The Granny Cloud has typically functioned in disadvantaged, underprivileged locations. And yet, every so often, we ‘forget’ what it is to be at a disadvantage. What it means to be vulnerable… The current Covid-19 global pandemic and the subsequent [temporary] closure of the Granny Cloud centres throw these questions up again. For those who seek to become part of the team because they have, at the moment, more time on their hands than usual, but also for those who are currently or have been Grannies in the past.
It is sometimes easy to forget that this initiative is FOR the CHILDREN. Any benefits [and there are many!] that we derive from these interactions are a BONUS! So it is essential that we keep this ultimate aim in mind while figuring out our involvement. This interaction is not because we have nothing else to do, to be left by the way side when our personal circumstances change just a bit. Granny involvement goes a lot deeper. And we have Grannies figuring out extremely challenging situations in their personal lives to return to this initiative time and again. Yet, it’s a good idea to reflect on the meaning of privilege every so often. Not to feel guilty, but to develop genuine empathy, to get an insight into the lives and backgrounds in which many of the children live, to question again what is feasible [e.g. NO, it’s NOT POSSIBLE to run regular Granny sessions at the moment… the children don’t have access to internet and related devices in their homes!]
In the midst of all of this, the Granny Cloud continues to ‘function’… to strengthen Granny skills, to bolster morale, but also to see where else we might be of use at the present moment and how we can reach out in those circumstances. [And YES, we are beginning Granny sessions in a residential set up because the children have nowhere else to go.]
So it is important that we ask ourselves these questions – again and again. It is to ensure that we remain in touch with ground reality. It is to ensure that we recognize what the children have to offer – their way of life, their use of resources, could teach us a thing or two. Let’s pick an idea or two from them and apply it to our own lives and use resources more judiciously. Hopefully, we appreciate all that we have going for us …
How privileged am I?
- Do I need to worry about where my next meal is coming from? Where I’m going to sleep tonight?
- Am I entirely alone or do I have someone around me… to provide companionship, bolster morale, to help with chores around the house? To call for help if needed?
- Do I need to worry about a near and dear one on the frontline?
- Do I need to take care of a person with special needs? Mental health issues? Medical/health issues?
- Do I have special medical needs?
- Do I have to take care of a young child/children or elderly person(s)? Are other people dependent on me for their functioning?
- Do I have to fulfil work responsibilities from home while in ‘lockdown’ mode?
- Do I have to be concerned about family members away from home [and unable to get back?
- Am I stuck in a ‘foreign’ location away from home during this lockdown period?
- Am I stuck in an abusive situation with no escape?
(If you could answer ‘NO’ to the questions above or most of them… you are privileged. Now try the ones ahead. If your answer is ‘Yes’ to most of them…. You are privileged.)
- Is my ‘home’ large enough to allow for physical distancing / isolation if needed? To keep yourself active with indoor exercises?
- Do I have adequate space, even personal space, possibly a balcony, terrace or yard that I can ‘go out’ to if I feel claustrophobic?
- Do I have access to sources of entertainment and communication? The Internet, Television, Phones, other devices – tablets etc
- Do I have the financial resources to pay for additional resources/aid?
- Are there things within the social system that I take for granted / as being mine by right?
Are you aware of your privileges? Do you feel entitled to those?
And then there are hard life experiences that can actually prepare us to take on other hard situations… For example:
- Have I experienced great trauma in the past? [It might make me more anxious, but it might also help me view things from a different perspective.]
Perhaps if we think about this for a minute our take on the present situation across the world might be just a little different. This is not to imply that things are not bad, but to enable us to see it in a larger context and be more aware of the strategies and resources we have at our disposal that can make things just a little easier. For ourselves and hopefully for at least a few others around us.