Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

I am always amazed at people’s ingenuity and creativity. In Nepal on a trek we stopped for the night at a very small guest-house. Despite the signs that the owners had very little they had made efforts to make the garden and courtyard look attractive. They have hung up corn to dry to use for later in the year when it isn’t possible to grow it. They had also planted gorgeous flowers around the courtyard.

focus, corn, Nepal

Corn hung up to dry in Nepal

Flowers in Nepal;

Flowers in focus in Nepal


This is my response to Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus


Travel Theme: Play

The Importance of Play

Most of us know that children and babies learn through play. It is a universal and fundamental human right that all children have opportunities for free time and to play. I have always found delight in travelling to other countries and watching how children interpret their own environment and create games and toys out of what seems like very little.  These kids obviously didn’t have much but I love that they had created some toys using found objects and were playing happily when we met them.

play, Zanzibar

Local kids on the beach with toys they had created from stuff they found on the beach. Zanzibar, Tanzania

This is my response to Where’s My Backpack’s Travel theme: Play


Why our girls should know about Malala



This week Malala Yousefzi celebrated her 16th birthday. She marked her birthday addressing the United Nations, advocating education for all children and calling for peace. Shot by the Taliban at 15 for promoting the education of all girls she is an amazing role model for any young girl.

My daughter was preparing a speech for school this week about being a male miner in the Australian goldrush. Interesting to some no doubt but to an 11 year old girl, so not. I have been interning at UNICEF the past few weeks so I had Malala on my mind. I told Lily all about her, how she was from Pakistan and she had been shot for speaking up about giving all girls an education. I explained she had just given a speech in New York on her birthday seeking support to ensure that all children receive an education. Lily was fascinated, here is a girl only five years older than her that has not only done some pretty awesome public speaking but has also been brave enough to continue to call for action despite being shot and threatened.

Lily decided that for her end of year speech for “Night of Notables”she would be Malala. She rushed off to school the next day to quickly tell her teacher because they aren’t allowed to double up with another child and she felt Malala was such a great notable that she would be a popular choice. Unfortunately her teachers reaction to her choice was “Who’s that?”

That same day it was announced by the Australian government that all asylum seekers attempting entering Australia by boat would be sent straight to Papua New Guinea for processing and that no-one trying to enter Australia by sea would ever be settled in Australia. Full page advertisements were taken out in major newspapers announcing this new policy. I read today that as a result the Prime Minister’s voter support has increased.

The government’s new hardline stance made me think about how we are educating our children. We teach them Australian history – post settlement, we teach them how to do complicated maths and how to read and write good essays. Are we teaching them a global perspective and a compassion and empathy for others? Are we inspiring our girls with role models or super-models? I know that Australian children are fortunate in having free education but I think we have a responsibility as a developed country to do more. Currently our education system grows children that become adults that can applaud a decision to close our doors to people escaping war and persecution who are simply seeking a safe place to live and work and raise their families.

All I can do is try and teach my children that they are fortunate to live in a lucky country and to never forget that there are so many children unlike them that don’t have opportunities to thrive and succeed. I just hope there are other parents that feel the same way.





Heading towards Mary’s house, Moshi, Tanzania

Last week I had a job interview and was asked to refer to a situation where I had been challenged by  cross-cultural communication. I started talking about my friend Mary from Tanzania and how much she had taught me, how knowing her taught me to be less judgemental of other people as I realised that you can never really know a person’s true situation and circumstances. I had come to Tanzania thinking I was there to help others but in the end I found it was people like Mary that helped me.

To my absolute mortification I started to tear up thinking about her. How much I missed her and how much she meant to me. It was a job interview! The interview panel of three were very kind and understanding but it really was completely inappropriate. I didn’t get the job and I wish it hadn’t happened but it might give you an indication of the nostalgia I feel when I look at this photo of Mary.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

Creating a glog but not for your blog

Screenshot of my glog.

Screenshot of my glog.

This week as a pre-task for an interview I needed to showcase my creativity by producing a resource that could be used as part of an online children’s newsletter. I searched the internet for inspiration but couldn’t find anything that would allow me to create something fun and interesting with easy clicks to other websites. Luckily my 11 year-old daughter told me about Glogster.com which is used in schools to create digital projects online. It was perfect for my needs as it allows you to click through to other websites, youtube clips, sound bites and online games. The upside is that it’s also free! The downside is you can’t embed your glog in a wordpress blog because it uses Flash and other forbidden things that I can’t even articulate. If anyone knows of another program that allows you do this I would love to know!

Anyway I spent so much time playing on this that I didn’t have time to create a new blog post so here it is. To go to Glogster to see my glog or to create your own glog click here . It’s lots of fun and worth a look!