Tag Archives: family

Ek vat my Groen Mamba op ‘n uitstappie

 Die dag wanneer jy beginne rondreis, is die dag wat jy die eerste bladsy in jou lewensboek omblaai. Ek snoep gereeld op die internet rond vir plekke waar ek en my ‘Groen Mamba’ (SA Paspoort) visa-vry; kan besoek. Die enigste EU lid-land sonder ‘n Shengen noodsaaklikheid is Ierland! Wonderlik, ek kan ook die Rooi-taal gooi wanneer dit my pas, en met elke Guinness word hulle aksente mos makliker op die oor.

 

Sodra jy aanland op die lughawe, word jy woerts-warts met ‘n 3-maande geldige visa verwelkom. Dublin se publieke vervoer is iets om oor te kwyl, met een klein plastiek ‘liep’-kaartjie, rits jy die hele dag rond per bus, trein of trem. Ons gaan aan huis by lokale inwoners met ‘n spaar slaapkamer want dis sommer baie goedkoper as hotelle. Kyk dit neem nie veel om hierdie mense luidrugtig te kry nie, so dan wil jy nie naby ‘n hotel se watergat probeer slaap nie.

 

Dublin het mooi mense, van vêr af; maar die nonsêns wat uit daai vuilbekkies borrel is dreinwaardig. Jou ore tuit bloedrooi want vloekwoorde val uit hulle monde soos handevol sente uit ‘n ou auntie se beursie val. Mens, jy byt gereeld jou tong vas, want die ander ding wat my hare laat regop staan het, is die Here se naam, en dié van Sy moeder, wat stadig met klem, oor en oor kliphard herhaal word. Dis nie iets wat die deursnit Afrikaner sommer mak kan raak nie. Aikôna, sies! My Ma sal heeldag, iemand se bek met seep uitgeborsel het.

 

Daar is definitief Viking DNA wat nog warm tap in die Iere se bloed. As jy nou daai manne rooi onder die kraag wil hê, verwys na hulle as Britte, of noem dat “Dublin die beste Britse hoofstad moet wees”. Hulle verstik sommer in hulle bier en sal jou daar en dan; op straat uitgooi. Mense, leer hierdie puntjie voor jy aanland; Ierland het in 1922 indepensie gekry vanaf die Britse Kroon, maar Noord-Ierland is nog deel van die Engelse-koningkryk. Die manne is veglustig en sterk; elk met ‘n gemiddelde dorstigheid van ten minste 4x groot biere agter die blad. Hulle praat daar nog van “pints”.

hoor hier: goete om NIE te sê nie

In die kroeë is daar soveel verskeidenheid biere, dat jou drie-maande visa te kort is om almal te proe. Vroeg vanaf 8-uur sit die nagskof manne al reeds en slurp ‘n koue langglas bier. Manne in verf besmeerde oorpakke en hardehoed in die hand, stap gedurende middagete in die kroeg in vir ‘n koue bier. As jy na son-onder nie sitplek kry nie, moet jy maar staan en kuier. Moenie verwag om deurnag ‘n biertjie te slurp nie! Die meeste watergate se laaste rondte is 11;30pm op weeksaande, en 1-uur oor naweke. Kammatig probeer die owerhede dronkenskap op straat verminder.

 

Almal kan sing, in ‘n piepklein ‘Pub’ trek ‘n ou hier neffens jou stoel los en sing uit volle bors, ‘n ander tokkel met lepeltjies ‘n ritme, en almal luister aandagtig sy storielied. Sodra hy sit, trek ‘n ander ou los en almal sit en knik-‘n-ritme, terwyl daar agter iewers iemand op ‘n bekfluitjie begelei. Op straat staan jonges en vergete ‘rockers’ en speel en sing vir ‘n handvol munte. Orals is vroulike tokkel musiek in die wind.

 

In strate en op publieke vervoer staar ons openlik vir bloed jong Ierse meisies met lang voshare tot laag by die yogabroeke. Dis verbysterend allerdaags om tussen twee Poppies, ‘n dag ouer as 19-jaar, het hulle lag-lag sewe kinders tussen hulle. Na dag-twee het ons geweet hoe om ‘n tafel en bus sitplek te kies, vêr van die jongetjies met stootwaentjies. In jou lewe het jy nog nooit sulke onhebbelike stoutgat kindertjies gesien rondhol en skree in publieke plekke nie. Mens jeuk om jou belt los te maak, maar daarlangs is dit teen die wet om die wettertjies maniere te leer ‘op die ou manier’.

 

Oeh die kos is my dood, as dit effe reënerig is en die Noordseë se wind pluk aan jou jaspunte, beloon ek myself met ‘n Guinnesspastei. Mens kan kies en keur tussen vars vet pienk salmvis, vleis pasteie, bredies en fênsie Internasionale menu opsies met o.a. organies en vegetariese disse. Dankie tog daar is ‘n lang lys interessante plekke wat baie stap behels en die belt weer intrek.

