Writing for UNICEF #1

On May 18, 2021, Monica Corish and Tom Sigafoos hosted an ONLINE WRITE-A-THON to raise funds for UNICEF’s #GiveTheWorldAShot campaign. We’ve already raised £1345, and we’re aiming for £2000. You can still make a donation – this fundraiser will remain active until June 30.

Participants from Kenya to California wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. Every Saturday until the end of June I’ll publish a selection of their “Writing for UNICEF” here on my blog.


Rachel Webb, Co Leitrim, Ireland

Image credit: Wild Imagination by James Moonan, 15, Ireland

james-moonan-wild-imagination-ireland-1I sit here alone – up close against the day as it trickles into dusk, or drifting in a space that stretches from my seat to the moon – silent.

These are the things I try to bear in mind: my breath – easy and rich with oxygen; the palm of my hand along her soft fur and the gentle engine of her purr; my eyes filled with the colours beyond my window; the fridge humming its cold tune around olives and ice-cream, pesto and peas, soya milk for the one endless cup of tea.

Gratitude is lying in bed remembering the song I danced to as the pasta boiled, the wave of my neighbour as she passed my fence, my sister’s face on our WhatsApp call. ‘I have it all’ I whisper into the empty air above my body, ‘I-have-it-all’.

This morning the sun shines and sweet scents drift through my open window, a bird in the bush is worth twenty in somebody else’s. She sings and I lift my head to reply. I hear my response – a long moan of a howl. How out of place in the bright bee-haunted buzzing of Spring – this hungry Winter midnight of a howl. A lonely wolf calling for the pack: ‘Come back, come back, come back, come back. My loves, my life, please please come back’.


Cathleen Young, Santa Monica, California, USA

Image credit: Health Care Heroes by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan


When will this nightmare end? Will it end? Or will the nasty little virus just endlessly roam the globe, an airborne whirling dervish, leaving body bags stacked in air-conditioned trucks in its wake? I’m remembering my microbiology from my training. What exactly is this demon killer? A tiny scrap of DNA held together by a little protein jacket? And yet — in every cell of my body — lives the DNA that makes me me. That must be the good DNA. The DNA that makes me want to smile at my 17-year-old twin girls. Not the DNA that kills me. If I’m being honest, I don’t always mind when my goggles steam up. Like a camera lens with a filter to make everything prettier, I don’t see the suffering quite so clearly. The desperate eyes, the hands that clutch at me, the fingers I have to pry off when someone down the hall begins to die in earnest and we must all rush over, the crash cart skidding down the gleaming hallway, an orchestrated dance of syringes and paddles and chest compressions so fierce we sometimes hear a rib crack. Especially in the old ones. Their bones as fragile as hollow bird bones — except they can’t fly. I sometimes welcome the moment we stick a breathing tube down someone’s throat — right after we slide a needle into the port — paralyzing them so they don’t fight the tube. Their eyes go quiet. No more desperation, just the long, slow death that usually awaits them, alone, with no one holding their hands and crying at their bedside. 


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