A Sign of Hope and Help for a Sad Situation

sex trafficking help lineOn our way to Utah we spent some time in the Las Vegas airport.  I was surprised to see this sign on the inside of the door of the stall I used in an airport washroom.  I had never seen a sign like it before and I wanted to know why it was there so I did a little research.  

    • The United States Justice Department has named Las Vegas as one of the top twenty destinations in the world for human trafficking.
    • Las Vegas is a major hub for child sex trafficking because of the hyper-sexualized entertainment industry there, easy access to alcohol and drugs and twenty-four hour gambling.
    • The National Human Trafficking Resource Centre reported receiving 277 calls and emails in 2015 about human trafficking in Nevada.
    • Each year, Metro Police in Las Vegas rescue around 400 children victimized by human/ sex traffickers. 

There are some signs of hope however………

  •  Catherine Marie Cortez Masto is currently a Democratic Senator from Nevada. In 2013 when she was Nevada’s Attorney General she introduced a bill that established the human trafficking of children and adults as a crime, making its victims eligible for state assistance and allowing them to sue their traffickers.  Those convicted could have their assets seized and liquidated to provide relief to their victims.
  • Hospital personnel in Las Vegas are being taught to look for signs that patients may be human trafficking victims.
  • Billboards and signs like the ones I saw in the Las Vegas airport washroom offer a hotline number for victims to call to get help. Some do. 

Human trafficking is epidemic world-wide.  There are more than 40 million victims a year who are part of a 150 billion dollar industry. The sign I saw in the Las Vegas airport indicates steps are being taken to try to deal with the problem.  Look here for  suggestions about things you can do .

Other posts…………

Giving Slaves a Modern Humanity

Acts of Kindness and Love

Ai Wei Wei

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Hiking the Virgin

fran and dave hike utahWe are visiting the state of Utah. On Sunday we did our first hike with our friends Fran and Marge.  We picked an easy walkway called The Virgin Trail that led us along a riverbed and through some beautiful rock formations.  We took to naming the rock formations we saw.  hedgehogs mating utahFran called this one Two Hedgehogs Mating.  sleeping drunk formation utahI called this one  Face of a Drunk Man Lying on His Side.  half man half apeDave called this one Half Man- Half Ape. iguana tree formationThere were some dead trees carved by wind and rain along the trail too.  This one reminded me of an iguana.  Beautiful flowers grew along our way.  brown eyed susanI recognized these brown eyed susansflower utah but although on the hike I had no idea what these lovely blossoms were called I found out later they were Yellow Birds of Paradise. bird watching utah

When you are on a hike with Fran you are always looking for birds.  Here Fran is pointing out a road runner to Dave who is trying to capture it on camera.  Unfortunately none of Dave’s bird pictures really turned out but in addition to the road runner we saw trumpeter swans, turkey buzzards, white crown sparrows and a beautiful blue heron. wind swept rock utahI loved the way the wind and water had shaped this rock to look like icing on a cake. The multi-colored rocks made a motley photo back drop. The scenery along the trail was spectacular. 

Walking the Virgin Trail was a lovely way to start our Utah sojourn. 

Other posts……….

You Call That A Stroll? 

Sunset Walk in America The Beautiful

A Perfect Afternoon in Gambo


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The Kitchen Table and Thanksgiving

Perhaps The World Ends Here

 The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it.  Babies teethe at the corners.  They scrape their knees under it. 

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling down-selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table.  It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen  table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

 This poem by Joy Harjo seemed appropriate somehow for this Thanksgiving.

Our sons at the Thanksgiving table in our house in Kykotsmovi Arizona

Making cookies with my cousin at the kitchen table in my grandparents’ farm house

My father in-law serving up gravy for perogies while holding our son at the kitchen table in their home.

My son and his cousins puzzling at their grandparents’ kitchen table

My husband and son playing chess at our kitchen table in Hong Kong

Coloring Easter eggs around the kitchen table with my mom

Celebrating my birthday at the kitchen table with my sister and brother

My husband and our niece at the Thanksgiving table at my brother and sister-in laws’ 

Other posts………


Family Thanksgiving

Cooking Together

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Filed under Family, Holidays

She Hates Her Job!

ken lum molly shum hates her jobWhat’s wrong with this picture?  The young woman in the photo is smiling. Yet the words beside her tell us she hates her job!

This artwork was created in 1989 by Vancouver artist Ken Lum.  His public pieces of art are on display in dozens of cities. 

In 1990 Melly Shum Hates Her Job was part of a Ken Lum exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam.  The Melly Shum piece was installed outside as a billboard.  After the exhibition was over the billboard was taken down.  But……… the gallery received so many phone calls from people who missed the art piece that it was permanently installed. Look at any itinerary for a city tour of Rotterdam and you’ll see that a stop at the Melly Shum Hates Her Job poster is included. Social media pages where people can vent about their jobs have been created in Melly Shum’s honor.

Why do so many people identify with Melly Shum?  Perhaps because world- wide 90% of people don’t like their jobs- in China and Japan the rate is nearer 95% -in the United States the rate is 70%. But a 2016 report about Canada suggests only about 47% of people aren’t happy at their jobs.

