Tag Archives: weekly photo challenge

Photo Challenge: Containers

Storage: that’s the key to survival in any remote area. Africa has lots of them – remote areas as well as strange ways of storing, preserving and transporting essential items.

Come see our village, the man at the camp said. We are a prosperous family, living not far from here. So I went and  I asked the old Himba woman permission to see her house. It is not mine, she said, but you are welcome.

335The hut contained a young mother and her baby. No, this photo wasn’t photoshopped. The red colour is real. I looked around  after greeting her and receiving a shy smile in return. See, she said, this is my house, my life. Look at all the things I have. I am a blessed woman, she said, holding the baby out to me.

37Then she proudly showed me her container with the aromatic herbs. Picking up a glowing ember with her fingers, she dropped in into the herbs so I may smell the scent of the veld, the aroma of Africa…

36And look, she said, I have a pail, a calabash and a funnel.

I looked. And I saw the funnel was made of wood and s strange bit of copper or brass. What is that? I asked.

The old woman heard the question and laughed. It used to contain a bullet, back in the days of the war, she murmured.  Now it pours the goat’s milk from the pail to the calabash38

I marvelled at that. These women have so little…and yet so much. The spent cartridge a soldier had thrown away, now served as an important component to the primitive funnel.

Oh, let me rephrase that… The word ‘primitive’ doesn’t belong here. Not in this society where the scrap of wartime now helps them survive. Maybe we should learn from them. We, in our large houses and with our many possessions and running water and electricity – we keep on making guns and shooting down aeroplanes. We are hamsters on silly little wheels, constantly wanting more. How primitive is that?

I walked out in the sunshine, past the kraal filled with goats and the little ‘hut’ for the chicken swinging gently in the breeze. It contains the eggs, keeping them away from vermin.39

My visit left me wondering whether the minds of these people contained more wisdom than I originally gave them credit for. Are we really sure that our way of life contains everything to make us as happy as they are? 40

Or should we admit that they have more reason to smile than we do? Shouldn’t we discard the trappings of luxury and sit in the sun more often while we contemplate the joys contained in a simpler life?

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-second Chameleon.

For this challenge, you have to take an early-morning walk in the Namib Desert. Look carefully for a little fellow that stays in trees in more forgiving surroundings. Here, he makes do with what he’s got: a desert with almost no vegetation. Be careful, for he’s a master at disguising himself.

IMG_2645Okay, you’ve found him. It’s still cold, so he’s turned black to absorb heat. He won’t do much. WAIT…be patient.

IMG_2648There, he’s warmed up, turned pink to ward off the heat, and on the hunt now. More patience, the desert is a big placeIMG_2649At last! He’s found breakfast. But…how long is that tongue?IMG_2651Pick him up carefully. Careful now! He’ll turn blackish again to show his discomfort. Work slowly…his bite is far worse than his bark…IMG_2652Now tempt him with a dead fly. Will he? Won’t he…?

IMG_2653Yessss! There you go. Action shot of a nice, long tongue. It took a few hours (well, it felt like that in the hot sun) but the split-second was worth it, wasn’t it?

Weakly Photo Challenge: The Unexpected Twist

What a wonderful theme – and Africa is always so willing to oblige.

It could be an address…

IMG_2914Or a railroad going nowhere:

IMG_2986Or even finding out the Bushmen used the twigs of these plants to be candles at night:

IMG_3245Or finding a stuffed leopard in the bar:

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Or even a tad more bizarre: a live, real, huge, hippo sleeping peacefully in the lounge of your lodge:113

 

Twists in Africa? Of course…they’re everywhere!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside Kolmanskop

THIS WEEK, IN A POST CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO THAT SAYS INSIDE.

In the early 1900’s, Johnny Coleman traded his simple wares at the little harbour of Luditz, after travelling over the desert with his ox-wagon. Then, in 1905, a sandstorm forced him to hide in his wagon after turning his oxen loose. They, of course, thought this to be a bit short-sighted, and took off to seek shelter themselves. Well, to cut a long story short, poor Johnny almost died there, but was eventually rescued.

Little could he have guessed at the tremendous wealth he was sleeping on during those long nights he waited for salvation. Three years later the richest diamond field in the world was discovered at this very same spot, which bears the German equivalent of his name to this day. In 1956 the mine was abandoned, leaving only the memories of heady riches and back-breaking labour.

Today, when standing inside the abandoned buildings, one gets the feeling that the ghosts of the past aren’t far away.

Come on. Come inside…

The old generator has lost the battle against time

The old generator has lost the battle against time.k3Sweat-soaked miners would clean up before strolling over to the theatre or casino especially built for them.k2The silence of the dunes now rule where once gossip and laughter reigned....and they drank with gusto, of course.  One can only guess what fun these bottles brought to the isolated village. …and they drank with gusto, of course. One can only guess what fun these bottles brought to the isolated village.Sit down on the red chair. Let your left hand dangle down, touch the bottle at your feet. Close your eyes.  Imagine....Sit down on the red chair. Let your left hand dangle down, touch the bottle at your feet. Close your eyes.

