asakiyume: (Em)
Who found this image and story of a tiny floating shelter that, as she says, looks like it could be from Mermaid's Hands! The houses in Mermaid's Hands are made of salvaged wood and roofed with thatch, but with corrugated metal over the kitchen portion, but people living in Mermaid's Hands are adaptable and would love the painting on the side.


Source

It was found floating 180 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Pen Pal starts with Em wondering what would happen if she could detach her house and have it go floating free--I guess this little house was finding out! (It turned out to have been a floating dock in Key West, Florida--so that's quite a journey it went on.)

Gotta love the art ♥
asakiyume: (far horizon)






This morning I caught Living on Earth, a radio show about the environment. They were talking about the Paris Climate Conference, and their last segment was a poem, "Tell Them," by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands. I was lying in bed--the radio was on in the kitchen, but my attention was pulled: soon I was listening intently. It's a long poem, and I don't think I should put the whole thing here without asking permission (you can read it here), but here are some parts that I especially liked:


tell them our islands were dropped
from a basket
carried by a giant
tell them we are the hollow hulls
of canoes as fast as the wind
slicing through the Pacific sea ...

tell them we are styrofoam cups of Kool-Aid red
waiting patiently for the ilomij
we are papaya-golden sunsets bleeding
into a glittering, open sea
we are skies uncluttered
majestic and sweeping in their landscape
tell them we are dusty rubber slippers
swiped
from concrete doorsteps ...

we are children flinging
like rubber bands
across a road clogged with chugging cars
tell them
we only have one road ...

tell them some of us
are old fishermen who believe that God
made us a promise
tell them some of us
are a little more skeptical
but most importantly you tell them
that we don't want to leave
that we've never wanted to leave
and that we
are nothing without our islands.


Jaier Juano and family; photo by 黒忍者 on Flickr (click through)
Jaier Juano and family

ETA: Regarding the Climate Change Agreement reached today, Al Jazeera reports,

In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing "loss and damage" associated with climate-related disasters.
asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)







This description came from someone's article in Australian Road Rider about a motorbike trip around East Timor:

I’ve never seen a road being handmade before. There were young men and boys placing river pebbles and stones in a neat arrangement, others tended fires on which 44-gallon drums of tar rested. A few men had ladles on long poles which they dipped into the drums of molten tar then carried to the stone sections and poured.

Source: "East Timor: Land of Children"

Here's a photo of roadbuilding in Timor-Leste from 2010, courtesy of Wikipedia:



asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
One of my earliest memories of Internet goodness is of searching for a recipe for wild mushrooms--this would have been sometime between 1998 and 2005--and finding one offered by a guy who identified his location as Turkish Kurdistan. We had a brief back and forth, and I thought, Now this place is personal to me. I know someone there. I know he used to pick wild thyme with his grandmother.

Fast forward to last summer. One of my best memories from Timor-Leste was of being served deep-fried plantain chips, homemade, and of sharing the leftovers with friends. I wanted to make those myself, to feel close (because eating food brings us close) to Timor-Leste. And the best recipe I found? Was a Nigerian one.



So easy to follow, so clear, so pleasant! (And the recipe was a success)

Not only did this bring me close to Timor-Leste, it made me feel close to Nigeria. I had one previous experience with Nigerian food: akara--wonderful, croquette-like deep-fried items, made with ground black-eyed peas, with onions and hot peppers to flavor it. I bought some at a local market, loved it, wanted to know how to make it, and had found recipes online, but was stymied by one key detail--getting the skins off the black-eyed peas.

Oh My God, the time that took. I'd soak the black-eyed peas, and as they expanded, the skins would begin to come loose. Then I'd rub them together in the soaking water to get more loose, and then I'd strain off the skins (which would float), while trying to keep the peas themselves from pouring out. It was such a slow process! I mean, kind of relaxing, too, if you have nothing else to do, but. . .

Well, Flo, the woman behind All Nigerian Recipes, has the answer for that, too:

two videos about getting the skins off beans )

So by this time I'm really loving this Youtube channel, loving the recipes, loving the fact that Flo responds to comments--and loving her personal videos, too. Like this one:



Pretty cool, right? Not only does Flo put up fabulous cooking videos, she also has an *intense* day job!

And because the Internet lets us make friends with people all over the world--just write hello, just hit send--I thought . . . maybe she would let me interview her.

Then I checked and saw that she has close to 30,000 subscribers. Her top video has more than half a million views, and her top ten videos all have over 100,000 views. I'm not the only one who loves her. So then I felt more hesitant about getting in touch. . . . But I overcame that and wrote to her, and she said yes!

So come back on Monday, everyone, when Flo will answer my questions about cooking, YouTube, and self-publishing a cookbook.

Meantime, enjoy her channel and maybe have a Nigerian meal tonight.

Video List Here!



asakiyume: (Em)
I just learned from Little Springtime about the existence of bibioburros--like bookmobiles, only with burros instead of vans to carry books to isolated households on Colombia's Caribbean shore.

The program's founder, Luis Soriano, is a primary school teacher. His portable library started with just 70 books, but grew to several thousand volumes, thanks to donations. Soriano has two burros, Alfa and Beto, who carry the books. This Wikipedia article on bibiloburros tells of much excitement (for example, bandits tied up Soriano and stole the novel Brida, by Paulo Coelho, when they discovered Soriano had no money on him) and many ups and downs (Soriano had to have a leg amputated after an accident), but the program continues.


Luis Soriano and his biblioburros (Photo: Scott Dalton; Source: New York Times, article here)


(Also from the New York Times)


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I had to return a completed job by post this morning. While I was filling out a form, the door opened and there was an amazing sound of CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP emanating from a cardboard box, marked "live chicks" and with sides punctuated with air holes and with hay sticking out from those holes.

"The beats are the heart of the party," the person carrying this box was saying into his bluetooth. He set the box down on the counter and left.

CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP! said those live chicks.

"Ed's called twice already, wondering where his chicks are," said J.

"Well, you can tell him they've arrived," said T.

I asked about chick delivery, and T told me that they have go overnight. Those chicks came from Iowa.

. . . Did you know that East Timor has no government-run, nationwide postal system?

They have internet and wifi. The East Timor Action Network just today reported that Timor Telecom is offering computers to schools and universities in Timor-Leste (East Timor), "to contribute to the digital inclusion of students and create a new approach to teaching." But if I want to get a computer to someone in Timor-Leste--say someone in the town of Ainaro--I either have to bring it myself or give it to someone who's going over, who then has to hand deliver it or entrust it to someone to deliver. If I make friends with anyone in Ainaro while I'm over there, I can send them emails or phone them, but I can't send them a letter, not directly to their home.

My contact tells me that within the town of Ainaro there's mail delivery that's carried out by the district administration, and maybe the same thing happens in other districts, and in the capital of Dili. But if you're in Dili and you want to get something to Ainaro, you have to arrange something with a bus driver or someone else who will play courier.

This is one way (one of many ways) in which Timor-Leste is different from the fictional nation of W-- in my Pen Pal novel. W-- has a postal service.


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