COVID-19 in Indigenous Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent colonial scourge on indigenous communities.  In the Amazon basin, people who have been defending the forests against colonial capitalism are now falling ill with this most recent disease from the outside.  This is particularly tragic because of their remote locations they do not have easy and equal access to the healthcare required to treat the debilitating and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.  Among the United States, there is exponential growth of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Hopi and Navajo and among the highest death rates in North America.  This is again a function of settler capitalism that continues to threaten not only the health of indigenous communities but also created a situation where they are more vulnerable due to historical lack of access to resources including clean water, food, and modern healthcare.

This month we have donated to both the Amazon Emergency Fund and Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 Relief.

It is my hope that you will join me in supporting these efforts to assist indigenous peoples during this time. 

Ayni at Home

Masks for Hands of Love school & community in Kariobangi, Nairobi, Kenya

As the world is reeling from the precautions that must be taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus until scientists are able to develop a vaccine or a cure and governments are able to distribute them, I decided that this month we would give our support closer to home.

I have been funding the production and distribution of masks in two communities in Nairobi, where I live – the community around Hands of Love school in Kariobangi and the communities in which Taka Bank Community Champions are identifying the most vulnerable in the communities; providing information in order to make the most effective interventions; sharing information about preventing, identifying, and managing Covid-19; and bringing resources to those in need.

In the informal settlements in Nairobi – people are not able to wash their hands after every activity and stay six-feet apart. People live without running water, families live in one-room homes, and 20 families can be sharing a public toilet yards from where they live. In these living conditions, masks are the the best option to prevent the spread of the virus.

Thus far, my friends and I have delivered over 3,000 masks and have another 2,000 on order. If you are able to join us in this effort, please visit Empower Venture Partners for information on how to contribute and updates on the number of masks we have provided.

Thank you, be safe, and stay healthy.

Flooding on the Bobonaza River

Image @helenagualinga Instagram

The Bobonaza River runs through the Ecuadorian Amazon region. It recently flooded, destroying the homes and food gardens of thousands of indigenous people.

The floods, a result of climate change and deforestation, are threatening the lives of people who are on the front lines protecting forests and fighting the encroachment of extractive industries.

This month, we made our donation to Amazon Watch’s effort to provide shelter, food, and clothing for people affected by the flooding as they rebuild their communities. Please join us in supporting them in their time of need.

Wet’suwet’en

The five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have full jurisdiction over their land. Canadian Federal and Provincial governments can not legally grant permits to industries with interest on Wet’suwet’en land.

The Wet’suwet’en have opposed all pipeline proposals and have not given free, prior, and informed consent for Coastal Gas Link pipeline owned by TC (formerly TransCanada) to work on their lands. Yet the Canadian government is not upholding Wet’suwet’en rights and the people are now blocking the largest hydraulic fracturing (fracking) project in Canadian history.

In December 2019, the court granted an extension to CGL’s injunction, allowing Royal Canadian Mounted Police to continue to arrest and remove anyone they consider could be involved in preventing the works and RCMP has begun to restrict supplies going to the camps.

Please consider joining me in supporting the Wet’suwet’en exerting their legal and lawful rights to their land, tradition, and heritage.

Lakota People’s Law Project

This month I chose to support the Lakota People’s Law Project. They are a powerful and dynamic team that came together to protect Native children and families and are now, in partnership with Native communities, “protect sacred lands, safeguard human rights, promote sustainability, reunite indigenous families, and much more.” I invite you to learn more about and support their work.

Ayni

Today I am making my first donation in gratitude to the practices that inform my work.  I invite you to learn more about the Navajo Water Project – a community-managed utility that brings running water to people without access to water or sewers – and to follow @digdeepwater on Instagram to be informed and to find our ways to be responsible to our greater family.

Grateful

Although it was so frustrating (and required an inordinate number of emails and chats with tech-support) for me to get my website up, I now can breathe and see the love in the images I selected – two of my best friends coming to East Africa for my 50th in Zanzibar; my dreams-do-come-true hike on Mt. Kilimanjaro; the leopard photographed by my uncle when we were all on safari together in the Maasai Mara; the portrait taken by my friend Cat Gwynn reminding me of my amazing friends around the globe; celebrating the 50th birthdays of my best friend from high school and his wife (who I adore beyond words) in Pantelleria; and the otherworldly magic of Ngorongoro Crater after the rains. And it makes me smile from deep inside.

Inspiration: Thich Nhat Hanh

If we are going to heal the earth, we must first heal ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh says: “if people cannot save themselves from their own suffering, how can they be expected to worry about the plight of Mother Earth?”

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/zen-master-thich-nhat-hanh-love-climate-change