||Issue No. 313 -- 17 January 2005
Quote/s of the Week
Ad Hoc Article/s of the Week
Bits and Bobs
The Legal Beagle
Where are they now?
Club and Other News
Credits and Contact Info
Subscribing and Unsubscribing
|Send this Issue to a Friend!
Another week... where does the time go? I am already late sending out SAWmail – it is now Tuesday! Never mind... sending it late enabled me to receive the two mails from Marlene – and it is great to realise how many people took the time to write to her – thanks to all of you and as can be seen below Marlene also thanks everyone for their care and prayers.
Meanwhile back in South Africa the dam is now 100% full. Captain Ken and I got up early on Saturday last, it was thundering and lightening and pouring with rain but optimists that we are we thought it might not be doing that at the dam. It was! So we sat at our boat ramp from about 5.45 am until 9am when the rain finally stopped! We ate breakfast of home made apple spice coffee cake sitting in the car... I even had a quick snooze!
Finally we got the boat launched and found we were the only boat around! So we toured around and about half way towards the dam wall I felt I was the Titanic! Wooden ‘icebergs’ floated all around us – huge logs, branches, chunks of wood and clumps of grass and debris - obviously washed into the dam from the swollen Crocodile River. We gingerly worked our way across the dam and headed back to ‘our’ end... no debris there. So... we ended up having a great ski – our perseverance paid off!
These from me...
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. - Henry Ward Beecher
Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. - Unknown
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. - Franklin D. Roosevelt
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. - Albert Einstein
Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting. - Christopher Morley
Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow. - Dan Rather
Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure. - Benjamin Disraeli
Having chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts. - Abraham Lincoln
Send in any quotes you love... that have some special meaning for you... and I will use at least one every week. Usual address! firstname.lastname@example.org
|Ad Hoc Article/s of the Week
Each week we will feature a question and answer sent in to the Company for Immigration. We hope these will help answer any questions you might have regarding any part of the coming home process. If you would like to send in your own question, please feel very free to do so.
We will also be featuring a great amount of information on the SAW Website (www.saw.co.za) under the Coming Home section. You can also find out info by visiting our newly relaunched site, South Africa Online (www.southafrica.co.za) and checking out the Coming to SA section.
Here is a bit more info...
Whenever and wherever South Africans meet, the surest way to start a lively discussion, is to ask someone for an opinion about emigration from or remigration back to South Africa. In 2002 we (i.e. the non-profit immigration service, Company for Immigration, and the trade-union, Solidarity) realized that the return of South African expats had become a fact and that their inputs are essential for the growth and development of the country. We are neither interested in a debate about the reasons why people leave or come back, nor about the merit of their decisions. We prefer to provide a practical service instead:
offering advice and assistance to prospective remigrants;
addressing the problems which cause people to emigrate; and informing people about the pros and cons of emigration, to help them make an informed decision before leaving.
Interested? Want to receive our monthly newsletter by email? Have questions or suggestions? If so, please visit our mirror sites www.comehome.co.za or www.komhuistoe.co.za and leave your details on the visitor's page, or contact us at email@example.com. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Alana & Annatjie
COME HOME CAMPAIGN
This week’s Q&A...
Does it mean that one is obliged to get a South African passport if you go to South Africa, even if you have a valid passport from another country being a citizen of such a country by marriage and having lived aboard for more than 30 years. Years ago I just let my S.A. passport expire as they (South Africans) would not allow 2 passports.
According to the current Citizenship Act, one has to hold a valid South African passport if you wish to retain your South African citizenship. You currently also always, without exception, have to use the South African passport to enter/exit from South Africa. In the rest of the world, one can use the passport of your choice.
The application form for a South African passport (form Bl 73) can be downloaded from www.home-affairs.gov.za. The application will cost R147-00 and as far as I know it will remain valid for 10 years.
Please ask if you have more questions in this regard.
Company for Immigration / Maatskappy vir Immigrasie
P.O. Box 1283, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa
The Ruth Mailbag Group
This from Joy Coetzee firstname.lastname@example.org
While surfing the 'net looking for knitting and crochet sites and patterns, I came across many links to sites for charities. It seems there is a need for little knitted goodies for newborns to 2 years old. I love to knit and crochet, so I thought this would be perfect for me to do.
I was originally going to send them off to one of the charities. But after thinking about it, I decided that there must be a charity in my country that would welcome some of these darling creations. So I decided to contact one that WASN'T on the list. They were all too happy to accept them.
And that's how The Ruth Mailbag Group was born. I've expanded on it now, and also make things for the moms. Many of these little darlings only have the hospital gown and diaper to wear. Don't these beautiful gifts from God deserve something beautiful to wear home?
Would you like to help? You can join my Yahoo Group by sending a blank e-message to
TheRuthMailbagemail@example.com. If you do not have e-mail you can still join us by simply sending your donations to one of the charities listed below, that is why we call ourselves the "Mailbag" because we can mail all our donations. Our members are spread across the globe and we only meet on the 'net at our group site. We make donations and it's not limited to just crochet. Knitted, quilted, sewn and bought items are needed and welcomed also. Hats, sweaters, jackets, booties, blankets as small as 70cm x 90cm are used. The needs are endless.
Please pray about getting involved. Jesus knows all of our needs and is so faithful to meet them! Today, He uses wonderful people like YOU - to be His arms of love and provision.
Thank you and God bless you,
The Ruth Mailbag Group baby charity
Proverbs 31:13, & 20 says: "She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." NKJ
Volunteers to knit, crochet, sew, quilt or buy and donate baby clothes and other baby goods for needy mums and personal toiletry items for the mums.
Should you be interested in helping The Ruth Mailbag Group baby charity please send your donations to one of the following: -
1) Ruth Donald, Ruth Pregnancy Crisis Centre, c/o Edenvale Baptist Church, PO Box 124 , Edenvale 1610, South Africa
2) Dr Theunis de Bruin, 21 Egerton Road, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa
3) Riekie van der Berg, SA Cares for Life, House Esther and House Ruth, P.O. Box 2011, Newlands 0049, Pretoria, South Africa
Update from Marlene
Our family would like to thank each and every person who have contacted us regarding Natalie's illeness. It is comforting to know that there are people out there that still care and pray for others, even though they do not know them. Natalie's face was accentuated by the dark rings under the eyes yesterday and she looked extemly tired and worn out. She did not say much. In the early afternoon a bouquet of white and pink flowers arrived with a card reading: "Just to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! I saw these and thought you might like them! Stay strong and be brave! Lots of Love. Ashleigh"
Who this mysterious Ashleigh is, we don't know. Natalie can't think of anyone by that name, but we appreciate people like that who are unselfish and kind. God will bless you tenfold.
