Sunday, October 29, 2017

DANKE SOUTH AFRICA



Before you even get a chance to properly pronounce their names, our tour guides on this incredible journey in South Africa were professing their love for their country. I share their sentiments, even as an outsider, I am drawn to this beautiful country.  We landed in Johannesburg, 50 of us had made this trip to the "Joy of Jazz festival" where we swayed and rocked to the sounds coming from the instruments of the skilled  musicians.  I did not see Hugh Masekahla, one of my all time favorites.  I later learned that because of illness he had to cancel. Those that I was fortunate to see put on a show.  I was dazzled by the energy of the performers, young and old, they were in a class of their own.

We spent two days in the wilderness with the majestic animals. On our first evening out, we began our search for the Big 5 and we were lucky to see the elephant, lion, leopard and rhino. We drove around in the dark, searching and none of my travel companions seemed to mind the fierce winds, the threatening rain; we all wanted that 5th animal, the elusive cape buffalo.  Two more outings out in the wild, searching and hoping but the cape buffalo never made an appearance.  The springbok, South Africa's national animal was plentiful.  This beautiful animal can live without drinking water for years, just by eating succulent vegetation.

Our tour of Soweto and learning of it's history, was an important part of this trip. Our visit to the Mandela Museum, viewing his life's journey left me in awe. We mingled with the bus loads of tourists who were just as curious to learn of this awesome man and the sacrifices he made.

We made our way to drop dead Cape Town.  The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront shopping center houses many shops and wonderful treasures.  Our cable ride to the famous table mountain was breathtaking.  As we trekked our way around the mountain, I am so at peace in the surroundings.

We spent an evening in the home of a South African jazz musician, who fed us and entertained us with a local band.  We sang, we danced and ate good tasting South African dishes, prepared and served by the hands of his family who showed joy in mingling with us.

Our shopping excursions were quick, bargaining with the vendors done at high speed.  Apart from the one you are negotiating with,out of the corner of your eyes are other vendors queuing up, waiting their turn to to grab you for a look at their merchandise.  I must admit I don't do well in this haste and bustle; mostly because there are too many choices and truthfully I cannot blame the merchants for going for the best price they can get.  My soft spot wants to pay them the best price, especially for their hard work.

This is not my first trip to South Africa and if I  have my way it will not be the last.  I am always in admiration of the beauty of Cape Town. Everything in its place, clean streets, modern looking buildings, even the aging ones show beauty. There is this willingness to share its beauty and eventually you will surrender.  The city beckons to you, to explore it, not to be afraid.
Johannesburg has its own share of beauty;it is vibrant, the residents seem happy go lucky.  They invite you to join them and will not wait for you to make up your mind, with outstretched hands, they take you along.

We covered a lot of grounds  in a short time.  From a trip to see the Penguins, a whole colony of them, the museum of apartheid, Pretoria, wine tour, eating at the Braai, (barbecue)that offered a spread of food and entertainment, all lasting memories.  I overdosed on my favorite Rooibos tea and came away with different ways to prepare this South African red bush tea.

Jo'Burg, as it is affectionately called and Cape Town offer different experiences, but for sure, they share the sense of community.  This is the spirit of the new South Africa.

UBUNTU!("I am what I am because of who we all are")

Thursday, September 21, 2017

THE BRAGGART

                                 She flashes her freshly straightened hair
                                 Twists it in a coil, drops it again
                                 An action that continues,as if a nervous tic has set in
                                 That is the case I suspect but even bigger than that
                                  is the ego, otherwise known as
                                  ATTENTION GRABBER
                                  That has taken over


                                   Her action screams "look at me"
                                   Her eyes are dashing and a slight smile
                                   Appears on her hardened face
                                   Like a bull she is ready to charge
                                   She is sitting on a high horse
                                    She is climbing Mt. Everest
                                    She becomes that peacock, with wide-spread wings


                                     Where are the little people she shouted in anger
                                     Don't they know who I am?
                                     Why aren't they screaming out my achievements?
                                     I will show them a thing or two
                                     Her face gets harder, that wicked smile gets wider
                                     Spelling  revenge
                                     She pinned another badge of her high standing
                                     On her heavy laden lapel
                                     Let me see them top that!


                                       There is nothing else for me to do, she declared
                                        I know it all, I have done it all
                                        She closed her eyes and beat on her chest
                                        Satisfied with her grading of self





Saturday, August 19, 2017

SEEDS OF HOPE



"Help me to help them was the cry.
And you all came running.
Banding together for a kinder world."
psw/With Gratitude
                                                                  
We were able to get much needed funds through Macy's yearly "Shop For A Cause" project.  This year we were caught by surprise by what is known as CrowdRise Funding.  All donations were handled on-line.  Thanks to the team members who galvanized their friends and families to help us raise $2,184. Thanks to the donors, no matter what your contribution was.


Choose To Care also won one of CrowdRise's  challenge which netted $500.  Now we are able to change the lives of many more kids in need at home and in distant lands.



