Rant On Changing The World, The Importance Of Community In Our Society + My Challenge To You

Warning – this is going to be one very ranty post about a ton of things I’ve been thinking about recently so it might not make any sense. Please bear with me though ahaha. This blog is the one place I can just write my heart out and be totally honest so if anyone would give me their thoughts on this, I’d really appreciate hearing what you have to say 🙂

Everything I see around me shows me just how important it is to make a difference. Watching anthropology (the study of humanity) videos when I can snatch some spare Wi-Fi, hearing people talk about their stories, it makes me realise that our world is such a beautiful, messed up place full of such good, but broken people.

It’s the good things too – not just the bad, like when you see people standing up and making a difference in their communities, people like our friends Finlay and Ella who are striking for climate crisis and taking action for our generation, all the other inspiring people we’ve been meeting on this journey and, most of all, the team at CatZero (the charity my family are raising money for on our challenge).

It’s things I read and watch and the conversations I have. It’s Tip from the episode of ‘the Waltons’ that I watched with my family the other day- he’s the life of the party, so full of stories and extravagance and energy, but it’s all a fake. He has no purpose and no one and he’s dying inside because of it. I’ve written about it countless times because I see it so much in my generation. So many people I know are so over-the-top crazy and take nothing seriously, but I know them well enough to see how much they’re struggling underneath it all. They’ll never admit it though and it breaks my heart.

My Mum tells everyone that this trip is born out of my concern for my generation and the issues we’re facing and, although it’s just a word, I feel like such a fake when she says that. What do I know of their struggles? I feel like screaming. It’s not concern, it’s desperation. Tell me again that I should be ‘concerned’ when my friends are getting pregnant, overdosing on drugs, killing themselves, hurting themselves, being held back by their depression and anxiety, feeling alone and hopeless, tell me again that I should be ‘concerned’. I rattle it off like a list, but these are lives we’re talking about here. Human lives. Lives that being destroyed. Your sister. Your son. Your granddaughter. Your best friend. Tell me I’m being dramatic.

We’ve passed through so many little towns on the East Coast of Scotland, all places with bad reputations for drugs and poverty, visitors to that part of the country go round them or pass straight through and never stop. We were welcomed with open arms. These places are struggling, but they have such a strong sense of community, they are coming together and actively doing something to support one another.

Community is truly the answer. If people had a support network of people who cared about them and who they knew they could always depend on, if they were working together to achieve something and keep their community thriving, it would make such a difference.

Greta Thunberg stopped talking because of the effect the way our planet is heading was having on her and some days I understand how she feels, but every day there’s places for me to go and things for me to do and people for me to meet and I’m learning that action is the only way.

I often feel like I’m not doing enough. I lie awake at night because I’m overwhelmed by it all. When I write this, it makes me sounds so selfless, but that’s not the reality at all. I just feel the pain of my generation kinda like it’s my own and although that hurts a lot, it’s also incredibly motivating.

I’m well aware that it’s easy to ramble on about the faults in society and the struggles of young people (well, all people really) without coming up with any answers so that’s why my family are on a search. It’s been continued throughout this journey since starting a lifetime ago, though I think some of what we’ve experienced on this adventure even just in the last seven weeks has been just about the closest we’ve ever come to finding what we believe is the answer – true community.

It exists in little pockets around the world, for sure. Places like those little Scottish towns, but what we need is community on a worldwide scale. People committed to the well-being of their fellow people, people who care about the future generations, people who work in harmony instead of fighting and starting wars. It sounds a long way off, but it starts here, at home. Your family is a mini community of its own and families are just another thing that have broken down in our society today. If we started applying that same mindset of commitment and understanding to the people closest to us, it might just make a difference and you never know, it may reach Donald Trump eventually hehe.

I went on a climate strike with some friends the other day and it made me realise just how good it felt to stand up for something I believe in. That’s what it’s like on this challenge too. I want to challenge everyone (YOU included) just to take one small step towards making a difference in the world we live in.

Here’s something I wrote in my journal a couple of weeks ago that is kinda relevant to what I’m talking (ranting) about today –

I’m nearly ready for bed now and my hair is still wet from the sea. The island of Tiree off of the West coast of Scotland has always been my favourite place in the world, but Durness beach (where we are today) may be a contender for second place.

As soon as Mo (our van) pulled up, I leapt out of the back, skidded down the sand dune, ran across the beach and into the sea. The waves were crashing and the water was so beautiful and blue and so I proceeded to spend the next couple of hours in the ocean. I honestly think that one of the times when I’m at my happiest is when I’m swimming in the sea. It’s hard to describe the feeling except to say that it’s almost the opposite of hopelessness.

It’s simple, pure, sweet freedom and it’s so different from the ache that’s sometimes fills my heart. That’s partly why I love swimming so much. I can’t over-think and every single part of me is focused, plus I love the power and control I feel over my own movement and strength. Also, when I swim as part of a team, it’s like another mini community feeling. Being a part of something positive is so important and it’s what we all need.

Being on top of the world is an extreme, but it gives me hope and it makes me realise that we will all be okay.

I can’t get knocked down by negativity or what use I am to the revolution? As my friend Ruby always tells me, you can’t help anyone if you’re crying on the floor – focus on what you can do, focus on the solution.

