Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to pray Part III

To whom should we pray?

Prayer is to be directed to the Father, in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ and through the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit

When should we pray?

A) We should pray CONTINUOUSLY(also in busy times) Jesus tells us that we can pray for anything and if we believe we will have it. Mark 11:24

B) ALWAYS and without losing heart. In Luke 18:1, Jesus told his disciples (that's us) that we need to pray constantly to show us that we should never give up. (paraphrased)

C) At SPECIFIC times during the day as part of our DAILY routine. In Mark 1:35 we see that Jesus woke before the light of day and went to a quiet place to pray. In Daniel 6: 11b we see that Daniel prayed three times a day, giving thanks just as he had always done. (This was in spite of a new law decreeing that all should only pray to the King Darius)   

D) IN GROUP MEETINGS. (Short but powerful) Matthew 18:19&20 Jesus tells us: "If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them."

 I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need,Amen!   Phillipians 4:13

The Arabic word for who or whom is adh-Dhy (ha-dia)

Bless you all today and always.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A new blog link

This post is to link my readers with our older son and daughter-in-law, John and Debbie on their blog, Vertical Horizons. They live in the Drakensberg, Kwa Zulu Natal and run an outdoor adventure and hiking business. Should you be South African,  or visiting South Africa now,  due to visit South Africa soon, or if you know anyone going to South Africa, the Drakensberg is of the "must-visit" wonders in our beautiful country. And joining John and Debbie for one or more of their many outdoor adventures is something you don't want to miss.

John and Debbie have stepped out in faith and have shown the most incredible obedience to the Almighty God and His plan for their lives.

Please do visit John and Debbie's blog here

Above and following below are photos of hikes with John. The view is certainly worth every step of the way. Be sure to check out John and Debbie's blog for more details

Here are our precious grandhildren who are growing up naturally and free from materialism and coveteousness. Above is the littlest Hedges who arrived a month early while his parents were 1000km from the clinic where he should have made his appearance. Fortunately they were close to another MediClinic so all turned out well

This beautiful little girl is the third oldest of our five grandchildren and happiest when playing in the sand and sun

Above our oldest granddaughter holds her baby sister while the second-in-line (and our oldest grandson) runs along in the background
Our beautiful blonde girl again. She is always smiling. In fact all these children are being  raised in the way of Jesus and it shines out in their little faces. They are happy little people, obedient and the easiest children to be around. The littlest guy is also calm and the most precious baby on the planet

Do visit their blog. You'll be so glad you did!

The Arabic word for mountain is Jbl (Jebel)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Children of the city

Children in Khartoum are nurtured and cherished. Even in the humblest family, the parents will see to their children's needs first before caring for themselves. However, as everywhere in the world and especially in cities, there are homeless and orphaned children. At the traffic lights there are regularly young children begging;  we often encounter children with physical handicaps. We have a muslin bag  filled with coins  which hangs on the cigarette lighter and which we hand out to these poor unfortunate youngsters. It's not unusual to see a lad sliding along on his bottom between the vehicles, wearing rubber slip-slops on his hands for protection. And only last week we saw one with only one arm. Are these poor children without family or have they been sent out to beg for their daily bread because the parents  (or parent, many single parents in Khartoum) cannot do otherwise? 

This little guy has obviously just begun to toddle and was making his way across the road to his not-much-older siblings
These boys are playing marbles in the middle of the road. This is in an industrial area with leanto's and makeshift shelters (such as the wooden structure in the left of the photo) which are used as homes
A cartload of children in an industrial area of Omdurman. The orange building in the background is the flour factory/mill and there are no homes in this area, so I wonder whether these youngsters even have a roof over their heads
 The children in our neighbourhood are all housed and live within a proper family structure. You often see children playing in the street or walking to the dukani/street cafe alone as the Sudan is a safe place for children and women
These two children live a little way up the side street below our balcony. They were on their way to the dukani/street cafe around the corner
These three boys, who posed for me at the dukani/street cafe, live in a double storey home the main road past our apartment.

