Every Day Heroes Special Edition – Giovanni Brignoni


Hi dear readers and friends. Long time no sees. I have not been able to ignite the posts in me that I want to share. As you might have seen I have been unhappy with the way our world is developing at the moment and I don’t want to be a doom writer. I want to be a blog about hope, love, and friendship. A blog about people helping this world and everything on it. Ironically, today’s blog is a bit of both.

Who is Mr. Giovanni Brignoni? He is a few things. First and foremost, Mr. Brignoni is a helicopter pilot in Puerto Rico. Secondly, Mr. Brignoni will be a symbol that stands for the people of Puerto Rico and those that are helping them. But let’s start with Mr. Brignoni.

Giovanni Brignoni

You know… I couldn’t tell you a thing, not a clue except for the little bit I have seen from a video I will link below as Facebook doesn’t allow me to embed. This is a video by David Begnaud. A CBS journalist who has been covering the events in Puerto Rico ever since the Hurricane devastated the islands. While Mr. Begnaud has been keeping P.R in the public eye, Mr. Brignoni has been flying all over, rescuing people with every flight in many ways. Please watch the following to get an emotional but honest report and you might understand why I choose Giovanni Brignoni to be “the face” of today’s Everyday Heroes

Click here to view on Facebook

I hope you agree that this man is a very shiny example of an Everyday Hero.

The People in Puerto Rico

Thos that lived there and fell victim as well as those that came and are helping the Islanders get back on their feet. Many people are working tirelessly to restore power and water, clean up beaches and town, clear taken down forests.  Nature has a habit to heal itself over time and I am sure that in that regard, in a few years Puerto Rico will be back to its former beauty.

I would like to show you a video made by Sigma 3 survival school about their efforts to provide the so much needed help

 

I want to conclude with a few mentions and requests.

My first mention must be Carmen Yulín Cruz. The Mayor of San Juan who has been a voice for the people of Puerto Rico and has done lots of work when others waited for “official help”. She has imo shown to be a true leader and the people of San Juan and Puerto Rico should be dang proud of her.

800px-carmenyulin

My second mention must be my dear friend Horty Rexach. A proud Boricua that lives in the USA and has kept Puerto Rico in the news with her blogs and FB activity. I can advise no better place to go and get to know Puerto Rico and how the situation evolves then by reading It is what it is by Dr.Rex 

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Finally, I want to request you follow the above blog and David Begnaud and if you happen to feel generous please donate to a relief charity of your choosing. If you don’t know one you might try http://rickymartinfoundation.org/

Wubbo Ockels, the first Dutch Astronaut, Dies at 68


This morning at 11:08 local time, Wubbo Ockels died in the Anthony van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam. Ockels died from the effects of renal cell cancer. He was already taken into the hospital a few days ago.

Wubbo Johannes Ockels (March 28, 1946 – May 18, 2014) was a Dutch physicist and a former astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA). In 1985 he participated in a flight on a space shuttle (STS-61-A), making him the first Dutch citizen in space. He was not the first Dutch-born astronaut, as he is preceded by the naturalized American Lodewijk van den Berg, who flew on STS-51-B. Ockels is currently professor of Aerospace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology at the Delft University of Technology. On May 29, 2013 it was announced that Ockels has an aggressive form of kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) with a metastasis in his pleural cavity, and a life expectancy of one to two years. He died from complications of cancer on May 18, 2014.

Education and early life

Ockels was born in Almelo but considered Groningen to be his hometown. He obtained his MSc degree in physics and mathematics in 1973 and subsequently a PhD degree in the same subjects in 1978 from the University of Groningen. His thesis was based on experimental work at the Nuclear-physics Accelerator Institute (KVI) in Groningen.

From 1973 to 1978, Ockels performed experimental investigations at the Nuclear Physics Accelerator Institute in Groningen. His work concerned the gamma-ray decay of nuclear systems directly after formation and the development of a data-handling system involving design of electronics and programming of real-time software. He also contributed to the design and construction of position-sensitive charged particle detectors. While at the K.V.I. Institute, Ockels supervised the practical work of first-year physics students at the University of Groningen.

ESA career

Wubbo Ockels as an astronaut.

