Showing posts from 2011

2011 : Recapping My Year

It's that time of the year again... time to recap my year's events. I really feel as though I have lost a year! But looking back it was not a lost year, but a different one than I had ever expected. The war in Libya has changed everything. Now it's 'Before the war .... ' and 'Since the end of the war....' It has become one of life's markers - a point in time used to measure events. So we'll start with before the war........
I didn't post much in January. It was what I didn't post that was interesting! The revolution in Tunisia and Egypt had begun and I suspected that the revolution fever would spread eventually to Libya. But of course I couldn't write much about it which was very frustrating! I reminisced a bit about time I spent in Tunisia in the past, wishing that I could write more.  Instead I spent time stockpiling in case something happened in Libya (and I prayed something would happen!). I bought cases of toothpaste, shampo…

A plea to LTT

I'm getting really fed up with the internet service these days. I know that Libya is recovering from a civil war and all of that - but is it too much to ask to have the internet up and running? Since the internet has come back on the provider has been offering free service while they work on gettting running properly again... so should I complain? We've heard that within a month we will have to pay for the service once again.... but what service???? It's off more than it's on and when it's on it's so slooooooowwwww that you all you can do is the very basic things. Forget watching a video - click and wait for it to load.... and wait... and wait.... and wait...... and then finally give up. Once in a while the connection will apear to speed up and you get excited, your heart starts to race, and you think 'Oh yeah! It's working!' only to find that it works for about a minute or two and then shuts down completely, switching your browser to the page that …

Enough school holidays.... let's get back to class

We're finally having some winter weather here. Yesterday it rained all day and the weather is cold. The dogs huddled on the porch trying to stay warm and dry.  
Nora started back at university last week. She said the university is still a mess. She had hoped this would be her final semester but because there is a shortage of lecturers she has to take fewer classes and now it will add more time until she finishes. At least she is studying and the extra time will give her more time to think about the next step - master's. The other kids are still waiting and who knows when they will return to the classroom... January... March... Apparently there are still no books. No books, no school. What a mess.
We have to find a new school for Ibrahim because his old school has no students for fourth grade this year... School for Ibrahim is a big problem. There are no schools that specialize in teaching kids with autism. If we put him in a regular school the teachers have no time to focus o…

Very Very Versatile! - Libyan Bloggerettes!

I've been awarded the the Versatile Blogger Award. Twice! First I got it from Expatlogue and more recently it was given to me by Jean from 2012: What's the 'real' truth? blog. She started reading my blog after a quest to find the 'real truth' about Libya. Unfortunately my internet is so slow that it's hard to get much blogging done - so now I'm finally catching up.
What is it? The award is a kind of pay-it-forward award. Those who recieve it are asked to thank and link to the giver and then elect 5 to 15 other bloggers with the Versatile Blogger Award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
Well, first of all - Thank you Expatlogue and Jean
Who get's the award now? I've decided to award some of the wonderful Libyan female bloggers with this award because they are truly versatile! 
Here is my list... not in any particular order:

Enlightened Spirit  says she's 'a soul visiting this world, happened to be a libyan girl...Wish t…

November Cricket

Years ago my friend wrote a poem called November Cricket. She gave it to me on a peice of paper that I keep stored away as a keepsake. I seem to come across it every November when I do the annual fall deep cleaning. When I find it I stop everything, go in the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee and then I sit quietly with coffee and poem for a while, thanking God for giving me such a wonderful and dear friend. It's the last day of November and I came across the poem today. I thought it'd be nice to share.November CricketNovember Cricket singing by my kitchen door-You fill my heart with gladness,You fill my heart with joy.Now as evening fallsYour merry little notes fill the peaceful airSaying"This is a happy home."Yes, you know we face our shareOf trials and tribulations.Yet we are richly blessedWith all the goodness that comesFrom our Father up above.Sing November Cricket!November Cricket-I love you.Rhonda Ahmed - November 16, 2001  

The end of the story or maybe the beginning

We spotted the praying mantis that has been hanging about the plumeria in our garden (here and here). Ibrahim found her on the front porch laying an egg-case on the wall and ran into the house to alert me to what was going on. 'Bring the camera mom!'
Mantis lay anywhere from 50 to 200 eggs that are encased in a bubbly foam that later dries into an egg-case called an ootheca. It will take aproximately 5 months for the eggs to hatch. 