Above a trio of older scholars wait for the school bus to collect them. As in South Africa, the children in Khartoum all wear school uniforms; different uniforms depict different schools and or grade levels

Here a boy holds his sister's hand while walking with her to the "bus stop" in front of our apartment. The older girl ran back home (further up the side street below our balcony)  to fetch a forgotten item, Her dad/grandad is carrying the absent girl's backpack
The boy and his three sisters wait  in front of our apartment for the bus to collect them

Two little girls playing a skipping game in the street outside their house...

...while their little sister watches from the doorway
The same little girls dressed up and having a tea party on the sidewalk

For more other people's worlds click here

The Arabic word for school is Mdrsh (Madressa)
The Arabic word for school children is Mdrsh ʼŢfāl (Madressa teefaal - literally school of children)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A really quiet weekend in Khartoum

Gattina from Writers Cramps hosts this meme: What did you do this weekend? Do you know what you did on the weekend of 25-26 September 2010?  As she says, you never know when you might need an alibi! 

We didn't get to the desert. Not to camp and not even for the day. Boohoo! Work commitments kept Grant from getting home in time for us to get out of the city to sleep in the desert as planned. We also didn't go Saturday or Sunday either as he had to oversee the completion of the project that caused the trouble in the first place!

However, I'm sure we'll have a chance to get out there again soon.

Meanwhile, I cooked  and tidied the apartment (Miriam only comes in again on Monday) and blogged...

...mostly perched on the edge of my office chair because "His Nibs" takes up most of it!
As usual I snapped away at the pets. Here Shadow is watching the budgies. This is the first time he's shown any interest in them up there

I also baked a loaf of Low GI bread. I have posted this recipe on my blog on two occasions. Once in South Africa (where ingredients like whole-wheat flour and shelled sunflower seed are readily available) and once here in Khartoum where I have to "make-do" with what I can get in the local supermarkets. The recipes can be found on my labels: Baking Bread
 I photographed the birds on the feeder. Above the common bulbul, whom I called Frederick (his call is "Quick Frederick")  had a real mouthful of banana, the bulbuls' favourite fruit
I just had to include this photo to show how Frederick uses his tongue to flick the fruit into his mouth. Amazing, huh?

As I'd been looking forward to the sunset in the desert, and subsequently missed it this week, I dashed up onto the roof and captured this beautiful image. I don't "fix" any of my photos (wouldn't know how even if I had the software) so this is the true reflection of the sunset on Thursday night
Later that same evening (that we didn't spend in the desert!) I photographed the full moon from the flat balcony.  I love it!

On Sunday morning I went onto the balcony to feed the wild birds, and saw this beautiful sky. I took a few photos from our front balcony and then dashed upstairs onto the roof to photograph the sunrise

As I panned in I got this lovely picture of the sun over the Nile and the cityscape


For more on What did you do this weekend, click here

The Arabic word for banana is Mwz (pronounced MORZ)
The Arabic word for moon is al-Qmr (pronounced a-gamirr)

How to pray Part II

Why are we to pray?

A) To GLORIFY God; to REFLECT Jesus in your life. In John 14:15 Jesus says: "You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to God."

B) Because God COMMANDS it. In 1Thessalonians 5:17 we are reminded to: Keep on praying

C) To COMMUNICATE with God; He DELIGHTS in our prayers. Proverbs 15:8 tells us: The Lord hates the sacrifice of the wicked, but He delights in the prayers of the upright

D) Because Jesus set the example. In Mark 1:35 we see that Jesus awoke long before daybreak and  and went out alone into the wilderness to pray

E) Prayer achieves RESULTS for the Glory of God. And we can be confident that He will listen to us whenever we ask for anything in line with His will. 1 John 5:14

F) Prayer is crucial for SPIRITUAL growth. Ephesians 3:16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit

I pray that these reasons, the second part of my How to Pray posts, will encourage you to pray.

