Today it is my pleasure to welcome to my blog Andrew Harris, author of A Litany of Good Intentions. You can purchase the book here
About the Book
An end to world poverty is more than just a dream for young Chinese philanthropist Jock Lim. Through his charity connections, Jock has discovered a way to release 2.6 billion people from the imminent threat of death and disease. Unpublished work by Albert Einstein helped unlock the scientific breakthrough that will remove the constraints of Third World living conditions and create a new age of global prosperity.
But not everyone will prosper.
Dr Hannah Siekierkowski is a guest speaker at a conference in Sweden where Einstein’s legacy and a strategic alliance with Rotary will light up the world. As the clock ticks down to the announcement, Hannah is drawn into a web of corporate greed, racial prejudice and a seething hatred of the new world order.
A hatred that someone is prepared to kill for.
Confessions of an Eternal Optimist
Getting down and dirty in the slums of Mumbai taught this eternal optimist one big lesson in life
I had the privilege to visit India as part of a tour group. We witnessed the breathtaking cultural diversity of this fascinating country, seeing for ourselves the contrasting lifestyles of its multitudinous people; some living in the poorest of street conditions whilst others bathed in the splendour of their marble mansions.
No matter how bad things seemed to be for the countless thousands in the urban slums, one thing became clear very quickly. It was the overriding sense of hope and optimism, of belief that things will work out, of faith in a higher power, of gratitude just to be alive one more day.
It was a sobering lesson in life – we must keep trying to create a better world, whatever the odds stacked against us.
The happiest people we saw were also the poorest: people who didn’t have shoes for their feet or a roof over their heads. People with absolutely nothing, trying to survive by selling what would be classed as rubbish in, dare I say, more developed countries.
But still they smiled. And sang and danced. Not for our benefit, but their own. Happy to be alive, no matter what misery, disease or injustice life was throwing at them.
During the tour, I heard unhappy people complaining about their white wine not being chilled enough: or because they spotted a cockroach in the five star restaurant of their luxury hotel. Meanwhile, not more than twenty metres away from the hotel lobby, families were sleeping on the pavement under a sheet of discarded plastic. Yet still they smiled and greeted us warmly.
As I sat in the departure lounge reflecting on what I’d seen in India, I wanted to do something that would celebrate the joy of being human: help the people who needed it most: channel the power of eternal optimism into putting right the things we are doing wrong to the world and to each other.
But where to start?
I have a confession to make – I am proud to be a Rotarian. The genuine values and honest approach of this voluntary organisation suit perfectly my convictions as an eternal optimist. With over one million ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the service of others before themselves, the mission of Rotary is truly a worthwhile humanitarian cause. Rotary really does make a difference where it is needed most.
And because of Rotary, I have been fortunate to hear some inspirational speakers all over the world. Indeed, it was one such presentation by the leader of a charity called the World Toilet Organisation that gave me the idea of where to start.
Over 40% of our global population – 2.6 billion people – have no access to a toilet, even today. The vast majority cannot just turn on a tap but have to carry water from a well. They have no electricity so their world goes dark when the sun goes down. They have no medical facilities or access to the hospitals we take for granted.
In India, many such people flock to the cities in hope of finding a better way of life, only to end up in the labyrinth of urban slums. There they can become the victims of crime and human trafficking or prostitution. Kidnapping and even slavery are rife. Yet despite it all, their hopes and dreams shine through.
The Rotary Club of Mumbai Necklace has established a project to help the survivors of human trafficking and prostitution in their city and rehabilitate them before re-entry into society.
I want to help this project by raising awareness of the great voluntary work they are doing and by donating $1 for each sold copy of my new book, A Litany of Good Intentions.
It is set in India, challenges head-on the need to eradicate poverty and the despicable trade in slavery and human trafficking. Although it is a work of fiction, the main protagonists come face to face with the horrors that feed on poverty, social injustice, cruelty and fear. Unlike the strength of the Rotary wheel, this evil thrives in a never ending cycle of despair and desperation.
Our spirit, our very humanity, demands that we do something to help the people trapped in a miserable world not of their making. Wherever they are; whatever it takes.
A Litany of Good Intentions by Andrew Harris is published 12th October by Faithful Hound.