Of A Web Well Spun

GENRE; Fantasy

If you didn’t know by now you must know; we come from a long line of story-tellers. Long before my people sat around the first fire and whispered secrets of its origins; on nights like this they sat quietly; in a circle around a story-teller; huddled together for warmth and they listened.

Sometimes the story was told, sometimes the story was within another story; other times the story told itself; it was not hard to believe stories talked because back then even the animals talked…. The stories always begun the same way PAIVAPO (Once Upon A Time) ….”

I paused as I had seen my grandfather do; when he told his stories, first you drew in the crowd made them curious what story you would tell them tonight. I glanced at granddad, it was almost imperceptible but he nodded in approval. I held my hands to the fire as and then rubbed them together and begun;

embers

embers

“Once upon a time, when animals walked and talked like you and I. The lion was King of the jungle, and all the creatures would shiver when he roared; they wondered whom he would devour next, that’s what it usually meant when a beast roars. It was a difficult time to be alive living in constant fear of being eaten. One by one the animals all decided they had had enough, all of them that is except for the lion, who had an enormous appetite.

There was a meeting in the forest and all the animals were there; except for the ones already eaten and two others. Lion for obvious was not invited to this meeting and Tsuro the hare; did not attend because he was caught in a spider web and would shortly be making a special appearance at Lion’s table as the main course. It was agreed that it was a time for change; a hero was needed to save them from the hungry lion, someone whom could match wits if not strength with the lion.

Once upon a time Tsuro the hare was the fastest animal until he lost a race to a tortoise; he would have won if he had not stopped to nap, sometimes victory goes not to the swiftest but to the most persistent. All the animals had been happy to see Tsuro lose they celebrated for many days and many nights and long after would never let Tsuro forget it. You see Tsuro was clever; too clever for his own good; we wouldn’t call him wicked but he was definitely mischievous.

Once upon a time while playing with Mr Dovi The Peanutbutter Man; Tsuro said lets eat each other. Mr Dovi got eaten and was soon finished The End.

Not long from now Tsuro would also soon get eaten, but all the animals were in agreement that Tsuro was only one who could best Lion. They asked Spider who happened to be hanging around the meeting to tell Tsuro that if he could defeat Lion then they would crown him King of the jungle.

Spider noiselessly descended on his web right down to Tsuro’s ear and informed him of the animal’s decisions.

“Good” said Tsuro “I have a plan; first loosen the web trap around me then listen carefully” Tsuro told Spider his plan; just before lion arrived all set to feast on hare.

“Wait” said “Do you want to know my fur is always soft, why I never age, why I am the cleverest there is?”

“Tell me, what will you charge me for this secret; to be the strongest and cleverest” roared The Lion.

“For you, no charge, you can even eat me after I am done. Ok; every night I cut off my head so that I sleep soundly and recharge my soul; in the morning I stick my head back on and am as good as new. I will show you how; then you can try it also. Quick give me a knife”

“You are trying to trick me into giving you a knife” said Lion

“Fine then, ask Spider to come and cut my head off” You see Spider was the king’s henchman, he did what he was told and no more.

Lion agreed and Spider cut off Tsuro’s head.

Then Tsuro held his head and screwed it back into place.

“Ta-da!”

Lion was amazed.

But of course he didn’t know Spider had only pretended to cut off Tsuro’s head and Tsuro pretended to put it back.

“Come and cut off my head!!” Lion roared to Spider excitedly

Lion died and Tsuro became king

The End.

Endings are always beginnings.

Once upon a time when Tsuro was King of the jungle; change had come and it was exactly the same; he declared that his name was now “All Of Us” He threw a feast in his honour. All the animals contributed in making the feast for many days and nights. Finally feast day arrived and they couldn’t wait to eat, but Tsuro stopped them and asked whose food this was, the animals all replied “All Of Us!

“Yes!!!! and I am “All Of Us” and this food is mine; you will eat after I am done”

Tsuro ate and ate and ate and then he picked his closet friends to eat and then finally let everyone else eat what was left; which wasn’t a lot

This happened all the time; everything belonged to “All Of Us” and animals not close friends with Tsuro were growing thinner and thinner, they complained bitterly that life was better when Lion was King at least they never went hungry and food was always available, change they decided was bad. When they asked Tsuro about it he would have a clever words in reply words like did he not get them freedom from the hungry lion that oppressed them, should “All Of Us” not feast as a reward did they not ask him to be King, that is democracy. Democracy is for “All of US” and “All of Us” should make the Jungle great again.

Once upon a time; King Tsuro got caught in a spider web’s trap. He yelled for help but no one came. A hunter who was trying to find his way home came across Tsuro; he carried with him a snail’s shell and contained within it was a glowing ember. He thanked his ancestors and used his ember to start a small cooking fire, and after slaughtering the hare, he cooked and ate it; then when went on to have a nap. He had a dream that all the animals in the forest were celebrating and that a spider watched over him as he slept or maybe it simply waited….web.jpg

 

The End

I finished my story and took a deep breath and blew softly into an old snail shell, then I put it up to my ear and listened…. I picked up a red hot ember and placed it into the shell then I walked into the moonlit night.

