Christmas Shopping by June?

I first saw this sign outside the White House gift shop in June – is it Christmas already?


To swear or not to swear….

now, that this the question.

There was no swearing in my house when I was growing up.    We would use body language and tone to show how annoyed we were with each other.  There were also fists, wrestling matches, pushing and slaps frequently and liberally exchanged between my immediate older brother and I.

You can imagine my shock when I heard people cursing and generally using bad language when my family moved to one town when I was 10/11 years old.  One of our neighbors, Lydia’s mum, actually used to have her kids, toddlers even, join her in loudly describing her perceived enemies’ anatomies when she saw them.  I could not believe it!

Therefore, I find it unfortunate that swearing nowadays is a way of life for many people, especially using four letter words.  Are there no better words to use?  I find it even more unfortunate when people think that kids/toddlers swearing is cute.  Maybe I am just old fashioned or a prude.

Not much of a post, just wondering why we need so many swear words in our vocabulary nowadays.

No more malaria, phew!

I first heard of malaria when I was 10 or 11 years when we moved to another town.  I can’t even remember ever seeing a mosquito or even hearing of an insect called ‘mosquito’ before then.  Well, I was rudely awakened to the existence of malaria one day when a classmate didn’t come to school because she had ‘malaria’.  I asked other classmates what malaria was and they looked at me as if I was crazy.  I persisted and one impatiently told me that it was a disease caused by mosquitoes. Well, my next question was to ask what mosquitoes are.  She explained and said that one gets an itchy ‘pimple’ when bitten by a mosquito.

As luck would have it, a friend (Brenda, I still remember her name) had an itchy pimple that she kept scratching.  Of course I was curious as to what it was and she said it was a mosquito bite.  I asked if that was the malaria I had heard so much of.  She said no and was not impressed as she thought I wished her to have malaria. Oh, how I wish I had gone on with my ignorance without ever being exposed to the devastating effects of malaria!

Fast forward a couple of years and I came face to face with malaria after we moved to a new area near a stream.  Everybody in that compound suffered from malaria frequently, including me.  The malaria would do rounds in homes, especially during the rain season.  Those days the medication was chloroquine which gave one nightmares and itchy feet and hands.  The effects were as horrible if not more than the malaria headaches, fevers and throwing up. The regular malaria was at least manageable, not the cerebral malaria that caused patients to act in a crazy way.

One of my parents was usually down with malaria whenever I called them from the US after I relocated.  I even started dreading calling home because of the malaria news.

My parents moved to a small holding a few years ago near a stream and were happy with the new place and their life there.  They also always had a good report for me whenever I called.  After one year I realized that they never mentioned having malaria. When I asked them, they said they had not had malaria since moving even though there were a lot of mosquitoes in the first year.  I told a friend about this and he said it was because my parents’ new house was far from other houses.  Apparently, mosquitoes do not fly very far and so cannot spread malaria from one home to another.  They still live near a stream and during the rain season there is all sorts of vegetation growing in their fields just outside their home.

I was relieved about the outcome of their move and I hope it stays that way, fingers crossed while knocking on wood.

Amish Village Visit

I had a great four day Labor Day weekend.  I met friends, went out, listened to great music, had great food and best of all, visited Lancaster County in Pennsylvania with a friend to see how the Amish live.  My friend and I first visited the Amish Village and were disappointed because this “Village” is just a replica of an Amish homestead and not an actual one.  However, our minds were changed for us once we had done a tour of the replica house and grounds as we learnt quite a lot from the tour guide.

We were informed that non-Amish are called ‘English’.  Even I am considered English so don’t be surprised if I change my block name to “English Lady”🙂


I was surprised at how big Amish houses are – for some reason, I expected tiny ones.  Apparently, the Amish do not lack most of the mod cons that we have even though they use gas instead of electricity.  It was interesting to learn that they shun electricity because they do not want to be dependent on somebody.  They are less dependent on others when they use gas.

Amish kitchen….


Amish women have four dresses (I didn’t believe this) which they use for specific purposes.  Their wedding dress comprises a dark dress and a white apron over it.  They next time they wear white is when they pass away.  For wedding shoes, they wear black booties – quite interesting.

