Our First Wells for Zoë Volunteers

The Planning Meeting Tuesday 29 May 2007 : Wells for Zoë Volunteers

Caitríona O’Connor, Caitríona Coyne and Kevin Brennan, prepare for their first trip to Mzuzu on Tuesday next. They are three second level teachers in Dublin, who will spend most of June in Northern Malawi.

Their main focus will be in the child development Centre of St John of God, working with the intelectually and physically challenged children in the primary school, and with the Umosa Project for street childen.

They are just as full of energy as they look, even though the school term only ends on Monday next. Listening to the planning, it looks as if Mzuzu will never be the same again, with academic and sporting activities.

Kevin, who teaches engineering, will also be involved with a masters student (Ian Sutton, from Cranfield University, UK) in the area of low cost well drilling techniques for use in the villages where Wells for Zoë do their work.

They will all be involved with the irrigation, agriculture and micro credit projects in the more remote villages, supporting, encouraging and bringing some goodies.

Clothes are being weighed and restricted to enable more educational games and the likes to be brought out.

Watch this space for pics of their progress.

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The Irish Army to the rescue

Thursday 24 May 2007 : The Irish Army to the rescue

Wells for Zoë’s Mary Coyne features again, this time inspecting vehicles at Custom Barracks, Athlone, beside the river Shannon.
On his return from Malawi, John Waters, the Irish Times journalist, made a request to the Irish Army for some help with transport.
The response was immediate and positive: they would make a request to the Department of Defence for a donation of three vehicles.

Today we travelled to Athlone to see the prized gift, three Nissan Patrols, with a comment from the mechanic: “the engines are indestructible”.
They have served the army well and hopefully can do the same for the poor, rural farmers in the Mzuzu area.
That’s all very well if they could fly, but its the Army after all, not the Airforce.

Watch this space for the colour change (we don’t want to be seen as an invading force), followed by a logistical battle.
Any bright ideas? It’s only 10 or 15,000 km!! by road, popping over a few pools of water, a few border crossings and some high temperature stints.
Let the fun begin……………..

We have already got volunteers to drive. We need sponsorship and support!.

Smiling girls with money for Malawi

Smiling girls with money for Malawi Monday 21 May 2007 : Smiling girls with money for Malawi.

These are some of the girls fron Class 2C, Our Lady’s, Terenure, Dublin: presenting a cheque for 1250 Euro to Mary Coyne of Wells for Zoë, this morning.
With the guidance of their teacher, Mary Ashe, the girls are involved in an Action Project on Development, for the CSPE subject which forms part of their Junior Certificate exam in June 2008. The money was raised as part of a business venture project where they made and sold personalised hoodies for sale to the rest of the school.

My sweetie

What a bunch: with brains, beauty and business acumen, aren’t they marvellous? Our sincere thanks to the School, Mary, their teacher, and of course the girls themselves who gave us a very warm welcome (and the money!!)

Where does your Fruit and Veg come from; are they bad for you and the planet?

Last week I went to Liffey Valley to collect a new printer and was encouraged by Mary to do a short trip to Marks and Spencer.
The food section was delightful, all changed, exquisite shelving and lighting. As I whizzed around the aisles, I was shocked to find where they sourced the fruit and veg. It had come from, Isreal, Kenya, South Africa, Argentina, and of course shorter haul locations the UK, Holland and Spain. Have we gone totally mad?. Well I know we have, but does our lunacy know no bounds.

Not even the Green Party are talking about this, but I suppose a Green Party who would start their Electoral Campaign giving out bottled water, (see previous post from muriella) couldn’t be expected to know about these little matters. Now read on folks.

This is as much for our approach to farming in Mzuzu as it is to inform the uninformable, who have the money and can buy what they like, when they like: and fair play to them!.

Posted by Muriella on 20th April 2007

The 12 fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with pesticides; 12 that are least contaminated from http://snipurl.com/1h8pi

Next time you’re at the supermarket debating whether to pay more for a pint of organic strawberries than you do for your lunch — or deciding if you should choose that wilted organic celery over the crisp green conventional stalks — you might want to refer to the Environmental Working Group’s new wallet-size Shoppers’ Guide. The not-for-profit group lists the “Dirty Dozen” (the 12 fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated with pesticides) and the “Cleanest 12″ (those that generally have the lowest amounts of pesticides).

There have been some ratings revisions since the last Guide came out in October 2003. For instance, carrots are off the “bad” list now but lettuce is on it. Cauliflower has fallen from grace but cabbage has made the cut and is now on the “good list.” Here are the full lists.

