I have carved a couple of pumpkins with Joseph in the past and given sweets to the odd trick or treater and that's about as far as it goes!
This year I was asked if I would carve a different style of pumpkin.
A loving pumpkin of hope and not a scary one!
I jumped at the chance!
I have carved a heart into our pumpkin this year as a lantern of hope to remember all of the children around the world who live in fear! Children here is the UK are getting ready to enjoy a fun night of scares and fears however there are too many children who live in real fear each and every day!
I was shocked to read that almost 40,000 girls (not women!) are forced into a marriage that they are afraid of and certainly no where near ready for.
This is Sylvia's story or fear, worry and hope:
When Sylvia was just 15, her brothers pulled her out of school and the lessons that she had cherished in her dream to become a nurse. She could tell there was something they weren’t telling her and she was afraid without her mother there to protect her.That night, her brothers brought a man three times her age to their home. They told Sylvia she was to marry him. They told her, that if she didn’t they would carry her into the bush and force her to do it.
"I was so upset, I didn’t understand why they were doing this. I’d heard about girls being beaten day and night by their husbands and I was afraid," said Sylvia.After arguing with her brothers, Sylvia ran away. She didn’t know what to do, but her sisters had told her of Aunty Ruth, a World Vision Child Protection Officer in Uganda, who taught them that early marriage was wrong. She wrote a letter in secret for her sisters to give to Ruth.
When Ruth received the letter, she intervened immediately. She spoke to Sylvia’s brothers and she helped them to see that this was wrong."I was so happy when I sent Aunty Ruth the letter and she responded, I felt safe and protected. "
Sylvia was over the moon. She had been taught that people all over the world should be able to make their own choices, to shape their own future, to live free from the terrors of child marriage. Sylvia’s bravery also means that her little sister Hope no longer has to fear the same.
At World Vision, we believe every child should be free from these fears. Free to enjoy their childhood, to be loved, protected and cared for.That’s why, this Halloween, we’re asking you to carve a heart into your pumpkin. We’re asking you to stand with us, to stand with them, to stand with children like Sylvia all over the world who live in fear each and every day. So please, take this simple step, carve a heart into your pumpkin this Halloween and place it in your window as a lantern of hope for children living in fear.
Visit http://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/night-hope to see how you too can get involved in helping.
Each child should be free from fear!
Here is our lantern of hope. We will be proudly displaying this in our window to show that we want to turn a night of fear into a night of hope.
500g lean stewing beef
1 large red onion
Insides of 1 pumpkin
1 - Place the stewing steak in the slow cooker
2 - Chop all of the vegetables and add to the meat
3 - Mix together
4 - Place the slow cooker on a high heat for 1 hour
5 - After an hour add about 1 pint of boiled water and a beef stock cube, black pepper and sage. Turn the slow cooker to a low heat and leave for about 4 hours
6 - Before serving sprinkle a few gravy granules into the stew to thicken up the juices. Give the stew a good glug of Worcester sauce for a kick of flavour and serve
This meal is such a versatile stew and you will have plenty left for a meal the following day.
I served our stew with some sage coated roasted sweet potatoes but it is also great with good old mashed potatoes or and a large Yorkshire pudding.
Tonight I will be using left overs to make either a pie or a cottage pie style meal topping the stew with mash and a covering of grated cheese before grilling!
However you serve, it is delicious!
You can even replace some of the vegetables with others that are in season or what you have to hand that is the beauty of this meal.