AFRICA Clicks…Beginning..Suzanne’s Guest Blog

I am often asked the question, why Africa? Sometimes I would like to respond by saying, why do you love your spouse? The truth is sometimes you don’t know why, you just do. It is they way it is. You feel a pull to a person or a place and the ‘Why’ really doesn’t matter, it just is. 

I do however have a why. We hear so often the problems with Africa, and how ‘we’ can fix it. “There is so much poverty and corruption.” “AIDS is an epidemic worse in Africa then anywhere else.” “We need to help them.” 

When I am in Africa, although I see poverty and I have toured areas were starvation is definitely mission critical, I see something very different. I see happiness, contentment and giving. I have always said, “There is nothing that can warm my heart more than an African smile.” The children will often run up to you hold your hand, touch you, and welcome you. They run to you not away. When you visit a community or school you are greeted with song and celebration. When you go to a person’s home, they welcome you to their palace, even if it is a one room tin hut. They are proud, and they are not trying to compete in a material world. They seem to be satisfied.  Of course this is not everywhere and not every one, but this is my experience. I know Africa and every country in it is not perfect, but I also know that in North America nor are we. 

I do think we can learn from Africa. I think we can learn to be more of community focused, more giving to our neighbour, smile more, and cry less. I do think that we can learn to be satisfied with what we have and not be so materialistic. I do feel that we should welcome people with pride with a smile on our face and love in our heart. I think we should be a country, community and continent of WE, and not ME. 

We can teach Africa too. I am a very proud Canadian and I am blessed with what I have and what I have achieved because I am in a country of opportunity. But to some degree I am ready to leave that behind for now, to pursue something much more simple – genuine gratitude. 

As I embark on this journey I know I will learn more about the African culture, about my husband, about me and about we. For the last few months while I wind down some of my Ignite Excellence training and business responsibilities and preparing for the business and philanthropic journey ahead, it has felt like I have little time to breath. My goal over the last few months was to set a foundation for opportunity with new initiatives. Mike and I have sold almost everything and I am very aware that we need to have something to come back to. Mike and I are in our mid 40’s and I do want to be smart about our financial future. So although we are going to Africa with charity in our hearts, we are also trying to be practical about our future.

This is the first time we have worked together, spent every waking hour together and travelled for over a month together. This blog will focus not on what we left behind but what we are walking into – you, me and we.  This blog will encapsulate a true celebration of Africa, our relationship and my journey.

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When

When

When the party is over
Dishes piled high
Left overs scattered
I am alone.

When  kisses, hugs,goodbyes
Are memory
I feel most alone
I am alone.

I think I miss you most
When the quiet hits
It’s reality
I am alone.

When all is said and done
For all I know
I just don’t know
Who you might be.

A strange thought to be sure
I think you’re there
I just don’t know where!
Geez too deep for me!

One Stupid Phone Call

One Stupid Phone Call

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well it wasn’t but I have always wanted to write that.

But it was dark.  Oh no it wasn’t, it was daylight.  But it WAS a stupid phone call.  And I made it.

Usually I do my posts from my iPad because it is convenient and I can do it anywhere, even lying down when gravity gets to be too much.  The inconvenient part is that I can’t post pics on my blog from it.  I am not sure if it is the iPad or my non techy ways.

My lab top died leaving me with my Jurassic Park era PC.   Now wanting to be cool I fired up the beast to do something picturesque.  Something with a little creativity to it.  But I had no Internet. None.  Nada.

I unplugged things and replugged.  I jiggled wires. I broke out in a cold sweat that turned out to be a hot flash.  They never leave entirely.  Did you know that?? Then I repeated all of the above several times.  Then I would leave and return again thinking it would magically start up.

It occurred to me a couple of hours later that I could call my Internet provider.  Normally I avoid any help lines because most of the time is spent on hold. But guess what!  Being a blooming techie I discovered the speaker button so I no longer have to actually hold the phone.  Now if I had called them two hours previously I would have been close to speaking to someone by this time.

Finally a pleasant woman asked what the problem was.
I have no Internet.
Before any solution could be given you must first give your account information.  I assume they want to be sure you are not negligent in your account, which would explain the lack of internet.  I was in good standing.

She asked what color the lights on the thing were.
There are no lights.
Long long pause.
There are no lights.
No there are no lights.
Is your receptacle working?
Of course it’s working.
Well please unplug the cord and plug it into another receptacle.

By now the cold sweat was not a hot flash.  It was the hint of possible embarrassment.  

I unplug and replug.
Nuts it worked.

Then and only then did it occur to me to check the other things plugged into that power bar.  Nothing else worked.  The natural assumption was the power bar had died.  Do they die?  So I got rid of it.

Several hours later I walked past a wall.  A wall with a switch I never use.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the switch was down.  It’s always up.

Turns out I remembered brushing against that very wall earlier when I was folding a sheet.

And that is when the full flush of embarrassment hit like a tsunami.  Turns out the receptacle worked.  The power bar worked.  I didn’t.  Times like that I really miss having a man in my life.  Just so I have someone to blame.

