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

Of Coffee with Jack Of All Trades

If you were having coffee with me; I would welcome you into my house and home like the favourite guest that you are. I might not mention it enough or ever at all but I do so love your visits; every time there is a knock at the door, I hope its you but; its only my twin toddler nephews, they have discovered the art of knocking on doors.

They knock on open doors, they knock on closed doors they knock on all doors and surfaces until you say “Come in”; then they knock some more and giggle… And they have discovered clothes have pockets anything they pick up goes straight in there; money, keys, pens, thats the first place you should look when you cant find something, which happens, twice like déjà vu because twins….

Ah yes I’ve always wondered why babies clothes have pockets:

They are for putting all the “dollars”  from visitors so their parents so can buy treats for the them( ah the embezzlement that occurs, I guess its payment for all the drama toddlers cause) and also as My twitter Neha friend pointed out kids’ pockets are filled with innocence….

…….and that inspired the beginning of a story rattling about in my head:

“Once they had walked merrily, arm in arm, not a care in the world, pockets full of innocence and sunshine; until the day they dipped into the pockets to find them empty, somewhere along the way, no one knew where; innocence got lost or stolen or if they ever had it at all. Now they walked arms protectively crossed; some where along the way they had become adults……”

If you were having coffee with me I would tell that every time I have an interesting idea I have decided to write it down because I absolutely hate it when I sit down and realize I don’t remember what the idea was, simply haunted by the ghost of a brilliant idea that’s just at the edge of recollection…..

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for pretending to not notice that the house is a mess, we have been doing some home improvements, and also some furniture got damaged when we moved. Moving is rough on wooden furniture and glassware; the fact that it was raining; didn’t help.

Everyday I write but yesterday I was a carpenter repairing furniture, the day before that I was a babysitter, today I am an electrician and tomorrow I will be a plumber and maybe the day after that a painter, and then a gardener.

Gardening is therapeutic; plants require only water and sun, you can even whisper your secrets to them if you like, the perfect best friend, who is always there, by the green patch where you first met, they will listen without interrupting, they don’t judge and you know they will keep your secret to the earth they sprouted from or until you cook them and have them for dinner, well because plants don’t talk and they are rooted to the spot (unless it’s a pot plant… HA) Its not weird right? To name your vegetables (Asking for a friend)

Its been lovely having you over, do tell what have you been upto? Read any good books seen any good movies… does watching a movie based on book with the subtitles enabled count as reading the book??

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you had to choose between Strong Roots or Strong Wings… what would you pick?

~B

PS My life is so much more interesting in my head…

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Its been two months since we moved and yeah about 90% unpacked yey!!! Unpacking is such a process…..

Of Goat To Be Kidding Me

Once upon a time…. we used to settle our debts with a handshake and an agreement that you had in excess something I needed and I had more of something you needed, so we shook on it and a bargain was struck ..… wait; it is not a folk tale, it just might be the future….

Our crazy economy and its surrogate bond currency might be in for quite some change…. (no pun intended)

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I kid you not

A High Court judge made headlines for offering to goats as settlement in divorce proceedings….Newsday.jpg

….and the goat drama begun because shortly after;

The Ministry of Education was featured in the Sunday paper saying how schools must be flexible in matters of tuition fees and not just turn away pupils.  Parents and guardians can pay for their wards’ fees using livestock or do chores for the school in lieu of tuition.

The Newspaper article carried the headline Pay Fees With Goats:

And as you can imagine goats have broken Zimbabwean internet, people have way too much free time on their hands….

Oh yeah and so far its only schools that have been mandated to accept goats so don’t get carried away…

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To be honest though having parents selling their livestock to raise school fees is nothing groundbreaking but now it seems is somewhat implied that you just walk to the school leading your goat by the leash and hand it to the school headmaster.

What the ministry is proposing makes sense but then it’s not the kind of thing one wakes up and casually announces like “oh yeah, if you don’t have money you can bring in your goats as fees” and it does not really solve the root problem. Anyway how are the goats going to be converted into actual cash for the schools? I am guessing some livestock auction will have to happen; sounds simple enough but if people sell their goats because of not having money, whom oh whom is going to buy them? Some schools are probably going to end up with goats they cant find buyers for or selling them at less than market value, and another thing how exactly is the price of livestock going to be evaluated there’s bound to be lot of chicanery going on, people being the way they are; and in the interim where would the goats be kept, and what would happen if a goat dies? So many questions….

Imagine the unlikely event of every parent bringing a goat, cow or chicken; what a circus act schools would turn out to be and small wonder goat jokes are trending….

