Category: Blog

A long way from home – Supporting The MylifE Foundation

Something terrible has happened to a small organization in South Africa. A friend of mine Linzi Thomas who’s spent 18 years as the director of The MylifE foundation has received word that funding is not coming in and at a critical point in the village’s evolution. They are now unable to continue building a school (pay labour costs) and provide services to the youth. Reports of drugs have already begun circulating throughout the local villages changing the behaviour of the children and the rest of the community showcasing just how important Linzi and the MylifE foundation’s work are.

The MylifE Foundation has been working tirelessly on the sustainable development of the MylifE Village concept for the past 6 years. They are building a ‘creative community’ for the Next Generation. The MylifE Villages will be a place where, using eco-principles, youth – otherwise trapped in unemployment, poverty and hopelessness – have the opportunity for healing and to be skilled into sustainable and inspired members of society, contributing to economic development and a peaceful society.

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The model is a “Train the Trainer” programme based on climate, soil, food, water, shelter and love. It will provide training and skills development for children in all areas of Green Building and Food Production. This will be realized through hands-on-work, practical learning and experience in a real-life, self-sufficient creative community. The MylifE Villages will provide children with the tools they need to change their lives and communities for the better.

Their work is something that I really believe in and I’m trying to raise money for them and so to do this I’ve written an original song specifically for the situation here called “A long way from home”.

Money raised will be spent on experts on radical sustainable buildings (www.lwhome.org/) who will then be able to transfer skills to rural South African youth.

You can learn more about the MylifE Foundation here: http://www.mylife.org.za/blog/ 

Lyrics

You tried to give, it all you had
Feels like your all, just made the world mad

You’re a long way from home
You’ll find your way back soon

But you give life, to those you meet
All the people that you see

Yeah, they’re a long way from home
they’ll find their way back soon

Don’t you quit, carving that path
it’s not of stone, but it’ll last

It’s not far from home
You’ll find your way back soon

Oooh…

We’re a long way from home

And we’ll find our way back soon…

A long way from home… We’ll find a way

Sometimes the walls they come crashing in
A chance to rebuild, grow a second skin

We’ll build a home
We’ll build a home for you

The lessons learned, in adversity
Teach us all, to cope purposely

I’m a long way from home
But I’ll find my way back soon

And if you fail, just look around
At the faces you’ve found

They’ve found their home
They’ve found a home in you

 

What is freedom?

I bought a poem off a homeless person with all the money in my wallet… It wasn’t much £2.40 and reading it made me realise just how bad it must be to watch people everyday who appear to have so much. There really aren’t enough opportunities for homeless people and the new government and things you hear about such as fines for sleeping on the street upset me.

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What I did isn’t going to make a difference but at least he can get some temporary relief.

Shan Fraser (a friend) had the great idea of writing a song around the lyrics and put all the earnings towards charity. So please buy the track and help support a local homeless charity.

You can buy the track here:

Let Me In (Demo)

I was jamming on my keyboard a few days ago and produced a little melody I liked the sound of, I put some vocals to it and this is what it sounds like.

I haven’t really recorded any other style like this and is totally different. The track has, as always a political theme. This track is about the struggles of integrating in society.

Why don’t you let me in,
I could be the one.
Why don’t you let me in,
I could be the one.

I found life, waiting for me.
All you need is community so…

Why don’t you let me in,
I could be the one.
Why don’t you let me in,
I could be the one.

Let me be the one…

We spend all our lives, rushing to the end.
Wasting time meant for memories, for tyrants and thieves.
Build your community, don’t let them see.
Build your communities, don’t let them see.

Let me be the one…

Why don’t you let me in, I could be the one.

Managing acid re-flux as a singer

Image courtesy of Olek Remesz

Image courtesy of Olek Remesz

Two years ago I was diagnosed with a rising condition known as GERD/GORD, A.K.A gastroesophageal reflux disease. For those of you who know little about it, you might be surprised to learn that it affects 1 in 5 people weekly and 1 in 10 people will experience it daily (NHS). The common causes of it are generally because people are; overweight or eat a high-fat diet. In my case and possibly your case if you stumbled across this post, is that it is because of the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle not functioning properly after it is opened to let food into your stomach. This then causes excess stomach acid to travel up the oesophagus essentially burning the entire tract including the vocal chords and throat.

There are generally no symptoms until the acid has in fact entered the oesophagus and so is a silent torture to those who are required to use their voices for a profession or perhaps hoping to use it professionally. I was asked to visit two ENT specialists who both told me my throat and vocal chords were fine if not a little red. This is my dilemma, having suffered with it for over two years, maybe more due to the lack of symptoms leading up to my diagnosis.

My recommendation is to seek medical help as soon as these types of symptoms appear as it will save you both time and money in the long run:

  • Heartburn after every meal (or randomly throughout the day)
  • Regurgitation of acid in throat or mouth (including food)
  • Difficulty swallowing

More severe symptoms that I have experienced are:

  • Consistent laryngitis (hoarseness and pain in the throat)
  • Chest pain that may radiate up around the lower back/ribs
  • Persistent cough
  • Sickness

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms above, this is where you definitely need to get to a GP as this condition can worsen and cause even more problems for you in the future.

(Have your GP test you for bacteria (h.Pylori) in your stomach as this can also lead to some chronic re-flux conditions as described above.)

If your GP has prescribed you with antacid liquid such as Gaviscon tell them that you need a more permanent solution and to consider you for PPI’s such as Omeprazole as this is a more effective method to reducing stomach acid. This is the one solution that worked for me and is continuing to help. There is a polar opposite here however, where your stomach could be producing too little stomach acid and will most likely be discussed with your GP should the medicine not work for you (I have no experience with too little stomach acid so can’t go into any details at this time).

Managing it naturally

The following advice includes methods that worked only for me and I would urge you to visit your GP beforehand as it could potentially worsen your condition. As hard as it might be to hear for those who enjoy natural remedies, nothing has worked for me as well as the medicine I was prescribed. Though it is important to maintain your body by eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Something that really helped me was to eat little and often. I aim to eat a healthy snack every 2 – 3 hours and have a slightly larger snack that could be considered a meal in-between. I also reduced the amount of processed foods I ate which helped within a few days and made me feel a lot more energetic. I would highly recommend eating all natural foods over anything else.

Neutral acids such as lemon juice and apple cider vinegar did appear to work and suppress acid for a few hours which I take in the morning and before eating a meal/snack. (Note: Apple cider vinegar might aggravate your condition so use sparingly and abandon if symptoms worsen)

A big help for me was to exercise more… I now exercise 2 – 3 times a week in the gym and aim to cycle in-between as aerobic exercise strengthens your breathing for singing anyway and increases your ability to control and hold more breathes.

I will keep the comments section open on this if you have any questions as acid re-flux and heartburn are the most common conditions today.

References

Nhs.uk, (2014). Heartburn and Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed 23 May. 2014].

Wikipedia, (2014). Gastroesophageal reflux disease. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroesophageal_reflux_disease [Accessed 23 May. 2014].

All there is to say (Demo)

This track has had a huge response and I want to thank everyone for listening and sharing it with your friends and family! All there is to say will probably be released as a single before the album is released and as a thank you will be available for free for a limited time (TBC).

Lyrics
Why wait to hold your values high
When your life just seems to pass you by
I found another way inside your mind
Just trust your instincts and you will find…

Found our way
Found our way
We found our way
We found all there is to say

There’s always someone waiting on their own
So take their hand and bring them home
You’ll always be the one to blame
So take control, don’t be the same…

Found our way
Found our way
We found our way
We found all there is to say