 

Praat van stap, jy moet wakker wees, want tussen trems en fietse en busse en mense, moet mens maar bly rondkyk sonder om hakke te breek en enkels te swik. Dublin lê dik in die geskiedenis met kastele, museums, soldate, skrywers, standbeelde en uitstallings om elke hoek en draai. Enige iets ‘Nasionaal’ is heeltemal gratis om te besoek en selfs met die beste beplanning gaan jy nooit als gesien en gedoen kry nie. Die groot pobleem is tussen punt-A en punt-B is daar iewers ‘n kroeg oppad, met varsgebakte broodreuk en musiek wat jou van plan laat verander.

 

Ek kyk nou net, daar is nog vier bladsye in my Groen Mamba oop, ons kan altyd weer die Mamba vat vir ‘n ontdekkingsreis na Ierland…

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farmers tomatoes

African Traditions are all Different

Ghana is a country with more than a thousand Chiefs, Princes, Princesses, Kings and Queens. They are traditional African Royalty; adorned with beautiful clothing and jewellery. Nothing else can leave you in genuine awe like attending an authentic royal wedding or burial. That is when you realise African traditions are as old as the mountains themselves.

In Accra you meet expats from all over the world, as they all try and find their own spot in the sun. Holding onto your own traditions can be difficult when nobody celebrates your countries’ National Holidays. Celebrating in traditional clothes while eating traditional food dishes is trickier. So we are left to celebrate local traditional days.

Farmers Day is an upcoming National Holiday in which farmers that excel in Ghana are recognised on a National scale. The day is celebrated close to Ghana’s late president’s Kwame Nkruma’s Birthday, and celebrated on the first weekend of December.

Imagine lots of grandiose speeches, colourful dancing and lavish traditional food dishes being served. This year the theme is “Grow more food”. As you can imagine, the party each and every year is bigger and better than the previous year. As it is done every year, many companies and banks have donated cars, cash, farming implements and various equipment to the government to be used as prizes for various positions. There are numerous categories, cocoa, foodstuff, animal breeding and poultry. An overall best farmer is then chosen from each category. The national best farmer is awarded with a car, cash cheque, farming equipment and even a four bedroom house.

Some traditions are upheld in the way people do things. The way they marry, the way they bury, and the way they do business. I am not sure that we will ever eradicate the corruption system in Africa. Each person knows that politicians all over enrich themselves and assist each other in covering up their pilfering. Certain African traditions will be upheld forever.

Read here about Farmers Day.. http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2014/October-27th/accra-brewery-donates-towards-2014-national-farmers-day.php

Watch here the talented Barbara van Rijn’s short film in Cashew nut farming in Ghana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL5PkeBjqPQ&list=UUUQNXwF5N6eJgi401Cf9FAg

Some are born Nomads

Coping as an expat in a strange country is sometimes more difficult than it sounds.  Just as newly weds need some time to adjust in a new marriage, the same applies to you and a different country.

Should you be in a high demanding job that requires you operate at full speed as soon as you hit the ground, your spouse often feel overwhelmed and lonely. In Europe, USA and America its easier to work as a spouse, but in Africa you are often not allowed to work as an accompanying spouse.

Settling into a new house or apartment, in a new office, driving on the wrong side of the road, in a new car, working with new colleagues, with a strange culture and sometimes stranger language can be quite daunting. It is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Keeping in touch with worried parents, forgetful friends and inquisitive Facebook acquaintances is cumbersome and requires some tact and time.

Finding other interests or keeping up with things you used to love in your home country can be a challenge. There is normally something to do weather it is taking up a sport like tennis, or learning a new skill such as speaking a another language – the secret is in reaching out. All too often I have seen people becoming grid-locked in a vicious triangle of work, house and home country visits. That is so sad as they never feel a sense of belonging, how temporary

If you are unsure of yourself, your own culture, or your origins, you just might be lost forever.  Having a partner to share experiences makes it easier. Then again your relationship can only go one of two ways. It can become stronger or explosive.  Kids could complicate matters more, especially for first time expats.  Some expats are lonely, hermit-like, some wrap themselves up in the new surrounding culture, some count the days to return home and some just take to it like fish to water. Pets are wonderful companions, always happy and non-judgemental.  Some expats fly their animals all over the world, some aquire pets in their new base country. There are always expat families happy to continue taking care of the animals once you leave.

Some expats are naturally born Nomads – forever enchanted by distant places. They travel often, and not necessary on home visits.  Others are offered insane expat packages with plenty of travel tickets and interesting expat benefits. Most learn from other expats and each new posting results in a better expat package. Many expats venture out once or twice, some make it a career path or life choice.

An old wise man once advised me to find just ONE thing that I really enjoy doing, and to keep doing it.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

I have learned, that I definitely don’t always know what I want, but I am pretty sure now, of the things I don’t like.