Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Getting Back More Than You Give

This is a daily meditation from Forward Day by Day, and I know what you are going to say – you are going to read this and say “but she only got back $10; she got exactly what she gave.”

You would be wrong. She also got the joy of giving sacrificially, giving all she had. She didn’t know she was going to get anything back. She got the feeling of doing the right thing.

You give more, you get more. There are so many things that money cannot buy, peaceful sleep, loving family, faraway friends who call you out of the blue because they are thinking of you . . . the Lord blesses a cheerful giver 🙂

FRIDAY, January 31

John 6:6. Jesus said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

Sue’s young daughter barely got her offering in the collection plate in time. It was her entire allowance of $10. She’d given the money, she said, because she felt God called her to give all she had. But before the young girl could even take her seat, someone in the row behind gave her a folded $10 bill. Obedience had been rewarded.

Like Sue’s daughter, we are prompted to do things that might challenge our comfort zone. It could be the nudging to give more than we think we can afford, or to take on a task we are uncertain we can accomplish, or to provide a sacrificial act of grace or kindness for the sake of another. God often calls us to give beyond what we can see and reason, whether time, talent, or treasure. Perhaps then we can better see how much God can make of our little.

Jesus’ feeding of the multitude, told in the gospel we read today, did not depend on the disciples having enough food but on their willingness to bring what they had to him so he could increase it. As they served the food, the supplies grew until there was enough to satisfy the hungry crowd with leftovers. Our willingness to give always results in food that keeps on feeding.

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January 31, 2014 Posted by | Faith, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Lectionary Readings | , , | 3 Comments

191 Nepali Laborers Died in Qatar in 2013

From Agence France, a report that 191 Nepali laborers died in Qatar in ONE year:

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Nearly 200 Nepali migrant workers died in Qatar last year, many of them from heart failure, officials said Monday, figures that highlight the grim plight of labourers in the Gulf nation.

Tens of thousands of impoverished Nepalis head every year to Qatar, where a construction boom is gathering pace as it prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup.

The Nepal embassy in Doha said it registered 191 deaths last year compared with 169 the year before, with a foreign ministry official describing many of the deaths as “unnatural”.

“In the year 2013, a total of 191 Nepali migrant workers died in Qatar,” Harikanta Paudel, a senior embassy official, told AFP by telephone.

“The highest number of deaths occurred in July when 32 workers died,” Paudel said.

Qatar is under mounting pressure over poor conditions for migrant labourers, particularly during the blisteringly hot summer, in the gas-rich nation’s booming construction industry.

A Kathmandu-based foreign ministry official told AFP that a third of the deaths recorded were due to “unnatural” heart failure.

“Young and healthy men in their twenties and thirties have died… it is unnatural,” said official Subhanga Parajuli.

“Cardiac arrest is followed by traffic accidents as another main cause of death. The third cause of death is injuries during work,” Parajuli said.

An Amnesty International report released last November said migrant workers in Qatar endured a series of abuses including “non-payment of wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, and shocking standards of accommodation”.

The rights group said its researchers overheard one construction firm manager use the term “animals” to describe migrant workers, while a labourer told the watchdog that “Nepalis are treated like cattle”.

Qatari authorities last October said allegations of abuse of labourers working on World Cup facilities were exaggerated but insisted they took such claims seriously.

More than one million Nepali migrant workers toil in the Gulf region and Southeast Asia. Qatar alone hosts around 400,000 Nepalis as part of its two-million strong migrant workforce.

January 30, 2014 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Qatar, Statistics, Work Related Issues | , , , , , | 6 Comments

4600 Wooo HOOO!

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January 30, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, Statistics | 4 Comments

Ms. Rebecca L. Morgan Wants to Make Sure I Get My 10.5M

What do you want to bet that those fees are whoppers? 🙂

From: MS REBECCA L.MORGAN service@un.com

From: Ms.Rebecca L.Morgan

Att:Dear Friend .

This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria yesterday from USA,after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe,Oceania, Antarctica,South America and the United States of America respectively,against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.