In 1978, he was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as one of three European payload specialists to train for the Spacelab 1mission. In May 1980, under agreement between ESA and NASA, Ockels and Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier were selected to begin the basic astronaut training for mission specialist together with the NASA astronaut candidates at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Ockels successfully completed this training in August 1981. He rejoined the Spacelab 1 crew for training as a back-up payload specialist to operate experiments aboard Spacelab 1. This mission of a reusable, scientific research facility built by the European Space Agency (ESA) took place aboard the Space Shuttle in November 1983. Spacelab 1 was a joint NASA/ESA mission. Having served his role as back-up payload specialist for German astronaut Ulf Merbold, he took his place in Mission Control in Houston as the primary communicator between the astronauts working in Spacelab and the Mission Management Team in Houston.

Ockels flew as a payload specialist on the crew of STS-61A Challenger (October 30 to November 6, 1985). STS-61A was the West German D-1 Spacelab mission. It was the first to carry eight crew members, (five Americans, two Germans and Ockels); the largest to fly in space; and was also the first in which payload activities were controlled from outside the United States: from the DLR control center in Germany. More than 75 scientific experiments were completed in the areas of physiological sciences, materials science, biology, and navigation. At mission conclusion Ockels had traveled 2.5 million miles in 110 Earth orbits, and logged over 168 hours in space.

A small planetoid is named after Wubbo Ockels by the International Astronomical Union. The planetoid orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. The object’s full name is 9496 Ockels. Ockels is a member of the American Physical Society and the European Physical Society. From 1999 to 2003, he was head of ESA‘s Office for Educational Projects Outreach Activities.

Scientific career

In 1992, Ockels was appointed part-time professor Aerospace Engineering (in particular, Aerospace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology) at the Delft University of Technology, and promoted to full-time professor in September 2003. In this function, he has overseen the Nuna projects. He has also proposed the development of a Superbus, a new method of high speed (250 km/hour) public transportation by road. The public transportation company Connexxion is the first company to invest in the development of this Superbus.

at the end of his life Wubbo Ockels was involved in his “LadderMill” sustainable energy program. A Laddermill is a kind of windmill consisting of a “ladder” of “kites”. As quoted from his website:

The LadderMill is the response to the challenge for exploiting the gigantic energy source contained in the airspace up to high altitudes of 10 km. The concept has been developed with the aim to convert wind energy at altitude in electricity on the ground in an environmental and cost effective manner.

Whilst working at the university he has assisted and advised the Nuon Solar Team, a solar racer team consisting of students, which has won the biannual World Solar Challenge4 consecutive times from 2001 to 2007.

In 2009, Ockels presented a talk arguing that the notion of time is human-constructed as a result of our interpretation of the effects of gravity.

Personal life

Ockels was married, had two children and two grandchildren.

In August 2005, Ockels suffered a severe heart attack which required his hospitalization. He has recovered well and has resumed his work at the Delft University of Technology.

He is also known as ´Wockels´, a nickname he acquired at the TU Delft University of Technology, combining his initials and last name, mistaken for the crisps Wokkels.

Indiepop band John Wayne Shot Me recorded a song called “Wubbo Ockels” for their album “The Purple Hearted Youth Club”. (which I couldn’t find 😦 )

Honours

 

Every Day Heroes: Mothers


Mothers

It is almost mother day so I thought I dedicate an every day heroes post to mothers. It actually is kind of funny I do this since my biological mother didn’t want me and my foster mother,.. well, she raised me and gave me all I needed, She loved me tat I am sure off but a son? no after the first few years and certainly after I became homeless I never got the feeling that I was her son. |I love her to dead though and I have a huge respect for her and my foster dad, she gave me all I needed and more out of the goodness of her heart with no strings attached as you might expect from a mother I guess my own path in life has something to do with the feelings I have about “not feeling a son” and I have decided a long time ago to not hold that against her.

What is a mother::Etymology

The modern English word is from Middle English moder, from Old English mōdor, from Proto-Germanic *mōdēr (cf. East Frisian muur, Dutch moeder, German Mutter), from Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr (cf. Irish máthair, Tocharian A mācar, B mācer, Lithuanian mótė). Other cognates include Latin māter, Greek μήτηρ, Common Slavic *mati (thence Russian мать (mat’)), Persian مادر (madar), and Sanskrit मातृ (mātṛ).

