Monday, May 29, 2017

Midnight Poetry...

I have managed to check another activity off of my list. 

35. ✔️Write a short story or a poem

One night I woke up at 3 am and couldn't get back to sleep. So I wrote some poems, in haiku* style, focusing on various themes. The first one was for international nurses day and the other 7 focus on other topics. Enjoy!

nurses are vital
they work hard to help save lives
thank a nurse today

six lovely ladies
on a boating adventure
spotting sights from sea

getting on a boat
is really an adventure
i'm glad I survived

what more can I say
i'm thankful and love you lots
happy mother's day

every child has rights
we need to love and protect
stand up for justice

malaria kills
expats need prophylaxis
be wise and prevent

rainy season's come
thank God my roof doesn't leak
unlike roofs of some

be kind to yourself
so that you can help others
it's good for your soul

#internationalnursesday #boatadventure #mothersday #childprotection #malariaprevention #rainyseason #selfcare #bekindtoyourself

#haiku #writeapoemorstory
#40before40 #sandraturns40 #40isthenew30 #bucketlist #sierraleone #alwaysanadventure

*Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. Haiku poems consist of 3 lines. The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.

10 new recipes: completed...

17. Try 10 new cooking/baking recipes in 10 months – completed on 24/5/17

Here’s the list of the recipes I’ve made over the past 6 months:
-Pumpkin Roll
-Pie Crust
-Sugar cookies and icing
-Havermout chocolade banana muffins (oats, chocolate, banana muffins)
-Lentil Curry
-Cinnamon Rolls
-Quick Pickles
-Grilled halloumi, rocket and avocado salad
-Naan bread
-Lime bars
-I also helped make Turkey Soup, Cruesli and baked a Mango Crumble, just to add a few extras.

So, here’s the rundown:

Best recipe: Cinnamon Rolls – so tasty, especially right from the oven
Worst recipe: Havermout chocolade banana muffins – strangely this recipe does not call for flour and you end up with quite a mushy muffin – seeing as no one like them, this is not to be repeated.
Best discovery: Lentil Curry – I had never cooked lentils until a few months ago – what a brilliant discovery on my part
Fastest recipe: Quick Pickles, hence the name!
Recipe that needs some perfecting: Naan bread, tastes good but needs a little work in terms of presentation
Most labor intensive: Lime bars, squeezing 20-25 limes took me a while, as well as using a knife to grate enough lime zest
Most fun: Sugar cookies and icing – mostly because it was a great activity with nephews and nieces, both in the USA and NL
Recipe I would like to repeat soon: grilled halloumi, delicious!
Most challenging & creative: Pumpkin Roll, figuring out how to bake the dough so that it would be thin enough to roll, and then finding a way to roll it up to cool it down and then adding the filling and rolling it up again.
Recipe everyone needs to have: Pie Crust, important for any pie making, and so easy

Happy baking & cooking!

#10newrecipes #40before40 #sandraturns40 #40isthenew30 #bucketlist #sierraleone #alwaysanadventure

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Books & Basil...

Here's an update on two of the activities I checked off this week. I suppose it depends on how much my Basil needs to grow before I can check that one off. Maybe until I eat some of it? I've gone ahead and checked it off anyway. 

14. Grow something green (and edible!) (started 30/4/17, 3 sprouts 15/5/17)

18. Read 10 books in 10 months – (12/5/17) 

It’s been fun growing Basil. It’s the first time I’ve grow an herb (besides in primary school I suppose) and I’ve enjoyed watching the sprouts come up. I plan to branch out and grow some coriander and hopefully some rocket (arugula). If only I had a big garden, as opposed to a narrow balcony! This is a step by step learning process.

I’ve also managed to read 10 books in the last 5 months. This is probably a personal record for me! It also means I can check this activity off.  The easiest read of the 10 was the Dutch book, which one could argue is more of a children’s book, but I would like to add that it’s a longer children’s book and it’s not my primary language. Land of Love and Drowning was definitely the strangest of the 10 books. This is the book I read for book club, which I attended in March, which was also on my #bucketlist The book that I found most thought provoking was Half the Sky, which talked a lot about oppression of women, trafficking, lack of education etc. This is also the book that took me the longest to read, in part because some of the stories were pretty intense and I wanted time to process what I was reading. I would highly recommend this book.  The book I found the most inspiring was Dirty Glory, which is a book about the 24-7 prayer movement. I’ve enjoyed reading and am about halfway through book #11, which is The Five Love Languages. Let’s see how many more books I can read before my birthday!