Always leave them wondering; another lesson from my granddad. I did not say another word that night……

 

THE END

~B

My blogbattle entry prompt Change.

PS Purely a work of fiction any resemblance to real life purely coincidence… loosely adapted from folktales I heard growing up and legends from my ancestors; also inspired by Anansi Boys a book by Neil Gaiman because all stories are Anansi’s:

“Stories are like spiders, with all their long legs and stories are like spiderwebs; which a man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so prettywhen you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each…”

“Much of what a spider does is waiting”

 

 

 

 

 

Of Coffee On Laundry Day

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If you were having coffee with me…… I would tell you that when I say “I have nothing to wear”, what I really mean is that I have “nothing clean” to wear…..

When they first invented clothes why couldnt they just make them asexual; you know, so that the laundry could just do itself!!!

You can tell by now I don’t much care for doing my laundry; I will usually procrastinate; until the only choice I have is go naked or wear something fished out from the laundry basket. Funny story; about that, clothes seem to get cleaner with time, you toss something in the laundry basket but if you take it out a week later, save for the creases its perfectly wearable

Here is LifeHack sprinkle a bit of talc powder in your laundry basket to prevent your clothes getting that been worn smell (in case you might want to recycle before the next wash) and a bonus when you do wash them they will end up somewhat scented especially if you use a fragrant fabric softener….

You are welcome. ^_^

So I have nothing to wear; and I have washed every stitch of clothing I own please forgive me for walking around with nothing but a large towel round my waist and a mug of hot tea like a television hottie…. I die for these abs

While the clothes are soaking I would tell you that there’s a method to my wash cycle I was my favourites first, then the whites, since they are prone to get stained by other colours, followed by the reds (pink if I have any but I shouldnt) orange, yellow and then blues, greens, browns and then lastly the black; Black don’t stain. This does not include jeans, those are the last things I wash……

If you were having coffee with me; I would tell you that if your name was Laundry you would be bent over the bathtub and dripping all over the bathroom floor…….

It was a perfectly sunny day when I started the laundry and in a few hours my clothes should have dried but with each second I drew closer to finishing my laundry it grew cloudier and now it’s even started drizzling …. Whats up with that?

I also hang my clothes on the washing line, following the visible colour spectrum (ROYGBIV) the resultant product is a perfect rainbow of clothes hanging out to dry.

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It’s ART.

Cant help noticing that my clothes are mostly in shades of black and grey I guess my favourite colour is black… at least for clothes, it appeals to my inner ninja…

If you were having coffee with me and there was a knock at the gate I would tell you that lets pretend that we are not here; see I am not dressed to receive guests; you being the exception. They must have sixth sense for these things because they are still knocking.

I know! Why dont you wait here while I go and tell whoever it is that there is no one home……

It didn’t work; but we can pretend to be out of town visitors and that we will not be here same time next week because they insist on coming back next week when we are free…. Is that awfully wicked of me?

Saving souls is hard work.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I had my hat collection dry cleaned….

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I have one for every for every occasion

There is something about wearing a hat at a rakish ankle;

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~A Quote from Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Thank you for visiting I would walk you out but I am still somewhat indecently dressed to be anywhere but my bedroom so I trust you will find you way home besides I have to finish ironing all my laundry then I never have to worry about it till next time I have my clothes washed…… oooh and another life hack sprinkle talc powder in your closet to keep your clothes freshly scented..

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You are welcome

~B

PS Mable Is writing me a letter ^_^ ….. here is a sneak preview; its not complete yet but I love it already:

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Of A Rare Moment

Genre: Romance

rare

Nothing had happened between us. There might have been a moment, maybe it was only in my mind. If something almost happens but doesn’t happen and nobody speaks about it, did it not almost happen at all? Even if it had been a passing moment; it meant nothing if I could not crawl into her brain and see for himself; her thoughts on; well almost everything in general.

She was hard to decipher, like a rare edition manuscript, handwritten in a neat but precise scrawl which unfortunately could only be read by its author. You know those books, with rugged hardcovers and gilded edges which don’t glitter; they are built to last long after all the paperbacks on the shelves next to it have lost the sheen on their high gloss covers and the embossed lettering has flattened out; the rare edition would be there.

Or maybe; just maybe, I had spent too much time in a library and could only picture people in book metaphors. People were not meant to be understood; only read and perhaps valued the way you do a particularly memorable scene in a favourite book. That moment unbidden comes forward and plays in your head over and over long after you have since closed the book, until you decide to read the book again. You might get tempted to skip through all the chapters to get to your favourite part but you know each word builds up to that moment and you want to make it last…..

Make what last?”

Though spoken; softly the words might as have been deafening as they intruded upon my dreamy reverie, they hung in the air; jarring me back to the here and now.

Huh?!” I sighed.

“You were saying something about make something last”

Oh?” I had not realised I had spoken out loud. “I was just…. Running a few ideas past myself…., sometimes… I need expert advice” I said trying to recover myself.