Last week was a very rough week. It was a week filled with pain and discomfort, Natalie could not sleep most the time and on Wednesday night, both Natalie and I only had two hours sleep. She had a nightmare and woke me at 3.00 a.m. She then told me that she was in pain on the left side. I gave her pain medication and we both sat on the coach in the lounge and reminisced and reflected on past times. We also discussed the future. This was when Natalie had told me that she would now want to see this cancer as having the flu as she is certain that she will overcome it, regardless of the advanced stage of the cancer. People whom she now tell this, shake their heads in disbelief as they cannot fathom how she is now trying to stay positive by seeing the cancer in this manner. I suppose that if you see it as the flu, then you will overcome it in the end. It is not only all about staying positive, but staying positive with the love of God and an abundance of faith. Needless to say that neither of us went back to bed - only the following evening at 11.30 p.m.
Natalie has to go for her white blood cell count as she is having another session of chemotherapy on Thursday.
It is amazing, and I suppose because she desperately wanted to go to church, but she was completely without pain on Sunday. She decided to dress up in a black dress with pink little polka dots, a pearl necklace and earrings and funky pink high heeled shoes for the service. She said that she felt great. She even went without her wheelchair and attempted to stay upright.
Today is another day where you don't know which way it will go. There are many ups and downs, but we prefer to look more at the up-side than anything else. She mentioned that she has palpitations this morning and my reply was that it is to be expected as we know that she has cancer there as well as in several other organs and areas.
We received a lot of encouragement from people who are survivors and we are grateful that they are sharing their side of what they have been through as this is keeping us positive.
Natalie decided to enrol for one paper for the first semester. We have discussed it with the specialist. This will help Natalie to keep busy and to stay positive as she feels that she wants to do it. This is a whole new direction of what she was studying the past two years, but she feels that she wants to make a whole new beginning. She will never be able to go back to sport the way she competed and worked towards her goals in that area as apart from the cancer in the vertebra, it is deformed and cause for a lot of back pain and headaches.
We will reply to each email received and thank all who remember us in prayers, email messages, cards, flowers, and other support.
We hope that you will all experience a wonderful week and will experience love and kindness like we do. We have so much to be thankful for and count our blessings.
Legal Beagle New Zealand
South Africans Worldwide
This is an account of what have happened regarding the first chemo session and afterwards:
It was requested that the family be with Natalie at her appointment at the Department of Haematology & Oncology at Auckland Hospital Friday, 7 January at 8.30 a.m. We were there at 8.00 a.m. and the parking attendant was so kind as to give us a parking space right in front of the building.
As soon as we went to see the specialist, even before Natalie have been examined, we were told that she would start chemotherapy right away as the cancer is at such an advanced stage. Natalie, being in such pain too agreed that the treatment should start as soon as possible. The specialist then made it known that they would start with ABVD chemo as this is one that could save her fertility. If anything would happen and she would relapse, they would go for the more extreme treatment. It was the specialist at
Oncology who notified us that the cancer is also in an advanced stage in the aorta and diaphragm.
Natalie had started having complications as soon as the first 5ml of chemo was administered and therefore had to be given anti-histamine intravenously. They could only continue after 40 minutes.
She will receive chemotherapy for the next six months every 14 days. At least we now know what the routine is going to be and what to expect.
The next 48 hours were crucial as we had to watch out for side effects. Natalie's been given even more medication (one to protect the kidneys against the chemo and the dead cancer cells passing through) but I've been told that we should start to limit the pain killers as time goes by.
It was a week full of ups and downs as I mentioned in the other message, but we will get there - eventually. She need to go for blood test tomorrow to see if her white blood cells will be ok for her body to stand the second chemo session on Thursday, 20 January at 8.30 a.m.
We thank all who have are showering us with prayers, good wishes, blessings and more. It is people like you who makes the world go round.
The Good News
Guy will be back soon with more good news. In the meantime...
For more interesting and exciting news about developments in South Africa, subscribe to the International Marketing Council's regular BrandSA newsletter by visiting www.imc.org.za/goodstuff.htm or www.imc.org.za/subscribe.asp. You can also visit the South African gateway website at www.southafrica.info.
Choice Coach – Grounded in the Earth, Reaching for the Sky!
The hijacking of the tsunami
The bodies are not yet counted. The homeless are not yet sheltered. The denuded are not yet clothed. The children have not been fed. And yet already, the hijacking of the tsunami has begun. It's out there, on the internet. It's reaching for your mind, for your belief.
There's the fundamentalist Christian proclaiming that Christians were miraculously saved while people of other religions were not. There are groups proclaiming that the tsunami was an example of God's wrath at gays. There are Hindu adherents proclaiming that it is punishment for the arrest of one of their number. There are those that claim that a loving god would not have permitted such horror and that therefore this proves either that God is not a loving God or that there is no God. Each group is trying to "spin" this horrible tragedy to support their beliefs.
My belief is that such exploitation is in itself blasphemy.
Yet, how can we juxtapose the concept of a loving Higher Power and the catastrophic tsunami, with its incredible toll of human suffering? How can we encompass the two in one comprehensive view of the universe?
If someone wants to get into the issue of specific religions, I notice that there are few other places in the world where such a disaster could have affected such a huge variety of religions. Looking at the twelve or more countries directly affected by the tsunami, some are predominantly Muslim, others Hindu, others Buddhist, and yet others Christian. Most - though not all - have a tradition of acceptance of faiths other than that of the majority.
