Oxfam and the elements – serendipity in action?

I just LOVE serendipity, coincidence, being in the right place at the right time, synchronicity – whatever you like to call it. It happens to me quite a lot, particularly in relation to the intuitive elements. Today was no exception.

In my research on the elements I’ve mentioned that I like to scan the shelves of shops that sell second hand books. It can be surprising what you discover and where it leads you. For example, this is where I found the book that featured in the post  ‘What is Air?’

The gem that I found today was called ‘Ox-tales Water’, published in 2009.   It is one of four-original collections of short stories by ‘remarkable writers’ that Oxfam has created based on the four elements: water, fire, earth and air.

Ox-tales Water

‘Ox-tales Water’ – a serendipitous find today at a shop selling second hand books.

Each of the leading British and Irish-based writers featured in the book have contributed their story for free in order to raise money and awareness for Oxfam. What a wonderful idea. Vikram Seth has also provided a cycle of element poems to frame the books. No doubt for free as well.

Oxfam selected the four elements as a framework to highlight key areas of their work, as follows:

* WATER – water projects;

* FIRE – aid for conflict areas;

* EARTH – agricultural development; and

* AIR – action on climate change.

Like many descriptions of the elements in the west, the fifth element (spirit, aether, space) is not included.

Authors whod donated their elemental stories to Oxfam

Authors who donated their elemental stories to Oxfam

At the end of each book Oxfam describe some of their activities related to the element in question. For the book on water, they relate the story of Seraphine who lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the sole provider for her family, she has benefited from the work Oxfam has done to supply clean water to some of the camps in the region. This is achieved through collaboration, training and support from the local community.

As Oxfam says in the book, it is all too easy to forget what a miracle water is. Until it’s not there.

Proceeds from the sale of the books supports Oxfam’s work towards ending poverty worldwide. The money I paid for the water book today didn’t go directly to them. Purchasing the other three books on fire, earth and air when I got home will though. I look forward to reading these books to enjoy the stories, and to learn more about the authors, the elements and Oxfam’s work.