A lucky girl

Mum and I got home the other day and our little neighbour dashed up to chat to me. She’s such a cute kid and always has funny things to say.

That particular day I noticed that her toe was all smooshed.

“Khanyi” I exclaimed, “Whatever did you do to your toe?”

She shrugged and answered that she had fallen and hurt it. I told her that she should be more careful with her little toes in future – they were not big enough to mess with.

“But I’m always unlucky!” she sighed. “I am forever falling and hurting myself.”

Mum and I looked at each other.

“Noooo…. You can’t say things like that! You have to think of yourself as being a lucky girl. If you think about being unlucky then that just attracts bad luck. Tomorrow you are going to have a good luck day. No more bad luck!”

But she just shrugged and said… “I’ll try – but I’ll probably have another bad luck day.”

We went inside and I felt sad that she is so little and yet she already has such a negative attitude.

Dad is always telling us about the law of attraction. Our minds are the most powerful things that we have. If we decide that we are going to have a good day – then we probably will.

But you, yourself, really have to believe this one hundred percent.

You can’t think in wishy-washy terms. You have to tell yourself that you are going to have a good day. Then you have to envision having a good day. The power of thought!

Of course, in my case it’s pretty simple. I envision eating a nice cold ice-cream at school. Then I take some of my pocket money to school and buy one. It’s a simple as that. The ice-cream man is there, the weather is good for eating ice-cream and I don’t lose my money. Everything works.

Or I see my maths paper in my mind’s eye with a nice big A+ on it. Or course I know that I’d put in a lot of work beforehand and could reasonably expect an A+.

Nothing worth having ever comes free or easy. We probably would not appreciate it if it did.

And on the odd occasions when you do fail, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and try again.

Hope you all have a simply fabulous day! (Go on – imagine yourself having a fabulous day.)

Sibo

Get off that darn cell phone please!

sibo-having-fun-at-the-wimpy-2Sjoe – some adults are really a bit less than the best!

Mum and I were at the Wimpy having a milkshake.

We chose to sit outside so that I could investigate all the fun stuff to do – and let me tell you – there is plenty of fun stuff to do at the Wimpy in Petersfield. Mum likes to watch me whilst I play. But we have a rule that I have to come back every now and then and talk. I also have to eat all my food.

Actually I quite like having my mum all to myself – so I spend more time at the table than I do in the playground.

I was slurping down my shake, chatting away, when I noticed a little kid who came in with her parental agent. They sat down inside – far away from the play area.

The little girl looked at the slide longingly but sat down, good as gold. A few minutes later the man took out his cell phone and kept it glued to his ear for quite a long time.

After a while the girl ventured outside and had a look around the play area – rather apprehensively.  Then she went back inside. The man was on his phone again. She fiddled with the sauce and stuff. He carried on talking. Their food came and he still chatted.

Part of the treat of going out somewhere is having the person talk to you – not someone else!

I see this quite a lot. People go out and they spend more time looking at their cell phones than they do talking to the person that they are with.

Adults are the worst!  They order their kids food and seem to feel that is all that’s expected of them. Their job is done,  they can sit back and withdraw into their cellular worlds. They don’t need to interact with their children other than to help them cut up their food.

Sometimes the kids spend the whole time in the play area and don’t even eat much of their food.

Most of us want you to watch us, we want to talk to you and we want to you listen to us – with your eyes and your ears. You can’t do that if you are attached to your cell phone.

Put it away people!

Sibo

A few small rules

Every now and then we all have to use public transport. Some of us even use it daily – we don’t have a choice.

We all know that it is not polite to put our feet on the seat – of a train, bus or taxi. It’s not fair to the next person who sits there. Our No feet on the seatshoes might be dirty and then that dirt would get onto the next person’s clothes. Yet… people still do it.

We also know that we should give up our seat if there is an elderly person, a preggy lady or even somebody who has small children who does not have a seat of their own. Even if we are tired and don’t feel like it – it’s the kind thing to do.

Some types of public transport have designated seats for the elderly or the disabled – these seats should be out of bounds for normal travelers, but sadly, people don’t care and they sit in those places anyway. They even have the cheek to be rude if they are asked to move.