Of the survivors, western media undoubtedly focus on those of their own country who survived. Thus, in the U.S. we read of those Americans who survived, and, unlike the British media, pay little attention British survivors, including the British ten-year-old whose awareness of tsunami warning signs saved hundreds on one particular beach. Australia focuses mainly on the Thailand aspects of the tragedy, because that is where the largest number of Australian victims are probably to be found. Thus the focus on some of the amazing survival stories tends to be on those who are "like us" and hence of "our" religion - whatever that may be. So it is understandable that we get a skewed perspective. What American or British newspaper is going to expend valuable space on the story - unless it is outstandingly beyond belief - of someone from another country when there are so, so many of them? It is sad, but it is true, that most news media present information as though they think that the lives of people from their country are more valuable, or at least more newsworthy, than are those of people from other countries.
None of this means that any one religious group was "targeted" for either victim-hood or survival. It simply means that we see what we are shown, or what we want to seek out. Remember that statistics, like your computer monitor, may not always reflect what is. For example, a comparatively small number of deaths in a community or country with a small population may yet represent a huge proportion of the population, so that community may be more affected than another community where the actual numbers are much larger but, because they are based on a larger population, actually represent a smaller proportion.
Either way, the deaths, the suffering, and the long-term impact are inconceivable to most of us. Unfortunately, human thinking does not take easily to the inconceivable or the unthinkable. We seem to have to struggle to give reasons for events, particularly catastrophic events. We have difficulty accepting the unknowable or the inexplicable, and so some of us invent answers and reasons that serve our purposes and help us to maintain our existing world view. That way, the world feels a little safer than if we allow ourselves to accept the unknowable.
As to the question of why God "allowed" or "caused" this tragedy... here's my perception. (And stay with me here, because it will appear that I'm off on one of my notorious tangents - but in fact, as always, you'll see where I'm going if you stick with me.)
A day or so after the tsunami, there was an item in a "Dear Abby" column in my local paper. The letter was from a woman who cared deeply for her ten year old daughter. As a result there was a long list of things that she would not let her daughter do, and it concluded with the fact that when her daughter is at another child's home, even though she knows that the parents are there, she calls the child every hour - yes, every hour - to be sure that she is all right. It was pointed out to her that she is probably stifling her daughter's independence and that she needs to back off.
I agreed with the columnist. As a parent, I believed strongly that children need to learn to exercise their decision-making abilities just as much as their walking, thinking, and feeling abilities. Sometimes it is hard for a parent to hold back, to let a child, or an adult offspring, make decisions that appear to be headed for disaster. Yet, if we do not, we are not only preventing the individual from learning and growing as a result of consequences, but we are insulting their ability to make decisions. If we raised them right, then, depending on their age, they become capable of making more and more complex choices on their own. If we assume they cannot, we not only display lack of respect to them, but to our own parenting abilities. My own belief is that our Higher Power has enough respect for us to not be constantly interfering in the affairs of the world that was set in motion so very long ago.
I think - and I am no theologian - that our world, our physical universe, was set in place long, long ago, by whatever mechanism led to it. While I do believe that our Higher Power is aware of/connected to events, I don't believe that He/She plays constant interference, causing this thing to happen or that thing, in ways that are in contradiction to those physical laws that were set up at inception. Not that She/He can't do this. When that happens, we call it a miracle, because it is counter to known physical laws. However, perhaps there are special reasons for that kind of interference, and I do believe that the reasons for it are not usually comprehensible to human thought - at least for most of us.
No, the Higher Power that I envisage and believe in did not "cause" the tsunami in the sense of pushing a couple of buttons to make it happen. No, the High Power that I envisage and believe in did not seek out members of any specific religion to die, or to be saved. Nature just is, and that was established long, long ago. We cannot know the answers to all the "why" questions raised by this horrible event.
What we can hope is that some good will come of it in the long run. If the horror of the event causes Christian and Muslim to work alongside each other, each laboring to save lives, if it brings Hindu and Buddhist and Atheist together in the same cause, perhaps in the long run they will remember each other as human beings working for good. Perhaps if rebel and government supporter together pull a survivor out of a collapsed building, or carry food and water to a starving child, perhaps they will see that working together they can do more to achieve the good of their community than working against each other. If the tsunami can collapse a few political or religious barriers as effectively as it collapsed buildings, perhaps in the long run some good can come out of this horror.
Asking why, pointing the finger, crowing with pride, muttering "That'll teach them," none of these things will help the survivors, nor will it help bury the dead. Working together to do what is needed - that, I believe, is God's will.
Work in Progress
Sometimes no one topic seems sufficient for Work in Progress, and yet there are many topics floating around, some of which are, I think and hope, worth passing on. So today is a time for a couple of random thoughts.
Finding common ground - a warning
It is a given among those who seek to improve their networking skills that one should seek common ground with others. What do you have in common? Whatever it is, the belief is that this will bond you - and hence make them more likely to remember you favorably, for whatever reason you wish.
Yet sometimes this can backfire. Your intent can be misunderstood. Tread lightly, listen carefully, and always try to figure out what the speaker needs from you at that particular moment.
One thing that can go wrong is that the individual may feel that you are too eager to talk about your own stuff than listen to what he or she has to say. S/he may not care that you went through something similar, s/he may just need to be heard at that moment. True, if it is that important one would hope not to encounter such a situation at a casual networking event. However, it can happen. Alternatively, the same thing may happen in a interaction within a more personal relationship. Speaking of your own stuff at such a time, when the person has an urgent need to be heard, can convey a lack of interest in others.
A second source of disconnect can be that the person may experience what you say as a message that s/he is not special, is not going through anything difficult, but is just like other people. In some situations this is welcome news, but in others it can feel like a put-down. To start to tell someone of some piece of drama in your life that feels to you as though it is rare and devastating, only to be casually told of others who have gone through the same situation may not be what the speaker wanted from your conversation.
Lastly, it may feel as if you are belittling the experience, playing one-up, talking about how your experience is as bad or worse than theirs.
I am a firm believer that it is more important to discover what we have in common with others than to focus on how we are different, even though both aspects are noteworthy. Nonetheless, how we convey the discovery of things in common can work positively or negatively. Tread gently, and focus more on listening than on speaking.
See below for some special news...
