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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Making a living in a new country

Establishing yourself in a country outside your own has become somewhat of an controversial topic in South Africa where many are 'fleeing' the country because of the crime or job opportunity statistics. I recently wrote a poem, titled Expat, that I shared on Facebook. A number of readers immediately, and incorrectly, assumed that I had to be one of the many expats who had left South Africa and I was subjected to both criticism for my cowardice, as well as praise for my courage. Go figure! Today's blog is about a friend who also, inadvertently, became an expat, but simply because she was given an opportunity she could not pass up.

Pitsane, Botswana

My friend Louise's husband passed away after a three month struggle with cancer. She was left having to pick up her life again and find a new beginning somewhere else. In previous blogs, I have written about our trip through the Northern and Western Capes of South Africa, and the therapeutic impact the trip seemed to have on her. It was on this trip that a friend suggested she meet with another friend of his in Botswana. This Botswana man was a dairy farmer and he was looking for someone to invest in his farm as a partner.

A promising crop

To the average woman out there, this may seem like a ludicrous idea, especially considering that Louise had virtually no experience of farming and certainly none of dairy farming. However, Louise is not the average woman. She is a tenacious go-getter with a healthy sense of curiosity who had been speaking of venturing into the cattle industry for a while. She decided to go check things out for herself.

The attraction of dirt roads and farm roads

Louise could hardly have hoped for a better partner than the man she met with in Botswana. His knowledge of farming in general was extensive while his knowledge of the dairy industry was in-depth and thorough. His bookkeeping and record keeping was meticulous and could back up his claims. He was intimately familiar with the country, the government and the people of Botswana, to the point of being fluent in Tswana. Add to that the ease with which he deals with people and difficult situations, and you have the ideal person to partner up with in any business venture. Louise, being no fool when it came to these matters, immediately recognized the strengths of the venture and the two of them went about drawing up the necessary contracts and legal documents to get the ball rolling.

Waving grasslands on the farm

I am not going to bore you with the details of what all of this entailed. I will probably not hit all the right notes anyway. Suffice it to say that this meant obtaining visas and permits, customs clearances, registering a business with contracts to ensure personal safeguards, insurance, medical cover, etc. And that was before they even started looking for cattle! They finally found a herd that met their requirements, but the herd was in South Africa. This necessarily meant veterinary clearances, quarantine, inoculations, etc. Finally the cattle were in the country and they were ready to start production.

Enticing sunsets

All that was left to do at this stage, was to procure the necessary contract with Clover, who has sole mandate to buy milk in Botswana. The contract was easy enough to procure, as the Botswana government has basically contractually ensured that Clover would buy ALL milk produced in the country. Do not imagine that this means the relationship between the dairy farmers and Clover is always one of smooth sailing. It has its ups and downs, just like it has in South Africa. The only difference is that the government plays a very active roll as watch dog in this relationship and all parties are subject to admonishment should they transgress.

The silhouette of Africa

I remain hugely impressed with the Botswana government. They simply seem to be doing things right. On a trip to Gaberone the government buildings were pointed out to me. Each 'division' has its own building which is located in a small horse-shoe shaped radius around the main building. This means that each section can operate individually, but they are close enough in proximity to each other to ensure effortless cooperation. Also, once a month, a date and hour is published in the local newspapers when the various ministers may be contacted directly by members of the public to discuss burning issues. Open communication channels are maintained at other levels as well.

More African sunsets to admire

During my visit I have seen the government vet pay a visit to the farm to ensure the health of the herd, instead of for inspection purposes only. I also noticed how evident it was that a good relationship existed between himself and the farmers. On another occasion, a pick-up-truck arrived to hand-deliver a notice of a meeting that might be of interest to the farmers to attend. There was constant communication between the farmers and the different levels of government, be it telephonically, by email, or in person.

The variety and diversity of field flowers are enough to take your breath away

During my visit in the beginning of the year, early in the season, the government had also launched an initiative where farmers could apply for an agricultural grant aimed specifically at crop production and sewing. The dairy farm in question had put in their application and was given the grant. This entailed the government paying back the cost of fuel for sewing the land. They also provided seeds and fertilizer to be sewn, as specified by the farmers. After sewing, the costs were calculated and the moneys had been paid back before my first visit even came to a conclusion. Botswana has a reputation for government moving slowly, but what little I saw of it impressed me to the contrary. However, one would need much more experience of the processes before venturing an expert opinion.

