The Birth of Ruby

So work is well under way on the truck now and have been super excited all week. Matt just about managed to get her big butt into the workshop, soft siding has been torn down and some of the framing has gone up.

As you can see all funky window shapes and a small hatch door to empty the composting toilet from the outside. I have also managed to find someone kind enough to hand paint the cab the beautiful Crimson colour that I love, so she will definitely be named Ruby. Her colour will look like this on the cab:

Image result for crimson lake craftmasters paint burrell

which will look good with the burnt wood cladding she will have on the exterior. Matt is working hard at making Ruby as beautiful and quirky as we both envisaged and he is well in his element in bringing her to life.

During this process I have found it really important to try and strike a balance between needing something, and wanting something in the truck in order to keep control of the budget. Communication with Matt has been essential in keeping the design alive but has also allowed me to be careful with spending and feel lucky to have him fully on board with this.

This process has drawn my attention to an online community that I never thought would be so supportive, helpful and outright hilarious. It is a Facebook group for those living or intending to live off-grid and the amount of love and support people have shown for each other on this group is truly amazing, it is also a resource that can be very helpful especially with a build like this and this is where I poached my painter, thank-you Doug for offering your skill and time!

This feeling of community in any way shape or form really highlights that we are social beings and it is important to feel part of something, not just important but essential for our mental health and our being. We can be part of various communities such as our family, our work colleagues, our old school friends and so on, but notice how you feel when you sometimes lose touch with those communities or groups of people, it can feel isolating, and well just plain lonely so it’s essential to push yourself to keep these connections alive, and if you don’t have them, go and find your tribe!

I guess this leads me to go back to what I want EarthKeepers to be about for the young people that will be accessing the project. A good friend of mine sent me a link to a really poignant Ted talk:

The talk is all about how childhood trauma is detrimental to our physical health. As a social worker I have always seen repeated cycles of trauma spanning across generations within one family. It is very easy for people to assume that this is specific to a certain class of people, various derogatory labels have been used, the ‘low lives’, the ‘benefit scroungers’, or some even associate this with a certain race. Quite shockingly someone said to me that having your own child or family needing input from children’s services shows a lack of intelligence from the parent.

I can honestly say that I have worked with families from all different ethnic backgrounds or ‘classes’, working class, middle class, even parents that have been quite high profile public figures, yes you heard it here first folks! What does this highlight? that actually this is something that affects EVERYONE, every single person. Not only that, but if you think about people in your own life, how many (including yourself) have been effected in someway by poor mental health, alcohol or drugs, domestic abuse, neglect (including emotional not just physical), sexual and physical abuse? I will confidently say, everyone.

Now what this means is if you as a child or any one you know or have known as a child that has experienced or witnessed any of the above…..they have experienced a trauma. This as a result according to the above research discussed, and what I have seen as a social worker, has increased the likelihood of some kind of health (be it mental or physical) complication later in that persons adult life.

So this is a public health problem and therefore we need more projects, interventions and support to help prevent or divert the impact of trauma on people’s lives.

But I really think educating the public on this issue is so important so that we can stop the ‘us and them’ mentality, it’s easy for me to understand this issue doing the job that I do, but it didn’t come automatic, it took some experiential learning to really understand it fully and only hope that writing about this will go some small way to helping others understand.

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