I have met with President GoodLuck of Nigeria who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund into your account through their reserve account in USA.

Right now,as directed by our secretary general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect the payment of your compensation of an amount of $10.5M approved by both the British/United States government and the UN into your account without any delay.The only fee you are required to pay in other to confirm your fund in your account is COURT NOTARIZATION FEE to the UN.

Sincerely,you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian’s/African’s and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr.Ben S.Bernanke,FAKE FBI and others from USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message with your full name, full address,direct phone number so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours.

Sincerely yours,

Ms.Rebecca L.Morgan
United Nations Under-Secretary
General for Internal Oversight.

January 30, 2014 Posted by | Crime, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Lies, Nigeria, Scams | | 4 Comments

Antique Fair Preview Party Moved to Friday Night

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January 29, 2014 Posted by | Events, ExPat Life, Pensacola, Weather | Leave a comment

God Bless Gulf Power Emergency Crews!

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“You guys OK?” our son queried.

“Have power? Have internet?” he followed up.

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Yes. Yes, thanks be to God and by the grace of the Gulf Power Emergency Crews who must have cleared that broken branch of the line, or restrung the line that fell from the weight of the ice – or whatever caused the outage.

Can’t binge watch True Detective with no cable 😦 We lost electricity around 10:30 last night. It fluttered, it re-gridded, fluttered, re-gridded, they have all these work-arounds now so that it’s been a couple years since we actually lost power, but when it went down, it took everything, even the street lights. It was DARK. We got out our little hand-cranked radio/lights from LLBean that we use for hurricane emergencies, to take a look outside.

It looked like snow, but it was frozen ice. The road was a sheet of ice. No cars; for the most part there are a few people out there, but most of Pensacola is wisely staying inside. This is NOT driving weather.

It is supposed to warm later today; it has been 23°F for about 4 hours now. Our son’s internet is still down.

Last night AdventureMan made the best seafood soup EVER. It was from the January Southern Living, Gulf Seafood Stew, served with Johnny cakes and a dipping sauce – it was THE BEST.

We haven’t suffered. When the lights went out, when the heat went off, we went to bed. I didn’t even hear the electricity come back on, very early this morning, but AdventureMan did, and together we blessed those brave, hard workers who have to go out into this blistering cold and fix the lines so that the rest of us can be safe and warm in our homes.

January 29, 2014 Posted by | Community, Florida, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | , | Leave a comment

Pensacola Ice Storm

Timing is everything. I had wait to get these photos until enough ice had formed to make it interesting, but before I lost what little light we had with the clouds, rain, sleet and now freezing rain.

If you are the praying kind, I ask your prayers for the homeless, those without heat, those who still have to make it home (so far the roads are OK but the bridges may start icing soon) and for these poor helpless birds seeking shelter on a night which will show them no pity.

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January 28, 2014 Posted by | Birds, ExPat Life, Florida, Gardens, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Safety, Wildlife | 6 Comments

Promises, Promises (Lies, Lies!)

West Virginia is one of the poorest – and most beautiful – of the 50 United States, green with forests and uninhabited spaces. It also has pockets of some of the poorest people in the United States. It is a state which accepts that which other states might find unacceptable. And when the chemical spill poisoned the water of thousands of people, Freedom Industries, the responsible company, declared bankruptcy.

Even today, while their water has been declared OK, people say it tastes funny, and chemists have found unacceptable traces of chemicals that other tests were not even measuring. Today, we have this report that the spill was much worse that the company originally reported.

Its sad, and it is disheartening.

In Florida, there are constant proposals for land use restrictions being lifted. The military, the companies – they all promise that this (whatever) will have no impact on the environment. Why, no one could be more environmentally responsible than (_______) fill in the blank with whatever the requestor is.

Yeh. Right.

My guess is that if the true cost of the BP oil spill in the Gulf were known, it would bankrupt BP.

Water Supply Threaten In Charleston Community Of Over 300,000 After Chemical Leak

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued an update on Monday evening indicating that the Elk River spill in West Virginia earlier this month involved more gallons of chemicals than previously reported.