Venturing into an unfamiliar industry

What is the point of today's blog? I wish to leave you with a couple of thoughts. Firstly, the end of one good thing, does not necessarily mean that all good things have come to an end. Taking a risk on something new, and completely outside of your field of experience, may be the best thing you've ever done, even if society has a hard time coming to terms with your decisions. And sometimes, expatriating to a new country, is not about push factors, but more about pull factors. So take the risks and venture out. Who knows what the future may hold for you?

The herd has settled in

I will leave you with two poems I wrote. The first is in English, titled The Risk, and the second is in Afrikaans, titled Expat.

The risk

Would you like to take another shot
at that which you still haven’t got
or do you think it’s too much trouble,
that it would compromise the bubble
which you’ve created as a hide-away
in which you can safely and securely stay?

Yet, a risk is still something worth taking
for the effort you’ll need to be making.
Simply focus your attention on the goal
to find how it could satisfy your soul
if you could but only once grab its hold.
Do take the risk! Be brave! Be bold!

An original poem by Miekie (Marietjie Uys)

Growing your own feed


Neem my weg op hierdie vlug
maar bring my voete weer terug
plant hul dan weer in die sand
van my geliefde vadersland.

Hierdie vlug is onvermydelik
maar maak dit asseblief net tydelik
Gee dat ek nie vir altyd deur
my rug op my volk en land sal keer.

Ek vlug van geweld en misverstand
ek vlug van 'n nasie wat met haat brand
ek vlug van onmin, onreg en kwaad,
sake wat my die land laat verlaat.

Tog bly daar 'n hunkering in my siel
na die Karoo-sonbesie se dansende riel
na die platgekamde kruin van Tafelberg,
na die Vrystaatgrond wat re├źn van God verg.

Ek verlang na die lug wat bo my uitstrek
sonder maat, sonder grens, geheel onbeperk
Ek verlang na mielies, skaapstert en vetkoek
na dinge wat ek verniet in 'n ander land soek.

Gee my my 'n land sonder grense of perk,
gee my 'n land waarin ek kan werk,
gee terug my menswees, sorgeloos vry,
gee my 'n land waar ek veilig kan bly.

Berigte van moord, verkragting en haat
veroorsaak dat ek hierdie land nou verlaat,
maar ek bly hoop om eendag terug te kan kom
na 'n veranderde, vreedsame mensdom.

'n Oorspronklike gedig deur Miekie (Marietjie Uys)

A dairy farm in full production

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
You may prefer to follow the traveling blog, A Pretty Tourist.
For more crafty ideas and great products, visit A Pretty Talent on Facebook.
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to any of these blogs to receive regular updates by email, by simply registering your email address at the top of the applicable blog.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A time to worship - Botswana for God

If you've read carefully between the lines, you will have noted that I have somewhat of missionary approach to traveling. This is not a goal, as such, but rather a lifestyle choice. I need to explain this before even introducing today's blog. I have given my life to God. Literally. Every day and every breath belongs to Him. This means, that when I set out somewhere, I seek His will before I even start. I also acknowledge the permanent indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This means that every person I meet, potentially stand the chance to meet God. I take this responsibility very seriously. When traveling to Botswana earlier this year, I would not make an exception to this rule. I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole host of fellow believers among my new acquaintances. I call these introductions 'becoming familiar with unfamiliar family members' as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Today's blog focuses on worshiping with strangers in strange country, yet it all seemed very familiar.

A garden feature at the home of my hosts

My hostess had a weekly Bible Study group meeting in her home, and was thrilled to invited to join in while I was staying there. It can be rather awkward for a stranger to join the ranks of such an intimate group. They have no reason to trust your presence there and people can often feel intimidated into silence when there is a stranger in their midst. They may not be willing to open up or share the things that are weighing on their minds. It was a little awkward at first, but we soon learned that we were on the same page and shared a common love for God. Pretty soon things were flowing smoothly. This also served as a great introduction to the local community, as most of the nearby neighbours were part of this group. After the first meeting, I could literally walk down the street and run into familiar and friendly faces.