Bless you

The Arabic for why is Lmādhā

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My super gift from the USA

Hi folks, this is Shadow who has pipped the budgies to the post (pun intended!) You all know what a wonderful cat / pet I am to my humans. They go to any lengths to ensure I'm happy and especially that I get my favourite food. Well, since last month there hasn't been any cat food in the whole of Khartoum. Serious. On Friday my lady human e-mailed the gemeral banager who was flying out from the US last weekend and asked him to bring a packet of cat-kibbles

When the gemeral banager arrived he had a huge bag of kibbles in his luggage. It smells delicious.  Not only that, his children in the US sent me a toy: a laser beam mouse. (see I'm snifffing the toy mouse to the side of the bag) 
 As soon as my human male opened the packet, he turned on the laser beam and I tried to catch it. Great fun, but I wonder when they're going to open the kibbles. Much more interesting I'd say! 

For more on beautiful kitties like me, and clever doggies, and... oh, OK, featherbrained birds, around the world, click here

The Arabic for laser beam is  Shʻāʻ al-Lyzr (sha-a a laser)

Farming along the Nile

The sun rises over the Nile and the farm lands lining the river

Agriculture is one of the mainstays of the Sudan. There is wheat, sugar and livestock  farming in the South and when we travel North we see goat, sheep, cattle and camel farms. The small farmer also farms with mainly vegetables along the Nile in Khartoum.    When the Nile floods its banks every year in July, August and half of September, it provides natural fertilizer for the lands. When the water recedes, the silt remains.  The farmer brings his oxen and plough and prepares for next season. Above photo shows land which is awaiting the farmer.

For more beautiful scenes around the world,  click here.

The Arabic word for river is Nhr an-Nyl (Narr a Neel)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Khartoum Samoosas

I've had so many kind comments on my desert posts and recently almost everyone who commented has loved the shepherd and his sheep. I'm changing my blog header photo regularly now, so I have uploaded this photo for the next few days.

Every Friday or Saturday night I make spring rolls for dinner. One night I made samoosas from a recipe in an Afrikaans magazine. Since then Grant has requested samoosas instead of spring rolls. I found a vegetarian samoosa recipe on the Internet so I can enjoy samoosas as well.

Grant and I both grew up in Natal, a province in South Africa which boasts the best traditional Indian curries and spicy dishes in the country. Samoosas are normally made by Indian ladies and if you're blessed to know one, you will  often be the recipient of such a culinary treat.

Samosas are the perfect chaat, or Indian snack food. These tetrahedral pastry pockets are made with a variety of stuffings, both vegetarian and with meat. But a simple spiced potato and pea filling is the most popular.

Samoosas are also sold frozen in supermarkets (here in Khartoum as well) but since I've learnt to make these delightful little spicy triangles, we've never eaten the bought variety again. I managed to find Samoosa leaves (pastry strips) in the supermarket. These are a lot simpler to use than a large sheet of filo pastry which you have to cut into strips yourself.

Here is the meaty variety:

Minced meat samoosas (Vrouekeur 30 July 2010)
Approximately 24 samoosas

45ml Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
500g lean minced beef
5ml masala
5ml tumeric powder
5ml cumin powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 packet samoosa leaves (I found a pack with 50 leaves in our local supermarket)
125ml melted butter
750ml Olive oil for deep frying

Heat the oil and saute onion until soft
Add the minced meat and cook until done
Add the masala, tumeric, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper
Cook until most of the liquid has been reduced
Remove from heat and allow to cool
Place strips of samoosa leaves on a board, paint with melted butter
Add a teaspoon of cooled curried mince at one end
Fold the edge over the meat mixture
Repeat the process until you reach the end of the leaf
Deep fry the samoosas until golden brown
Drain on paper towel
Serve hot with chutney on the side

Vegetarian Samoosas
Aproximately 12 samoosas
1/4 cup oil
1 onion, minced
1 tbs gingertoot, minced
1 tbs coriander, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled, cooked and cooled
1 cup frozen peas, cooked and cooled
100ml melted butter
Salt and black pepper to taste

Fry onion and ginger in a oil until soft
Roughly mash potatoes and add
Add peas, coriander and seasoning
Toss to mix all the flavours and allow to cool
Brush melted butter onto samoosa leaf
Place a little of the mixture at the top of the leaf
Fold the edge diagonally over the mixture
Repeat until the end
Deepfry until golden brown
Drain on paper towel
Serve hot with chutney on the side

Try them, you will be so glad you did!

