Hope can be a powerful force that sustains us through dark days and times of hardship. Many of us lean towards trusting in the possibilities for a better future as uncertainty, anxiety, fear, suffering, grief and hardship envelop the globe in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Butterflies have long been a symbol of hope – perhaps because of their ability to rise in apparently effortless flight on delicate wings of great beauty – and so I share some photographs of butterflies that visited our garden over the past few months.

African grass blue butterfly visiting a lucerne flower in South Africa

We seek hope even in times of crisis. Although tough times can bring out the worst in some people, very many others admirably rise to the challenges as demonstrated, for example, by the courage and kindness of essential services and medical personnel, the dedication of researchers and specialists in medicine and epidemiology, the efforts of those policy makers and planners who strive to help people and families in need and join the struggle for greater equity, and the ongoing service of community organisations around the world.

Countless acts of generosity and caring, reaching out and connecting with fellow humans, surely give us reason to hope, even in the face of the darker acts of selfishness, denialism, callousness and brutality that blight humanity even in these calamitous times. 

To date (16 April 2020) worldwide there are 2,081,969 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 138,487 deaths. So far, 525,884 people are recorded as having recovered from the disease (Johns Hopkins University. 2020. Coronavirus Resource Center, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html).

Brown veined white butterfly visiting a crocosmia flower bud, South Africa

Many countries are under severe or partial lockdown in efforts to slow the spread of the Covid-19 disease so that health services are not overwhelmed. With many businesses adversely affected or closed, thousands of people have lost or stand to lose their livelihoods, and many others already living in poverty are facing greater bleakness including hunger.

One of the Grass yellow butterflies in a garden in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

A few days ago I read a post from a fellow blogger documenting several local and community-based initiatives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, which are bringing people together, pooling resources and fund-raising so as bring food and other necessities to children and families who are vulnerable under lockdown to the extent that many do not have reliable access to food to sustain them.

Please do read the recent post ‘Corona for Change’ posted by Nikki Brighton at Midlands Mosaic https://midlandsmosaic.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/corona-for-change/ It will warm your heart and engender real hope that so many are organising effectively within and across communities in practical and meaningful ways.

Nikki documents varied community initiatives that aim to bring food and other necessities to those who are in great need, with much of the focus being on food parcels, feeding schemes, and the provision of veggie seedlings and fresh produce. Many of the projects draw on local produce and the forming of networks so that produce can be resourced, pooled and distributed at community level.

A tiny grass jewel butterfly, South Africa

In her post, Nikki provides links to individual projects so that readers can find out more about each initiative and the types of assistance it needs.  

A pearl charaxes butterfly, South Africa

Hearteningly, there are also governmental and large-scale projects, both at national and international levels, designed to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and to support the vulnerable. Such projects rely on support and donations from a broad spectrum of governments, corporations, organisations and citizens, but it is important too to find out about and support where you can, small-scale initiatives as well, both in your own neighbourhood and across the world.

A garden commodore butterfly in the dry-season form, South Africa

Even though we may be locked down or sheltering in place (depending on your country’s policies and terminology) we can still find ways of reaching out to support others, whether near or far.

Perched on the seed head of a grass stem, a brown-veined white butterfly, South Africa

Let us find ways to spread our wings and encompass hope.

Posted by Carol

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