My birthday took place on Easter Sunday this year, so I started the day with happy hymns and ringing bells. Alleluia!
It was a lovely day.
Thanks for all the good wishes, everyone!
And huge thanks to my family and friends for loving me — yesterday and every day!
It’s been said that how we live with each other and how we live with the Earth are the defining issues of our time.
I’m going to start with the Earth first.
As I start another year on Planet Earth, I know that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth. That’s a big concern.
But my Jamaican ancestors would say: “One-one coco fill basket”. That means all our small efforts can add up to something big.
So I’m making a compact with our planet. I pledge:
To remember that living on Earth is a sacred privilege.
To be more mindful of the impact my daily decisions have on you, Earth.
To remember that I — that each of us — can help preserve and love you in our own small way.
Next: Living with Each Other
As my family and friends know, I did not take kindly to my own mobility problems, caused by a car accident. I still get upset about it sometimes.
But as I start the next year of my life, a picture of a girl stays in my mind: Florence.
Florence, the Ugandan girl who became disabled at age 8, and is now able, for the first time in 4 years, to get around without crawling on the ground.
Florence got her very own wheelchair — and the gift of mobility — because strangers donated to CanUgan — a small charity run by Canadians and Ugandans together.
If you wish to help others like Florence: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/canugan-disability-support/
I’ve also spent the last few weeks supporting a fundraising drive to benefit vulnerable children, adults and pets through #GlobalSussexBabyShower — and rejoicing at every donation.
Thanks to this grassroots online initiative that honours Prince Harry and his wife Duchess Meghan, more children in South Africa now have food each day; more newborns in the US are getting clothes, diapers, food.
More seriously ill children in the UK are getting expert care and more unemployed British women are getting help and clothing for their job-hunt.
More adolescent girls in India are getting sanitary pads so they can go to school when having their monthly periods; more girls in Africa are now able to attend school.
The problems of the world are daunting. Poverty, oppression, racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry loom large. As I start the next year on this beautiful planet, I will try to keep in mind:
One-one coco fill basket. Bit by bit, one by one, each of us can make a difference to another person’s life. And each of us can make a difference to the Earth.