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Sometimes I wish I lived closer to where the migrants are pouring into Europe. When I read, for example, about all that Germany is doing, how organized the country is about getting people acclimated, helping with housing and language, it makes me want to sign up. In Samos, Greece, Suzanne’s friend’s family spent weeks buying and distributing food, diapers, and other necessities.

Mark Turner writes at UNHCR Tracks about a chef who acted on his impulse to do his bit. He “packed his knives, drove to Croatia and started cooking.

“After serving up 6,000 piping-hot meals for refugees, the Swedish chef’s big wooden spoon is looking worse for wear.

“ ‘It wasn’t broken when I began,’ says Victor Ullman, a 27-year-old from Lund, displaying a large wedge-shaped hole as he pulls it from a simmering pot.

“But long days and nights serving stew to thousands of Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and many others have taken their toll. ‘As long as I am awake, I am cooking,’ he says. …

“We’re in Bapska, Croatia, a few hundred metres from the border with Serbia, where tens of thousands of refugees have [crossed], seeking safety in Europe.

“They arrive by foot, in baby strollers, in wheelchairs, hour after hour, day after day, wet, hungry, exhausted, on an epic trek towards the unknown.

“And all along the way they are met by an army of volunteers from across Europe, drawn by an overwhelming desire to help.

“There’s Florian, the small farmer from Austria; Ghais, a Syrian who made it to Europe last year; Livija, a trainee pizza maker from Berlin; Stefan, a long-distance walker (‘3,200 kilometres in 82 days!”’); Danjella, a former refugee from Bosnia.

“There are activists and BMW workers, students, sociologists and physiotherapists, sporting fluorescent yellow waistcoats marked with their name and spoken languages, reassuring the crowds, united by a sense of shared humanity.”

Victor “also feeds the aid workers and the Croatian police, who he says are good guys doing their best. ‘They call me the crazy Swede,’ he adds.

“Victor shows me a pair of boots given to him by one policeman, after he’d given his own shoes away to a refugee. ‘I love these shoes,’ he says. ‘They’re like a memory from here – one of them. Spread the love!’ ” More here.

(Jane D: thanks for the lead on twitter.)

Photo: Igor Pavicevic

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Today is United Nations Day, and all the flags are out in our town, thanks to Charmaine’s mom. As the leader of a local UN group, she was behind the purchase of the flags, and the town has faithfully put them in the special sidewalk holes year after year on October 24.

WordPress is a little United Nations all its own. I love looking at my stats every day and seeing what countries visitors came from. On Wednesday, just for example, people visited Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Vietnam, Hungary, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Japan, and Israel. How cool is that?

I like to see if any search terms might be associated with the posts that were viewed and which country resident might have been interested in which topic. I have not gotten good at that yet.

One time a reader from Turkey made a comment, and I tried to write a post soon after that I thought would interest him, but I don’t know if he ever saw it. I would like to point more posts to readers, but the day I do one for you may not be the day you happen to be reading.

My dentist, for example, reads the blog but never saw the golfing post I put up for him. I couldn’t find anything interesting about teeth.

Happy United Nations Day, Everyone! May it some day fulfill the dream of creating world peace.

Image of UN Headquarters: wikipedia.org

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