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Monday, June 27, 2016

My World This Week

Hi folks,

I hope you are all having a glorious summer so far.

The past several weeks we've been having a lot of rain. Almost every day has been cloudy or overcast but also the sun does come out too. It has been pretty good from my point of view.  Today the sun is shining brightly and it is expected to be sunny all week before a bit of rain on the weekend.

Sunset shot ~  July 26,2016

I've been busy with missions in Kenya. Two of the young men I know are supposed to graduate this year; one a bit earlier than the other.  As always in Kenya there is a "glitch". The earlier graduand has worked very hard to get to this point. He told me his grade is missing for one class taken 2 years ago even though he wrote the exam! I've heard of this problem before where the university says that a student did not write certain exams (sometimes many exams).  The students then begin a long process of paying to have the problem "sorted". If they can't or won't pay they have to re-do their courses in hopes of graduating. Some cannot afford to re-do and so they lose out on their years of hard fought education.  In the young man's case, his problem is one missing grade.  Many of his fellow classmates are suffering too because they've been told they are missing more than one grade. I'm praying for this man to be vindicated and allowed to graduate as he rightfully should be.

Update: June 28/2016 ~ I am very happy for my student friend. My intelligent young friend managed to outwit (my description, not his) the administration. He found his exam paper (with proper approval) in the university archives and not only that, showed them he had achieved an "A" grade! So he will graduate on time. The other student has been advised and thankfully has all his documents showing all grades received over the years.

In other news, the young man who had cancer tumour removed from his face (see post here) has been undergoing chemotherapy in his small town. He has suffered weight loss and hair loss but otherwise seems to be progressing as expected with his treatment.

Ernest, who has been to the hospital in Nakuru on two separate occasions for liver cancer tumour removal and follow up treatment for sepsis seems to be recovering well at home.

Another older gentleman I helped a bit with hospital costs has succumbed to leukemia and been laid to rest. My friends had to go and escort his body from a hospital in Narok. He leaves behind a wife and several children as well as many friends.

Joseph, laid to rest on Saturday, June 25th, 2016.He fought a good fight.

Another friend completely lost his house after working so hard to build it. The government's contractors recently bulldozed the house along with the houses of many of his neighbours.

My friend's house in rubble
He was also charged a significant sum of money for planting trees.  The trees were planted as a noise barrier to his property which is adjacent to a road. The government is expanding what was once a country road way and paving it so they have expropriated the property of many landowners along the roadway. This process seems to have happened very, very quickly.  Many were caught totally unaware including my friend.  Those that knew right away barely had time to do anything. It takes time and money to have a plan. They had neither.

Trees cut down after being "improperly" planted along the roadway.

I just think of all the loss of funds for electric and water connections and the loss of personal property not to mention the house itself.  Sadly all the neighbours along the roadway also lost homes and possessions.

Roadway being expanded
 
These are not wealthy people.  They have no insurance.

Besides which insurance probably does not cover this kind of thing.  I am not sure if the government will ever compensate them for expropriation of their property. There is always talk of compensating people for this or for that.  Though the intention may be there at upper echelons of government, seldom does the money get to the grassroots people. The funds are eaten up in the scams and scandals in which most government officials are involved. Efforts are being made to tackle corruption but it is still rampant.
One friend is still waiting to be compensated for health expenses incurred last December! He has been told repeatedly to "wait".  Finally last week they told him they must wait until the new budget funds flow.  Even then many of his receipts have been rejected for "rubbish" reasons and so he won't get a significant sum back which we were expecting.

In happier news, my friends assisted a girl's boarding school with getting some new beds. The boarding school has been set up to help impoverished girls get an education and escape horrors such as female genital mutilation (FGM).  They need a lot of things and the beds were a huge blessing to these young girls.


Praying over the gifts.

Someone has contacted me about possibly donating reusable sanitary pads and I'm hoping that I can connect the gift with these young girls who can surely use them.