Focusing on the pain... or not
Not too long ago I slipped on a just-washed floor that lacked a warning sign. I hurt both my ankle and my knee, though neither seriously. For a few days I limped. This put extra stress on various other parts of my body - hips, back, other knee, and so on. Before long I realized that whether I limped or did not limp did not change how much the ankle hurt when I walked. However, it did change how I thought, and how the rest of my body felt. All of the focus, whenever I walked, went to the injury. I did not notice that the rest of my body was working just fine. I did not think about the fact that I still had the ability to move around. My physical focus was on the injury, and as a result everything else was also out of kilter. My back started to bother me. My balance was just slightly off.
Isn't it a bit like that when we focus on hurts or damage that have happened to us in the past? Certainly we need to acknowledge them, not stuff them or pretend that they did not happen. However, it is one thing to expose pain to the light of day so that we may examine it and its effects before moving on. It is quite another to spend the rest of our lives focusing the spotlight on it, shaping our attitudes, our relationships, and our memories around that pain. The first is healthy, the second can cripple us.
When I made a conscious effort not to limp, not to walk as if the injury was an ongoing and constant reminder of a moment of sudden pain, I found that moving around was much less difficult, that my eyes went more easily to the skies instead of to my feet, and as a result life became more enjoyable despite the discomfort in my ankle.
Whether the pain is emotional or physical, unless it is of the all-encompassing type that needs medical or therapeutic attention, try to not let it occupy center stage. You have better things in your life to give that space to.
Copyright Diana Robinson 2004. For more information visit Diana's web
site http://ChoiceCoach.com or contact her at Diana@ChoiceCoach.com.
Copyright 2004 Diana Robinson, PhD., PCC. Work in Progress may be reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line. Disclaimer -The contents herein are solely the opinions of Work in Progress owner, and should not be considered as a form of therapy nor advice. There is no guarantee of validity or accuracy. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
2604 Elmwood Avenue #230
Rochester, NY 14618
This Is A Pen: Keeping Mindfulness Simple
In the early eighties, I was teaching English in northern rural Japan. Far from the neon frenzy of Tokyo, Mutsu was a sleepy coastal town with spectacular scenery and almost no foreigners.
I attracted a great deal of attention wherever I went. People followed me in the grocery store, curious about my every purchase. Children's eyes would pop out of their heads and they'd launch into their excited "Gaijin!" ("Foreigner!") dance until their embarrassed mothers shushed them.
Students in Japan start learning English in middle school, so whenever a group of 12-year-olds (and they always traveled in groups) spotted me, they would erupt in giggles and shout the phrases they knew:
"Hello!" "I love you!" "Thank you very much!"
Oh, and one more phrase: "This is a pen." Not a standard greeting, to be sure, but this is one of the very first English sentences learned by Japanese students. It's right there, in Chapter One of their textbooks.
Beginning English speakers in Japan have a tendency to mispronounce their ending consonants, so this phrase comes out sounding something like: "THEE-su EE-su Uh PEN-nu."
No matter. I'd smile and wave, happy that they were attempting to speak to me at all. (I'd save the pronunciation lesson for class.)
I'm reminded of this when I teach clients about mindfulness because one of the most important ways to develop our attention is to learn to name our thoughts. We recognize a thought, name it, and move on to the next one that inevitably arises.
Note it. Name it. Next! Repeat. No need for embellishment, and no need to attach "I" to it in any way. You are not your thoughts.
You've probably read about "beginner's mind" in books about Zen, and this refers to our natural tendency to jump from thought to thought. Training your mind is sort of like training a puppy--there will be lots of meandering, and you simply have to have patience, forgiveness, and a sense of humor.
I view beginner's mind in a different way. Instead of overcoming beginner's mind, why not embrace it? It is a powerful tool in helping us keep things simple and spare.
When a thought or emotion arises, we note it and name it as though we have only the most basic language skills. We don't say, "I am terribly angry right now." or "This is that same stupid anger I feel every time I think about my boss." or "I can't believe I am angry again!" Instead, we say simply, "This is anger." or even better: "Anger"
Those beginning students of English in Japan started with the most basic phrase: "This is a/an ____." What a perfect starting place! They didn't have the skills to say "This is a black plastic Spider-Man pen with blue ink that my aunt gave me." They kept it simple and focused on the noun only.
When you note your thoughts or emotions, be a beginner. Name them in the most basic way you can, and let them go. You can always examine these later, if you like, but when you are engaged in your "thought parade" exercise, pretend you can barely speak English. Learning a new language? Use THAT language to name your thoughts as they come up. Limit your language and expand your mindfulness.
"Hello!" "I love you!" "Thank you very much."
Fun With Haiku
One of the most fun ways to limit language is to play with haiku. Since scribbling out a book in haiku style over the holidays, I find myself limiting words in my head and even speaking in five-syllable or seven-syllable phrases without trying!
Just picture yourself at a parade--calm, watching.
You're a spectator.
Oh, look! Here comes a thought now, heading right this way.
And now it is here right in front of you, standing in all its glory.
You see it clearly.
What shall you call it? Label it quickly, right now.
How about "mother" or "food" or "money" or "sex"?
Call it what you will.
Note it. Name it. Next!
You are not this float--it fades.
You're a spectator.
Want To Try?
Want to try your hand at this? It's simple and fun. Three lines: five syllables, then seven, then five.
Send me your haiku on mindfulness, and I'll share my favorites in a future issue. Let me know your name, city and state/country, and please limit your entries to ONE five-seven-five stanza.
Go--have fun with it!
Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse offering specialized mindfulness training to individuals and groups in Portland, Oregon. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 100 countries. To subscribe to her free ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, please visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.
©Copyright 2004, Maya Talisman Frost
52 Best Stories – Our U.S. Military and the Tsunami
Good Morning Maureen,
One of our Reader's sons is on the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln which was the first U.S. ship to arrive to help the Tsunami survivors in Indonesia.
This is an email that he sent home. It tells a lot about the conditions on land...and it tells us a lot about our military and the men and women that are in it.
With Kind Regards, Sandy
Yesterday and today was a busy day. A lot of bodies were recovered and we are in the process of putting teams together to hit the beach again today. Debris is everywhere even 2 miles off the beach. We passed 4 floating TV's, couches, beds, dishes, clothing. It was like the entire town was pulled into the sea.