Washing machine…..


Summer kitchen which is in the cellar – this is the stove on which they cook food to be preserved.


A short legged donkey, or so I thought, until I was told that it was actually and miniature horse…


This was one sad mule, it had ‘tears’ dropping from its eye.  It was depressing to look at it.


An interesting story about the milk house….


Clothes on the line – I prefer drying my clothes this way as they smell fresh….


We went to the schoolhouse and it was interesting to see that the students also learn their ‘mother tongue’, German.  Pardon the blurry photo…


A buggy is the way the Amish mostly move around.  It was interesting to see a sleek one that young people use – something of a sports car in the conventional world.  For short distances, the Amish zoom around on kick scooters.  The Amish do not have cars and do not drive but hire them, get on buses and planes as long someone else is driving/flying.


A buggy similar to the one we were on to visit an Amish homestead.  The only thing we really saw, however, was the store that the family runs and the grounds.


Tobacco field


Alfalfa – I learnt of Alfalfa decades ago in high school, forgot about it, and only got to see it now.  I always thought it was long grass!


Windmill, of course.


The Amish have generational housing and there are three generations in this house.  I like that idea as the grandparents have people around them to help out when they are infirm.  This homestead has three generations.


The homestead has a dairy area.


Tobacco being air dried.


A statue of an Amish man at Hershey’s restaurant where we had dinner at.


Our homestead guide was very knowledgeable about the Amish.  She said she had only met one bachelor (that is an older man) in her 18 years since she has lived in Lancaster County and he is a very grumpy man.  She thinks that he is either grumpy because he is not married or he is not married because he is grumpy.

I like the Amish life since they emphasize spending time with family instead of in front of the TV of computer, though I love my internet connection🙂, and bright lights everywhere.  I guess I would be used to hard work if that is all I knew.  I also like the hard work ethic they have.  My friend said that the Amish live as many people still do in poor countries.  The only difference is that the Amish have the opportunity and money to live conventional lives but choose not to.

I know I should not have been, but I was surprised that the Amish are wealthy – after all they do not spend money on frivolous things.  They also do not pay school tax as they have their own schools.  They do not have medical insurance and pay cash for all procedures, no matter how much they cost.

Our visit was very satisfactory and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.  It would have been nicer, though, to have the Amish themselves being the tour guides instead of the “English”.

I have food – I am grateful

From the time I was born to about 12 years, my family had all the food we needed.  I can’t remember ever being hungry before then.  There were snacks for our ‘four o’clock tea’.  However, rude reality came knocking when I was about 12 years old and stayed with my family for some years.  This was as a result of my parents having to move the family for security reasons from another country.  They had had to leave their jobs and small business and it was hard for them to start over.  My mother, a designer, who had made most of my clothes could no longer afford to buy the material needed.  My friends taunted me about that fact and I had started walking barefoot since I had no clothes.  I had not noticed before that I always had footwear even when I was playing.  The lack of shoes and clothes did not bother me as much as not having food.

Having to think about whether we would have our next meal was rough, especially since I was child – and one who never  knew hunger before.  My parents did talk to us about facts of life and tried to explain why we went hungry, but it was still tough.  I would go to school without eating and spend the whole day at school without food and it was tough, tough, tough.  On top of that I had to walk at least 8 kms round trip to school on an empty tummy.  Many times we would have to eat stale food because that is all that we had and thankfully, no running tummies followed.  The lack of food is one of the reasons why I stayed away from mischief as a youth so that I could finish my education and have as secure a future as possible.

My parents’ situation improved after a few years, but my fear of having no food had a very strong unhealthy hold on me for several years.  I have managed to deal with the fear, but at the back of my mind I always remember what being is like and so try to secure my future.  I do not want to be in a position where I do not know where my next meal is coming from.  I do not want to eat stale food ever again just because it’s the only thing available.

My lack of food at one point has made me appreciate the fact that I can have any food I want at any time.  I am grateful that I do not have to worry about what I will eat because that is tiring and scary.  I am grateful for the good health and job that I have because those keep me for lacking my daily bread.  I am also grateful that my immediate family also have food, because they too, know what being is like.