If the ministry has everything figured out they ought to say as much and explain how everything ought to work instead of vague newspaper quotes with room to a whole of misinterpretation.

Maybe our future currency is livestock; a legal framework to allow movable assets to be used as collateral or security when acquiring a bank loan, is on its way to being passed into law.

Banks only consider immovable property as collateral and if you don’t got none you won’t get a loan hun; no matter how lucrative the venture you need financing. The logic behind it doesn’t need any economist to figure out; you use immovable property as security because it guarantees one doesn’t up run away with it because hellooo immovable.

Enter The Movable Property Security Interest Bill; which seeks to make movable assets such as livestock, motor vehicles, furniture as collateral for bank loans. If the bill passes for a law this will make it a somewhat easier to get a loan but I am curious though who gets to keep the collateral, the thing with movable property, it can be lost, stolen, it depreciates and possibly dies, I’m no legal expert but I foresee an increase in civil and criminal lawsuits….

Banks best be using the super profits they made to build kraals and pens to hold their loan repayment securities.

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I had a dream of the future and it kinda smells like dung…..

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~B

Of Coffee and Edible Water after Easter on Independence Day

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If you were having coffee with me I would say hello to you hope you had happy Easter holidays. Did you do anything interesting, visit family, hunt for eggs with the Easter Bunny, or go to church and celebrate The Risen Lord. Regardless of your beliefs and faith on Easter I find you hope you never get swayed by the corporate monster, out there to make a quick buck, commercializing every single reason we have to buy a gift or anything really for any occasion clouding up everything till you find you cant go home until you have bought a mother’s day or father’s day, valentine’s day or anniversary gift, cake, presents, Christmas trees, hot cross buns, Easter eggs, spending hard  earned money on meaningless trinkets and  meaningless gestures. Ok, fine maybe that was a bit harsh, its not meaningless and there is nothing wrong with gifts and gestures, and I for one wouldn’t mind getting a gift; even for no reason, actually especially for no reason but they must come from the heart and not because some big corporate splurged a lot of money in advertising and marketing and it’s all inception and subliminal messaging for you To Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy.

But hey the corporate monster just like progress is a multi-headed beast that needs to be constantly fed with innovation.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you saw the April Full Moon, also known as The Pink Moon. I don’t know why it is called The Pink Moon, it was most certainly full but not pink in colour. Here is a fun fact, Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. (which occurs March 20)

It still feels like the weekend today, Sunday to be precise but its Tuesday, that’s because today’s another public holiday, it’s been a holiday studded past five days whoop whoop…

Today is Independence Day for Zimbabwe.

Happy 37 years of…… sovereignity.

They call us the Born Free generation because we are fortunate to never have witnessed oppression at the hands of colonial overlords or the blood price that was paid for our sovereignity. Sovereignity is a tree just like liberty it needs constant watering, with blood of patriots and traitors alike. I would like to believe no leader ever sets out to rule with iron words, firm fists and tyranny but the old adage holds true power corrupts and absolute power, well absolutely…. and here we are 37 years later and sovereignity feels a lot like oppression  simply changed skin colour.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you have taken a walk outside and thought to yourself someone should do something about this and then kept walking….. Yeah I do that. Just the other day I was looking for a bin to throw litter in, while walking in the city, I noticed all the different kinds of bottles littering the street thinking yeah people need to recycle or something….. and I kept walking.

Everybody expects somebody to do something and in the end nobody does anything

Fun Fact; Empties is really a word, it means a glass bottle empty of its contents. You might be familiar with bottles that come with a deposit refundable when you return the ‘empties’ or those who wont sell you takeaway beverages without an empty to exchange with. I had always wondered who came up with that word or if it was just street lingo but had never looked it up not until yesterday. When your bottle has a deposit you are less likely to just toss it away without a second thought.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you what you think of edible water bottles. I would watch you look at me trying to wrap your head around the idea of an edible water edible. I know I have crazy ideas but fortunately that one isn’t mine.

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A company called Skipping Rocks Labs has introduced water, packaged in water drop shaped bottles that are get this Edible… made from some organic algae, dipped in ice. How cool is that?  The idea is quite an interesting and innovative take on that recycling and littering problem I mentioned earlier, especially for those who want water on the go…(hello jogging #teamfitness I see you) I don’t know about the practicalities though like you cant have your water and drink it too hahahaha. What do you think

Thanks for dropping by and have an awesome week

~B

PS If you are a Christian you must live each day as if Christ rose today and is coming.  Amen

Photocredit Designboom

Of Feeling The Earth Move

I felt the Earth move beneath the soles of my feet, a tremor deep from the bowels of the planet’s core.