A local church

As Pitsane, is a very tiny community, it does not have its own church or minister. Instead, a minister from Mahikeng in South Africa travels through once a month to preach to the small congregation who gathers in the large living room of one of the locals. It matters very little which church affiliation you belong to, everyone joins in and denominational issues are simply not accentuated. As the minister needs to be at his own church in the mornings, the service only starts at noon. Afterward everyone remains behind to enjoy a communal lunch before finally returning home for (presumably) the customary Sunday afternoon nap. I spoke to the man at whose house the services are held and was enraptured by his passion for planting a church when he first established himself in the community. It was obvious that he saw this as a kind of mission in life.

Wide skies

One day when I was home 'alone', I was busy painting away with my music blaring in the background, when the cleaning lady stopped by to ask if I would be willing to repeat the song that had just been playing. I agreed and we started talking about music. We soon discovered that there was 'n huge overlap in the music we both enjoyed listening to. The conversation inevitably spread to what I was busy with, and we discussed the creation of art, the understanding and interpretation of it, and what we both liked or disliked about it. Again we found a lot of common ground, and I found this young woman, who does not even have a high school diploma, to be a very bright and eager listener and participant in the conversation. It was only when the conversation very naturally flowed into the other subject that was close to both our hearts, namely our love for God, that we truly understood why we found each other such great company. This lady was literally brimming with excitement over the role that God played in her life. Over the few weeks that I was there, she and I would fall into conversation as soon as everyone else cleared out and she would regale me with small sermons, life lessons and personal testimonies that had both of us praising God right there in the living room. Blessing, as she is called, became my own personal blessing in Botswana, and a fast friend. I wrote her a little poem before I left, which I'll share with you. The poem is simply called Blessing:

Blessing is the name you wear,
and it is one chosen with care,
for you are a sister and a friend,
whose love endures until the end.
Blessings are what you bestow
on all of whom you get to know.
Blessings are your natural adornment,
of which you have a rich assortment.
Blessing, with your painful past,
unlike the mould from which you’re cast,
how did you survive the pain
without a lifelong tear or stain?
Blessing, sister, child of God,
you are your Father’s living Ephod,
a sign by which all of man can see
that God triumphs in you and me.

An original poem by Miekie (Marietjie Uys)

In short, what I discovered was that God was alive and present in Pitsane, Botswana. I found Him in the people I met. I met Him in the survival testimony of the young woman who grew up in a pedophile nest. I met Him in the steadfast and confidence inspiring character of the man who married her. I met him in the peaceful eyes of the wife of a man who was overflowing in his knowledge of the Bible. I met Him in my hostess who proved herself a channel for His Holy Spirit to work through, and a willing Martha to make sure that everyone's needs were catered for. I met Him in my host, whose eyes reflected such a gentle nature and spirit that brimmed with love for his fellow human beings. And my soul responded with a "Yes, Lord!" when He called me up to minister to them one evening during one of our Bible Study meetings. What an absolute privilege to be able to give to those who God allows to cross your path. I am forever enriched for having learned to know them.

Beautiful Blessing

I wish to share one more incident that impressed me about the faith lives of this small community. One family was suffering financial difficulty and it was heart warming to witness how the community drew together to come to their aid with school fees, housing, food, etc. This is the face of Christianity in action. This is the fruit of the Spirit. And this is testimony to God being present and alive in Botswana.

Representative of the close-knit community

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
You may prefer to follow the traveling blog, A Pretty Tourist.
For more crafty ideas and great products, visit A Pretty Talent on Facebook.
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to any of these blogs to receive regular updates by email, by simply registering your email address at the top of the applicable blog.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Botswana - a law-abiding refuge of safety

One thing about Botswana that made a deep impression on me, was connected to law enforcement. Yet, somehow this does not seem to be the correct term to use. You see, I never got the impression that law needed to be enforced. The Tswana believe in doing what is right, and almost everyone is willing to work towards maintaining the peace. In short, it boils down to the fact that people respect each other, which includes respecting each other's property. I will use an incident of theft to prove my point, as contrary as this might seem.

