“What do you get when you squeeze an orange?” self-help guru Dr. Wayne Dyer asked from the stage at a speaking event in Toronto.
“Duh! Orange juice!” shouted a little girl sitting in the front row.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because that’s what’s inside!” she exclaimed.
I love that anecdote, and it sprang to mind when I was thinking about the wildly different reactions people are having in response to our changed lives in the face of COVID-19.
The way I see it, like the orange, we’re all being squeezed by external circumstances, but unlike oranges, with people there’s no guarantee as to what will come out. While we’d all love to ooze nothing but calm, optimism and joy, chances are that fear, despair and anger are just as likely to pour out.
This is a time of great uncertainty. We have no way to predict how long these extraordinary circumstances will continue to test us. But with focus and intention we can start to change what comes out of us when the pressure is on.
The virus has forced us to create space, and if we choose to embrace that space we can use it to get still and clear. In stillness and clarity, we can start to reprogram old habits of thought.
Can you be still, or does your mind demand that you get you back into your comfort zone of perpetual motion? Try calming your mind with this; research shows that if you can sit in meditation for 10 minutes 3 times a day and bring yourself to feeling hope and love, after only four days, your immune function will improve by 50%. If meditation is something you have always resisted in the past, this may convince you to give it a try!
Set yourself up for success; make sure you sit in a comfortable position, and start with just a few minutes. To slow the mind, try focusing on your breath or on a constant but benign sound like the whirr of a fan. Don’t expect your mind not to think- that would be like asking the lungs not to breathe. You will have thoughts. What you’re looking for are the spaces between the thoughts-that’s where the magic happens!
If the word “meditation” throws you, try substituting words like “contemplation” or “familiarization” instead.
The essence of the meditation practice really is about familiarizing yourself with elevated emotions like peace and love. The more you practice and the more familiar those emotions become, it will be easier and faster for you to summon them when you sit. In time and with dedicated practice, they can become your natural response as you go about your day- even when you’re being squeezed.
Today the family decided they want risotto (YIKES!) Now I don't know about all of you, but the thought of making risotto used to make me run in the opposite direction... Let me tell you, it's not as difficult as it seems. Right- hold on to your spatulas and here we go.
Oil (coconut) to fry in
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic
8 rashers bacon
250 g mushrooms
300g risotto rice
1/2 cup white wine
1-3 lt chicken stock
Heat up some oil in a frying pan and cook some onions and fresh garlic till soft and slightly transparent . (Little fact garlic is a close relative to onions , leeks and chives)
Add the bacon . I used 8 rashers of streaky bacon, cut up into smaller bits.
Stir constantly till bacon starts to crisp.
Add the (250g) mushrooms and cook for 5 minute or till they start to release their juices.
I used normal button mushrooms but chestnut or brown portabello mushrooms give risotto a nice rich flavor.
Mushrooms are a little hard to get during lockdown so use what you can find.
Stir in the (300g) risotto rice/pasta or to give it a healthier option pearl barley.
Cook for 1 minute , stirring constantly so the oil coats the grains.
Add 1/2 cup of white wine. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Enjoy the rest of the wine while the risotto is cooking.
Now start adding the (1 liter) chicken stock 1 cup at a time, simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
I used stock cubes dissolved in warm water but again you are welcome to make your own chicken stock.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and season to taste.
Remove from heat.
Serve and garnish with extra parmesan cheese.
I made a little side salad to soothe my conscience.
Today is the perfect weather for pancakes and I know it's always a hit with my family.
We going to start by getting all our ingredients:
1. 2 cups (500G) of flour
2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
3. 1 teaspoon white vinegar
4. 3 eggs
5. 1/2 cup (125ml) oil
7. 3.5 cups (875 ml) water
Step 1 : Mix the dry ingredients
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Step 2 : mix the following together
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup oil (125ml)
Let the fun begin : mix all the ingredient together
Some of us are lucky and do this with an electric mixer or others do this the old fashion way ( elbow grease)
(I don't like this part as I always end up with lumps but hang in there
and whisk away ….)
Once you have the batter all mixed together let it rest (and you too ) for about 30 minutes.
Reward yourself with a cup of coffee or even a glass of wine :)
You can add any filling to your pancakes .
