Nice guys these Quakers



Yesterday I came across an article in a local online newspaper about how a group of Quakers are helping the LGBTQ community flee Uganda’s absurd and outrageous Anti-Homosexuality Act. What’s more, I got to learn a lot about the Quaker community, otherwise known as the Religious Society of Friends (didn’t know that either).

Like the Amish community, Quakers are fervently religious and believe very strongly in non-violence. However whereas The Amish are very conservative and don’t adapt to change, Quakers are pretty liberal and embrace modern technology. Another thing, Quakers don’t have priests or clergymen and eschew religious symbolism, and for that alone this atheist is warming up to them.

But here’s why I think they’re simply awesome: Quakers are involving themselves in a dangerous activity by helping people escape persecution. And they’ve done it before; many times.

Quakers denounced slavery as early as the 1670’s in Barbados. Later they would play a fundamental role in abolishing slavery in the United States. They were also involved in setting up the Underground Railroad in the USA which helped runaway slaves.

It was therefore fitting that the group based in Olympia, Washington, assisting people escape the bigotry and persecution as a result of the draconian law passed by the Ugandan government, decided to call themselves Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR).

However not everyone likes what they’re doing; even right’s activists and NGO’s within the LGBTQ community have their reservations, but I think it’s just remarkable.

Meanwhile Ugandan activists, and right’s organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) who incidentally are critical of what FNUR are doing, are petitioning the courts to overturn the anti-gay law. I sincerely hope they’re succesful. The world does not need legislated hatred.



My first smartphone selfie.

IMG_20140621_215414I took this a few weeks ago, before my gallbladder operation and forgot all about it. Yeah, I know. You can plainly see how much pain I was in.

But that’s going to be my last selfie too. These things are just plain stupid.

Recuperation breakaway

It’s never a great idea to pack on the morning you are going away somewhere for an extended stay. Especially not when you’re departing at 4:30 that same morning.

But now I know for sure.

The girls and I holidayed in the amazing Mpumalanga Lowveld area last week and I forgot to take my cameras. I never leave my cameras behind when going away on holiday. But this was a first, and only because I packed in a hurry. Somehow the bag with the cameras whose batteries I had charged the night before, never made it to the car. Which meant I had to take a few pictures with my stupid cellular phone. I hate that thing; more so if/when I have to use it for more than just making or receiving calls.

But I did. And I got shitty pictures.

Awful, aren’t they? Please use the link above to get a decent idea of how beautiful this area of South Africa is. The German tourists seem to dig it. Met quite a lot of them taking in the sights, and every one I spoke to was impressed with the natural beauty of the Lowveld. Or maybe they’re just still so happy after that fantastic World Cup win.

By the way, the picture with my car visible in the background through those empty curio vendor stalls is not one of the natural attractions of this area, although I’m still pretty pleased with that four and half year-old Honda. I was just fascinated with the way the stalls looked in the setting sun.

Tea at this hour?

You won’t believe I’m drinking tea as I write this. I used to avoid the stuff at all costs. That was when I was a one-cup-a-day-coffee-with-six-sugars addict. And mostly Coke (and not the diet kind).

It all changed about two weeks ago, and will explain why I haven’t written anything since.

I got sick. A double whammy. The flu trying to convince me it was a bigger deal than that awful pain in my stomach. The doctors at the hospital eventually decided that the pain in my stomach was a bigger deal… after I’d eventually managed to drag my ass out of bed after two days of torture, and drive myself there.

Turns out my gallbladder was seriously inflamed and harbouring some fugitive stones – nasty looking fuckers. I’d actually had this pain for a few years and chose stupidly to ignore it. My gall bladder’s time had come… to protest in the most violent manner possible.



Up to that point, I had no idea that it was possible to live without a gallbladder, so when the surgeon told me it hd to come out, I was somewhat taken aback. But, but, but…

“Oh, nothing to worry about,” said the bladder butcher, “we do tens of thousands of these every year.” And they all live happily ever after, mostly. Seems that the gallbladder just stores excess bile before releasing it into the small intestine to break down fatty acids and such during digestion, and does pretty much fuck-all else. No real need for it at all…

And so it had to come out. The procedure known as a cholecystectomy is pretty simple – anesthetic, and well… that’s all I remember. It’s only later I discovered four minor cuts and feeling a little sore. And oh yes, two days of physiotherapy which involved breathing exercises and walking about. Yep, all pretty straightforward.

However I’d have to make a few lifestyle changes. No more fatty foods and caffeine. That means NO MORE COFFEE AND COKE. Sob! Eat more fruit. I hated fruit.

That’s where the tea comes in. Who knew it could taste good, and without any fucking sugar too. Luckily I discovered this brand with ginger, orange and honey in a supermarket without having to look too hard.

I’m hoping to steal a drink or two of coffee and Coke some time next year when my body has forgotten that it doesn’t have a gallbladder. Maybe a nice fatty steak too. Aaahhhh! Something to live for at least.