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Saturday, 11 April 2020

Kindness and the Coronavirus


      The sign above has been posted at the entrance to the Mill Race Trail in St. Jacobs, and I suspect that there are similar signs throughout our region, and not only at trails, but at other public walking spaces, anywhere in fact where large numbers of people are prone to gather. 
     Our world has changed in a hurry! Activities that we routinely did, without a moment's thought, now involve decisions about the risk to ourselves and to others. This accursed virus has permeated the very fabric of our lives and affects almost everything we do in one form or another.
     But we need to get out. We need to buy food, and for some of us fresh air and exercise is almost as vital as breathing. Under present conditions, however, we need to take precautions and do our best to safeguard the common good.
     Swirling into the controversy surrounding the shortage of masks and PPE for physicians, nurses and other front line medical professionals is the debate about homemade masks, and whether or not they are effective in helping to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19. While recognizing that they are not up to hospital standards, there has been a slow recognition that it is helpful to have everyone wear a mask (and many authorities are now recommending this practice), if not to prevent you getting the virus yourself, but to materially assist in not passing on infection to others. Moreover, when I wear my mask, which I do every time I am exposed to other people, there is a certain mental component in believing that one is being proactive, and that too is helpful I think. Attitude counts.
     I have to say, biased though I may be, Miriam has truly become a warrior



in this fight against COVID-19. 
     Having initially made masks for us, she decided that she would offer them at no charge to family, friends, and even their family and friends. She has now made and donated well over one hundred fifty masks, and there are more to come.





     So, not only has she willingly made masks for anyone who asked for one, she has been able to customize them in many instances. For example one friend of ours is a keen golfer, so when he picked up his mask yesterday it was made in a golf motif. If Miriam has appropriate fabric on hand, she tries to make the mask reflect the lifestyle of the recipient.
     Sometimes she does not know the person who will be using the mask, but all are tasteful, and even artistic in their own way.



     They are well designed, rugged, and universally have been well received by all who have taken advantage of her kind offer. 



     When people have offered to pay her she has declined to take their money and suggested that they pay it forward. Someone even asked her if she could make a mask for a toddler; she has already done this and is waiting to hear if the size is right.




     A problem she had at one point was that she ran out of elastic, and of course the stores are all closed so there is nowhere to buy more. She launched a Facebook request for people to search to see whether they have any and the response has been terrific. A good friend even found elastic much wider than Miriam needs for the masks, but she was able to cut it into strips that worked perfectly.
     I think that all of this illustrates that a crisis, an emergency, a common threat, can serve to activate what makes a community a community. I could say that the best in Miriam was revealed, but truly this action has been entirely in keeping with her character. She has just channeled her energies where it was needed most.
     I make no apologies for being proud of what she has done. It could serve as an example for all of us. Perhaps there is some good in this pandemic after all.
     

71 comments:

  1. Of cpurse you are proud of Miriam. And indeed, you would be being very, very remiss if you were not.
    Her masks are small artworks and her generosity inspiring.
    Masks are scarcer than hen's teeth here and the handmade versions I have seen are not a patch on Miriams.
    And we all need kindness and inspiration. Always and even more at the moment.
    Huge thanks to her, and to you.
    I have seen a groundswell of kindness emerging across the world in response to Covid 19 and I hope it reaches tsunami proportions.

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  2. We are going through very difficult times all over the world and we need to be responsible for ourselves and for others.
    In addition to helping others, Miriam is a true artist, I loved the masks, they are so beautiful.
    You have every right to be proud of her, she deserves it.
    Be well, safe and healthy.

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  3. Kudos to Miriam! Well done!
    She's an example of great skill and generosity.

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  4. My compliments to Miriam David. Great job indeed.
    Stay save,
    Regards,
    Roos

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  5. Que bonitos! son muy hermosos y originales.. Solidarity, imagination and art together! I really like them, Mrs Miriam is talented. Greetings and Happy Easter.

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  6. I too am impressed by all my friends who sew and have appropriate materials and have made and donated masks. The first program my sister undertook was for nursing homes! Well done, all.

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  7. They look great. We have one each made out of old t-short material. As long as they work. I guess.

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    1. Yesterday while shopping I saw everything from professional surgical type masks to scarves and bandanas. As you say, whatever works.

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  8. Miriam is very talented, no wonder you are very proud of her.