Here's a few ideas
Bacon and Cheese
Spinach and feta
or something sweet
Banana and Caramel
Melted chocolate and nuts
Cinnamon Sugar ( like I did )
Play around have fun
Enjoy baking these for your family!
Stay safe , Stay home
Understanding the Madness
It’s hard to imagine what must go through the mind of a poacher when we see the image of a
defenceless Rhino with it’s horn savagely hacked off. When the chopper I was in flew over the
rotting corpses of three innocent beasts within a few miles of each other, all killed within the
previous three days, it’s hard for even the most empathic of people to feel sorry for those behind
this slaughter. However the grimness of these horrific crimes stretches much further than the
seemingly senseless murder of these animals in National Parks and private reserves all across Africa.
Just for a minute put yourself in this situation, a young man living in rural South Africa on the edge of
Kruger National Park. Three young children to tend for but the socio economic situation in the
country means that jobs are few and far between, especially in the countryside. There’s no
electricity and very little running water and you can’t afford the uniform needed to send your kids to
school. What do you do? The dire hopelessness is crippling but then someone offers you a way out,
all you have to do is sneak into Kruger and kill a Rhino. Despite your village sitting on the perimeter
fence of Kruger you’ve never been able to afford the entrance fees and what’s more just 30 years
ago the horrific apartheid regime made it illegal anyway. You have no connection to the animals that
rich westerners have who pump millions each year into the tourism trade. Unfortunately this is not
an isolated case, more than half of South Africans(over 30 million people) are living below the
national poverty line of R992 a month. For people reading in the UK that’s less than £50 a month!
It’s easy for us to say no when we are living comfortably but as a father myself when faced with that
situation then even the biggest animal lover would be tested if it came to the survival of their own
Indeed the immediate threat to wild rhino populations needs addressing and anti poaching units
across the globe do a tremendous job in protecting these animals but by ignoring the root causes of
the poaching crisis then you are merely putting a towel down to soak up the leak rather than
attempting to stop the cause.
Since 2016 Veterans For Wildlife has successfully worked alongside local authorities and trained
wildlife Rangers in a bit to support frontline conservation efforts. Now in conjunction with our Wild
Warriors programme the charity has partnered with Nourish, a non profit organisation dedicated to
conservation by tackling the socio- economic issues previously discussed.
Nourish Eco Village is situated in the Hoedspruit area of South Africa, a mere few km away from
Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate and opposite many private reserves in the Greater Kruger. It’s a
back to basics small community that provides a safe haven for the many children of the local
Sigagule village. A place where they can come for not only a better education but also a meal, for
many of which it could be their main one of the day.
The onsite creche provides pre school education for around 40 of the happiest children you could
ever wish to meet. When we arrived we were greeted with hugs and smiling faces galore from
children who have nothing yet are appreciate of everything.
They also facilitate trips for children of the local primary schools into Kruger National Park and local
wildlife centres thus creating that connection between the community and the wildlife, something
which has been missing for decades.
Founded and headed up by the incredible Sarah Berges, Nourish not only looks after the children of
the community but provides job opportunities for the locals too which include providing the
materials for a disabled woman named Ivy to make sanitary pads to sell to the village, sanitary pads
which will keep girls in school so they don’t have to take a week off each month. Nourish prides itself
on creating Resilient communities that are much more capable of saying no to criminal poaching
gangs that target weakness. Through tackling the poverty which drives wildlife crime they are
playing a huge part in protecting the lives of the Rhino that surround them, a perfect mix of
community and conservation.
Veterans For Wildlife will not only be providing volunteers on a monthly basis to support the
operation at Nourish but will also be partnering UK schools with the schools that Nourish work with,
like the partnership of Robin Hood School in London, England with Sihlekisi Primary school in
Sigagule village. Robin Hood provided a suitcase full of stationary, school equipment and shoes for
their new partnered school as well as funding two trips, one of which was to Kruger National Park,
with some children seeing Elephants and giraffe for the first time, a special moment for both us and
them. This is a partnership which will be ongoing and has the possibility to make a big difference.
However this is not solely for the benefit of the children in South Africa but also a great opportunity
for learning for the children in the rest of the world through finding out about the lives of these kids
as well as a platform for communication for both. Artwork by the children of Sihlekisi is soon to
decorate one of the notice boards in Robin Hood Primary School.
Veterans For Wildlife have already presented to thousands of UK school children about conservation
and in particular Rhino poaching but with this new partnership we now have a platform to connect
children across the globe, a winning formula for all parties involved.