It’s the same for parking places in malls, shopping centres and other public spaces that are allocated for handicapped people. They are usually wider than usual parking places to allow for wheelchairs to be loaded on and off the roof of the car. Usually they are also close to the entrances.  This does definitely not mean that somebody can park their big fat bakkie in that space to run into the shop quickly.

There are also spots in some shopping centres for Moms with tots. People sometimes consider that these folk are getting special treatment, but this isn’t the case. It’s not easy humping a pushchair in and out of the car whilst managing small children – let alone having to look for parking in some out-of-the-way spot. It just makes it easier for them to shop at that particular centre – that’s all.

But what’s really rude is to have a loud conversation on your cell phone whilst using public transport. Nobody wants to have to hear what you are ordering for supper, or what happened to you last night, or even what business deal you are doing. It’s even worse if you have to listen to somebody having a fight on the phone.

Please people! Let’s all try be a bit more considerate in future.

Sibo

Oceans apart!

Sibo and the seahorses

Hands up who has been to visit the sea? It’s a fabulous place to have a holiday – especially if the sun is shining and it’s a nice day. It’s also lovely to look at the ocean on a cold stormy day – watch the waves break and the water change colour.

I guess we all take the sea for granted in many ways. Yet humans have been treating the sea very casually and horribly for years and years.

Did you know… waste matter from sewerage and agriculture gets dumped in the sea? This sometimes has revolting things in it that can cause dangerous types of sea plants to bloom in the water near the coast. When these blooms die and rot they use up all the oxygen in the water and then there isn’t any left for the fish. They call these areas “creeping dead zones”.

Just the name sounds incredibly scary.

Worse – a lot of other stuff also gets dumped into the ocean without people realizing it – all sorts of chemicals. Some of those chemicals are called POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants). These ghastly POPs don’t break down and disappear like lots of other chemicals do. They end up staying in the tissues of living organisms – like fish – that we eat. Yuk! Never mind the fact that these make the fish sick, they can also sometimes cause nasty illnesses in humans or even affect the way that we grow.

The oceans are huge and one would think that there are loads of fish swimming around  just waiting to be caught and eaten. Well – this is not quite true anymore either. Sadly unsustainable fishing practices have, in some cases, left dangerously depleted fish stocks which have also jeopardized some marine ecosystems too.

Did you know… 312 million kilograms of seafood is consumed annually in South Africa? Sjoe!

This is why there are things like lists. We are all supposed to eat fish off the GREEN list only.  The fish on the orange and red lists are endangered and they should not be caught. In fact it’s not okay to eat them if you go to a restaurant either because this creates a demand for them. Don’t do it!

Visit http://wwfsassi.co.za/sassi-list/  and see what you are allowed to eat and what is endangered. You’ll be horrified!

Let’s all take better care of our oceans.

Sibo.

Butts are a bit of a problem

Sibo hands

Lately scientists have figured out that cigarette butts are one of the most abundant types of litter found around. Studies estimate that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year.

Much worse, it’s one of nastiest, deadliest forms of waste.

People who would not dream of pitching a cool drink tin out of the car window will happily chuck a burning butt out. Not particularly caring that it can set fire to something. Burning butts are often the cause of serious veldt fires.

People also drop them on pavements or into gutters, where the wind blows them into storm waters and other places.

They also flick butts casually into water – dams, the sea and rivers.

You probably wouldn’t flick a cigarette butt into your swimming pool – but why not? Because you or your family might swallow it whilst swimming and that would be horrible.

So why not care if a fish, bird or animal chomps it instead?

Cigarette butts are tiny little bundles of toxins. They are poisonous. They get into our marine ecosystems and cause havoc with the wildlife and the quality of the water.

We all know that water is extremely precious.

Due to the fact that cigarette filters are specifically designed to accumulate toxins, each butt can contain up to 60 known human carcinogens including… arsenic, formaldehyde, chromium and lead. In fact, there are around 1,400 potential chemical additives.

Toxicological data has shown that these chemicals from discarded butts are capable of leaching into surrounding water where they can hurt aquatic life. Nicotine has been shown to be lethal to various fish, crustaceans, zooplankton, and other aquatic organisms, as well as being a known insecticide.