AFRICA CLICKS Wisdom Exchange TV

Yesterday I posted on a couple traveling and working in Africa. Suzanne Stevens and her husband Michael Gingerich. Mike is my nephew.

. PLease note the correction to the foundation addy!

Their project is Wisdom Exchange TV and they are looking for subscribers to the site which is free.

I am posting their letter in it’s entirety below. Please enjoy, subscribe, and pass on!

Jumbo Chris

As you know my husband, Mike Gingerich, and I are travelling through Africa for the next year interviewing women leaders for Wisdom Exchange TV, amongst other philanthropic initiatives.

This is a pioneering initiative that not only are we excited about, but we believe will provide some fundamental leadership lessons for inspiring and already achieved women leaders.

Women are the change agents of Africa, and with higher education they can change many of the injustices that are done to women in the developing world.

We are asking you to subscribe to Wisdom Exchange TV and share the site with your friends. The subscription is FREE, and we will just inform you when a new episode is upload (by the way, this is quite the process in Kenya due to limited bandwidth).

The reason we are asking,

1. You will gain insight and perspective into Women from a huge continent.

2. You will also be assisting in helping us create awareness of the site, which will assist in gaining sponsorship for Africa Business Women Connected Summit taking place in Ethiopia in 2013 – promoting international trade.

The more people who subscribe, the more compelling to sponsors, the bigger impact we can make on women in Africa.

3. You will also help create awareness for the Ignite Excellence Foundation (www.igniteexcellencefoundation.org), where Mike and I are presently handing out three scholarships for under-graduates and post-graduates to invest in women leadership.

The belief is, the more women in leadership the more women will own land, be able to get passports, and will not be violated.

Please go to http://www.wisdomexchangetv.com and subscribe.

We appreciate your support and we look forward to hearing your updates on facebook, linked-in and via email.

Sincerely,

Suzanne F Stevens

Chief Edge Optimizer

Ignite Excellence Group of Initiatives

suzannefstevens@igniteexcellence.com

info@wisdomexchangetv.com

If you no longer wish to receive our emails, click the link below:

 Unsubscribe

Ignite Excellence Inc. 33 Bloor St. E. Suite 900 Toronto, Ontario M4W 3H1 Canada +1 (519) 488-7141

Michael, Suzanne, Africa..Help!

Michael, Suzanne and Africa..Help!

If you could do one thing in your life that would make a difference to the world..what would it be?

While you ponder the possibilities I’d like to tell you about a couple who decided to do just that. 

Suzanne F. Stevens is a world leader in leadership.  She is a leader in optimizing.  World wide.  You really need to look at suzannefstevens.com to understand.  

Her husband, Michael K. Gingerich has been a successful business man who has joined the cause.  He not only believes in The Cause but has devoted this year..maybe more, to a world shaking idea.  Now really when was the last time your world was shaken?

They both have given up life as we know it.  Sold their home, gave away possessions for the adventure of a lifetime.

My request of you who follow me, who are new to this site, or perhaps found me through some weird tag, please check them out.

suzannefstevens.com

http://www.igniteexcellance.org

youmewe.ca

Linked-in – http://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannefstevens

FaceBook – – http://on.fb.me/eEPF9T

YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/suzannefstevens

Twitter – http://twitter.com/SuzanneFStevens

 Please step forward..and. Lord I know I know there are many causes out there…but just take a look..if for no other reason than burning bridges asks this,

Things My Mother Said…Long Ago

Things My Mother Said…long ago

My Mom died in 1983.  We weren’t very close for a lot of reasons I guess,but since she has gone I have come to realize what a remarkable person she was.
And every day I tell her.  Things come back.  Things I did not see or understand back then.  There is lot to say on that but today is all about actual words from her.

She said:

In the morning we close the blinds on this side of the house and in the afternoon on this side.  No such thing as air conditioning then.  1954

Some day people won’t need money.  People will just use a card.  For the life of me I could not figure this one out.  It was long before the concept of debit. 1958

Someday a woman won’t need a man to have a baby. 1957.  Since I did not know the facts of life I wasn’t sure what this meant except I knew there were Mommies and Daddies and they had children.  I could not conceive why a Mommy would have children without a Daddy.

Life is hard. You have to work.  All of us learned a great work ethic from our folks. I started working at fourteen, through high school and nursing.  It is who I am.

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice young lady!  I could never figure out how she knew what I was thinking.  So much for the poker face.

Life isn’t fair.  Get over it. I didn’t know if I believed this one for a long time.

This woman worked in a factory most of her life raising five of us.  My Dad was super and I idolized him.  But it wasn’t until I grew up that I realized what she gave, what she sacrificed to raise us and how hard it must have been.

She was Super Woman.

RIP Esther Byers Jenkins Gingerich.  For you have earned your rest and are still adored by all of us here.

When Heaven Becomes Hell or Something Like That

When Heaven Becomes Hell or Something Like That

I have always had an addictive personality I think. Put more positively I guess I would have to say I am passionate. That sounds better!

As a child I read and read and read and that is one passion that remains today.  Back then it was the dreaded Uncle Arthur’s bedtime stories previously mentioned in No! No! Please No More Bedtime Stories!, Trixie Belden, anything by Pearl S. Buck..well the list is endless.

