Vampyres often face the stereotype created and perpetuated by fiction, of being creatures of little feeling who take from others rather than giving anything out. Even among some energy-workers and even spiritual people, Vampyres are perceived as being takers rather than givers, and their natural gift for healing and helping others is often either ignored or denied. Frequently their value as natural energy-workers and manipulators, healers and even as people, is undermined. Strangely enough, as though to fly directly in the face of the unfair stereotype Vampyres are saddled with, there are examples of Vampyres who actively give of themselves to help others, as volunteers, activists and care- givers. We asked the local community about their charity work.
In South Africa, there are a baker’s dozen of vamps and even shinai who are dedicated to building our community and subculture here – but while this is admirable and praiseworthy volunteer work in itself, it is focused inwardly, into the community. We wanted examples of VC participants who donate their time and efforts outwardly, to non-Vampyres.
Who in the VC hasn’t heard about the works of Belfazaar Ashantison and the NOVA in New Orleans? Indeed, if you are part of the VC and have been for some time, and if you don’t know of the New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA)’s year-round charity drives and homeless feeding programs yet, you must have been living under a rock.
Driven to find some local examples of “good vam-aritans” we invited a few charity workers and volunteers in our South African VC to tell us about their projects.
Scarlet Storm told us that she is a veterinarian. “Unfortunately the animal health care at the SPCA is not up to speed because they do not have full time paid vets on standby for emergencies but they rely heavily on the time that vets donate to help out.
I spend two days a week there helping out and sorting through various medical issues and walk in emergencies in my 8-hour shifts there.. it’s beautiful to help but unfortunately there are so many abandoned and stray dogs and cats that there just isn’t enough space or food most times due to the SPCA being a non profit organisation.”
About her love for animals, she said: “I believe animals, no matter what species, deserve health care. That’s why I specialized in herpetology and domestic animals. I don’t see why they can’t get the love and care in a medical facility just as we wish to be treated. I’m a vegetarian for a reason… the things I see everyday would horrify most people.”
“I just recently lost my cat and I don’t ever think I will ever recover from it… I treat the cats at the clinic but I don’t rub them and play with them.. “
Some might think that, as a vet who is a Vampyre, she would have the perfect opportunity to obtain blood… and try to insinuate an ulterior motive for the charity work of an apparent “good vamaritan”. Of course, being a medical practitioner, she would have to gauge for herself which blood is clean and safe to consume. The question being… does she?
“Not at all. I’ve done some micro biotic research and the blood I work with everyday isn’t safe to consume because of all the medications we inject into it.. Though I do have my own donor.”
Gabrielle Draegan said: “I run a knitting charity group which donates knitted items such as blankets and clothing to the underprivileged in my area as well as raising funds through raffles etc to help the needy, including people in the local township and an old age home in the neighboring town.
The knitting group is also part of a bigger recycling project, and I’m in the planning committee for that, doing all sorts of things in the background. The recycling project group collects scrap and waste materials and sells it to raise funds for orphans, underprivileged kids and so on. People in Johannesburg, Durban and the USA and UK knit squares and send them to us. Volunteers sew them up into blankets – there is a group of gogos (grandmothers) in our township that does this. The completed blankets go into the swap shop of the recycling project and are bought by the children with their “moolahs” – recycled bottle caps used as tokens which they receive when they bring the waste that gets recycled by the project.”
“We only started in Nov 2012, but it has been a huge success. We have made 100 blankets so far, but the therapeutic effect on the knitters is amazing. you should see the people in the old age home, they have a new lease on life, because now they feel they are needed. The same with the gogos.”
Helen* has been a human rights activist for a number of years.
“I started off being a gay rights activist, writing articles about human rights abuses, prejudices and so on. I managed two gay rights bodies at the same time for free while holding down a full time day-job. We handled counselling and other supportive tasks for the gay community, and introduced a pride event for the first time in my home town. I had a hand in starting other organizations that are still active in SA, and was also active in the local office of a well-known political party for a few years. Since then I’ve also been writing articles and doing educational presentations on gender identity, sexual orientation at university campuses, and more recently on freedom of religion.”
The Vampyre Academy, a body attached to the SA Vampyre Alliance, is conducting a long-term survey of the local VC, and has released the following tidbit as part of a preliminary release of the VVDFGS survey result:
According to the survey, 69% of those who took the survey have done some kind of volunteer or charity work at some time in their lives, with animals and aged/frail care and environmental advocacy being the top three activities recorded.
And so there you have it. Vampyres are not just takers, but also givers.
[*real name changed due to request for anonymity]