Liam Finn is CAFOD’s Regional Media Officer. His personal Lent journal today focuses on World Day of Social Justice.
“Why do you want this job?”
“I don’t really. I don’t want CAFOD to exist.”
That was how I started to answer the question from my boss in my CAFOD interview. It might seem a mad response to someone in the hope that they would offer me the job. But I meant it. CAFOD exists because social injustices exist. I really wanted my job, and – *spoiler alert* – I was offered it. Yet I would much rather live in a world where people don’t go hungry or lack access to clean water, where people don’t have to flee from wars or oppression, and where people have the same means as others in richer countries to withstand disasters and rebuild their lives afterwards. We at CAFOD work to achieve that world and make ourselves unnecessary in the future: we work for social justice.
“The wind was circulating fast and glass was flying everywhere,” says Flora Badanoy, 39. “The roof was blown off by the gale. It felt like there was an earthquake. We were terrified. Then the hwater started coming in, with a strong current. We opened the front door and more water came gushing in. I thought it was the end of our lives.”
The Guiuan peninsula in the Philippines was the very first place to be hit by Typhoon Haiyan, shortly after midnight on 8 November 2013. Winds of up to 170 mph struck the coast and huge waves swept in from the sea, flooding coastal villages like Flora’s.
“We were not expecting it to be a special typhoon,” says Flora. “The local officials told us we had to evacuate, but they didn’t say it would be so powerful. We were not warned that there would be floods. We’d heard there would be a ‘storm surge’, but we didn’t understand what the phrase meant. It wasn’t a phrase we used in our language.”
There’s nothing wrong with tea. Many of my fellow CAFOD cut-it-outers are doing without things that have a direct impact on the carbon emissions that cause climate change, like eating meat, or taking up environmentally friendly activities like cycling. Tea, apart from the inevitable air miles to get it here, is a fairly minor vice. Especially as I always drink Fairtrade.
Our Fundraising Writer Mark Chamberlain visited Myanmar in 2014 to learn about the effects of storms and extreme weather. Myanmar is the focus for this year’s CAFOD Lent appeal which is being match funded by the UK government.
In June last year, I was lucky enough to spend some time with U Than Win, Martin, Kyin Nu, Zin Thu Thu and U Win Myi the fisherman in Myanmar. While staying in their communities, I kept a diary and made a list of points about surviving the jungle. Here are eleven things I learned:
1. Footwear is essential. No matter how hot it is and how liberating the sensation of the jungle floor on your bare feet is, don’t be tempted to walk around without protection. The jungle is alive with spiders, snakes and the intimidating ‘scorpion king’. Bites can be lethal because both communities were are a long way from a hospital.
2. The ‘scorpion king’ is a giant centipede. It won’t kill if it bites, but it will hurt. A lot. Make sure you move your bed away from a wall if you are near one – this is so it doesn’t creep into bed with you for a snooze.
Lent is traditionally a time of giving, praying and fasting, as we seek to transform our lives and the lives of others. Ffion Dean, our Web Editor, has been talking to CAFOD staff about their great ideas to live out our Lenten practice, and make a difference to the world’s poorest people.
Here at Romero House we’re excited about the fact that donations to CAFOD this Lent are being doubled by the UK government. We want to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity and have been putting our heads together to think of how we can raise as much money as possible between 18 February and 17 May.
Although I won’t be giving something up in the traditional Lent fashion, I’ve decided to double the time and effort I put into CAFOD fundraising through the medium of biscuits and cakes! I find spending an afternoon baking very relaxing, but I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. I’m aiming to bake once a week during Lent and to sell to my creations to CAFOD colleagues. It’s going to be a great feeling knowing that every time someone spends £1 on a biscuit, the UK government will be putting another £1 in the fund towards CAFOD’s work to ensure the world’s poorest women, men and children are able to cope with the effects of storms, droughts and floods. Continue reading “Doubling our impact this Lent”
This blog is written by Rachel McCarthy who works in the CAFOD Theology Programme. It is the first of a series inviting you to share your joys and hopes, and to pray for people living in poverty at Lent.
As we journey through Lent, take time to reflect on your joys, hopes, concerns and inspirations by keeping a hope journal. In a spirit of solidarity, we hold in our prayers the joys and hopes of our global family.
Jo De Paula works in CAFOD’s schools fundraising team. Her work involves encouraging children to take part in Lent Fast Day, but here she tells us how she’s planning on personally making a difference this Lent. Lent is coming soon! Every year I plan to do many things for Lent that will bring me closer to God and challenge myself to be a better person. This year I have chosen to give up chocolate. So right now I have the overwhelming urge to eat as much sugar as I can before I give it up for 40 days. But so often after I share my #ashtag Ash Wednesday Selfie with the world, my good intentions never materialise. This year will be different. This year I have a plan:
Maricristina Lubrano from our digital team tells us about her colleagues who are giving something up for Lent.
It is at times like Lent, when we stop to reflect on a number of things and get closer to God, that we often realise how blessed we are. Right now I feel blessed to be working with a group of committed and passionate people. With only two weeks to go until Ash Wednesday I know lots of people will be trying to decide what to cut out in order to create a change in their own lives or in the wider world.
I’ve been talking to my colleagues about their preparations for Lent and have been impressed by how dedicated they are to make a difference to the lives of those who suffer and taking care of the gifts we have been given by God. Many people are focussing on using Lent to help people living in poverty to cope with the destruction that extreme weather and climate change can bring. Lots of people at CAFOD are making Lenten promises, and we all have our own little challenging and exciting cut it out activities to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Continue reading “CAFOD staff are cutting it out for Lent 2015”