When did you come into the room?” I inquired trying to figure out how much I had thought out loud and how much of that she had heard.

She shrugged and then gestured with her feather duster pointing at imaginary cobwebs. This was her cue for me to leave the room, so she could clean the study room. I had long since stopped protesting about it, she would clean it even if it looked clean, well clean by my standards, she would run her finger on a spot and say

Dust

You know how one says a word as if it’s a living foe that must be vanquished with all haste. Even if I said that it was ok that, I would clean up later, she would gently but firmly shoo me out the room, that’s the other thing she would never let me stay in a room she was cleaning. Which is why I was mildly surprised, as I was getting up from the couch, to hear her say one word.

Stay

If communicating the entire range of human emotion in singular expressions were a virtue she would be a Goddess.

I sat back on the couch and tried to look busy but I was simply drawing circles in my notepad round and round, if you added eyes and tiny mouths it looked like a sea of Minions coming to drown the world in an ocean of gibberish language and hysterics. I tried to sneak in a quick glance to see what she was up to and found she had been looking at me, our eyes briefly met and then each suddenly found something more interesting to focus or pretended to; at least I pretended to suddenly be intensely interested in the minions I was drawing; crazy eyes, crooked grins and tongues sticking out.

Minions.jpg

I actually got quite engrossed in my sketches until a polite cough, the kind of cough one does to clear their throat as they ask for your attention; well demanded attention. I looked up and noticed that she was playing with her hands the way someone who cant figure out what to do with their hands does to hide their nervousness.

I need a huge favour” she begun.

Well it kind of depends what sort of favour you need?

What are you doing next Saturday” she asked

Probably doing a favour for you; whats up?”

She took a deep breath and begun;

You remember I told you about my silly dream to be dance instructor, right? Well one of best my friends, decided to meddle, good intentions and everything. She went and entered a video clip of ours, dancing in a talent search competition. The clip was from a wedding; I was one of the bridesmaids and helped choreograph the bridal dance routine…. Well I have been short-listed for the next round and its next weekend.

How can I help? You want me to come support you and sit in the front row so when you go on stage I will make noise?…..” I asked; curious because I remember she might as well as have forbidden from asking her about her dancing; And after my disastrous date with the princess we hadn’t  spoken no more than  two words to each other.

No! I mean yes. Yes I want you to come but not to sit in the front row..the thing is__” “Well” she said and paused uncertain how to phrase her next request;

“I need you to be my dance partner.”

I had not seen that one coming… I wanted to say “let me think about it” or even ask why she picked me, I wanted to ask, if she knew her eyes lit up when she smiled… oh I had so many questions, suddenly I realised I hardly knew this woman, all I knew is when she smiled a part of me wanted to be the reason she smiled and when she laughed, on those rare occasions; I had heard her laugh, it was infectious. I opened my mouth to say “I’ll see” but only one word came out

yes

The End

~B

This is a continuation of a story in progress you can Click here and here to find out what happened before.

#BlogBattle Theme Dance

Of Coffee With My Father

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If you were having coffee with me…. I would say hello and thank you for visiting me.

I would tell you that my garden has been growing on me, its been giving me quite an interesting perceptive on things and life. You see I have fictional character in a work in progress who rather likes to garden; the story doesn’t have much of plot as, yet, but its coming along nicely…. See what I did there?

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you what would you do if you found a rose growing in your vegetable garden?

Would you let it grow?

Let it Grow; Let it Grow

If you were having coffee with me; I would ask you that did you know why you spell it Father’s Day and not  Fathers’ Day? Well not only is it the correct grammar but you are celebrating Your Father as an individual and not all the Fathers in the world, just yours.

If you are lucky to have one you can say Happy Father’s day to then say it while you can; sometimes dads are not quite as appreciated as they deserve; even just checking at the way the days have been commercialized people spend more for their mothers than for their fathers … how about that!

My dad passed away when I was young and I remember watching this movie called Neria; where the relatives of a widowed woman suddenly crawled from the woodwork demanding their share of the inheritance from their late brother’s estate; eventually everything got solved thanks to inheritance law and the judicial system.

I used to wonder if an uncle would show up and say “this is my house now” and claim our mom as wife; that’s what used to happen in the old days, that’s tradition for you. Traditions are slowly evolving and I remember the family elders assuring us; they would support my mum and us; and our estate would be ours and ours alone, and none of these opportunistic customs; the uncles would not even accept my father’s old suits; saying keep them in storage until his children are old enough for them… that is how I still have My Father’s watch… (feel free to read)

Oliver Mtukudzi’s feature track from the movie Neria featuring Joss Stone during her visit to Zimbabwe….

If you were having coffee with me I would share with you this tribute:

My Father.jpg

If I have seen,

 FURTHER,

 it’s because I was carried on the shoulders

of A giant,

MY FATHER;

Who carried me until I could walk,

And then watched me run,

And still he watches over me as I learn to fly

 

Thank you for visiting its been a pleasure having you…… have a blessed week.