The “Dirty Dozen” (starting with the worst)

peaches
apples
sweet bell peppers
celery
nectarines
strawberries
cherries
pears
grapes (imported)
spinach
lettuce
potatoes

The “Cleanest 12″ (starting with the best)

onions
avocados
sweet corn (frozen)
pineapples
mangoes
asparagus
sweet peas (frozen)
kiwi fruit
bananas
cabbage
broccoli
papaya

To come up with its rankings, the Environmental Working Group looked at the results of close to 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A computer analysis by the EWG found that consumers could reduce their pesticide exposure by nearly 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. People who eat the “Dirty Dozen” will be exposed to an average of 15 different pesticides per day, says Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, while eating from the “Cleanest 12″ means you’ll be exposed to less than two pesticides per day. So if produce from the “Dirty Dozen” is on your menu, it makes sense from a health standpoint to choose organic.

Of course, health concerns aren’t the only reasons people choose organic foods. It takes an enormous amount of fuel to make synthetic fertilizers, explains Wiles. “Conventional agriculture is very energy inefficient,” he says.

On the other hand, costly and polluting fuel is required to transport both conventional and organic fruit and vegetables from farms to grocery stores — produce is often shipped to the U.S. from as far away as New Zealand. So does this mean you’re better off eating a locally grown nonorganic apple than an organic one from the other side of the world? Perhaps the solution, Wiles says, is to encourage local farmers to start growing organic crops. For example, begin by asking farmers whether they used pesticides on their apples, Wiles advises. “The more that local production can be moved toward organic, the better,” he says.Meanwhile, even if you can’t always afford or find organic produce, there are steps you can take to get rid of some of the pesticides on conventional produce. Since washing reduces pesticides by anywhere from one third to one half, thoroughly scrub and rinse everything, even produce that will be peeled. Then consider making yourself a pesticide-reduced dinner tonight.How does a menu of Guacamole, Tropical Fruit Salsa, and Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions sound?

Sources: epicurious.com; ewg.org

Success ?

The Secret to the Game of Life
Posted by muriella on 29th April 2007

The Secret to the Game of Life – Play it

Ask anyone about life and you would be told – Life is…..(a bag of cherries, difficult, what you make it, the pits…) and on, and on.

The adjectives used to describe life change according to the speaker. For those who “Think Positively”, life would be positive things to them. For those who “Think Negatively”, life would be problems to them. For those who “do not stop to think, or do not think at all”, life is “whatever”!

However, we can fit into any of the above categories at any time and not even recognize it. At one moment we think positively, especially when we are reminded that we should; but a second later we could see clearly why things cannot and will not work, why nothing is possible…

By now, however, unless we are living under a rock, we know that Life IS – that Life is really a Game and the best player wins. Winning could be both positive and negative – but who are we to judge. For most of us, life is – whatever. Many speak of positive and negative people as though they are outside of us, but look in the mirror and see Ms Positive or Mr Negative – visible after blinks.

I would like to share with you a book that I have had since 1980 called “Your Word is Your Wand”, by Florence Scovel Shinn. I then progressed to the “Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn”, which contains 4 of her complete books, including the Game of Life.

Florence Scovel Shinn was widely known for many years as an artist and illustrator, metaphysician and lecturer, and as having helped thousands of people through her great work of healing and assisting in solving their problems.

I followed her teachings (usually in the natural, as at that time I did not develop my spiritual muscles at all). I would mouth the Affirmations, but not really connect them with spirit. Seeking spirituality has really benefited my image (positive/negative) a great deal and has also led me to many other masters and orientations.

Not until a dramatic event enveloped me in 2000, did those teachings begin to kick in. I became painfully aware of the importance of the metaphysical in our daily lives. According to the metaphysicians, there are three departments of the mind (p4, Wisdom):

the subconscious – whatever we feel deeply or image clearly (visualize), is impressed upon the subconscious mind, and carried out in minutest detail;
the conscious mind – the carnal or mortal mind is the human mind that sees life as it appears to be. It sees death, disaster, sickness, poverty and limitation of every kind, and it impresses the subconscious;
the superconscious mind – the God mind, within each man and is the realm of perfect ideas – the perfect pattern, the Divine Design, for there is a Divine Design for each person. Sometimes we get flashes which seem as unattainable, too good to be true. This is where true destiny resides, and each of us has our own true destiny.
I was operating (and still do from time to time) at the first two levels – deeply feeling, visualizing, being overwhelmed by what is going on around me and in the world, only seeing lack and limitation, etc. Any flash from the superconscious would be a temporary set of excited actions, and back again to conscious and subconscious mind sets.

We all know, as behavioural experts, that knowledge does not directly lead to action, unless one can move to superconsious at a rapid pace and allow life to manifest as it should with overwhelming love, abundance, peace, health, happiness…

The Game of Life is a game of work, a game where we have to be in an awake state and operate with all three engines firing.

