Tag Archives: photographs

Your Assistance In Choosing A Book Cover (Follow-up Post)

On 11 April, I published a post in which I asked for your assistance in choosing an image, for the book cover which will adorn my forthcoming collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems”. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on the photographs, your input is very much appreciated.

Having considered all your comments, I have decided to use the below image, which shows the clock in it’s entirety. Several of those who commented mentioned the glare in the original image, while others recommended that the title of my book be made more prominent.

I would welcome your views regarding the reworked photograph. Has the glare been sufficiently dealt with? Does the title now stand out sufficiently? Once again, many thanks for your help.

Kevin

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Your assistance in choosing a book cover for “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” would be much appreciated

As many of you are aware, I am in the process of publishing a further collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems”.

The collection derives it’s title from the first poem, which is entitled (appropriately enough) “My Old Clock I Wind”.

I am in the midst of choosing a photograph for the book cover and would greatly appreciate your views on the photographs featured here, which show the clock from which the book derives it’s title.

Comments concerning the quality of the images, which picture you prefer and why (together with any other input) would be much appreciated.

Version 1: Clock Close-up

Version 2: Clock

Version 3: Clock and Picture

Please leave your comments below or, if you prefer send an email to newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com (please note, the address is rendered in this manner to avoid spam)!

The Camera Never Lies …

A photograph says
He who sends pays.
A photograph implies
He who attaches does not lie.
A photograph states this is me
And not some other he.
A photograph says all that you need to know is here,
You need not fear.

A photograph says
There are many ways
To skin a cat
And I will eat my hat
If the camera never lies.
“Whose eyes
Are those?”
“Only heaven knows”.

I had an adventure nun-the-less.

I had an adventure nun-the-less

Many thanks to Cupitonians for the following excellent post about her experiences in Tanzania. Like Cupitonians, I also attended a religious school, but that is, as they say, another story.

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So I landed in Tanzania, not knowing a soul. I was in touch with a contact of a contact. They had never met each other before but you know what they say about leaps of faith and trust. The only thing I did know was that I was meant to meet a nun from the Ursuline congregation. My dad, being the resourceful guy that he is, googled the habit(uniform) of the nun so that I wouldn’t be confused by the hordes of religious people that would haunt the airport. He had a point, any third world country is jam packed with missionaries (read priests and nuns) who are there to alleviate poverty and other religious phrases I’m too lazy to google.

I landed in a bathroom sized airport, grinned from ear to ear because I was finally in a country I had dreamed of being in since I was 7. I was apprehensive. What if my contact wouldn’t be there? I knew no one, knew nothing, had heard horror stories of tourists being taken for a ride and left for near dead. Dread started to fill me but I put my brave face on as I walked out the airport doors, backpack in tow. My fear quickly faded as I spotted the habit of the contact and I quickly walked to her. She hugged me and I was relieved to hear her speak English to me. Contrary to popular belief, English is NOT the first or official language of Tanzania. It’s Swahili.

Stella, that was her name, had lived in Canada for a while and so knew English and was confident and full of stories and questions that kept my mind off the fact that a few minutes after my arrival, I was shoved into a bus with too small seats and a goat under me that kept nipping at my feet. 4 hours later, we reached a beautiful area with a mountain right outside the window of the room they gave me. I watched the palm and banana trees and the sun set brilliantly behind that mountain and I smiled. I didn’t realize Africa could be so green. I already knew it would blow me away.

My dinner was a plate of spaghetti, another thing that took me by surprise. I had no idea that Tanzanians were into pasta. Later on in my trip though, I found out that the Ursuline congregation is an Italian one and no matter the poverty around, the nuns and priests of any congregation always ate well. This was further proved by my breakfast feast of fresh bread and butter and the most amazing cup of black coffee that was ever brewed.

The next day, Stella and her sister bought me a pair of Tanzanian styled clothes that were commonly worn in that area and we set off on another bus journey, this time a 12 hour one through all sorts of sceneries. We finally reached a deserted place that finally looked like the Africa you would see in documentaries. The land was parched and dry, little malnourished kids roamed the streets, caked in mud but in the middle of this, the nuns had created an oasis. Flowers were blooming and well watered, there were beautiful buildings with stained glass dotting the perimeter. The stained glass shadows on the dry earth made it look like we were walking on rainbow streets.

The nuns were all at the road and welcomed me with a song and dance number. This is one of the most shocking things I found in Tanzania. I studied in a convent school and so my idea of nuns was that they were poker faced and strict and that the idea of “fun” was indoctrinated out of them and yet in front of me, their voices came out together in harmony and they moved like their body was moulded to dance.

I spent a 4 -5 months with different religious communities across Tanzania and learnt a lot of things about the religious life.