~B

PS Yes I drew That In case you are wondering, wander no further….

PPS UpDATE we have so far managed to raise 100 bibles yey and many thanks to all the wonderful people who made it possible….. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Credits Frozen Gif

Of Coffee With Winnie

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If you were having coffee with me, I would say

“Knock knock”

You would ask

“Who is there?”

I would say

“Arent”

You would ask

“Arent who?”

I would reply

“Arent you glad its not another covfefe joke”

I would laugh and laugh until tears welled in my eyes and you would laugh too maybe with or at me, but I do hope with me.

Please stick around and have hot beverage, the weather is a touch cold, in these parts. Winter is here! As a friend from the twitterverse Phroetiq phrased it:

I no longer believe in seasons.

I believe in days.

And today is winter

If you were having coffee with me I would let you in on a secret project of mine. Once upon a time a few days back, we went to a local prison to make a tiny donation; (that you need not bother yourself about) but as we left, I had a lovely chat with the Prison Chaplain and we told him if there was anything we could help with and it was within our means he should not hesitate to let us know.

He didnt…

He asked if we could somehow organize for him to have a bible or two for the inmates he would be extremely grateful. I told him “We would see…” you know that standard response you make when you agreeing but not entirely to something, without commitment. Upon further conversation I was shocked to discover that of the 700 approx inmate population not a single bible was currently available for them to use, that they have to wait to until Sunday to hear The Word…..

As the chaplain put it they are trying to rehabilitate prisoners and save their souls, because as he sees it, people commit crime because they lost apart of themselves to the darkness, and he is trying to the best of his ability to restore that which was lost……

**in a related fact about a month ago 120 inmates got baptized.  

This had me thinking that the bible or two we could find would simply be a drop in the ocean and without even a second thought we made a donation of our personal bibles, I dont really use mine; before you get all curious, allow me to rephrase I have a bible app on my phone and am not in dire need….. I also reached out to the friends who live on the internet:

In the past week I received 50 bibles and another friend is arranging for another 20, and I am also working with several other people who have said we’ll see…. Fingers crossed

He asked me for one or two I found 70 with a possibility for more….

When you reach out… sometimes someone reaches back

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if by any chance you came across the trend that had people declaring how shocked they were to realise that their childhood was a lie, because Winnie The Pooh was female….. WAIT  WHAT???

Winnie The Pooh

Winnie The Pooh

You know nothing Jon Snow

Yes Winnie was female…..

The real Winnie though; the one the character by A.A. Milne was based upon, was a real bear; female and Canadian. The bear was named after the city of Winnipeg, the hometown of the vet who bought her as a cub. Winnie eventually ended up at London Zoo; where she enthralled young Christopher Robin so much, he named his own teddy bear Winnie after her. Christopher Robin’s father was none other than the author A.A. Milne and the rest as they is a story of honey loving bear and adventures with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood….

The bear from the cartoons and books is most assuredly male and your childhood is perfectly safe (for now) and you did not experience any gender identification problems… You are welcome.

If you were having coffee with me I’d iterate  what I said last week Constant Vigilance; a quick Google search could would have revealed this “truth” explained in a tell all children’s picture book by Canadian author Lindsay Mattick published in 2015 Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Thanks for dropping by and much appreciated

~B

PS I just read on the death of actor Adam West who played the first Batman I remember watching growing up… and in honour of him this joke from opening title theme song:

dave-collinson-nana-nana-batman1

nana nana nana nana Batman

And if you you would like to get in touch with me about my bible project you can email me  below:

Batman Image Credit Dave Collinson

Winnie the Pooh story Huffington post

Of Covfefe With Me

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If you were having covfefe with me, you would be asking me whether there was a typo in my title and if not; what type of beverage is covfefe? Well I can assure you, there is no typo and that you can not buy it from your local coffee shop.

I don’t think you can buy at from anywhere, for now, but I am sure if you give it a bit of time, in a couple days, some barista somewhere will be serving you rainbow covfefe which looks like the sun set in it with an olive skewered by a toothpick bobbing around leisurely.

Covfefe nobody knows what it means but it’s provocative…

It all started because President of the United States tweeted the following:

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And the free world went crazy trying to figure out if it was a simple typo, (Twitter really really needs an edit button) or if his Excellency (that’s how we refer to our president) suffered anything from a heart attack, a brain seizure to tweeting in his sleep; some say he was overwhelmed by the sudden urge to have coffee in the middle of tweeting and its certainly something that happens to beerst of us

**pause to sip beer**

Where were we; oh yes and some are convinced it was a clandestine message understood by only a few elite; a conspiracy theory of Robert Ludlum meets John le Carré proportions; involving multinational agent provocateurs and maybe even aliens…

Covfefe Identity.jpgSeveral hours later the curious tweet got DELETED and replaced with the one below:

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And then there was Hillary:

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Its all much ado about cofveve….., it still hasn’t quite been defined yet but I am pretty sure before the year ends the word will exist in the updated dictionary. Why wouldn’t it be; if emoticons can make it; The tears of joy emoji was oxford the word of the year 2015

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So far the Webster’s dictionary has no words for it….