"If you think you are too small to have an impact, try
to go to bed with a mosquito."
Anita Roddick


Yours in Service


SMALL STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING

Today, August 19, is CHOOSE TO CARE's Back To School Shoe Distribution Event, to help youths in need who reside in Corona, Queens.  This was an unforgettable day for the youngsters and their families; they received a brand new pair of shoes, joined in fun activities about healthy living and best of all, enjoyed a delicious snack, falafel served with  a dressing made of yogurt, cucumber, and dill.  Who knew that kids would ask for a second serving of this vegetarian delight. We talked about the brain boosting ingredients of this recipe, from garbanzo beans to yogurt and how the ingredients feed our brains. We have begun to use Choose To Care's platform to have kids and their families get on the path to a healthier lifestyle.  Sometimes parents say that their children will not eat certain foods but that's because they never give them a chance to try new things.  They left with the recipe to prepare at home.

We are also passionate about saving the planet and have added simple ways to do so.  Grow NYC has amazing tips on an easy to carry card, that we gave away at this event.  The three R's(Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) will become rooted in our mission.

Choose To Care's shoe distribution was launched in 2008, after a trip to Brazil, where I noticed kids were barefooted, leaving them vulnerable to disease.  Nine years later, thousands of pairs of shoes  given away and we are still going strong, taking our efforts to other States and other Continents.

Thanks to the families and children who answered our invitation.
Thanks to the father who stood up and gave a testimonial on his path to a healthier lifestyle.
This impromptu show of pride, sealed the day's mission; not only did the kids leave with a brand new pair of shoes, fulfilling Choose To Care's goal, but they heard from a parent that small changes are easier to make and stick to and can deliver big results.
Thanks to the members of Nutritionists And Friends In Action(NAFIA) team, who were involved in preparing for this fantastic day.
Thanks to Choose To Care, the small organization with big ambition.  We are thrilled that we are all on this journey together to gain healthy new habits.

We will get up and walk, pace or just move whenever possible.
We will consider the environment.
We will eat sharp and sensible to improve our physical and mental health.

"Service my friends
strengthens the very
fiber of our community.
You made the decision
to be part of this,
and we welcome
your participation."

psw/With Gratitude To You{NAFIA TEAM)

Friday, August 4, 2017

WE ARE THERE FOR THEM - EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

August 19, is fast approaching and the women of the mighty and humble Nutritionists And Friends In Action (NAFIA) group are busy assisting with Choose To Care's BACK TO SCHOOL SHOE DISTRIBUTION event.  We are oh so excited to meet our precious young children.

At this event, falafel and whole wheat bread will take center stage.  All the ingredients that make up this nutritious sandwich(chick peas, olive oil, whole grain, etc) are brain boosters and we will tell them about these brain development foods through a fun activity.

But wait, we are not done yet, what is a Choose To care - NAFIA event without movement? Whether it is the latest dance craze or simply raising the hands, moving the neck, rolling the shoulders,stepping to the left, stepping to the right; we certainly will have everyone moving.

The environment is on our mind too, making it safe and knowing it is our responsibility to protect the earth.  Pulling together is paying off.  We are excited to plan and participate in each event and spend a few hours at what we call "cultivating young lives" so they can grow healthy,step by step.


This year Macy's took their fundraising a step further, allowing qualified non profit organizations to fundraise online.  Thanks to all the generous donors, you are there for them too.

The NAFIA group has focused on the goal of helping the children and their families thrive and this story of the collaboration with Choose To Care should be shouted on every street corner.  They have
stepped up to every calling.

Way to go NAFIA women!

Spread joy wherever you go.

Cheers!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

EASING ON DOWN TO KINDNESS ROAD

                                         She cried out to no one in particular
                                         Hoping anyone and everyone would
                                         Hear her plea.
                                         "This is not a hard road to travel," she said
                                         "Come let me show you how
                                          Get ready for a journey down Kindness Road"

                                          Fret not if you come across a bump,
                                          Here and there.
                                          First timers may feel a bit sore,
                                          But on your next round
                                          You will make it without a moan.

                                           Just point to the way to Kindness Road
                                           She shows him, he shows another
                                           To the left, To the right, Around the bend
                                           You can't miss it.
                                            Any turn will lead to Kindness Road

                                            "What if I have a change of heart?" you ask
                                             Too late, says the Genie
                                             That's the wish granted to your fellowmen
                                             And it has spread like wildfire
                                             Any Street, Any Lane, The Alley, The Avenue
                                             Will take you down Kindness Road
                                             There you will find them,
                                              Joyfully banding together
                                              For a kinder world.


psw/from:"Wishes For A Better World"

Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE PLOT THICKENS

                                         Her body is erect
                                         Straight as an arrow
                                         With her head held high
                                          She moves with caution
                                         Aware of the proverbial knife in her back
                                          She has no fear
                                          As she waits for the one


                                            Hateful Dora has a plan
                                            I know I can, I know I can
                                            Let's begin a blame game
                                            And scandalize her name
                                            At things like this I am a pro
                                            I will let everyone know she is a foe
                                            Already I can feel the delightful glow
                                            Wow this is hot
                                             Come on, let's thicken this plot


                                             Join me, let's show her a thing or two
                                             Working together is not hard to do
                                              Let's pull her down
                                              And make her frown
                                              In her pitiful self, she will drown
                                              And at last, they will hand me the crown


                                             The plan they thought was tightly woven
                                              Fell apart as was proven
                                              And the one they wish to conquer
                                              held her head to the sky
                                              And only asked "why?"
                                              Victorious for the moment
                                               But cautious she remained
                                               "I will never let you break me"
                                                She whispered with a smile on her face


Brawta