Sunset over the Makgoro Pans

I have already shared with you that I have been visiting with friends who own a dairy farm just outside Pitsane, on the South African border, when you enter through the Ramatlabama border control post. One night, the submersible pump was stolen from their borehole. This was huge news in the community, as theft was almost unheard of in this community. The theft was discovered in the early morning hours, and after the milking was done, they went to report the incident to the local police. While we were waiting at the police office, a neighbour phoned to say that he had made a citizens arrest of three youths who wanted to sell him a similar pump. When they could not give ample explanation for where they had found the pump, he concluded that it had to be the stolen one, and promptly took action accordingly. You see, news of the theft had already spread through the community.

The Botswana vista

Before the police could arrive to take charge of the three suspects, two had managed to escape. This proved to be no problem. The community is a small one. People arrived of their own accord to inform the police as to the identity of the two escapees, as well as where their familiar hangouts, homes and family members were. The pump was recovered and the suspects in custody within 8 hours of the discovery of the theft! This is a community taking care of itself, as it should be. I remain as impressed today, as I was back then.

Yet another spectacular sunset

Interestingly the local Kgotla, which is a kind of tribal leader, is the first stop in the legal process for these young perpetrators. The Kgotla holds certain legal powers and serves as a kind of local magistrate, presiding over legal issues in the community. If in doubt, look up your local Kgotla and obtain permission, before undertaking any new ventures in the country. Ladies, a word of caution, it is expected of us to wear dresses or skirts when appearing before the Kgotla. If all else fails, keep a large sarong, or scarf in the vehicle to wrap around your waist.

A vulture perched at the top of a tree

Sadly, this was not the only crime the small community had to deal with during the roughly six weeks that I spent in Botswana. There were two more incidences of crime, one a burglary of business premise after hours, and one a hijacking of a local couple. Both of theses two cases were perpetrated by South Africans who crossed into Botswana illegally and escaped back across the border. The vehicle was recovered in South Africa and the burglars recognized as known South Africans from CCTV footage. Pitsane's close proximity to the border seems to make it a bit of a target for the seemingly insatiable appetite of the criminal element in South Africa. It is a pity. Although, it has to be said that the Botswana police are rather relentless where these are concerned and they do follow these cases up, even across borders. Both cases are still under investigation.

Impressive trees

There is also something to be said for the visible policing in Botswana. There are frequent traffic check points all over the country. As there is a single police force, rather than a segmented one, this means that the police are visible and present, aside from being visible elsewhere as well. There is an interesting fact I should relay while speaking of the traffic check points. It is law to wear safety belts in Botswana, even in the back seats. If you are fined for any traffic violation, the car is impounded at the traffic control point and you have to pay the fine before you will be allowed to remove your car. This may mean that you will have to walk, or catch a lift, to the nearest ATM, but you will not be allowed to proceed in your vehicle before the fine is paid. Keep your driver's license ready; it will be checked at some point. A South African driver's licence is a legal driving permit in Botswana.

Waving grasslands

As there are lots of domesticated animals roaming freely on the Botswana roads, it is essential that one should drive with care. Animals actually have right of way! At dusk, you will see pick-up trucks on the roads, marked Animal Control. These guys chase the animals off the roads and close all gates along the way, to keep the roads clear of animals at night when there is poor visibility. The organisational skills impress!

Quiet dirt roads to travel

Speaking of laws and regulations relating to South African travelers, let's address a couple of issues. You do not need a visa to travel to Botswana, only a valid passport. You will need to fill out a leaflet when passing through border control where you will be required to indicate an address and contact number for where you will reside while in the country. Have this ready. You are also required to indicate serial numbers of laptops, cameras, etc. that you bring into the country. I believe there is a fee to be paid for vehicles entering the country, but as I wasn't traveling in my own vehicle I can't give you more details regarding this. Also, take note of the list of fresh produce that may not enter Botswana from South Africa. They are very strict about this and the lists are updated regularly. You will see lots of confiscated foodstuffs at the border crossings. This is an attempt to keep contamination and plagues out of Botswana.

Every sunset is picturesque

While in Botswana I learned of an interesting incident that I had not heard of while in South Africa. Apparently a well known political youth leader and agitator from South Africa, had crossed into Botswana. He had barely started his inciting rhetoric in this country when the military forces kindly told him to leave, escorted him to the border and told him never to return. Personal freedoms do exist in Botswana, but only in adherence to respecting the rights and freedoms of others as well. Hate speech is not tolerated. Well done, Botswana!

