Posted in General

Ebola and Neo-Colonialism

toritto

U.S. troops take on invisible enemy in Ebola misson

Well, the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is ravishing the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. These nations, fantastically rich in mineral resources and timber are among the poorest in the world, their wealth not controlled by their own people but by Western corporate interests.

The three West African countries where Ebola is today wreaking havoc, while rich in resources, rank among the world’s poorest. The former French colony of Guinea is the world’s top exporter of bauxite, the raw material used in making aluminum, and also has plenty of gold, diamonds, uranium and offshore oil. Sierra Leone, a former British colony, and Liberia have significant reserves of rubber, iron ore and diamonds. Virtually all of the raw material is carted off by foreign corporate giants.

Before the Ebola outbreak, Liberia had one doctor per 70,000 residents; Sierra Leone one per 45,000; Guinea one per 10,000. Only…

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Posted in Adoption, Family, General, Health, Work, Writing

NaNoWriMo and life.

So those few who follow my blog (and despite nearly 500 followers I know only a few are regular followers) will have noticed a drastic drop in my output. Since finishing my year of a poem a day I have done very little since. This is despite my promise to myself to keep up the writing.

Well life always has its own designs on our plans. The old reason (excuse?) has been the lack of time. Its been a hard few months. We have been under a lot of pressure from all kinds of angles.

We are still trying to adjust to having a very full on two-year old join our family, and all the knock on effect of that. We love him dearly and would not change our decision but it is taking the wind out of our sails.

Talking it over the other day as we realised that one of the issues that has affected us in a surprising way was his age. When we signed up for adoption we, like many, were envisaging a baby. As you progress through the courses and the process it becomes clear that it is unrealistic, so we opened up our minds to a slightly older child. When it came to it, in our minds age was no longer an issue, and in some respects we could see an advantage in a two-year old. One of the driving forces behind our decision to have another child was as a companion for our oldest – who dearly wanted a brother or sister and had already been deprived of one already. A two-year old would be more ready to play and interact with him.

However the reality has hit us harder than we expected. When you have a baby – as daunting as it all seems, you get introduced to each challenge gradually. So when they are first-born, you have to learn how to feed, them comfort them, change their nappies etc. But their demands don’t go far beyond that – by the time new challenges come along you have just about mastered the first ones.

With adoption of a slightly older child, all the challenges come at once. Not only have you got to learn to change nappies but also how to get them to eat their dinner, deal with challenging behaviour and stop them escaping the push chair Houdini style and make their escape.

Now I hear you crying we don’t have to learn all that as we have already done it once. Well that’s true. But you have to get used to doing it all again, and its a bit of a shock to the system. I don’t envy people who are doing it for the first time.

On top of that, the support we have enjoyed in the past has slowly ebbed away. This is no fault of our support network, they have all had their own plan challenging life changes, and they all support us still in many ways. But the support of having someone there has fallen. For example – we haven’t had a night out together for over a year now. And the nights out alone can be counted on one hand. It takes its toll. On the one hand our sources of stress have bloomed while our outlets for it have wilted. It’s no one’s fault. Just one of those perfect storms of circumstances.

Throw in a few bouts of very bad illness, some natural disasters ( a flood and a maggot attack! Seriously!) and it all adds up.

And then there’s work. We are balancing on a knife’s edge of survival. We have run that knife’s edge for a few years now. It’s a situation of risk, where we could crash and burn or reap what could be ripe rewards. Those rewards draw ever closer but as they do the risk and the pressure increase. Due to my position a lot of the physical responsibility falls on me. No solely but were I to get something wrong it would tip the balance enough to crash it. We are all in that position at work really and after a few years of it, it is tiring. Many late nights home and sleepless nights worrying.

So that I hope is some sort of explanation as to the lack of output.

Two things further to say. Firstly – that all sounds like doom and gloom but it’s not. In all areas we are making progress. A few months ago we felt like we were drowning. A few weeks ago like we were treading water. Now – we are swimming strongly towards shore. It’s some way off – but we will get there.

Secondly. Many people would say that if I had a real passion for writing none of that would matter – that I would make the time to write. Maybe that IS the difference between a successful writer and an amateur. I do love writing – but I also love my wife and kids and I can’t put down my responsibilities to them for my passion. I think that would be selfish.

That said – I have decided to give myself a rather large kick up the arse in the writing department. I am going to try the nanowrimo challenge. (Maybe unofficially if it’s too late to sign up formally.) For those who don’t know it it’s National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word short novel in 30 days. (The official website is here http://nanowrimo.org/)

Now I have all the same everyday stresses and challenges but I thought – sod it! I am going to attempt it despite all that – because it is difficult not easy.

Trouble is I am fresh out of ideas! I mean I have loads – but ones I think need longer than 50,000 words.

If it comes to November the 1st and I have nothing still then I will attempt the technique of just starting writing anything and see where it goes. Not something I have ever done before, I usually have a plan, even if it’s very rough.

But in the meantime – if anyone has suggestions or prompts they would be welcome. Maybe a title? Or just a single word? Perhaps a concept to explore? I like combining two disparate concepts into stories, that normally enlivens things. So maybe if I get enough separate ideas I will combine a few of them.

So wish me luck! I need a lay down now to think 🙂