But here is a few choice definition from The Urban Dictionary:

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If you were having covfefe with me; I would tell you that you ought to be careful what you post on social media, the internet is unforgiving, and it never forgets…. (and people take screenshots)

I wonder if he had caught a vision of the future; when he transcribed and sent the first Morse Code message, Samuel Morse upon completion of his invention The Telegraph;

“What Hath God Wrought?”

Indeed; because if you were having covfefe with me, I would ask you, why do people revel in starting and spreading Fake News; where they not hugged enough as babies?

And it doesn’t help that we seem so eager to share we find without pausing for a second to verify, maybe its because I am a storyteller and as we say “the storyteller never lies”  we may get creative with the narrative, embellishing the tale with condiments of a good story…..  but see that’s why we have disclaimers….. and that’s why the only story I believe is the one I am telling….

Today is the first of June, Happy New Month…

If you were having covfefe with me; I would tell you I  got forwarded the following message by five different people in my contact list who are totally unrelated… maybe you have received it too:

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It’s a cute message, isn’t it? but, I didn’t forward it to anyone and why….

Certainly not because I would not have been unique in being a copy and paste…

today is 152nd day of the year the are still 215 days left in the year.

This greeting is a month too early

What if I had forwarded it to every one of my contacts and they forward it to each of their contacts, and suddenly you have a whole bunch of misinformed people…. This is exactly how fake news thrives and spreads, we blindly accept what read, we will learn eventually …. in the words of Mad-Eye Moody to his Defence Against Dark Arts class “Constant Vigilance

 

So long and thanks for all the Covfefe

~B

 

 

Of Adulting

Of Adulting: Guest Post

Today is my 10 year anniversary with the company that I work for, very surreal. In the last 10 years sooooo many things have happened. The growth is unreal and I’m absolutely proud of myself.
I have learned that I am the definition of loyal–giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. Know the difference between a LOYAL & FAITHFUL person? A person doesn’t have time to get attracted with others, his/her attentions exclusively for the one they love. … a loyal person knows where his/her heart belongs to.

This is seen in me holding down a job this long, with my family, my friends…lol
hell even my car. Goes on with them men…until I’m pushed

I had 2 serious relationships that were not as successful as I would have liked for them to be. The results weren’t rage or hostile…just not the big happy picture. However, I learned so much from these men and the lessons are appreciated. I learned exactly who I am…what I’m willing to do and accept in the name of love. Fuckery—miss me with it. It’s entirely overrated. I’ve given more than ¾ of my life away for no reason and I won’t do that again unless the conditions are in my favor. I will continue to make bad decisions but have way more fun with it in the future.
Bought a house lol that will be way too big for me in the near future. Lol Ahhhh the Grandchildren! Bring em on lol

Watched my children graduate, and graduate some more. They’ve built careers, became a wife and mother, and one perusing herself—a young lady. They’ve turned into decent fellow human beings that I can say that I’m very proud of. A little dazzle—as a single mother that NEVER cried or begged for a damn thing. Do it! Only option—only the strong survive. Miss me with excuses—they weigh nothing and I don’t hand out sympathy easily.

Made friends with some of the most amazing people, you can’t imagine…I can’t even start a list of the who’s. All have been from me opening my arms…opening my mind.
Become a leader, a builder and a strong follower. I never knew that I was supposed to be a teacher. If I would have known, I would have tried a lot harder—

For real;
I’ve learned that my energy is to be a giver and to be someone else’s blessing. Sometimes it’s exhausting but that’s why I’m here. I’m blessed in other ways and it’s ok.
Lost so many inhibitions that kept me from thinking. I now understand what perspective is and how very important it is when reasoning. This one is major and one aspect that’s taught me to grow the most.
Chula—oh my stars! I know why I love her so. I love her because I can give her the love that I deserve to give. I can love her without restrictions or expectations. She loves me back…the same way. The purest form of love that I’ve ever experienced.
Tomorrow might not come and I’m ready for that (for my children). Tomorrow might come and it might be hard, I’m also ready for that (emergency funds-401K). I’ve learned that the future is just as important as the present a
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Of When I See You Again

Guest Post: When I See You Again

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Here’s a fortnight’s journey in one story…

Once upon a time – I’ve only started a story in that manner once, don’t be frowning – in the evening of 2015, I got an opportunity to be part of the team of adults to supervise a group of young people in a youth club; but really to share with them a few of my new ideas and activities, to widen their understanding of the world around them and to foster an intercultural learning. Sounds like a lot of clever stuff right? I thought so as well, haha.

In Denmark, ( I later learnt that it is locally written as Danmark) the local authorities are obligated to offer leisure activities to children over 10 years old after their usual school program, and with that, they set up youth clubs in every community where kids will go to immediately after school at 2pm.

