Gunther von Hagens gets the first aid bug


So, your starter for ten. What links:

1. The British Red Cross.
2. A fully-grown plastinated giraffe sliced in half from nose to genitalia.
3. An eccentric German doctor in a black hat.

The answer, which you no doubt have already guessed, is the latest Bodyworlds exhibition by Dr Gunther von Hagens, currently showing at the O2 Bubble in London (which now has a 2 for 1 offer available). The British Red Cross is the main charity partner for the venture.

But why, you may ask, is our esteemed organisation getting involved with such a controversial fedora fancier and giraffe-botherer as Dr von Hagens? More

Help! (I need ten bodies)


This will be the first of many blog entries to open with an apology for the delay in posting due to workload colossalism. It’d help me out if you could find it charming. And forgive the occasionally made up word like ‘colossalism’. The reason for the delay this week: volunteer crisis strikes medical equipment department in Glasgow!


My special days of the week


The Refugee Unit opened a Monday Club social drop-in where we relax in the afternoon and spend social time with clients. I am part of a group My special days of the week of volunteers who runs the Monday Club. This is what happens………

Monday Club afternoons are fantastic afternoons. Many of our service users come to socialise. They are all from different backgrounds. They make friendships, learn English, play games or teach others games from their home countries.

After preparing tea and snacks, we all sit together on one big table and have something to eat before we start doing different activities. I love times like these when we feel relaxed and do not have to talk about work, just enjoy ourselves for a few hours like one big family. More

Stay safe at parties


Ah, the glorious British summer is upon us. Well, occasionally, at least.

What do you like to do in the summertime? Personally, I enjoy going to music festivals (Glastonbury being a permenant fixture), doing lots of walking, having as many barbeques as I can, and partying in general.

But parties often bring accidents. And accidents often require first aid. More

Monday Movement update #15


Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

A man leans over a small crying babyIndonesia bombs: The Indonesia Red Cross sent seven ambulances and 42 volunteers to help survivors of Friday’s bomb attacks. Leave a message of support on our blog.

Gaza photo gallery: Six months after Israel ended its three-week military operation in Gaza, residents are still suffering. See photos of people like baby Yehia (pictured), one of many children who is being treated for anemia.


Be a weekend hero


How do you like to spend your weekends? For me, the ideal weekend involves indulging my natural laziness and love of sleeping 12 hours in a row.

This weekend, however, I’m on call for our web team. That means, if our volunteers respond to something big while our offices are closed, I get a call and write a story about it for our website.

While most people in the country were out celebrating the fact that last night was Friday night, residents in Morpeth were checking the weather forecast and worrying that rain would, again, devastate their homes.


Stilettos and social exclusion in Georgia


So as a seasoned traveller slash humanitarian worker I thought I was well prepared for my recent trip to Georgia, my jabs were all up-to-date and I’d even packed a special tick remover as advised in my pre-trip medical. I’d also been told to tuck my trousers into my socks when walking through fields to avoid those pesky ticks and so I set off for Georgia armed with my sensible clothes – though when I got there I soon realised I wasn’t as well prepared as I thought.

Tower block

After flying into Tbilisi, we went west to Kutaisi, the second biggest city in Georgia. I was there to make a film about a Red Cross project that is seriously changing the lives of ‘socially excluded’ older people and I was working with Ash Sweeting, the same cameraman I worked with when making films in Sierra Leone.

I didn’t expect to see the blatant poverty of Africa and it’s true that on the surface – especially in Tbilisi with its grand monuments, fountains and expensive shops – life looks pretty good. But actually as you’ll see in the film there’s a whole other story. More