Not all people to agree with the above, but unless there is a working alternative, feel free to blog in and blog on.

Why this information?

A discussion with a friend sometime ago revealed that she was very concerned with the state of non-health as she saw it of one of her very good friends; it centered around not being able to let go. I shared that at times, not letting go could also show up in our lives as disease. A passage (p65 Wisdom) clarifies that a health issue, a dis-ease, is believed to be caused by congesting, storing away too many things; congestion of things causes congestion in the body. When the law of use is violated, the body pays the penalty.

We should consider no longer being on automatic as we proceed in life, but by being conscious of every thought, word, action – being in the moment, being conscious, helps us to appreciate now…as we operate fully being present to why we are thinking what we are thinking, why we are saying what we are saying, why we are doing what we are doing…

Is Bottled water as much a con as Low Calorie water

Is this why we laughed when Ballygowan arrived on the scene in Ireland ?

Make your own bottled water and save the planet

Posted by muriella on 20th April 2007

Get a filter or be a filter!

Note from The Editor, Muriella’s Corner

A recent visit to a friend prompted me to revisit this article on water. She is suffering from an inflammatory disease and was told to drink lots of water. She buys bottled water at $10.00 a case of 35, and at times drinks 3-4 bottles a day, which means that in 9 days she has to repurchase. In a month, she has already spent about $40.00 on bottled water for drinking. In a year she will have spent $480.00, and could, if the bottles are not recycled, produce 140 plastic bottles a month as garbage, or 1,680 plastic bottles a year.

For families who buy bottled water, consideration should be given to buying a water filter and a shower filter. In addition to the health effects(drink, cook, shower with filtered water) and the economic gain over time, we would not contribute as much to polluting the environment with plastic.

If we stop and think for a moment, we would realise that our being on automatic could affect our health, finances and our environment.

See below for information on water filtration. With regard to the pollution of the environment, our first effort is to become aware ourselves of the amount of plastics we use that contribute to the pollution of the planet (e.g. plastic bags and grocery shopping, bottled water in plastic bottles, plastic hangers … When we become aware, we can decide what, if anything to do about it, and do something.

Given the inconsistences among the bottled water sources, why not control your source and, instead of being a filter, get a filter.

Water quality is, in general, getting worse. You usually cannot rely on clean water directly from the faucets in your home, nor from the bottled sources. To treat often-polluted water, cities and government agencies must use more and more chemicals, which affect the taste, color and odor of the water. There are various home filtration models available on the market.

Here are some suggestions below on those I use and promote. To guard the integrity and purity of the water, filters need to be replaced; frequency depends on the quality of water in your area.

Countertop system (dual system filter cartridge sold separately. (http://snipurl.com/1hho4) The countertop filtration system can also be installed under the counter with purchase of filtration kit.
Shower head (with shower wand purchased separately http://snipurl.com/1hhnt), the skin being the largest organ, absorbs the most water daily.

See Muriella’s Corner on Chlorine and Asthma and Chlorine and Cancer and Fluoride and Boy’s health

http://onlineitools.com/nl/nl-output.php?nl_id=20007&bus_id=2213&plain=0

Editor, Muriella’s Corner

xxxxx

Buying bottled water is wrong, says Suzuki
Environmentalist launches national tour on green issues
Last Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2007 | 12:46 PM ET
CBC News
Canadians wanting to do something about the environment can start by
drinking tap water, environmentalist David Suzuki says.

“Everywhere I go across Canada, I insist I be given tap water when I get up
to speak,” Suzuki told CBC News on Thursday.

David Suzuki says plastic water bottles generate waste and potential
health hazards because of their chemical composition.
(CBC) “I think in Canada it’s absolutely disgusting that people are so
uncertain about their water that we buy it, paying more for bottled water
than we do for gasoline.”

Suzuki – who was in St. John’s on Thursday to launch a cross-country
speaking tour aimed at engaging people in politics, particularly
environmental issues – said there is no good reason for Canadians to buy
bottled water.

Moreover, he said it’s destructive to import bottled water from producers in
countries such as France.

“It’s nuts to be shipping water all the way across the planet, and us –
because we’re so bloody wealthy – we’re willing to pay for that water
because it comes from France,” he said in an interview.

“I don’t believe for a minute that French water is better than Canadian
water. I think that we’ve got to drink the water that comes out of our taps,
and if we don’t trust it, we ought to be raising hell about that.”

Key environmental issues with bottled water, Suzuki said, are waste and
uncertainty over the long-term health effects created by plastic.

“Not only does bottled water lead to unbelievable pollution – with old
bottles lying all over the place – but plastic has chemicals in it,” he
said.

