Sharing Fridges

In the spirit of sharing and caring for those in need, a brilliant initiative has been set up in Dubai to ensure the city’s laborers have access to food and drink to break their fast this Ramadan. A few years ago, it started out by a lady called Sumayyah Sayed, a young Australian mother of two, who stocked one fridge with water and snacks for Iftar. This grew rapidly to a Facebook group with more than 24,000 members all over the United Arab Emirates, 70 fridges already open and more popping up every day! 

By putting fridges in communities, outside homes in garages, a sense of community is created, some hungry bellies are filled and a few eyes opened. Families have been donating everything from fruit (fresh or dried) to juices, water, laban or biscuits, with fridges often powered by electricity from their own homes. Walking around the neighborhood to get some pictures for this post, I realized how little interaction I have had with the people who keep our community so beautiful. A gesture that seems so small to us can make a huge difference in the life of someone else.

Simple signs in different languages invite gardeners, security staff, construction workers and other hungry men whom work outdoors in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees and are unable to go home for Iftar due to work commitments, to take some food or a drink. 

This year it’s even more structured thanks to bigger organizations such as Emirates Red Crescent and Open Arms UAE getting involved.

Have you heard of this initiative? Would you like to participate? Here is what you can do: 

Donate:     Check out the map for locations of the fridges.

Ramadan Fridges

 

When shopping, add extra drinks, pieces of fruit or packets of arabic bread to your cart. It’s a fantastic way to get the whole family involved. Last year my younger son encouraged us as a family to drive by the fridge in our community numerous times a week to stock it up with fresh fruit and laban. He never forgot, not a single time! The success of the initiative relies so much on individual donations. 

Create:     Start your own Ramadan fridge! Contact the admin on the Facebook page to get your location listed and start stocking up! 

Sponsor:     Do you work for a company that could help out with suitable products? Contact the admin on the Facebook page to get involved.

Beyond feeding people, this initiative hopes to promote a sense of community and bring us all closer together, and that’s really what Ramadan is all about. Giving to others gives us pleasure. It makes us happier people which in turn leads us to give more which makes us even happier and ... well, you get the picture. 

Now, it makes me wonder....why not extend this through the entire year? Would the fridges be full at the beginning and end of each day ? What do you think? 

Ramadan Kareem 🌙

#startwithsomething


Kick off your shoes!

Kick Off Your Shoes

It is easy to feel irritated, stressed and maybe even a little lost in this fast paced modern world. One of the quickest and easiest ways to re-connect and feel grounded again is to find our way back to nature. When people speak about Dubai, one thinks of tall, magnificent skyscrapers, luxury malls and state of the art restaurants, not natural beauty. 

 

Re-connecting with the natural rhythm of the flora and fauna has an instant calming effect.  Have you ever heard of Grounding or Earthing? The theory suggests that our bodies are meant to come into direct contact with the Earth on a regular basis, which is the “grounding” force. Humans, throughout history spent time outdoors, walking, hunting and gardening. Nowadays, we live in houses, wear plastic shoes and are exposed to Wi-Fi / mobile phone waves and Electromagnetic waves. Our bodies build up a high amount of positive electrons which can be balanced out by walking barefoot in direct contact with the ground. 

So kick off your shoes, walk on the sand, in dirt, mud or puddles. Do you remember how it felt the last time you strolled in the park without your shoes? Do you remember feeling happy and at peace? Do you recall sleeping well at night? The Earth naturally maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface and when our bodies have a good supply of electrons, our immune system functions at its best. 

Take some time to seek out the five basic elements which form the foundation of all things: 

Earth is found everywhere, even in Dubai! Walk alongside the beach, in the sand in the desert or on the grass in one of Dubai’s parks.

Volunteer your time at EMEG (Emirates Marine Environmental Group) which focuses on marine and terrestrial environmental issues. Plant and clean mangroves, participate in a beach clean up or watch tiny baby turtles being released into the ocean. 

Fly a kite at Kite beach or dive into the crystal clear water for a swim. 

