So Christmas is here again..how did that happen so quickly? ´Tis the season to be jolly they say, but for some people that is proving to be a real challenge this year. For many here on the island the credit crunch is biting so hard they can feel its teeth! Lots of businesses are struggling as customers tighten their belts and some are in real need.
Mallorca has always been an island of contrasts, whether it is the weather, the scenery or the lifestyle, there are rich comparisons to be made. At the present time some lucky folk can still enjoy a 5-course meal in a top restaurant whilst down the road others are waiting for handouts from the supermarket back door. Others do their best to redress the balance as charities like Dr Stoma´s Mediterranea, the Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz and the Calvia Lions all work to collect supplies and distribute them to the most needy. Michael Stoma´s charity is currently feeding approximately 200 people in Palma who have nothing. Allen Graham is collecting toys for children in homes across the island and the Lions are collecting items to be distributed to people in need before Christmas.
If you take a walk down any street you will see that many businesses have closed their doors, not just for the winter season but for good, whilst others bravely stay open. Let´s hope that it is true that fortune favours the brave, especially those who have started new businesses in this difficult climate. Some people have left the island and returned to the UK, not by choice but necessity. But don't kid yourself that its any more fun being skin in Bradford or Blackburn than it is here. At least we have the sunshine! (so far the weather has been relatively kind this winter).
Things will change. They always do. But in the meantime there is a ´Dunkirk´ spirit of camaraderie amongst those of us still here. People are supporting and helping each other in many different ways. Whether it is putting whatever business they can to a fellow resident, donating time or goods to charity or just providing a listening ear, there is evidence that the ex-pat community pulls together to get through.
On the radio programmes we do our best to promote all the charity work being done, I never cease to be amazed at how generous the ex-pat community is here on Mallorca, even when times are tough. It seems that people still have the ability to look beyond their own troubles to help others in need. That’s why this will be a jolly Christmas despite the financial crisis. Christmas is not about money, its about feelings and friendship, so in that sense we are all rich on this island.
I wish you and yours a loving festive season and an uplifting and positive 2010.
Many people in Mallorca are familiar with the Portals Nous based charity, Mediterranea, run by Dr. Michael Stoma.
Just some of their achievements are: Near to 400 small children in Ethiopia, fed, educated clothed and medically attended. Food and clothing distributed to the poor in Mallorca. Collaboration with sister NGOs providing them with all kinds of help and supplies. Projects to better the Dangme East hospital in Ghana (building a mothers lodge, setting up a biochemistry laboratory, setting up a physiotherapy unit.)
Up until now, Mediterranea have not been involved in any individual fostering initiatives but the precarious situation of some of the families with children attending their schools, and the invaluable help being offered by Ana, one of their members, has now made their involvement a necessity. (Bearing in mind they are an organisation totally dependent on volunteers).
The battlefront is one of poverty. A battle, to prevent situations of such extreme poverty, that sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren are wrenched from the arms of families and friends, and condemned to a life of abandonment and - for the over fives, a life fighting for survival on the streets.
Dr Stoma’s team wants these children to continue living with their biological or adoptive families wherever possible. Where their entire families have died, they want them to be fostered, to continue to live in the same neighbourhood, to attend the same school, to enjoy the company of their own friends, and to grow up in their own culture. Put simply...they want them to have a chance in life!
In Addis alone, there are 90,000 children living on the streets. There are only two possibilities for these unfortunate children, and we do not want them to end up in an orphanage or on the streets. The charity’s fostering program has taken off now with the first 8 applications received by Mediterranea. Dr Stoma thanks directly from this page the first 8 pioneers in this new humanitarian venture. Now they need 13 more sponsors for pupils who attend their school in Abugida and more willing sponsors to help pupils in the Birhan school. Every case has been chosen by the Edir and by the school itself. In both schools it is the Edir ( the neighbourhood association which controls the schools and with whom we have a signed contract, in this case with Akaki and in Yeka) who choose the children and families because they see and work with them daily, know them personally, and are completely up-to-date with their plight.
The prime concerns are food, health care and education. The charity has have over 400 children in their 2 schools and 46 employees working in these centres paid by Mediterranea.
All of those members who come forward to sponsor a child will be put in contact with the children, can visit them if they so wish, and will be able to receive photos and communications from the children. The foster families have given permission for all sponsors to have access to the entire history and information about the background and experiences of the children they are sponsoring.
PASS YOUR YACHTMASTER
By David Fairhall & Mike Peyton
The aim of this book, now revised for the 4th edition, is to help students through their shore based yachtmaster course. Both concise and comprehensive, this 'crammer' covers all of the essentials of the RYA Syllabus, arranged and highlighted to make review of materials easier.
Throughout the book theory is supported by a practical seagoing perspective showing how skills and practices are used or implemented at sea. Tips on exam tactics are provided, and to relieve the tension of all of that cramming, each section is enlivened with some of Mike Peyton's best-loved cartoons.
This book has proved a real help to aspiring yachtmasters.
RYA TRAINING ALMANAC
The updated RYA Training Almanac, containing practice navigation tables. For use with RYA Charts 3 & 4, and required for all RYA courses except Yachtmaster Ocean.
In stock at Rapid Transit Service - Palma
Tel: 971 401 210