On top of leeching toxins, cigarette butts present an ingestion, choking and poisoning hazard to wildlife who mistake them for dinner!

Cigarette filters are also composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can hang around in the environment for long periods of time. Plastics of this sort have been found in the stomachs of sea turtles, fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures.

You know what is also really scary – even those people who put their cigarettes out in the designated places have no guarantee that their butts won’t also end up in the water. The bins get emptied. Butts are chucked onto rubbish dumps. Here they are blown around and it’s highly likely that they end up where they shouldn’t as well.

So what is the answer?  Stop smoking of course!

Ever wondered how a book gets written and published?

Sibo Looks Right cover small

In the case of the Sibo Series there are different scenarios. Several of the titles in the Sibo Series were straight up published by Lets Look Publishers. Okay – that sounds confusing – all of the books have been published by Lets Look  – but six of them were published without knowing that we had already sold x amount of copies up front.

A few years ago, it was guaranteed that the school system would snap up any worthwhile books that were published but since CAPS came in, things are not quite the same. A publisher can publish books (usually 3000 is the minimum print run) and they can sit in a store room and trickle out very very slowly.  As you can imagine, this is not good for business.

Some of our books have been commissioned. This means that x amount of books are ordered before we even write it on a particular topic.  Sibo Fights Malaria was one of those – The Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control and the Department of Health wanted a different way of telling people about what a nasty disease malaria is and how to avoid it. (Ginny knows about this first hand because she had malaria when she was a kid.)  So we wrote the book in conjunction with both of them and they are using it in schools in some areas in Limpopo. The good thing about this book is that students from the Education Department at the University of Pretoria are using this book in some of their projects – so we will get feedback as to whether it has any effect or not.

We’ve also written books to celebrate International Years – like Chemistry (funded by BASF, the chemical company).  Astronomy and Biodiversity were funded by SAASTA, who also commissioned a book about nanotechnology. That was interesting. We knew nothing about the topic when we started and had to do a lot of research. Strangely enough – it’s one of the most popular books in the series.

Then we get books that are sponsored – or partially sponsored…

Ginny feels strongly about animals being abused and hates the way kids get pets and then only love them when they are small and cute. Once they get bigger and more demanding they tend to be ignored. Pets are for life – not just for the two minutes they are adorable and tiny. Luckily she found a like-minded person who was willing to help sponsor Sibo Saves a Stray.  It was very hard to find funding for this book because most people would rather spend their money on the animals themselves, instead of educating kids (and their parents).  If you would like more information about the Sibo Series please visit the website.

Our latest title – Sibo Looks Right is all about road safety. This is a topic that is very important to both Peter Sanderson (Lets Look) and Ginny. The first draft of the book was written years ago and at various stages different people showed some interest in sponsoring the book. Sadly none of these prospects paid off and the story mouldered in Ginny’s laptop for way too long. Every time there was a road, taxi or bus accident or incident Ginny would hiss and spit and say that we have to get this knowledge out to the kids (and their parents) somehow. She’d fire off another round of frantic emails to try and drum up some support for the book.

Towards the end of last year, Chris (Ginny’s lovely husband) asked her if she had considered crowdfunding to get the book on road safety published.  She didn’t know much about crowdfunding and so got stuck in and did some research.  She also sent out a plea on Facebook and Thandi suggested that she try Thundafund as a South African crowdfunding platform.

Ginny is not one of those nice cautious people who likes to sit and brood and stew about things for any length of time. Once she’s got an idea it needs to get out of head immediately and get going. She bounced the idea of crowdfunding off Uncle Pete from Let’s Look and got the go ahead.

Thundafund were great – they replied immediately and sent a form to complete so they could see if the project was going to be worthwhile or not. Typically they would reply within a few days with the answer. Indeed they did reply positively within the allotted time.

There followed another learning curve. Part of a Thundafund campaign includes having a short video on the project. In our case it was not something that you could just go out and film. Ginny had to get cosy with some software she had not used much before and make a little video from scratch.

