A slice of thanks

Today I share a slice of my life and what I am thankful for.

Yes today is Thanksgiving in America. Thanks giving is all about giving the good returns for the year. YOu can read more about the history of thanksgiving HERE.

For me today, my inspiration of giving thanks comes from a leadership Guru John C Maxwell who speaks of leadership and describes three kind of people who help us to be where we are in life.

The first are those who help us and dont know that they have helped us, they do this by the books they wrote and how they lead their lives. For example Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.

Indeed in my life I have read many books by authors that I will probably never meet but their words and quotations changed my life. One person that stands out for me is Dan Miller and the most inspiting book I read courtesy of my connectcion with him is Acres of Diamonds.  So I say thank you to him. And I recommdend the book to all.

The second people who help us are those who moe success principles that I could watch and apply in my life. I worked. I have a long list but I will mention two Hellen Van Houten my mentor who is ovet eighty and still going strong, the best advice she gave me was always look at the cup as shalf full.

Another is Susan Carvalho who runs the Young African Express a magazine dedicated improving litracy in youth in Kenya. Her commitment, passsion and dedication to the youth are admirable while what touchces me most is her humility and ability to treat all staff as equal partners in the cause. Her faith in staff gave us great motivation. I worked there for 5 years.

The third group of people are there for you and know that they are there for you. Again this is a long list, from my mother, my grandfather, my teachers in school , my siblings, friends and collegues.  All of whom I am thankful for.

This year today I wish to say a special Thanks you to Norway  for the opportujity of lifetime to experience life and work in a foreign country.

I have learnt much about myself as an individual, my world view has been opened , I have learnt to appreciate other cultures while sharing my own, developed better communication and conflict resolution skills. Thankyou for heloing me develop as a person, I hope to help in the development of my cocuntry in whatever cpacity I can from the lessons learnt.

You can read all about my Inpiration ofor this attitude of gratitude today from John Maxwell Here. Thank you John Maxwell for the inspiration to write this..:-)

I wonder, what are you thankful about today?

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Seeing love in action

Of all the beautiful things I saw in Pokhara over the past few days, nothing touched me more than the two men in this photo.

Nothing spectacular in this …huh? Yes it doesn’t seem like much, but the bald man in a multi -coloured jacket is blind. His friend ( in a red jacket) inst blind he helped him up Sarangokt.

Seeing love

In the photo above,the guy in the red jacket was describing in detail the view of the Pokhara valley and Fishtail mountain to his blind friend.

Sarangokt  is a popular site for tourist to watch the sunrise and sunset with the background of the annapurna ranges in Pokhara Nepal).

The sun peeping behind the clouds.

Thought I went to see the sunrise but ended up seeing more – true friendship and love in action. And that’s my double blessing for the day.Thank you Lord

 

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Nepali Momo

 

My first plate of Nepali Momo was steamed Buff Momo

If there is one food you will learn about in Nepal, its the Nepali Momo! It is often eaten as an appetizer or a snack and found in almost all restaurants or sold by vendors in street corners.

A momo is a dumpling made of dough -white flour mixed with water and some meat fillings. The dough can be shaped  into small circular flat pieces or half moons In Nepal, the filling is usually Buffalo meat. This can either be steamed or fried. The ready momo is then served  with sauce and in Nepal it is mostly Chilli sauce

For those interested in trying the dish, you can find the recipe…HERE

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Somali Weddings

Women wearing GUNTIINO - A traditional Somali attire worn by brides

This article is the third in a series of articles about Aafrican Culture and has been written by Runn Abdi a World Pulse Voices of the Future Correspondent. Runn is also a Correspondent with Women News Network . 

Marriages can either be arranged or be as a result of a personal choice. Either way the groom’s family elders set an appointment with the bride’s family. In the nomadic society the groom’s family brings a hundred camels, a horse and a gun to the bride’s family as a dowry and in the urban the dowry is in the form of money. This is to respect the bride and her family and it reduced the meaningless divorce as it is not easy to let go with such a precious woman.

These cultural dances usually occur after a wedding. Weddings are perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Somali culture. A wedding denotes not only the union of two souls but the relationship between two families and, more importantly, two tribes.

Elders from the groom’s family send a committee to the bride’s family to request their daughter’s hand for marriage. The bride’s family elders welcome the committee from the groom’s side. Mainly the discussions take place tentatively three days. The first day when the committee comes they present the motive of their visit. On the second day, they discuss generally on the situation at hand. On the third day the engagement ceremony is prepared and the wedlock (engagement) takes place.

The engagement or Meher usually takes place a few days before the wedding, and sometimes on the same day. The wedding arrangements and agreements are all settled on that day to prepare for the big day. But before the jubilant groom can lay hands on his beautiful bride, there are many hurdles to cross and many gifts to bestow upon her family.

Traditional Somali Weddings have various ceremonies. On a Somali wedding day, many goats are slaughtered and plenty of a banquet of traditional food of rice, meat and drinks (juice or camel milk) are served for the men and women of the two families and their friends. This is when the formal Islamic wedding agreement takes place.

Different traditional as well as modern types of foods are usually served for the guests to enjoy as they carry on with the festivities. A further important tradition in Somali marriage is the exchanging of gifts. The exchange is normally done between the bride’s family and groom’s family and between the invited guests and the wedding couple.

The brides hands are usually decorated with Henna

The bride and bridesmaid are taken to the beauty salon. Nowadays, the bride usually wears a white wedding dress to her party. The other women wear DIRAC and can wear their hair loose or covered with a scarf.

In the afternoon celebrations take place both at the bride’s family residence and her new home to be where bride and groom’s family and friends attend. In the ceremony cakes, biscuits and other sweets plus iced drinks (fruit juice) are served. Traditional entertainments are played and blessing poems called BURAANBUR are recited.