The youth club is a building set up like a home for the comfort of the kids. It will look like a typical house with couches for lounging, a kitchen to make snack and drinks, play areas all over the place for all kinds of indoor games that the particular youth club could afford. The youth clubs prioritise social activities like music, art and performing arts, sports, films, and various outdoor activities; they’re supervised by adults who are paid by the local authorities. I think it is an awesome government initiative.

The younger kids in what we’d call primary level will get off school and come in at 2pm until 5pm. While the older kids in high school will come in from 5pm until 10pm. These clubs serve as an alternative for otherwise reckless activities children might want to stealthily get into after school, but also as places where they can get extracurricular learning. The parents sign them up, and roll calls are done for accountability to parents.

Despite the freedom the youth have in there, it is a smoking and alcohol free zone. On a normal day, they’ll come in and play their favourite games, hang out with their friends from different schools while they have the best time of their lives; and all that is going on in your mind is the memory of your childhood when you had to be back home immediately after school to go do the dishes, mop the house and do your homework with hardly any games to play until you reported back the next day and had that game of “bladder” (jumping the rubber rope) at break time that made you no more clever than you were in your school work. But cultures differ, right? A lot of us turned out alright after all.

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Out on a campsite. This was my favourite, most hilarious game. And yep, I was far out with the rest on the ground already laughing so hard.

So here I was, trying to make this intercultural thing work, but boy was it hard! The children mostly, were so shy. They’re not very familiar with their English, as all their lessons in school are taken in Danish except for the English class. On inquiring from the other facilitators, they said that the children were not confident enough to express themselves in the little English that they were just learning in class. But hey, work had to be done, right? I told my other colleague, Raphael that we had to mix it up with signs to help us get it done. So we did.

You’d find us trying to get into their space and get them to do stuff with us while waving our hands all over the place, hoping that we were making some sort of communication with signs that made sense. It worked most of the time, even though it was really exhausting. The high school kids that showed up in the evenings knew English alright, save for the fact that they were seeing strange African faces and they weren’t sure they had so much to let us in on. They eased into it a little later but sincerely speaking, English is not their cup of tea. It seemed like an exam you gave them if you were holding a conversation with them. I almost felt sorry for them and wished I could speak Danish to relieve them of the discomfort.

It was nice to know them. I made more friends with the younger children who came earlier in the day though. This particular boy was one heck of a rebel, he basically ran the whole place crazy and could not make friends with us until he realised we were going to be in his face all fortnight long, then he caved. He’d pronounce Raphael’s name as “Raphi-Lion.” We tried to help, but that’s the best he could come up with, and Raphael decided it was a cool twist to his name after all. My name, Karen, was pronounced Kayuhn, “Care-un” like you’d say the word care and un in one go. It sounds strange…but I found out it is an actual Danish name and is pronounced that way. How cool, right?

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Raphael with the boys after a game of football. Good trick for an easy way to get along!

Then came this little girl one bright but yet chilly afternoon that warmed my heart and left me bewildered at the same time… you know how other continents still think we live in caves and trees? (True story) Yes. Even the children, somehow they either get it from the discovery channel, or they get to hear it from a friend who heard it from a friend whose mother watched the news about donating to a naked African child somewhere in the Sahara. Well, the children that need help really do exist, but even apart from that, Africa has made major steps of growth in civilization and economics and to know that is just a click away on Google. But that’s a story for another day.

The little girl, about the age of 10 or so was burning with concerns and questions and because she couldn’t properly communicate in English, technology came to her rescue. Armed with her iPad, she came over to the kitchen where I was trying to help with their afternoon snack, and she was determined to use Google translate. She would type her questions in Danish on the translator and then I’d read the translations and respond accordingly.

“Do you have iPhones in Africa?”

“Of course we do!” I’d say with a broad smile. “We also use technology back home; smart phones, tablets like the one you have now. Here. I also use a smartphone that I bought” I took out my shiny slim phone and showed it to her. She nodded. (But really I didn’t buy it, I borrowed it because I messed mine up and yet I had to take pictures and stay online and in touch with my people while in nchi za nje. Hahaha. But you get the point. We buy smartphones here too)

With a poor communication system with the children, I almost felt uninspired for what to do some days until one of the facilitators (who rarely ever spoke with us for the same reason), suggested through a translator that I should involve the kids in a new hands-on skill. I immediately thought about making paper beads. What’s funny is that the only way I knew about making paper beads was because I watched someone explaining the procedure about 3 or so years ago on Television. Television, people. How convenient. It was an easy process and so it stuck in my mind somehow but I trusted my memory, even as I explained and listed the materials we needed, all the while thinking that if I mess this up and can’t come up with a proper paper bead in at least two attempts so I can teach the kids, I am screwed.

You can’t blame me. I used to be an artist, but not very crafty with my hands. It is the girls that showed up obviously to make jewellery the next day. I had to quickly try out a couple of samples to make sure I knew what I was doing! Otherwise, I’d be a laughing stock. I desperately needed to get closer to these kids to find a point of interaction and if it meant forging a supposed skill, I had to do it. Ha! That was crazy, right? I know… but what is so hard about paper beads; I cracked the trick, and suddenly I was a pro. The satisfaction that filled my insides, even I could not contain. When the children would finally ease up to me (still with signs and a few English words) because they had no choice but to ask me for clarity, I felt that my job was as good as done. It was a major accomplishment.