Nourish has created a stronghold at their eco village, not only showcasing the finest demonstration
of upcycling I’ve seen with their use of eco bottles and bottle cap floor among others but they’ve
also managed to educate and empower a whole community which in turn protects the local wildlife,
sitting perfectly inline with Veterans For Wildlife’s core values.
Using our links in other reserves across Africa Veterans For Wildlife can help Nourish expand to
different communities on the continent thus having a positive impact on many more lives both
human and animal, the possibilities are endless.
Through this holistic approach as well as what Veterans For Wildlife do best, providing world class
training and support to front line conservation efforts we are in a much better position to stop the
ever growing issue of wildlife crime.
Nourish and a new way of living:
Every young girl has dreams for her future, and mine was travelling. I dreamt of travelling and in that
way, exploring many different cultures and gaining experience in life. I dreamt of living my life
independently and doing it all by myself. As I got older this dream could become reality the moment I
got the opportunity to do my internship at Nourish in South Africa.
Hi! I am Alessia Garlisi, a dreamer and communications student at PXL College in Hasselt, Belgium. As
a young girl, I loved travelling. The further, the better. When I got my diploma from secondary
school, I got the opportunity to volunteer in Ethiopia, but I didn’t do it. Everyone knows the story
about a girl falling in love and wants to be with him no matter what. Well this is what happened to
me. I fell madly in love with my best friend and don’t get me wrong I am still in love, but there was
something missing. I felt the need of more in life, like discovering the world and meeting new
In my second year of University there was a presentation about doing your internship abroad. I saw
this as an opportunity and I immediately searched for an interesting country. I chose South Africa.
Why? Well, that’s simple; South- Africa is such a beautiful country with beautiful cultures. I wanted
to experience a new culture and this as far as possible from home. In that way I wanted to challenge
myself in being independently and to open myself for a new way of living.
Now in my last year as a student, I have chosen to live in a rural area and to work in an organization
that minds about the health of people, animals and the environment of Hoedspruit South-Africa.
Nourish is the perfect organization, they work so hard to fight poverty and poaching. They inspire me
in being a better person and to give more about the world or country I live in.
I believe that during my time at Nourish, I will grow to be a better person and be more helpful not
only for people and animals, but also for the environment. I will learn more about the culture and
how to live back-to-basics. However big the differences may be in South Africa, I am ready to take on
My name is Jadwinia, I am a CSR manager in the international media company Dentsu Aegis
Network. In 2016, I received the "Employee of the Year" award. This award is financially and
any award-winning employee can decide how to spend it in accordance with its
development or current role in the company. I decided to spend this money on volunteering
My dream was to look at how the NGOs in the world work, what volunteers fight on the spot
and I wanted help in the field, and not from behind the desk in an elegant office building in
I decided to work for 3 weeks in the Nourish organization located next to the Kruger Park. I
liked their holistic approach to helping the local community, education and elements related
to environmental protection. I also had the impression that the work of volunteers is well
A few weeks of preparation, establishing contacts thanks to CSR Dentsu Global Team in
London, short training in London in the organization Global Giving and ... I started the
adventure of my life in South Africa.
In Nourish, positive energy, good attitude despite various difficulties, lots of ideas and happy
people nearby are unique. I also liked the diversity of projects and the ability to try many
things. One day we went to nearby schools with donated books, on another day I worked on
the capsules of Moringa powdered leaves, and the next day we persuaded the local
community to look after their dogs. In the afternoons, I played with children in the library. I
was open to what would happen to me. 3 weeks is definitely not enough to feel the impact.
Or maybe this "impact" is sometimes only a smile, a good word, simple gestures and
showing that I CARE?
It was definitely a great lesson of gratitude for what we have (basic things: access to water,
electricity, education), but also a clash with stereotypes about "poor Africa". In fact, the
children who came to Nourish every day often do not have their own beds, wardrobes full of
clothes, extra activities, but they did not look unhappy. They have beautiful nature, clean air,
are surrounded by family, they feel free. Sometimes I would like it for my children in Poland
:)! The only thing that I think is missing is good education and that's what Nourish does.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to get to know the real, beautiful Africa (or other place
on earth). I am very happy that in this way I realized my prize.
Come here and try it! Thank you Nourish Team for an unforgettable time!
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