Biological mother
In the case of a mammal such as a human, a pregnant woman gestates a fertilized ovum (the “egg”). A fetus develops from the viable fertilized ovum, resulting in an embryo. Gestation occurs in the woman’s uterus from conception until the fetus (assuming it is carried to term) is sufficiently developed to be born. The woman experiences labor and gives birth. Usually, once the baby is born, the mother produces milk via the lactation process. The mother’s breast milk is the source of anti-bodies for the infant’s immune system and commonly the sole source of nutrition for the first year or more of the child’s life.

Non-biological mother
Mother can often apply to a woman other than the biological parent, especially if she fulfills the main social role in raising the child. This is commonly either an adoptive mother or a stepmother (the biologically unrelated wife of a child’s father). The term “othermother” or “other mother” is also used in some contexts for women who provide care for a child not biologically their own in addition to the child’s primary mother.

Adoption, in various forms, has been practiced throughout history. Modern systems of adoption, arising in the 20th century, tend to be governed by comprehensive statutes and regulations. In recent decades, international adoptions have become more and more common.

Adoption in the United States is common and relatively easy from a legal point of view (compared to other Western countries). In 2001, with over 127,000 adoptions, the US accounted for nearly half of the total number of adoptions worldwide.

Motherhood in same-sex relationships
The possibility for lesbian and bisexual women in same-sex relationships (or without a partner) to become mothers has increased over the past few decades thanks to new technology. Modern lesbian parenting (a term that somewhat erases the bisexual case) originated with women who were in heterosexual relationships who later identified as lesbian or bisexual, as changing attitudes provided more acceptance for non-heterosexual relationships. Another way for such women to become mothers is through adopting and/or foster parenting. There is also the option of self-insemination and clinically assisted donor insemination, forms of artificial insemination. As fertility technology has advanced, more women not in a heterosexual relationship have become mothers through in vitro fertilization. Note that in the Netherlands it recently became much easier for Lesbian couples to be equal parents for the child (as in same sex marriages) without the need of long lasting expensive legal procedures. (as an extra note to all religious nutcases that ar against same sex marriage and motherhood http://www.impactlab.net/2010/01/22/do-children-need-to-be-raised-by-a-mother-and-father-to-do-well/ )

The proverbial “first word” of an infant often sounds like “ma” or “mama”. This strong association of that sound with “mother” has persisted in nearly every language on earth, countering the natural localization of language.

Familiar or colloquial terms for mother in English are:

Aama, Mata used in Nepal
Mom and mommy are used in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Philippines, India and parts of the West Midlands including Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Mum and mummy are used in the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Ireland. Charles, Prince of Wales publicly addressed his mother Queen Elizabeth II as “Mummy” on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.
Ma, mam, and mammy are used in Netherlands, Ireland, the Northern areas of the United Kingdom, and Wales; it is also used in some areas of the United States.
In many other languages, similar pronunciations apply:

Synonyms and translations

Maa, aai, amma, and mata are used in India
Mamá, mama, ma, and mami in Spanish
Mama in Polish, German, Russian and Slovak
Māma (妈妈/媽媽) in Chinese
Máma in Czech and in Ukrainian
Maman in French and Persian
Ma, mama in Indonesian
Mamaí, mam in Irish
Mamma in Italian, Icelandic, Latvian and Swedish
Māman or mādar in Persian
Mamãe or mãe in Portuguese
Mā̃ (ਮਾਂ) in Punjabi
Mama in Swahili
Em (אם) in Hebrew
Ima (אמא) in Aramaic
Má or mẹ in Vietnamese
Mam in Welsh
Eomma (엄마, pronounced [ʌmma]) in Korean
In many south Asian cultures and the Middle East, the mother is known as amma, oma, ammi or “ummi”, or variations thereof. Many times, these terms denote affection or a maternal role in a child’s life.

The most famous mother in history (regardless if you are religious or not) must have been the virgin Mary,Did you know that the immaculate conception has nothing to do with her being a virgin or not? It has to do with the fact that she was free of the original sin (or so the bible says)

Do you still have your mother around? Then make sure that on Mothers Day she is the star of the day. Do I hear you saying that you don’t follow these commercially founded celebrations? Then remember this… A breakfast on bed, An extra hug, doing the dishes or vacuuming, this all has nothing to do with commercially but only with showing appreciation and love and thanks for that what she is doing 24/7 year long.Honor your mother, she deserves it.

