Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

This challenge really made me think about my own culture.

Culture is described  as the  characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.

I live in South Africa, speak Afrikaans in a country that  has eleven, yes, eleven, official languages. In the light of this, I think that the most defining aspect of my life which depicts the culture or group of people I belong to is the Afrikaans language.

Therefore this is my interpretation of this challenge.

Afrikaans literature on an Afrikaans print cloth.

Afrikaans literature on an Afrikaans print cloth.

 

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The Reader Becomes The Book

book 4-horz

The reader became the book; and summer night

 Was like the conscious being of the book.

From:   The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm By Wallace Stevens 

The reader sits  snugly curled up in a sunny corner lost in her book. It is an ideal day to spend with a good book while soaking up the warmth of the winter sun. The hours pass slowly as she turns the pages completely engrossed in her reading. Slowly she becomes the book while the late winter day becomes the being of the book.

She is not in a cold winter day in Pretoria anymore.  She is part of life in dusty Botswana solving mysteries and sharing the life of  Mma Ramotswe of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander Mc Call Smith.

book 1Such is the effect and pleasure of reading. The reader becomes part of the lives and  characters of the book.

Reading is an enriching, learning and moving experience. Whether it is  a children’s book with the fantastic exploits of the hero, a historic novel in which she relives history and shares the experiences of the characters through wars, famine, love and family life,  or a futuristic novel with new ideas on technology never thought of before, no book leaves the reader unchanged.

Do we still savour this pleasure in our modern society where television programmes with lots of action, visual and sound effects keep children and adults glued to the screen, where children as young as 2 years old operate the I pad  or notebook using  pictures and symbols without learning to read the written word?

There is no necessity  for using imagination to picture the story told through the written word, no becoming the book, no learning the art of descriptive language,no expansion of vocabulary and correct spelling.

This situation has a negative effect on all learning as reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning. It is a means of language acquisition , of communication, and of sharing information  and ideas. ( Wikipedia Reading Process )

In the light of the above I ask the question. Can we afford not to read and not to teach our children to read? 

Are we  in danger of becoming like ancient cultures where only a priviledged few could decipher the writings of the scribes?

I sincerely hope not, but if I look at literacy and reading statistics in South Africa I fear for the survival of  a reading community.

On 19 Otober 2012 Nick Mulgrew wrote the following in the Mail & Guardian: It is becoming readily accepted that South Africans do not read books. They read newspapers and magazines – more than two-thirds of South Africans regularly read print media, according to the South African Book Development Council – but they are not so-called committed readers: only 1% of South Africans regularly buy books and only 14% are regular book readers, figures far below the estimated literacy rate of 88.7%.

Therefore I plead with young parents, teach your children the joys of reading, expose them to books for how can we learn to love something we do not know?

To us who are in the position to buy books, let us donate books not wanted anymore to others who can not afford books or who do not have access to the written word.

 

Life is Like a Kaleidoscope, Watching Beautiful Forms Change

Kaleidoscope-horz 2

The word kaleidoscope literally means a beautiful form watcher.

Life is like being inside a “beautiful form watcher”. Everyday brings a new picture of changing forms and colours, some more beautiful than others.

Sometimes the colours and shapes are dark and ominous looking and at other times  bright, happy colours and  shapes dance through the day.

On the one hand life deals us the sad events like death in a family and on the other hand beautiful happy events balance the sad ones.

Such a happy event in our family is the birthday of our twins which is later this week. The birth of the twins was a traumatic time as they were born 6 weeks prematurely and both had to stay in hospital for more than six weeks due to complications. It was a time of darkness and ominous looking forms in the kaleidoscope of my life with possibilities of permanent hearing loss, neurological complications, developmental delays and many more looming in the picture.

P en C

When they eventually came home I spent the whole winter in the house with them too scared to expose them to the outside world as their immune systems were so compromised.  The kaleidoscope turned slowly and the picture became  brighter and more colorful, eventually forming  the beautiful picture of two young adults on the brink of life today.

No matter what forms and colours the turn of the kaleidoscope brings, I have faith that my Father in heaven is the One who controls the turn of the kaleidoscope and He knows  when to deal which colours and forms to my life.  He is also the One who gives me strength to cope with the colour and shape of the day.

I look back on  our lives and can truly agree with the prophet Jeremiah in

Lamentations 22:22-23

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

 they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

A  week ago on Saturday morning  we woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. The sun was just starting to rise when I looked up and saw the remaining clouds coloured the most beautiful pink  which quickly turned to orange. Within a few minutes all the magic was gone and it was an ordinary Saturday morning at home. I managed to capture these pictures while it lasted.

UP 1

Up 3

UP 4

The L List: Living : Get Up and Do Something !

“You remind me of a meerkat !  Always inquisitive and wanting to know more about everything around you . “

meerkat 2( photo credit Google images )

This is how a friend once long ago described me.

Lately however, many things happened in my life,  that left me feeling emotionally paralized, almost like a hurt animal wanting to crawl into a corner and watch life from the sidelines.

“O don’t be so melodramatic!”  I can hear my mother say.

“Get up and do something.”   

I followed her advice from long ago  and let my fingers do the walking on the internet to fullfill a dream, the dream to visit the Serengeti and Zanzibar before my 60th birthday later this year.

Yes, flight tickets are booked and accommodation  confirmed.

My excitement at the adventure awaiting us knew no bounds when I received an e – mail with these words from Mzale In Stone Town Zanzibar .

Dear Martie,

Now your booking is confirmed because we have received the money in our account.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us incase of any changes.

Looking forward to your nice stay.

Regards,

Mzale

Thank you Mzale,

I am also looking forward to our nice stay and  can’t wait to meet you and all the other charming and interesting people in your country, see the places, eat the food and see the animals and majesty of creation in the Serengeti.

No more hiding in the corner of life for me, for I have a journey to prepare for.

Oh The Places You Will Go !

Letter to my graduate daughter with credit to and quotes from :

Oh the Places You will Go! by Dr Seuss .

Dear Daughter,

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!


Change

You are young, beautiful, full of life and dreams  of the places you will go, the things you will accomplish and the adventures you will experience.

You are a graduate of 2012, starting life as a young professional.

After many years of study, living now becomes a serious business.You have to pay your own rent, medical and car insurance, buy your own food, do the washing and cleaning and keep up the pace at a job.

Fun?

Yes , but as I heard you say: ” Maybe being grown up is not so much fun after all”   

For you might or rather:

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

That will be the time when you need to become a ” mind-maker-upper “ or find yourself in a place of waiting which can be a quite useless and time wasting place.

But don’t be afraid for :

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

You will make mistakes, fall into a slump, meet things that scare you  and give you a bump,

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.

And

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

But I know:

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

For

I  have faith in you that you will find the bright places and move mountains. You will keep on hiking and I will be watching to see where you are going and what you will become.

I say to you again:

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Remember I will always love you and pray for you.

Your loving Mom