Paying a bit forward

fodder-drive-bourke-dataA convoy of donated hay made its way to Bourke this week.

The ABC has some background to the story about the convoy.

The organiser of the convoy, Brendan Farrell, said “It’s probably paying a bit forward, I suppose, and that’s what it’s all about. We’ve been through droughts down home. We had an eight year drought”.

He added “Look, I hear stories all the time of farmers struggling. I’ve got three young kids under four, and you hear of farmers that are doing silly things and they can’t cope. I just look at my kids and just go ‘right, well what I’m doing is good.'”

I love stories about altruism. I admire the idea of “paying forward” as a community.

Another paying forward story broke this week. It was about Catherine Hamlin. I wrote about Catherine’s work in the early days of this blog.

220px-Catherine_Hamlin_-_by_Samuel_Gebru_(Flickr_image_4118437313)Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has written to celebrate her 90th birthday and share news that Ethiopia has nominated her for a Nobel Peace Prize.

At her birthday party her son Richard observed “Catherine has one son and 35,000 daughters.” Many of those daughters are now working to help other fistula sufferers.

Photo Credit

Fodder convoy for drought areas (ABC AM, 8 February 2014)

Catherine Hamlin (Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)


A Walk to Beautiful

The ABC in Australia shows some remarkable documentaries. I have written about the Merry Makers some time ago. Last weekend the ABC program Four Corners screened A Walk to Beautiful. Shortly after writing my post on dolphins, sharks and dead people I sat down to watch the documentary.

Source: ABC Four Corners’ website

The Four Corner’s website notes that:

It’s been 50 years since an idealistic young Sydney couple, Catherine and Reginald Hamlin, spotted an ad for doctors to go to Africa, then took a punt. Little did they know they were about to make the world a far, far better place.

The program discusses how Catherine Hamlin works with women who have obstetric fistula as a result of obstructed labour. The documentary introduces a number of women amongst the thousands treated at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital each year. All these women “have been ostracised by their husbands and communities. Left untreated, they face a lifetime of shame and rejection.”

The program will be available for a short time on the ABC’s iView. I thought the didactic content of the program was enormously powerful. It put my thinking about networked communities into sharp focus.

What if we exist to help and support each other? Imagine how powerful such a community could be.


On 9 May 2009 the ABC reported the 50th anniversary of Catherine Hamill’s work in Ethiopia. The ABC reported the realisation of Dr Hamill’s dream to have a Midwifery School in Ethiopia.

r248736_1019519 Photo source: ABC