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‘World Porridge Day’, did you say? What a larf…!

NOW, don’t get me wrong, my esteemed readers… I use the word ‘larf’ in the headline to this LUCUBRATION as Cockney for the English word ‘laugh.’

To laugh, we’re told, is to “make the spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body that are the instinctive expressions of lively amusement – and, sometimes, also of derision.”

[Incidentally, LARF is also an acronym for: the ‘Louisiana Renaissance Festival’ in the USA; the ‘Latin American Reserve Fund’ (Colombia); the ‘Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction’; the ‘Large Animal Research Facility’ (US Army; USAMRIID), and ‘Lincolnshire Amateur Rocket Flyers (UK)… But, never mind that for now… I’m amused that there’s such a thing as ‘World Porridge Day’.

But I just as soon learned that WP-Day is nothing derisive or laughing matter… October 10th of each succeeding year has been marked internationally as ‘World Porridge Day’ since 2009 to raise funds for the Mary’s Meals’ charity.

Based in Argyll, Scotland, the Charity aids starving children in developing countries, including Malawi, where the Charity “feeds the nutrient-rich maize-based porridge, ‘LikuniPhala’ to about 320,000 children each year.”

Formerly known as ‘Scottish International Relief’ (SIR), Mary’s Meals is a registered charity which sets up “school-feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities, where hunger and poverty prevent children from attending classes to get education.”

Founded in 2002, the Charity has grown from its first feeding operation of 200 children in Malawi to 880,000 children today.

It has also become a worldwide campaign, providing free school meals in hundreds of schools in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, where it feeds more than 1.18m children daily.[‘World Porridge Day’.

Mary’s Meals. Retrieved September 30, 2016]. Various studies have established that “Mary’s Meals is a simple idea that works.

A daily meal in school has a positive impact on pupils enrolment, attendance and performance in class – and could even hold the key to eradicating child hunger altogether.

The global average cost of feeding a child for a whole school-year with Mary’s Meals is just £13.90/€15.60/$19.50.” Support for Mary’s Meals is global, with fundraising groups in Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, UK and USA – named here strictly in alphabetical order…

Incidentally, ‘Mary’s Meals’ is named after Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, by its founders, who were inspired by their Catholic faith. But, the Charity is NOT a Catholic organisation.

It was founded by Scottishman Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow (Order of the British Empire, and Fellow of The Royal Scottish Geographical Society)… [By the way, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) is an educational charity founded in 1884, and is now based in Perth, Scotland.

The purpose of the Society is to advance the subject of geography worldwide, inspire people to learn more about the world around them – and provide a source of reliable and impartial geographical information].

To add spice to the World Porridge Day, pranksters (in My Book of Things, anyway) organised the ‘World Porridge-Making Championship’ beginning in 1994, with the annual winner being awarded the ‘Golden Spurtle’ trophy and the title of ‘World Porridge Making Champion.’

The ‘Spurtle’ is, of course, a wooden Scottish kitchen tool dating from the fifteenth century, which is used to stir porridge, soups, stews and broths... Oh, so much, then, for Mary’s Meals, World Porridge Day and World Porridge-Making Championships…

Today, October 10, is also a special day for the homeless and the mentally sick. To start with the latter, ‘World Mental Health Day’ is dedicated to global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

First marked in 1992 on the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health – a global organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries – the ‘World Mental Health Day’ should not be confused with the plain ‘mental health day’ observed in the so-called ‘First World’, including especially the US and New Zealand. In those countries, ‘mental health day’ refers to any day when an employee takes a day off work “for reasons other than physical illness!”

In other words, the employee simply doesn’t feel like going to work that ONE day… and no questions asked… Sheesh! Get it? I don’t quite get it…Ah, well, never mind that!

As for the ‘homeless, these are folk without a permanent dwelling in the form of a house, an apartment, etc. the term includes people who live in ‘special shelters for the homeless’ because they have no home of their own, as well as squatters, street dwellers… I am still trying to find out how ‘World Homeless Day’ is ‘celebrated’.

Oh… I am also told that October 10 is celebrated as ‘Hug a Drummer Day’ -- and that August 20 is ‘International Homeless Animals Day!’ When, where and how will it all end, pray? Cheers!

[israellyimo@gmail.com]

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Author: Karl Lyimo

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