New Beginnings | a workaway in Heuchlingen, Germany | December 2017

New Beginnings – I had to decide what I was going to do, upon returning from my 1.5 hours in India. So I sat in an office building alone in Darmstadt, 40 minutes driving from Frankfurt, Germany. This was complements of a guy whose office space it was, whom I met with his friends in Frankfurt right before Christmas. If I wouldn’t have been able to double bolt the lock

 

Heuchlingen, Germany Deutschland

from inside, I wouldn’t have taken him up on the offer.

 

Heuchlingen, Deutschland, photography, scene

Heuchlingen Deutschland scene

I went to the drawing board – not a person present in this office building (accommodating dozens of businesses and hundreds of employees) – where I sat alone – internet, lights, heat – sort of helping myself to use the communal kitchen. And via the internet I dreamed up and

calculated my next moves. Hitching to a workaway not far from Stuttgart. That’s when it occurred to me that my ex beau whom I knew in Berlin was not very far from my destination, so I had the chance to visit him as well.

hitching, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Mössingen, Heuchlingen

hitching Darmstadt (outside of Frankfurt) to Mössingen to Heuchlingen

Loads of Photos of my New Direction > hitching from Darmstadt, outside of Frankfurt where I stayed some days in someone’s office space during the Christmas holidays (where none of the hundreds of employees were present) then to Mössingen to visit an ex beau for New Year’s eve, then on hitching on to my first workaway in Heuchlingen, Germany.

1stLots of photographs of my workway in Germany in Heuchlingen was grande. Had great rides, met nice people there include Sara from Syria who was my roommate, with whom I exchanged a lot of conversation and learned a lot.

1st workaway in Heuchlingen, Germany



several hundred year old tree

 

hitching route

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Tears of Delight PM of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern’s Well-Being Budget & Maori Guardianship | Friendship Bench

I am in tears of delight as I listen to the statements of the Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party, Jacinda Ardern, speaking of well-being as the measuring stick at the Davos, Switzerland World Economic Forum. She speaks honestly and earnestly – brilliantly revealing to the other diplomats a lens through which to look that is not measuring the quantity of profits through the GDP, but the quality of life and well-being of the people.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand, politics of kindness, empathy, well-being

New Zealand politics of kindness, empathy and well-being

Among the leaders of the prohibitively expensive and exclusive Davos World Economic Forum, here is yet another example of a leader stepping outside of the dictates of the norm, to instead be a spokesperson for the quality of life. She states that numbers mean nothing, if people are homeless, if the teen suicide rate is high, if people are emotionally and physically ill. It’s another great step for humanity to have an excellent female leader with the bravery to speak the truth. She’s naturally a tremendous advocate for making changes to avert climate catastrophe.

We all know what disasters continue to strike due to industrial practices that are bent on wielding the highest profits, at the cost of health and life of human and species loss and environmental degradation.

Instead of complete lies, such as what comes from the USA present reality-show-muppet-leader, everything that she says speaks truth, conviction and dignity, from the content of her words to her tone and mannerisms. She speaks honestly, as do a number of recently elected female congresswomen in the US. Hurray for the people who are electing these women leaders throughout the world. It is great news.

Not unprecedented in her ideas, the government of Bhutan conceived of the model of Gross National Happiness as a more real measuring stick than the GDP. You can have a high GDP with great numbers, sales and profits that are off the charts…and as you focus the lens in close, you see that the Amazons and Walmarts that are employing high numbers of stressed people, have paved all of the pristine land; expanded their enterprises along with their parking lots stinking of tar and asphalt and wiped out swaths of land that are habitat to creatures who share the planet.

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index

The construction of the GNH Index includes nine domains

Psychological wellbeing
Health
Education
Time use
Cultural diversity and resilience
Good governance
Community vitality
Ecological diversity and resilience
Living standards

We no longer need an economy bent on profit, so that the computer that I’m using has to be replaced every x amount of years, because of it being built to become obsolete in that short amount of time, as the Superfund sites where the minerals are harvested or skeletons of older models of trash accumulate, to litter and poison water and air. There is absolutely a different paradigm waiting for us around the corner.

Jacinda Ardern aims to to bring the New Zealand Maori philosophy of ‘guardianship’ of the environment into politics.

nothing to fear jacinda ardern urges world leaders

nothing to fear jacinda ardern urges world leaders

weforum Prince William aka HRH Duke of Cambridge, Prime Minister of New Zealand and Labor Party leader Jacinda Ardern, Dr. Dixon Chibanda of Zimbabwe discuss mental health and friendship bench

weforum Prince William aka HRH Duke of Cambridge, Prime Minister of New Zealand and Labor Party leader
Jacinda Ardern, Dr. Dixon Chibanda of Zimbabwe discuss mental health and friendship bench

One of the panelists was Dr. Dixon Chibanda of Zimbabwe. He is one of a total of 12 psychiatrists in the country of Zimbabwe, to serve a population of more than 16 million. He conceived of the idea of training grandmothers to essentially – listen – and the program has been wildly successful. HE created and implemented the ‘practice’ called a Friendship Bench. He talks of the Friendship Bench in this TED talk. Grandmothers in Zimbabwe are trained in cognitive behavioral evidence based talk-therapy; empowering them with the skills to listen, show empathy and provide emotional support.

The grandmothers have actually been more effective than doctors, in treating depression, anxiety, addictions and for patients’ overall success rates.

Grandmother Jack in Zimbabwe helped to pioneer the Friendship Bench program

Grandmother Jack in Zimbabwe helped to pioneer the Friendship Bench program

Grandmother Jack was one of the first grandmothers in Zimbabwe, empowered to provide evidence-based talk therapy. She saw 256 clients whose lives were improved dramatically. She is now deceased.

The Friendship Bench has since been adopted worldwide.

It has morphed to not be simply Grandmothers, but for peers to sit with each other to listen and show their support.  Certainly it helps dramatically the people who are suffering from physical or mental illness, or addiction and emotional trauma. And most brilliantly it also empowers the person who is trained as the listener, who can provide emotional support and empathy.

The Friendship Bench looks to get peers talking to each other about depression, suicide and mental health

The Friendship Bench looks to get peers talking to each other about depression, suicide and mental health

mental illness, friendship bench london for peers to talk to each other about depression

friendship bench london for peers to talk to each other openly

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bicycle before sunflowers

bicycle before sunflowers