World Humanitarian Day

19 August was World Humanitarian Day. This day was initially declared by the United Nations back in 2008 after a terrible terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Bagdad in 2003, where 22 people were killed.

Nearly every day some disaster happens – whether it is war, terrorist attacks, floods, earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, disease, poverty or hunger. These things cause huge suffering for all the people who are caught up in these events and, sadly, it is usually the poorest people who suffer the most.

Humanitarian assistance workers go all-out to provide help in these situations both in the short and long term. Often these workers put themselves at risk too and sometimes even die in their efforts to help other people.


We can all be humanitarians.  There is no special training needed to do the right thing every now and then. Sometimes it is as simple as delivering blankets or warm clothes to the needy when there is a very cold spell. Or helping out in your local community if something untoward – like a flood -happens.

Basically it all boils down to being kind and thinking of others. The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous.

It’s not very hard to be any of those things, but sometimes it does require conscious thought. Often we get so caught up in everyday life that we forget there are many people who have considerably less than we do and could use a bit of a helping hand. It could be as simple as knowing somebody at school who needs to share your lunch occasionally.

Remember a while ago we talked about having “Friendship benches” at school.  Where kids who don’t have any friends, or just maybe need somebody to talk to, can go and sit and know for sure that somebody will come and talk to them. That also boils down to being kind – and generous. You don’t have to be generous with money always. You can be generous of spirit or with your time.

There might even be an elderly person in your neighbourhood who is lonely and could use somebody to chat to or maybe needs help with shopping or garden work.

The main thing is for us all to keep an open mind and not miss out on opportunities to do the odd good deed. Or many good deeds!


Beautiful beasties – big and small.

Remember at the beginning of the year we posted a calendar – one that had all sorts of interesting days on it?

Well  on Friday the 3rd of March we celebrate World Wildlife Day.

Living in South Africa we are rather lucky because we have a wide range of furry creatures that are available for us to see – if we can get to a game park that is. Otherwise there is always the zoo. Of course, it’s not the same to see animals in cages – even if our zoos have nice big cages. Not like some of those horrendous places I have read about overseas.

We are also fortunate in the way that there are lots of bushy areas that contain smaller beasties like snakes, mongoose, dassies and other little critters that you would not see if you lived in a concrete jungle of a city. Not sure I would really appreciate seeing a snake too much though.

My friend Ginny lives near the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve in Pretoria and they have things like Zebra and other types of large buck roaming freely around – right in the middle of suburbia.  She gets to go hiking around the reserve most Sundays and says it keeps her sane.

In the East Rand area there is the Marievale Bird Sanctuary. I know that birds are perhaps not as exciting as big animals but they are still very pretty to look at. Many kids are not so fond of bird watching because we’re supposed to be quiet otherwise the birds get scared and fly away. What’s nice about Marievale is that it does not cost anything to visit, and apart from the picnic area, there is also a nice walk around the wetlands to bird hides. They say there are 267 different types of birds there. Sjoe! That’s a lot! I have also heard that there are otters in the rivers – but sadly I’ve never seen one. In the summer it is open from 05h30 in the morning and only closes at 19h30.

Then there is the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Heidelberg which is a bit further away. You can spot the following critters in there… zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest mountain reedbuck, common duiker, steenbok, grey duiker, baboon, oribi, blesbok, springbok and kudu. It’s not that expensive either – R22 per person and R11 per car.

Have a fabulous week!


Happy 2017!

Hullo again – I hope that 2017 has been kind to everybody so far and that your holiday season was great!

It’s hard to believe that the year is already 10 days old!  Also that the school holidays have whizzed by and a new term has begun.

Time to move into a higher grade and learn many new and exciting things!

Feh… also time to get up early in the morning again – no more sleeping in.

But I always love going back to school and seeing my old friends.

Or maybe even meeting new friends!

Remember people – be nice to new kids in your class. It’s horrible being the new boy or girl in a place where everybody knows each other. You feel really lonely and left out. Last year we wrote about having a “Friendship Bench” – it really is a good idea.

I started thinking about dates… you know how sometimes you read something about Happy World Wetlands Day on the 2nd of February. Or maybe hear something about celebrating World Radio Day on the 13th of February.

I wondered who on earth decides on these dates?

So I did a bit of research and found out that the United Nations has a website that lists all of the dates that have been declared International/World such and such a day.

There are lots and lots of them. Many of them are rather dreary – to kids anyway. But then again, some are very interesting.

My friend Ginny decided to make a 2017 Sibo calendar and include all the interesting dates.

It turned out to be way too cool to hog to ourselves and we’ve loaded it onto  the website so that we can share it with you!

It’s a .pdf file and it’s actually A3 size because it’s full of lots of stuff!  Don’t worry – it does have the real public holidays on it as well.

You are welcome to download it – if you don’t have a printer at home – put it onto a memory stick and take it to your local Postnet or other printing place. (It will probably cost you around R20 to have it printed.)

The first person to post on my Facebook page what the 15th of May is – wins a Sibo book of their choice!

Have a fabulous 2017 people. Let us all make this year count!