Sunday, May 15, 2016

This is where I live.

Last weekend was mothers day and the weather was beautiful. My niece, whose mother is overseas this year on her own adventure, decided to come and spend the weekend with me (cheaper than going os). We had a lovely time visiting Newcastle's Olive Tree Markets, having lunch at the Honeysuckle Wharf watching boats in the harbour, and strolling along these beaches, and rock pools.

Because I travel alot with work, and spend nights in the big smoke, i love to return home to my garden and my town. I pinch myself often as I remind myself.... I live here!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Relative Value and Costs

High School Students living at Barathi Girls Hostel
One of my joys in life has been to have spent time with these girls in Tamil Nadu. Since 2007, I've been volunteering with ODAM India to support the girls education program and hostel accommodation for high school girls. These girls have come from incredibly poor families, who have traditionally been unable to send their kids to school. Many of these girls were actually bought by local factories with a promise of work until they got married, and a dowry. The truth is, very few actually get their rewards for their lifetime of service.

ODAM negotiates, sometimes with payment, to have the girls released into their care to live at the primary school (partly government funded) to get their essential schooling. Then ODAM offers a hostel for girls who wish to continue their education at the local public high school. They will also support girls to go on to University or other vocational training programs.

Many of these girls are getting a better education than any other member of their family - which means they will have greater choices in the future, and greater capacity to help their families in old age.

The hostel is based in Thiruchuli - a small town/village - where buses and trucks pass through on their way to other places. But few families actually have their own transport. Recently, ODAM employed a full time warden at the hostel for security and maintenance. But they don't have transport options for the warden. We've been asked if we can help raise money to purchase a scooter. The scooter would help the warden and other hostel staff to attend to the day to day needs of the hostel - but more importantly - assist with getting sick girls to the local medical clinic at all hours of the day/night.

Scooters or motor bikes are affordable transport options for the small town.
It's all relative isnt't it? I've mentioned before how I'm studying business ethics at present. I was not surprised to learn about relativism in ethics. But here, I see an issue of relative value. What is quite expensive in Australia (a scooter) isn't so expensive for us in India. Althought it's a little out of reach for ODAM. So, I've started a fundraising page, for friends and family, and supporters, to contribute to this simple and easy target. We just need to raise AUD$1500. That's just $50 each for 30 people.(or $25 each for 60 people) ... easy!

Click here to go to our fundraising page...

Help out if you can - or pass this link on to others - put it on facebook - whatever.... it's appreciated :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Delightul Australia Bush

 The scribbly marks on gum trees
 Beautiful rough and glossy leaves
 Stunning scenes in the Blue Mountains
 Natural Features
 Rough seed pods left after the flower
I've been away for a few days with my man.. enjoying mountain bike riding, bushwalking, and resting in a beautiful cottage with a fireplace, port, cheese and chocolates. It's been a beautifully relaxing, refreshing and rejuvenating few days. I feel so lucky to have these opportunities so close to me....

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ethical Relativism and other reflections

It's a mid April Sunday afternoon, and I'm sitting in my study listening to a beautiful autumn rain as it trickles down the gutters and streams down the road. I'm glad I spent some time in the garden yesterday feeding and mulching the soil, preparing it for the winter crops. This rain will wash in the compost, blood and bone and extra lime ensuring the soil PH levels will be suited to my crops this winter. I just read this post which made me feel like I was on the right track with my garden.

I am thinking I should be studying, preparing for my corporate social responsibility and ethics exam coming up - but I'm blogging instead... As this is my first trimester in this MBA, I only enrolled in one class (working full time and living life doesn't allow too much time for extra study). Still, I've found this subject particularly easy - maybe because I'm comfortable with speaking and thinking about ethical issues. But one issue that I hadn't quite prepared myself for, is that I'm a mature aged Anglo woman doing post graduate studies, in a class that's 90% international full fee paying students under the age of 35yrs. It's been fascinating. 

I've just finished a group assignment which was quite a learning experience for me - not on the content - but on the process of working with students from other cultures. I feel quite confident now on the theoretical construct of 'ethical relativism' - that is to say what is ethically right or wrong in one country may or may not be ethical in another country. I was quite surprised to  have a conversation with my small group about our case study - a matter of corporate ethics - on what I clearly saw as a contravention of Human Rights, my fellow students saw just the way it is.

Besides spending time reflecting on the study experience, I've also been enjoying the distractions - here are some of the posts I've enjoyed this week out there in blogging land...
And I'm currently reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, written in 2015.  I have to say that start is a little slow for me..... going to give a little bit more time.

