Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Making a Difference

 There are so many ways a person can make a difference. I enjoy volunteering. It gets me out into the community - I meet interesting people and it feels good to help others. I volunteer for the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas -  by coordinating a program for teaching English to adults. Most of our students are immigrants or refugees, but we will help anyone that needs to learn how to read and write, work toward getting their GED or just improve their skills. We connect tutors with students and meet each Sunday. It's rewarding to see the progress the students make and also the connections our tutors make with the students is awe inspiring. 

This year three of our students writing was featured in the Florida Adult Learner Essay Book which is published annually by the Florida Literacy Coalition.  The book is filled with essays, poems and the stories of peoples' lives. 

You can download a PDF copy of the book for free here: Pathways: A Collection of Essays by Florida's Adult Learners  

Our students have written:

  • Why I left My Country to Come to the United States - M.Arbab - page 109
  • Life in the Sudan and Life in the United States - B. Kabor - page 119
  • Never Give Up - A. Hamkar - page 159
You can make a difference - Volunteer!

Monday, October 02, 2023

The 1 Million Mark

My blog has crossed the 1 million mark. As of today there have been 1,045,278 views. I haven't posted much on my blog lately, but I pop in to check on things and I always make note of the site stats. The recent tragic floods in Derna brought a lot of readers to my site - just over twenty thousand visitors which was quite a jump.  

For me, writing is therapeutic. I find it calming to stop my busy life and sit in front of the keyboard to put down my thoughts and ideas, or share a story or experience. It helps me put life into perspective. But life these days has been filled with work and family. There hasn't been much time to gather my thoughts. I'm going to work on making time. 

I have always wondered how I would feel when I had reached a million visitors. It somehow seems like a million would be the magic number, but in a way it feels like a hollow victory. 

I have a lot of books stacked up that need to be added to my Books Page...... I'll get to them... I promise!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Happy Eid!

Another Ramadan has come and gone. It flew by so quickly. Where does the time go? In the United States we began our Eid celebrations on Friday, but Libya as usual was divided, with part of the population celebrating Friday and the others on Saturday. The sides will never agree on anything. 

Eid Mubarak to all who celebrate, whenever you celebrate!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Trauma at the Gas Station - and it's not the price of gas.

 Some experiences leave a lasting impression on you, especially if there is trauma involved. On May 12, 2011, I experienced something that would change my life forever... or maybe forever - I really can't predict the future. Since that fateful day I have dreaded going anywhere near a gas station. I dream of buying an electric vehicle, so I never have to visit a gas station again, but unfortunately that isn't in my budget yet. 

I watch the lights on the dashboard of my car as the digital display counts the miles left until the car's gas tank is empty. I usually try to make sure I don't go to the gas station alone. I also go only to the same two gas stations that are nearby. If I am travelling anywhere that requires that I go to a different gas station my anxiety level rises and I break out in a sweat, my heart pounding.  I will try to eke out every drop of fuel before I finally give in and go to the gas station. There have been a few times when I have had to coast up to the gas pump as I rode out the last fumes. 

I'm sure you are wondering what could possibly have caused this everlasting trauma. You'll find the story here: May 12, 2011.  

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Ramadan - Half Here, Half There

Another Ramadan has come. It's my forty-first year of fasting. This year almost half of my family are in Libya and the other half in the US. I find myself wondering if we will ever be together all at once again. It's unlikely to happen.

After two years of pandemic and part-time work, I'm finally back to full-time work. Actually, it's more than full time as I'm working on the weekends too. This month I have one day off - Easter Sunday. But I'm happy to be working because sitting around is depressing. 

I'm not doing a whole lot of cooking this year. I have no time. I bought a pan of lasagna from the frozen food section of the supermarket. Jenna looked at me and said, 'Really mom? You aren't going to make it yourself?' ... I have no time. It will be fine.

Of course, I am making Libyan soup, but I make enough to last two days - the second day it always tastes better. There's a recipe here: Libyan Soup (Sharba Libyia) It says 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, but in Libya they use double concentrate, so if you don't have that you should double the amount.

For information about Ramadan in Libya, please visit: Ramadan in Libya

Happy Ramadan! Ramadan Mubarak!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Libyan Election Countdown....


Elections are just around the corner in Libya – just days away! Or are they? People speculate whether they will happen on time, or be delayed, or possibly not happen at all. Personally, I am not sure what to think anymore. Some people I spoke to said they never bothered to register to vote. They didn’t think it would make a difference.  

There are plenty of candidates, but none of them seem to have any particular platform. Initially there were 98 candidates, but the number has dwindled to thirteen, maybe fourteen, the last time I checked. There hasn’t been much in the way of campaigning. Are there any rules? Some on the list of candidates look like the who’s who of corruption and war criminals. There are also two women running, one’s an activist and the other a political science researcher. Most are running as independents.   

If all goes according to plan, the first round of the election process will be on December 24th. If none of the candidates achieve the simple majority of 50 percent or more, then a second round will take place a month later on January 24th. The winner will hold the presidential seat for a fun-filled, five-year term.



Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Have you read any good books lately?

I've been sorting through my shelves and put together my books about Libya. They're by Libyans, by and about people who have passed through,  some by academics and journalists and others by regular every-day folks. There are stories, poetry, essays, articles, history, culture, fact and fiction. Over the years my collection has grown and has become quite a large stack that continues to increase in size. 

I have decided to make a page for them on my site. You can find it here: Libya: Books

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