Tag: tolerance

Spider woman

Okay – so this was not the spider – I missed getting a shot of her! Ginny took this.

The other day I heard a terrible yelling coming from Mum’s bedroom. Dropped what I was doing and ran to see what on earth was going on.

She was a quivering, jabbering screeching wreck! I looked at her with big eyes – whatever was the matter?  She pointed at a little splodge on the duvet.

It was a spider. Not a particularly big spider, but not exactly small and sweet looking either. One of those hairy dudes that look like it might want to pounce on a person.

Of course I know that’s complete nonsense – they are a lot more afraid of us than we are of them. Mum was heading off to the kitchen to get the Doom. I stopped her and told her to rather make a cup of tea, sit in the lounge and drink it. I would deal with the spider.

Okay – I am not a big fan of spiders either but I really don’t like killing stuff, so I yanked up my big girl broekies and grovelled out a spider busting kit.

Very simple really – a thin piece of cardboard and a clear plastic bakkie.

First I snuck up and slapped that bowl over the spider. It needs to be clear preferably because then you can see where the spider is (on the bowl or on the surface) when you slide the piece of cardboard carefully under the bowl. There is no point in saving the spider and knocking off a couple of her legs in the process.

Once you have the spider trapped between the cardboard and the bowl, you lift the whole thing up and take the little intruder outside. I like using a plastic bowl because sometimes the spider tends to get a bit friendly and wants to run up your arm when you open up the bowl.  Then you can toss it into the garden and run away shrieking!

Mum thought I was very brave.

Did you know that the 11th of October is International Day of the Girl Child! We get to have our own day – how cool. This is a pretty good time in history to be a girl too. We are encouraged to do anything as far as careers go – the sky is the limit.

Although this is not the case for everybody, in some countries girls and women are severely oppressed. Let’s spare a thought for them please.

Sibo

Friends are Fabulous

The 30th of June is International Day of Friendship.

I’m reminding you nice and early in case you need to make a plan to make a plan to get together and have a lunch date or something, or even just to remind yourself to call somebody.

Friends are good for a person’s heart and soul. Literally!  But friendship is very much a two-way thing.

One has to give as much as one gets – and I don’t mean “stuff” here either. I’m talking about time spent together, laughing, sharing experiences, chatting and more importantly, listening to the other person. Really listening to hear – and not listening to talk when they’ve finished speaking. Often friends just need to talk to somebody that they know really cares about them – they don’t want to hear how the same thing happened to you.

If a friend tells you a juicy secret, don’t go blab it out to the world in general afterwards. That’s not what real friends do.

Research has shown that people who have lots of friends are much more likely to survive a major illness than somebody who has no friends. This is because the loving support (both physically and mentally) of friends helps a person get better

Companionship is also known to reduce stress. People, who are married to a person that they both love and are friends with, are more likely to stay married. (Yes – it’s very possible to love somebody and not like them very much!)

In your life time, you’ll probably make around 396 friends, but according to research, only 1 in 12 friendships last and of those, only about 4 will be really close friends.

These days, with social media – it’s easy to think you have loads of friends, but this is not always the case. Next time you meet up with your friends, put your cell phones away and talk properly to each other, instead of chatting via text messages.

Amazingly enough, scientists have also discovered that there are animals – like dolphins, bats, chimps, baboons, elephants, horses and… wait for it… hyenas that have been known to form friendships for life with individuals that are not the same species. (I was quite surprised to see that they did not mention dogs and cats – specially seeing as how they have bonds with their humans.)

Remember people… in order to have a friend, you have to be a friend!

Sibo

Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been reading things about kindness lately and I was thinking that we sure could use a little more of that stuff in our world to make it a better place.  It usually only takes one person to start a domino effect.

It’s not hard to be kind – but it does take a certain mind-set. You can start small. By smiling – and we all know that it takes only 26 to smile and 62 to frown!

Smile at random people for no reason at all.  Usually 9 times out of 10 (unless that person is having a really bad day) they will smile back at you. And then you both feel good.

It’s contagious. You walk along thinking about the person who smiled at you and usually you are still smiling. So you end up smiling at somebody else too … and so it goes.

Of course, remember – it’s okay to smile at random people but kids should not stop and chat. And if anybody ever gets too friendly and makes you feel uncomfortable – feel free to tell your parental agent.

If you are at home, or in a shop and somebody drops something. You can bend down and pick it up for them. It takes just a little bit of effort.

You can offer to help your mum or dad without being asked. They might fall over and faint – but try it sometime – I bet they would really appreciate it.

Or maybe if you see somebody at school sitting by themselves looking all sad and lonely you could go and sit with them – even offer them a snack out of your lunch box if you have enough to share.

This is going to sound a little crazy but engaging in acts of kindness actually acts a bit like a medicine chest in your body…

Did you know, it is said that kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This is a chemical that not only makes you feel-good but it makes you happy and calms you down.

Even better – doing acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller!

They say that people who are always kind have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and don’t get as old as quickly as the average population.

Research has even found that being kind lowers blood pressure.

Go out people and commit random acts of kindness!

Lots of love,

Sibo

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!

