A small group of members traveled to Edinburgh from 19 to 26 August. We escaped the very hot summer temperatures of home; enjoyed the gardens and parks, galleries and museums of Scotland’s capital; and relished the numerous shows, indoors and street performances, of the Festival.
All of us are watching, to a larger or smaller degree, the games and what takes place at the World Cup. Are there elements worth our attention beyond the football? Click on the two links below and see for yourself.
The 23 May 2018 European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, organized by the European Association for the Study of Obesity revealed embarrassing facts concerning kids in Cyprus: 43% of boys and girls aged 6-9 years have a problem with excess weight; further, about half of these overweight children are obese! Stated simply, 1 in 2 of our kids experience serious health risks from a tender age.
This news calls for alarm. If you are a parent, you need to take corrective action now! Please don’t look right or left: the onus is on you. Children aged 6-9 years are still under your influence and you cannot hide behind the excuse that your child would not follow your guidance. And guidance is the secret of success. Kids respond well to parents who can lead by example, but will resist orders, because you cannot fool them. ‘If it is good for me, then why are you not following, mum?’ would leave you searching for words.
This applies equally to food, to time spent in front of a screen, to exercising. A parent who eats unhealthy because this is ‘customary’ while watching football on TV, a parent who spends hours every night browsing the internet, a parent who feels too tired or busy to get up from her couch, will have little success with instructions to their children to shape up. Kids have a good understanding of what is good and what is bad, and they don’t need your regular preaching about it.
Looked at positively, here lies a wonderful opportunity for you to (re)start on a new course, which will ensure a healthier life for you as well as your kids, and also will bring the family much closer together, doing the same things and communicating more. You may begin with a change back into the Mediterranean diet which we have abandoned, as was revealed at the European Congress by Dr. Joao Breda, from the World Health Organisation “The Mediterranean diet for the children in Mediterranean countries is gone, and we need to recover it”.
Dr. Breda came with further sad news “Physical inactivity is one of the issues that is more significant in the southern European countries”. Inevitably our sedentary life is closely related with trending activities, such as inordinate use of electronic games and the social media. A young client recently had immersed himself so deeply in it that he had given up gym exercising completely. For you as a parent, guiding your child to an active life may prove much more of a challenge than controlling what you eat and drink. Not only because what you do in front of a screen is ‘fun’, but also because you may feel that sports that suit your kid are beyond your own reach. Rightly so, only few and athletic parents can take up track sports or martial arts or play basketball any more. To this there are merely two exceptions, swimming and hiking. These are safe sports for persons of practically all ages, in general good health.
Hiking involves walking (neither jogging, nor running) in nature and contrary to swimming is not a widespread practice. Hiking through a forest or up and down a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul and is an excellent way to burn between 400 – 700 calories per hour, depending on your size and the hike difficulty. Luckily, hiking is one of the easiest and least expensive sports to get involved in, and it can have great benefits for the whole family. It is non-competitive, thereby offering your kids a relaxing break from their daily results oriented school routine. And because all the family, even grandmas can participate, you will be amazed at the breadth and depth of conversations you will hold while you hike, leaving you at the end perhaps tired, yet feeling spiritually satiated and so close together.
Research has shown hiking to reduce levels of stress and anxiety in adults. Further research on children with hyperactivity has shown that when they are in a natural, outdoors environment their attention levels improve greatly. Finally the most astounding research results came from Professor David Strayer of the University of Kansas, whose experiments with people hiking revealed a 50% boost in their creativity.
To sample the delights of hiking, start with a google search. There are several responsible hiking clubs in the island, which will welcome you and your kids, on your journey to a better life.
A custom from our childhood years came to being on Good Friday (6 April), when an impromptu stroll was conducted around Nicosia Within-the-Walls. During the afternoon, and before the start of the evening church service, we visited 8 Orthodox churches and venerated their Epitaphios. Let the photos do the talking. Best wishes for a Happy Easter. P.S. Regrettably no photo from Chrysaliniotissa, which is ironic because we thought had the prettiest decoration.
The Cyprus Strollers celebrated the International Mountain Day with a gathering on 10 Dec., in which the following message was shared with all.
The UN declared 2002 the International Year of Mountains. From 2003 onwards, 11 December, is celebrated as “International Mountain Day”.
Mountains cover 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, and 915 million people live in mountain areas. 90% of these 915 million mountain dwellers live in developing countries, and ~ 1/3 of these people are poor and vulnerable to food shortage and insecurity.
Our mountains are threatened by their population abandoning their homes, moving to urban environments. Another serious threat is climate change; as temperatures rise, mountain glaciers are melting, and this affects our freshwater supplies. Hence the theme for this year’s International Mountain Day is climate, hunger and migration.
Some 30 years ago, while this writer was living in Switzerland, it was a shock to learn that snow was no longer falling at the time it was customarily expected, and the tourism industry was employing artificial means to create snow for skiing. One may wonder “how do these phenomena affect one living in Cyprus”. The answer is that the entire globe is no larger than a village, as far as the breadth of climate degradation goes. Recall, over 20 persons died in floods in Athens last month.
“What can one do about it”, comes another voice. There are no simple answers, and a Global Meeting is taking place from 11 – 13 Dec. 2017 in Rome, focusing on the challenges and opportunities in sustainable mountain development. This Global Meeting is expected to launch a framework to support concrete actions. It is not easy.
Having said this, at a personal, individual level, each one can continue acting responsibly, influencing others and, finally, not losing faith. As Jesus said to his disciples, in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, chapter 17: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as one grain of mustard, you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The following poem is contributed by Christos, a regular Stroller. It is titled “Wisdom of the Mountains”. The photo was taken by Christos, one morning on Madari, as the moon was setting, earlier this month. Have you got a contribution to make?
There are no words when reaching the top.
There are no words while climbing towards your goal.
There are no words when you stop, turn your body, focusing, looking and experiencing a glorious sunset.
There are no words when you are hungry and eat a simple bread.
There are no words when you are thirsty and drinking the humble water.
There are no words when hugging your fellow traveller.
There are no words when changing clothes after sweating.
There are no words when you are lost and you have to decide, you then have to trust your instinct. It is the only thing you’ve got.
Even the steepest side becomes easy when we create a zigzag path.
Believe that the top is the only purpose and you then miss the journey. The real purpose of climbing is just to climb.
Believe that the journey is the only purpose and you then miss the top. The real purpose of climbing is to reach the top.
There are endless routes to the Top. Our route is only one of them, not “The One”.
Mountain is not good or bad, tall or short, green or brown. Like life they are what they are. New, every second.
There are no words, when feeling the mountain.
There are no words, when walking in the mountain.
There are no words……
A custom from our childhood years came to being on Good Friday (14 April), when an impromptu stroll was conducted around Nicosia Within-the-Walls. During the afternoon, and before the start of the evening church service, we visited 7 Orthodox churches, the Maronite church and the Catholic church of the Holy Cross, and venerated their Epitaphios. Let the photos do the talking. Best wishes for a Happy Easter.