Imagine…. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand…Africa at her best.

Grand…

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How else can one describe Bogenfels – the vaulted rock – near Luderitz?

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Or the huge, lonely dunes of Sossusvlei?

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Or the mansion Stewart Gore-Brown built in the 30’s – Northern Zambia – with local materials. The ‘modern contents’ (stoves, baths etc) were carried up by labourers from the coast. (Kapishya)

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Or the mysterious mistiness of Victoria Falls?

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Or the surprising luxury of sundowners on the Serengeti plains?

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Or the tenacity of a shrub that refuses to die, budding once more once the rains come?

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Or the lonely giraffe stalking away quietly into the gloom?

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Africa can be described by many words – but one comes close: Grand

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be Light – A night in Africa…

You need light to survive here…

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Oh, for more light than just the flickering campfire! . Was that a twig snapping? And…is it the wind or something breathing rather heavily?

IMG_0134aThe bleak moon behind the warped map of Africa doesn’t help at all. The sound of…feet? What is that?

bufIs it an angry buffalo, sneaking up with only parking lights to guide him?

badNo! Thank goodness! It’s just a badger – headlights turned to ‘Bright’, sniffing around for scraps.

elWhen at last Light dawns, Africa becomes Paradise again, with endless vistas and peaceful neighbours.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

We’re used to straight lines, neatly drawn on white paper, exactly the right length, absolutely correct. Our cars, our homes, our offices started out as such precise lines. Somehow, we expect our lives to follow straight lines as well.

136But Life somehow surprises each of us – all too often – by derailing our dreams, simply because in Life, there is no such thing as a straight line. Once-tempting dreams rust away quietly in the desert of reality.

239We shouldn’t be surprised: Nature does not believe in straight lines. Like Life, Nature’s lines tend to twist and turn unexpectedly.

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Like the Zebra stripes on a mountain, or the pattern in a rock, we discover beauty is hidden in the unexpected. The wonder of Life is not the simplicity of a straight line from cradle to grave, but  only revealed when we submit to the awesome pattern mapped out for each of us.

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Lines? Yes, Life and Love follow lines.

Only: don’t expect them to be straight – like the edges of your desk..

Photo Challenge: Inside – a Ghost Town

Deep inside the desert of Namibia, you find Pomona, the deserted and ghost-like diamond mining town… (yes, of 1912)

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This used to be a ten-pin bowling alley. At Kolmans Kop, a few miles away, they preserved a similar one:

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Still, the ghosts of yesterday remain…

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The hospital only remembers the hushed voices still echoing there:

IMG_3274And once upon a time, the generator provided light..

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Now, only a few graves (mostly nameless) remain to tell the story of incredible riches and desperate hope..

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Darted Leopard Dance

For this challenge, capture two images  ofIMG_1901 the same scene or subject.

Darting a leopard is a dangerous undertaking. The dosage of the tranquilizer must be exactly right, the timing perfect, and the men must have nerves of steel.

IMG_1906Today, Mr Leopard woke up, just enough to make the men do the Darted Leopard Dance, characterized by some rather fancy footwork.

IMG_1918Peeking at a dazed leopard isn’t always a good idea – even if the cage is almost closed.

IMG_1914Another growl – and the dance is repeated.

Warning: Don’t try this at home, folks..

PS: The leopard was transported to his new home, where he now roams free – like a happy big cat should.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

IMG_1483No, this isn’t one of those photos depicting a flashy blur in the background, while something speeds past the lens. This is the stare of a half-blind white tiger.

This is Angelo, five years old, suffering from progressive retinal atrophy. This means he’s seeing less and less as the moths roll by. His world, you might say, is disappearing right in front of his eyes.  And it is, in more ways than one.

White tigers are rare. That’s why hunters will pay a mountain of money to shoot them. Angelo was, in fact, earmarked for a canned hunt in another country, when his transfer to South Africa was arranged by an anonymous sponsor in 2008. Since then, he’s been the guest at an animal rescue centre in the Western Cape, where he celebrated his fifth birthday yesterday.

White tigers are the result of a recessive gene that manifests itself once in 10,000 births, The last one seen in the wild, was in 1959. They are mostly bred for the entertainment of humans, and are popular in zoos and circuses. It is estimated that there are between 1000 to 1500 of these tigers in the world. In general, the world’s population of all tigers seems to be in the region of 4000 in total.

So why term this photograph of Angelo as fleeting?

Because, like rhinos, we have the privilege of still having them around. A single generation further in the future may not have these animals around any more. We humans have seen to that.

That’s why it’s fleeting – the last opportunity to glimpse a species that numbered more than 100,000 a century ago.

Man, we are so good at destroying beauty, aren’t we?

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