 

Liberation Day


May 5th Liberation Day

Today it is Liberation Day in the Netherlands. A day the whole country celebrates that we became free again in 1945 after the capitulation of the Third Reich.

In the Netherlands we celebrate that on May 5  Germany capitulated in the western Netherlands. On that date the capitulation supposedly should be signed between the German General John Blaskowitz and the Canadian General Charles Foulkes. This happened in Hotel De Wereld (The World) in Wageningen, in the presence of Prince Bernhard. The agreement was signed on May 6 at the adjacent to Hotel The World placed Auditorium of the then Agricultural College. Prince Bernhard was not present there. The deed itself, presently in the Municipal Wageningen, is dated Wageningen May 5, 1945. Actually it was merely an agreement on the technical development of German troops in the Netherlands in accordance with the capitulation of German troops on 4 May in north-west Europe. This fact is not widely known in the Netherlands.

Despite what some Americans think, the Netherlands was actually just partially liberated by US forces.

The southern part of the Netherlands – down the large rivers – was liberated in the fall of 1944. On September 12, 1944 , the Americans entered South Limburg and the first Dutch municipalities were liberated ,Eijsden , Mesch , Mheer and Noorbeek. On September 14, 1944 Maastricht was liberated .

Operation Market Garden was subsequently deployed, a risky plan to cross over the river in one go and thus draw into Germany . Obviously Netherlands would then be liberated in the process . The operation ran from 17 to September 25, 1944 , and ended in a German victory in the Battle of Arnhem . In the fall of 1944, the remaining part of the Netherlands south of the river , except for the area east of the Meuse , was liberated , mainly to get free access to the important port of Antwerp

The Germans resisted fiercely and particularly in Zeeland. Walcheren was flooded by the Allies in November 1944 by bombing the dikes. This drove the Germans out of their positions . The front was now positioned at the major rivers and the Allied advance stalled temporarily in the Netherlands.

Then the worst winter in the history of our country followed.The Dutch famine of 1944, known as the Hongerwinter (“Hunger winter”) in Dutch, was a famine that took place in the German-occupied part of the Netherlands, especially in the densely populated western provinces above the great rivers, .A German blockade cut off food and fuel shipments from farm areas. Some 4.5 million were affected and survived because of soup kitchens. About 22,000 died because of the famine. Most vulnerable according to the death reports were elderly men

Towards the end of World War II, food supplies became increasingly scarce in the Netherlands. After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, conditions grew increasingly worse in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands After the national railways complied with the exiled Dutch government’s appeal for a railway strike starting September 1944 to further the Allied liberation efforts, the German administration retaliated by placing an embargo on all food transports to the western Netherlands.

In search of food, people would walk for tens of kilometers to trade valuables for food at farms. Tulip bulbs and sugarbeets were commonly consumed. Furniture and houses were dismantled to provide fuel for heating. From September 1944 until early 1945 the deaths of 18,000 Dutch people were attributed to malnutrition as the primary cause and in many more as a contributing factor. The Dutch Famine ended with the liberation of the western Netherlands in May 1945. Shortly before that, some relief had come from the ‘Swedish bread’, which was actually baked in the Netherlands but made from flour shipped in from Sweden. Shortly after these shipments, the German occupiers allowed coordinated air drops of food by the Royal Air Force over German-occupied Dutch territory in Operation Manna. The two events are often confused, even resulting in the commemoration of bread being dropped from airplanes, something that never happened.

The northern part of the Netherlands was only released in the spring of 1945 . This second phase of liberation began outside the Netherlands after the Allied capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen in Germany on March 7, 1945, British-Canadian forces bent down to eastern Netherlands . On March 23, 1945 , the first Allied units entered in Dinxperlo Netherlands and Elten , which was a hard battle.

At this time there was no longer a regular front . The Canadians used a kind of ‘relay’ tactiek which involved the forward units getting relieved by units behind them.They tried to advance as far as possible with blockades and reinforcements circumvented and success exploited directly.About flank security the allied units no longer could be bothered This was almost no longer necessary since the defending German forces consisted largely of unmotivated old men and young boys who were also poorly stocked .

