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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The KURA Project... for girls



Hello!
I am sorry I haven't posted in a while.  I have been dealing with an issue with my 90-year -old mother for several months now and it has emotionally and creatively drained me.  Hopefully the situation is resolved and she remains safe and healthy in her lovely retirement community.  Something I have found most interesting is in the small group of people that I have mentioned this to, everyone had their own story- either they, or their mother/family member were dealing with an elderly parent/family member and the stress and difficulty of the situation.   The elder attorney, my sisters and I had to hire, even said that it is an isolating topic- that people just don't talk about it with people outside the family.  What I was dealing with was absolutely minimal (it did not involve a health issue) compared to what so many people have to deal with every single day and yet it stopped me in my tracks for several months.  To those of you who deal with an aging parent on an ongoing basis I salute you and honor you.  I hope you reach out to get support and to remember to take care of yourself along the way.   xxoj.


As I've mentioned before, even when I am not posting on the blog (I promise to try to be more frequent;) I can usually be found posting on INSTAGRAM.  Being a very visual person I love IG as a visual diary of our days and lives.  I post only once a day, if that;), and look for special moments that I want to remember or share.  
 Last week I came upon a IG post that a profound impact on me.  Vermont House  posted about their friends, two Vermont women- Sarah Haddan and Barbara Lowes , who started 
to help girls, and their mothers,  that live in extreme poverty in northern Kenya who do not have access to the most basic of sanitary products.  
Many girls are deprived of an education because of the lack of this basic necessity since going to school without any form of menstruation protection subjects them to the shame of staining their clothes.  Very often menstruation caused girls to miss school, drop out altogether and then to be married off at a young age. 
The KURA Project provides "opportunity kits" to each girl/woman which contain 4 reusable menstruation pads, underwear (since many of the girls do not own underwear) and detergent - a kit will last each girl a year or more.  



Please... stop, think and take in the entirety of this situation for one simple moment.  

can. you. even. imagine???????????????

Being one of millions who enjoy the the bountiful excesses of a lovely life in a free country, until I read about this project it never even dawned on me that this is a need for these girls.  I immediately donated several "opportunity kits" and I am hoping that you are so moved that you will donate one yourself!  For a mere $25 your kindness will be giving the gift of personal hygiene to an impoverished girl for one year.  Please join me in donating: 



If you are more comfortable sending a check their address is:

The KURA PROJECT 
P.O. BOX 505
Manchester, VT  05254 USA


Also, please share this post if you can.  What a wonderful gift it would be to have young girls/teenagers see this need and want to help these girls who have so much less than they do too!

thank you. xxojoan




The following is from their website, and there is a YouTube video at the bottom of the page...

After delivering supplies to several of the schools, and receiving letters of thanks for the donations, a common theme appeared. Each letter and sentiment passed on through Kura expressed appreciation for sanitary towels.
Many girls are deprived of an education because of the lack of this basic necessity. Many girls must remain home during this time and risk the danger of being married off for cows at a very young age.
In 2012 The KURA Project began raising money for AFRIpad kits. These reusable sanitary pads last the girls and women up to one year, keep them in school and allow them to go through their monthly cycle with dignity.
Kura informed me in the fall of 2013 most of the girls and women (we supply each mother and daughter a kit) did not own underwear. It is impossible to use the kits as intended without this basic necessity.
Because The KURA Project received a generous donation of 1,000 AFRIpad kits from the Lunapad company we were able to purchase underwear to go along with each kit. To date 2,000 reusable sanitary towel kits and 1,400 pairs of underwear have been delivered to the following schools in the northern Kenya:
Ngurunit, Loiyangalani, Elmolo and Laisamis, Maikona, Kalacha, Dukana, North Horr, Helmer Girls, Bubisa, and Torbi Primary 
Four schools and community members from in and around Manchester, Vermont, have also helped raise the funds to make these deliveries possible.  
Over 30 schools in Marsabit County remain in need and are waiting for a delivery from The KURA Project. 
In January of 2014 we began sponsoring students for high school. Through generous sponsors we currently support four students through four years of high school. We hope to grow this number so as to help as many students as possible reach their dream of getting an education.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
Sarah Hadden
KURA Project 

To donate, please go ...



Friday, April 21, 2017

for the love of Daisy, please microchip your cats




I've been meaning to pin this post for several months, and today as the story came full circle it seems like the perfect time to write it.
Though it is no surprise that I have a obsession great love of dogs, especially rescue dogs, I also am very fond of cats.  I've never had a cat, I am allergic to some.  But, I've always had this feeling that living here in New Hampshire, surrounded by woods, that one would eventually find its way to us and we would have a cat.  

It was the middle of last November- it was a very cold, dark grey day and we were expected to have our first really hard freeze that night.  As I was walking through the upstairs master bedroom I saw something in the back meadow.  I thought it was a bobcat.  We've seen the occasional bobcat (and in fact, this was a month after a neighbor spotted what she thought was a cougar in the area and sent out a "watch out" email) , but something about this sighting was odd- the animal was moving really slow and would sit hunkered in the grass for long periods of time making it difficult to get a good look at.  We assumed it was stalking a mouse in the grass  We got the binoculars out and decided it was a small bobcat.  It had beautiful coloring.  It wandered onto my neighbors property and disappeared.  Throughout the morning I kept an eye out for the cat, even going up to the fence to see if I could spot it on my neighbor's property.