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

The friendship bench

Sibo and friends

A few weeks ago I read a very interesting story about a school overseas that has something called “friendship benches”.  Apparently it started out with just one of the lower grades having a bench but then it spread to the whole school and they ended up having several.

I thought the whole idea was seriously cool.

Most of us know what it’s like to go to school and not have any friends. Whether you are new at that particular school or maybe you only have one special friend and they are not there for whatever reason. It’s okay during classes, because you are listening to the teacher and doing your work, so you don’t really have time to feel lonely or misplaced. But it’s a really horrible feeling to be all alone and not know what to do with yourself during break time or lunch time.

It’s even worse when you have to watch everybody else is running around, chatting and generally having fun.

Imagine having a bench – where you would feel comfortable to go and sit if you are feeling alone and sad, wishing badly you had somebody to talk to.

Everybody else would know that’s the friendship bench and they would make an effort to come and chat to you, or even just sit with you so that you don’t feel so sad and alone.

Maybe it would work even better if a rotation of kids (who had volunteered for the job) were assigned to keeping an eye on the bench to see if anybody was sitting there. I mean, it would not be very useful if everybody thought somebody else would take up the challenge and then nobody actually did it – would it? Then the poor person sitting on the bench would feel even worse.

Often people are shy – and they come across as being full of nonsense, or stuck up or snotty which really isn’t the case at all. They are just really shy.

After all – a stranger is just a friend you have not yet met!

Of course – this does not mean that you should go and sit next to strangers and start chatting to them in public spaces – especially adults. That’s not a very clever thing to do. But in a school environment – it’s perfectly safe.

Why not try something like this out in our schools.

Have a happy day.

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.

Days Have Names Too!

Sibo hands

Last week we talked about names that people have – but days also have names and I’m not talking about the boring old weekdays or the lovely weekend days either!

For instance, the 27th April is Freedom Day. It’s a public holiday and I’m sure you were all as glad as I was that we did not have to go to school or work on that day.

Some public holiday days are always the same – like Christmas, New Year and Woman’s Day. Easter moves around because it is defined as being the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox (in simple terms – that’s some moon event). Ramadan is the same – it also moves around.

Then you get other days that have been declared things like “World Wildlife Day” (3 March), “World Water Day” (22 March) or “World Malaria Day” (25 April) by the United Nations or some other body.  There are lots of these days. Just last week we had “Earth Day” (22 April) and we made my book on global warming – Sibo Makes a Difference – available on the website for people to freely read. It’s still there if you want to go and have a look.

On the 1st of May we have “Workers Day”. This is a public holiday in South Africa but not necessarily everywhere else in the world.

These days, if a public holiday falls on a Sunday – we get the Monday off. Yay!

There are also a number of other days in May but they are not public holidays. Things like “World Press Freedom Day” on the 3rd, “International Day of Families” on the 15th, “International Day of Biological Diversity” on the 22nd and “World No-Tobacco Day” on the 31st.

There are a lot of other day’s in-between too – but most of us would not easily relate to the topics. If you want to know when and what all the different days in the year are, you can visit this website – it lists them all in a really easy way with clickable links.

Of course the most important day to remember in May is Mother’s Day on the 8th. We all know that our moms are the most special people – no matter how old we are or they are. Make sure you spoil yours.

Happy Days!

Sibo

What’s in a name?

Sibo hands

The other day I read a quote that went like this… “People’s names are the sweetest sounds they hear. You should make a point of being good at learning and using them.”

Sjoe! I started thinking that it’s sometimes quite a problem in South Africa because we can’t always pronounce names the way they are supposed to be pronounced.

Sometimes people even get called other names that are easier to say. I wonder if that makes the person sad and if they maybe lose a little bit of their identity.

I started thinking some more – what do names actually mean.  My full name is Sibongile. If you google “The meaning of the name Sibongile” you will find that it means thank you and it originates in Africa. But if you go to one of the American “what does your name mean” sites and type in Sibongile it will (a) tell you that this is not a very common name and (b) maybe you should try the shortened version.

Did you ever!

There are a couple of different sites that you can try too – some of them go into great detail about the meaning of your name. Others have the different meanings for every letter – and then you can sort of summarize all of them and see if it fits.

Then you get some people who make up their own names. Like my friend Luan for instance. He was named after his paternal Grandfather, Lucien and his maternal Grandmother, Anna. It’s not a very common name either.

Some people are named after people that their parents know – like my friend Ginny. She was named after the singer Virginia Lee – not that she can sing a note! The only time Ginny gets called Virginia is when her mother is cross with her! I guess that’s true with all of us.  Ginny wanted to name her elder daughter after her Grandmother – Laura – but her granny really hated the name and was rather called by her second name Margaret (shortened down to Peggie or Peg) for most of her life. So Ginny named her daughter Lauren instead.

She didn’t really think that Lauren could be shortened – but it could – Lolla!

Let’s not even talk about the funny names that people call their animals – or why. That would keep us busy all day.

Try googling your name to see what it means  http://www.names.org/  (for the short version) or https://www.kabalarians.com/cfm/what-does-my-name-mean.cfm – for the long version.

Have fun!

Sibo