Some years ago disciples of Sri Chinmoy published a regular news report with inspiring stories from around the world. After a break the series starts again with a great new episode, produced by UItpal Marshall. Have a look and learn more about the German Channel Swimmer Vasanti Niemz, a Self-Transcendence Race in Moscow, a visit to an orphenage in Vietnam and glimpses from the World Harmony Run in Cardiff, England, where also one of Sri Chinmoy’s life-size statues recently has been inaugurated.
Swiss Joy (19) says: “In a disaster you can do two things. Sit back and watch or get up and do something. Anything. Whatever you can. The first option didn´t really work out for me.. So I flew 9056.6 kilometers to do something. Anything. Whatever I can.” For the next 19 days she is now reporting about her activities in this blog: http://floodrelief19thailand.tumblr.com/ Here is her first post:
Landing in Suvarnabhumi Airport at 18.24 on November 3rd 2011 you wouldn´t have guessed that 2/3 of Thailand was under water or that the Thai people were facing what has been called “the worst flood in half a century”. In fact the plane was full, the people calm and the atmosphere normal. Normal? I was beginning to wonder what bubble I had landed in. Standing outside waiting to be picked up a large Royal Thai Army truck passed, and I knew I was in the right place afterall. As we took up the tollway through Chaengwatthana, Don Muang and then Rangsit I saw that the media, for once, had not over-dramatized their boradcasts.
Trucks, garbage trucks, huge buses, and cargo transporters are stacked to the brim with sand bags. More than 30km of cars parked along the side of the tollway left and right, leaving only 2 lines free to drive on. Motorcycle taxi´s waiting like valet´s to pick you up and drive you along the endless car-line to find your car. Some have covered their cars with a protective sheet, not knowing when they would return. A large police tent is seen in the distance, with officers trying to manage the heavy traffic. Below us everything is under water. People have gathered in seek of shelter in an abandoned Police post on the tollway. Looking out to my left it is pitch dark. Roads are no longer visible, having been swallowed whole by the masses of water. The scattered lamp posts can be connected like dots to be able to make out where the road was. Now, just the reflection of the house and post lights like tiny ships out at sea indicate where the Soi´s once were. A massive blanket of water covers the abandoned villages below us. Where is the light house, I wonder, for all those lost sailors.
We drive by buildings that are completely dark due to power cuts or sheer desertification and abandonment. If it wasn’t for the half moon, providing what seemed to be the only source of light, we would probably not even see most of the buildings. Car after car parked till the very end of the tollway. They cover bridges and U-turn bridges as well. And as we slowly, inch by inch, drive down the exit we see left and right piles, even walls, of sandbags blockading the water from erasing the only road left. Numerous large pumps are positioned to pump the water escaping onto the road back over the barrier. Policemen and volunteers, some standing and some sleeping on the sandbags, guide the cars with floodlights along the flooded path. Who knows how long they have been out here for. A rescue boat on the other side of the barrier goes by, men with life jackets and flashlights head into the streets shouting out to home owners who have chosen to stay behind. – Joy
During his lifetime, he was hailed as an apostle of peace and a visionary humanitarian whose simple but powerful programmes inspired millions. An artist, philosopher, poet, athlete and musician, Sri Chinmoy was a renaissance man who channeled his profound creativity into the upliftment of his fellow brothers and sisters. This slideshow consists of early photos of the master, taken in the 1970s.
On 14th November marathon runner Tegla Leroupe had her 6th Peace Race in Kapenguria (Kenya). Over 3000 runners came and even from the neighboring country Uganda people participated. Currently an Italian delegation of workers (friends from the Italian World Harmony Run) is gathering together to make a trip to Tegla’s new school to finish the electric installation. So the school will open end of January 2011. (Photo by Daulot)
Zina Tikhonova from Tomsk, Russia, is an active coordinator for the “Doll for Africa” kids-to-kids project, promoted by the The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles. Already two years ago she and her friends were sending 23 dolls from Tomsk. This year they expanded their vision and worked with a local TV company. Young talented journalist Julia (22) was very inspired and made 5 films about the dolls project. In these films she showed workshops where people are making dolls that will be sent to Africa as an act of oneness and brotherhood. About 20 dolls are already made. They are planning to send about 50 dolls at the end of March. Journalist Julia is eager to go to Africa in April with all the dolls and make another film about African children. It will be a oneness act between the people of Russia and Africa. After the TV station broadcasted the informations on the project, many people called and wanted to take part by doing dolls themselves. Also there is an idea to make a festival in Tomsk when the project is finished, also to tell people about Sri Chinmoy, founder of Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles. This April it will be the 45th Anniversary of Sri Chinmoy coming to the West to spread light, peace and harmony through various activities.