Freedom Industries, which owned the tank that leaked into a river supplying water in the state, now says that approximately 10,000 gallons of the chemicals 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (also known as MCHM) and PPH were released. The company initially said 7,500 gallons spilled, and failed to disclose the presence of the second chemical until last week. The leak, first reported on Jan. 9, left hundreds of thousands in the capital region without access to tap water for days. Though the formal advisory on the water has been lifted, some in the region say they are still concerned about the safety of their water.

The DEP’s press release provides Freedom Industries’ newest estimate, but notes, “It is not known how much material spilled into the Elk River and shut down the drinking water supply for citizens across nine West Virginia counties.”

“We are not making any judgment about its accuracy,” DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said in a statement, referring to the company’s latest spill figure. “We felt it was important to provide to the public what the company has provided the WVDEP in writing. We are still reviewing the calculation, and this is something that will be researched further during the course of this investigation.”

“This is the first calculation that has been provided concerning the amount of materials that spilled on Jan. 9,” Huffman said. “This new calculation does not change any of our protocols in dealing with this spill, nor does it affect the ongoing remediation efforts. Our actions have never been dependent on what Freedom has reported to us. From the start, we have acted aggressively to contain the spill and remediate the site.”

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) has called for the storage facility to be torn down, and for a full remediation of the site.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Crime, Environment, Financial Issues, Florida, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Political Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Birth to Gun in the South Sudan

This is the newest blog entry from my friend Manyang David Mayar in the South Sudan He visited Pensacola as part of an IVLP program with our Gulf Coast Citizens Diplomacy Council:

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Pregnant women fleeing the fighting in Jonglei state, South Sudan.
I was in the town of Bor when fighting broke out last month in South Sudan. I managed to escape the town despite being shot in the arm. But many other people had a far tougher time – people like Nyiel Magot, nine months pregnant and faced with the awful choice of staying in Bor’s hospital or fleeing into the bush.

Against her doctors’ advice, Nyiel decided to escape the immediate danger, and with her five children, took a narrow path out of town which was packed with people also heading to safety.

But, she told me, with every step she took, she grew weaker and more and more people overtook her.

“I was really tired and the pain became really unbearable,” Nyiel said. “I knew the time had come for me to give birth and I had to get out of Bor immediately to escape the attackers.”

Giving birth in the bush

Later that evening, the pain finally forced Nyiel to stop. Instead of a hospital ward, she found an abandoned grass-thatched house.

Luckily, there was a traditional birth attendant nearby who used her bare hands to help Nyiel deliver a healthy baby boy.

But the cold nights and hot days of December in South Sudan soon started to take their toll on the new born and reports of an imminent rebel attack forced Nyiel and her family to leave their hideout.

They walked for days until they crossed the River Nile and came to a large camp for displaced people in Awerial. And then her baby caught diarrhoea and started to vomit.

He was rushed to a hospital in Juba where, after days of treatment, he recovered.

A child of conflict

It was in the hospital in Juba that I met Nyiel and heard her story – and also learned the name of her little baby.

Nyiel had called him Matuor, the Dinka word for ‘gun’, because he was born amid gunfire.

As the conflict continues in South Sudan, I fear he won’t be the last baby born in the bush with such a name.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Africa, Blogging, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Local Lore, South Sudan, Survival | Leave a comment

Kind Mothers Raise Kind Daughters

I’ve lived a lot of places, enough places to know that as women, we are more alike, no matter what our culture, than we are different. And there is one thing about women – sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

Learning to be kind was a life-long journey for me. I can spot the unkind now; they are the ones who hiss in the corners, saying mean things – usually about other women. They are the ones who will point the finger and you know that they are pointing at someone else because they are so afraid someone will look too closely at them.

I choose kind friends; they are pearls without price. (LOL, I actually wrote “pears” without price 😉 ) I look with awe on my sweet daughter-in-law who is both kind, and raising kind children. As the singer Jewell says – “in the end, only kindness matters.”