 Does Melly Shum’s poster speak to you?  Why or why not? 

You can see the Ken Lum poster in The 80s Image exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 

Other posts……………

Thinking About Work


Housework in Costa Rica

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Happy About the USMCA?

dairy-cows public domain picture

Dairy farmers aren’t happy with USMCA.

There are Canadians who are happy with the new (USMCA) United States- Mexico- Canada agreement and there are Canadians who are not.  For example on October 1 Macleans magazine ran an interview with BC dairy farmer Dave Taylor who is very disappointed in the agreement but on October 2 the magazine featured an opinion piece by southern Manitoba grain farmer Toban Dyck who says the agreement will continue to foster strong global trade and that’s vitally important to his family’s agriculture operation. 

I belong to (CANSCAIP) The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers and will be attending their annual conference in Toronto in November.  On Tuesday members received a press release from the Association of Canadian publishers thanking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Chrystia Freeland and the entire Canadian negotiating team for they way the USMCA provides ongoing support to Canadian culture. Apparently the growth and development of the Canadian publishing industry was assured by a section of the agreement that will continue to make it possible for Canadian publishers to export their books to the United States where they earn half of their revenue. 

Listening to the debate during Question Period in Parliament on Monday I heard  Conservative critics grilling Chrystia Freeland about the USMCA pointing out all the ways it was bad for Canada, yet in a quote in the Financial Post the former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said the agreement was highly significant and Canada had achieved its most important objectives during negotiations. 

Is the new USMCA agreement a good one?  I guess it depends who you ask. 

Other posts……..

Should Women With Young Children Be Politicians?

I Sat In the Speaker’s Chair

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Laughing At the Suffering of Others

They laughed at suffering women!  On May 12, 1982 NDP health critic Margaret Mitchell rose in the Canadian House of Commons to address the issue of domestic abuse.  As a member of the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs Ms. Mitchell had been hearing story after story from battered women who at the time had no legal recourse to hold their abusive partners accountable and no safe places in the community to escape them. 

Margaret Mitchell speaks in the House of Commons. Photo by Andy Clark -Canadian Press

During question period Margaret Mitchell asked the Liberal Minister for the Status of Women Judy Erola what the government was going to do to address this crisis. “One in ten Canadian husbands beat their wives regularly”  said Ms. Mitchell.  At that the predominantly male House of Commons erupted in laughter. Yes laughter ! Then Tory members of the house began to heckle her. 

Ms. Erola rose to tell the men she did not find their behavior amusing and neither did the women of Canada. She promised to provide funding for more transitional housing.   Margaret then asked the Solicitor General to require the courts treat spousal abuse as a criminal act. Of the more than 10,000 charges laid by abused Canadian wives up to that point only two had resulted in convictions. 

The next day Ms. Mitchell introduced a formal motion asking that the members of the House of Commons who had laughed at her and heckled her apologize.  It was defeated. 

The Atlantic magazine ran an article this week called The Cruelty is the Point. Writer Adam Serwer lists incident after incident where President Trump has made fun of the suffering of others. And incredibly many of his supporters hoot and holler and applaud when he does so. According to Serwer the American President really takes pleasure in his cruelty.

Trump believes the United States is the birthright of straight, white, healthy Christian men. Accordingly he says cruel things about the LGBTQ community, immigrants, black athletes, women who are the victims of sexual violence, Muslims, and people with physical challenges. His bravado in doing so makes his fans feel so proud and happy and united they cheer and laugh. 

But we Canadians should not feel too smug. We need to remember we are capable of such cruelty too, capable of laughing at the suffering of others.  Margaret Mitchell’s experience is a good example. 

Other posts…………….

Are You This Determined to Vote? 

From Pale and Weak to Platoon Commander

Encouragement After the American Election

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Show Me What You Can Do

bank of ghana

In 2017 Dr. James Kwegyir Aggrey’s picture was featured on the five cedis note of Ghana’s currency in honor of his educational contributions

Don’t tell me what you know, show me what you can do.  

On Sunday my pastor used that quote in his sermon. Its wisdom can be attributed to Dr. James Emman Kwegyir- Aggrey a turn of the century educational philosopher from Ghana. He obtained numerous degrees from American universities, was an educational consultant in many African countries and in the last years of his life served as the vice principal of a college in the Ghanian capital of Accra. 

Checking out Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey’s impressive biography on various sites led me to a number of other quotes of his that were thought-provoking.  

About racial harmony he said…………If you play only the white notes on a piano you get only sharps; if only the black keys you get flats; but if you play the two together you get harmony and beautiful music.

On education for women he said…… The surest way to keep a people down is to educate the men and neglect the women.  If you educate a man you simply educate an individual.  If you educate a woman you educate a family.

On getting along with others he said…..  If someone scowls at me I smile back. If they scowl again I just smile back. I don’t often find a scowl a third time. 

On contemplating one’s future he said……Be patient, don’t lose heart, don’t hate anybody and make yourself worthy of good things

Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey died in 1927 but his advice seems very timely some ninety years later. 

Other posts………

Wisdom From Dr. Seuss

Things My Mother Said

Sometimes You Just Need A Dose of Precious

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Filed under Inspiration, Reflections