Advent Calendar – December 18, 2019

Advent Calendar – December 18, 2019

December 18, 2019
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With each donation package I buy (and you?) €1,50 goes to fund the start-up of microloan banks. During my visit to Kenya, I got to visit the first one, talking to the staff, getting to ask the chairman of the bank questions about who uses it, how it works, the most common size of the loans and what they used the loans for. I was reading Muhammad Yunus’s book Banker to the poor during the week which gave me a deeper insight into the phenomena of micro-financing.

Next to the bank, a small saloon. Closed.
Outside a young mother with a baby on her back, tending a donkey with yellow cans of water.
Two other women leaning against a post, and a toddler.

And these two.
Girls, in school uniforms, sitting there, solemnly observing the spectacle in front of them: Thirty-something mzungus busily snapping photos and talking to the bank staff, the gang of young kids congregating in front of the bank, two old men sitting along the road watching the traffic, a man grabbing the front paws of a stray dog, doing a little dance with him. The odd goat passing by.

As I moved to catch them in my camera lens I locked eyes with the girl in front, holding her gaze. Finally, I winked at her, only to have her drop her serious expression, giggle and lower her chin, laughingly looking at me from under her bangs. If she’d had any, that is. All the children and youngsters we met sported this hairdo. Closely shaven heads. Beautiful, all of them, girls and boys alike. Ever curious, we asked about it during our visit to Kaewa Secondary School and learned there are too many costs involved with letting the kids have long hair. And I assume this hairstyle is much more practical as well.

Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: 

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Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (book 9 of 12)

September 29, 2019
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in Tip

“The way to power is by giving, not by taking.”

I got it from Sara. She read it, marking the pages where she found little gems of wisdom and insight, and then mailed it to me.  And I, in turn, made it one of my twelve English books of the year: Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes. The book was first published the year I was born, 1972, and the copy I was gifted is an enriched classic published 1994.

“A fascinating story” is a blurb by Library Journal included in the preface. And yes. It is. Spanning high and low, delving into Lame Deers personal life as well as ancient stories such as that of White Buffalo Woman, dipping a toe into the use of herbs as medicine and components of rituals, and much more.

There are several passages I found of great interest, here are two providing me with great amounts of tankespjärn:
“A medicine man shouldn’t be a saint. He should experience and feel all the ups and downs, the despair and joy, the magic and the reality, the courage and the fear, of his people. He should be able to sink as low as a bug, or soar as high as an eagle. Unless he can experience both, he is no good as a medicine man. Sickness, jail, poverty, getting drunk – I had to experience all that myself. Sinning makes the world go round. You can’t be so stuck up, so inhuman that you want to be pure, your soul wrapped up in a plastic bag, all the time. You have to be God and the devil, both of them. Being a good medicine man means being right in the midst of the turmoil, not shielding yourself from it. It means experiencing life in all its phases. It means not being afraid of cutting up and playing the fool now and then. That’s sacred too.
Nature, the Great Spirit – they are not perfect. The world couldn’t stand that perfection. The spirit has a good side and a bad side. Sometimes the bad side gives me more knowledge than the good side.”

“This kind of medicine man is neither good nor bad. He lives – and that’s it, that’s enough. White people pay a preacher to be ‘good’, to behave himself in public, to wear a collar, to keep away from a certain kind of woman. But nobody pays an Indian medicine man to be good, to behave himself and be respectable. The wicasa wakan just acts like himself. He has been given the freedom – the freedom of a tree or a bird. That freedom can be beautiful or ugly; it doesn’t matter much.”

How different this is to the way the culture of the world I perceive myself a part look at it. We strive for goodness, for the perfect gurus, damning each and everyone forever if there were ever a speck of dust marring their perfect image. We do it for politicians and business leaders, for holy men and women and artists, for anyone we want to put on a pedestal.

Being put on a pedestal, never be allowed to slip up, make a mistake, falter. Neither here and now, in the future nor for that matter, in times gone by.  Could there ever be a position I’d want less than that one?

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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Surround yourself with people who…

June 18, 2019
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My life. And your life. We create them, our lives. We create them all by ourselves. (But not alone!) Make sure you make a life as rich and beautiful as this absolutely adorable summer bouquet my sweetest friend A arranged for me. A bouquet with a variety of flowers, colors, fragrances, shapes – as abundant and beautiful as life can (should!) be.

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My Gerbera!

August 16, 2016
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I’ve had the most wonderful summer project, which had me join a knit-along, the Organic Summer KAL16 organized by Organic Knitters. You can find beautiful photos of the shawl, Gerbera, a pattern created by Linnea Ornstein, under the hashtag #OrganicSummerKAL16, on Instagram.

Gerbera 1
Gerbera 2
Gerbera 3
Gerbera 4

Gerbera done

I bought two skeins each of the yarn Cheeky Merino Joy from Rosy Green Wool, in the colors Wild mallow and Arctic sea (the chosen yarn) and here you can see the progress of this project, as I started, unravelled, started again, got a bit further, unravelled again and so on… until finally I bought some knitting markers, and was able to get my bearings in the pattern, which was more complicated than I’ve ever knitted before. And given that I have hardly knitted at all in two decades or so, I am very proud and happy about the process and end result!

Quite amazing, isn’t it, that a piece of yarn, knitting needles and two hands can create something as beautiful as this?


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