Holey Vision

Holey Vision is the title of Tanvir Bush’s blog and well worth reading regularly. She has an awesome spirit and a wonderful way of writing. She suffers from a degenerative eye disease and writes beautifully too about her guide dog Grace. The two of them are pictured above – having fun!

Here she writes about the progress of Mike Bush – her dad – suffering cancer – my doctor at the Minbank Clinic in Lusaka for years and a very good friend. On a sadder note she writes of the wanton and despicable death of Mark Jellis, late son of John Jellis, very well known orthopedic surgeon in Lusaka. He and his family have also been good friends and Clients over the years. Tanvir writes:

“My Dad is given the thumbs up and a 99% all clear after a follow up check on his stem cell treatment. He flies back to Lusaka immensely relieved. He’ll have to go back again in three months but for the moment it is all really pretty damn wonderful.

“Then, on the Wednesday night my sister calls to say that Mark has died. Mark J was my friend, the older brother of a childhood buddy in Zambia. He was a lovely, handsome, gentle farming (he didn’t farm ‘gentles’..I mean he WAS gentle..and he farmed too..) man who spoke fluent chiNyanja and was a serious fundi of all things ‘Zambian bush.’ He played guitar, drank whiskey, loved to jitterbug (and had once pulled me, back then a rather stodgy teenager, onto the dancefloor and thrown me skywards and spun me around until I was dizzy and besotted.)

A few weeks ago he went to collect wages for his farm workers and a gang held them up and robbed them, shooting, for no apparent reason, Mark directly in the head and chest. And even then..and even then ..he clung on for six weeks undergoing extreme operations in a hospital in SA but his injuries were too much. Violent death makes bloody rents in the world. People stagger listlessly, confused by the news, unable to know what to say to each other, to the close families left behind, the parents, the children, the partners. Those rents don’t heal like tears from other deaths. They go on bleeding for a long, long time. They make us feel shabby with helplessness, angry and weary.

Edani Bwino mzanga, wrote his friend Miranda. Travel well. She posts a photo of Mark on Facebook. He is smiling hugely, all blond hair and teeth, the afternoon sun golden on his face and the big blue sky fading to evening behind him.”

This piece touched my heart.


Koan Float

I loved this from HTel Apartments about how to relax in Amsterdam – there are more ways (and no, it’s not what you think) if you click that link and check the piece. Anyway, here for now is the Koan Float

“Forget about trying to relax. You simply can’t avoid not relaxing in a tank filled with very salty water. The technique is not that well known:

Lower yourself in one of the tanks filled with highly salted water. It takes a couple of minutes to adjust, but then the unique experience of feeling weightless takes over. All muscles and organs get a maximum opportunity to relax. Your breathing slows down, the rhythm of your heartbeat calms down. The environment, the warmth, and the feeling of weightlessness combined provide an ideal way to let go of the turbulence of daily life. Your thoughts will disappear into nothingness. Koan Float welcomes you to a different dimension.”

Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it!


Jorma Vuorio & Manu Kitinoja

Meet Jorma and Manu (surnames as above) from Finland who guested on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild, our Sunday night radio show going out weekly at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s best loved local radio station.

Yes, the names were very difficult to pronounce! (You were going to ask, weren’t you?) But we struggled through. We never realised that Finns had such a dry and wry sense of humour either, and we were rocking with laughter at some of the succinct answers we got to our interrogation! Jorma and Manu have known each other since they were at University together in Finland 30 odd years ago, studying Special Education. Jorma is now retired but Manu is still working as Director, Residential School, Limingan Koulutuskeskus. It’s a reform school for ‘bad boys and girls’ Manu told us. “Do they have bad boys and girls in Finland”? I asked, surprised. Apparently they do. Manu is divorced but about to re-marry, and Jorma has been married for a long time and has two daughters, but no grandchildren yet.

