18 Aug “I Just Want To Go On A Road Trip And Listen To Music And Drink Coffee And Smoke Cigarettes And See The Coast And Arrive For A Bit To Reconnect To Who I Am”, the guy on the couch says; what a loser, I think as I punch him in the balls, Yo. #guysAF (2.5k)
Just the first page of one town.
July 19, 1949 – Aug. 8, 2017 Diann Zinteck was ready to start a career in the classroom after graduating from SUNY Buffalo State with a bachelor’s degree in art education in the early 1970s, but she could not find the teaching position she wanted locally. Rather than move out of town, her interest in photography led her into freelance camera work and a job at Car…
Feb. 11, 1927 – Aug. 11, 2017 Marion LaVigne, a junior high and middle school teacher for 50 years, died Friday in Brothers of Mercy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Clarence. She was 90. Born in Buffalo, the former Marion Mandley attended Holy Angels Elementary School and high school. She was first in her graduating class at Buffalo State Teachers College…
Aug. 1, 1943 – Aug. 13, 2017 Judith Grillo, of Cheektowaga, a licensed practical nurse, died Sunday in Sisters Hospital from complications following surgery. She was 74. Born in Buffalo, the former Judith Ann Phillips graduated from Fosdick Masten High School in 1961 with certification as a licensed practical nurse. She worked as a nurse from the time she gradu…
Jan. 15, 1934 – Aug. 11, 2017 Gerald “Jerry” Choinski, of Grand Island, Fla., a retired Buffalo insurance executive, died Friday in The Villages Hospice House, The Villages, Fla., after a lengthy illness. He was 83. Born in Buffalo, he was a 1951 graduate of Burgard Vocational High School and served in the Navy from 1951 to 1954 aboard the USS Lloyd Thomas in t…
For years, Nicholas H. Willett shied away from discussing his service in World War II. Why spend his life talking about the worst time of it, he figured, according to his son Michael. He was much more interested in studying the history of western New York as a real estate lawyer for over 50 years and loving his family, a clan of eight children and 17 grandchildren an…
July 15, 1982 – Aug. 9, 2017 Alfred Demetrius Overton III, of Sanford, Fla., an aspiring hip hop artist and sound engineer, died Aug. 9 in Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando, Fla., after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 35. Born in Buffalo, he grew up in Niagara Falls and was a 2001 graduate of Niagara Wheatfield High School, where he was a four-year memb…
Dec. 29, 1928 – Aug. 6, 2017 Alvin J. Roberts Sr. of Buffalo, a retired auto factory quality control inspector, died Aug. 6 in Buffalo General Medical Center after a short illness. He was 88. Born in Dallas, Ga., Mr. Roberts joined the Army in 1946 and was commissioned in the Quartermaster Corps in Hawaii. After his service, he came to Buffalo, became a laborer …
Jan. 20, 1924 — Aug. 5, 2017 Until she reached her late 80s, Josephine Pera was best known for the white frosted cookies she baked to the delight of generations of her family. That all changed when the Eggertsville great-grandmother was recruited by her grandson, stand-up comedian Joseph Pera, to make cameo appearances in some of his comedy videos. Josephine Pera pl…
June 5, 1935 — Aug. 8, 2017 Nicholas D. Trbovich, Servotronics’ founder, chairman and chief executive officer, died on Tuesday, the Elma-based company announced Friday. Trbovich, 82, started the company — a maker of motion control equipment — on Aug. 20, 1959, and served as its chairman and CEO for nearly 58 years. He was also chairman and past president of O…
June 30, 1956 – Aug. 9, 2017 Linda M. Gimbrone, of Buffalo, a server at the Buffalo Club, died unexpectedly Wednesday in Buffalo General Medical Center after suffering a stroke. She was 61. Born in Buffalo, the former Linda Haley attended Lafayette High School. A lifelong city resident except for a few years in Greenville, S.C., she was the mother of four children.…
Dec. 21, 1920 – Aug. 9, 2017 Nicholas Dicky Jr., of North Tonawanda, a retired carpenter and World War II veteran, died Wednesday in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda, after a short illness. He was 96. Born on the family farm in North Tonawanda, the third of 10 children, he attended North Tonawanda High School and enlisted in the Marine Corps in World War …
September 3, 1933 – August 7, 2017 Peter Carbone of East Amherst died Aug. 7 at Hospice of Western New York, following a long illness. He was 83. A graduate of Canisius High School, Mr. Carbone served four years in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Alaska at a Strategic Air Command base. There he also played and officiated basketball for Air Force teams while in the s…