The needs represented by the lives of the people I've mentioned in Kenya  are multitudinous but God is able to deliver and help. He cares about the people of Kenya as much as he cares for you and I.  The hope we have is what keeps my friends in Kenya, and I, going forward.

~~~~~~~~~

Here at home in Canada, I've also been very busy.  It's time for multiple dental appointments, both for cleaning and for restorative work. It is also time for an annual check up for the surgery for the retinal tear I had two years ago. I'm not sure how long they will monitor it.  I'm also still waiting to hear when I will have my annual diabetic eye specialist check up. Last time I met with the eye specialist we discussed eye surgery.  But for now I still haven't made a decision.  Instead I've decided to get a new pair of glasses.  They will have the progressive lenses and UV protection so I don't need to worry about sunglasses.  They will have anti-glare and transition brown lenses.  I hope they will be fine because the last pair were a dud. I couldn't wear them for more than a few minutes at a time no matter how often they were adjusted. I wear contact lenses and seldom wear glasses but I might wear glasses more often if they were comfortable and fit properly. Fit affects vision when the lenses are progressive.

It was a relief to finally get to the dentist for cleaning and repair work. It has already been a year since a temporary crown was done and in the meantime a front tooth chipped in two places.  I didn't want to wait any longer. The work will be completed during a break between summer guests.

Like many diabetics I have a constant battle to keep the blood glucose numbers under control. Right now they are better than they have been in a long time. My challenge is to try and keep it that way. One key thing I need to work on is getting R-E-S-T and that includes getting to sleep earlier.  It is a work in progress but I am making progress.

I will have company soon.  One guest arrives Friday and leaves before the next guest arrives on July 4th. My second guest will visit for a few weeks and then I will go and pay my mom a visit.  In mid August I have another shorter term guest.

It's a good thing I got my small garden planted early this year otherwise I wouldn't have had time to do it. At least when my guests arrive my garden will have some blooms.


I hope your summer is going well.
Joining with Our World Tuesday

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sky in June

Hi friends,

I hope you have all been faring well.

Since my post about the rain damage and flooding in the northeastern part of the province I've spoken to one of my cousins who lives there. Thankfully she didn't have any rain damage to her home. Her married daughter and children who live in the next town over were out of town when the rains happened. They managed to make it back to home on back country roads before those roads were shut down as regular highways were impassable. I haven't heard of any horror stories (that doesn't mean none have occurred). About 213 people were stranded in back country areas after roads were washed out. I read that generators, fuel and food were being taken to them though am not quite sure how it was getting through.

On Monday and Tuesday this week meetings were being held in some communities to help people apply for Disaster Financial Assistance which is administered by the Provincial government.  This assistance is available to homeowners, residential tenants, small business owners, farmers, charitable organizations and local government bodies that were not able to get insurance to cover disaster-related losses. The province's Transportation Minister says crews were working around the clock to get highways and roads back in order. Five of 6 highways were re-opened and another will be reopened on Saturday though it may take awhile longer to get all lanes opened on every highway.  The financial cost of mitigating all the flood damage is very high especially when combined with the annual costs of forest fires. The provincial government is calling for more federal funding aimed at programs to prevent floods and wildfires due to the fact these are now happening with greater frequency.

Down in the south where I live the weather has been quite unsettled this week. There has been a mix of sun and rain all week. I've been fortunate to get out in the sun several times this week. I don't like hot weather but I do like sunshine. So when the weather is mixed sun and cloud it suits me fine. Tonight it started raining and I think tomorrow there will be more rain.

There was a very interesting movie about a man I'd not heard of before. It stands to reason since I am not a mathematician and this man is from India. The movie is called "The Man Who Knew Infinity".  It was playing at a very late hour but I decided to go and see it.  I'm sharing a trailer for the movie. If you like it I recommend you go and see the full movie if only to learn more of the genius upon which this story is based.




I've been making slow progress on  many things on my 'to do' list which is why I am not posting so frequently these days. I'm enjoying the slower pace as I've scaled back a lot on internet time. I am still visiting many blogs and so many of you will have received a visit from me.

In closing, these are my sky photos for this week's Skywatch Friday.




Have a wonderful weekend. I hope to see you soon!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rain Damage

A map of Northern British Columbia. The areas affected by flooding are in the Peace River Distrcit (NE BC)

I'm not sure who took this aerial photo but it was one of the first ones I came across on line. It showed me just how devastating the flood is.

Here is some drone footage of the flooding. It also gives a good overview.



Photo credit: Chet News, M Gomez

The Canadian National Railway (CNR) service between Prince George in north central BC and Ft. St. John in the north, is not running. If you look at the tracks going over the water in photo above you will see how precarious some of the railway tracks now are.

The Highway 97 south of the town of Chetwynd to MacKenzie is closed. Here is some film footage of the highway taken just before it was shut down.





Altogether the people in the far north are "hemmed in" and a state of emergency has been called. Hospitals in some towns are accepting emergency patients only. Mother nature has spoken yet again.  Apparently the City of Dawson Creek had a record rainfall on Monday, June 15, 2016 of 89.8 millimeters.

Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) is now available to eligible British Columbians in the Peace River Regional District area, including Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Fort St John, Hudson’s Hope, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, Tumbler Ridge and the First Nations communities of Saulteaux and West Moberly who may have been impacted from the major flooding that occurred this past week. A  public meeting will be held on Monday, June 20 at 7:00PM at the Encana Events Centre to help people access the DFA.

