis but pretty serious) and I probably should have been taken to hospital. I remember very little of that couple of weeks but I could barely walk because of being unable to breathe.  Thankfully that was a one off and, touch wood, I have never had an attack like that since.

But I mention it because some people have asthma so severe where that type of experience is common.  If you have never been through it, I don’t think you can understand how scary it is.  And the fear makes it worse!

The other reason for my super brief history of my asthma was to highlight that it is not just about exercise and that it isn’t a static condition.

The other thing I really wanted to share is my new-to-me inhaler! I went to my doctors because my physical hand pain was making it hard to use my traditional style inhaler. This new one is really hand friendly. You flip the lid and inhale.  The act of flipping the lid releases powder based medication so you can get someone to flip it, leave it open and then inhale it a little later ie I can use my inhaler when my carers are not present.

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International Jazz Day

 

I’m not particularly into music and on the odd occasion when I do listen to music, I don’t often turn to jazz.  And so I don’t really know much about it. I was feeling very unenthusiastic about this. Why should jazz have an international day? It’s just music…

But apparently not.  The day was established by UNESCO because jazz is more than music.  They explained that it brings people together, it fosters an ethos of respect. The nature of jazz is such that one person listens respectfully and then responds. Within improvisational jazz, there is a forum for non violent discourse around difference. It pulls together many cultures and blends them; an approach which obviously would make life better for everyone should we employ it in our daily life.

And any jazz fans reading this, please give me some suggestions for listening!