Struggling To Recall……..

I’m trying to recall the details of surgery on my right hand. The surgery was performed by Dr. who was very nice. He had a good manner. Very reassuring. Numerous tests had been performed and repeated on my hand. The doctor was puzzled but finally referred me for surgery. I was overnight in the Mt. Carmel and the surgery was performed the next morning. Afterward I was allowed to go home. My hand was heavily bandaged and I wasn’t able to drive. A minor detail which I hadn’t foreseen. I phoned a friend, Jan Bartlett, and she was able to come get me. It was sometime in the summer of 1995. Ian was away – I think he was in Nairobi for a month. A short consultancy in his first year of semiretirement. The sons must have been away for whatever reasons. After a week I went back to the Mt. Carmel to have the stitches removed by the doctor who had performed the surgery. When I got home from that trip I discovered that one stitch remained. A nurse friend, Gwen Lew, worked at the Mt. Carmel and she was able to remove the stitch. The doctor was on his way to County Kerry for his holidays. Gwen and Jan both died of cancer not too many years later. The doctors – I don’t know – maybe lived to old age.

African Languages

I’m intrigued to think of the multitude of languages spoken on the African continent. My experience is very limited but I got to be acquainted with a few when I worked for the Library of Congress Field Office in Nairobi Kenya. We were acquiring periodicals from all the countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. I was in charge of an indexing project which resulted in our publication Quarterly Index to Periodical Literature, Eastern and Southern Africa. This journal continued to be published long after I left Kenya. It ran for 15 years until technology took over and made it redundant.

One of the aides here at Ida Culver is from Zimbabwe. Her language is Shona when she speaks to members of her family. Another aide is from Burkina Faso – the official language of her country is French, she also speaks Moore and Fula. A student helper in the kitchen was wearing a Harambe bracelet. His native language would be Swahili. Two aides on the night shift are from Ethiopia – they speak Amharic. Another aide is from Eritrea. Her language is Tingrinya.

Through The Lens Of History

One of our aides here at Ida Culver is from Zimbabwe. She tells me that she used to be a pastor. I asked her today if she was in Zimbabwe when it became independent from Britain. Yes she said, she was grown up, married, and expecting their first child. I posed this question more thinking of Ian Smith and Harold Wilson in the 1960’s. If these names don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry, it means you are too young. This lead me to read up on my history. Zimbabwe didn’t gain its independence until 1980, 15 years after the Prime Minister Ian Smith declared Independence – his U.D.I. Sir Humphrey Gibbs took refuge in Government House.

My experience of African countries achieving independence was based on Kenya. I first visited Kenya in 1964, only a few months after Kenya had achieved independence on December 3, 1963. And then I went to Kenya again in 1966 and lived there for 2 years. The road to Independence was by no means smooth. The Mau Mau terror/violence lasted 8 years – 1952-1958.

Years later we went to Ghana, which was the first British Colony in Africa to be granted Independence in 1960. The British presence in West Africa did not mean settlement and land ownership. A different kettle of fish altogether.

Where To Start

For several days I’ve had so many things to write about but haven’t been able to navigate the way to access my blog to write. Rather frustrating. The headline this morning is the death of John Hume at age 83. John Hume was a towering figure in the political process in Northern Ireland. He was able to steer a very divided Northern Ireland to peace. The divide might still be there but the guns have been laid down. The complications of the history of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Watching The Seniors

We are watching the senior tour this morning. What tour – GOLF What a joy to see these old favorite players. Yes, they have aged along with us. V.J. Singh, Mark O’Meara, Ernie Els, Jim Furyck, to name a few.

This is not the 16th at Oakley Country Club, Watertown Massachusetts. Where I played in my youth. No I’ve borrowed an image which reminds me of that 16th hole. It’s actually an image of the home of the Overend sisters in Dundrum, Dublin Ireland.

What Should I Write Today?

The past few days I have been writing biographies for my husband Ian and myself. I finished yesterday – 300 words for each of us. Along the way I encountered numerous problems, not the least of which was losing my computer’s connection to the internet. And the problem which remains is how to deliver the biographies to the person in charge of this project at Ida Culver Broadview. Solutions abound. Last resort would be to walk from our apartment in D building to an apartment in C building. Not a very long walk but still an exploration of new territory. Remember that we have been self isolating since early March.

Hotel Commander Cambridge Massachusetts image from the 1940’s?

My grandfather and his sister (Auntie) had an apartment in this hotel in the 1940’s. If circumstances dictated self-isolation, all their requirements could be met in the hotel. Meals could be brought to their apartment etc. They lived there from the early 1940’s until sometime in 1952 when Auntie passed away.

Was It Written In The Stars?

If my genealogy research is correct, my maternal grandmother and my husband Ian’s maternal grandmother were born in the same year – 1863. My maternal grandmother was born in Crown Point New York. Ian’s maternal grandmother was born in Coleraine Northern Ireland. Ian and I married in 1968 in Nairobi Kenya.

Reconnecting With Friends Of Long Ago

Twisting and turning with internet paths – that’s an image that comes to mind as I read an academic paper by Francoise Pommeret, a “scholar” I knew when we lived in Bhutan, a remote Himalayan Kingdom. I first met Francoise when I joined the group of British Volunteers who were learning Dzonka, the local language. Francoise was conducting the classes. Not only was she teaching the language but also the customs and practices of the Bhutanese people. For me it was also a way of meeting and getting to know new people.

Now to add a photo to this post – yesterday I figured out how to do that – it was complicated. This morning I can’t remember exactly how I did it.

Make A Joyful Noise ……..

Here I am up at 5 a.m. to do some writing. The 300 word biographies are due today. I finished Ian’s a couple of days ago. Mine is somewhat incomplete. The first half is o.k. but the 2nd half needs to be altered. Instead of writing about my work experience I want to write more my other interests.

Nice as life was in St. Lucia, there were lessons learned in how to keep one’s spirits up in a monotonous hot climate. When we were anticipating going to Fiji, I decided I wanted to learn to weave. In Nimble Fingers, a toy shop in Stillorgan in Dublin, I spotted a small children’s loom made by Spears. It was packaged in a small box – perfect to add to our packing for Fiji. Yes! Months later when we were finally settled in our house in Suva I unpacked that Spears box and I embarked on my weaving career. Weaving on that small loom soon lead to a wish for a bigger tableloom, which I could order from New Zealand. And months later I ordered a heavier floor loom from New Zealand. Finally I was set up to weave floor rugs. And I had sources in New Zealand for buying the necessary yarn and other supplies. I was becoming a real weaver.

The Fiji Arts Club, of which were members, had exhibitions several times a year. These were very popular events. I had joined this club partly because I attended a Tuesday morning outdoor painting group. An exhibition was coming up and for the first time they were going to include crafts. With fear and trepidation I submitted 5 rugs. Much to my surprise they sold like hot cakes! I was launched!! One person in particular was raving about my rugs. Jill was a popular artist and we became friends – a friendship which has lasted for many years. One of her paintings is hanging in our apartment here at Ida Culver.

to be continued