Thought I Was Done With Silkworms!

English: Fourth Instar Silkworm Larvae

Oh drat, hubby walked through the door today with a huge box of silkworms. His student, who happens to be a school teacher, begged him to please take a couple as she simply had too many and was battling to feed them and care for them. A few – try like about 200.

Since my eldest was a little tot, we have had silkworms, cycle after cycle. Sigh. I thought I was done with them until now. My 6 year old is just in heaven at his first batch of silkworm pets. To demonstrate their friendliness and gentleness, I pick up a few and name them. That was short lived for there really are far too many. As a little tease, I take the fattest worm and pretend to eat him ūüėČ but he just clings to me like velcro. Explaining to my son how they love to hug, their legs just cling to you for ‘worm hugs’. It works eventually – no fear there. ‘But mom, please don’t eat my pets’

I knew my eldest sister was and still is petrified of silkworms and every time she came over, my eldest would secretly put one on her shoulder. I was a classic case of ninja moves when she eventually spotted the little thing.

It’s the same thing with my youngest sister – my eldest secretly puts Mr Curly aka a curly hair tarantula on her shoulder while visiting. Now her reaction takes the cake as she’s a bit of an¬†arachnophobic¬†. I should film it next time for YouTube ūüėČ

The joys of a house full of boys. Part and parcel.

Living life

xxx

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I Met A Dying Man.

AIDS Awareness

AIDS Awareness

In July I ventured into a new industry, while out on course, I met and made friends with new faces. One person in particular I found to be so much like me, easy to laugh, talkative, funny and friendly. Needless to say, when we were given a practical we seemed naturally to group together. After the course we stayed in contact and have developed a friendship. Early August she called me up to say she was visiting her father who lived down the road from where I stayed. Quick arrangements and there I stood knocking on her door.

When I went in, I received such a warm welcome from all her family. In the kitchen were a group of young boys washing dishes, drying, packing away, laughing and chatting. After I introduced myself I joked about how I think my eldest son could learn from them as he refuses to was a single dish – ever !!

I then met her father along with all the other family. Her father was¬†frail, weak and very thin. He was just back from yet another stay in the hospital. I asked her what was ‘wrong’ with her father. ‘He has AIDS‘ she replied. I got such a lump in my throat. He didn’t just have AIDS – he was dying.

It’s the second time in my life I have been in the presence of a dying person. When I say dying – I mean literally on their last days. I was familiar with Cancer and lost a handful of friends and family to that. I know AIDS is of huge concern here in Africa but this was only the second time I had met someone this close to the end.

I watched him in the corner of my eye while chatting away with my friend across the room. He was happy, every minute to him was a blessing and he knew it …. he just knew. He watched his grandchildren playing with a gently smile on his face and his thoughts drifting. Times like this you realise just how short, fragile, delicate and precious life really is. How we really do sweat so much of the small stuff. I’ve learnt far too young in my life just how unpredictable and short life can really be.¬†

I wondered yet again as I often do with regards to my own mother. Is knowing better than not knowing. I know enough to know that when you know you are dying – you seem to live your life differently. Appreciation for all things that surround us, takes on a whole new level.

I said good-bye and shook his hand. I knew in my heart I would probably never see him again. I cried driving home that night. I just wanted a cure. So many broken families, child parents and a nasty rejection stigma attached to people dying of AIDS among some cultures in our country.

My friend called me two weeks back – ‘My father is back in hospital, he is¬†hallucinating’¬† she said while laughing and telling me about these spirits he claims to be visiting his room’. I listened and shared a reserved laughter with her. After which I said, ‘He is dying, treasure your hospital visits and maybe if you want, record his last conversations with you’ I explained my journey through losing my loved ones and¬†every time¬†this point was reached, within a couple of days – they were gone.

A few days later one mid-afternoon, she called, ‘my dad is gone, he died this morning’ I was so sad for her, for him – to die so young, to be robbed of his life and time with his children &¬†grandchildren. It just isn’t fair.

