Celebration and Location

Hello my friends,

First of all, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

Today is a special day. I realised yesterday that I have two reasons for saying that today is special.

First, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded yesterday to the United Nations World Food Programme. And the celebration continues today. As a long-time supporter of WFP, I want to share some WFP stories with you.

Second, when I see a date pattern like 10-10-2020, I like to share the memories and the possibilities that such a pattern brings up. That makes it an Arithmodigmaphilia message day.

For those of you who are new to that word, here’s the brief story:

When the new century began on 01-01-01, I loved that pattern of numbers—so I invented the word arithmodigmaphilia, meaningnumber pattern love to describe that unique date. That led to people asking for the 02-02-02 message. When we ran out of that sequence on 12-12-12, I began looking for other number

patterns, such as my most recent message on 02-02-20. To read that first message and some of the following ones, follow this link:http://www.walthopkins.com/en/ writings/arithmodigmaphilia/01- 01-01/

I’d already been thinking of sending a message on the 20th of October. That’s because one way of writing that date is 10-20. And when I say that aloud, it takes me back to the sixties when I learned the Ten Code.

In the summer of 1963 I worked at a trail camp 9000 feet up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in New Mexico in the USA.

Part of my job was to crank up the army surplus generator so that we could check in with ranch headquarters twenty miles away.

Because radio reception was not always clear, we used the Ten Code. This kind of code was originally developed in 1937 by Charles Hopper of the Illinois State Police. For some fascinating background, follow this link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten- code#cite_ref-Qcode_10code_43- 0

The idea is simple. Say “ten” with a number following it and the other person can easily recognise your message. And when they do understand you, they will respond with 10-4, which means OK orAffirmative.

Some of the ten codes have different meanings in different systems. The 10-10 code has four different meanings. But each one applies to the virus situation that we are all living in:

Out of service—subject to call; On minor detail, subject to call; Fight in progress;

Working backwards through that list, the global pandemic is definitely Negative and the fight against it is definitely a Fight in progress. At first, it did seem we were On minor detail, subject to call as we would soon be through lockdown and back to normal. Now we are realising that we may be Out of service—subject to callfor a very long time until—or if— we are called back to normal.

(It is now 10:10 on 10-10-2020 so I need to write more quickly!)

The 10-20 code means Locationor Where are you? That’s why I was going to send this message on October 20, so I could ask you—and ask myself—that question: Where are you?

Geographically, the 2300 people receiving this message live in many different parts of the world.

We also live in different ways of feeling about this world. So there are other answers to the questionWhere are you?

I might answer with words such as: worried, hopeful, despairing, inspired, or other descriptions of my location in the world of today. How would you answer? Where are you?

How we answer that Locationquestion makes a difference. It makes a difference how I feel and what I do. It makes a difference how you feel and what you do. It makes a difference how we all feel and what we all do.


Location at the ranch could make a vital difference. One morning I got up very early and climbed a mountain to watch the dawn from 11,711 feet. I was back at the trail camp for breakfast. This would not have been possible from sea level and not even from headquarters at 5000 feet. But starting at 9000 feet meant that I was already 3⁄4 of the way up— and accustomed to the altitude from living there for two months.

So the location where we start does make a difference—whether in altitude or attitude or both.

That’s one of the things I keep learning—especially on days when the news is bad. If you’re not angry or depressed at least some of the time, then you are just not paying attention. So I consider sending the 10-10 signal to say I’m out of service. We all need to retreat sometimes.

As I think through this while I’m writing about it now, I realise that these days I need to ask myself,What’s your location? and choose the altitude or attitude to begin the day.

More than 15 years ago, two colleagues and I met with an amazing young woman from WFP named Corinne Fleischer. We set up a workshop for her small team in Bangkok. That mutual success led to working with her larger and larger teams in Khartoum and then in Rome. Each time, I was asked to inspire people and each time I watched Corinne and her teams inspire each other. And inspire me.

the Nobel Peace Prize. To my delight—and a few tears—she responded with a very kind message and gave me the link to today’s celebration in Norway.

I began watching the video only two hours after the live stream. A number of Norwegians spoke to honour the WFP—and then precisely at 1:00:00 in the conversation, the moderator introduced someone from WFP: Corinne! She spoke twice in the panel discussion.

She told of the joy of WFP staff at this recognition. And then she told two stories. I urge you to follow this link and listen to her stories. Choose to get inspired.

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=j-

f_JSY9TsM&feature=youtu.be&fbcli d=IwAR1r8K7nZRfo- 3SdxGoNvZQmVy9Ta7QFFnuj2KKGw OkapEACZZfcvqj3cng

You might start a bit sooner on the video and hear the chair of the Peace Prize committee explain the crucial connection between food and peace in today’s world.

And then you will hear the moderator point out that the Nobel Peace Prize can be given to more than one person in a particular year—and this year it is given to 18,000 people—the people of WFP. Over the years that I worked with WFP, I met hundreds of these amazing people. And I heard many stories.

When I was doing a Life and Career Design workshop with a WFP group in Darfur, I asked people to share what I now callpeak stories about some high point in their lives. One man spoke of driving a truck full of

urgently needed food to two remote villages in Darfur. At the first village, the truck broke down. Even if he could make radio contact, it would take days for another truck to arrive. The people in the next village needed the food now. Some people in the first village offered him several camels. He had never ridden a camel. He learned fast and he got that food delivered.

As he told the story, the others in the group laughed as he told about learning to ride a camel— and then they applauded his commitment. That fits my experience of the amazing stories I’ve heard from other WFP folks. One night when a group was sharing what they called “war stories” I suggested that what they were really telling were peace stories. How wonderful it would be if all our peak storieswere peace stories.

As you listen to Corinne, you will hear the same combination of joyous delight at the recognition that the Peace Prize gives to WFP and the passionate commitment to what still needs to be done. Corinne says, “We feel this is the recognition of the hard and often dangerous work that we do on the frontlines of hunger. People put their lives on the line to save the lives of others.”

Thanks to Corinne and the other 18,000 people in WFP, this is a good day for Celebration and for Location.