We’ve all got to do what we can to help others and play our part in creating a better world. It won’t always be easy, but we’ve got to try. Small steps, people, small steps. Please do let me know how you get on!! I’m also well aware that it’s  not always easy to know what you can do to make a difference so if anyone wants to discuss it, shoot me an email through my contact page and we can have a conversation and figure it out together xx

btw, what posts do you all wanna see coming up? I had the idea to do one with letters to people who’ve meant a lot to me throughout my life or there’s always more rants haha…?? Let me know in the comments xx

#CookForSyria

I would like to introduce #CookForSyria.  This amazing idea was created by UNICEF ( an organisation that helps children in need all over the world ), Clerkenwell Boy ( an award-winning food instagrammer ), Serena Guen ( publisher, businesswoman and philanthropist )  and a few top chefs, as a way to fight the terrible humanitarian crisis in Syria.

#CookForSyria is a recipe book full of traditional and modern delicious Syrian, Middle Eastern food. Each recipe is donated by world-class chefs who want to make a difference! Any profits made on the sales of this incredible book are donated to aid the people of Syria affected by the tragic events.

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Food is about sharing and hospitality, we may only have a little for ourselves, but we will give some to you because we are all hungry. Food can form friendships and relationships and is an integral part of a community.  This book aims to capture that and bottle it, to use it to work towards peace.

I have already made four recipes out of his book and I’ve only had it a week and a half! They are so good! But the best one had to be this one:

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Syrian Onion and Parsley Meatballs on Spicy Cous Cous with Roasted Butternut Squash and a Tahini Yoghurt Sauce. 

It was seriously nice. Here’s the recipe for the meatballs, the sauce and the topping if you’d like to have a go:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 kg of minced beef

1 large onion

a bunch of parsley

1 butternut squash

For The Sauce

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp yoghurt

2 tbsp water

juice of one lemon

1 clove of garlic

For The Topping

Handful of pine nuts

Knob of butter

 

Method:

Cut the butternut squash into cubes, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil. Roast in the oven until tender. 

Very finely chop the onion and parsley. Put both in a bowl with the mince and season. Mix together with your hands. Form into meatballs the size of ping pong balls and roast in the oven at 180C/356F for 10 minutes. 

Mix the tahini, yoghurt, lemon, water and finely chopped garlic together with some salt until it forms a smooth, runny consistency. If too thick, add a little drop of water. 

Melt some butter in a pan and toast some pine nuts.  

Layer the meatballs and butternut squash in a bowl, drizzle with the sauce and then the pine nut topping.

Serve hot with cous cous, flatbreads, pittas or salad and enjoy……….! 

I encourage you to buy this book, not only shall I tempt you with tales of pomegranate, spices, olives, pistachios, figs, bread, houmous and more, it is also working to change the world and to raise awareness of these people’s plight.

Let’s #CookForSyria to show we care!

 

Project Patrignano

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The Logo

 

As part of my schoolwork, I’m doing a project about a drug rehabilitation community in Italy.   Everytime I do some of my project I learn about a different aspect of the community, from their daily life and how they are helped to the addicts stories and other peoples experiences when they visited.  This time I covered how San Pa (it’s nickname) started, a little of it’s history and a few significant events that have made it what it is today.

Hopefully this will be the first of many blogs on San Patrignano.

I’m interested in them because I’d really like to go there one day, I would love the experience and I really want to help people and through San Pa I think I could.  I think I could learn a lot from them about how to be a light in the darkness and while I’m there I might pick up a few Italian cooking tips, too.

PROJECT PATRIGNANO

In 1978 a man, named Vincenzo Muccioli, was concerned about the use of drugs in our world and wanted to help people who were addicted and needed some guidance and love.  He invited a small group of young adults into a house his family owned, where they lived with Vincenzo and his friends, who were helping him with the project.  Gradually more people wanted to come and Vincenzo and his friends found it hard to ignore their needs.  The first workshops, livestock areas and gardens started to appear and slowly the little community was growing into the big, successful one it is today.

By 1982 San Patrignano was home to about 200 people housed in trailers and outbuildings, by 1992 it had multiplied its population by 10,  giving it a total of 2000 residents.

On the 19th September 1995, in the midst of difficult times, Vincenzo died.

Anyhow, San Pa didn’t die, Vincenzo’s son Andrea took up his fathers role and still runs San Patrignano today.  He knew it was important to keep his dads good work going.

In 1996 the first ‘Vincenzo Muccioli Challenge’ international show jumping competition was held in his honour, at the community’s equestrian centre.  The next year they received certification as a non-government organization.

In 2002 and 2004 San Patrignano organized and managed a drug abuse prevention campaign for the prime minister, at last they were getting the recognition the deserved.

Every year thousands of students and professionals from Italy and all over the world go to learn more about San Pa and that gives them more contact on the internet, which helps more people to find out about them.

In 2006 Andrea Muccioli was awarded the title ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’.

Also in that year, San Pa launched the 2You project, implemented in 20 different Italian cities, teaching  school age children about drug abuse.

Since ’78 the community has welcomed over 20,000 people, 70% of whom have turned drug free and gone back to live with their families really happy.

GO SAN PATRIGNANO!!!!!!!