The Arabic for potatoes is al-Bţāţs (this is not as difficult to pronounce as it looks = a Badaatis)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Angling the sun

I loved the way the sun reflects on the acute angle of the pyramid

I took this photo last month when we visited the Meroe Pyramids. You can read about them here.

For more skies around the world, click here

The Arabic word for angle is Zāwyh

To all who left kind comments on my post yesterday about the joys, trials and tribulations of being a journalist, THANK YOU! I loved every encouraging comment and take heart from all your words. Bless you all

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reading, writing and reading some more!

When I returned to the Sudan at the beginning of August, I had a dozen and a half new magazines in my luggage. I actually prefer to read books: autobiographies, travel stories and good novels (of which I brought a few along as well) but as I'm trying to break into magazines in South Africa, I have to know what each perdiodical is about. So far I've read two thirds of the magazines and sent queries to about half of those.

I've had an article accepted (the cheque has been banked already!)  by the magazine in the top left of the photo - next to Writers Digest - called Quad and Outdoor Adventure SA; I'm waiting for a reply from Selamta (the in-flight magazine on Ethiopian Airlines). The editor of the magazine above it, Weigh Less has asked for samples of my writing. I've just completed an article for Country Life (South Africa),  the magazine with the windmill on the cover and will submit it this week. I have another article ready for submission for Fair Lady magazine and the editor of a large bank group in South Africa has a sample of my writing for possible publication in their in-house magazine. I await replies from all the above. 

Since we're visiting the desert regularly now and seeing so many interesting places, I 've sent queries/proposals to Garden and Home magazine (top right-hand corner of the photo)  and the Afrikaans magazine called Rooi Rose (which means Red Roses) offering them articles on the temples and pyramids in the Sudan for their travel features.

Having completed a course in Magazine Journalism, (you can read about this here, if you wish) I'm trying every appropriate magazine to see if I can break in and become a published journalist. For those bloggers reading this post who are writers and been through this, you will know how many rejections you receive. You will also know that no matter how disappointed you are when you receive a mail saying: "Thank you for your query but unfortunately at this time we are unable for xxx reason to take accept your article", you have to re-submit the article to another magazine and continue to write new articles for further proposals.

In between reading these magazines, writing articles and opening rejection e-mails (lol!),  I subscribe to Writers Digest (USA). I 'm greatly encouraged when I read how published authors say they could paper an entire room with the rejection letters they recieved before their work was eventually accepted. I also learn about the writing craft and have gleaned many tips from this informative magazine.  

So while I do read all your blogs,  I don't always have the time to comment at length on each post. Be assured I love all your posts and enjoy seeing your world through your eyes. I also enjoy sharing my world here in the Sudan, for now.

Bless you all.

The Arabic word for magazine is Mjlh (Mashella)
The Arabic word for journalist is Şḩāfy (sahafa)
 I can't find an Arabic word for wannabe -LOL!

BTW: Tonight we'll be sleeping in the desert. I hope to get stunning sunset photos this evening and of course, as it's full moon, I will try to capture this planet in all its glory. Tomorrow morning I will be up on the highest point I can find behind our campsite to photograph the sun rising over the desert. We should be home by tomorrow (Friday) evening.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to pray Part 1

Over the past few weeks,  I’ve been doing a study on prayer titled "How to pray". I’ve done this prayerfully.  
What is prayer?Prayer is simply TALKING to and COMMUNICATNG with God. In this way, God makes Himself available to us.
Who can pray?
A)Those who BELONG to Jesus Christ.  In Psalm 118: 21 the psalmist says: I thank You for hearing my prayer and saving me”
B)Those who come to the Lord in the NAME OF JESUS. In John 16:23 Jesus tells us: At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. The truth is you can go directly to the Father and ask Him. He will grant your request because you use My name.”
C)Those who come to God with a CLEAN  heart (repentance) But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every sin.  1 John 1:9
D)Those who have a FORGIVING SPIRIT. In Mark 11:25 Jesus says: But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you too.
E)Those who come in FAITH. In Matt 21:22 Jesus says: If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.
 Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desire (Psalm 37:4)
The Arabic for prayer is Şlāh (salaah)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Searching for Sabaloka Gorge

