Friday, April 30, 2010

Dreaming of Africa

These days I am dreaming of Africa. Kenya in particular. I want to visit and see my friends in the flesh instead of just emailing. I also want to make some progress on a small project with the village women in Kericho, Kenya.

I've long had a desire to help the orphan girls and women to somehow make their lives easier with things like jiko stoves and fireless cookers, as well as menstrual pads.

A jiko stove would help the women in so many ways but they are somewhat expensive especially for the villagers and a recent cheaper alternative came available but it is still too much for a villager. Jikos can save the women from back breaking and time consuming work of collecting firewood. Because there are so many people collecting twigs to start the fires for daily cooking, it is harder and harder to find it nearby. Women and children can spend hours a day locating the wood and carrying it home on their backs. It is hard work and also dangerous to go so far where you can be accosted. Once you get it home and start the fire for cooking the smoke that is generated is also a health hazard for the women and children who often suffer from eye problems.

Here is a photo of  a woman collecting firewood. I was trying to take her photo discreetly so it turned out blurry.

My hope is that I can provide each household in the village near Kericho with a jiko stove or a fireless cooker. So far I've managed to pay for 11 jiko stoves and there are another 28 women waiting for one. A jiko uses less wood and uses it more efficiently. Also you do not get all the smoke you do with the traditional three stone fire. You can read more about the jiko stove project here. You can also READ here about people I am helping in the village with the jikos.

Because of the cost and the time it is taking me to get enough jiko stoves, I've recently been considering  fireless cookers instead. They look like this in the photo below and are less expensive than a jiko stove. The drawback is that they are not as versatile. This is not my photo but I've misplaced the one I was sent. 

[Photo credit: Solar Cookers International]

If I am fortunate I may get to visit my friend, Loice and her husband, Pastor Japheth in Nakuru. Here is Loice looking with interest at her digital photo. I say if I am fortunate because I may be rather busy when I visit and so we shall see how things go.

I leave you with ac photo of the majestic lion in the national park in Nakuru. They roam the park and you must stay in the car. No walking around here where the lions roam though there is a picnic area where the baboons are.

I simply love the majestic lion. But I wouldn't want to pet one!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fantastic Walk to Granville Market - Pt. 3

Well my friends, it is so good to see you back for the 3rd and final installment of my blog posts on the fantastic walk to the wonderful Granville Island Market. If you missed parts 1 and 2, you can catch up here and here.

When I left off, I was just about to continue the walk along the waterfront represented in the photo below.

I did that until I arrived just under the Granville Street Bridge.

That is the bridge above my head in this photo. I will continue the walk straight ahead.  Immediately to the left of the bridge pillar is the famous chain of steak restaurants, The Keg. 

Just a few short minutes and here I am right out side the public market, better known as Granville Island Market.

The market itself is housed in this big yellow and red building. It contains fresh produce of all kinds, fresh meats, delicatessens, honey and home made crafts and goods. There is also ready made food to eat.  Just outside where the benches are, buskers will sing and you can sit or stand and be entertained.

Here is a young lady now singing "Heart of Gold" by well known Canadian musician, Neil Young.  I love the song and she is singing very well.

Behind the young woman you will see shops. There are wonderful shops all over the island, many of them house the works of gifted artisans and uniquely west coast products.

Here is a photo of the wonderfully, fresh produce available for purchase.  You can find all sorts of local produce and ingredients here but you can also find the more exotic. Many people love to shop here. Even though it is more expensive, it is fresh and it "moves" quickly.

By now it is getting to be after 3 p.m. and I haven't had lunch yet so I head straight to the food area.  It is fairly busy at the food court. I guess everyone loves to eat at the market.

I always want fish and chips when I come to the market. A public market on the waterfront is about fish.

While I eat, I listen to more great tunes sung by the man close to the door.  Can you see him? He is just under the exit sign.

I also people watch. I was fascinated by the women at the table in the photo below. They were primping and preening in public (putting on lipstick, etc.) right at the table after eating. You might have a hard time seeing them but they are to the far left of the photo. They were "Betty Boop" lookalikes. I'm thinking there is a Betty Boop club in town as there are a lot of young women about these days with "the look". (Oops, I meant Bettie Page. Betty Boop is a cartoon character with a totally different hairstyle).

Now that I have finished lunch I want to go out nearer to the water and watch the boats and the sea gulls. I want to get a photo of the sea ferry for you too.

I got lucky. There was a beautiful photo shoot going on. A young Asian couple who had just gotten married were having a photo shoot on the boardwalk right on the water.

I had to get in on the photo action too! lol. I think this couple will be very pleased with the photos in their album.  Can you see the photographer's equipment bag in the forefront of the photo below?

These kayakers look like they are having fun as I wait for the ferry to pass by.

Here is one larger ferry (above).  There is also a smaller fleet of ferrys. These ferrys are great as they take you just across to the city or back to the Island and a few other points for $2.00.  These are very short rides but lots of fun.

Now I leave you with some flowers. Aren't they simply beautiful? There is every colour of the rainbow here.

I've had a fantastic day and a fantastic walk. It was especially nice to have you along. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now I make my way home again.  This time I make my way back to a bus by walking back under the Granville Bridge.

On my way, I pass by another marina. Here you can rent a boat for a few hours.