Kick Off Your Shoes

Walk your dog barefoot around the Al Qudra lakes, home to desert foxes, gazelles, the oryx and over 170 bird species. Some of these native birds are on the endangered or vulnerable list such as the Steppe Eagle and the Asian Houbara.  

Grounding or Earthing is highly beneficial while being completely safe - its literally a walk in the park! 


Living In The Blue Zone

I am feeling very fortunate after returning home from a fabulous spring break ski vacation with my husband and sons. We had 10 days of happiness together where we had time to reflect on our good health and love for each other (apart from the time I was going to divorce my husband for taking me down a slope I was not prepared for.) On reflection, the factor that made our trip so great was that we were outside and active each and every day. I am realizing more and more that this is something that makes us very happy both individually and as a family.

Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Being energetic and breathing in an abundance of fresh Alp air was not all that made us feel so alive.  It was also being around people of all ages- especially those +60 - that were so active. There were seniors skiing, hiking, cycling, walking their dogs..., enjoying life to the fullest. It was so motivating to see people well into their 70s strap on a snow board and take on the Alps! The thought “I want to be like that when I’m their age” went through our heads routinely. Like many people in their forties, I have become increasingly more interested in a healthy balanced life. My goal has always been to live well into my hundredth birthday.  I realize this just doesn’t happen on its own. So I have decided to do some reading on people who have achieved this ripe age. It turns out there are regions in the world where it is very common for people to live very healthy active lives well into their nineties and even past one hundred. Incredible! They are living in regions called The Blue Zones. These regions are:

1.     The Island of Sardinia, Italy

2.     Okinawa, Japan

3.     Loma Linda, California

4.     Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

5.     The Island of Ikaria, Greece

What exactly are the Blue Zones? They are five areas of the world where there is a much higher proportion of centenarian (that’s right, people living to or over 100 years) versus the average population ( data from 2015 show average life expectancy in the USA to be 78.)  This group includes both men and women. Not only are people living long happy lives, more importantly, they are doing it for the most part, free of medications and disabilities. Sounds perfect, no? Dan Buettner, in partnership with National Geographic, studied the people in these areas and found out the secret all comes down to a lifestyle focused on a healthy diet, daily exercise, and a happy life. This research is not new and the ideas are obvious, but sometimes a reminder helps keep me on track.

Diet

Although the zones are scattered around the globe, The Blue Zone diet is quite specific. It is a diet loaded with nutrient rich fruits and vegetables that are locally grown, fish, nuts and legumes. It is low on meat, sugar, fat, and processed foods. And when eating, the key is to eat until you are 80% full, not 100%.

Typical diet in the Blue Zone regions

Typical diet in the Blue Zone regions

Exercise

People in these five regions also incorporate large amounts of exercise into their daily lives. Rather than high impact cardio or heavy weight lifting at expensive gyms the Blue Zoners undertake slow constant exercise that is continuous throughout the day. Their activity generally happens naturally because of their environment such as trekking in the mountain, walking through hills, and working the land. Their bodies are constantly in motion using their muscles, burning calories, and circulating their blood.

Constant daily work is the best form of exercise

Constant daily work is the best form of exercise

Happy Life

Their third attribute - a happy life - is much more difficult to broadly define compared to their diet and exercise. A happy lifestyle in the Blue Zones is generally attributed to low stress, strong family ties, sense of purpose, spirituality, and plenty of sleep. For example, there are no senior home facilities in the Blue zones. Elderly family members live with their younger family members and help out in many ways continuing to contribute.

Socilaizing with friends and family is crucial in the Blue Zones

Socilaizing with friends and family is crucial in the Blue Zones

I have only taken a brief look at the research of Dan Buettner’s books on the Blue Zones but it has been enough to motivate me to try for a better lifestyle. If I want to be skiing down the Alps well into my eighties, I need to take my lifestyle a priority. I’m not a fan of clubs but I can guarantee you that the centenarian club is one I want to be a member of!

 

Feeling like you want to know a bit more? Check out Dan Buettner on TED.