#read10books #growsomethinggreen #basil #40before40 #sandraturns40 #40isthenew30 #bucketlist 

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Sunday snaps...

Over the past year, more and more of Asia's three-wheeled tuk-tuks have made their way to Africa. A year ago I would see the occasional tuk-tuk on Fourah Bay or Kissy Roads but now they are all over Freetown They are safer than the motorcycle taxis (slower and a bit more protected) and since their introduction, accident rates have gone down in Liberia. They also provide employment for youth, which is especially good as more bans were placed on motorcycle taxis (for safety reasons). In Sierraleone they are known as kekeh - I'm looking forward to my first ride in one! #kekeh #sierraleone

Friday, May 05, 2017

Mannequin Challenge in Sierra Leone...

Screen Shot of the Mannequin Challenge video (link below)
Last year, around the same time I was creating my #40before40 list, Jayne introduced me to a video fad known as the Mannequin Challenge. I was intrigued and entertained and thought it would be a great activity to add to my list. So, #33 ended up being: Mannequin Challenge in Sierra Leone.

For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s basically an internet trend where people remain frozen in action, yes you guessed it, like mannequins, while a moving camera films them, usually with the song “Black Beatles” playing in the background.  So, all we needed was a group of people, a venue, a camera and the song. Simple right?

As a joint activity to celebrate Jayne’s birthday and to complete #33 on my #40before40 list, we planned to create our video at Jayne’s birthday dinner at the New Brookfield Hotel. Jayne came prepared with the song, I had the camera and we had a group of people. However, none of us had done this before. What next? Thankfully, Haja was in the restaurant and had just walked up to our table to congratulate Jayne and overheard us talking about the Challenge. She told us she had done one in the past and so before we knew it, we had Haja directing the Challenge (thanks Haja!) and we all took our places in the restaurant, as customers, waitresses and bartenders and the music began to play. We froze in time while Haja did the filming to create our very own Mannequin Challenge. Some of the hotel guests and the executive director even joined in the Challenge!

Check out our video at:

We had a lot of fun and although this may not be the first Mannequin Challenge in Sierra Leone, it’s definitely the first one at the New Brookfield Hotel and the first one that I was a part of! And, this means that #33 is checked off of the list.

Thanks to the staff of NBH for helping out! 

Social media fast, Binch and Leceister Peak...

Since my last post I’ve made progress on my #40before40 list and completed the following activities:
19. Go 72 hours without social media
23. Learn to cook a Sierra Leonean dish
29. Walk up Leceister peak and have a picnic at the top 
I actually ended up doing two 100 hour social media fasts – one was planned in April and the other one happened after my iphone was stolen in a taxi almost two weeks ago! The first break was good in that it allowed me to focus more on the now and be more present, as well as spend time reading, writing etc. The second break was more frustrating, since it was unplanned and involved a theft!
Learning to cook a Sierra Leonean dish was great fun – we cooked BINCH (beans) with Edna’s help. It was a tasty dish with black eye beans, dried tenne fish, peppe (hot pepper), spring onions, maggi cubes (of course!), oil, tomato paste (also a staple item in these dishes) and onions. Up next, we will try groundnut soup. 
And finally, the walk up Leceister peak plus picnic was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Haley, Suzanne, Anna and I walked up with our picnic and laid out our food and drinks when we got to the top. We enjoyed each others company, the view, and various treats like cinnamon rolls, girlscout cookies, homemade pickles, sandwiches, fruit, wine and coffee/tea. We had a lovely time together.
Progress is being made on the recipes and books. I’m nearly finished with my online course and have started growing Basil. Stay tuned for news on the boat adventure and the swim to the island off of Bureh! 
The adventure continues…

#40before40 #bucketlist #40isthenew30 #sandraturns40 #alwaysanadventure

Friday, April 14, 2017

100 days to go...