This weeked we drove into the desert in search of Sabaloka Gorge. This beautiful natural wonder in the Nile River is found at the sixth cataract. Of the six cataracts on the Nile which flows from Sudan to Egypt (yes, the Nile flows upwards from South to North),  only one is in Egypt; the other five are in the Sudan. We knew that the birdlife would be prolific and read about boat trips on the river so we decided to visit the gorge on Saturday. However, while entering the coordinates for the gorge into the GPS, Grant warned me that we may not be able to get close to the river after all the rains.
74km/46 miles from Khartoum, we turned right into the desert in search of the Sabaloka Gorge

Following the instructions on the GPS, we headed towards the Nile river. We rode through one village after the next in the eight kilometers since turning off from the highway. Some of these villages are visible from the road and, to me,  it felt weird to be driving through them. Because of the winter rains during the month of July and August we were unable to get near the river. We will return during the drier months.   
Doubling back after not reaching Sabaloka Gorge, Grant turned off the GPS and  we headed north into the desert in search of a place to enjoy breakfast.

Grant sees to breakfast while I snap away. As I said before, someone has to keep a record of our travels (lol!)

I don't think I'd  like to camp under this precariously balanced rock

The grasses are beautiful at this time of the year and I had fun photographing them

A shady spot to park under the inevitable paperbark thorn tree. We had lunch here.

Wildflowers in the desert. These small flowering shrubs are so prolific after the rains that the veld looks like a yellow carpet
 A shepherd and his flock of sheep: a scene from a children's  Bible story
The young shepherd on his donkey. He told me his name was Abisfar and his donkey is called Hamar. Grant gave him a packet of pita breads, a chocolate bar and a bottle of water

After lunch we were off scouting for a campsite which we will use when we overnight in the desert next week

We've found the perfect overnight camping spot. However, with the whole of the desert at our disposal, we are spoilt for choice and could camp anywhere!  
The proposed campsite is at the top of a large sand dune with a rocky mountain rising up behind it 

Even though we spotted a flock of  Bee-eaters (not sure which ones), an Eurasian Hoopoe and another Crested Lark, they would not sit still for long, so I couldn't get any photos. There were also lots of swallows which are impossible to photograph. They were hawking the insects which had been disturbed by the goats in the field

I followed the goats on foot to get a close-up photo of the Nubian variety for Sunny over at Barnayards and Barnacles. But these animals are not at as forthcoming as their American relations and kept running off in the opposite direction while making a snorting sound. I managed to click as this one turned its head away

The one single bird we managed to capture, was this Namaqua Dove. (Sorry about the quality of the photo; it was taken throught the windscreen as the dove acted skittish if I opened the door) Namaqualand is an arid desert-like area stretchin up the West Coast of Southern Africa - and is world-renowned for it's beautiful wildflowers in spring -  so it fascinated me to see a "local" dove here in the Sudan. These doves are found everywhere in Africa, except Namibia and the Ivory Coast of West Africa. There are also no Namaqua doves in extreme upper regions of Northern Africa
I just L O V E Africa and her wide open spaces. I never get enough of her so take as many photos as possible so that I can pore over them back in our flat in Khartoum!

I thought the rock in the front looked like a man walking his dog (sort of like Pluto on hind legs, if you use your imagination) following behind. Grant didn't think the first rock looked like anything other than a rock but thought the seccond rock looked like a hamster. I mean where would you get a hamster in the desert? Mmm.

We came across many herds of camels and once again, I got out of the vehicle to get better shots of these sleek beauties

And played around with the camera settings again

Two camels browsing in a paperbark thorn (Acacia sieberiana var woodii) 

These youngsters are imitating their elders, only they had to nibble on a low thorn bush!

Homeward bound. The highway between Khartoum (to the left) and Port Sudan on the Red Sea,  beckons. Boo-hoo. I love being in the desert and would love to spend even more hours there. But there is always a next time. Watch this space!

For more posts on other people's worlds, click here . Thanks to Klaus Sandy Wren Fishing Guy Sylvia for this amazing meme.

The Arabic for Sabaloka Gorge is Sabalouga al-Khānq (Sabalouga a-ghung - gh as CH in the German Nacht)