While in our awesome paper bead making class, another set of questions came up;

“How come you know how to make these beads? Do you guys have papers like this in Africa?” – This was the kind of paper used to print magazines, brochures, flyers, you know that kind? Yes. Art paper.

For 2 seconds I wondered what to say. Bambi the children also imagine we have no kind of education, paper, pens or pencils that we use over here. But my job was to get them talking and eventually change those perceptions.

I smiled. “Sure. We have all kinds of paper and also old magazines, which we use to make these beads. We find all the other materials we are using in the supermarket as well.”

Another added, “I don’t want you to go back because you may not have food to eat.”

Now, it was our last week and we were just about to leave for home in a few days, and they knew it.

“We do have food at home, and we buy it in the market and at groceries just like you.” I assured her.

In this business, you can’t just be laughing fwaaa even as much as you were dying to. You have to remain as objective as possible and understand that these stories and perceptions are real and we have the opportunity to change the narrative.

The biggest memory for me is of one of the little girls. She was very slim, blonde, and quite taller than the others and reserved in big measure. I had never really had an interaction with her because she preferred her peace and quiet and hanging around her friends. So much so that on our last day, when all the girls, including her friends, came in to make paper beads with my final supervision, she had no choice but to come in as well only to watch them while she remained her usual silent self.

She knew how to play the guitar. She must have thought to herself prior that she needed it there for the distraction, and she plucked the strings now and then as everybody else was busy with glue, paper, toothpicks and all. I didn’t know what was running through her mind. What I would learn later would melt my heart. Somewhere towards the end of our exercise, she started to play a real song and eventually sing along to it. She was singing a song in English.

American Hip hop artiste Wiz Khalifa’s “See you again” ft. Charlie Puth.

She kept going with the lines “It’s been a long day, without you my friend. And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.” She kept going and going, singing the whole song apart from the rap. I even caught myself singing along. She was very calm and almost sombre while she sung; I can remember the sadness in her voice as she sung the sorrowful tune like it was yesterday. I remember telling her that she had a beautiful voice, and she managed a smile. When she was done singing, she left the room.

It was way later after that episode that reality remembered to visit. It hit me. The little girl was singing for me, seated right in front of me while I bent all over the table trying to make sure the kids were getting their beads right and while I sung along to her serenade. She sung for me; that somehow, while she avoided me the whole time, it was because she was only a shy little girl who secretly loved my presence every day and was sad that I had to leave eventually. I must have developed a lump in my throat from that realization, because I hardly paid so much attention to her in that moment.

Moments such as those defined my stay, and every time I think about it, a smile plays on my lips.

Guest post Karen

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Bio:

Karen is a young ambivert and social worker that is passionate about youth development. She has been a 2015/2016 DUF Youth leader who continues in volunteerism with the youth of different communities on Leadership and life skills. She occasionally blogs, Reads a lot, dances excessively to Hip Hop, Contemporary and Latino vibes, advocates for proper hugs, loves rice with beans and ultimately believes in Jesus Christ.

You can find Karen at her blog Sherevealed.wordpress.com and on Twitter @DiamondKarine

~B

**This article first appeared on her Blog here

Of Breaking Free; A Writer’s Block

 

Writer’s block is the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

When I try to picture it in my head, I visualise a large immovable block that your writing hand is shackled to, which is why you cannot write…..

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Or maybe it is large chopping block where you lay your head as you wait for the axe of creative constipation to chop your silly head off…….

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Off with your head….. if you can visualize your writer’s block in your head then you are kidding yourself you do not really have writer’s block, your creative mechanism still work; you need to collect and focus your creative energy.

To understand writer’s block you first have to understand the psychology of a creative individual. Imagine a writer as a therapist; unconsciously self-psychoanalyzing to resolve inner turmoil via the sublime medium of writing….

In other words writers are batty, how can they not be?

Writer’s block has probably existed since the first writer picked up a stick and scratched something on a cave wall or perhaps even before that when he traced doodles into the dirt with his fingers and when the rain washed it away he tried to do it again, and could not, quite get it right……

But the term writer’s block was first coined in 1947 by a psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler who described it as a “Neurotic inhibition of productivity

What causes Writer’s Block?

Self Doubt or Self Criticism; (afraid of how you will be judged or  if you wrote something before and it was praised and now the pressure as you are not sure you can ever equal the same level of excellence or being compared to other greats)

Timing; (when you just cant find the time and space and distractions.)

Procrastination; (waiting for inspiration)

Perfectionism; (waiting for everything to fall into place, which it never does)

Disillusionment; (you write and no one notices, no recognition)

unhappiness; (It should come as no surprise that an unhappy writer is likely to be creatively blocked and that a blocked writer is probably unhappy. Unhappy people daydream less period.)