Conversely, the city of Groningen ,on 14 , 15 and 16 April was defended fiercly by thousands of fanatical German and Dutch SS . In the ensuing battle , the north side of the Market went up in flames . Groningen was not the only example : part of the occupiers and collaborators indeed defended themselves to the end.

After the capitulation the Allied forces could finally enter the remaining part of the Netherlands to flush out the remaining resisting German and Dutch fighters.The island Schiermonnikoog was the last municipality in the Netherlands, on June 11, 1945, that was liberated. When in April 1945 the province of Groningen was liberated by the Canadians, a group of about 120 SS fled to the island, which had still a German garrison. On June 11, the last 600 German troops on Schiermonnikoog were taken by the Canadians.

So you see, the liberation of the Netherlands was a matter of different countries working together and we owe these countries a great deal. And I like to think that we do show it when possible. Many WWII Veteran, be it a Canadian, British or American (and let’s not forget the Polish forces in English service), that has visited our country after the war will be able to attest to that. Today the whole country will celebrate in honor of those that fought and gave life and limb for our freedom. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts

A new award is here: the Cloak of Dawn award


cloack of dawn award

The Cloak of Dawn award

The idea behind this award: We all know bloggers that write about the issues in this world be it animal abuse, child abuse, equality, their family, love, friendship, the love of whatever deity they worship and so on. We also know many blogger that besides blogging has to take care of a loved one because they are sick, have a disability or are otherwise not able to do everything by themselves. For these bloggers I created this award. The award is named in the spirit of a voluntary care giver and mother that does not blog herself and therefore can not receive the award herself (see what I did there Shaun ? )

Why a cloak? well in Dutch we call a voluntary caregiver (as described above) a “mantel zorger” which translates literal to “cloak carer” hence the cloak and the Rod of Aesculapius 

This award has some special rules due to its intend. Whereas most awards are shared after you have gotten it yourself, this award will be free to hand out at each and everyone’s own discretion BUT you must make sure that the intend of the award is upheld.

DA Rules

1: Display the award on your blog, either on a special awards page or in your side bar

2: If you have a nominee yourself tell them of their nomination

3: make clear in your nomination blog why you have nominated the person. is it for his/her blogging or for his/her voluntary care that they give to their loved one / friend / kid / grandparents / animals etc etc

4; there is no limit on how many people you can nominate as long as the spirit of the award remains intact.

5: this can’t be declined 😉

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My first nominee is often a bit overlooked. I don’t know if he ever received an award but that might be due to the fact he does not have his own blog but has a page on the blog of his loved one. He is a poet, artist and for what I have been reading a voluntary caregiver to a very dear friend of mine. I am talking about Danny from Danny’s Lair whom is sharing his webspot with Just Patty from http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/ . Danny, I don’t know you besides what I have seen on Patty’s blog but reading her blogs I know you are a true “mantelzorger” and therefore you fully deserve this award. YOU are the BOMB and I love you for it (in a manly way of course :D) I hope you will display it with pride and I hope that it will help you to get some more “fame” on WordPress.

My second nomination goes to DrRex from It is what it is. For those few people that come to my blog and do NOT know this sweet lady I suggest you visit her blog asap. DrRex ain’t calling herself Doctor for fun, She has devoted her complete professional career to the provision of medical care to those in need which includes work with/for veterans. She is also a blogger that is always spreading love, inspiration and knowledge and I can not think of a better person to present this award too. Sweet sweet Horty, this one is for you.

The most amazing man in my life


No this isn’t about my father or my foster dad. It isn’t about my brothers or Ghandi or Jezus. This is about a man I met about 22/25 years ago, I don’t even know when precise but it is at least 22 and at most 25 years. Without this person my life would have been very different and many of the things I have done would not have been possible if he hadn’t been around. This is the story of Willem

I met Willem somewhere in the early 90’s in the homeless shelters in Utrecht after I came back there following my unfortunate times in Arnhem. I am not sure what triggered our initial friendship but he belonged to the group of people I chose to hang out with.

Bunkbeds, Sleep Inn shelter Utrecht

Willem made money playing the Djembe at Hoog Catharijne (a for Dutch standards large shopping mall and main train station of the Netherlands) and when weather permitted on the city hall square. As a big supporter of anything that has to do with music in general and drums in particular this drew my attention and I decided that this was something I wanted as well.

