Monthly Archives: May 2014

Words are not enough | Another legend lost

There are so many words to describe Maya Angelou and yet so few feel like enough. I don’t usually post about people passing but Maya was such a big influence on me that I felt I wanted to say something.

 So, rather than say something inadequate, I’ll let Maya do the talking…

She lives on in me, you and anyone who has even been inspired by her. RIP to THE Phenonemal woman, thank you for your words.

Beautiful Misbehaviour | A virtual open mic night

Last month I went to an open mic night without leaving my house.

Stephanie Arsoska, who blogs on ‘poetry, motherhood and the mess in between’ over at Beautiful Misbehaviour,  runs a monthly virtual open mic night where everyone is invited to share their creative work. Most of those who join are poets and mums (not necessarily in that order) but you don’t have to be either! You can read more about the night here.

The night is broadcast live via Google+ Hangouts so when Stephanie first suggested I join in, I wasn’t sure. Although I share my work here and on soundcloud, I haven’t been to an open mic night in… well, a loooong time, and, as far as I know, there are no videos of me performing online. But something made me say yes.

It took a while, what with children being unpredictable I missed a couple but last month I made it! Despite some technical difficulties, and the fact that you can’t really see me – and I couldn’t always see everyone else – I enjoyed myself. Stephanie was a great host and made me feel at ease and, importantly, made me want to come back! It’s an open night, anyone can join – you just need to email Stephanie to let her know you’re interested and take it from there.

Not sure it’s for you? Watch this video of the last one. On this night, everyone else was reading each other’s work and trying to guess whose it was but as it was my first time, I read a piece of my own… If you just want to see me read my poem, ‘Muse,’ I’m at 24.14 (I’ve cut out my crap preamble for you. You’re welcome).

I didn’t like watching it back but I guess that’s a good thing… I can see what was wrong with my reading and do better next time… Because I will be doing this again!

Want to join in? It’s the last Wednesday of every month and the next is on 28 May. Go tell Steph you’re coming!

Not another student on a volunteer vacation

Last month, my sister-in-law posted on Facebook that my niece, Emma, would be spending three months in Zimbabwe. She was, and still is, proud and scared in equal measure. I was curious.

A bit of background about Emma… She is 20 years old, and has recently started a degree in International Development. This was not her original plan. I’ll let Emma explain:

‘For a long time, I’ve been curious about the world beyond my comfortable bubble in North East London. When I began university, I realised that there were paths I could take to one day hopefully make a positive impact on the global issues that indirectly affect me. I made the difficult decision to change my university course from English Literature to International Development (with social anthropology and politics) and despite the numerous times of doubt and worry, I can now say that it has been the best decision I have ever made in my short twenty years!’

So, when I learned that she was planning to volunteer in Zimbabwe, I wanted to find out more, especially as I had recently had a conversation with a friend about whether ‘voluntourisim’ was a good thing. There are numerous articles about how some of these placements can cause more harm than good in the long term and I wondered where Emma was going, who with and what she planned to do. So I asked her. And I was impressed.

After researching various opportunities, she had decided to volunteer with youth-led charity Restless Development, who work with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Importantly, this charity only works with communities have specifically requested help. The projects Emma will be working on in Zimbabwe focus on livelihoods and employment, sexual and reproductive health and civic participation. She will be working alongside a local volunteer when she arrives… Which is next month!

Emma explains a little more about her decision to work with Restless Development and what they do, in her brand new blog, Emma’s Restless Journey.

In order to get going on her journey, Emma needs to raise £800 for Restless Development. She’s almost halfway there and just needs a little help… The money she raises does not go towards her placement but directly to Restless to support their ongoing projects so if you’re inspired to donate, head over to Emma’s Just Giving page to help her on her way!