Saturday, April 30, 2011


Recently I've been thinking about friends; my friends and the friendships I still nuture in my late fifties. A woman needs friends - from a young age - into old age.

Friendship is the cooperative and supportive relationship between people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, affection, and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis.

My sister Rosemary and I, fifteen months apart in age, have been close friends for the past fifty-six years. As the older sister, I always looked out for her and she look up to me! As young married women living in South Africa, even though distance separated us, we regularly visited each other with our husbands and young families. She and her husband have emigrated to the UK but we are in contact via e-mail and telephone each other periodically via Skype.

While at high school, a girl arrived at hostel one Saturday morning in April 1967. The teacher called me and said: "Johanna, (my name at school), Norma is a new girl from Zambia and I want you to look after her." Norma and I became firm friends, never apart until we left school in 1970. As young women, we corresponded (by snail mail in those days) and spoke to each other once a quarter when our parents allowed the use of the telephone. We had our first children in the same year and then Norma and her husband emigrated to the UK. She and I met up in 2005, had a wonderful reunion and still correspond once or twice a year - now via e-mail.

My sister-in-law, Shelley and I have been friends since she married Grant's brother in the eighties. Back home in South Africa, we text and telephone each other. While I'm out of the country, it's much easier and cheaper to send mesages via Skype. Of course, I have often mentioned on my blog that Shelley kindly helps me to identify birds now that Grant and I are spotting so many new ones here in Kenya.

When we lived in a small farming community in Zululand during the seventies and eighties, there were many other young women. It was wonderful to know and mix with other young mothers with children the same age as my two sons. My closest friend was Anne who lived just up the farm road from me. Her sister, Brenda, lived about 20kms away in another farming area and through various church and sporting activities, she and I also became firm friends. Sadly, Anne died in her early thirties from breast cancer. I still correspond with Brenda and hope to visit them on their farm in the not too distant future.

Over the years I have made friends wherever Grant and I worked and lived. On the diamond mines of Namibia, in the nineties, I could count Olly, Leonie and Rene as my close friends. Sadly Rene was killed in a motor accident a few years ago and Olly died from Emphysema in 2005. I still correspond with Leonie who now lives in Cape Town.

While on the gold mines of Guinea, West Africa, my dearest friend was Sonja. She hailed from Middlburg in South Africa,  glamorous, blonde and beautifully groomed, even on a remote mine site and was the most loyal friend anyone could ask for. Sonja and her husband currently live in Tanzania (so we're neighbours!) and we hope to visit them while here in East Africa. Then there was Morag from the UK. Morag  and I worked together at the mine and at teatime would regularly pore over a website looking for healthy food options and new exercise regimes. I was secretary to the maintenance manager and Morag and I convinced him to refurbish the gym on camp. She and I utilized the gym together even when others' enthusiasm waned. On Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons Morag and I played our own unique game of golf on the four-hole gravel course that Grant,  as earthmoving manager,  designed and built for us. We are in e-mail contact and on our next trip to the UK, Grant and I will visit Morag and her husband, Ronnie in Peterborough.

When we go out on leave to South Africa, I always look forward to seeing my friends, Carin and Carina who also run a beauty salon in my home town. While they beautify my nails and feet, we catch up on children's achievements (Carin) and our beautiful grandchildren and their antics (Carina). These two ladies are trying to convince their husbands - farmers and 4x4 enthusiasts - to do an overland trip to Kenya to visit us. Imagine that!

As mentioned last week, Sue and I have become firm friends in the three months we've known each other here in Keirio Valley. Sometimes a week goes by and we'd not see each other. Then we meet up,  go to the market together or venture into the bush to photograph birds and interesting places. Often we' just sit and relax together in one or the other's garden.

Of course, like everyone reading this post today, I have many blogger friends; people I would not have known if it hadn't been for the Internet. I love the interaction afforded by Blogger and have made some very close friends through this. Thanks to all who continually visit my blog and comment.

The fact that I've used photos of monkeys in this post is not meant to add levity to my subject. I often sit at my desk and watch the monkeys on the lawn. The way they interact, groom each other, play together or sit and enjoy the early morning sun, is very reminiscent of humans.


  1. Hi Jo, You remind me of my friend, Judy... She's very friendly --and has friends everywhere she goes. She never meets a stranger... They become friends immediately. I think you are like that.

    I have lots of friends also --but am not nearly as outgoing as Judy... I love blogging and have many great friends through blogging. I put 'relationships' as a priority when blogging. Some people like that --and others just blog without knowing much about anyone else.

    Friends are very important. Great blog, Jo.

  2. The monkeys must provide hours of entertainment. A very good post. I keep reading in senior magazines how important it is for older people to keep in contact with and socialise with friends. It keeps the mind healthy and active.
    "Friends are like flowers, they brighten your day."

  3. A lovely post, Jo and a tribute to all the wonderful women you count as friends :)

    I so enjoyed the pictures of these vervets...they truly are fascinating little creatures and it's so easy to quietly sit watching them while the hours tick by. As you correctly point oyt, they are so 'human' in their mannerisms and interaction, it's uncanny.

    Enjoy your weekend :)

  4. I have just typed up a lengthy comment and it has vanished...pouff...just like that! I'm not sure if you still have comment moderation on? Maybe it's sitting somewhere in cyberspace waiting for your approval? I'll check back later... ;)

  5. Great post, Jo! And I loved all the shots of the monkeys. Friends are very important even blogging friends. Have a wondeful weekend and take care.

  6. Lovely posting, Jo! "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." (Unknown)

    Ek het intussen jou pragtige berge en diere-lewe gesien. Jy bly in 'n stukkie van die Paradys... 'Stunning' krokodil-foto! - ek sal so-o benoud wees dat ek skoon sal vergeet om 'n foto te neem!


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo