Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Win a dream, build a bridge.



Moon Dancer ~ The Night Mare

“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams”

Jonas Salk


Have you ever seen a starving child? Have you ever seen a child in rags? Have you ever seen a mother – so tired and so ill - in tears not because she is dying, but because she cannot look after her children? Have you ever watched a small child playing and you know that the only thing her parents left her was the AIDS virus? Have you ever watched as people beg for the very things that we throw out? Have you ever been moved by the fact that 19,000 children die each day in Africa? Have you ever thought “that’s awful! Somebody should do something.”? Have you ever realised that someone could be you?

That someone WAS YOU..…and you…and you…and you too!  You are all heroes because it was you who reached out.

gogo ndzimandze and zweli 035-1 The lives we’ve touched ~ The Gogos and the AIDS orphans with Dr. Maithri

Yes, you did! So many of you reached out and helped build a bridge by buying Limited Edition prints of my Africa paintings so that all the proceeds could go to help the AIDS orphans who live in dire poverty in a tiny mountain kingdom in Africa which, for some obscure reason, has been overlooked by those large NGOs like Oxfam and UNICEF (‘The Lords of Poverty’ by Graham Hancock). Swaziland has the highest prevalence of HIV infection in the world and as a result there are are over 15,000 orphan led households in that little unremembered country.  Between us, dear bloggy friends, we have raised close to $2,000 for Dr. Maithri Goonetilleke’s Swaziland project, Possible Dreams International.  Part of the money we raised has gone to help feed two families for two whole years!  (See my side bar)  Our contributions have also helped in the construction of a well so that fresh, clean water is available for families in the Mambane region of Swaziland for the first time ever!


In a bid to get to that $2,000 mark in our own particular effort to help Dr. Maithri and his team make life just a little easier for these wonderfully brave people in Swaziland, I would like to do a give-away for my painting ‘Moon Dancer’. The painting was originally made for my grandboy - five year old Henry - when he’d had a rather horrid dream which after much discussion, he and I decided should be turned in a good dream rather than a bad one. So the nightmare became a night mare called Moon Dancer who has an entire galaxy of stars as her friends and a most beautiful home on the moon.  Henry’s ‘Moon Dancer’ is about 8” x 6” and is painted in acrylics on Fabriano 400gsm 100% cotton rag.  The original painting will go to the winner of the give-away nicely matted and framed and ready to hang. All you have to do is turn a nightmare into a good dream and leave your interpretation in the comments section!

IMG_4262 Henry

I’ll donate £100 in the winner’s name to Possible Dreams International and Henry’s Mama – who will be choosing the winner of your ‘bad to good dream’ comments – said she would match my donation by giving £100 in Henry’s name to Possible Dreams. Sound good? Well, go on then, start dreaming…..

“There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality.” 

Jonas Salk


Jonas Salk was best known for his discovery and development of the first safe and effective polio vaccine. In 1955, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of the post war era. Annual epidemics kept getting worse and victims were usually children. By 1952 it was killing more of them than any other communicable disease, with over 300,000 cases and 58,000 deaths, mostly children, reported that year. The "public reaction was to a plague," said historian William O'Neill. "Citizens of urban areas were to be terrified every summer when this frightful visitor returned."

In 1947, while working at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Salk saw an opportunity to develop a vaccine against polio, and devoted himself to this work for the next eight years. The field tests Salk set up were, according to O'Neill, "the most elaborate program of its kind in history, involving 20,000 physicians and public health officers, 64,000 school personnel, and 220,000 volunteers." When news of the discovery was made public on April 12, 1955, Salk was hailed as a miracle worker, and the day almost became a national holiday. He further endeared himself to the public by refusing to patent the vaccine, as he had no desire to profit personally from the discovery, but merely wished to see the vaccine disseminated as widely as possible. After founding the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, Dr. Salk’s last years were spent searching for a vaccine against AIDS.**

And finally, to help get your imaginations fired up here are a few fun examples of how to turn bad dreams around:

  • Skeleton Key You found the key to your heart.
  • Being invisible You have nothing to hide
  • Growing a tail Because you can't grow a beard
  • Sleepwalking You know exactly where you are going in your life
  • Empty House It's quite possible you don’t have a brain
  • Guitar without strings You ignore rules of convention
  • Missing the bus You're on the right track, so keep moving
  • Webs Too much time spent on the internet
  • Ladder Your superstitions are bunk, switch to urban myths
  • Three headed cat Egotism
  • Four headed cat You’re a megalomaniac!


(P.S.  Due to a series of safaris which have taken us the length and breadth of Britain in the search for our little cottage, I’ve not been around much lately.   I’m missing you all hugely, so I can’t wait for things to settle down a bit when I’ll return to my Blog World with renewed energy!)