We had a lot of problems when landing the helos in remote villages when people, starving and scared, rushed the helos for food. The pilots had no chance for safety and had to immediately take off, so they dropped the food while hovering. Our entire Medical unit went in today to help with the sick and injured.
Everyone onboard has spent every last penny of their own pay depleting the ships store of food, clothing, water, batteries to donate to shore. Even care packages from home are being given to send to the beach to help. Today's youth has put on an impressive display the last couple of days with the sacrifices they have made. They are giving everything they have to these people.
Lack of sleep and a drive to make a difference are what I have seen. The families of these kids should be proud of what I see. Dealing with death and disaster is not easy and some of the things we have witnessed would humble the strongest of most, but they keep going.
Everyone is safe as far as disease is concerned. We get shots each day. The ones of us going to the beach have been taking Malaria pills, which we will be required to take for a while after we leave.
We go in early in the morning, but because of logistics we have to leave before nightfall. We do as much as we can, but more is needed. More ships in our fleet are on the way here, but they are out a ways. We were the first ones here and have been operating solo until this morning when the Indonesian Navy came through.
The Chaplains have been doing defusing on us as we return from the beach to help reduce Post traumatic syndrome. Everyone wants to stay ashore and have a hard time leaving with the people watching us leave. It is hard because they are always happy to see us and most cry and just hold on to you for comfort.
The Captain said that only 20% of the population where we are survived. I know the news has been saying 94,000 have perished, but it is much more than that. Illnesses have started to break out and people that were already sick have been dying. Those injured are getting sicker.
Our Doctors and medical team have been doing the best they can to stop it and have saved quite a few. We only hope for all to pull through, but it is going to be tough to stop. I am going to get some rest and wait to get called.
We have 11 helos operating right now and once the rest of the fleet gets here we will have much more. About 1,600 out of the 6,000 crew members are being utilized for support ashore. I will email more as it comes up.
Dan Rather flew onboard this morning and is staying on board to cover the story. Everything is being done that can be done. The rest is up to a more powerful force than us. Well, that's all for now.
Take care all. Brian
BMC(SW) BRIAN A. CISSELL
DECK DEPARTMENT / 1st DIVISION LCPO
USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72)
One Man’s Australia
Sunday too far away
Australia has been up to its armpits in dealing with the consequences of the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
It happened on a Sunday.
Within minutes of detecting the earthquake computer models at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Honolulu and Geosciences Australia in Canberra began to indicate that a tsunami was possible in the Indian Ocean. They were in routine communication with each other as part of the Pacific tsunami warning system.
Canberra activated emergency units between Broome and Cape Leewin on the northwest and west coasts. In the event only three people were swept into the sea by the tsunami when it arrived - at Busselton. All three were rescued.
At that point the frustrations began.
• There were no tsunami detecting buoys or tidal surge detectors available in the Indian Ocean to detect the tsunami if it occurred - or to measure its size and speed.
• They had no means of communicating directly with their counterparts round the Indian Ocean - especially on a Sunday.
Except one - the cyclone warning link between the Bureau of Meteorology in Canberra and the Indian Meteorological Office. So, mindful that a tsunami would take approximately 2 1/2 hours to cross from Sumatra to southern India, BuMet warned IMO that a tsunami was possibly heading for the Indian coast.
IMO staff appear to have been nonplussed. Earthquakes were not part of their normal function. In the event, some 1 1/2 hours later they decided to disturb their Minister's Sunday and sent a fax - unfortunately to the wrong address.
In the meantime, around an hour after the earthquake the Indian Air Force headquarters had been informed that their facilities on the Andaman islands had been wiped out by the tsunami. This was information of immediate importance from the point of view of National Security and therefore classified.
By the time authorisation had been given to release it the tsunami had already arrived.
The Australian Government has considerable experience in dealing with the aftermath of tsunamis that have hit developing countries in the region. The most recent has been the one that wiped out part of the north coast of Papua New Guinea a couple of years ago.
In order to save lives speed of response is the essence. The Government accordingly decided to focus on Aceh in Indonesia because it is the closest to Australia. It was also the worst hit. Within hours C130s were loading army engineers with water purification plants and field hospitals. Chartered Antonov transports were arriving to load Vietnam War vintage Iroquois helicopters - selected because they could be loaded two at a time.
The navy was loading an invasion ship with earthmoving equipment, tank landing craft to get it ashore (because the ports were destroyed) and heavy helicopters.
Within 48 hours the Australian Government also promised the Indonesian Government US$760 million in direct Government-to-Government aid. This ruffled feathers considerably because it by-passed the UN and the World Bank, besides other normal aid organisations.
However there is method in this course of action. The Australian Government gets to supervise where the aid is going. Indonesia is notoriously corrupt and generic aid has historically had so much siphoned off along the pipeline that little has got through to those for whom it has been intended.
The US Government was also quick off the mark and the USS Abraham Lincoln arrived off Banda Aceh within days. It was not equipped to land heavy equipment across beaches but it had 11 invaluable helicopters on board with effectively limitless fuel supplies and a fully functioning capability to maintain them in flying condition indefinitely.
The Indonesian Government wanted the helicopters but were not enamored of having the anchored USS Abraham Lincoln dominating the view (and the newsreel cameras). So they forced it to leave without asking it to leave by the simple expedient of giving the USN the choice of leaving for international waters or having their fixed-wing pilots lose their combat readiness. They closed Indonesian airspace to the USS Abraham Lincoln's combat aircraft.
The two worst hit regions - Aceh in Indonesia and Sri Lanka have been in the throes of savage insurrections for decades.
For years all foreigners, foreign media and foreign aid organisations have been banned from Aceh. It is a measure of the size of the disaster that they were permitted to go in.
The Indonesian Government is now re-establishing control by trammeling the movement of aid organisations with the requirement for military permits and military escorts for any movements outside two specified towns, one of which is Banda Aceh. It has required US Marines to be unarmed when on shore and to return to their ships at night.
It has also set a deadline of March 26th for all foreign military personnel to leave. As it is a sovereign Government this requirement will be met.
The Australian aid will linger on as a festering sore.
