Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.
Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.
- The word “precarious” is important in this story. What do you understand the word to mean? What are your associations with the word “home” – what does the word mean to you? What kind of impacts would you experience if you were to be without a home?
- What might this statement from the article mean? “Homelessness is not an orphan but has many parents.”
- The writer lived in a boarding house for three weeks to experience the kind of accommodation that many vulnerable people live in. The room, in a house in central Wellington, was small, cold, damp (it leaked when it rained) covered in mould spores and rather dirty. 14 people shared one shower; there was no washing machine or fridge. Rent was paid in cash (so tenants could be evicted with no notice) and many of the residents were dealing with mental illness or alcoholism. Thinking about what it would be like to attend school, hold down a job or try to find a new job while living in a place like this, how might you end up feeling after a few nights in a place like this? What about a few weeks?
- The article quotes someone who says that “if you look after the least in society, you strengthen society overall.” How do you think this could be true? What is meant be “the least” in society?
- Britain’s Emmaus houses are “a set of intentional communities in which people who would otherwise be homeless are given shelter but also do work for social enterprises that include furniture recycling and cafes.” How could this be a better model than just the provision of shelter? What do you think “intentional community” could mean?
Activity: Make a pomander
This craft has been around for centuries – apparently Henry VIII’s adviser Cardinal Wolsey carried one around to freshen the air when he had to mix with commoners. Making a pomander is a warming and memorable sensory experience. Pomanders create a beautiful fragrance so they’re used as room scents. They would also make a nice waste-free Christmas present!
You will need:
- A kebab stick or toothpick
- An orange (or other citrus fruit – an apple would also do)
- Half a packet of cloves (whole cloves, not ground cloves.)
Step One: Use the kebab stick or toothpick to prick a line of holes going from the top of the orange to the bottom. Place a tea towel underneath the fruit as you work to catch any juice.
Step Two: Insert a clove into each hole. Repeat until you have lines of cloves running all the way around your orange.
Step Three: If you want to, you can completely cover the orange with cloves. If you’re happy with how many you’ve got, you can tie a bow around it so that it can be hung up. Your pomander is ready to be used as a room freshener or decoration.