Virginia Barton

20 June 2013: On your saunter, think of the refugees

20 June 2013

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Yesterday was World Sauntering Day. Who dreams up these Days and who observes them? Did you? It’s the sort of day one should prepare for, rather than have it sprung upon you mid-morning when the rhythm of the day is already well-established. Had one known, one might have asked a few friends round:

“Bring a small knapsack, we’re going for a saunter.”

Or perhaps:

“Come for ice-creams, under the rose arbour. Come in lounging-gear, then we’ll have a stroll by the river.”

You could of course just take the day very very easily, thinking slow thoughts and going nowhere in particular. I bet there’s a club of Saunterers with a special tie.


Well today is World Refugee Day, a much more serious occasion, not one to saunter away from. The speaker on the wireless who mentioned it reminded us of the crisis in Syria, Mali and Sudan; but if you look at this website  you will be as appalled as I was, to find that the United Nations declares that there are 43 million “uprooted victims of conflict”, of whom 15 million are refugees.

Take a moment to think what that means for just one family, an old man or lone child.

There are people who devote their entire lives to helping the displaced, and there are charities that do wonderful work and most of us support our favorites (when reminded) as generously as we can. The rest of the time I’m afraid it’s “out of sight, I’ve forgotten about you.”

No one person can carry the burdens of 43 million, but sponsorship of a child or family could, surely would, make all the difference.

The speaker who reminded his listeners of this particular World Refugee Day, also suggested we should pray, for God does the most extraordinary things.


Tomorrow is World Surfing Day. No comment.






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