Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Heroes At The Dinner Table

“That’s Jollaf rice!” the Nigerian journalist  said, a note of delight in her voice. She is famous for her passion and persistence drawing attention to the environmental issues in the Niger delta related to oil extraction and production. I told her that here in the Gulf, it’s called Jambalaya, but we all agreed that it very likely had African roots. She delighted my heart; she had three helpings.

When we have visitors from foreign countries, I try to serve foods they can identify – grilled vegetables, a chicken dish, several salads, a dessert. This time, because we had no Moslems, we used a real Cajun sausage in the jambalaya (pork), and jumbo shrimp.

The award-winning Finnish environmentalist has his own online website and a goal of planting 100 million trees by 1017. He is well on his way, visiting and planting trees in new countries every week. He also has his own band and has a CD out with Finnish music.



Our South African guest manages a large rhino reserve, protecting the rhinos from those who would kill them for their horns, thinking it renews sexual energy. Poor rhinos! He was quiet, but an acute observer, and the highlight of the evening was as he sang the haunting South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’, with the Finnish guest. They did not sing all 11 verses (!) in all the different languages; just one verse, it was very moving:


Our own sweet environmentalist was with us. We think our son and his wife are super heroes; they fight for justice and a clean environment. This evening, our son stayed at home with the grandchildren and his wife, who works with clean water, was able to join and talk shop over dinner with her counterparts from other parts of the world.


It isn’t so easy anymore to get these dinners on the table, off the table, dessert served, etc. I used to be able to do these easily, for more than 20 people, but I also had help, LOL! But these dinners give us so much joy that I can’t imagine giving them up any time soon.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Entertainment, Environment, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, Nigeria, Pensacola, Social Issues, Values, Work Related Issues | , | Leave a comment

Ladysmith Black Mombazo Live in Niceville

My co-Mother-in-Law leaned over and said “I don’t think they could have done this twenty-five years ago.”

I think she’s right. Northwest Florida is still one of the most conservative societies in America, and yet, in spite of all probabilities, we are in the Mattie Kelly Cultural Center, in Niceville, Florida, surrounded by a HUGE and enthusiastic audience, all of whom have shelled out big bucks to hear this talented group out of South Africa.


As soon as we saw the initial ads, AdventureMan marked his calendar, so we could call the very first day tickets were available. I don’t really believe in bucket lists, but I do believe in grabbing an opportunity when it presents itself; we have loved the sounds of Ladysmith Black Mombazo forever.

Last night was a thrill. I was astonished at how wildly enthusiastic the audience was; it was a mix of all walks of the population, academics, retired folk, groups of school children, and . . . fans. Wildly enthusiastic fans. A group knows when it is treasured, and it feeds on the positive response. Ladysmith Black Mombazo thrilled our hearts.

Here is one of my favorites, expecially the introduction:

March 22, 2014 Posted by | Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Music | , | Leave a comment

Condolences South Africa: Nelson Madela

In Memory of Nelson Mandela


December 5, 2013 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death | | Leave a comment

Where is Umzimvubu, South Africa?

Today we pray for the Diocese of Umzimvubu, in South Africa:


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Matthew 5: 44-46

44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

November 7, 2013 Posted by | Africa, Faith, Geography / Maps, Interconnected | | Leave a comment

The Festival of BERNARD MIZEKI

(Play the video of the Soweto Gospel Choir as you read this summary from today’s Lectionary Readings How I would love to be able to attend this festival!)



Bernard Mizeki was born in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) in about 1861. When he was twelve or a little older, he left his home and went to Capetown, South Africa, where for the next ten years he worked as a laborer, living in the slums of Capetown, but (perceiving the disastrous effects of drunkenness on many workers in the slums) firmly refusing to drink alcohol, and remaining largely uncorrupted by his surroundings. After his day’s work, he attended night classes at an Anglican school.

Under the influence of his teachers, from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE, an Anglican religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley Fathers), he became a Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides the fundamentals of European schooling, he mastered English, French, high Dutch, and at least eight local African languages. In time he would be an invaluable assistant when the Anglican church began translating its sacred texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the village of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. He prayed the Anglican hours each day, tended his subsistence garden, studied the local language (which he mastered better than any other foreigner in his day), and cultivated friendships with the villagers. He eventually opened a school, and won the hearts of many of the Mashona through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Although he had the chief’s permission, he angered the local religious leaders when he cut some of the trees down and carved crosses into others. Although he opposed some local traditional religious customs, Bernard was very attentive to the nuances of the Shona Spirit religion. He developed an approach that built on people’s already monotheistic faith in one God, Mwari, and on their sensitivity to spirit life, while at the same time he forthrightly proclaimed the Christ. Over the next five years (1891-1896), the mission at Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.

Many black African nationalists regarded all missionaries as working for the European colonial governments. During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was warned to flee. He refused, since he did not regard himself as working for anyone but Christ, and he would not desert his converts or his post.