Eleonora Baldwin said...

My darling Tessa,
I hope your house hunt is showing you beautiful places. You deserve to live in a perfect home.
I also hope your ailments are quickly receding and Pimms are a-flowin'.

I recently had a HORRIBLE dreadful scary dream. You know the ones you wake up to gasping and it takes you a while to understand it was ONLY A DREAM? MrE myself and our nanny were being held hostage by a crazy man. Like in all dreams, time stretched as we waited for our fate. The man kept repeating "I'm going to kill you, one by one" As MrE napped, the man took a pair of scissors and as he walked over to the room where my son was sleeping he mimed sticking the scissors in his throat. As he did this he smiled. I screamed and chased after him and I woke, sweating and out of breath, next to my snoring child.

I have no idea how to turn this nightmare into a good dream. The only positive thing about it is that it never really happened.

But already talking about it here has helped, I only want to forget that horrible smile on that man's face, because I'm afraid it might haunt my slumber again.


PS: Thank you for posting my badge, btw!

Holly said...

The mare of the night is the most fanciful I have seen in all my days.

For some reason, I have had very vivid dreams these days...not sure what's going on.

And, I'm so delighted to hear from you Tessa. I've been sending Reiki to you regularly and am glad to hear that life is moving along well. I love coming here.

The Mare said to the Night, "This galaxy is my pasture; no harm comes to those who love and dream. I wait and watch over them."

Mónica said...

Interesting and beautiful post. Thanks for share. Nice day and kind regards.

Miranda said...

Great post and BEAUTIFUL picture! I've been out the loop a little, having just had a baby. Well done for raising all that money!

When I was a child I had a monster who terrorized me, called Mr. Green. He was about three feet high and made up of two very spiky blobs and was, well, green! I was terrified of him. My mother sat me down one day and we spoke about him and why I was so scared of him and she got me to draw lots of pictures of him. And suddenly I wasn't scared of him any more. After that he became my protector. When we moved to South Africa for a year he came with and protected me against the murderers!

L'Adelaide said...

my darling, wishes you find your lovely little cottage soon...the safaris do sound fun! it's all in your perspective :)

when I was a child in a home of very mixed up people, I would have a dream of a big dark empty house, with many stairways, all of which went nowhere when I finally managed to get to the top of the dark passages...I dreamed this nightmare until I was an "adult", having children of my own....one day, after waking in a cold sweat and terror [again], I sat down and decided I was going to get down to what these dreams were REALLY about....10 years later, I finally realized that it wasn't about the destination--the door at the top of the stairs--it was about the climb, the WILLINGNESS to make the trip, the ability to put aside the fear of the unknown and mount those stairs regardless of a pounding heart...

I began to find things at the top of the darkened stairway...an opening to the clear blue sky with fluffy clouds like cotton balls, little sweet bunnies--one of my favorite animals--in a basket waiting my finding them---a sweet old gogo, sitting in a rocker, ready to tell me a story for my life's path.

When I finally reached this, my own knowingness, the dream vanished, never to return...

I know I don't have the answers to life's most difficult questions, but now I know I don't need to know...I just need to be willing to ask.

blessings to you, my dear...

Anonymous said...

What a splendid idea!
How very generous of you. I will send a donation directly to Dr.Maithri.
This is such an excellent cause.
Good luck with the cottage hunting.
I used to be in a dream group (many years ago) all young mothers . It was Jungian and fascinating and unleashed all sorts of creaativity.

Linda Sue said...

Tessa, What a good idea and so appropriate to my dream last night- sort of- you know how dreams are- It was this:
I found a huge litter of new born puppies and a littler of new born kittens in separate tide pools- they were drowning- I had to rescue all of them but the tide pools were too far from each other to do both- I decided that puppies were more helpless than kittens so I tried to save the puppies and let the kittens do whatever...I managed to save all of the puppies, there were hundreds the size of your thumb nail, all wiggly and slippery , dropping them picking them up again, exhausting endeavor,, gathered them up in my skirt and rushed to the other tide pool where I saw that all of the kittens made it out on their own and were happily trotting down the beach in search of a saucer of milk.
I will donate and send it through paypal if that is OK. Let me know the best way. AND thank you so much!

kj said...

once upon a time a little girl named kj got lost and couldn't find her way home. she stood on a street corner and cried until a woman in a big pink hat with purple feathers walked up to her and told her she would help her get home. but instead the woman with the big pink hate with purple feathers took little kj to the circus and sold her to the ringmaster, who wanted little kj to feed the elephants and learn how to ride the tigers and lions.