Another Botswana vista

There were a couple more things that came to my attention with regards law and order while I was in the country. Firstly, I became aware of the existence of a large rhino sanctuary at Khama in the Kalahari sandveld. With an increasing number of White Rhino, one would imagine this sanctuary to be a target for poachers. Not so! The sanctuary is located in the center of a military defence force base and as a result enjoys brilliant protection. Again, I am favourably impressed.

Yet another spectacular sunset

Speaking of the military. During the short interval of my two visits to the country, one of the bridges on the main road to Lobatse, washed away as a result of heavy rains. Within 24 hours, the military responded to this crisis by erecting a temporary military bridge in its place while the permanent one is reconstructed. This single lane bridge is manned 24 hours a day.

A very pretty grasshopper, roughly 10 cm in length.

Africa has had to suffer the brunt of many jokes and has been the subjected to many derisive comments concerning third world countries. Botswana stands as a burning beacon of hope. Sure, the country does not have all the amenities one could hope for, or at least not in over-supply, as elsewhere, but as for organizational abilities, it should be considered a leader in its division. This is a country rife with opportunity. It's one I would not hesitate to invest in.

My hiking companion, Bliksem, the Ridge-back

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
For more crafty ideas and great products, visit A Pretty Talent on Facebook.
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Meet the people of Pitsane, Botswana

Sunset over Pitsane

I have been in nothing more fortunate than in my connections with people during my travels. There is not a single trip I can recall, which has not brought me new friendships. I am not talking about the kinds of friendships where you carelessly remember that you made an acquaintance while spending time somewhere. I am talking about the kind of friendships where you are covered by another person, and where you provide a cover for them; the kind of friendship you feel safe in.

Birds building communal nests in a large tree in Pitsane

My stay in Pitsane, the first town across the border into Botswana, when you enter through the Ramatlabama border control gate, brought me into contact with a number of people I now count among my friends. I won't reveal their identities for their own privacy sake, but I will try to introduce you to a sample of the gems that are to be found in this remote locality.

A church in Pitsane that is still in use, despite its dilapidated appearance

The first of these is a friend I already had while she was staying in South Africa. This friend and I had traveled long and empty stretches of road through the Northern Cape in silence and sporadic conversation. When you are comfortable in silence with someone else, you are truly comfortable in each others' company. When she invited me to come spend some time with her and the new man in her life, so that I could see the changes her life had taken, I jumped at the opportunity. I was excited for her in the new venture she had undertaken after her husband passed away. She was courageous enough to move to another country and to invest in a partnership where she would be co-owner of a dairy farm. There are not many women I know, who would have the guts to do what she did, and I admired her strength and resilience. Going to Botswana would not only be an opportunity to see a country I had never been to, but it would also be a chance to experience a different way of living, a whole new culture, and most importantly, to find out what it was that gave some people the strength to carry on and soar even higher than before, where others would simply crumble.

Grand new ventures on a dairy farm in Botswana

I wish I had an easy answer to the last statement, but there simply does not seem to be one. I have been able to observe the process of healing and restoration that this friend underwent after the passing of her husband, and it has allowed me the opportunity to make a couple of observations, as an outsider. Right from the outset, she was determined to overcome the tragedy of her husband's death. He had died after a three-month battle with cancer, and during that time, she had been able to adjust to the idea of his death, although holding out faith and hope for his healing until the very last minute. I do believe that, despite the hope, she had somehow already started with the phases of grieve and therefore the healing and restoration processes started much earlier than expected.

Breaking new ground in more than one way

The new friend she made and took into her life, also happened to be her new business partner. I almost instantly felt comfortable in his company. I found him to be a clever, witty and extremely knowledgeable person. His strongest attribute however, would have to be his compassion for people. I found in him a man with a vision that not only looked towards his own prosperity, but was aimed at bringing it to those around him. Whenever he shared his ideas for the future, they would inevitably include ways to uplift, educate, train, or improve the lives of the people of the community. It was apparent that this man was loved and respected by people from all walks of life. But what impressed me most, was the fact that he showed equal compassion, care and respect in return, regardless of the person.