We've enjoyed watching the mantis's life cycle in our garden. Other things have been happening in the garden lately too. Our pair of tortoises have been romancing and a bird has made a nest in one of the light fixtures on the porch. Flocks of migrating birds have been flying overhead. The early rains this year have turned the fields green and wildflowers are beginning to bloom.
Real life! It's more entertaining than television! 

Something Different For A Change

I didn't do anything special on Thanksgiving. It was a normal day for me here. But today was different: I invited a whole bunch of my girlfriends over for a morning coffee get together. Eighteen ladies showed up, each one brought a dish of scrumptious food to share. And that meant there was a ton of food... yummy yum! 
But better than food it was great to see everyone again. We talked, we laughed, we shared our news and gave thanks for all things. One of my friends surprised us with some beautiful music. A song called Change - a new Libyan revolution song that my friend's daughter, Malak, helped create - she's the beautiful backup voice. It's a really pretty song with lots of meaning. I don't know who the male singer is. If you know please share in the comments. Well done Malak! I'm so proud of you.

Download the song here: Change

Sharing the moment

I have had such a wonderful day. Everyone I met was in a good mood. And on my way home after work I went to the grocery store and everyone was staring at the TV while the Prime Minister announced the new cabinet. We all just stopped, watched and shared the moment. When it was over I called out 'Mabrouk everybody! It's a new Libya!'

They've got him at last!

They've finally captured Saif Al-shaitan Kadafy. From the pictures it looks like someone has chopped off his fingers. Let's hope they manage to keep the rest of him in one peice so he can stand trial. I heard the news while I was in a meeting. On the way home I got stuck in traffic for two hours... but it was HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY traffic!

Flashback - Unexploded Ordnance in Tripoli

My wimax connection is on again off again as usual, but when it's on it's seems to be a bit faster. But then again maybe this is due to the fact that our computers, laptops, netbooks, smartphones and other gadgets are pretty much updated. The internet comes on and we all  get online and everything starts to automatically update at once, putting a drain on our already slow connection. 
Today I decided to look at Google Earth - but first I had to update it... and then reboot... and then connect to the net... and finally have a look. The first thing I noticed was that the imagery in the area where I live had all been updated shortly after the liberation of Tripoli. Fantastic! 
One of the places I looked at first was the ammunition dump that was bombed in August that gave me the biggest fright of my life. I posted the experience here: August 2011  It still scares me; from time to time I have flashbacks and I have to stop and take a deep breath and pull myself together.

In contras…

Veteran's Day

I love you Dad!

Call for papers - Culture in the Era of (Post)Modern Migrations

Posting this in case anyone is interested in submitting a paper about the migration issues that were the result of the revolution/civil war in Libya. See below for details.


SIETAR Polska and the Institute of Regional Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow is pleased to invite you to the international conference:

"Culture in the Era of (Post)Modern Migrations"

The conference will be held in Cracow, Poland on 15th and 16th December 2011.

Migration has been a constant in human history. Already in ancient times, settlers used to relocate due to "push & pull" factors: better living conditions (climate, fertile soils, richer pasturage, more abundant game), safety from enemies, or simply the draw of new lands and new life. In the modern era migration has not ceased; indeed, it has become a common, even universal phenomenon.
Contemporary trends in human movements share, to some extent, feature…

Plenty to read about if your interested in Libya

Eid Al-Adha is tomorrow. I'm ready - knives are sharpened, all the pots, pans, tubs and dishes are waiting on the shelf, we've stocked up on cleaning supplies, I've got all I need for making jerky, my husband's Eid clothes are ready to wear. We're ready for the day's hard work. The only problem is that I've got a swollen eye - an allergic reaction. I look awful and the antihistamines I'm taking make me drowsy - but I'll make it through the day. Happy Eid for all of my readers who celebrate.
I haven't done a whole lot lately. I guess I'm saving up for future adventures. However, I've been spending lots of time on the internet catching up with old friends, browsing old articles and reading new ones. Now that Libyans are free to write as they like there are all kinds of intriguing subjects to read about. Some articles I've found particularly interesting or thought provoking (in no particular order and not complete):
Scholarships... an …

