Posted in Culture/History, Education, Inspiration, Writing, Writing101

TED Talk? No, JEFFREY Talk!

His eyes shine like a beacon of hope. They draw me in like a moth is pulled to a flame. Not to be burned, but to be submerged in a pool of energy, humor and passion. His name is Jeffrey Titus Maganga, and he is the most charismatic man I have met in a long time.

Mister Maganga works at Lilongwe’s Teacher Trainer College in Malawi, where he tells us all about TALULAR – Teaching And Learning Using Locally Available Resources. In Malawi, resources are scarce, and the help of the government is not always available. He teaches his students to use their imagination, creativity and common sense beyond the knowledge of college.

In the beginning, his never ending search for free materials drove his wife mad, whenever he returned from a trip to for example the supermarket, with bags full of useless stuff, junk even. Think of used sheets, of corks and reeds, paper boxes and cans, Useless.., until Jeffrey thinks of new ways to convert them into educational materials. Now she even helps me to collect them! He winks.

His enthusiasm is contagious, and my heart swells with pride. This is a man all of us can learn from. No fancy talk, no expensive materials. Just a man and his passion, his love for teaching, and for the environment.

Mister Jeffrey Titus Maganga!

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I wrote this for Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience: “Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.”

I’d love to get feedback!

Posted in Writing

Colors of the desert

~

She just sat there, still, absorbing the colors of the desert. Green dots of dryness splattered over the sands, a touch of blue a mirage of moisture. The tender contours of the mountains merged with the skies, until all was left was a hazy dream. All ceased – to be. To simply be…

~

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for a better view, click on the photo

Posted in Humour, Personal, Writing

Wine of the Month – sold out

The Wine of the Month? I’m sorry, but we’re all sold out. Those people over there drank the last bottle.

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Our heads swing in perfect harmony in the direction of the waitress’ finger, while our brains try to digest this information.

Eh, excuse me, but what day of the month is it again?

Sir?

I said, do you know what day of the month it is?

Yes, it’s February 1st.

And you are telling us that the Wine of the Month is already sold out? And those people drank it all?!

It was.

Last Saturday the V-man and I went out for dinner with our two dear friends M&M. We do that every other month. And we alternate in finding new establishments, keeping our finds secret until we park at the door of the restaurant.

Our friends picked a very original place: bistro Nok, situated in the ancient Prison Gate in Woudrichem. This gate was part of the fortifications of the town, dating back to the sixteenth century. Nowadays the building is used as a restaurant, though in the 19th century, the food for the prisoners must have been of a much lesser quality.

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After climbing four stairs, we arrived in an amazing space. Only three other tables and a charming hostess. Dining directly under the rafters does feel special. And feeling special is a very good reason to drink a glass of delicious Spanish red wine. But we were not that lucky. The waitress, sympathizing with our astonishment, promised to find a wine of similar quality, matching our main course. She rushed down the stairs.

Ten minutes later she returned with two different bottles, one French, the other Italian. With panache she told us all about these great wines and we were almost forgetting about the Wine of the Month, when…

So both are very good wines. But there is a slight problem.

Which is?

These are both the last bottles.

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Excuse me, but did you just say these are the last bottles? You bring two bottles of wine to our table and then tell us these are the last of their kind? And the Wine of the Month is sold out? What kind of restaurant is this?

Our hostess smiled and smiled, gritted her teeth and smiled some more. We told her she shouldn’t take our comments personal, but that some changes in the purchase policy of the restaurant might be in order. When I – trying to be helpful – suggested a wholesale for food professionals, she almost fainted. Apparently the wines at that wholesale were beneath them.

Well, at least they have more than one bottle.

I muttered.

Ah, but we get to taste different wines now!

the V-man said to lighten the mood. And the mood got even lighter when we tasted the delicious food, YUM.

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Posted in Nature, Photo, Writing

Change of the Season

Images speak without words. And here, at Figments, you see lots of them. But every now and then some words are needed to release the flow that is bottled up inside. A flow that is constantly changing, learning and growing. This flow is called life, and each day our lives are altered by the choices we make, the people we meet. My life is enriched by you all, my friends. Thank you so much.