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  9. Miriam is a goddess. She's not only gifted in her art but so full of heart and generosity. You are indeed a lucky man, David, to share your life with someone so kind and giving. I wish you not only joy this Easter but safety in the dangerous days ahead as we face this virus. Be safe, stay well. Both of you.

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  10. Bravo for Miriam! What a wonderful (and proactive) thing to do. Such kind acts are what will see us through this.

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  11. The masks are lovely and well done. Good on Miriam for helping out.
    We don't wear masks down on this Island as yet.
    Keep safe.

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  12. Good for Miriam, her masks are wonderful, she has done a great job there. I made my mask out of grey denim and it works well. The home made masks are good because they can be washed. Kudos to Miriam! Stay safe, hugs to you both, Valerie

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  13. The mouth masks are very original, and of course you are proud of your wife! She has chosen the right material! Can't miss it! You really are a bird man!
    Well done Miriam! Stay safe!

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  14. Hi David - those look so professional ... amazing. I remember the call and subsequent donations of elastic. Miriam is thoughtful too trying to match material with the recipient. I'm staying away from people as best I can ... nearly all the time. Have a peaceful and blessed Easter - enjoying all the wildlife living in nature around you. Take care - Hilary

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  15. Yes, the world changes very fast, David. The masks are indeed very beautiful. I guess you will use the one with the birds.

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  16. Bravo Miriam!
    150 c'est énorme! J'ai fait quelques masques pour des amies et pour mon père au travail, je n'avais plus non plus d'élastique, une amie m'en a envoyé, je vais pouvoir en faire d'autres.
    Ils sont très beaux les tissus utilisé, avec des oiseaux en plus.
    Bon dimanche

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  17. Hari OM
    Never apologise for pride in such as this! Once the emergency level is over, there could very well be a market for Miriam and her return will come... Here in the UK, folk have been slow to adapt to the call for personal masks, but I have seen a few now walking past our windows. Nothing as stylish as this yet, though! YAM xx

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  18. Hi David.

    How great of Miriam that she makes these masks.
    And also that after a call she was able to get elastic.

    Fantastic.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  19. Have a blessed Easter my friend.

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  20. Hello,

    Kudos to Miriam, the masks look great. Take care, stay well. Wishing you a happy new week!

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  21. Querido David claro que Miriam tiene que estar muy muy orgullosa de su trabajo, además de proteger son preciosas y alegres y eso también ayuda. Aquí en España también miles de personas hacen mascaras y caretas de modo altruista y eso es lo maravilloso en tanta desolación y tristeza. Debemos tener esperanza a pesar de que miles de personas nos han dejado y aun nos dejan a pesar de llevar un mes encerrados. Un enorme abrazo y mi cariño, sois personas maravillosas.

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  22. Un ¡¡Bravo!! Por Miriam amigo David. Cuando todo el mundo sufre nos damos cuenta de la solidaridad que puede existir y que realmente el ser humano es más humano de lo que antes pensábamos. Todos sufrimos por igual unos más que otros si han perdido un ser amado o querido pero a todos nos puede afectar por igual, es en esos momentos cruciales cuando podemos apreciar la grandeza que todos llevamos dentro y que queda patentes por nuestras acciones.
    Todo esto demuestra la bondad y generosidad del ser humano que lamentablemente no es la misma ni suelen estar a la altura de sus ciudadanos ciertos políticos de pacotilla.
    Dios os bendiga. Os deseo todo lo mejor en estos trágicos días que nos toca vivir y que la vida ya no será la misma después de que pase esta maldita pandemia.
    Un fuerte abrazo queridos amigos desde Alicante-España de Carmen y Juan cuidaros mucho.

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    1. Tienes razón, querido amigo Juan, tenemos que ayurdarnos unos a otros.

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  23. What a brilliant and kind gesture from Miriam. The masks look very stylish too.
    There is a facebook page in Australia "adopt a health care worker" and the amazing acts of kindness I've read about make me feel emotional and hopeful for the future of humanity.
    Have a wonderful Easter and stay safe.

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  24. Thank-you Miriam, for your kindness and all the love you are showing to others. What you are doing is fantastic and I think it wonderful and right that David is so proud of you :) Keep safe, both of you, Mxx

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  25. The masks have a positive aesthetic.