Lately I have blogged on some of my current favs which includes Stephenie Meyer and the whole Twilight thing.  The first I even knew about this series was the six o’clock news sometime ago, which showed a bunch of tweenies lined up to see the first movie.  The minute vampires were mentioned I shut the set off and muttered at great length to myself about the disgusting situation of the world and it’s youth and how no good could come out of the downward spiral society was on.  

That Christmas my daughter-in-law gave me…yup..the first Twilight book.  

So came my Cullen passion and it has not abated.  I have every book including The Short life of Bree Tanner.  I have on my desk top the leaked copy of Midnight Sun which Meyer posted since it was already out there and chose not to finish.  The books are filled with anticipation, mystery and myth.  Her character development is intense and in depth. The set has been a reread again and again seeking out what was said before that hinted at something explained two novels later.

Now my last two weekends have been reading marathons, barely poking my head out of the book, never mind the door.  So today I took myself in hand and sternly made myself go for a walk.  Fresh air – well as fresh as it can be – no books, no iPad, just a good old fashioned walk. No coffee shop because that meant reading and sipping.

I ended up at a mall, and not being a shopper I still entered and practiced the art of browsing, like normal people do, and bookstores were not allowed.  I strolled the whole mall and decided I needed something from Wal-Mart.

For the life of me I can’t remember what it was because as soon as I stepped in the door something unknown took over and stupefied me, and forced me, I swear, to approach a large table with BOOKS.  I could see it coming and reached way down deep, where pure grit resides, to prepare myself.  Why I could handle this.  I would look but not touch.  I would be master of  these insane urges for words, stories, poems, toilet cleaning instructions, anything.

Then I muttered a groan of agony mixed with a liberal dose of the ecstatic.  Before me lay the twilight saga: the official illustrated guide.  The first fifty-five pages are all about how Meyer came to write the story.  A total of five hundred and forty-three pages of history and detail of every character in the series.  I mean EVERY character!

I forced myself to visit my aunt for tea as planned, even though the book in the bag sang to me like a siren.  I forced myself to visit with my sister this evening,  when she arrived as invited, thinking please please just let me look at it. I even made time to read your blogs but now! Now as midnight approaches I am free to look.  

I have made myself promise it would be just a wee peek and I have every confidence that in a short time I can put it down, close the cover, have a normal night sleep, rise in the morning at a decent hour, clean my house, perhaps solve a world problem or two and then treat myself to this delicious demon of addiction.  I am sure I can.  I am. Sure.

You-will-never-touch-our-children-again!!

Wizard

So screamed Mrs. Weasley as she took out the evil Bellatrix.  Yup I have spent another weekend lost in a story.

 
This time it was a reread of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  A reread of six hundred and seven pages that I just could not put down.  Again.  J.K. Rowling does have a way with words.
 
So at almost 1 a.m. I am ready to call it a day.
Regardless of your opinion of Wizards et al any story where right overcomes wrong is exhilarating.
 
What I like about Rowling is that her characters are not perfect – not black and white.  The best have a dark side to overcome and the worst have a chance at redemption.  And who you think is good is often not and vice versa.  And no one lives a life without some regret.
 
Now I wonder what I should read in bed to fall asleep?
I think I so have to get a life. 
Dancing would be nice. 

The Masters and Harry Potter

WizardryThe Ball
 
 
 
 
 

The Masters and Harry Potter
 
I wonder where the golfers are? I am a passionate golfer. No, I must correct that – I am passionate about golf. Not overly good but love the game, playing and watching. I think golf is the only sport I watch on TV on a regular basis. It would probably do my game some good if I watched women, but it is the men I most enjoy. Take that how you will.
 
This year’s Masters was one of the most exciting, sit on the edge of your seat, I have seen. Every year is exciting but this one more so. The game and the leads can change in the blink of an eye.
 
It almost looked like Tiger might pull out of his slump, but he just didn’t make it although he is still a crowd favorite. At one point I think there were ten players as co-lead. Then a nice young South African Charl Schwartzel took the day. I expected to see some blogs on it but did not.
 
Then yesterday the movie, The Deathly Hallows part 1 came out on cable. I missed it when it hit the theaters so made a little party of pizza and wine and Harry. Special thanks to my sister who had already seen it twice for joining me and pretending it was her first time!
 
So thanks to that green jacket and the wizarding world I have had a pretty good week!

What I Lack….

What I Lack

This was the only choice for me in this challenge.  Mostly because what I lack is so overwhelming.  It all comes down to one thing.  And that one thing is the source of all lackness.

If we lack confidence it is because of IT.
If we lack money it is because of IT.
If we lack happiness it is because of IT.
If we lack beauty it is because of IT.
If we lack peace within it is because of IT.
If we lack wisdom it is because of IT.

I have had IT sporadically but because it comes and goes and I can never hang on to IT I seek IT.  But obviously not with fervor or I would have IT all the time.
I love IT when I have IT.  I hate IT when I don’t.
When I don’t have IT I can never figure a way to get IT.
IT just seems to show up and I revel in the wonderfulness.

Nuts…..if only I could figure IT out?
You can’t beat Willpower!

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