I was sitting on the sofa watching TV and tweeting about it….  and then I noticed that it was just that I could feel The Earth beneath my feet but the sofa was vibrating ever so slightly like it was a massage chair and the windows were rattling like a freight train was passing through my backyard…. There is no railway line in our backyard, so it could only mean one thing…. a derailed freight train was being all unstoppable outside the house…. I got up and peered casually outside the window half expecting to hear the shrill blast of a train’s horn or see the headlights coming straight at me and I could look like a startled deer watching a flame come to burn it, wait that’s a moth, but see a moth would have flown to the flame, the flame would have come for me…..I guess my imagination is just like runaway train of thought….

The internet is such a handy tool, instead going crazy trying to figure out if I had gone crazy a few clicks later I knew what happened…..

Turns out it was an earthquake:

Africa

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicentre in central Botswana occurred at 1940hrs CAT, and the tremors were felt in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I haven’t heard of any causalities so I presume people only got a little shaken up nothing serious…

Its amazing isn’t our ability to laugh at  the things that frighten, our on way of assuring ourselves that, that wasn’t so bad give me another challenge… see fear cant abide humour, were it not for laughter sometimes fear  would never leave, that’s because fear usually arrives late, inevitably leaves early, and ends up never going out at all.

So when you wake up in the morning and find people joking about earthquakes all over social media maybe they are not just being funny, they are saying hey lets laugh because we are not afraid… at least lets pretend we didn’t for a second think the world was going to end, aint no body got time to live their lives like that….

I felt the Earth move beneath my feet and I laughed, did you feel it too…..?

~B

PS If you didn’t feel anything and you are wondering if it was real, the internet says it was real so it was real

 

Of Coffee, April Fools, Short Stories and Fathers

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for joining me, how have you been? I have been good cheers to the New Month, hello April what do you have in store for us? Good things I hope.

So did anyone play any good April Fools pranks on you or did you do the pranking?

I didn’t prank anyone but I did write a Very Short Story #VSS called April’s fool:

He used to be the court jester, till he clowned his way into queen April’s heart. No one ever called him King only April’s Fool….

For those who follow my twitterverse account @Beatonm5 you might have noticed I tweet a lot using that hashtag #VSS.. I have been asked many times what this means  it simply stands for a very short story. Twitter and its 140 characters per tweet makes you adept at the fine art of brevity of expression and challenges your creative skills to write a story. If you have a second you can find my #VSS tweets by clicking HERE. If you tweet micro-stories on twitter do let me know and I will check it out and if you haven’t you must try it, it’s also a good way to come up with writing ideas or a story to develop further, for those moments you think you have writer’s block.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I attended my first mass today. Before you look at me with that scandalous expression it was not my first mass but rather it was the first mass I have been to where the priest in attendance is a family member. He got ordained as a priest last year but time and circumstance had not made it possible for me to attend any of his services. It was quite weird, watching him, deliver sermons and perform sacred rites of communion with ease of someone who has been a priest all his life. It’s also weird how once, he was my young brother and now I call him Father, he looks older. He looks like someone you can confess your sins to, without being judged and expecting him to mete out a fair penance of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, someone who could officiate your wedding, baptise your little ones and when you laid there on your deathbed someone who would perfom the last rites and finally bury you and into the   hole ye goes… Someone you could call Father.

I remember attending his ordination ceremony officiated by an Apostolic nuncio who is the Pope’s emissary so it was quite an honour. The community decided to welcome him by bestowing upon him the gift of a totem, he was declared of the Moyo (Heart) Clan. I am fairly sure protocol was creatively circumvented and he accepted ever so graciously. He thanked the family for our generosity in letting go one of ours to a greater calling. The ordination of a priest, it feels bittersweet like part marriage and part funeral… Christ being the bridegroom: does that make the priest, the bride? but unlike a wedding you are not gaining in-laws as such, but losing your relation to the church … imagine calling your own son father I guess that’s why priest end up in parishes far from their home and family to prevent awkward encounters and broken hearts just like at any wedding.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell I just got my few seconds of fame from a YouTube video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcmwF7_6Ljo

where I got a shout out from Leeann who I featured on my blog The Girl In the Red Dress ( she has a YouTube channel and shares recipes with Conde a parrot I do believe) anyhow someone watched the clip and is now a new follower on my blog, I would have mentioned them by name but, they are internet shy, so I’ll just say I hope you read this wherever you are…

Cheers, April Showers and May Flowers

~B

PS speaking of pranks, and April I am still trying to figure out if this notice from the Zambia Police is real or not, if you do please tell me so…..

