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Friday, 21 September 2012

Planting Apple Trees

I would like to remind you today of fable by Leo Tolstoy.

There was once an old man working in a field planting apple trees. He dug the hole, planted the sapling in the ground, fenced it with broken branches and went on and dug another hole to plant another sapling.   As the old man was working, two young boys came along and in the way of their age, teasingly said, "Hey, old man. What are you doing?"  The old man replied, “I'm planting apple trees."

The boys laughed and said, "Yeah, we see that old man, you are wasting your time. You will be dead yourself before the first apple is ripe." They both laughed at their cleverness. The old man thought for a moment and said, "Yes, you are right. I will probably never live to see any fruit. But I am not planting these trees for myself. I am planting hope.  I am planting these trees for the children and their children. Others will eat the fruit and I hope they will think of me.”

It is 21st September again.  The day to remember those who cannot remember.   This day comes around every year, but some years ago, this day meant nothing special. Now it has become a target date of sorts.  I would venture to call it the ‘year ending date’ for all things dementia related.   The date to take stock of the past year and to read the map for the year ahead.

Caregivers and individual volunteers in the field of Dementia care recognising the huge amount work needed in this field are working constantly, consistently and tirelessly to
·         increase awareness through awareness walks, through media and net working,
·         improve available information, collate data and keep it updated
·         generate invaluable educational aids and tool kits for caregivers in local languages
·         provide training for dementia care assistants
·         create platforms for information sharing and interaction for caregivers through use of social networking media
There are many good people working out there, in their own way planting apple fields.  Some people I have only read about, some  I have spoken to over the phone, some I have not even met, just seen the remarkable amount of work they have been able to do in the short space of just one year.   
With greatest respect, I wish to convey my gratitude to Swapna Kishore, Hendi Lingiah, Sailesh Mishra and Swati Ingole for the apple trees that they have planted in India in this last one year.