“Plastics are ubiquitous. I don’t believe that plastics are not involved in
a great deal of the health problems that we face today.”

Last August, delegates to the United Church of Canada’s general council
voted to discourage the purchase of bottled water within its churches. The
motion called on church members to advocate against the “privatization of
water” and to support healthy local supplies of water.
xxxxxxxxx
Bottled water from different sources

When shopping for bottled water, you first need to know the different types. The following are the types of water that conform to the Standards of Identity as set forth by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water — Bottled water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

Drinking Water: Drinking water is another name for bottled water. Accordingly, drinking water is water that is sold for human consumption in sanitary containers and contains no added sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavors, extracts or essences). It must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavors, extracts or essences may be added to drinking water, but they must comprise less than one-percent-by-weight of the final product or the product will be considered a soft drink. Drinking water may be sodium-free or contain very low amounts of sodium.

Mineral Water — Bottled water containing not less than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids may be labeled as mineral water. Mineral water is distinguished from other types of bottled water by its constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source. No minerals can be added to this product.

Purified Water — Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes while meeting the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopoeia may be labeled as purified bottled water. [This can mean plain tap water has been purified by one of the above three processes.]

Other suitable product names for bottled water treated by one of the above processes may include “distilled water” if it is produced by distillation, “deionized water” if it is produced by deionization or “reverse osmosis water” if the process used is reverse osmosis. Alternatively, “___ drinking water” can be used with the blank being filled in with one of the terms defined in this paragraph (e.g., “purified drinking water” or “distilled drinking water”).

Sparkling Bottled Water — Water that after treatment, and possible replacement with carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had as it emerged from the source. Sparkling bottled waters may be labeled as “sparkling drinking water,” “sparkling mineral water,” “sparkling spring water,” etc.

Spring Water — Bottled water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Spring water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring. Spring water collected with the use of an external force must be from the same underground stratum as the spring and must have all the physical properties before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality as the water that flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

Well Water — Bottled water from a hole bored, drilled or otherwise constructed in the ground, which taps the water aquifer.

Without taking taste into consideration, the best deals on buying bottled water are found at shopping clubs such as Costco Wholesale. Grocery stores have the next-best deals, while convenience stores are pricey. A bottle at a convenience store commonly costs three to four times more than one purchased in bulk at a shopping club.
The bottled water business has grown phenomenally in recent years.

According to data from Beverage Marketing Corporation, bottled water sales in the United States has increased by almost 50 percent from 1999 to 2004, from 17.3 billion liters to 25.8.

While choosing bottled water over tap water due to safety concerns is a major reason for consumers spending more than a dollar a gallon on the liquid (in some cases it costs more per gallon than gasoline!), other people buy it because they prefer the taste over tap water or they like the convenience of the bottles when traveling.

The health concern is real. In the United States the vast majority of tap water is safe to drink due to testing and regulations, but in some other countries contaminated public water is a constant threat. One thing to keep in mind is most bottled water does not contain fluoride, and most American tap water is enhanced with the cavity-fighting substance. People who choose to exclusively drink bottled water may want to consider fluoride supplements, especially for their children.

To some people, the thought of one brand of bottled water tasting better than a comparable product is ridiculous. To illustrate that belief, in 2003 comedians Penn and Teller conducted a taste test in an upscale restaurant. Diners lavished praise on what they thought was expensive bottled water and picked their favorites, but all containers were filled from the same garden hose.

Nonetheless, many shoppers insist they can tell a difference between brands and buy accordingly.

The price between tap and bottled water is significant for several reasons, including the cost of the land where the water originates, plus the bottles, putting water in bottles and then transporting bottles to points of sale.

Some water bottles are made of petroleum resin, and as the price of oil increases so does the water. Such bottles don’t decompose, which adds an environmental cost to the equation.

Kevin with the brown envelopes!

Kevin with the brown envelopes!

The picture shows Kevin Brennan, who teaches engineering at Castleknock Community College, Dublin, Ireland who will travel to Malawi on June 5 to do three weeks voluntary work with Wells for Zoë.
His school held a non uniform day today and raised in excess of 2600 Euro. Half of the proceeds go to the Irish Handicap Childrens Pilgrimage Trust and Kevin brings the other half to Lucan, to support our work in Mzuzu, a very welcome sight indeed.
Kevin will team up with Ian Sutton, a masters student, from Cranfield University in the UK, whose thesis is based on low tech drilling techniques.
Note the green and red are not only the colours of the Malawi flag, but also the colours of his native County Mayo. I suspect some young Malawians will be playing Gaelic Football by the end of June.
The picture comes from our new Phlog (photo log) on Blipfoto.com which will hopefully give a photographic record of some of our work.