Last weekend I went down the south coast for a friends party, and this was the early dawn view from my motel room - I just wanted to share it with someone....

Thursday, March 31, 2016

French Film Festival Highlights

This year, I went to 7 of what seems to be over 40 films on show during the Sydney Alliance Francaise French Film Festival. The brochure this year notes
'The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival was first launched in 1989 by the Alliance Francaise in Sydney and has since become a major annual event for all 6 capital Alliances Francaises in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Adelaide.Each year, the festival provides a unique opportunity for cinema aficionados to embark upon a thrilling voyage which showcases the best contemporary French Films. With each festival season, Australian audiences have displayed a continually deepening interest in our screening programme, which also contributes to the strengthening of cultural ties between our two countries."
It's true, every year I get to some of the screenings, and the cinema's are filling up. I'm also frequently surprised at the number of french speaking patrons that surround me in the cinema. It's truly a thoroughly enjoyable event in my year, when I trawl through the program with certain criteria, and different friends in mind, to finally come up with my selection of possible outings in the month.

This year I decided on a possible of 14 films I would like to see, and a schedule that meant I could possible see 11 - and in reality I saw 7.
  1. Rosalie Blum - directed by Julien Rappeneau - Actress Noemie Lvovsky - Drama Comedy - Based on the award winning series of graphic novels by Camille Jourdy - This enchanting directorial is a warm, witty and impeccably performed drama comedy about a random encounter that has u unexpected and far reaching consequences.
  2. Taj Mahal - directed by Nicolas Saada - actress Stacy Martin - Drama - Nicolas Saada's excellent film takes a sober look at the plight of a family caught up in an invasion by fundamentalist extremists'.
  3. The Measure of a Man/ La Loi du Marche - directed by Stephane Brize - Actor Vincent Lindon - Drama - This film is a testament to human resilience and decency.. a moving social drama that scoped Best Actor Award at the Cannes International Film Festival 2015.
  4. Dheepan - directed by Jacques Audiard - Actor Antonyhasan Jesuthasan - Drama - This immigrant drama unfolds in solidly involving, carefully observed fashion. Winner of Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival ... blistering slice of realism... with a unique presentation of the asylum seeker experience that will move audiences profoundly.
  5. Macadam Stories /Asphalte - directed by Samuel Benchertrit - Actress Isabelle Huppert - Drama - Comedy - A quirky and endearing urban dramedy
  6. Blind Date/ Un Peu, Beaucoup, Aveuglement - directed by Clovis Cornillac- Actress Melanie Bernier - Comedy Romance - Unexpected and refreshing....Opposites attract not just each other, but also hilarious and surprising complications in this delightful and laugh filled movie.
  7. Boomerang - directed by Francois Facrat - Actor Laurent Lafitte and Actress Melanie Laurent - Drama - A well-run thriller with a deliciously suspenseful Hitchcockian Atmosphere....
I don't think I chose any dudds this year - and I can hardly pick a favourite because they were all so different, and left me with such different experiences. Blind Date was definitely the funniest I saw, Dheepan was very moving for me personally, Boomerang did have me engaged in the mystery right up to the end, and Taj Mahal was almost too terrifying and surreal.....  

Let me know if you have any favourite french films this year..... 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

New Day
Freshness of Dawn
Golden colour of Hope
Stillness of Calm
Aroma of Life 

How lucky am I? 

Happy Easter

Monday, March 7, 2016

International Women's Day

 These women live in Thiruchuli, 
a small rural village in 
TamilNadu, Southern India. 

 These women welcomed me into their community 
And shared their lives with me...

I learnt so much from them

 This is Seroja
She took care of me during one of my visits
She, like many women in this village, 
Works very hard. 

 Each woman has her own life experienes
Her own dreams
And her own fears......

 These girls (below), have many dreams and hopes
And I believe the world is changing for them
They are the first generation of girls in their family to go to school
They are happy in their hostel
And the NGO works hard to make sure they are safe

These women are my sisters, my children, and my friends. I support because they support this community of women.

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8th. (

Violence against women and girls is a serious problem, is entirely preventable and we all have a role to play to end violence at home and around the world.

The facts:

  • Around the world, 1 in 3 women will experience violence in her lifetime.
  • In the Pacific, as many as 2 in 3 women will experience violence in their lifetimes.
  • In the highlands of Papua New Guinea, as many as 100% of women report experiencing sexual or physical violence.
Around the globe tomorrow many women, men and communities will honour women in many different ways. I plan to raise awareness to the power of education for girls. I believe that in being educated, girls will gain strength to make informed decisions about health, family, economics and safety. Thats why i support ODAM.