The Indonesian Government will want to keep the money but dispense with the supervision. The Australian Government will resist this because the Australian taxpayers will hold their Government responsible for ensuring that every dollar reaches those in need and does not end up, as previous aid historically has, lining the pockets of the military and political elites.
It is for the same reason that the Australian Government has opposed the forgiveness of debt by other countries. It will benefit only the elites who were responsible for incurring it.
The economy of Indonesia is essentially unaffected by the disaster. The oil and gas fields of Aceh, which are essential to the Indonesian economy, were operating again within hours of the tsunami.
The people who have been wiped out are almost all subsistence farmers and fishermen who were marginal to the economy.
How matters are going to develop is uncertain. Islamic fundamentalists are flooding into Aceh to ensure that the Western aid does not bring with it a corruption of the people by evangelism or any other influence.
Aceh is known as Mecca's Window. It is the place where Islam started to convert previously Hindu Indonesia.
The Muslims there (as in most of Indonesia) are orthodox and mostly appear to consider the fundamentalists as deviants.
The Indonesian military is under-funded as a matter of Government policy. It is expected to be partly self-funded by "living off the land" in the communities in which it finds itself. It runs profitable businesses such as logging and mining, being greatly assisted by being able to grant approval for its own senior officers' business ventures.
So the Indonesian military will be desperate to get its hands on aid funds. One possible way of doing this is by requiring funds to improve security, which can be facilitated by arranging attacks on aid organisations.
Indonesia has made great progress towards democracy in the years since 1998 when we were airlifted out of Surabaya, as Indonesian students - children of the elites - pursued reform from the Suharto regime and mobs burned ethnic Chinese businesses to the ground all around us.
When I went back a couple of months later I was convinced that Indonesia would lurch towards an Islamic Fundamentalist government. It has not.
But I am curious to see if the leopard can change its spots so fast.
Getting Onto The Ladder
I was on the top of a very high, convex, brown concrete sculpture. Far below me, people were happily milling around and laughing in a plaza, eating ice cream and playing with their children. I couldn’t move backwards or forwards as I was afraid of slipping off this dome that I was on, and fall to my death below - I was really afraid. Then, in front of me I suddenly saw a steel ladder! (By now, you have probably correctly guessed that this was a dream I had – last night.) The ladder was my only hope of salvation and the only way to safety, yet it was even scarier to reach out and get onto the ladder! It was easier to remain perched precariously on this concrete sculpture, terrified as I was, than to try to climb onto the ladder.
I called down to the plaza below, and some kind workmen agreed to assist me to get onto the ladder. It seemed pretty flimsy to me, and it had to be pushed over towards me so that I could gain a foothold. Two workmen held the ladder closer to me, one on each side, while a third climbed up in front of me to guide me. He assured me that the ladder was quite safe, and he adjusted it so that I could climb on, and then he told me that I had to lean out into space, let go of my handholds on the dome and grab the ladder! This was the scariest part of all. I had to let go of what little security I had in order to climb down to safety. I was frozen with fear. Then a fourth workman climbed up, got right next to me and held my arm tightly, while I finally reached out and grabbed the ladder. Once I was on the ladder, relief washed over me and the strain lifted off me. I was soon climbing down to the plaza below to the welcoming cheers of the people. What a dream!
I awoke from this dream realizing that it was an analogy of life. We create sculptures in our lives and we get ourselves into difficult circumstances. And when we look again, we find ourselves in scary situations. We realize that things are getting worse and that we have to do something before it’s too late. Often, we don’t even see the solutions / ladders available to us, as we’re blinded by panic and blindfolded by stress. And, when we do see the ladders, we perceive our present situation as being less dangerous than climbing out onto that precarious looking ladder, don’t we? We want what those people in the plaza below have so badly, yet we’re paralyzed, and the more we analyze the situation, the harder it gets to break free.
Those of us in the plaza below see the casualties, the broken lives and the bankruptcies of those who wait too long on those high, slippery domes they have built. It’s sad to know that there were solutions and salvation, ladders and liberation available to them, but they chose not to take advantage of it. And we do understand how difficult it is to make the transition from our current situation.
So, what we need is those caring and skilled workmen to get up here on this dangerous dome with us and help us get onto the ladder. Fortunately, there are good people who can assist us and there are many tools available as well. But we have to call those workmen and tell them we need their help. And, when they kindly offer it, we have to be prepared to take their advice and follow their instructions if we want to party in the plaza and enjoy the relief and peace of mind that is available to us at the bottom of the ladder. That ladder might be our own business, a diet, Alcoholics Anonymous, business solutions, a spiritual path or marriage counseling. The good news is that there are solutions and there are wonderful people to help you. For your own sake, and for the sake of those who love you, grab the ladder.
God, for His own inscrutable reasons, has thought it fit to pick out some unfortunate souls and burden them with a yearning for a life best described as exotic. Or, as Robert Graves would have had it, not God, but the White Goddess; she who curses and blesses in one. Fact is, some men have had their escapes into the exotic – Gauguin his Pacific island, Thomas Mann his Venice, Ernest Hemmingway his Spain – with a mixture of results. Perhaps it is a superfluity of the too well known, perhaps it is merely a desire to escape from between the barriers or the rat race course, but this yearning, this aching longing to be where mores and words are different, where even the buildings creak old and different tales, where the air smells and tastes completely unlike anything we have ever known is as much part of some men (and I would guess women, too) as their personalities.
Oh, I know I have bored countless people to the point of cursing me aloud by my ever-recurring references to “my” island. My apologies. I apologise as much and as profoundly as I would apologise to a Russian for not being able to speak his language. You see, I am one of those I could call the Seduced. Blessed to have been able to taste paradise, yet cursed to have lost it. And paradise it is, despite the damp on the walls, crumbling stucco, noisy plumbing and cigarette butts between the tiny cobbles of the pavements. It is paradise because in it I was totally alien, yet accepted as a human being. It is paradise because the very place breathes a history so old it makes most others seem as recent as the latest episode of a daily soap opera. For me it is paradise also because half of me still reeks of garlic, albeit Protestant garlic. The blood of my Huguenot forefathers and of their Cathar forebears still rumble in my veins, strong enough most of the time to drown the feeble gurgling of the watery Dutch fluid brought to me by my mother’s side of the family. So, when I found myself surrounded by the descendants of the people who gave the Templars shelter; whose own history is also a convoluted tale of the blending of Celtic and Latin, I was at home. Paradise attained.