A djembe called Ilse van Kampen

As luck would have it I had a form of social security through a special project and the first possibility I got I bought myself a Djembe as well. Willem was so kind to show me some basic rhythms and it was not long after that I joined him on a regular basis on the station and squares, banging my drum making some hard needed extra money. Of course not everybody at the station/mall was happy with that especially since we often got joined by other musicians with Djembe’s, Didgeridoo’s and other instruments however money was made, shared and spend and life was good.

Then came a time that playing in Utrecht (or rather earnings in Utrecht) went down. I guess the public by now knew our play and grew a bit weary of it. Then one day Willem asked me if I felt like going to Scheveningen with him to play there on the boulevard along the beach. I was the proud owner of a small dome tent at the time and since I was feeling adventures I agreed to do so.

When we arrived in Scheveningen (a suburban area of the Hague) we started playing on the boulevard to make some money. After all you won’t survive without food and drink and in our case we wouldn’t survive without the much liked greens (no not dollars, the Dutch greens of course). Playing went fine, money came in and we had our food and smoke covered after a few hours. The video below is the two of us together with some friends playing on the Djembe and Didgeridoo (not in Scheveningen. I have no footage of that unfortunately)

So it was time to eat and near the beach and boulevard we soon discovered a snack bar (as chips shops are called here) that looked like a good place to fill our bellies. We made a lot of great decision during our time in Scheveningen but the choice for this snack bar (called “pyramid”) has probably been the best decision we made out there.

Pyramid was owned by an Iranian guy with the name Maroes, he wa married to a Dutch red head and although a Muslim he made the best pork belly I have ever eaten. Now don’t confuse the Dutch pork belly with any pork belly from whatever country. Here the pork belly is not sold as a big chunk of meat but rather as slices of about 1 cm thick and they are called Speklap (lard cutlett)

Pork belly – Speklapjes

After we had ordered our meals we went outside to wait for it to be ready when the owner came and asked us what we carried in those big duffel bags we carried around. When we mentioned that we carried Djembe’s around the man went nuts (in a positive way) and asked us to play something. When we asked if other customers wouldn’t mind he grinned and told us to play regardless of what others thought. And so we where playing and eating and having a good time until it was time to find a place to sleep.

Normally in the Netherlands, if you have a tent you sleep on a camp ground but we figured that camp grounds could cost a lot of money and if we would take the trouble to walk a few miles outside town we should have no trouble finding a place somewhere in the dunes to set up camp and so we did. After about 30 minutes walking through the dunes we found a huge stair going down to the beach with a nice spot near the dune side of the beach and we decided that this would be the place where we would camp during our time in Scheveningen. We quickly made camp and went into our sleeping bags for a good night of sleep only to be given the biggest surprise of our life when we woke up the next morning and discovered we had set up camp on the nude beach!!!!

After a good laugh we broke up camp for that day, went up the stairs towards the dunes and decided that carrying all our gear during the day was way to much work and so we dropped the tent and bag packs behind some bushes hoping they would still be there if we would get back in the evening.(In looking back a stupid move of course but to our surprise it has worked very well during the whole time we where there.) We hung our duffel bags with Djembe on our back, went into Scheveningen to first find ourselves a coffee shop for the much needed smoke and after that was sorted we went back to the boulevard and beach to play and make money.

This was one of the hottest summers in the history of my country so the beaches where full every day and most days we made a decent amount of money followed by a meal at Pyramid, coffee shop, walk to camp ground, setting up camp and go to sleep.

We met a lot of strange, funny, kind and happy people and as it goes in life also a few naggers, idiots and nut cases. One of the stories we still talk about till this day is about an old man that heard us play at Pyramid (we “had” to play every time we went there and we went there every time). He was drunk of his ass and kept repeating “you guys pl better than the Papuans in New Guinea and I can know that cause I have been there” followed by a slap with his hand to his forehead while shouting “BEER”. He even went as far as sitting on the ground straight in front of us, listening with wide open eyes occasionally slapping his head shouting “BEER”

not same man,

Then one day playing went great but money didn’t come. I don’t know why but we had played almost until our hands where bleeding and had made maybe 5 guilders (about 2 euros) and we where almost to the point that we thought about selling the Bongo’s (two small drums side by side) when a man came out of the Casino that is near the beach. He walked up to Willem with his hand reached out for a handshake and when he shaked he said “So, you guys have a good day as well” and walked off. Willem opened his hand and we noticed he had slipped a 50 guilder bill in there. Needless to say we didn’t sell the small drum set, went to Pyramid to eat and after that to the coffee shop.