Later in the day Dan is out with the girls in the front yard and I come out to the front porch to say something to him.  He turns to talk to me and then sees something and points to the corner of the front porch, and there curled up behind a chair is the teeniest, tiniest cat.  I thought it was a kitten it was so small.  I slowly walked up to cat, talking softly to it and it gently gets up and jumps off the porch and starts walking towards the barn.  Dan gets the girls inside (they would love to meet and play with a cat, but I wasn't sure this cat wanted to meet them :) and I follow the cat hoping to befriend it.  As it came to the tall stone wall at the corner of the garage it jumped down to the gravel drive and you could tell that big jump had knocked the wind out of the poor thing.  I scooped the cat up and it melted into my arms- such a sweet, tiny thing.  The cat was a beautiful tortoise color.
As I loved on and petted the cat chunks of hair started falling out and the cat seemed very out of sorts, and very cold.  Dan quickly cleaned out a small carrier we had in the basement so we could take the cat to our vet and I held the cat in my arms thinking that "our cat" had finally showed up just like I always thought it would.
The last time I had seen the cat in the yard it was heading towards my neighbors house.  If the cat had gone to that front porch it would have never been found as my neighbor is rarely home and wasn't there at this time.  I think the cat sensed the energy of our dogs and the warmth of the farmhouse and felt that our house was a safe house.

As we drove the cat to the vet I was wondering if it was a girl or a boy.  I just had this feeling that the cat was a girl.  So, then, I started thinking what will we name her?  The first name that came to me was "Daisy."  Daisy was on my long list of dog names (I love dog names and always have a running list going, just in case!)  when we adopted Magnolia and Louise, but as it turned out the names that we would call them came organically and didn't come off a list.  Something about the cat just seemed to fit the name, so I thought to myself, Daisy it is!

When we got to our vet the first thing they did was check to see if she had a microchip.  And, to all our surprise, she did!   I held the cat in my arms to warm her, and Dan and I stayed in an examining room while the clinic called the microchip company and then called the phone number that was on the cat's account.  After a few minutes they came in and told us that the cat was actually one of their clients.  The dad answered the phone and was shocked to get the call because the cat had been missing for 3 months, and they had just assumed the cat was dead.  He said he would be there as fast as he could.

Turns out the cat was a girl, she was 8 years old, and her name was......
 Daisy

I. kid. you. not.
I about fell off the chair and freaked everyone out when I told them I had named her Daisy on the drive over.




 Daisy normally weighed 8 to 9 pounds, but the day we found her she weighed 3 pounds.  With her current health condition, which turned out to be very dire,  and the impending hard freeze expected that night the vet and staff felt sure she would not have survived another day.  Daisy was an indoor cat who escaped through an open window one lovely early fall afternoon.  As the crow flies, she lives about a mile and a half from us.  That she survived even one day, much less three months is amazing considering the thick woods between our house and hers are filled with all sorts of wildlife, and she would have been easy prey.
We waited at the vet's to meet Daisy's family.  The dad and two little boys quietly walked into the room and they were in complete shock that they are looking at their Daisy.  Daisy's mom was at work when she got the call from her husband and broke down sobbing that Daisy had been found.  The mom and dad had been gently trying to explain to the two little boys that Daisy was not coming home, but the little boys were convinced that Daisy would come home again!  Ahhh, faith through the eyes of a child!
Daisy had to stay at the vet's for over a week to be force fed and monitored.  In the meantime Dan and I received texts, phone calls, a gift and cards from Daisy's family and Daisy's grandparents!!  Turns out Daisy was one loved and missed little cat!   Daisy arrived home right before Thanksgiving and received lots of love and attention and lots of licks on her face (per Daisy's mom) from her dog-brother!!








Daisy made weekly trips to the vet for weight checks and blood work which were all slowly improving!  Daisy and her mom even stopped by the house one day on the way to the vet.  It was so good to see her regaining her health, she was up over 7 pounds and her blood work was back to normal; she looked like a completely different cat than the one we found.

It had been several months and I had been thinking about Daisy a lot last week, for some reason, and kept meaning to check in to see how she was doing.  Then several days later I got a text from Daisy's mom saying that Daisy's health had declined.  She had developed diabetes and lost weight, back to almost 4 pounds.  No doubt due to her time in the wilderness and the toll it took on her little body.  Her family knew that their time with her was short, but they wanted me to know.




This morning I received this text...
Hi Joan, this is the final update... we will be putting Daisy to rest later this morning.  It's time.  xoxo

We were so sad to get this news, but yet so grateful that Daisy got to go home and live out the rest of her life with love and her family.

It was late this morning that I was standing at the kitchen sink, on the phone with Dan, when out from the woods in the back meadow, not far from where I first spotted Daisy, was what appeared to be a bobcat.  (We have not seen a bobcat/cat since that November day.)
 But was it??
I had thought Daisy was a bobcat the first time I laid eyes on her too.  It's raining  and cold today and the windows are closed, but as I spoke to tell Dan what I was seeing, the cat stopped... turned its head and looked directly at me.  I had chills.  I walked upstairs to get the binoculars and I reached the window just as the cat was disappearing into the woods.  I have not seen the cat since.

I think it was Daisy...  coming to say goodbye.


  We learned the day that we found Daisy that it is rare for people to microchip their indoor cats, thinking they don't need to because the cat live inside.  Shelly, the wonderful woman who manages the front desk at our vet said in her 11 years of working there this is the first time she has ever seen a microchipped cat returned to its owner.  She said on the rare occasion a cat is found with a microchip the information on the chip is outdated and the owner can not be found.

So... this is a pet-friendly reminder, for the love of Daisy,  to microchip your cats too and to all pet owners.... make sure your information is up to date!!

In honor of Daisy I have an "Adoptable Cat of the Week" from Lytle, Texas Animal Care and Control posted at the top of my sidebar.  Please share if you can.



Tomorrow I will find some daisies to take to her grieving family.
photo via Pinterest

xxojoan





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