Tag Archives: twitter

How to Support the Beirut Relief Efforts

As you many all be aware, on August 4th, at 6pm local time, a massive explosion took place at the Seaport of Beirut in Lebanon. It appears the cause of the explosion was due to the accidental ignition of over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely for many years at the ports.

This very preventable explosion has taken over 125 lives, injured over 3,000 people and destroyed the homes of more than half the city’s residents. There is a dire need for blood donations, volunteers, and funds to help with an already strained healthcare system due to COVID-19.

If you are in Lebanon, you can safely go to any local hospital or clinic to donate blood and see if there is a need for volunteers. There are many groups gathering to help with the cleaning and rebuilding efforts as well. Every little bit counts.

For the rest of us outside of Lebanon that can donate, the best resources I’ve found so far are the Lebanese Red Cross and the Impact Lebanon crowdsourcing initiative through Just Giving. You can search for your local NGOs that may be offering assistance but I’ve listed a few I’ve come across below.

Kindly note that when making a donation to Lebanese NGOs, do not make it in the country’s currency (Lebanese Lyra/Pound), as it sadly has been collapsing over the past year. Your best bet will be to do so in either US dollars or the Euro.

Baytna Baytak has been helping house healthcare workers and first responders across Lebanon during the pandemic response. Now they are working to help the more than 300,000 displaced residents of Beirut find temporary shelter.

International Medical Corps is helping survivors get life-saving care, deploying medical units and mental health care efforts in support of the damaged facilities and overwhelmed healthcare.

Islamic Relief has an office in Beirut and thankfully their staff is safe. Now they are working to bring much-needed aid and relief support to Beirut.

World Food Program of the UN is helping bring food to the area after the major food sources, like the grain silos, were destroyed at the Beirut port.

If you know of any other organizations providing relief support and assistance that can use our donations, please share them in the comments or tag me on any social media platform, my handle for most is @mshalaco.

May God have mercy on the beautiful people of Lebanon, ameen.

A Moment of Reflection

The other day, I went out for a walk after staying home for a good week straight. Upper Great Highway by the Ocean Beach Trail was (and still is) closed to traffic. The skies were a bit gloomy, the air was cold and the waves were hushed. I just stood there in the middle of the road for a moment.

As I’m asthmatic, I’m at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than most. My last major asthma attack was on the night of January 31st. I got tested for the flu and pneumonia, which consisted of an x-ray and a horrid nasal swap. None of which was comfortable, all of which came back negative. I had to go to Urgent Care about a week or so later as my allergy symptoms didn’t elevate since. This took place before I realized that COVID-19 was spreading, fast.

San Francisco and most of the Bay Area have sheltered in place since March 15th but most of my family and co-workers sheltered in place prior to that as a precaution. Life has been different, interesting, amusing, and frustrating. I’ve had to adjust, adapt, postpone and reevaluate my priorities. I’m no parent but I’ve had to help step in and home school my first-grade nephew. It reminded me of why I never continued on the career paths of being a teacher or pediatrician but grateful a million folds for those that are.

As I stood there facing the gloomy skies above the sea, I kept thinking despite it all, this was a reminder of our blessings. We live in a friendly, family-oriented, and supportive community. I’ve been in better touch with family and friends than ever before, just checking in on each other and making sure everyone is OK. I’ve seen neighbors and community members on my walks and even under masks and six feet apart, we see the smiles.

Where our national leadership has failed, our community leaders have risen up to take charge. Our healthcare workers and first responders the world over have been working tirelessly to care for us, even when they themselves need to be cared for. Our grocery stores are stocked, our restaurants are delivering, and even my tiny desk for work was shipped sooner than expected.

The people behind all that goodness remind me of our blessings, much of which we take for granted. They give me hope that we will get through this uncertainty with a bit more faith, gratitude and empathy. The absolute humility that has come out of this pandemic have truly restored my faith in humanity.

And as I stood there in the middle of the road, I saw a small ray of light through the gloomy skies. Seeing it as a good omen, I took out my phone to capture this moment.