Rolex today announced the ten winners of the 2008 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which for more than 30 years have supported pioneering work in science and medicine, technology and innovation, exploration and discovery, the environment and cultural heritage. The award recipients hail from around the globe – from India, Jordan, Mexico, Paraguay, South Africa, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States – and join a global network of 110 visionaries from 38 countries who have received vital project support and recognition from the Swiss watchmaker since the Awards were founded in 1976. The Rolex Awards fund new and ongoing projects that demonstrate a spirit of enterprise and address pressing needs around the world, from climate change, to wildlife and habitat preservation, to cultural preservation, to providing water, food, medical supplies and education for impoverished communities. Rolex will present US$100,000 each to five Laureates, who are honored today in a ceremony in Dubai – the first ever Rolex Awards ceremony held in the Middle East. Five Associate Laureates will each receive $50,000 at ceremonies in their home countries. All ten winners will also receive a Rolex chronometer.
“The Rolex Awards for Enterprise enable the work of global pioneers who are breaking new ground in their fields, and improving lives worldwide,” said Patrick Heiniger, Chief Executive Officer of Rolex. “We are proud to support these truly original thinkers, and salute them for their ingenuity and commitment of purpose.” The 2008 Rolex Laureates – chosen from nearly 1,500 applicants in 127 countries by an independent panel of scientists, educators, economists and other experts – are:
- Talal Akasheh (Jordan), 61, who, after devoting 26 years to documenting the ancient monuments of Petra, is creating an information system that will inform future conservation efforts at this beloved, yet threatened, historic site.
- Tim Bauer (U.S.), 31, who is using breakthrough technology to retrofit polluting twostroke vehicle engines that are common in the Philippines, helping to alleviate a major environmental and public-health risk in South-East Asia.
- Andrew McGonigle (U.K.), 35, a physicist who is developing a new means to safely and reliably predict volcanic eruptions using an unmanned aircraft.
- Andrew Muir (South Africa), 43, a conservationist providing AIDS orphans with life skills, training, and jobs in South Africa’s burgeoning ecotourism sector.
- Elsa Zaldívar (Paraguay), 48, who is bringing an eco-friendly solution to her country’s housing shortage by creating composite building materials made of plant and plastic waste to construct affordable housing.
The 2008 Rolex Associate Laureates are: Alexis Belonio (Philippines), 48, creator of a new technology that transforms the waste from rice production into clean, affordable cooking fuel; Arturo Gonzalez (Mexico), 44, an explorer and researcher excavating archaeological remains in submerged caves or cenotes on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula; Rodrigo Medellin (Mexico), 50, who is working to save Mexico’s indigenous bats through habitat protection and education; Moji Riba (India), 36, a film-maker helping to preserve and document the rich cultural heritage of India’s Arunachal Pradesh tribes; and Romulus Whitaker (India), 65, a lifelong conservationist who is establishing a network of rainforest research stations to document and protect the biodiversity of southern India.
More than half a year ago the Swiss kidstokids organization, part of the International humanitarian help organization “The Oneness-Heart Tears and Smiles” packed a container filled with school supplies donated by various organizations and schools in Switzerland as well as packages that were collected by children from Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Finland, for their little Kenyan brothers and sisters. It all started with a run at the Bodensee in Northern Switzerland, where “kidstokids” inspired some school teachers to organize a run with the children and afterwards collect items for the packages. After a long journey and months of waiting in Nairobi they got the needed papers and permissions from the Government and the Custom Authorities and the container was recently brought to the Rhein-Valley Hospital in Kasambara-Nakuru, Kenya. Tomorrow the hospital crew will start unloading the school banks and chairs that will be given to Tegla Loroupe for her Peace School in Kapenguria. Marathon runner and Peace Run organizer Tegla came to Switerland several times to promote the cause of the needy people in Kenya. All the crew members are looking forward to this because it is a special day for them. Not every day do they get a container full of goods they normally only dream of. Get continuous news coverage of the events in Kenya on the daily updated blog Rhein-Valley Hospital News. See also my interview with Tegla Loroupe posted on August 31, here on this Blog.
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Tegla Loroupe is one of the most gifted marathon runners. She is not only active in sports but also makes big steps towards peace with her Peace Races in Kenya, and as UN Ambassador of Sport. She recently worked together with Kofi Annan for a peaceful solution in the Kenyan Government. I had the privilege to meet and interview her in Switzerland where she ran a half-marathon and participated in the World Harmony Run. Watch the interview directly here on the blog or click on the vimeo logo to see it in HD quality.