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Of Bond Age

Welcome to the Bond-Age…. You are supposed to read that as Bond Era, like the year of the Bond, and no, its not a new instalment in the James Bond movie franchise but one ought to be forgiven for thinking bondage and not of the kinky kind…

We have survived this long after the introduction of the Bond Notes surrogate currency, late last year, longer than some pessimists had pegged till collapse of our economy. Bond Notes are a surrogate currency, trading at a rate of 1:1 with the United States Dollar, introduced into the system to help ease the cash crisis. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe they are backed by a $200 million dollar facility by the African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank, and to date $102 million worth of bond notes are in circulation.

(confession: I really have no idea what exactly that means if it is a loan or something else and its terms, I worry a little because this is how countries get economically colonised  I’ve read The Confession Of  An Economic Hitman had I heard of said bank before this… and I had never heard of the Afrexim bank before all this; well Google says it is a real financial institution  but I wouldn’t put it past responsible authorities to take creative liberties with the truth and claim to have financial backing so as to instil confidence in their surrogate currency )

The release of the Bond Notes was shrouded in quite the mist of mystery and vaguely phrased terminology like a stimulus package for Export Incentives and Cash Shortage alleviation and I remember a bank even got fined for breach of some confidentiality clause by circulating pictures of the bond notes prior to their release. Even the security features of the Bond Notes were only made public after the notes had been already introduced into the system.

An sms from the RBZ sent as part of their public awareness campaign:

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Who can even make sense of that?

Strangely enough though these notes were supposed to ease cash shortages trading at a value of 1:1 with the USD (easily making the Bond Currency the strongest currency in Africa) it seems to have worsened the crisis and bank queues are even longer than they used to be, and people struggle to withdraw the weekly banking limit, of their own money. The rumour mill has abuzz with talk of introduction of  even higher denominations of the Bond Currency which are currently trading in bond coins, $2 and $5 bond notes; although the Reserve Bank has gone on record to dispel this saying they won’t do so, as that could fuel inflation.

Plastic money, is the order of the day, but it’s still the standard operating procedure to first ask the cashier if the swipe Point of Sale machines are working and if they accept your particular bank, because some banks apparently don’t play with others, and local banks are suspending MasterCard and VISA transactions outside the country or placing limits on transactions.

How about doing RTGS …one would think that something called a Real Time Transfer should be instantaneous yet they take anything from 24hrs to 14 days, where does the money disappear to? Instead of just whizzing digitally from one account to another at the click of a button like magic? What if it disappears there and never comes back, what if maybe that’s how all the cash disappeared ??? You would think is a terrible time to invest in banking, but you would be wrong, banks are making a killing, your money in the bank doesn’t earn any interest and it will probably get eroded in transactional charges every time you swipe your card, or transfer money and other hidden costs, you might even get billed for enquiring your balance… and meanwhile some banks are making double digit million dollar profits…What a time to own a bank

If you figured you could runaway from the Bank Queues and try to make a withdrawal from some unscrupulous mobile money agents, you would find they charge a “commission” on top of the transaction fees and people desperate for their cash have no choice but to pay and that’s how it starts. Mobile Money Operators say such practices are illegal and should be reported, but desperation breeds strange bed fellows; once one person is willing to pay a premium for their cash then someone else will, and then another and another and soon chaos and the parallel market thrive….

Fuel supply is quite sporadic and one can’t just waltz or rather drive to a fuel service station without checking if they have fuel cause they just might not, and you ought not be surprised to find separate queues at the same service station, one for US Dollar fuel and another for Bond Currency fuel.

fuel

Oh yeah, it also shouldn’t further surprise you to see that they are most likely to run out of Bond Currency fuel first too. They blame the Reserve Bank for not clearing their foreign currency payments to suppliers and in return the RBZ says it works on some priority list where not all foreign currency payments are equal; some payments are more important than others….

The RBZ FOREX Priority list

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Officially there is no parallel rate though in effect there is, by offering discounts for cash transactions as opposed to using plastic money which basically translates to cash being worth more. Unofficially there is a multi-tier pricing where there same product has a different pricing depending whether you are using plastic money, United States Dollars or Bond Currency. This is illegal and an RBZ amendment act was passed into effect  which will see perpetrators being jailed for “devaluing” the Bond Currency.

That’s some Bondage for you

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