I encourage my reader to view the drone footage. Even under water you can see how beautiful the area is at this time of year. I grew up in this area of the province and so I am concerned about the people there. As a child I walked through this park area many times to reach school. It is so hard to believe it caused a flood because the water levels were always quite low and the creek was often more like a trickle. That's the difference a heavy rainfall can make.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sky Watching

I spoke too soon at my last post here about not getting heavy rainfall on Monday.  That night we had such a torrent of rain that there was significant flooding in one part of the city. We don't usually get floods here despite the fact we get a lot of rain. 

I also saw on the news tonight that there has been significant rain and damage in a small northern city called Dawson Creek. Not Dawson City in the Yukon,  but Dawson Creek which is located at Mile "0" of the Alaska Highway. Dawson Creek is in the beautiful Peace River District in northeastern British Columbia.

My small garden is okay even with all the extra rainfall.

Here are a few photos.

The cherry tomatoes are starting to grow.

The snap peas are also growing.

The rodents are still eating my kale. I've planted a few more but have been too tired to try and cover them with netting.  My starter seeds of lettuce did not germinate well and whatever did was picked and eaten by the crows. The crows also ate all the sunflower seeds I was trying to start so instead I've planted some seeds directly in the ground and covered and watered them well.  We'll see if they will grow.   I let the English cucumber stay too long in the nursery pot but it has been planted, as have the peppers. We'll see how they do. The recent soaking of the soil will help a lot.

The heavy rain was also good for the pansies and violas. Though if one looks closely you can see that a number of leaves got too much water.  I've found these plants like more water than hot sun and it can be difficult to keep them happy when the sunny days are plentiful.




I love pansies. 
This year it was difficult to find any so I only have 2 small pots of them. 
Normally I have about 5 pots of pansies of all colours.

This colour of petunias looks rather nice. I also have deep fuschia coloured ones.


The sky was rather dull by the time I took photos. 

I missed the opportunity when the sun came out.

I think we will have more rain tomorrow (Friday).



Have a great weekend everyone.
I'm joining in with Skywatch Friday today.

A big 'thank you' to our faithful
Skywatch Friday team of Yogi, Sandy, and Sylvia.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My World ~ June 13, 2016

Thank you to those who commented on my new hair post here. I'm afraid I'm still getting used to the new do.  Though it seems long enough in the photo I've discovered a gazillion layers in the back of my head.  I don't like that because it makes my hair quite "bushy".  I need to blow dry to smooth it out and that means extra work and more damage to the hair. The new do and highlights were done by a new to me hairdresser because she had a Groupon (discount) promotion.  Once it grows out a bit I will go back to my regular hairdresser. I am just grateful that the hair is not any shorter.  At least I can put it up and not have it swinging back and forth while it grows, lol.

The  main thing is that someone who is in great need will benefit from having my hair.  That is a huge incentive.  I  still remember my dearly departed sister. She died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma many years ago.  While she was going through chemotherapy she was very concerned about going bald.  Thankfully she did not have to suffer that indignity.  Though  her hair thinned out greatly it still looked nice and I was happy for her.  If any of you are in a position to donate hair, especially very long hair, please consider doing so.  You will make a wonderful difference in someone's life and boost their self-esteem while they are undergoing cancer treatment.

You can see the menacing clouds. Fortunately it didn't rain until much later.

Over the past week, I've felt emotionally drained. Besides the young boy in Kenya who was released from Nairobi hospital after his facial tumour was removed (he's gone back to his home community for the chemotherapy), I have another contact named Ernest (brother of a close friend) who is suffering from liver cancer. It came out of the blue and was discovered when his eyes turned yellow (jaundice). From there he underwent a battery of tests. He has also had surgery, sepsis and chemotherapy a short while after clearing infection.  In order to get treatment he has to travel from his home in Kericho, Kenya to a city called Nakuru which is about 2 hours away.  I've been on this long and winding highway and certainly wouldn't want to travel it when feeling ill. Please continue to pray for him as he recovers.

I love the fluffy white in the clouds.

In other news, I was expecting a LOT of rain today but it didn't rain after all. The weather man said a few moments ago that there will be rain off and on this week though. That is unlike Toronto (in the east), that according to a friend suddenly got 30+ Celsius after having a coolish Spring. He said they will have these high temperatures all week. Toronto is well known for getting hot and humid summer temperatures. Maybe that's why they have 65 indoor pools, 57 outdoor pools and 104 wading pools.

By contrast, Vancouver only has 9 indoor public swimming pools, 5 outdoor pools and 24 wading pools.  We lost the neighbourhood pool several years ago despite lobbying by residents to save the one that was shut down.  Every now and then there are calls for a new neighbourhood pool.  I would like to go swimming and use the facilities especially the hot tub and sauna but I now have to travel a distance and it isn't convenient. I heard recent talk that there may be plans to open a new outdoor pool in the neighbourhood. My preference would be for an indoor one complete with sauna and whirlpool. However an outdoor pool would be good.  Especially for those that want to take their children somewhere during the warmer days of summer.


My garden during a break in rain earlier this week.
It hasn't been dry enough or warm enough to really sit outside yet so I haven't even put the cushions on the patio chairs. In fact, I haven't even finished planting my small garden. Some varmints are eating all the leaves from the veggies and I can't keep up to planting new ones or protecting them. You win some, you lose some when it comes to gardening.  I am eagerly awaiting the blossoming of my dahlias this year.  Last year they didn't grow very high and they did not blossom. This year they have already grown to twice the height.