In the evening the bride is escorted to her new home by her bridesmaid, family members and friends. The ceremony continues till late night, and sweets and iced drinks (soda and fruit juice) are served for the guests.  The groom and his family are expected to pay for these celebrations.

It is a tradition in Somali culture that a new bride remains in her home for a week after her wedding. One of her bridesmaid or a family member stays with her for the seven days to help around the house and do the house chores.

On the third day of her wedding, relatives from the groom side visit the newly wedded couple. They bring drinks (no alcohol), cakes, different types of sweets, and other stuff.

The bride and her bridemaids

On the seventh day there is a women’s party for the bride. On this occasion the bride will wear traditional costume, GUNTIINO. The guests circle the bride singing and each lays a scarf (SHAASH) on her head. This event is known as SHAASH SAAR, basically IT means putting the scarf (SHAASH) on the bride’s head. This is a form of respect due to her for being married and is a symbol of her becoming a married woman. The SHAASH is made of silky material and can have many patterns and colors, but it is totally different than the scarves worn by the unmarried women.

If you liked this story, you might also be interested in reading about the weddings in NepalNigeria and Uganda.

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Bhai Tika – Sister and brother day in Nepal

The gifts presented to the bhai - brother consist of fruits, chocolates and ceremonial food

This morning we were priviledgded to witness the observance of Bhai Tika by our neighbors down stairs.Bhai tika is the last day of Diwali celebrations in Nepal. The day is also refeered to as Bhai Tihar. Bhai means brother while Tika –  tilaka or  tilak  is a mark worn on the forehead and other parts of the body. Tilaka may be worn on a daily basis or for special religious occasions only, depending on different customs.

The tika is in different colours

The tika  symbolizes the third eye, or mind’s eye, associated with many Hindu gods and the idea of meditation and spiritual enlightenment (Hinduism and Budhism are the main religions in Nepal). In the past, tilakas were usually worn by gods, priests, ascetics, or worshippers, but is now a common practice for most Hindus. It can express which Hindu tradition one follows. It may be made with sandal wood paste, ashes , clay, or other substances. The pastes are applied to the forehead and in some cases to the upper part of the  forehead.

The sister performing Puja

Today sisters pray to Yamraja for her brother’s long life and prosperity. The royal astrologer gives the appropriate time to put the tika through the national radio a day before and the entire nation abides by it. The king of Nepal receives tika from his sisters after which a thirty-one-gun salute is given to honor the function. The entire nation observes Bhai Tika.

A  Mandap is made in the name of her brother, then the sister put Tika (Seven)

Brothers receiving gifts during Bhai tika

colored) — Yellow, green, red, blue and white color ,offers him Shagun, fruits and sweets and in return the brother gives their sister gifts or money. He also places Tika on her forehead.

The main theme behind bhai tika is the sisters praying for their brother’s long life from Yama Raj, god of the underworld

The sister serves them some delicious food

The sister then serves the brothers with some food. We are told that the ceremony is important that those who dont have brothers can adopt a brother just to perform the ceremony. If you put Tika on a man, he becomes your bhai (brother) an culturally you cannot marry him. That is how strong the tie is.

This is a happy moment for the girl

The brother placing tika on the sister’s forehead

We were treated to some of the food prepared and it was delicious!!!

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Laxmi Puja as marked during Tihar in Nepal

Kitika our landladies daughter ready to place the oil lamps up the staircase during Laxmi Puja

This week marked the celebration on Tihar and Deepwali in Nepal. Tihar is celebrated for five days with each day having a different meaning.

Yesterday was day three better known as  Laxmi Puja,a day to celebrate the goddess of wealth. Here are some pictures from the celebration of Laxmi Puja

According to the Nepal festival site, On this day, early in the morning the cow is worshipped. Tika is put on her head and a garland around her neck then she feasts with delicious food. A cow also symbolises wealth and she is the most holy animal for Hindus. Cow is the national animal of Nepal.

In the evening goddess laxmi is worshipped. Days before the house are cleansed and decorated. For goddess likes clean and tidy places. In the evening a small potion of the house out side the main door is painted red with red mud and an oil lamp is lit on it. A pathway is made from here to the place where the old money box and valuables are kept in the house that is the puja room. All the Nepalese have a box where from generation to generation money is put every year worshipping goddess laxmi. This money is never used unless extreme emergency. The entire house is decorated with lit oil lamps in every doors and windows.

Laxmi, goddess of wealth is worshipped performing traditional rituals and when the rituals are over then gambling in the house starts. This is a festival when gambling is not illegal. On this day throughout the evening groups of boys come to houses singing song of praise of the goddess and they are taken as guests and given gifts. This day the entire place is lively through out the night.

For more on Tihar CLICK HERE

 

Enjoy,

 

Y

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Jazzmandu in Nepal

  

Nepali Jazz Group Cardenza Connective on stage during Jazzmandu

So last evening, my friend and i had a chance to attend Jazzmandu. Jazzmandu stands for the Kathmandu Jazz Festival.

This is an annual Jazz event which began in 2002 aimed at celebrating Jazz music as well as nurturing Jazz artists by bringing world-class musicians to audiences in Kathmandu.

The festival aims to  promotes creativity, encourages the sharing of international sounds and ideas, while  nurturing  the talents of Nepali musicians. Jazzmandu strives to make the music accessible to as many people as possible by actively including free shows, educational school programs and workshops.

If teh turn out at  the event   last evenning -( which was the final performance) is anything to go by, I think that  Jazz music  has a high considerable following in Nepal. This explains why the vent has been on for the ninth year running.

Read all about past events HERE.

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