  1. There are so many youngsters who join the church because the alternative is rape, hunger and poverty. The church provides you shelter, healthy meals, a job and respect.
  2. On account of them joining such closed communities, the maturity levels of most of the nuns remain the same as when they joined. Because they are sheltered and they grow up with just girls their age, I found that the nuns, no matter their age, acted more like shy preteen girls than anything else.
  3. The priests, on the other hand, get more opportunities to travel, see the world, interact with more people and enjoy more power in the society. Therefore, they have cars, big houses, even better food and a chance to be treated as royalty by the community. They enjoy rich and generous gifts.
  4. On account of this, priests believe they are God’s gift to women kind and so think it their duty to hit on any nun or any foreigner they see. I have been approached by more priests than I can count.
  5. Sex is such a natural instinct among Tanzanians that people struggle to come to terms with the restrictions religion has placed on them. I remember one nun saying in a matter of fact way that the church allows you to have one wife but you can also have one mistress. I’ve also heard many stories of women having hysterectomies so they don’t have to deal with pregnancies.
  6. The nuns are truly charitable. I have seen development and schools where you could never imagine there would be one. They have done more for the nation than the government has.
  7. That being said, they are still very orthodox in their ways of thinking. I was once part of a very interesting debate between a very well educated priest and nun when the nun said that she was the wife of Christ
  8. They are essentially good people,
  9. They care so much about the way they look. I have been on shopping trips across mountains where the nuns buy stockings and black stylish shoes. They are so stylish and well-kept that I often felt out of place during pass and other public events
  10. They pray 5 times a day and since I was lived for free with them, I was obliged to attend all five. Suffice to say, I haven’t seen the inside of a church since 2012.

A visit to Africa

Many thanks to Cupitonians: http://cupitonians.wordpress.com/  for allowing me to bully her into writing another excellent guest post!

Thank you A.!

‘For Africa to me… is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place 

Maya Angelou

I went to Africa on a whim. I woke up one day and realised that I just needed to be somewhere raw and real, doing some hands on work. I was tired of writing, tired of the city and just plain jaded. A twenty something year old should never be that way. In that state of despair, I suddenly remembered an old friend from when I had lived in France and got in touch with her. She had promised that whenever I gathered the guts to go to Africa, I should write to her and she would make it happen. She put me in touch with a nun who worked on several projects in the interiors of Tanzania. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know what I would do, where I would go and how long I would be there for but I just knew I had to go.

My trip was planned in less than 2 weeks – the tickets were booked, the injections taken and my mum loaded me with herbal anti malaria balls. I am a control freak and had decided that since I was taking this leap of faith, I might as well go all out and do no research. Instead, I decided to embrace whatever came my way, just as it was. Before I knew it, I was packed and suddenly found myself in a small bedroom sized airport that had a dilapidated old sign that read “Dar es Salaam”.

I was grinning from ear to ear, which made the visa officials really suspicious till they realised I was just plain crazy. I was shuffling about in a room packed with tourists. 50 dollars later, I had my passport stamped and I was free to wander about the great wilderness. I went out of the airport-room to find myself surrounded by highrise buildings, beautifully tarred wide roads, Mercedes Benz’s just cruising about like they just didn’t care.

Brilliant!

I had just taken off from one city to another. In fact, this city had a 3G phone connection, something even good old Bangalore, IT Capital of India, didn’t have. I was very dissappointed. The nun met me at the airport. I didn’t really know if anyone would come pick me up but I was glad she was there. We took a very luxurious taxi while I stewed inside myself. And then I suddenly found myself in a busy bus station, people everywhere trying to haul bags off you and load them into local buses. I managed to escape most of the crowd, dodged little kids pointing at me, saying “Mzungu, Mzungu!” (which is the Kiswahili word for “white person”) and got into the smallest bus in the history of the world.

I don’t mean small literally, it was a big enough bus on the outside. But when you got in, the seats were so cramped together that even a short person like me had to sit with her legs up on the seat so I don’t hurt my knees. I was stirred out of my thoughts by the nun putting her hands on my shoulder and saying “Are you okay?”. Apparently I was smiling too widely for a first time visitor. Shouldn’t I freak out?

“No, this is my childhood dream come true! Why would I be anything but ecstatic?”, I wanted to say. Instead, I tempered my reactions and was lulled into sleep by the moving motion of the bus.

I went to Tanzania, assuming I’d be there a month. I stayed a whole year. And in that time, I lived with the Maasai Tribe, lived on the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Worked at pre-schools, clincs, and orphanages that spanned the country. And while my experiences make for exciting stories to be told over a drink or to be written in a Lord of the Rings Saga, it is something I will never have words enough to explain.

I was lucky because I didn’t do the touristy things. I moved from project to project, living with real people, experiencing life as a local and instead of waxing ad nauseum, here are a few photos that will paint a better picture.’

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No filter sunrise

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Monduli Mountains and the Savannah

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Maasai Woman

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Local women campaigning for their local leaders

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Local Market

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An old forgotten Cave

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A typical Maasai House

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Zanzibar

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The View From my room at Kili

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The Sugar Mills at Kilombero

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The Stoves

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The Lion King

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The First Humanoid Excavated

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The Egyptian Cobra

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The Black Mamba

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Sunrise at Tanga

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Pink Lake – Ngorongoro Crater

Christmas comes early with Kevin & Trigger!

Some pictures of my guide dog and I at my works Christmas dinner, at Chimes of Pimlico: http://www.chimes-of-pimlico.co.uk/

Trigger is the one holding the Jumbone, while I am hiding underneath the table!

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Kevin with the Jumbone!

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Kevin under the table (Sorry Trigger!)