Thursday, February 14, 2013

Singapore :)

On my way to get my freshly squeezed orange juice at Food Lovers, I walked by this lady's pretty bag, so I said 'aw I like your bag!' (As I do, pretty regularly) and she said thanks, I smiled and walked on. But then I heard, 'it's from Singapore.' And no one's ever really wanted to tell me more, so I turned around and said 'really?!' and she ended up being this wonderful lady, who told me that the print is the Singapore flying colours. (Which, she explained, means it's the print the air hostesses wear) and she said she uses the bag for shopping, 'Because if i keep buying bags, there won't be any trees left for your generation,' she nods happily. She says she's gone through three of four bags in nineteen years, her friend sends them to her, which I think is so so lovely!

Other things I saw today: a cute white-haired couple holding hands while they crossed the road.

I dropped my iPhone and then make-up store man kindly picked it up while I closed my eyes and said 'Please say its okay! Please!' and then he hugged me and said don't worry.

The world is a lovely place :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Antananarivo, forever.

This town will always feel like home to me. I love to breathe it in, I love the way the light catches it, I love how the sky seems perfect at any time of the day. Mostly, I love the family I have here. As we left dinner tonight, two women were speaking French and being the amazing French-speaker I am, I knew they were speaking about me, but couldn't understand what it is they were saying. "Me?" "Yes, you, you are my daughter." -Was probably the single greatest thing I heard all night.

Over the past few years I have had the honour of falling in love with this city over and over again, and the people have played a huge role in that. Also, the doors. Anyone who has walked through the town with me, as I enjoy doing while the sun is setting, will know that I will stop a hundred times on the way to whereever, to take photos of the doors. 

I don't really have words to describe the epic adventure today has been, the crew is so cool and we definitely made the most of the time we had to explore. Have a look at some of it*

Their eyes! Aaaah!

Spent about an hour tonight discussing how we can save this cat from a life of captivity. Turned into a pretty cool marketing campaign for Carlton hotel, haha. Francois isn't buying into it though. Sigh. 

Tomorrow is assessment day, hoping for many patients to return, and for everything to run smoothly. Fun fact, there is also a political protest happening tomorrow, just up the hill. That should definitely add some flavour, haha. Xx

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Speak Now

Yes, that is the title of a Taylor Swift song. And yes, I did just wake up from a dream where I sang and danced with her under streetlights. It was one of my happier dreams. But this is not what I wanted to write about today. I want to write about saying things that are inside your head and your heart.

I've had a fairly dramatic week, with health and travel and life-plan issues. But I am here, home with my family, and that's what counts, that's all I wished for all those times I lay alone. And in those times, I realised something.

People don't say their truth. People don't say what they think. People don't trust their instincts. People aren't honest about their feelings. Or about their opinions of each other, good or bad. People don't say kind things when they can. And they don't ask to understand clearer when they aren't certain.

The times people have spoken to me about the things in their hearts, the things that mean most to them, or even just things that feel real, have been the greatest conversations. And the times when people say they see a light in me, or observe something I never knew about myself; those times keep me going. Pity they're so few and far between.

And maybe this sounds very negative. But really what I'm saying is, people should. It makes life a lot more special, a lot more intimate, a lot more real and true and meaningful.

I read once that, "Admitting what scares us or makes us feel alive might be intimidating or embarrassing, but there is power and strength in owning who we are." and the power in sharing it, the power of community, is infinite. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm both excited and overwhelmed by my job right now.
Not in the way I have been for a while.

I think I am, in awe of how capable I am.
And newly motivated to make the most of it.
Which is really really good.

And I dont know what I want to be doing a year from now, or where.
But I know what I love doing and feeling.

And I know that there are moments in this job when I cant believe how lucky I am.
Moments when I cant help but smile to myself
bc I feel like there is nowhere else I'd rather be.

Not bc of the country I'm in or the people I'm with
or maybe bc of exactly that.
But mostly, bc I can feel in my heart
it's exactly where and what I'm meant to be,
exactly what I'm meant to do with my life.

Exactly why i am who i am,
for this, right now.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things that happen in the DRC.

You can never see the sky completely. The sky is always grey. Maybe someone with geography knowledge (Victoria) would tell me it's bc of the tropical climate, I say it's bc of the dangerous amounts of pollution. Either way, it makes me uncomfortable.

There are no bins, anywhere. I walked from one side of downtown to the other (we're estimating about four kilometres, just saying, WHY DID WE NOT TAKE A TAXI) and, no bin. We got to the street cafe, and the waiter took trash off the table and threw in into the street. Where already, years and years of rubbish is piled up, compressed as part of the ground. There is litter, EVERYWHERE.

You cannot take photos. Just, dont. Unless you are willing to dish out hundreds of dollars to get permission every time you want to whip out your camera. If you want to live on the edge, fake use your phone. But really, getting arrested or harrased by groups of men desperate for dollars, is not worth it. It will get unpleasant.

Yeah, you will see soldiers everywhere, they will all have huge guns. They will watch intently, for a way to fine you for something that really isnt illegal, but will still ensure your giving them atleast $5. You will be appalled, and annoyed, but only argue enough to reduce the amount drastically, bc you know they need the money for food. They only get about $35 a month, and a salary increase is not on the horizon. (Considering that was the price of my meal at Nandos the other day, it hurts to wonder how the average person survives. Though, I guess I know the answer is that they dont.)

No one will offer help, whether you dropped a bag of groceries or are changing a tyre. It is just not in the culture. Also, do not ask for directions, they will expect to be paid.

There are beautiful lizards everywhere, with cool fire stripes on their backs. So, there's that. And the other animals you will see, will be frail and in cages. Being sold at markets. Or, an occasional cat at a restaurant there to rid the place of rats.

Nice Cream is the greatest thing that will ever happen to you. Even though the women will be annoyed at how excited you are, it will be worth the $7 and dirty looks. It's on Avenue de Port, people, and it's where the party is AT. Get that icecream, and fall in love forever.

Five dollars.

Today we experienced fully the brutality of this corruption. It started out as a simple "Let's go to this art museum I heard about." and ended with running away from an angry man with an AK47, and a consequential two hour walk across downtown on a windless day in Kinshasa.

Staying on the topic of corruption, we found out why we had so much trouble with our visas. And the real reason why the embassy was burned down in Pretoria. Turns out the Congolese really hate Jacob Zuma, since he sent in troops to fight on Kabila's side during the election saga. (Aside from the unfair 'why are you even getting involved' issue, it must be noted that Conogolese people are not at all violent, and the only acts of violence to cilivians was done by foreign troops on Congolese land.) And then, just after Kabila "won" these elections, it is announced that Zuma's son is starting some oil corporation here. Clearly a result of Zuma's negotions with Kabila during the election period.

In other news of the day, I learnt that this freedom our generation has, having not grown up during Apartheid, isn't always a gift. I always thought it meant we could see further ahead into a brighter future without the bitterness that older generations cant seem to shake. Today I heard that this ignorance and lack of personal experience is affecting the motivation for change in the DRC. That the youth doesn't see, firstly how bad it can get if left unsolved, and secondly, how much of a change they could create if they faught for it. Which kind of breaks my heart.

Lunch at the Congo River.

Lovely afternoon overlooking Brazzaville.