Bear with me. I know I do not owe any of you an explanation, but beyond being an explanation of the state of affairs in this fellow’s soul, this is also meant as a consolation for the other Seduced out there. You will recognise yourself in these words, I am sure, if you do not already know that you are one. For the rest of you, fortunate beings among all the sons and daughters of mankind, this is really meant as an explanation why some of us are just so damned weird!
What exactly it is that makes some of us dream for the vita exotica I cannot explain in the few words at my disposal. Let us just say that we are the eternally discontented ones outside our own little paradises. Oh, I love this place I am in now. I love the waterfalls, the billabongs, the golden beaches, the dark and brooding eucalypt forests, the hills and rocky outcrops, the marvel of Melbourne and the quirkiness of the people here. I love them well enough to feel free to take the mickey with them ever so often, to laugh at them when they take themselves so dreadfully seriously and to voice my amazement at what they do to the English language. It’s the kind of love that permits these little acts of loyal resistance. I am happy here, very much so, and count myself doubly or even trebly fortunate to be able to be here. The alternatives at one stage were too dreadful even to recall…
But... the day the aircraft went silent as it sank through the clouds on its approach to the airport of São Miguel, my entire being was shifted, just as one’s entire hitherto existence suddenly and irrevocably becomes feeble and grey when one meets the love of one’s life. Everything before becomes a vague dream, an unreality, almost as if it were someone else’s life, not one’s very own. The beauty of the place played its role, of course, as did its history, its very quality of being exotic; the warmth and generosity of the people helped, too, as did the climate and the almost tangibly fresh air, an air so clean it has a distinct fragrance that beggars description. But all these things together still do not explain why the island became paradise to me. It was, in fact, as though I had suddenly come home after a long illness in a foreign country. Perhaps it is like awakening from a years-long coma. Except it was a coma of the soul.
One needs, I suspect, to have artistic pretensions, if not a fully-blown talent as an artist. Or else to have what my mother always called my “artistic temperament” when she could not make sense of my mood. Perhaps one needs to be a dreamer, an idealist. Or perhaps one needs to be “maladjusted” to everyday life… or all of these. Otherwise this craving of the soul to be in a place as totally different as possible from everyday life does not seem to afflict people, except for the occasional twinge of wishful thinking or formless desire to “live on a tropical island”. More, I surmise that what drove Hemingway, Gauguin, Mann and countless others to remote localities where they were totally unknown, where they could indulge and participate in customs and habits completely alien to anything in their pasts, was an irreconcilable discontent with everyday life, with the humdrum and the rat race. Also, I suspect that every artist or hoping-to-be artist has this dream that an exotic location will inspire him or her; that a completely foreign air will awaken the masterpiece we all so fondly hope is gestating in the murky womb of our creativity and bring it forth to blaze a glorious path through the history of mankind. It could also just be that we feel the need to satisfy a restlessness of the soul, or that we simply wish to escape our daily selves…
Whatever the reason, it helps of course that we can, in moments of self-pity, see ourselves as exiles, even though we are usually voluntary exiles, and remember that with the hangover the next day! But what are we exiles from? Only ourselves, I have to admit. The voluntary exile always has the option open of adapting to and blending in with the world he or she does not feel his or her own, even though born into it. I have ceased to think of myself as an exile. I now know that I was meant to embark on an adventure that is called life, a life beyond and much richer than the existence I knew before my aeroplane left the runway of Cape Town International for the first time. It would turn out to be an adventure that would take me to far corners of the world, would bring intense joy and near-debilitating heartbreak. But it would never again be humdrum.
What is more, I now know that I was meant to taste my own piece of paradise for a while, so that my soul could awaken and so that I could at last see clearly that life is wonderful and beautiful, thorns and all. I had to find my paradise and leave it again in order to realise that, no matter where my body goes, my spirit does have a home on this planet…I have also had to come to the realisation that, though I may have the dust of the Karoo ingrained in my skin, the mountains of the Cape engraved on my retina and the wideness of South African skies in my heart, I am not of any one country. For better or for worse, I have grown from a South African child into a world man…
Will I ever set foot in paradise again? I do not know. I do not know what tomorrow may bring, nor where I will be in a year’s time. Oh, I have my dreams and hopes, yes, but the last few years since I set out on this great adventure have also taught me that nothing is certain. So I do not make predictions about my own future – others have a say in that, too, no matter what I may want. Yes, I would like to spend my last few years in my own little corner of paradise on earth, but that is asking for a lot – too much, perhaps.
What I do know is that I have been seduced by paradise, and will therefore never again be the same man I was before I lay eyes on those green hills and pewter seas shimmering under an oceanic sun. It is a burden I carry, but carry with pleasure, even when it brings tears to my eyes.
Raytheron at iprimus.com.au
No queries received this week.
This from Maggie Smith (Matla) MaggieS@eyesizwe.co.za
Some information for Christine (SAW 13/12/04), who was inquiring about work for her sister and her boyfriend in the UK. Well, my two daughter are over in the UK at the moment, they have been there for nearly a year now. They are there on a 2yr working holiday maker visa.
What we did was go through an agency in Pretoria, Sure Youth Travel - Tel: +27 12 3622092.
They were very helpful and really very good. They help you with all the forms, with your visa, coach you on how to handle the interview with the British Consulate, booking of plane tickets, etc. And the best was that they were not expensive either.
I am sure that if Christine's sister phones them and they are not close to Pretoria, Sure Youth will be able recommend another agency near to them.
If you are looking for a lost friend... if you would like old friends to contact you... If you want to find old school friends... if you just want people who used to know you to find you again for a chat...
Send in your info, the info of anyone you are looking for and let’s see if we can find them for you!