little kj was very afraid and she started crying. the ringmaster told her if she didn't stop crying she would not get any supper.

then, in a twist of fate:

one of the lions was named henry and he motioned to little kj to get on his back and he would take her home. henry waited until it was very dark and then he crawled out of the circus tent and ran and ran for two days and two nights with little kj on his back. he stopped so they could eat berries when they were hungry but henry ran and ran until he was so tired he could barely stand up. by the time he arrived at little kj's house, he was exhausted and lay down on her front lawn.

little kj's mother came to the front door and screeched with delight upon seeing her beloved daughter. at first she was afraid when she saw henry but when little kj explained what the brave lion had done for her, little kj's mother brought out a large bowl of milk and two cheeseburgers. she gave henry a warm blanket and told him he did not have to go back to the circus because he could live with them in the backyard instead.

the next day, little kj and henry promised to take care of one another happily ever after.

the end of the dream....


Fay said...

I have had the pleasure of doing a review of "AN AERIAL ARMADILLO" and I'm more than happy to inform you that your blog has been added to Blogging Women.

I want to commend you for the fine job you are putting forward with this blog and I'm very honored to add you to our women's blog directory.

Please continue your outstanding work and watch for the monthly blog contest where you can win a spot to have your blog listed in the Featured Blogs section!

Maithri said...

You are an inspiration to me and to so many my dear friend,

Thank you from my heart for the love which resides so richly within you,

You have brought deep and tangible hope into the lives of so many whose voices have been forgotten by a complacent world.

You show us all that action is the true heart of love.

May your path always be paved in light my dearest friend,

Warmest love, Maithri

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

What a beautiful painting for a beautiful boy. You're an amazing woman. I really don't know how you do it all.

Your generosity and compassion continues to inspire me as I'm sure it does many others. The world is being healed bit by bit because of it.

Sending oodles of good wishes your way for luck in finding your cottage, good health and a happy heart.

Very affectionately yours,

Carol said...

I think that everyone should be very proud of themselves (especially you lovely lady) for raising so much money for that community!!

I had wonderful news this week too. A friend of mine has recently come into some money and she is going to donate a chunk to a school I support in the mountains of Thailand (It's located five miles away from the Burmese border and is only accessible by elephant!). The poverty in the area is crippling and her donation is going to make a huge difference!! I can't thank her enough!!

My nightmare - I'm sitting in an auditorium surrounded by people listening to a lecture. Everything has a red tint to it. There is a noise like static and a man with wild grey hair appears on stage next to the lecturer.I am the only one that can see him. He turns slowly and looks directly at me and I have never felt to much malice emanate from one person in my life, all the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and I freeze, unable to tear my gaze away. Then I hear the static noise again and he vanishes.

I'm about to start a Masters in Community Development and I think the man with the wild hair is that nasty little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I'm not good enough to get a Masters. Face your fear....when I looked directly at him he vanished. If it's too easy then it's not worth doing!!

C x

A Cuban In London said...

Well done and I hope your house hunt is successful. You deserve it.

Greetings from London.

Beth Kephart said...

I loved being a small part of this journey with you. You gave us the chance to stand a little taller. So I thank you.

As for dreams and nightmares and bridges, well, it seems any story I might tell would take too long and go off on tangents. I love, most, the dreams that let us see again the people we have lost. Sometimes they begin in frightening fashion. But in the end, we've had our glimpse.

Polly said...

Such emotional post. It makes me like my Coffee Picker even more...

I can't think of any bad dreams to turn around so let me just say good luck with the house hunt. It's getting colder, I bet those safaris are getting a bit more tedious as the autumn settles down.

karen said...

Hi Tessa
Sadly I can't get to see the pics on my slow connection no matter how many times I try! You are an amazing person, and this is a great post! x

Renee said...

Oh Tessa I am glad that you are here and I am glad that you are safe.

I love night mare. And my father's name is Henri. So good name for your grandson.

My scary dreams just stay scary, they are reality mares that I cannot escape at night. At least not just yet.

I love you dear one.

Love Renee xoxo

karen said...

I'm so glad I came back, and was able to view the beautiful picture this time round!

prashant said...

Interesting and beautiful post. Thanks for share. Nice day and kind regards.
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Linda Sue said...

Tessa , please let me know best way to send donation- if you have paypal account that would be a snap for me! Thanks you!xxxoooo

Nishant said...

Thank you for posting my badge, btw
Make website india

DMG said...

Your IF entry today was so wonderful that I decided to poke around your blog, and I am so glad I did. What a wonderful painting and a wonderful project! The name of the painting alone is magical and you really made adiffrence in the world. Something tells me that I am going to spend a lot of time here, so I'm going to add you to my blog list and start my journey in this special place.