Cats of the Libyan Revolution

The war is over, Libya has been liberated, life is slowly returning to normal. We see less and less freedom fighters on the roads, fewer guns, and a reduced number of checkpoints. 
As I was going to work one day last week the traffic slowed to a crawl and I craned my neck around the truck in front of me, trying to see what was holding up traffic but there was no checkpoint in sight. The traffic continued at a crawl. Suddenly I spotted what was holding us up. In the very centre of the road was a tiny little kitten. Drivers were trying to avoid hitting the poor little thing. As I pulled up next to it I stopped and said to my daughter 'Open the door carefully and go pick it up'. 
My daughter got back in the car with the kitten and exclaimed 'Mom it's so dirty! And her eye is infected' 'Don't worry. We'll get her sorted out later when we get home' I replied. 'Is it male or female?' I asked. 'It's a girl. What should we name her?' my…

Where Were You The Day Kadafy Met His End?

Yesterday marked the end of an era, the end of Kadafy. I was sitting at my desk getting some things ready for work when I heard guns going off in my neighbourhood, and the sound of a young boy shouting in the distance. 'Allah Akbar! God is great! Kadafy is dead! Kadafy is dead!' At first I just sat and listenened, not sure if what I was hearing was real. Then I called out to my daughters to switch the TV on to the news. Sure enough, they were reporting that there were unconfirmed reports that Kadafy was dead. 
Pictures! Videos! Show us some proof! 
Soon enough a still shot was presented on Aljazeera English and it was soon followed by mobile phone video footage of Kadafy's blood spattered body. By then the entire country had erupted into crazed euphoria. Guns were blasting away, horns were blaring, people could be heard shouting out 'Allah Akbar!' Someone went to our neighbourhood mosque and was shouting over the microphones, but he was soon replaced by a recording …

If this is true. . . .

think  my  birthday  wish  has  been  granted!

It's my birthday

I hope I get the best present ever. . . . .I'll let you guess what that is. Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

UPDATED | And the truth shall soon be known: Mis/Dis-information and Libya

As I was drifting off to sleep last night I was abruptly awoken by a barrage of gunfire and shouts of  'Allah Akbar' coming from all directions. My children, who were all still awake, ran out to see what was happening while my husband who was sitting in the TV room immediately started searching the news channels for information. There were unconfirmed reports that Motasem Kadafy had been captured trying to flee Sirte and had been taken to Benghazi. I got up to watch the news, hoping that they would show video or at the very least some pictures - but there was nothing. Finally I went to bed.
In the morning the reports still had not been confirmed. I watched a bit of the news and searched news websites for information but found no new information. Patience, patience, soon enough the truth will be known! 
Libya is awash in misinformation and disinformation. Today, in my blog's email I received an interesting letter from someone in Malaysia who is searching for the truth in s…

Libya - Green Where it Should Be

For the past few weeks we've been having unusually rainy weather for this time of year in Libya. Normally the rains don't begin until mid November. Actually, I've never seen such weather in all the 22 years that I've lived here. Many people say that this weather is a blessing from God to the people of Libya and that finally the evil is being removed from the country. 
Today I went for a walk on the farm and took this panoramic photo. The leaves on the apricot and peach trees haven't begun to change colour yet. The fields are turning green long before they usually do and the wildflowers are beginning to sprout. Everything smells fresh and clean. If this weather keeps up the fields will soon be ablaze with the colours of wildflowers. 

The war in Libya continues..... Please keep Libya in your prayers!

On a quest

The weather was fantastic this morning. My husband and I got up early, packed a picnic breakfast, grabbed our cameras and headed out the door. We were on a quest to track down and photograph Libyan street art to post the Libyan Street Art blog
We weren't sure where we would begin, just following our noses. Along the way we took other pictures too. I thought these of the flags were especially nice. 

The weather was perfect. We stopped along the shore to have our picnic breakfast. By 10:30 the lighting was getting too harsh for good shots, so we headed for home.

The fighting continues in Sirte. Don't stop praying for Libya!

Libyan Street Art

I've set up a photoblog to collect and display images of street art inspired by the February 17th Revolution. Have a look:

Libyan Street Art

Creative Collaboration

One of the wonderful things that is happening in Libya is that Libyans are finally free to express themselves. This is showing up in many ways, but I'm truly amazed by the graffiti and murals being painted all over the city. Many people are even hiring artists to decorate the outside walls of their homes. Designs range from very simple spray-painted graffiti to elaborate murals that are worthy of museums and galleries. 