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  26. What a lovely tribute to Miriam David! Once again Miriam is unselfishly sharing her talent for the benefit of others. Franc and I are grateful that we will soon be sporting one of her creations. If you know Miriam, you know it doesn't take a crisis for her best side to be revealed, she lives it everyday. We are proud to call her our friend.

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    1. And we are proud to call you our friend too, Carol. In case you read this your masks are ready, Carol, but I know that Miriam will email you to make arrangements to pick them up.

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  27. these are beautiful. So glad Miriam is dedicated to creating beautiful useful masks, and giving them away. That's the spirit of Covid-19.

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  28. What mega fantastic masks. I imagine people are able even to want to wear a mask as beautiful as these. A fashion item as well as something that might help save lives. I'm interested in your notice. Our police have decided no-one should go anywhere beautiful. So touristy areas of national parks are closed, as are car-parks in lovely places. And unfriendly notices are springing up all over the place telling people to go away, to go home. It's very depressing. But this post . . . this post is VERY cheering - which is quite brilliant at the moment!

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  29. Your wife is amazingingly talented, David. Good for her to be so giving to others--of her time, talent and self. We are wearing masks whenever we go out, too. I do believe that the attitude of 'being safe' helps our overall morale.
    Take good care of yourselves. Most of our public paths/trails/parks are closed here and we have no idea when they will reopen. Scary stuff.....
    Happy Easter to you and your wife- Diana

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  30. I am totally humbled by Miriam's selflessness, David. What an utterly brilliant initiative and effort. Respecting Lindsay's wishes, I have still not left the premises since 16th March. Currently trying to keep myself out of hospital as it seems my problem from last year is trying to return - on antibiotics, and scheduled for a further review with a doctor this coming Wednesday. Take great care. Love to you both - - - Richard

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    1. Better to stay home as a precautionary measure, Richard, given the circumstances. Fortunately I get out every single day. Miriam sometimes comes with me, but at times she is a tad busy making masks!

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  31. Hi Both,
    I love the masks made by Miriam, in particular the ones with the Cardinals taking pride of place. None of the staff were wearing anything so colourful in my recent hospital stay. You both look after yourselves and stay safe.
    My best wishes,
    John

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  32. As someone whose brother in law is in the hospital with COVID-19 right now, I salute Miriam and thank her and other mask makers (and all the medical people involved in my brother inlaw's care). This pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of us. I also wish we had our signs in our upstate New York local parks. There are people who still...well, they just haven't "gotten it" yet. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  33. Your mask are perfect! I love seeing how creative people are getting! Happy easter

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  34. Miriam's masks are wonderful. I like the loops better than the ties on mine, but mine work just fine. A woman in San Antonio stitched my favorite -- it has Texas bluebonnets on it!

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  35. Hello you two
    crazy times and yes you should protect yourself and others and if these masks contribute even a little bit the better and a huge success, great thing that fully supports
    stay healthy
    Regards Frank

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  36. Many people have suggested I should wear a mask in public - but they have been saying that for years, and its nothing to do with viruses!

    Sal is making a set of scrubs for a children's hospital - the sewing machine is singing!

    Hope you are well - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  37. Magnificent the work of Miriam and that of other people who like her are dedicated to making homemade masks, leaving the professional ones for those who are really on the front line of fighting the virus.
    Bad times we have had to live, everything will change in the future, I think this opens our eyes to a new perspective on life and what we are, what we do. This will pass and we will remember it as a turning point, certainly for the better.
    I am glad that you and your family are well, encouragement and patience!
    Kisses.

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  38. Well done. They look amazing. Ours didn't work out very well. I don't have suitable material. I do have elastic, though! #IRONIC

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    1. If you would like a mask email me your address and we will send one to you. My email address is theospreynest@sympatico.ca

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  39. Prachtig werk van Miriam. Mijn voorkeur gaat naar de vogel maskers. Hier dragen alleen de mensen met een vitaal beroep een masker. Groetjes Caroline

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  40. A totally commendable task that of Miriam when making masks for the community, also with motifs that are liked by each person to whom it is directed. Precisely today the use of chinstrap and masks began to be obligatory in my city, it is necessary to go out to shop although there is always someone misunderstood who does not care much about sanitary measures, in large cities severe fines are charged. What I do see is that it is allowed to circulate through natural areas in Canada, here everything is closed, you should not go to parks or natural reserves

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  41. Bonitas y originales mascarillas para el maldito Covid 19, por aquí parece que va mejorando la situación. Me alegra que estéis bien por Canadá, espero que no os llegue el vírus como asoló el centro de España. Un fuerte abrazo David!!! Todo lo mejor desde el norte de España.