What are you grateful for today?


Urban hike in Queens, New York

I have been to NYC several times before, but it has always been to Manhattan.  I decided to join some friends for a hike to Queens, NYC just to have another perspective of NY and not just NYC.  We left DC by bus at about 2.00 am and arrived four hours later in time for breakfast.

  1.  Guy being loving to his girl – mural on passage to Queens subway.  There are many more interesting murals on in the passage.


2.  Our first stop after getting off the metro, was Maple Grove Cemetery where we looked at various interesting tombstones.


3.  There it is – Queens Museum


4. A sailing club somewhere in the park that we walked through.


We walked on to Flushing in Queens after the park.  At one point I had to pinch myself and ask the hike leader if we were still in NY or we had walked to Asia.  There were a lot of Asians!  To honor the area, we had lunch in a Korean restaurant, which everybody enjoyed, except me.  I wanted something more filling as the Korean dishes were most broths with your choice of veggies and meat.

5. We walked and rested a bit in Central Park.



6.  I had told Trump that I would be in his neighborhood, but he was not home!


7.  Titan Prometheus at Rockefeller Centre



8.  Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Centre


9.  Time Square


10. The Garment Worker in the Garment District


It was nice to see another part of New York and not the same old places I have seen before.







Please pardon me if I use wrong words.  Know that there is no offence intended as I am still learning.

Isn’t it interesting how our attitudes change towards something/someone we knew of but had never met, seen or experienced?  One of the things I hated, was confused about, did not accept was homosexuality because not only does the Bible say it is a sin, but this never happened (at least overtly ) in the society I grew up in.  What I knew in my heart of hearts was that:

  • Gay people will go straight to hell, no two ways about it
  • I will and can never interact with a gay person
  • I will never have anything in common with a gay person

Homosexuality was something that I never knew about until I was in my early twenties, at least.  Zambia was very conservative and closed when I was growing up in the seventies and eighties and so I was not exposed to other lifestyles.  The first gay man I met was a German man who was my boss at one company.  At first I did not know what was ‘wrong with him’ but I used to laugh at his mannerisms because they were so feminine and looked weird to me.  Zambian society likes a macho man.  This German man very funny naturally and I just took it that being effeminate was part of him just being funny and silly.  It was not until someone mentioned that he was gay that I understood what was going on.  He actually married a man in South Africa.  I was in my early thirties at this time.  He moved away and for me that was that interacting with a gay person, or so I thought.

Well, being in the west, I now interact with a lot of homosexuals and I will tell you that I was actually shocked, but pleasantly surprised as well, that they are not weird human beings as I expected them to be previously.  They are just like me [said as if I am the best human specimen :)].  I came to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.  Yes, I have different beliefs but those are my beliefs and I don’t have to impose them on anyone else or expect them to agree with me.  I realize too that my beliefs (Christian, cultural, social, etc.) may be strange to someone else and I am fine as long as they also don’t try and impose them on me or expect me to agree with them.  Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, but we are seeing or hearing of people who are gay/bisexual/bi-curious.

However, in spite of the positive things I have written above, I will help a girl friend of mine hold a grudge against one late famous gay male singer.  She had had a crush on from a young age until he passed on about 20 years later.  All she knew about his private life was that he was single, period.  It was only made public after his passing that he was gay and had kept his relationships private so that his career would not be jeopardized.  She was heartbroken when she heard this and vowed not to forgive him because he had wasted her time ‘letting’ her fantasize about him for all those years.  We laughed a lot about her broken heart and still laugh after ten years since his passing and yes, she claims that she is still mad.  Being a loyal friend, I am mad at him, too!🙂

It has been liberating to know gay people as I have learnt so much from knowing that we can have different beliefs, dispositions and preferences but still get along because there are many more points that we are similar in except this ‘small’ one.  I think it’s just like someone who I wonder what my 25 year old self would have thought to see me having this attitude towards gay people.  Isn’t gaining a little knowledge enlightening and liberating?

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