June 17, 1924 – Aug. 6, 2017 Rachel Marrano, matriarch of the Buffalo area’s leading home building family, died Sunday in her Lancaster home. She was 93. Born in Buffalo, the former Mary Rachel Sebastiano grew up in the Lovejoy neighborhood and married Pasquale “Pat” Marrano in 1943. He and his five brothers founded Marrano Construction Co., now Marrano/Marc Eq…
April 19, 1923 – August 6, 2017 J. Albert Rohrer, of Youngstown died Sunday at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Lewiston. He was 94. Born in Niagara Falls, He graduated from Niagara Falls High School and attended Notre Dame University until he was drafted. Mr. Rohrer then trained at New York University as a meteorologist and later as a paratrooper in the 81st Airbor…
May 13, 1920 – June 30, 2017 C. Philip Mugler, who died June 30 at the age of 97 in Community Hospice Bailey Family Center for Caring, St. Augustine, Fla., was believed to be the first Western New Yorker to be taken as a prisoner of war in World War II. Serving in the Army in North Africa with the 1st Armored Division, Mr. Mugler was captured by Gen. Rommel’s tro…
I wouldn’t want anything to do with the revolution that doesn’t help the old lady in the trailer in the cold who is mourning her late husband by herself, Yo.
What Has Become of Empathy?
In the end of September of last year, I read an article in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof called “Just Look at What you Did.”
Do not ignore this; it is a fine and moving article. Click on the link, read the piece. See if you don’t cry.
Bless the young, the energetic, optimistic, brave souls like Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede. They are the ones who will save the world, if it isn’t already too late.
Kristof’s article had a powerful effect on me. After reading it, I clicked on this and that to learn more about the slum, Kibera, in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, to find out what I could about Posner and Odede’s program there called Shining Hope for Communities, something about which, having read the article, you, reader, now know. As one discovery leads to another on the Internet, I found these horrifying statistics here, provided by Shining Hope, which I have cut and pasted, for you to read. Do not ignore this either; these stats will blow your mind.
Life in the Kibera Slum of Nairobi, Kenya
The Kibera Slum of Nairobi houses 1.5 million people (nearly 50 percent of Nairobi’s total population) on less than 5 percent of Nairobi’s landmass.
The people of Kibera live in an area the size of Central Park.
It is one of the most densely populated places on the planet.
Life expectancy in Kibera is 30 years of age compared to 50 years of age in the rest of Kenya.
Half of all Kiberians are under the age of 15.
One out of 5 children in Kibera do not live to see their fifth birthdays.
There is no running water to most homes in Kibera. To obtain water, residents must purchase water from private vendors, paying two to ten times what is paid by a Nairobi resident outside the slums.
Kibera’s 1.5 million residents share 600 toilets, meaning that on average one toilet serves 1,300 people.
“In many parts of the world women are routinely beaten, raped, or sold into prostitution. They are denied access to medical care, education, economic and political power. Changing that could change everything” — The New York Times Magazine
66 percent of girls in Kibera routinely trade sex for food by the age of 16. Many begin as early as age six.
Young women in Kibera Contract HIV at a rate 5 times that of their male counterparts.
Only 41 percent of boys and 32 percent of girls know that condoms are effective in preventing HIV transmission.
“Women’s empowerment helps raise economic productivity and reduce infant mortality. It increases the chances of education for the next generation.” – United Nations Development Programme
Only 8 percent of girls in Kibera ever have the chance to go to school.
Educating a girl in places like Kibera means she will earn more, invest 90 percent of her earnings in her family, be three times less likely to become HIV positive, and have fewer, healthier children more likely to live past age
I decided, immediately after reading Kristof’s article and doing a little research, that I wanted to donate something and, after examining the various options, settled on sponsoring a girl. For $60 a month, I could provide a child with food, clothing, housing, education, medical services, and even aid in educating and eventually securing employment of some sort for her parent(s). I signed on to sponsor a girl until December of 2016. Or, that is the deal so far. (I am already wondering how one stops.) That donation (investment?) comes to a grand total of $3600. Over five years.
What Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner are doing in Kibera is huge; what I am doing requires no effort at all but may actually save a girl’s life and perhaps affect the lives of her children, and that fact is stunning. But even more stunning is the fact that there are millions of her out there. And for the most part, no one of means even notices them. We float around in a sea of religious blather these days, but the simple instruction to do unto others is rarely heeded and seems quaint even to suggest. Somehow, we must rediscover empathy, which seems to have been lost amidst the junk that consumes our daily lives.
On Jan. 23, I received, by email, a photograph of the child I am sponsoring. Having the image of the one who, until the end of January, was merely an idea, has rattled me in an unexpected way. She is an actual person. I cannot stop staring at her. There is something about her that looks old. I showed her picture to two friends and asked them to guess her age. One said, “Twelve?”, and the second murmured, “I don’t know, fourteen?” Both looked hard before they guessed. She is five. Her name is Jackline, and she has large, dark, somber eyes that appear already to have seen too much and a serious stare that projects a combination of resignation and challenge. She is real to me now. I want to send her things, meet her, talk to her, hug her. I see her; both she and her people feel real to me. In fact, I want to go to her.
But that’s silly, isn’t it?
At the plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative, in April of 2011, (you can watch the fascinating conversation here), Bill Clinton sat on a stage with Kennedy Odede and Sean Penn to discuss what we can do to help populations like the one in Haiti, especially post-earthquake and the one in Kibera. In his closing remarks, President Clinton said that there is a rural area in Africa to which he has gone to work on issues involving agriculture and AIDS, where the people, when they pass each other on the road and one says, “ Hello,” respond by saying, “I see you.” They do not say, “Hi, how are you?” They say, “I see you.”
The OED defines empathy as: the power of projecting one’s personality into (and so fully comprehending) the object of contemplation.
We label rather then seek to understand–this is like this or this is like that. At the discovery of the root of the cause, we can find a moment that lost desire manifest into a festering disappointment–stuck in a moment where we lost we can take it upon ourselves to hold personal responsibility in our hearts or deflect on them. The words of us and them naturally create a divisive strife. At the end of the day, it’s about taking responsibility for your life and your reactions; proactive towards the light in your dreams creates a sign upon which others will hold fast.
I hit #playAF on the MP3 player, close my eyes, and recline my chair in the living room.
Knee-jerk reactions don’t have the intrinsic value of progressing your towards your ultimate, and truest, dream–you’re natural tendency to pull into pleasure and push away pain, right? Is your action towards what you REALLY want or are you avoiding being uncomfortable–at some point, you will live uncomfortable; until you reach that stage, you will not grow, advance or find real success, yes? There’s two concepts that are similar but different: uncomfortable and awkward. Uncomfortable, I accept is part of what growth produces–awkward is different; when you know something is wrong but not how to handle it–walk away, let it go, push it away. Don’t allow bullshit to stay in your life if it makes you feel awkward; it it makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s probably going to help you grow. Awkward revolves around something external feeling wrong; uncomfortable shows that I am not to my potential, of what I can be, right, Yo?
Push away awkward; accept that uncomfortable is part of the process to growth, Yo.
If this blog doesn’t relate to you, or you can’t understand it, or you want it to change–just leave, Yo.
At some point, you’ll look back–you’ll smile or sigh is sadness. I hope that when you look back in 10 years, and reflect on where you are, you feel really good. I don’t think that life is, really, more complicated than that, Yo. Does it move you forward or are you merely just avoiding being uncomfortable–are you progressing or searching for the culprit for your inaction.
“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”
If a moment causes you stress–create something to express yourself that is also going to push you forward. Write a story each time that can urn into a book; paint a picture that can go to a gallery; instead of repressing your feelings–find ways to express how you feel, Yo.
So what is this blog? Simply, my form of protest–expressing my feelings in a positive manner as I feel them to help that one person out there that feels they have no one. I hope I find you in your dark hour. I hope you search for the article that expresses how you feel in this moment.