On 18 June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut. His wife and a helper went to get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a distance, they saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been lying, and heard a rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they returned to the spot his body had disappeared. The place of his death has become a focus of great devotion for Anglicans and other Christians, and one of the greatest of all Christian festivals in Africa takes place there every year around the feast day that marks the anniversary of his martyrdom, June 18.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Character, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Interconnected, Lectionary Readings, Spiritual, Values, Zimbabwe | , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting TEETH into Anti-Rape Solutions :-)

Thank you, Hayfa, you always find the most amazing articles. What I love about this one is that if everything is where it is supposed to be, nobody gets hurt. Only invasive behavior results in . . . .lets hope excruciating pain 🙂 It also gives an attacker something else to focus on. This invention is a public service.

Rape-aXe: The Anti-Rape Condom

This is so brilliant! An anti-rape female condom invented by Sonette Ehlers.… A South African woman working as a blood technician with the South African Blood Transfusion Service, during which time she met and treated many rape victims. The device, known as The Rape-aXe, is a latex sheath embedded with shafts of sharp, inward-facing microscopic barbs that would be worn by a woman in her vagina like a tampon. If an attacker were to attempt vaginal rape, their penis would enter the latex sheath and be snagged by the barbs, causing the attacker pain during withdrawal and (ideally) giving the victim time to escape. The condom would remain attached to the attacker’s body when he withdrew and could only be removed surgically, which would alert hospital staff and police. This device could assist in the identification and prosecution of rapists.

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A medieval device built on hatred of men? Or a cheap, easy-to-use invention that could free millions of South African women from fear of rape, in a country with the world’s worst sexual assault record?

Dubbed the “rape trap”, trademarked “Rapex”, the condom-like device bristling with internal hooks designed to snare rapists has re-ignited controversy over South Africa’s alarming rape rate, even before plans for its production were announced in Western Capethis week.

Some say the inventor, Sonette Ehlers, a former medical technician, deserves a medal, others that she needs help.

The device, concealed inside a woman’s body, hooks onto a rapist during penetration and must be surgically removed.

Ms Ehlers said the rape trap would be so painful for a rapist that it would disable him immediately, enabling his victim to escape; but would cause no long-term physical damage and could not injure the woman.

Some women’s activists call the device regressive, putting the onus on women to address a male problem.

Charlene Smith, an anti-rape campaigner, said it “goes back to the concept of chastity belts” and would incite injured rapists to kill their victims.

“We don’t need these nut-case devices by people hoping to make a lot of money out of other women’s fear,” Ms Smith said.

But Ms Ehlers contends that South Africa’s rape problem is so severe women cannot wait for male attitudes to improve.

“I don’t hate men. I love men. I have not got revenge in mind. All I am doing is giving women their power back,” Ms Ehlers said. “I don’t even hate rapists. But I hate the deed with a passion.”

The United Nations says South Africahas the world’s highest per capita rate of reported rapes – 119 per 100,000 people. Analysts say the total, including unreported rapes, could be nine times higher.

Ms Ehlers sees her invention as particularly attractive to poorer black women, because they often walk long distances through unsafe areas to and from work. She foresees women inserting the device as part of a daily security routine.

She said a majority of women surveyed said they were willing to use the device, which will go into production next year and sell for one rand (20 cents).

Ms Ehlers said she was inspired after meeting a traumatised rape victim who told her, “If only I had teeth down there.”

February 20, 2013 Posted by | Africa, Community, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Experiment, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Women's Issues | , , , | 2 Comments

Leopard Kill; I Wish This Were My Video

I found this on AOL News this morning; it’s not mine. I wish it were! I am so impressed. Right place, right time and WOW.

Watch this well-hidden leopard fiercely attack an unsuspecting impala. Cowering low amidst the rocks, the leopard silently waits as a herd of impalas comes racing across the landscape. Right as the impala jumps over it, the leopard catches it mid-air bringing it down to Earth.

The video of this event was caught on camera by Martha van Rensburg who was on a photographic safari in South Africa at MalaMala Game Reserve with her husband, Marius van Tonder, wildlife photographer Greg du Toit, and guest Ian Weatherburn.

“It happened so fast but I was lucky enough to get this video and a still photo of the leopard and impala in the air,” Van Rensburg told Grind TV.

According to the American Wildlife Foundation, leopards are known for being secretive, elusive, and shrewd, having the ability to kill prey much larger than themselves. They are currently listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

October 7, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Circle of Life and Death, Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Westcliff, Johannesburg, A Haven

“It’s dark, we might as well have chosen a hotel near the airport,” I thought to myself.

Early in the planning stages for the trip, we discovered, due to airline connections, we would have to spend a night in Johannesburg and a night in Lusaka en route to the bush. We looked at several websites, and narrowed it down to three on TripAdvisor, then we all decided on the Westcliff. It just looked like a nice place, with a view of Johannesburg. But . . . it’s dark. It’s dark, we can’t see a thing, and it’s about a half hour from the airport.

But to be met at the airport after a 15 hour flight is very nice, to have all our bags taken care of, to have people to take us to the hotel . . . and then to arrive, and to discover it is a really, REALLY nice hotel. It used to be townhouses, our concierge tells us, but they turned them into a hotel, so it is a series of buildings, not one. They tell us they have upgraded us and put us at the top of the hill, but we have no idea what that means. They load us up on a golf cart and tell us our bags will follow, and zip us up a winding narrow road to the top, and then up to our rooms.