Manu had been to Chobe in Botswana for the one day safari on Sunday, and Milli Jam wanted to know if he’d enjoyed the trip. (Manu and Jorma didn’t go together on this outing, as Jorma’s sister was coming to join him at Chanters in Livingstone later in the week, and they planned to go together.) Manu told listeners he’d had a great time even though the weather was windy and wet. The highlight of the trip had come in the afternoon, during the game drive when he and the group had seen a leopard in a tree lunching on impala! That was very lucky!

What other activities had the guys done in Livingstone? Bungee? Milli Jam wanted to know. “No” was the one word answer. “Why not”? “We don’t”. We understood.

Manu and Jorma have both travelled widely – Jorma more than 40 countries. They’d been to Africa before – mostly North Africa though, as well as South Africa itself. They’d spent a week or so in Zimbabwe before arriving in Zambia – in Bulawayo and at Victoria Falls – and had had a good time. This gave us the chance to greet our listeners in Victoria Falls. “Is it cold in Finland at the moment”? We wanted to know. -3C apparently, but in winter it goes down as far as -40C. That’s cold, we agreed.

The music on the show was good. We opened as usual with Aggro Santos ‘Candy’ and the first two tracks were Nelly ‘Just A Dream’ back to back with Jay Sean & Nicki Minaj ‘2012’. George’s tracks were Runnel ‘Why Ninvela So’? and Dandy Crazy ‘Osayenda’. ‘Why do I feel this way’ and ‘Don’t go’ translated respectively. Milli Jam chose TLC ‘Creep’ and Foxy Brown ‘Gotta Get You Home’. Taylor Swift ‘Back In December’ is one of my favourite tracks at the moment and Pink ‘Raise Your Glass’ is thoroughly latest. George also took the chance to tell listeners of the significance of ONE8 as per his recent blog.

“How did you come to choose Chanters Lodge”? Milli Jam asked our Guests. “I take a lot of notice of reviews on TripAdvisor” Jorma replied “and the lodge has very good reviews on that site”. “Happy with your choice”? “Yes”! Another one word answer. At least it wasn’t “no”! “And Jorma added, I’ve been following Richard on Facebook ever since we made our reservation”.

Where would these gentlemen like to be and what would they like to be doing 10 years from now? In good health and still travelling.


Meagan Hawley

Yesterday on Twitter and on Facebook I mentioned our shock about and prayers for Meagan Hawley, from Namwianga Mission. Meagan has been a frequent Guest at Chanters Lodge in the past few years – a lively, lovely vivacious girl doing an amazing job at the mission. This is what the Gregersens, also great friends of Chanters Lodge, wrote on their blog:

“Meagan Hawley, our dear friend and co-worker here at Namwianga, is on her way back to the US for medical treatment. She has been having symptoms which lead her doctors to suspect serious health problems. On Saturday, a specialist at OU looked at photos of her lymph nodes and tonsils and said she needs a biopsy immediately to diagnose or rule out lymphoma. She will have surgery in Oklahoma City on Monday or Tuesday. Meagan had just 12 hours notice to get ready to leave Namwianga, making it very difficult for her to say her goodbyes and pack for the trip while she processed this frightening news.

Meagan has devoted the last three years of her life to caring for the orphans here at Namwianga. Most recently she has been in charge of Marjorie’s House, a facility to care for babies who have health problems or compromised immune systems. Words cannot express the impact she has had on all of us who know her and especially on the little ones who rely on her tender care.

Please pray for Meagan, for her family, and for those of us here at Namwianga who need her back soon. “

We’ll do that and hope for her speedy recovery


The Ageing Sound of Music!

In view of my current bout of ill health, this from Julie Andrews of Sound of Music fame seemed appropriate:

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting, Walkers and handrails and new dental Fittings, Bundles of magazines tied up in string, These are a few of my favorite things.
Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses, Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings, These are a few of my favorite things.
When the pipes leak, When the bones creak, When the knees go bad,I simply remember my favorite things, And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions, No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions, Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring, These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’, Thin bones and fractures and hair that is
thinnin’, And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames, When we remember our favorite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break, When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had, And then I don’t feel so bad.


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