After all – the whole point of crowdfunding is for potential funders to think the project is worthwhile and not just a little whim of some bankrupt person who fancies doing something with other people’s money!crowdfunding

Ginny showed Chris her first attempt at being a filmmaker. No no no! He screeched before he’d even seen half of it. He ranted and raved for a few minutes about what he expected to see. She considered sulking and pouting – she hates it when he pulls his “Professor” tone on her and treats her like one of his students – but she grudgingly acknowledged that he had a point.

A new and vastly improved video clip was made that passed muster on its first showing.

The campaign went live. We had to reach the tipping point in 90 days otherwise all the money that had been donated would be returned to the backers. Pete, Sharon, Chris and Ginny all promptly plugged cash into the campaign to start it off.

The tipping point was just enough to pay the layout artist and the illustrator. If we got enough money to do this we’d be able to have an e-book at least.  Of course first prize was R140,000 so that we could print 3000 books and distribute them freely to kids and schools around the country.

There were various “rewards” that could be purchased. For R500 you could have your child’s name written into the story line. R300 and your logo would be displayed on the inside cover. R100 got your name mentioned. Everybody who donated would obviously receive an e-book as well.

A few days into the campaign – Mike Ward from Nash Nissan in Alberton catapulted the campaign from a “wannabe-book” to a “this-is-now-happening-book” with his very generous donation of R33600!  This meant we had passed the tipping point and could sleep again.

Nash Nissan

The Department of Arts and Culture also decided it was a worthwhile project to back and donated several thousand rand to the campaign as well.

There were lots of lovely friends and acquaintances, not to mention family members who all backed our project. These donations came in from all over the world too!  Ginny contacted as many of the car companies as possible – for a measly R300 they could have their logo included in the book. To no avail – they all had some sappy excuse or other. Even Peugeot – and Chris had just bought a brand new car from them.

We also tried repeatedly to get the attention of the major radio stations. This might have made a great difference as far as funding was concerned. It’s not like we were trying to make money out of the project – we wanted to be able to distribute as many books to the children as possible. Road safety is an issue.

Pippa Hudson at Cape Talk interviewed Ginny but by that stage there were only a few hours left to the campaign.

After 90 days we had a grand total of R54,550.  Whilst not as much as we hoped for, it was enough to publish an e-book as well as printing 800 copies.

Ginny realised that she had not exactly done her homework prior to starting the Thundafund campaign. Whilst she’s quite good at bombing people on email and Facebook, her tweeting habits left a lot to be desired. This is an integral part of crowdfunding and we sucked at it. It’s something that she is working on to promote the book.

After much haggling and to-ing and fro-ing between, Ginny, Uncle Pete, the layout artist and illustrator – we finally have a product that we are very proud of and are excited to share it with the world.

The files went to the printers this morning and the e-book will be ready in the next few days.

Lets Look Publishers and Ginny are very grateful to all those who helped make this book happen. We hope and trust that it might save some of our precious children’s lives (and those of their parents).

 

PS – If there is anybody out there who missed this campaign and would like to contribute now – it’s never too late – we can print more books and get them out there – contact Ginny.

Doing jobs properly

Remember last week I made some money at entrepreneurs’ day at school? Well that got me thinking…

Why are there so many people who lead a life of crime when they could just put their mind to making some money legally?

Sometimes it is easier to offer a service if you want to make money – like babysitting or maybe doing odd jobs for your neighbours or for older people who can’t do stuff themselves so easily. This way you don’t have to have any money to start with.

Of course if you do offer a service, you have to be really reliable and do what you say you are going to do. Like if you are babysitting – then you need to be sure you look after the kids. You have to watch them and keep them occupied so they don’t get bored and get into trouble.

Once, when I was a bit younger, mum got one of the neighbour’s older daughters to babysit me for a few hours. She ignored me totally and sat chatting on her phone to her boyfriend the whole time. I got bored and decided to investigate my mother’s make-up stuff. I made a really pretty picture with all the nice colours. Of course I knew I was being naughty but was so bored I did not really care.

When mum came home she did not yell at me I like expected her to. She yelled at the babysitter for not doing her job properly. She also refused to pay her. Even worse, she bad-mouthed the babysitter all over the place so she never got a job in our street again. I overheard mum saying that children were very precious and if somebody could not be trusted to look after them properly – then they should not have the job. I guess she was right.