We are next door to one another, but our rooms are totally different. We have a large bedroom and living room – and a balcony. They have a separate bedroom, and a longer, narrow room, but a bathroom to die for. Well, both bathrooms are heaven. The whole suite is a little bit of heaven. The fifteen hour flight is behind us, and the Westcliff is our reward. It is heaven.

And while it is dark, there IS a lovely view:

We know we need to eat, and we all want to get to bed. We don’t want to go sit in the restaurant, no matter how lovely, and the room service menu sounds so inviting . . . Three of us order the Salmon Nicoise, and AdventureMan orders tomato soup and the Cheese Plate. While we are waiting – a very short time – we open the bottles of complimentary wine left for us. The food arrives, quickly, and still hot, and we enjoy every bite before falling into bed.

We don’t have to get up until seven, but we have another flight to catch, heading up to Lusaka. We can hear the lion roaring, next door in the Johannesburg Zoo, welcoming in the new day. We get up in time to grab some coffee, and watch the sun rise over Johannesburg from the balcony:

This is room 108, at the top of the hill, and one of the loveliest rooms we have ever stayed in. We would really love to stay there again, our next layover in Johannesburg. 🙂

June 17, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Hotels, sunrise series, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Jet Lag, iPads and Small Things

The first leg(s) of our travel are completed; today we head for our destination, the Robin Pope Camps in the upper Luangwa in the eastern part of Zambia. We took the relatively new Delta flight 200 from Atlanta to Johannesburg, leaving out of the new airport terminal in Atlanta for international flights. More on that later when I am back to my computer and can more easily insert photos the size I want them.

Fifteen hours is a long flight. There are a couple ways of doing long travel; one is to break up the journey, like go through Paris and spend a couple days, then fly on to your African destination. I say Paris, because it would be our destination of choice, but you can as easily connect through London or Frankfurt, and a few other places. Many people like doing that, and one of these days, we might, too.

During our years in the Gulf, we developed a pattern of just gutting it through, getting on a very long flight and just getting there, dealing with all the consequences once we reached our destination. For me, going west, it is a piece of cake. For some reason, when I fly east, my body rhythms are jangly for two or three weeks, my sleep patterns erratic, and all you can do is gut it through. We have learned that getting on schedule at your arrival destination helps, getting sunshine and exercise helps, but nothing keeps you from those long lonely hours awake in the middle of the night.

It has hit each one of us differently. I got almost no sleep for two nights, then got a good eight hours (broken) last night. AdventureMan is getting lots of sleep and having very little trouble adjusting.

I am getting used to using the iPad. Just before leaving, I discovered a Sudoko program, and very shortly learned a couple things – electronic Sudoku is just different from paper Sudoku, it is harder to quit. You also can find you’ve lost hours to playing and it gives you a splitting headache – unlike paper Sudoku. It also eats up your time, and although the battery is supposed to have ten hours, either it runs out faster when you are playing Sudoko, or it FEELS like it runs out faster because the time passes so quickly. All I know is that I suddenly became aware that ten hours is not all that much, and I am constantly looking for re-charging places; it has become a priority.

At the last minute, I also pitched my books, and downloaded books to the iPad. I find I am enjoying reading on the iPad (I never thought I would), but once again I am constantly concerned with how fast the time is going (it doesn’t seem to use as much battery time when I am reading) and when and where will I be able to recharge? I am wondering if the camps in the bush have made allowances for their customers increased reliance on electronics – iPads, cameras that have batteries that need recharging, etc.) and I am also wishing I had brought a book with me – it’s just easier.

On the other hand, I have also discovered that on the iPad I have a little program called “notes” where I can make . . . notes! I can do it on a daily basis and it keeps them separate, and it is much faster than writing notes in a little notebook.

The internet at the Taj Pamodzi in Lusaka is much more reliable and much faster than the last time I was here. I hope it is also more secure.

Small things. We are hearing a voice singing outside, we heard the call to prayer from the mosque this morning and felt oh, so nostalgic for our times living near the mosques of Qatar and Kuwait. The singing voices are coming from a nearby school; we can’t understand the words, but it sounds joyful. We have a newspaper, it is much wider and thicker than our Pensacola News Journal, and I think I remember our newspapers also were wider and thicker once. The first few pages were full of people being arrested for corruption, and it makes me happy for Zambia, not happy that they have corruption, but happy that their police are free to arrest highly placed corrupt officials who are stealing from the Zambian people and their heritage, and also that they are free to name the names.

I have lived in countries where offenders are not named, so as not to bring shame on the innocent families, but I believe that when the offender is named, it is a deterrent to corruption. And for what? Is a shiny Mercedes worth the shame, and the jail time? Even though corrupt people in high places steal on an unimaginable scale, the things they buy with them are . . . just things. When you place your value in things, you lead an unsatisfied life. No thing can fill the void that lack of integrity leaves.

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Blogging, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Travel, Zambia | | 4 Comments