 ~~~

About a week ago a friend and I went to a classical performance. The key attraction was a young, up and coming mezzo soprano from Tacoma, Washington, Miya Higashiyama, accompanied by Carter Johnson (piano) and Nicole Linaksita (piano).

This is Miya Higashiyama. She is very animated when she sings.

 All the young musicians (all three in photo below) are incredibly gifted and so talented. 




They are also well rounded and do more than sing music or play an instrument.  

~~~~~

Have you checked your blood pressure lately?
Mine is doing well.
The bottom number is a little low (60) but the doctor says not to worry about it.
She is mainly concerned about the top number (113 - systolic pressure).


~~~

A young friend in Nairobi, Kenya sent me the photo (below)  taken at the coast near the town of Kilifi, Kenya. 
He was on a school field trip to Kilifi and Malindi areas.
Seeing his photos made me want to travel there
I have travelled to the coastal beaches just north of Mombasa but not as far north as Kilifi.
What I have seen is very beautiful and attracts tourists from all around the world.

Kilifi Coastline

Europeans, especially Italian tourists love to holiday along the coast line.  Those that like seclusion especially like the area around Malindi and Lamu. 

You can see from the map that these areas are rather close to Somalia (especially Lamu).  One has to be concerned about attacks from Al-Shabab terrorists and about the possibility of being being kidnapped by Somalian pirates.  Kenya relies heavily on tourism for it's economy and so is also concerned about it's tourists.



A few years ago Kenya had enough of  attacks by Al-Shabab and kidnappings of tourists and sent Kenyan troops into Somalia.  Since then there have been numerous retaliative attacks against Kenyans within Kenya.  Just yesterday there were a few more soldiers killed in the line of duty.  May their families be comforted and may their souls rest in peace.

On North American soil, the tragedy that recently occurred in Orlando reminds us of the threats not just across the waters, but also closer to home. In Vancouver today, one young man was attacked on his way to LGBT public gathering in memoriam for the lives lost in Orlando. I have such disappointment that there are so many vile people in the world. Those who think nothing of hurting others simply because they are different.

 The world would be a better place if we could only have more love for one another.




Joining in with Our World Tuesday this week.

African Music & Happenings