And now autumn of 2013 has arrived. A season of ripeness and harvesting. We can look back at a glorious summer and have to get ready for winter. And I need to wish you all a blessed Fall in abundance. A time to get together with your loved ones. When sun shines on warmest colors, mornings in crispy coldness and yes, also storms and rain. In stead of avoiding it, step out and feel that rain. Let it gently caress your face and wash you clean; dance with head uplifted.

Each season has a special charm and in the autumn of my life, I treasure, respect and say thanks for all that is given me. Even rain showers. 😉

How about you? Are you affected by the changing of the seasons? By the summer that has gone by or the spring that is about to begin on the other side of this planet? Please share.

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Posted in Personal, Six Word Saturday, Stories, Writing

An Angel’s Hand


My Saturday in six words:

BY THE HAND OF AN ANGEL

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The coffin was painted blue, decorated with flowers, little stars and winged beings in bright hues. The original exterior – boring white – was dressed in the colors of life, which was a good thing because the person in the casket was not boring either. The woman who rested peacefully within had been overflowing with action, cheerfulness, determination and perseverance. Even from the other side, her optimism broke through the sadness of those present, showering them in sunny African music. Her three beloved granddaughters were sitting on the bench right next to her, their long golden hair united in braided accents, with their mothers protective at their side.

It was quiet. A subdued silence that waited breathlessly. The spell was broken by the sympathetic voice of the minister, who led through the woman’s life. A life with good and bad times, but always lived by one motto: all will be well! Slowly the voices of the choir faded away, voices she had been part of. Now there was a void only she had been able to fill, her voice a tone that stood out by absence.

The sermon was almost at its end and the moment of parting finally came closer – too close, unrelenting and grim. Love nor desire could stop time. Relatives and friends walked towards the blue coffin to pay their last respect, their sadness etching deep, by tears intersected lines. When the last walked out the door, the family looked at each other, desperate with grief. Last weeks’ haze was suddenly wiped away by reality, a gruesome and uninvited guest. Was this really the end? Their Mom was lying there, Granny! They stood around the casket and held each others hands, quiet, waiting, not able to let go.

Then an almost imperceptible vibration, and with a soft rustle of wings the silence came to life. A slight shudder ran through them. Was it their imagination? But no, they all heard it, felt it! Right in front of them the light changed into a new shape, painting a woman who shone in the silver glow. Light enveloped her now frail form with a hint of wings. Her radiant smile bathed her girls in peacefulness for the last time and in her own resolute way she took the hand that was offered her from within the light. The woman – their mother and grandmother – was led away by the hand of an Angel. Angels in whom she had always firmly believed. From afar one last echo in her unique timbre.

Remember to live your life well!

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Written for my dear friend Nancy, who lost her mother last week.

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Posted in Six Word Saturday, Stories, Writing

Dark Elves

My Saturday in six words:

BIRTHDAY WITH DARK ELVES AND LAUGHTER

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This weekend we continue our Dungeons & Dragons adventures in the Underdark of Faerûn:. Here are the stories of last session, published at Dungeon DuTchess:

Plus we have our friend’s birthday to celebrate!

Have a peaceful Saturday 😉

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Posted in Animals, Culture/History, Nature, Photo, Photo challenge, Stories, Writing

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

The bag on his shoulders grew heavier with each passing minute and his breath came in ragged gasps. Where was the way out of these cursed woods? Something howled in the distance and the man flinched. Was it a wolf? Were there even wolves in this area? He hurried onward but froze when the stars winked out as a grey shape passed over him on silent wings. He felt the owl’s golden eyes settle on him. The thumping in his chest was like thunder in his ears. Then light filtered through the trees. Could it be… Moving forward again he finally saw the crossing that would take him and his loot to safety.

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Once again he had made his escape.

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~ please click the photos for a larger image ~

Feel free to visit The Daily Post for more Escapes, a photo challenge by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.