Further to our request for "Lost Relatives"
Maxwell & Buddy Keith thought to be late 70-80 yrs
Buddy wife Jill, one son Anthony was International Polo player for Zimbabwe (Bulawayo)
Buddy a Farmer,Maxwell a Vet on Game reserve
I am Diane (nee Gardiner) Paul, cousin to Buddy & Maxwell
I have an older sister Audrey
A brother (now Deceased) Lionel
All from Lewisham London, England
Hi, I'm returning to SA in May of this year and would like to try and find some old friends. Their names are Iain and Heather Talbot. Iain worked at Shell House in Durban and he and Heather lived in Kloof. I left SA in Nov. 1989 and have not seen them since. Heather was a gem helping me with my newborn son and I would really like for her to see how Warren has grown into a fine young man.
If anyone knows how to contact them please let me know. Thanks for the help.
I was wondering if anybody knows the where abouts of these school friends of mine:-
Witbank High School Standard 9, 1978
(Editor’s note... for large image check out the SAW web site).
Please email me at
I am living in Jersey and subscribe to this SAW which I really love receiving. For about 18 years I have been desperately trying to find my friend and her son. We all lived and worked in Zimbabwe and then they left for South Africa, still kept in touch, and then I left for Jersey (my place of birth) and we continued corresponding. That was in about 1985 and they stopped contacting me, I thought they might have moved. I have advertised in magazines with no luck, I have asked for help from different friends. No Luck. Now I am trying here. Her name is Carol Knepscheld and her son is Troy Knepscheld. They lived in Evander in 1984 (that is definite). Troy is listed as having an email but when I have tried it, it was unsuccessful so he has probably changed his email for some reason. Please help if you can. I might add that we are in the middle of a hailstorm at the moment. Not like you lucky people enjoying sunshine! Best wishes and thanks.
Denise Hopkins, 10 Bagatelle Parade, Five Oaks, Jersey, JE2 7TP. Channel Islands.
We have decided to do our share for the Asian Floods and donate all profits from our annual Carnival Party. So please support us and come along and have a great evening, please could you hang the attached poster in your office and sell as many tickets as possible. Remember this is all for a good cause. Some great prizes to be won and lots of fun to be had!
Please pass on to anyone you think might be interested.
We need as much advertising as possible.
Pat and Elaine
South African club of Luxembourg invites you to attend their annual carnival party
At the Check in, Findel Tel: 42 35 85
On Saturday 26th February 2005, 20h30
Featuring the South African group "Fade to Gray"
Let us keep with the spirit and wear some form of fancy dress.
There will be prizes for the best, worst and funniest outfit.
Euro 10.00 per person
Profits will be donated to UNICEF for the Tsunami relief efforts.
For bookings call Pat on tel: 88 90 54 or Elaine on tel: 021 397 586
The Golden Years
This from Errolimpala@wmconnect.com
I worked forty-five years for someone else so that I could retire.
I dreamed of sleeping late snd sitting by the fire.
I dreamed of long vacations, enjoying stage and song.
But, let me set you straight on that concept, it is simply wrong.
I did junk my safety glasses and the work boots that cramped my toes.
But, the rest of it had a mind of its own and this is how it goes.
My wife had been thinking of retirement and had plans of her own.
She had spent much time with the kids but, now they are grown and gone.
We sold our cattle and horses so we wouldn't have that chore.
I poured concrete over my alarm clock but, I still wake up at four.
I get my eyes checked on Monday. Ann gets hers checked the next day.
I go for a colon check on Wednesday and pass my wife going the other way.
I have a dental appointment on Thursday. Ann goes for a test on her heart.
Friday we go get prescriptions filled and browse a while at Wal-Mart.
Saturdays we just stay home and try to get the paper work right.
We can't take any over-night trips 'cause we can't see to drive at night.
Restroom confusion keeps us out of church on Sunday and we really do hate that.
There's nothing wrong with the restrooms, we just can't remember where they're at.
We don't need to plan next week, just make sure we can drive.
And not forget where the hospitals and clinics are. We'll need them to survive.
Once a week we visit the cemetery and it seems more like home each time we go.
I look around at the headstones and see everyone I know.
So, don't build your castles too high, my friend, while strolling through the clover.
This is a typical week in retirement and on Monday we start all over!
This is the cake that I made for Captain Ken and I for breakfast at the Dam:
Applesauce Snack Cake (Fat free!) - recipe from Vegsource.com
2 cups flour, unbleached white or other*
1 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour) or arrowroot powder
2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice, slightly rounded
1/4 tsp cloves, pinch dried ginger
1 cup brown sugar
20 ounces plain unsweetened applesauce (2&1/2 cups)**
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Oil any one of the following pans: 9x9-inch square pan, 8x12-inch pan, a round cake pan or heavy oven-proof skillet with a diameter anywhere from 10&1/2 to 12 inches, or for thinner cake bars you can use a 9x13-inch pan.
Combine everything except the brown sugar, applesauce, and raisins in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre. Mix the brown sugar into the applesauce, and add that to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl along with the raisins. Stir just until no trace of flour is left, and then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the cake just passes the toothpick test. The time will be longer for the smaller pans since the batter is thicker, and shorter for the larger pans.
*Homestyle version: I usually use about 1/2 cup oat bran, 1&1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, and 3 Tbsp wheat germ for a homey whole grain version. That’s really 1 tsp too much flours in all, so you can remove 1 tsp from any one of those if you like.
**For a richer cake, you may substitute up to 1/2 a cup of oil for an equal amount of the applesauce. So for instance, use 2 cups applesauce with 1/2 cup oil, or 2&1/4 cups applesauce with 1/4 cup oil. This is really a very tasty cake without any oil though!
Depleted England crash out [Scotsman.com]
An injury-hit England side lost the fourth and final Test match in Pretoria 3-1 to South Africa – and with it went the series 2-1.
German cash launches cup challenge [CNN]
America's Cup challengers Team Shosholoza netted one of the top sponsorship deals in South African sport on Tuesday with a 100 million rand ($16.53m) injection.
South African sport affected by brain drain [SABC News]
South African sport, and culture in general, is continuing to be adversely affected by the brain drain. The country's top exponents are plying their trade overseas and local sport is suffering.
Sydney to host north v south game [BBC]
Sydney will host a northern versus southern hemisphere charity match in June or July, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said on Wednesday.
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