In 100 days it’s my birthday. And it’s not just any birthday. On 23 July, I turn 40! Yes, 40! Yikes. Thankfully they say 40 is the new 30, so I am hoping I will be alright! Anyway, since I have never been keen on birthdays, and 40 sounds particularly daunting, I decided the lead up to this birthday needed to be fun. Feeling inspired by something my friend Haley did when she turned 30, I decided to create a 40 before 40 list last September. Basically, it’s a bucket list that I need to achieve by my 40th birthday. Of course, since I only had 10 months to achieve 40 activities, I had to keep it realistic but also fun and challenging. It's not a surprise that brainstorming with close friends and family, led to a great list.

It goes without saying, that my unemployment has proven very useful in terms of getting things checked off of my 40 before 40 list. Good timing! Some of the activities I achieved so far are going to three museums in Freetown (all on the same day), seeing a sunrise on a hill top in Haiti, filming a mannequin challenge in Freetown, making curtains with lappa using the sewing machine I received from my parents, Stefan and Genae in Seattle, learning to make a Moscow Mule in Seattle, a 10 km walk with my sister in Middelburg and a sleepover with my sister and my nieces in their living room. It’s been really fun that friends and family are so keen to help me check items off of my list. I never thought everyone would be so excited about it. Stay tuned for more stories, photos and an amazing video documenting some of the achievements, but first, let me share the complete #40before40 list with you! 

1.  Visit 1 new country
2.  Drive a vehicle in Sierra Leone for the first time
3.  Wear an Africana headpiece in public (4/11/16 – Jayne’s Wedding, Kent, Sierra Leone)
4.  Visit Outamba Kilimi national park in Kamakwie, Sierra Leone (24-26/2/17)
5.  Attend a book club (21/3/17 – Sierra Leone)
6.  Visit Bumbuna Dam  (10-12/3/17)
7.  Take up blogging again (26/10/16)
8.  Swim to the island off of Bureh beach, Sierra Leone
9.  Successfully take an ETAT plus course (24-25/9/16 – Ola During Children’s Hospital)
10. Successfully complete an online course – in progress
11. Get a massage
12. Make something creative with lappa on my own (27/2/17 – Sierra Leone)
13. Run a race
14. Grow something green (and edible!)
15. Improve a foreign language (conversational) – French – in progress via Duolingo
16. Sponsor a child
17. Try 10 new cooking/baking recipes in 10 months – in progress
18. Read 10 books in 10 months – in progress
19. Go 72 hours without social media
20. Get a manicure and pedicure (1/11/16) at Nali, Freetown, Sierra Leone
21. A 30-day challenge – completing acts of kindness or gratefulness
22. Go to the National Museum, Special Court Museum, Train Museum in Sierra Leone (5/12/16)
23. Learn to cook a Sierra Leonean dish
24. Visit Bonthe island, Sierra Leone
25. Visit Haiti again but this time go see where my parents live (9-23/12/16)
26. Picnic at Baw baw (22/10/16), Mama beach (30/10/16), John Obey, Black Johnson beaches, Sierra Leone
27. Walk down Lumley beach making a fashion statement
28. Visit Bomba ice cream factory and discuss new flavours
29. Walk up Leceister peak and have a picnic at the top
30. Swing in a Color Cloud hammock in Sierra Leone (a friend’s enterprise) – hammock purchased 12/16
31. Buy a teapot for myself (5/1/17 – De Efteling, The Netherlands)
32. Attend one ‘Insanity’ exercise session or Aerobics session (25/11/16 – Sierra Leone)
33. Mannequin challenge in Sierra Leone (24/3/17 – New Brookfields Hotel, Sierra Leone)
34. Sleepover with my sister and nieces in their living room (13/1/17 – the Netherlands)
35. Write a short story or a poem
36. Watch the sunrise from a hill top (23/12/16 – Haiti)
37. Walk 10 km with my sister (13/1/17 – the Netherlands)
38. Make Cocktails (multiple times - USA, Sierra Leone)
39. Take a photography lesson
40. Go on a boat adventure along the Western Area peninsula (attempt 27/11/16)

✔ means the activity has been accomplished!!

#40before40 #bucketlist #40isthenew30 #sandraturns40 #alwaysanadventure

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~