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  42. The most important thing is that in such difficult times there are people as kind as Miriam. In my country, help is also so. Glory to all and great thanks. Greetings.

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  43. Hi David,
    Our world is upside down through the influence of Covid-19.In every country they are trying to deal with the effects in their own way. Wearing masks is not (yet) a habit in the Netherlands for instance. A number of people are showing here asocial behaviour, by not obeying any rule or advice. Let's hope we can manage to cope with our new world.
    Applaus for Miriam for her great efforts!
    Greetings, Kees

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  44. Mooi David al deze mondkapjes.
    Groet Kees

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  45. A lot of people here too are wearing masks although there is nothing official on the wearing of them from the government, it's interesting to see the creativeness though i've not seen any quite like the ones Miriam is making, such a wonderful idea :)

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  46. Well dome Miriam your sewing skills are excellent and what lovely material, very creative. We have just been told our lock-down now will continue until 11 May.

    We both wish you and David well, take care and stay safe. Diane and Nigel.

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  47. Miriam, es una preciosa mujer en todos los sentidos con un corazón de oro. Felicidades para ella y también para ti. Abrazos y salud de vuestra amiga Teresa.

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  48. David, I'm sending compliments to Miriam.
    The masks are beautiful and colorful.
    It's great that she took care of her family, friends and acquaintances.
    I also wear masks because wearing them is obligatory.
    Hugs and greetings to Miriam and for you.
    Lucja

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  49. You have every reason to be proud of your talented and generous partner in all good things! The masks are beautiful. Bill had a box of paper filter masks in his tool chest (used for sanding and lathe work and such) and we have been using them. (He mostly because while we were coming across country we still thought we only needed them when we were among people. ). I didn’t get out of the car at gas stations or the one time we needed bread and milk. At our campsites, all but one, there was nobody out walking in the evenings, so we didn’t mask up. Of course that was last week. Now we wear one as soon as we step out the door. Which has been seldom, but we will walk now that we’re caught up with the re-organizing chores.

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  50. The masks are beautiful. You can be very proud both of you.
    I am not sure the virolent? effect is 100% (say the old surgical nurse) but certainly much better than none and I think the psycological effekt is 101% as a reminder of the seriousnes of the virus and as a proof that one care for other people.
    Such a good and generous idea.

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  51. The masks are nice. Congratulations on the idea! I have blue from the pharmacy. I don't look pretty in them. :-(

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  52. I admire Miriam and wish I could do such things. I have also been the recipient of wonderful help. One woman to clean, another to pick up shopping and yet another to send us a Chinese meal, all strangers. This type of crisis brings out the best in people.

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  53. Miriam, this is incredibly useful work and, indeed, artist. Those mass produced masks are almost impossible to find for the ordinary person and trying to make one at home has resulted in useless but quite funny results. Your masks are awesome! Masks are munitions at this point in time.

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    1. If you would like a mask send me your address and we will mail one to you.

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  54. David - there is no doubt that there are silver linings to this pandemic. Please pass on our gratitude to Miriam for her efforts - invaluable and fashionable at the same time!

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    1. Thank you, Angie. I will pass along your message.

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  55. Que bonitas. Gracias amigo ya me las fabriqué.
    Cuidaros David.
    Desde casa os mando este abrazo 🙅

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  56. I'm very proud of her too! WOW! I've made a few to give away but not nearly this many! I love that she uses cute fabric prints too! Take care and stay healthy!

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  57. Hello David,
    what a skilled seamstress Miriam is! I see great beautiful mouth masks. unfortunately it is very bad that we are going to use these buddies but we go along with all of us to survive this.
    there is no mask in the Netherlands and that is also because the care is far too short. that is why all dental workers go to the doctors and nurses in the hospitals and now also to the hospital in the care homes.
    Tell Miriam that I really like her creations and that I am grateful that she does this.
    Give her a big hug from me.
    Lots of love, Helma

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  58. Hello David and kudos to you, Miriam, from a first time blog visitor. This post was very uplifting and it shows the kindness of so many people coming together. Miriam's designs were lovely to see and she deserves a big hug for all her efforts and results that will benefit so many folks. Your proudness shows and rightfully so, David.

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