Sunday, 8 September 2013


I deliberately choose to leave out discussions and any stronger opinions in here - I have enough of them in real life - and focus on blogging about the lighter, nicer and more inspirational things. Plus I really try to avoid too long texts too, for many reasons. However, blogging about a dress after a set of bad news  might work like neutralisation, calming it down, but mainly it makes me leave it be for another time.

My mind is often filled with so called first world guilt  - I get a bad consciousness for a lot of things, big and small: I feel I don't read as much as I would want to but then again spend too much on the internet, I'm probably not as ecologic in many everyday choices as I could be if I really tried, I don't have the time to visit my grandparents enough, to name a few, and even the thing in where I contribute to make at least a little difference (and that should also allow me to feel a bit better about myself - because in the end there are very few good deeds we do that in some ways are not also selfish); sponsoring the boy in India, is giving me a bad consciousness: I never have the time to write him any letters. Argh.  And then I, as many others, have issues with closets overflowing but still being in need of that one pair of perfect black heels... a fact that I remind myself of with a grin of emotional stress. (That being what the "first world club" is about, a sarcastic finger pointing at myself /ourselves I sometimes joke about- it's for heaven's sake not about "being smug about living in the first world," as one reader chose to see it. Well, the way a person reads certain things may say more about the person than the text itself...) Not saying that all of our issues and problems are totally unjustified; not all things in this world can be compared. Just because we don't have to walk ten kilometres to get water everyday or have to leave our families to work in another country to support them or beg on the streets doesn't mean we can't complain when the city decides to put down a bus line and our trip to work doubles in time. For example. But it's good to reflect about this every now and then, different lives, different situations, how most of us reading this blog have it good in many ways and on many levels. One would think everybody reflects on this, but I have met a lot of people in my life, and not everybody do, or, some see things very differently.

It's said that people are alike, everywhere. And it's true. But our lives can be very different. Many years ago I was on a long trip in a country far away and we were eating by a street hut in a small town. There were lots of street kids begging next to us, dragging our sleeves, before being hushed away by the hut keeper.  The situation made me feel bad, uncomfortable,  in different ways. One person among us said it was rude of the kids not to wait with their begging until after we were finished with our meals. Manners, you know, eh? That made me crazy. "Come on, you can't feed the whole country" they said. No of course not. And I was not there to to saving anyone, trying to go all Jesus handing out dollars as a, although on a student budget,  like a rich wordsaving westerner hippie, I was "just travelling". But isn't even one meal for one person is better than no meal at all?  Yes. Mother Amma, for example,  has said - as part of a longer quote-  that every person should be able to have at least one day, when she does not go to sleep hungry. Not everyone will have that day. And I just didn't buy that plate. When we were leaving a young man around the same age as I came to our tables and pointed at our plates, scraping what was left of the rice into a plastic bag in his hand. He had another bag with glue. And that's when it struck me, we differ, our lives,  there is no way I could ever really understand what his life was like. Not that you have travel half around the globe to realise this either, as I've seen later on elsewhere as well.  (Why didn't I buy that cup with small shabby apples from that old lady by the side of the road in a country not that far away from here, aaaaah! Beause I did not want apples just then? Well, this is sliding off topic, but I've thought about these occasions a lot.)

I've always believed that if you can help others if only a little bit you should, another thing you'd think (or, hope) most other people believe too. And by this I don't mean sharing linked articles on Facebook and then feeling like you've done your part of good in the world. In the case of charity, it's either (or both, given the opportunity) time or money. If you don't have the chance to give your time and do actual, concrete work, you can always support  a  cause in a monetary way. (Yes, somebody going to say the money does not go where it should, or that it prevents countries from doing things themselves, perhaps, but not in all cases. You can check up on any legit charity, to see how they are organised and how funds are used. Plus, especially with catastrophe funds, like the Red Cross' , helps is offered when a community, nation itself cannot take care of a situation, for example.)

I've supported a handful of charities monthly for about a decade. After Dag was born and I changed my work pattern my income decreased with some 70%, and I thought about what to do with the monthly monetary aid I had going out from my bank account, to cut them off. I decided to keep them, even though they now made up quit a big part of my income. I'm not writing this to collect any good karma-points from the internet, but just to tell that in the end - so far at least- it did not take that much to leave some things out and be able to keep up my donations. Of course my lifestyle is a bit different now, more affordable, spending more time at home, no daily work lunches out and so on, but that combined wuth with a little more planning (and a little more work) I have been able to manage keeping my support.

So, I managed to write a little novel here anyway, even though I intended to keep it short and in my usual matter cut some text away... longer but still brief texts about serious matters on the internet can easily come off a bit melodramatic, one of the reasons I prefer to leave them to elsewhere. (And because this is the internet someone is going to give me shit for something said here anyway.)

But, today, after my daily news intake seeing pictures of dead Syrian toddlers and reading a very depressing article bout the situation in the Central African Republic plus also the updates from I thought I'd skip the apple-pie blogging. And post about my Red Cross fundraising box instead! (See, we got to the point here in the end.)

I had a similar box last year; I collected fifteen euros.
From one donor (me, I thought the zero was so sad).

My intentions here are not to make anyone feel bad or obliged, and certainly not to raise discussion, just to raise money. Think about it; if everyone who comes upon this post would donate one euro we would raise quite much.

You can donate from anywhere. Or, check out and choose to donate to your local Red Cross. For example.


Me said...

Thumbs up to you Ulrika for bringing the topic up. I'm surprised no one else has said anything. I really admire your concern for the less fortunate and your generosity - many people possess the first quality but hold back on the second one. Thanks for the article.

Anonymous said...

exactly! :)

Emma Bloom said...

Good rant, such a difficult topic and there but for the grace of god. xx

Georgia B said...

Well said! Ive given my donation and will share it on my blog also :)
What a lovely idea! I understand abut the whole guilt thing :/ Im still in education so don't have a lot but I hope that working in a charity shop balances out the karma with my hat and shoe addiction!

Rinna Pitsiunelma said...

Funny, I just followed some blog links here, and I've been thinking about the same things for quite a while now. So I take it as a sign of fate to donate 5 euros which I just earned by selling an old fashion magazine!

Sheamus Warior said...

I love all details that you give in your articles.

Anonymous said...

I've given this matter a thought for a long time. I was born in what people called a third world country in South America, but I've moved to live in Europe many years ago. Misery is everywhere in the world not only in poor countries. In some European capitals like Paris, many African and Roms families live in overcrowded and unsafe buildings, they have nothing to eat and have a very hard life. Sometimes we forget about them because we think that they are being supported by the government and it isn't really so.
I think it's OK to buy stuff and be shallow sometimes otherwise you'll get depressed. I tink that we can't save the world but we can do little things around us to make a little change. You mentioned something about feeling guilty cuase you don't visit your granparents often enough, I feel the same, and they are 10.000 km away! but I try to call them twice a week to hear their stories and sometimes I send flowers to my grandma via international flowers website. It's not much but I'm making someone happy and that makes me feel much better.

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