Putting the flock out to pasture

I made an unexpected friend in the maid that worked in my friend's house. As I spent my days painting, she would pass by and started to show a keen interest. As with all things that we are passionate about, it did not take me long to start talking about art with her, once I found her an interested student. She took to the understanding and interpretation of art, like a fish to water. She understood the impact that the type of line, the choice of colour combinations, the style, etc. could have on the message the art wanted to convey. I do not know which of us were more enthralled. Once we had bridged the great social divide between us, through the medium of art, we started to talk more freely about other subjects as well. We discovered a love for the same music. But most importantly, I discovered a sister in Christ. This was a true believer who could tell stories of how God intervened in her life to save her. I read her some of my poems, and she told me some of the folk lore stories from her culture. I will always think fondly of this young woman, as a younger sister I have in another country.

Blood red sunsets in Pitsane

It is no secret that I delight in children. They instinctively seem to know this and will approach me of their own accord. As a result, I tend to make very young friends during my travels as well. My trip to Botswana was no exception to this rule. I met the sweetest little four-year old girl who was enchanted by my iPad. I have a number of games on there for my nephews and nieces, and these were the ones that drew her attention as well. She would walk away from home to come and visit with me. Inevitably we ended up painting together, and at last we also baked together. This seems to be the natural flow with me and children.

Some 'friends' I made on one of my hikes

Another child that I was thrilled to get to know, was a preteen boy with a knack to speak the truth boldly and unashamedly. What is not to like about that?! This was a true boy who would take along his wire car to push along the road when we went walking. He would tell me about school, archery, making new friends, and his dogs. Yet, this boy had a seriousness that reminded of an adult. I wondered at the fact that someone this young could be so certain of who was already. He had his value system sorted out, his priorities in place, and norms established. And woe to the child who behaved contrary to these. He would tell them quite matter-of-factly to get their act together. I am very excited to watch this boy turn into a young man. Sometimes you just get the impression that someone is going to make a huge impact on his world, and this young boy, gives you that impression in spades.

One afternoon a neighbour made an impromptu decision to pick me up in his truck and cart me off to a nearby dam I did not know about. We had a jolly time driving around the dam and I got to know more about him, about living in the area, as well as the fauna and flora.

What I loved most about the people of Pitsane, was their down-to-earth attitude to life. Nobody bothered with putting on airs. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing backward about these people. Their manners are impeccable. Only, they don't pretend or put up a false facade. You are also immediately welcomed and made to feel like a member of the family. Nothing illustrated this better than the evening when the neighbour ran barefoot across the street to make us an impromptu invitation to join the family for dinner. The daughter and her new husband had just returned from honeymoon and they had brought fresh fish and abalone from the South African West Coast. We were told not to bother with shoes and to come as we were. This is how my first introduction to abalone, happened to be in Botswana! This was also where I got to taste pumpkin jam for the first time. This you should really try to get your hands on, as it is delicious.

There was lots of time to paint, and I even got to give my friend a few lessons. This is her work.

What I liked most of all, was finding fellow believers in most of the people I crossed paths with. We did not all have the same religious backgrounds, and if any of us were so inclined, I am sure we could have ended up having frustratingly long-winded arguments about things that have no eternal value. What we did have in common prevailed, and this was a common love for God our Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. As a result, I ended up attending a church service held in someone's living room, led by a preacher from a denomination I was largely unfamiliar with, with a liturgy that was strange to me. Yet, it was fine, for at the center of this was the One I love more than anything or anyone else in the world. It also meant that I attended a number of of Bible Study meetings and made a whole range of new friends. There was the dear man who struggled to acquaint an ill-tempered man's behaviour with Christianity, the woman who kept the peace amid the struggles, the quiet giant who brimmed with self-confidence, his energetic straight-talking wife whose honesty impressed, and the woman who had gotten lost in the crowd of people she had given a say in her life, that never should have gained a foothold.

The sky, as snapped through a moving car window, on route back from Gaberone

I concluded that people all over the world are largely the same, facing the same problems, and dealing with the same issues. Yet, they are uniquely individual and each and every one of them is precious beyond words. The best advice I can give any traveler is to appreciate the people you meet on your journeys. Each of them will contribute positively to form your character and the person you become. And they will leave you with a host of fond memories to look back upon.

Some more friendly neighbourhood youths I met on one of my hikes

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
For more crafty ideas and great products, visit A Pretty Talent on Facebook.
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.