I all boils down to that old saying “If a job is worth doing – it’s worth doing properly.”

Our neighbour across the road never has time to walk her dog. I’m going to ask Mum and Dad if I can become a dog-walker. My friend Wayne could come with me – we’ll share the money and then we will be safer too.

Good idea hey!

Sibo

 

Word of the week: Dollop

Meaning: A blob of something.

Example: I put dollops of mums blue eyeshadow on the paper to make the sky in my picture.Sibo and Wayne walking Zona

Eye spy

Sibo cutie face

Last week mum caught me out. I’d eaten the last biscuit in the box.

“Sibo” said mum – “did you eat the last biscuit?”

Heaven only knows why I did it, but I fibbed. Probably because I thought I might get into trouble for eating that last little sucker.

“No mum”, I replied as innocently as I could, looking up at the ceiling, scuffing my toe against the edge of the carpet.

“I’m not cross with you for eating it, just for leaving the empty box there,” said Mum with a smile.

I dashed off to the kitchen and threw the box away. Then I gave mum a hug. “How did you know I was fibbing?”

“That’s easy” she replied. “You never look me in the eye when you tell fibs. Your eyes wander all over the place but don’t go anywhere near my face.”

Seriously? Can people really tell that you are fibbing if you don’t look them in the eye? I decided to google it because I did not really believe that it could be true.

Here’s what I found out… Firstly we have no control over the size of our pupils (those black bits in the middle of your eyes). Your pupils get bigger when you are interested in something and smaller when you are not.

Making eye contact makes a person seem more honest, trustworthy, attractive and confident. If you look a person in the eye whilst talking to them you are more likely to win them over. Also, it shows that you are listening to them and are interested in what they are saying. Of course, if your pupils get tiny and you look away – they can see that too!

But sometimes looking a person in the eye is very difficult; especially when it’s an adult you are talking to.

Here’s a little sneaky tip – if you are having trouble looking somebody in the eye – focus on the bridge of their nose instead. Or look at one eye only – they can’t tell the difference and it’s easier to do.

It’s a good trait to learn and practise – look somebody in the eye when you talk to them.

Sibo

 

Odd, slightly naughty but very cool word for the week: Fopdoodle

Meaning – a Victorian (very old) word for a “dumbass”

Example: I was such a fopdoodle I forgot to turn off the light in my room when the power went out – so when it came back on again the light woke me up.

Mind your manners!

The other day mum and I had been shopping in the mall. I was tired, my feet were sore and actually I was a bit fed up watching her try on gajillions of clothes.

Mum suggested that we stop for a break and a bite to eat. I wanted to go to McDonalds. Mum wanted to go to another little tea shop.

Obviously, because I’m the small one and mum has the money – we ended up going to Mum’s place.

I was not very happy and started to pout.

Look said mum, they have chocolate cake and milkshakes. I did not want chocolate cake or a milkshake. I wanted a cheese burger and a coke.

I was really miffed. I plonked down at that table and sulked. When the waitress came to take our order I did not look at her, nor did I say please or thank you.

Mum said I’d been really rude.

Really rude? Me? I didn’t think so.

But mum insisted. She said just because I was having a bad day I should not take it out on other people. They were just doing their job.

“Please and thank you are the cornerstones of politeness”, she said. And a smile does not hurt either.

Mum went off to find the Ladies room and left me sitting there – thinking.

Hmmm… probably I had been a bit rude hey? Come to think of it – I was not very proud of myself. I don’t ever like it when people think they can be rude to me, just because I’m a little kid. I guess it works both ways. One can’t just be bad tempered and mean when we don’t get our own way.

Even if it is something important like going to McDonalds!

Sibo 5In fact you could say that my behaviour had been downright dodgy.  The next time I saw the waitress passing our table I smiled at her and said I was sorry for being rude.

She patted my shoulder and said it was okay. She thanked me for apologising and said she also found it tiring going shopping with her mum.

I said sorry to  mum when she came back to the table.

The chocolate cake was delicious.

……………………..

Cool word for the week:

Word:  nook

Meaning:  a corner or a small recess

Example: Sibo and her mum found a nice little nook in the restaurant and sat down to have a snack.