Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Lemba, Arc of the Covenant and DNA

As I work in the Project Room, I often have the radio on, BBC. I get to hear all about the US elections from another point of view, I get exposure to music I might otherwise never hear, and I hear things that show up weeks, even months later in the news.

AdventureMan called and asked if I had heard the segment on the Lemba in Zimbabwe. I hadn’t, but I listened closely for the next couple days and it was repeated.

It is about a professor who discovered what he thinks is a replica of the Arc of the Covenant in a dusty museum in Zimbabwe. He explored further, and discovered the Lemba claim ancient connections with the Arc, and had priestly customs similar to old Jewish customs. When they underwent DNA testing, the priestly clan of the Lemba had the same genetic markers as the priestly clan of the Jews, the descendants of Aaron.

How fascinating is that? Legend has always claimed the Arc of the Covenant is or was hidden somewhere in Ethiopia . . . transport to Zimbabwe from Ethiopia would not be out of the question.

I went to BBC news online and did a search – no results. Maybe it takes a while for their newest stories to be documented in their search files.

Googling on the internet, I found Ethiomedia which says the following:

In a newly released book, University of London Professor Tudor Parfitt claims to have located the treasured artifact on a dusty shelf of an out-of-the-way museum in Harare, Zimbabwe.

“It was just by chance that I finally managed to track it down to a storeroom in Harare, was able to analyze it and discover that quite apart from anything else, it’s quite probably the oldest wooden object in sub-Sahara Africa,” said Parfitt, an expert in Oriental and African Studies.

“It’s massively important in terms of history, even apart from its status as the last surviving link to the original Ark of Moses.”

In his HarperCollins’ book, “The Lost Ark of the Covenant: Solving the 2,500 Year Old Mystery of the Fabled Biblical Ark,” Parfitt describes traipsing around the globe, decoding ancient texts and deciphering numerous clues to locate the enigmatic object.

Along the way, the man dubbed the “British Indiana Jones” by friends, colleagues and the Wall Street Journal uncovered genetic evidence confirming claims by the Lemba tribe that they
are descendants of ancient Israelite priests, the caretakers of the lost Ark.

He experienced a major breakthrough in 1999 when he took DNA samples from 136 male members of the Lemba tribe. In a finding that drew worldwide publicity, a genetic analysis confirmed they were descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses.

So many discoveries have proven to be fraudulent that I hesitate to put too much faith in this discovery, but I have to admit that it appeals to the little girl in me, who still believes archaeologists have great adventures, and loves the Indiana Jones movies!

(I hear there is a new Indiana Jones movie coming out soon. I hope old Harrison Ford can recapture enough of his youth to make this as good as the first one.)

April 29, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cross Cultural, Entertainment, ExPat Life, News | 5 Comments

Humbling Intlxpatr Statistics

I have a lot of followers. Many of them “like” my articles. Some write me in the background, asking how they can achieve blogging success.

I answer them truthfully. Since I left Kuwait, blogging hasn’t been so much fun and it’s harder for me to find interesting things to blog about, other than the news, and the kinds of odds and ends that catch my eye. At my peak, I had between 1500 – 1800 viewers every day, and once, over 10,000 in one day.

But blog entries attain a life of their own. In all humility, I will tell you that the entries I just wrote because it was mildly interesting to me seem to be those that live on and on. It’s not the impassioned plea for parents to put every child in a car seat, or at least put the children in the back seat, it’s not the photos of Mubarakiyya or the changing Doha skyline . . . it’s the trivia that keeps the readers coming back, LOL.

Here is the list of favorites just since the start of January:

Screen shot 2014-01-25 at 3.39.09 PM

And here are the all time favorites, from the beginning of the blog:

Screen shot 2014-01-25 at 3.48.36 PM

Humbling, isn’t it?

So my words – maybe not wisdom, but my experience – to those who aspire to statistics if not longevity – is to please yourself. Blog because you have something you want to say. Blog persistently, even if you don’t particularly have something to say; something trivial that interests you may interest others. Every now and then AdventureMan will hoot with laughter; he will Google something and one of my entries will end up being in the first three or four references. It’s not that I’m good, it’s that I published, even on something obscure, like the African tribe, the Lemba, who claim to have the Ark of the Covenant.

There are times I don’t feel like blogging; we all have those feelings at some time. It’s your blog. You can blog or not as you please. If you don’t feel like blogging today, you might have some inspiration tomorrow.

For me, this all started as I read some letters I had written from Tunisia, with episodes and events I no longer even remember. They came back to me in such vividness as I read that I wanted to find a way to write a little about my daily life in a way that down the road I could look back and wonder at how so many interesting things had happened that I had forgotten. Sadly . . . it’s already happening, there are stories from Kuwait and Qatar that I’ve already forgotten, but that they are written here.

Blogging is selfish. You do it because you can and because it fills a need. You can dance as hard as you want, and if you dance for your own joy, you will be happy, but if you are dancing for the attention of others, you will be disappointed. If there are readers now and then who enjoy your writing and come along for the ride, all that is good, but . . . most of them just want to know the benefits of drinking green tea 😉

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, Civility, Communication, Community, ExPat Life, Statistics | Leave a comment


As I am chatting on the phone with AdventureMan, he brings up the blog.

“I don’t get it,” he says, “You get like fifty-seven comments on any article about the Qatteri Cat, and you get NO comments on a perfectly wonderful article like the Lemba and their DNA link to the lost tribes of Israel!”

I just laugh. I’ve gotten used to it.

“Months from now I will get a letter from some academic who has been looking for that article and can’t find it,” I tell AdventureMan. “And months from now, that article will still be getting hits while the Qatteri Cat entry is long forgotten.”

Chatting with my Mom on the phone, this morning, she mentioned how she was working out in the water these days, trying to build strength in her legs and knees and hips, and how when she gets discouraged she thinks of the entry on The Magic Bullet and how she really does feel better and have more energy when she finishes. I’m so proud of my Mom. She is 84, living on her own, and had one of her old best friends as a houseguest this weekend, and they attended a fashion show in which my sister Sparkle was modeling. They had a great time. I can only hope to be as fit and active as my Mom when I am her age, and, God willing, still living on my own.

This morning I got an e-mail from Kuwaiti Woman / Dirty Dinar letting her regular commenters know she is back in the blog world once again. I am so glad she wrote to us – I had deleted her from my list of favorites when so much time went by without an entry. Her blog is about the great adventure of learning to manage your own money. She is a very courageous woman, lets us in on all her failures as well as her successes, and because she does not spare herself, she is totally addictive. Who hasn’t had to make tough financial decisions from time to time that blow the budget?

These feedbacks – and the wonderful, additive feedback of your comments – are what keep this blogger going.

Yes, I am having fun. How cool is it knowing your own Mom copied out the recipe for Penny Carrot Salad? How cool is it learning that there are Arab wolves in the desert, and that they are in danger of extinction because they are interbreeding with feral dogs ( R’s comment on Total Crack Up) This blog has made me feel connected in Kuwait, and connected to like-minded people around the world.

I still protect my anonymity, and at the same time, I have a realistic fear that I am getting closer and closer to the day when one of my good friends will look at me sharply and say “I think you are blogging. Are you Intlxpatr?” I don’t know what I will do when that happens. I’m not a good liar, and why would I want to lie to a friend? I just don’t know how long I can expect to keep my identity a secret.

May 1, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Character, Communication, Community, Exercise, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Kuwait, Lies, Living Conditions, Privacy, Relationships | 11 Comments