Our govt claims TB is the number one killer in our country. Personally I say this is a blatant lie. The true stats I’m sure would probably scare one. Most, if not all AIDS sufferers die after contracting the likes of¬†pneumonia¬†or TB. It’s a symptom not the cause. Far too often then the death certificate will say TB being the cause and that is what the statistics will reflect. AIDS is a big taboo in most cultures. One day I will blog about the politics of it but for now – my heart is heavy. A family is¬†mourning, they have lost their rock. I will never forget this man who left me reflecting on life, angry at how unfair it can be yet reflecting on my blessings. RIP, no more pain or suffering.

Janet Jackson wrote this song for her friends who had passed – It’s my song for my sister Debbie who past. Can never listen to it without breaking down. Beautiful words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QTK-4C0UnI&feature=related

Remember yesterday, Live for today and ALWAYS hope for tomorrow.

xxx

That Hippo Chased Me!

Pod of Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Luan...

Pod of Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Luangwa Valley, Zambia Français

Ah, with spring in full swing early on in the game, I was thinking back to last year where our spring/summer took so long to make it devout. Hippos were dying due to the lack of rain and I remember ever so clearly being upset about this. Hippo is in the top three of my all time favourite wild animals.  October we usually see fantastic rains, most welcomed as they wash away all the dust, dirt and old oil on the roads away. But not last year РNovember saw our first rains. Sad as our wildlife really battled. This year, we have seen it all way early Рnow, September. Whoohoo  (as she danced in the rain)

As a teen enjoying the lush beauty of a game reserve in Bela Bela, I stumbled upon a mommy Hippo nibbling on the river bed. It’s not often Hippos will come out in full view to nibble but the summers air was cool enough. About 50m from the Hippo was the swimming pool which I had come down to enjoy.

Here’s where my blonde moment #101 comes in. I’m born and bred African. I know the dangers of the wildlife so why did I think walking over to the Hippo to ‘pat’ it was an ever slight¬†possibility¬†?!?

For some reason I thought – well, if it’s over this side of the river and so close to the pool, it must be ‘tame’. ¬†Hanging around the pool too where a gang of rangers. Watching me. Looking back at them, they knew what stupidity was about to happen.

I nudged a little closer, slowly . . .  until . . . .

HELP – RUN FOR YOUR LIFE !!!

I was being chased by the Hippo. Where, what, when – the pool. I ran and dived into the pool then swam straight to the deep end faster than any olympic swimmer I bet.

Now what! Oh heck, Hippos live in water. She was lingering around the shallow end of the pool. I’m guessing no slope in or out held her back. Those wildlife rangers were laughing so hard, I bet they had sore¬†stomachs¬†the next day.

I felt like such a fool, stupid and embarrassed. There it was – her baby. We all know, you never approach a wild animal let alone one with young.

I laugh easily at myself as is, so no point not to join in the laughter with the game rangers.

Why? I asked them for sitting back in the know of what was about to unfold! Their response was ‘we couldn’t resist’ They knew this Hippo well apparently. Still to this day, I laugh at that video stuck in my memory.

Love Africa.

Snow . . . in Johannesburg !!

They last time Joburg had a little snow fall was back in 1981. This however is much debatable between hubby and I as I have a photo of my Gramps in the garden of his Joburg home having built a snow man. That photo I’m seem to think is from 1987. Needless to say – the scales are leaning towards hubbys year as I am yet to have a single friend agree with me on my date. Sigh (as she smiles)

The 7th of August 2012 it snowed for the first time since. No blizzards as we see in the UK or USA. In fact I had a little giggle at everyone’s over the top excitement when these tiny tiny little specks of ice fell from the sky, melting seconds after landing.

The boys were so excited at this wee event. As the day went by the snow fell more and more. Nope, still no blizzard. Reports on the news spread fast as the snow fell more and more in various areas. The photos began popping up, snow angels, snow men, snow ball throwing etc. Everyone was on a high for life. We had our share eventually where the boys ran outside and bounced barefoot on the trampoline catching the snow in their mouths.

The weirdest thing though – the sky would open, the sun would shine in between and the snow would stop. And so it carried on throughout the day.
For us here in South Africa – it really is a very rare occasion to have a little snow so yes, it was a big deal ūüôā

How awesome is snow – we loved it.