I am a firm believer that when God puts us to it, God will pull us through it. So have faith that this too shall pass. Please, if possible, consider volunteering or donating to causes out there supporting our communities, front line and essential angels. Check on your family, friends and neighbors regularly when possible. If you need someone to talk too, know that I’m but a message away. And please, I urge you all to continue to stay home and stay healthy. We will get through this, together!

AlJazeera Staff Sentenced in Egypt

On June 23, 2014, Sisi’s vision of “Egyptian democracy” were made obvious when AlJazeera journalists Peter Grest, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Ghorab and several other journalists (some in absentia) were sentenced from 7 to 10 years for doing their journalistic duties.

Media preview
c/o @mohamed via Twitter

This sentencing comes despite complete lack of evidence of any threat to Egypt’s national security. This also comes after US Secretary of State, John Kerry visited Egypt’s President on the matter and of course, the issuance of military aid from the US, a total of half a billion US tax dollars.

Family, friends, supporters and journalists were forcefully removed from the courts after the hearing. Several images on Twitter have shown police angrily placing hands on camera lenses and chasing people out of the entrances. After going a few steps forward on January 25, 2011, Egypt has now gone several hundreds steps back on June 23, 2014.

I still have hope and know deep down that this not the end of the revolution. The struggle remains, the voices louder, the revolution continues.

Not Just Anyone, An Ode to Mommies

Not Just Anyone
An Ode to Mommies
By: Ms. Hala

She’s one of those people that really molds you into who you are. Or maybe it’s because somehow you’re existence has molded her. Some say it’s the best feeling in the world after all the pain. I say, I’m not half as strong as she is to ever be there.

She’s beautiful, oh so beautiful. She’s so gorgeous, it’s criminal! Like seriously, it’s gotten us into so much trouble!

It really is like when Frank Sinatra sings, “when she smiles, the whole world smiles”. And God forbid when she weeps, it’s just a sad, sad place. You want to do anything to make it all better just because you can’t bear her sadness.

She ignores me when she’s focused on playing games on her iPhone. She’s such a gamer, I can’t attempt to compete. All my friends are her friends on Facebook because “she’s just so cool!” Thank God she’s not on Twitter, she’d laugh at my small number of followers.

We can’t hang out without someone thinking we’re sisters rather then mother and daughter. Then again she’ll respond with, “I’m the daughter, she’s my mother.” That makes me feel so much better about myself, thanks!

She shushes me despite the fact that she knows I’ll always be too loud for my own good. She makes good fun of my height, or lack there of. I’m just not going to be as brave and tall as her, I’ve come to terms with that. She laughs at all my silly jokes and antics, I should be a comedian.

She’s encouraged my higher education, crying at ever graduation ceremony, except for the last one. Instead, with a straight face, she’s snapped, “This is it, enough degrees!” Yet I’ve caught her bragging to her friends about all the degrees and experiences she’s gotten through her children. What they have are hers too.

She can do that, because she is not just anyone. She is the mother. She is the best friend. She is the confidant. She is simply immaculate.

She raised her kids with all she’s got. She supported their every wish and dream. She loved them unconditionally. We are seriously blessed to have her.

She’s your mommy. She’s my mama. She’s our mother. She’s MOMMY and we love her! To all our mother’s on earth and in heaven, we love you every day, we appreciate you always and nothing will ever be enough to show it.

 

note: minor edits made for formating purposes.

My Latest Discovery, GoodReads.com

I was on Twitter the other day (when am I not on Twitter?!) when I came across my friend’s tweet recommending a book she had just finished reading. Being the bookworm that I am, I clicked the link, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped! I had come upon a gem by the name of GoodReads.com.

Mind you, I know the websites for Borders, Barnes & Noble (once-upon-a-time I used to work at both places for the discounts) and Amazon.com exist. However, to come across an entire online community dedicated to books and amazing authors put a big smile on my face after a rough week of following the events in Egypt.

If you haven’t checked out GoodReads.com yet, please do! I’m slowly but surely adding all my books which you can view on my profile. Feel free to add me and share your favorite reads. I’m currently reading By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho and so far I’m liking it. Anyone read it?

Do consider yourself warned that if you are a fan of books as I am, you will catch yourself browsing through this site for hours! Enjoy! =)