There are many other causes for it but these are the most common.

Writer’s block is a psychological condition and as with all psychological manifestations its treatment should be some feel good therapeutic exercise….

How To Break Free The Writer’s Block

Writing is an intimate conversation with your innermost thoughts; so to deal with your writer’s block; relax and get alone time, you need to find some joy in your writing; if you feel good, you write good……

If I had a holy grail solution to dealing with writer’s block; I would probably be selling it in a set of 25 motivational DVDs at $1.99 a DVD and after you had bought the entire set you would find that you were no closer to getting past your writer’s block than when you started; that’s because writing is not an exact science, it is an art; and art has no rules; it has No Chill.

However I’ll share a few quirky remedies outrageous enough to just pop the bubble of that uncreative funk

*Firstly WRITE, write anything; keep writing until you write better

Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all

~Charles Bukowski

*Pretend you are writing a rough draft and not a masterpiece

*Talk to your characters, have coffee with them, interview them

*Write like you talk

No one ever gets talker’s block

~Seth Godin

~B

PS I never suffer from writer’s block; I immensely enjoy it and use it as an excuse to exercise all my quirky traits and blame my unruly muse ♥♥♥♥

Of Freedom Of The Press

#PressFreedom

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day

A day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

For a second I thought to myself what does press freedom have to do with me? I am not a journalist, I don’t work for a media practitioner…..

But like everyone else I pick up a newspaper and browse through, sometimes I find articles about journalists being arrested or detained, cameras and voice recorders being confiscated or destroyed. Media blankets from certain proceedings….. or key government officials calling media parasites or a circus….

According to the Reporters Without Boarders website Zimbabwe Ranks 128 on the World Press Index a ranking based on RSF’s assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year.

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Zimbabwe Press Freedom Index

I won’t say I am a supporter of the press but it has always existed to fill the information gap and they should be able to disseminate truthful information without bias or prejudice or fear, but at the end of the day; Media Houses are a business, and they provide news and information not as a benevolent act but their bottom line is to make money; to sell newspapers, to sell advertising space and whatever else that pays that puts food on their table….

It’s quite easy for The Press to slide down the slippery slope of only covering sensational stories, emotive news that stirs emotion and likewise sales and once down that path its quite easy to start making up your own news when there is none, speculative opinion pieces dressed up as fact; or whomsoever butters their bread tells them to cover a particular story and not another.

Sometimes the media seems nothing more than a tool whose sole purpose is to build or destroy politicians…

Pick a paper any paper what are the odds the leading story is political…

And sometimes it’s a voice for the voiceless and a defender of the people’s liberties but who defends defender……

I remember once getting a communique that was supposedly from Ministry of Information’s office to various radio stations informing them not to cover news on certain protests as it would glamourize civil disobedience…..

It must be tough being part of the government machine, how many secrets you must keep, I am sure it’s with good intentions (at first) you keep these secrets to maintain order( I would like to believe) . It’s not hard to imagine how people were to react if they were told for example the government only has enough money or water or other basic need for one more month before the country reserves run dry, mayhem and chaos…. I have seen the apocalyptic movies where people become mindless animals when they don’t have hope….

Sometimes it seems like hope is more important than truth……

So the state keeps a secret, to preserve hope, a curious journalist sniffs out a scoop and what happens next has happened before and will probably happen again.

If governments didn’t keep so many secrets, if they trusted its citizens not to react like base creatures and properly explained; If good governance meant transparency maybe Press Freedoom would not even be an issue….. but cows come home to roost; scandals break out, politicians fall out of favour, new politicians rise and  they become exactly the system they criticized, and so the cycle continues….

And now we live in the internet age which has brought with it a paradigm shift of how we consume THE NEWS…. Anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection is suddenly a pseudo-journalist. Something happens, you capture it on your phone, you tweet it, blog it and share it via WhatsApp and in seconds it has gone viral before traditional media houses can even say “BREAKING NEWS”

Its absolutely brilliant but it has its pitfalls such as the increase in unverified information or downright slanderous gossip masquerading as fact being peddled by people seeking their two minutes of internet notoriety; for example celebrities have been “killed” several times over, fake news, satirical and downright cyber victimization (leaking of chats, pictures and videos)

Small wonder governments are trying to find ways of monitoring and regulating the internet….. it’s an unruly information jungle. But if only they did with the intention of safeguarding citizens it’s simply a way of controlling information, information is power.

Once the was a time when all internet service was down and conspiracy theorists claim it was a directive from the government trying to stop a citizen protest which rallied around the national flag as it was deemed that the protests were being mobilized via social media.

Our government is trying to pass Cyber Act which gives them power to arrest people deemed to be inciting violence or causing unnecessary alarm and despondency…….

The Press is no longer some journalist with press card and a column in a newspaper, The Press is someone in your phonebook, in your contacts list, in your email, in your whatsapp group, the next person whose tweet you retweet….

Are you really free if you are afraid to speak? How will you be heard when you do not speak?

~B