We’ll miss you, Cirkeline

June 21st, 2016

21 June 2016

Behind the wheel – An occasional series by Michael de Laine

Devoted, loving, independent – and, alas, no longer with us.

Cirkeline Havnevej 20160505

Cirkeline Havnevej 20160505

Today we had to say goodbye to our sweet cat, Cirkeline, after blood tests showed she had advanced feline leukaemia. With few red blood cells and no longer any white blood cells, Cirkeline’s immune system had stopped working, so it could not fight the virus.

She had been vomiting for the past five days, was listless and would neither eat nor drink. Her feline leukaemia was so advanced that the vet said she had only a short time left, and her lack of desire to eat and drink would mean a slow death.

We decided that having Cirkeline put down was far more humane.

That means no more clattering of claws on wooden floors. No more soft mews, Cirkeline, as you jump up on the bed to burrow under a quilt to sleep. No more hiding in cupboards, the laundry basket or a shoulder bag.

No more Cirkeline.

On the way home, in a shop window, we saw a sign: ‘Friends are easy to find, hard to leave and impossible to forget’.

A suitable epitaph for a sweet cat.

Life (and death) in refugee camps

August 10th, 2015

Behind the wheel – An occasional series by Michael de Laine

Do Mr and Mrs Average really know what life is like in refugee camps – in terms of accommodation, food, work, learning, the effects of weather and the impact of armed conflicts?

And why people flee their homes to find a refugee camp in another country, when that country itself has problems similar to those they fled from?

My daughter, who came home in March after 18 months in South Sudan for first the Danish Refugee Council and then Save the Children – Denmark, has sent me this recent video and website link – http://en.jrs.net/campaign_detail?TN=PROJECT-20150728055930 – to work done by the Jesuit Refugee Service, in particular at Maban in northern South Sudan, close to the border with Sudan.

Here, refugees from Sudan make up more than two-thirds of the local population. The refugee camps at Maban are home to about 130,000 people.

In comparison, some 107,000 refugees have landed on the shores of Greece already this year, which no-one denies has great economic problems and which great problems dealing with these refugees.

South Sudan is in a far worse economic situation than Greece. The work there of aid organisations includes education and child protection, but it is hampered by the weather and recurrent armed conflicts, both resulting in breakdowns in food supplies and transport.

These refugees are alive – to understand a little of what some go through and die doing, read: http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/boys-who-could-see-england.