When we came out of the shop later that evening because it closed for the day, we decided to roll one for the road and we sat down in a sheltered bus stop. Since I am the fastest joint roller on the planet it came down to me to make one. and I was busy doing just that when right in front of us, maybe 10 feet away, lightning struck. I swear, I haven’t moved a muscle but still I went up from my seat in the air at least a good 10 cm (while remaining in the same seated position as I was already in) and when I looked down the paper, tobacco and greens on there where vanished in thin air. It was not to be found on the bench, on the ground or any other place… it vanished…poof. At the same time the heavens opened up and a rain like in the days of Noah came down. We have waited there for a while and when the flood ended a bit we made our way to our camp site to sleep.

Of course many things have happened in Scheveningen and if I would list them all you would be reading till next week so let me just say that until this day I regard those weeks as the best vacation I have ever had.

Of course one day it was time to go back to Utrecht which is kind of funny when you think we are still talking about two homeless dudes however Utrecht was “home” so back we went. Of course during those weeks Willem and I had become even better friends then before and at least for me “friend” started to change in “bro”

I regard everyone able to become my friend but to become my bro… that is a different matter. When I call you bro I mean it. Bro for me is not something lightly said to just anyone like you see so often. I call you how I see you, simple as that.

Now bro is a very smart individual and besides being smart he has a big heart, empathy, kindness, generosity and a certain joie de vivre. (unfortunately he can be hard headed, stubborn and cranky as well…. still love ya bro) and he had started with some of his other friends with a plan to start a “union for the homeless in Utrecht” (for Dutch reader the UBD or Utrechtse Bond van Daklozen) and me… always in for something new, together with another friend thought “well you do that and then we join you with a youth division”( de UBDJ -Utrechtse Bond voor Dakloze Jongeren). Unfortunately bro had teamed up with the “wrong friends” and they went behind his back with their own project which has a story told here and here . I got involved, even asked for the “board of directors” but it took I think a good 2 years before bro finally got involved as well. During this time we had little contact especially since I was planning to move to Israel after I worked a few years at the shelter.

Israel… or there and back again 😉

When I returned from Israel I went back to the shelter and worked there again for a few months until I met my wife, strangely enough I got sacked (on false grounds) the same day Lijda and I got a relation and a new period of little contact followed.

It was a few years after that that bro started a foundation himself called Stichting Straat Advocaat (the streetlaywer foundation) basically fulfilling his dream of a union for the homeless and I decided to go and see if I could be of any help. Well that was a simple yes. Since I am very computer savvy I quickly became the one maintaining all the computer systems. well, to be honest it was someone elses job but they kind of sucked at it 😉 I have done that until a few weeks before the foundation got killed of by the city council due to them refusing to help fund it and some backstabbing from some of his “colleagues” however that was imo not my most important contribution.

A side project of this foundation was “Amoras”. Amoras was a meal project with the object of providing a good meal 3 times a week for the homeless and anyone needing it….. free of charge. The name is taken from a comic called Suske en Wiske: op het eiland Amoras (Willy and Wanda on Amoras Island) by Willy Vandersteen. In this story it is about an island where two groups of people live. the thins and the fatso’s. basically it is about food. Besides that, if you read the name backwards it is Saroma which is a popular dessert around here. During the running time of this project bro (who had a cooking education) was the head chef, I was his sous chef and a few of our friends where the chopping crew.

During the lifespan of Amoras we have served thousands of meals in the sleep inn (another night shelter that kindly let us use their kitchen and main room) and I think we where the most poplar “restaurant” among the homeless and poor. This project has unfortunately also been killed off by the city council in favor of a christian organization that had it’s “own money”.

