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Jan 13, 2021 Read in Browser

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These days, it's hard not to feel like taking in news around the world is inevitable "doomscrolling". In such times, it's more important than ever to remember that our lives are deeply interconnected, and each small gesture of goodwill unlocks an invisible ripple of care, and soaring possibility. Around the world -- from Kenya to Taiwan, U.S. to Ireland -- this week's stories invite us to remember the power that the inextricable thread of compassion holds to connect us all.

ELDERS

Belfast Bus Driver Takes Detour To Drop Woman At Her Mother's Care Home

Belfast Bus Driver Takes Detour To Drop Woman At Her Mother's Care Home

Bus driver Alec Bailey said Mason's situation "hit his heart". Audio: Listen Here.

In Belfast, Ireland, Jacqueline Mason accidentally got on the wrong bus on her way to the care home where her mother lives and could have missed her half-hour visiting slot. She mentioned this to bus driver Alec Bailey, who said it “hit his heart” when Mason broke down in tears at that prospect. Bailey decided to take a detour to get Mason as close to the care home as possible so she would arrive in time; an act that enabled Mason to visit with her mother. Fortuitously, media were on-site covering the story that residents were receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Mason poured her gratitude for Bailey’s kind gesture out to a media correspondent and it made the evening news. “He made my Christmas and he’s made my year, I can’t thank him enough.” Read Full Story.

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EVERYDAY HEROES

The Burundian Refugee Soap Maker Who Is Fighting Coronavirus In Kenya

The Burundian Refugee Soap Maker Who Is Fighting Coronavirus In Kenya

UNHCR via BBC. Audio: Listen Here.

In 2014, Innocent Havyarimana fled Burundi's political unrest and violence. He returned as a refugee in 2015, taught himself how to make soap and opened his business that same year in the Kakuma refugee camp. Two hundred thousand people live in the camp, so providing soap has been key in fighting the speed of the coronavirus. Havyarimana has lowered the price of his soaps and provides them for free to the elderly and disabled. "Everybody needs soap, but not everybody is able to afford it. So I lowered prices, as it was more important to protect people than to think of profit," he told the BBC. Read Full Story.

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NEWS

'What Else Could I Do': New Jersey Congressman Helps Clean Up The Capitol

'What Else Could I Do': New Jersey Congressman Helps Clean Up The Capitol

Andrew Harnik | AP Photo. Audio: Listen Here.

It was late at night. Actually, the wee hours of Thursday morning, Jan. 7. Shortly after voting to certify Joe Biden's presidential victory, New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim walked through the U.S. Capital halls littered with water bottles, clothing, flags and debris. "When you see something you love that’s broken, you want to fix it. I love the Capitol. I‘m honored to be there. This building is extraordinary, and the rotunda in particular is just awe-inspiring. How many countless generations have been inspired in that room?" he said. "It really broke my heart, and I just felt compelled to do something.... What else could I do?" Nearby, police officers were putting pizza boxes in trash bags. He asked for a bag and began cleaning up too. "I think it was one in the morning," said fellow New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski. "There were a couple National Guardsmen, and I noticed somebody on his hands and knees leaning under a bench to pick something up, and it was Andy all by himself, just quietly removing debris and putting it in a plastic bag. He was clearly not doing it for an audience. It was, for me, the most poignant moment of the long night." Read Full Story.

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COMMUNITY

Taiwan's Midnight Cafeteria Offers Aid To Stray Cats

Taiwan's Midnight Cafeteria Offers Aid To Stray Cats

Chiang Ying-ying | AP Photo. Audio: Listen Here.

Forty-five tiny, hand-painted "houses" scattered across the Taiwanese capital of Taipei offer shelter to local strays and a designated place for food handouts. The idea originated with Chen Chen-yi, a researcher at the Taiwan Animal Equality Association, who realized the need for an organized way for kind-hearted souls to reach out to feral cats. The "Midnight Cafeteria," as it is known, helps ensure that the practice of leaving out food for strays does not cause a mess or other nuisance for neighbors. It also allows the volunteers to keep track of strays, clean up after them and see to their health. Hung Pei-ling, one of the volunteers who maintain these shelters, explains that “you don’t have to be part of a very top-level association or something that takes up all of your time. You can just be one person doing something a little bit at a time -- a little bit, and taken all together, you can achieve a lot.” Read Full Story.

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PLANET

U.S. Is Building A Giant Bike Trail That Will Go Coast-to-Coast

U.S. Is Building A Giant Bike Trail That Will Go Coast-to-Coast

Rido Alwarno | Pexels. Audio: Listen Here.

Over the last year, the Rails to Trails Conservancy has been securing millions of dollars and miles of land to connect gaps in existing bicycle trails coast-to-coast. The Great American Rail Trail will bridge about 95 gaps between 145 existing trails, creating a multi-use cross-country trail that stretches more than 3,700 miles from Washington, D.C., to Washington State. Rails to Trails Conservancy President Ryan Chao recently noted the timeliness of this project to the World Economic Forum saying, “Millions of people have found their way outside on trails as a way to cope with the pandemic. This infrastructure serves as the backbone of resilient communities.” Read Full Story.

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