I cannot help but to slow down as drive by to admire these works inspired by the revolution and the Libyans' newfound freedom. My husband, children and I often stop to take pictures and we see other people taking pictures too.

Many of the messages are written in English as well as Arabic and sometimes in the Berber language, Tamazight. Red, green, and black, the colours of the new flag are used in abundance. And many pictures feature Kadafy and his son Saif Al-Islam. The range of work and ideas expressed by the people of Libya after 42 years of creative suppre…

Still Praying

This morning I found our praying mantis friend still happily roosting in the plumeria. Can you see him? He blends right into the leaves.

Keep praying for Libya!

Evening Prayers in My Garden

We've been taking advantage of the beautiful weather this evening to spend some time in the garden. Sara spotted a lovely praying mantis perched on the frangipani, which is also called plumeria.

Mantis are friends of the garden because they eat pests and other insects, while being harmless to humans. I'm always so happy when we find them in the garden.

Did you know.....
The word "mantis" comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.
Praying mantis eggs can be sold online and is popular among farmers who purchase them to control pests.
One mantis species in Spain, Apteromantis aptera, is actually considered as endangered.
The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!
It is believed that the female mantis will eat the male after mating since the protein helps in egg development. 
The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away.
The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head alm…

A day at the beach & finally Tripoli gets some rain

Last Saturday my girls and I got together with some friends for a day at the beach. We went to a beach near Garabali and as we weren't sure about the situation on the road we all met up in the morning and convoyed out together - safety in numbers.
The ride out was uneventful and pleasant. There were only a few checkpoints, one we found interesting near Tajoura because it was made out of stacked empty shipping containers. We passed through quickly, the men manning the checkpoint were friendly and polite.

The day was lovely, the weather sunny and mild, the water warm. It felt so nice to be able to relax on the beach and enjoy the day. I hadn't seen most of my friends since before the war and some of them since last year - we had lots of catching up to do. 

Jenna had arrived at the beach looking pale but within half an hour her cheeks began to turn red and her freckles popped out - like magic! 
We had planned to leave at four o'clock, but as the ride out was uneventful we de…

Pouring Their Hearts Out

I've been busy getting myself back to some kind of normal. Life in Tripoli is improving everyday but it will take a while for everyone to get back to work and on their feet again. 
I went back to work last Saturday and resumed classes that had been interupted since last February. Not all the students have been able to come back yet. Although stability is returning to Tripoli, the war continues in Sirte and Bani Walid as well as part of Sebha.
Some of my students are fighting at the front, some are involved in getting supplies to the fighters and some I haven't heard from at all -  I pray they are safe and well. The rest are coming to class and we've been doing some review to get us started again. But most of all the students want to practice their speaking/communication skills.  They finally have something to talk about! Never before have I seen such an outpouring of thoughts, feelings and ideas from my students. They have discovered the freedom of being able to speak the…

It's the little things....

We have Doritos in Tripoli again!
Yeah! Woo Hoo!
Now if only they can bring Fritos here too....

Fritos... look at that package Mr. Supermarket man... get some to put on your shelves next to the Doritos. I guarantee the customers will be snapping 'em up!
I was out and about this morning. Almost all of the shops have reopened. The shelves are being restocked, slowly but surely. People look so happy to be out and getting back to work and soon school will start again too. And there's the smell of autumn in the air too. It feels wonderful! 

A Big Fat Libyan Wedding

Well, I finally got my invitation to Aisha Kadafy’s wedding. It was a long time coming. You’re probably wondering what on earth this is all about. Well, here’s the story:
Over the years, every once in a while, I would come across someone that would ask me ‘Do you like The Leader (Moamar Kadafy)?’. Of course in Libya talking about the leader has always been a taboo subject. You didn’t even dare to say his name; usually he was just referred to as ‘The Leader’. Of course, all that’s changed now – you can call him whatever you want, and most times it’s not something nice.
So here I would be, faced with this rather awkward question, wondering if the person doing the asking planned to report whatever I said to internal security. I didn’t want to lie and say I loved the man, or that I even liked him. So I finally decided that when faced with this rather inane question I would reply  truthfully ‘No’.
This answer always provoked a look of shock and disbelief. And then I would add ‘I wasn’t …