I take my last look at the seawall which continues toward Burrard Bridge (westward) just before I get to the bus stop.


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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fantastic Walks in Vancouver - Granville Island Market (Part 2)

Thank you for returning to continue the journey to the Granville Island Market with me. I am making my way through a lovely walk in the False Creek Development area and on to the Granville Island Market. If you missed the first part of the walk, you can join me here.

As I carry on my walk through the waterfront development, I am in bliss. The sea air is strong today and I love it. I can't smell it in the residential area where I live though it isn't so terribly far from this place. Once that salt air hits my olfactory senses as it does today, I always question what took me so long to return to this place.

The view in the photo below is north and slightly east. The high rises across the water are in downtown Vancouver. I can't describe for you what a fantastically beautiful day it is today but with the blue sky and green grass, I think you can see for yourself.

Today there is an abundance of fragrance and colour from all the flowering trees and bushes. Don't you love the stand out red colour of this Rhododendron?

Next up is a photo of some of the condominium developments here on the False Creek Development. It isn't a great photo as the school gates block the view but at least you will have some idea that the people who live in these condominiums (condos) have beautiful northfacing views of the water, high rises and North Shore mountains.

False Creek is a inlet in the heart of the city which separates the downtown area from the rest of the city. Believe it or not, this area was a prime industrial area up until the 1950s. This area fell into ruin as industry started moving to other locations and it is fortuitous that some people of vision had a plan for this area as multi-use community that is vibrant and thriving. If it weren't for them, this area could have been over run with city freeways instead. This area fascinates me because the residential parts are set up so as to have low-income (social housing), co-operative housing, live-aboard marinas and fair market value housing all co-existing in the same small area of land. It appears to be working very well.

This next photo is the local elementary school. I think any child attending school here would be very blessed indeed to have such a wonderful playground with idyllic scenery; in the heart of the city, yet away from all the hustle and bustle.

You can see the backdrop to the playground area. See way over there? You can see a bridge. It is called Granville Bridge and the market where I am going is located directly under the bridge. I still have a ways to go before I get to the market so let us continue.

I've noticed that park rules are more stringent now than the last time I was here. Owners can only have their dogs off leash at certain hours and they must pick up the dog doo. This sign tells you more and also has bags hanging below in case you don't have one.

These pink boards appear to be an art installation. They are the same hexoganal shape as a stop sign except they are pink and they don't say "stop".  They occupy a prime piece of outdoor space.

Here are a couple more photos of the mixed residential properties in the area.

These next few snap shots are facing north east.

This tourist couple (above) seems to be from Germany. At least I heard them talking in German. The walk around the waterways in Vancouver are popular with locals and tourists alike.  The photo below is of boats and yachts moored at one of the marinas in the False Creek area.

This last photo is one taken to the west. You can see the fenced path just along the water front and the path continues in a circular way just beyond those trees. That is where I am heading.

I think I will end today's walk here as I have enough photos left of the final leg of the trip to fill one more blog post. I hope you will join me again soon as I make my way to my destination. It is Sunday in most parts of the world now if you are reading this shortly after it is posted. So put up your feet and have a nice cup of tea and check in with me again soon. Bring your sneakers so we can conclude our walk in comfort.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fantastic Walks in Vancouver

On Thursday I finally went for a walk I've long been anticipating. I've just been waiting for the weather to improve so I could enjoy this walk in all it's splendour. Thursday was just such a day. The sky was mostly clear with a few, fluffy (good meteorlogical term, lol) clouds and mostly a lot of sun.

Just so you know at the outset, I am walking to a well known city tourist attraction, Granville Island Market. This market is a very popular with tourists and locals alike and is set on an island located underneath the main city bridge, the Granville Bridge.  But I begin my walk on Broadway and Laurel, right at the corner where Earl's Restaurant is located.

As I commence my walk I can smell a beautiful fragrance coming from these bushes.  I walk further down Laurel Street, I can see many more bushes and smell more beautiful fragrances.  I had to walk down this pathway for a few blocks. It is a rather steep incline.

I am headed to the corner where this maple leaf tree is located. It marks the beginning of my secret path to the promised location.

Here is some signage that gives a tourist directions to the nearby transit and tourist attractions.

This is the secret path I was mentioning. I call it secret because I'm not sure that most people outside of the neighbourhood really know about it. I happened on it one day quite by accident and I've loved the path ever since.

When you are walking over the pathway above, you are actually crossing a very busy street called 6th Avenue.  I took photos from the path to the street level.

Now I continue on my journey taking photos as I go.

A beautiful little pond.

Take a moment to listen to the sound of rippling waters. Click on the arrow in the short video below.

Now let us continue our journey.  This next photo is like looking through a veil of trees. The veil will soon be lifted to show the beauty which waits.........

First up is this stunning water scene. A view of False Creek and the beauty of the boats moored there.

You can even see the lingering cherry blossoms. Those that don't want to say goodbye as most have already done.  The beauty of the cherry blossom is so fleeting and so wonderful. I long to see these blossoms each year.

I love the cherry blossoms so much that I even wrote a Haiku verse about them and made a small video project in honour of the cherry blossom. Here is the Haiku.

Click here to see the video

This ends this part of the journey. Join me again soon as I carry on to the Granville Island Market. I'd love to  know how you are enjoying the walk so far. Until we meet again, happy blogging!

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