In between the NOIZ and Amoras I got married and bro I asked bro to be my best man. He kindly agreed to this and I hope I will one day be able to repay this favor. After all during his work for the streetlaywer foundation he met a woman online that over the years became the love of his life. I take a little credit for them meeting since he met her on a poker site I installed for him on his pc 😉

For some reason a lot of his friends abandoned him after the streetlaywer adventure but bro and me got only more close. Besides Djembe he learned to play the didgeridoo and we have played many times together. either the two of us or with some friends as you can see in next video.

Our relation together has evolved over the years to that of “two brothers from another mother. I visit him at least 3 times a week and we will play some shooters or Dynasty warriors (a hack and slash game) or I am just playing alone when he is chatting with Eileen, his lady from across the pond who has become a very dear and special friend to me and Lijda as well. We but mainly he had the pleasure of her coming to holland in 2012 and bro has had the pleasure of visiting her in the USA. I still hope bro will take the next step simply because I want to see him happy and together with the love of life. Of course that is not up to me and I guess everyone will understand that this is not a simple task if you both live 5000 miles apart.

This amazing man is my bro, my friend and my point of sanity in tis mad world, I wish everybody had a friend like I have my bro and I will love him (platonic)  for the rest of my life.

Bro, this one is for you, may we be friends till the universe collapses.

from left to right: Eileen, Willem and Lijda during the departure of Eileen back to the U.S of A

Every Day Heroes part 1: Alanya


Every Day Hero maart 2014

Introduction

I know Alanya for many years now and although contact has faded away over the last years I still consider her an every day hero.

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I met Alanya (in that time going by another (Dutch) name) when I was homeless just as she was. At that time she was hanging out with a group of people within the homeless community that was overlapping the group that I was hanging out and through mutual friends we got in contact with each other. I must admit that the moment I saw her I got a little crush on her and it was not difficult to become friends with her. (It too some time but I eventually told her about my crush which she appreciated but didn’t return)

During that time, which was one of the best periods in my street life, this group of about 10 people was supporting each other on the streets, we camped together on a camping ground, went to the nearby lake to swim or to the park to relax etc.

Then the time came that the N.O.I.Z was founded and she played a big part in that. She was the one that opened the door of the squatted building, she was one of the people talking to the city council, she arranged a lot inside the shelter and eventually she became a manager for the N.O.I.Z as well. Not a small feat for a girl who was taken from her country (Peru) and adopted at 9 months old and homeless since the age of 15.

(following part is taken from http://www.loscachorros.nl/english/documents/history.html )

Back to Peru

With the foundation of NoiZ, Alanya regained control of her own life. Early 2000 Alanya heard about a “roots trip”. This trip offered adopted adolescents in the Netherlands a trip back to their place of birth in Peru. This was the occasion for Alanya to get back in touch with her adoption family and to together learn about her origin. Alanya left for Peru together with her adoption parents in 2000. Everything came together for Alanya at her motherland. This was her home! Seeing and experiencing the poverty, the beggars and the street children was not easy for Alanya, however. She immediately felt drawn to the street children’s fate. That is when and why she decided to do something for these children in her hometown Ayacucho.

Founding Los Cachorros

Back in the Netherlands, Alanya gathered a few people and founded, with the idea of NoiZ in the back of her head, Los Cachorros on September 28, 2000. The following three years were all about fundraising, sponsoring activities, generating publicity and establish contacts in Ayacucho. It was until May 29, 2003 that the doors of the night shelter finally opened for the street children of Ayacucho. Since 2006, Los Cachorros also offers a 24/7 shelter. Apart from a house above their heads, Los Cachorros pays attention supporting street children in surrounding neighborhoods and offers education and information sessions at schools, police stations and other communities. What once started with sympathy for the fate of the street children in Ayacucho has grown beautifully into a successful shelter which has offered support to hundreds of kids in the past few years. Together with a team of streetworkers, social workers, psychologists, a nurse and teacher, Alanya is fighting for a chance of a better future for the streetkids.

(end of source)

As a foundation Los Cachorros (the cubs) is based in the Netherlands however the work is done in Peru of course. As non profit organisation it always can do with a little more help and fundings (yep here he goes again, asking yall money for poor animals or kids or poor people) but I figure you would like to know more about what her foundation is doing.

I think a worthy opener for my every day heroe section don’t you agree?

Los Cachorros – A home for street children . click the banner to find out how you can help