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Posts Tagged ‘Doctors Without Borders’

Yesterday Anita and I made our way up the Historic Downtown Mall, sampling a new salad place and trying on a few things. A shoe store may have been involved. And we landed at the City Council Chamber behind three giant statues of Virginia Presidents to listen to two academics discuss their research and books on “Navigating International Conflicts: Who Helps the Refugees?”

Christine Mahoney spoke first. She told us that refugees live in a kind of limbo, “They are living on the edge of existence, failure is the norm.” She talked about the balance of help any International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) can offer at any one time; for instance, when Doctors Without Borders was fighting Ebola in Zaire, it was not able to provide its baseline essential healthcare to the rest of that country. Guns and butter, the one thing I remember from Econ 101. Maternal deaths went up, malnutrition skyrocketed. But there are natural disasters, like disease and earthquakes, and then there are those that are man-made.

Like corruption and war. Mahoney spoke of all the obstacles in her book, “Failure and Hope, Fighting for the Rights of the Forcibly Displaced.” Advocacy for refugees is not prioritized in a country when their citizens as a whole are living below poverty levels. And only in Iraq have refugees been allowed to work; Kurds from Syria have been assimilated into the Kurdish communities of Northern Iraq. This is unusual since all other refugees are not allowed to work in their host countries.

She also pointed out that people who leave their country are the “lucky” ones, since they usually have the resources to cross borders. Those refugees who have the least – the sickest, the elderly, the poorest of the poor – are truly suffering in displacement camps amidst their own people. When an audience member asked what we can do, Mahoney pointed out the two best ways to advocate for the displaced are with votes and money. There are limitations to “Political Leverage” however, because most governments do not have the will to change a system and allow refugees to work or travel freely.

But we can use “Economic Leverage” to help level the playing field. We can bypass big banks with Bitcoin for instance. We can empower hopeless people through investment funds with micro-finance, using impact investors for profit. We can help a woman start a bakery, all that woman needs is a cell phone to get started. When life-saving food and medicine is the priority for humanitarian organizations, using open source financing to fund entrepreneurial projects is a ray of light for this marginalized population.

The success of small loans to the displaced has been evident in KIVA https://www.kiva.org Anita told me she has given to KIVA and plans to get her grandson involved this year. Then we talked about the Passover Seder, what should she bring?

It’s my turn, my first Seder in 38 years of marriage. The Jews were once slaves in Egypt and had to leave their home. My Irish ancestors left an island that could no longer sustain them. All Americans, except Native Americans, were refugees at one time or another. “In 2015 there were 60 Million people displaced by violent global conflict, the highest since WWII.”

And the leader of the free world is closing our borders, and blaming Democrats for not passing the GOP healthcare bill. At least Bob and I did our part to pester our Representative Tom Garrett, now we need to start thinking about the next step of Political Leverage in the spy mystery that has engulfed Washington, DC . And btw, did you know Hemingway was a Russian spy?!…Oh Donnie Boy, loyalty is a dish served warm, like Borscht.   IMG_0214

 

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This is my 500th post as MountainMornings. I did start out in 2010 under a different pseudonym, trying to make sense of the wedding industry and how it would apply to my family. I wanted to stay in touch with friends I’d left behind when we moved South. There was a snarky edge to my writing.

And then I took a different course, and here we are. More than weddings, and more than 500 subscribers later, I’m not famous for food or mommy blogging; I lost my camera and take pictures with my phone; in fact I’m not famous period. I haven’t monetized myself or even considered branding, in fact, I’m pretty sure any babyboomer/emptynester/grandmother brand would fall far short of anyone’s ideal business plan.

Bob tells me whenever people ask what I write about, he says, “Anything that’s on her mind.”  And like most writers, it just feels good to sit down and type away. I can’t wait for inspiration, I learned that lesson writing for a newspaper (remember those?) with a deadline. But lucky me a little perspiration always pays off. Very rarely will I sit and look at a blank screen, and that never lasts long. The world is always throwing zingers my way, and my mind is always trying to connect the dots…connect my family and friends… and now you, my “followers.”

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This is what’s bothering me today – the news out of the CDC and Doctor’s Without Borders that the Ebola virus is not being contained – did anybody else hear this news or are we all worried about nudie pictures in the Cloud? Here is the headline that is one day old already:

“Global Bio-Disaster Response Urgently Needed in Ebola Fight” http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news-stories/press-release/global-bio-disaster-response-urgently-needed-ebola-fight

Yesterday I watched a PBS short of a man with Ebola dressed in a red shirt escaping his clinic, running around a town while men in Ebola protected spacesuits were trying to capture him. It seems the clinic had no food or water for its patients so he made a run for it.

Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it,” said Dr. Liu. “Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. The WHO announcement on August 8 that epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news-stories/press-release/global-bio-disaster-response-urgently-needed-ebola-fight

We are a part of the coalition of inaction. We are leaving this crisis to the NGOs with church affiliations to trust in the Lord and pray that everything will turn out for the best. Well maybe praying will help, but it was that special serum and a ride back to Atlanta that saved Dr Kent Brantly and his colleague. And now another missionary doctor has the disease in Liberia. Are we going to wait for another “miracle?”

Both Bob and the Bride have received instructions on identifying the Ebola virus, containing it and reporting it should the virus show up in the US, in their hospital, and yes the new ER has 4 of those infectious disease rooms that can be sealed off with the air only going one way.

I used to worry about the threat of HIV/AIDS from needle sticks when Bob and I were first married. Often he would be called in to draw blood or start a line on these emaciated patients in the 80s because techs were either afraid or couldn’t stick a vein. It seems so naive now.

Here is another wedding picture of the Bride and Groom, with Grandpa Hudson, their officiant. He was once a medical missionary in Ghana.  J&M  0622

 

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