I did not write this. This is a reprint from a Huffpost News article, reprinting from the original blog, which you can see at the bottom of the article. It is a cold wintery day in Pensacola, and this story warmed my heart.

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When my daughter Ella was in fourth grade, she got in the car one day after school and announced her plan to run for student council.

At her school each class has a representative, and I was thrilled she planned to put her name in the hat. Even if she didn’t win, it would be a good experience.

She told me almost every girl in her class was running, as well as one or two boys. As kindly as possible, I mentioned the boys might have an advantage since the girl votes could be split, as that can happen in elections. I told Ella I was proud of her for putting herself out there, and that she’d make a great representative if elected.

The next day after school, Ella mentioned a dilemma she and her friend Annie had “figured out.” On Friday all candidates had to give a speech. Since our family was going to the beach Friday, Ella wouldn’t be there to give hers.

“But Annie had a great idea,” Ella said, referencing one of her best friends, who was in Ella’s class that year. “She suggested that I do a video speech, and she’ll play it for everyone.”

I was very touched by this suggestion from Annie. Why? Because Annie was running against Ella for student council. Yet instead of treating Ella like a competitor, she treated her like a friend.

Ella’s teacher agreed to the video speech, so we made it and sent it on. I didn’t think much more about the election until Friday afternoon around 3 p.m., when I was soaking up an ocean view of the Gulf Coast and received an email from Ella’s teacher. She had great news: Ella had won the election! Her classmates had voted her onto student council.

Our family hugged and congratulated Ella. I could tell by the shy smile on her face what her peers’ vote of confidence meant to her. About ten minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was Annie’s mom (one of my close friends) calling us from her cell.

“We are so thrilled about Ella!” she said, her voice joyful and triumphant. “It was the first thing Annie told me when she got in the car! She’s sooooo excited! We couldn’t be happier if it happened to her!”

The phone call didn’t surprise me, because that was typical for this family. What caught me off-guard was the timing of the call. These were 10-year-olds, after all, and 10-year-old emotions can be fragile. Their automatic instinct isn’t always happiness for a friend who got something they wanted, too. Had the tables been turned, I’m not sure the call would have happened so fast. We may have had to work through a little disappointment — if even for a minute — before focusing on our friend.

But to Annie and her mom, a victory for Annie’s best friend was a victory for Annie. A win for one was a win for both. If you ask me, that’s the perfect illustration of true friendship. It’s how it should work at every level.

All four of my girls have found friends similar to Annie. While no friendship is perfect, I’ve been surprised by some of the kindness I’ve seen at young ages. They know how to look out for a friend. They get it. And can I tell you what their kind friends all have in common? Kind mothers. Time and time again, I’ve become friends with the moms I meet through my children’s beloved friends because they’re good souls. I don’t think it’s a coincidence their children are, too.

We all want to raise kind daughters. We want them to be good friends and have good friends. While I give Annie full credit for supporting Ella — she suggested the video, after all, and was quick to celebrate her win — I know she didn’t pull that mindset out of thin air. She picked it up from her family because that’s how they think.

A win for a friend is a win for both.

Kindness among young girls doesn’t start on the playground or in the locker room — it starts at home. Most notably, it starts with kind mothers raising kind daughters. Our girls see how we treat our friends. They also notice how we treat their friends.

If we treat their friends as competitors, our daughters will, too. If we love their friends like we love our own children, they’re more likely to see them as sisters and part of the family.

Keep in mind it wasn’t just Annie cheering when Ella won student council. It was Annie’s mom, too. She was just as enthusiastic. Can I tell you what that meant to me? Can you imagine the trust that added to our relationship?

Quite honestly, I think it’s rare for both a mother and daughter to instinctively rejoice as these two did. Then again, maybe it just proves the point.

We moms rub off on our girls. Over time our way of thinking becomes their way of thinking. If we want to raise kind daughters, we need to start by being kind mothers.

This post originally appeared on KariKampakis.com.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Character, Civility, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Parenting, Pensacola | 11 Comments