Animal Eyes


Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts. Paramahansa Yogananda

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We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. Jawaharlal Nehru

More eyes –

Where’s my backpack – The eyes have it……with sunglasses! | Third Time Lucky! – Eyes Eyes – JenStewie – Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery – A Day In The Life – Übersetzen und Literatur, doch nicht nur – Ladyleemanila

Old Town Square – Prague


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Old Town Prague.  The square was beautiful, crowded, noisy, and full of a variety of surprises.  Just like a square should be.  Sun, food, entertainers, and tons of bubbles.  I hope you enjoy.

 

Square x100 @  Travel Theme Challenge: Square!

Travel Theme – SquareSquare – WoollyMusesThe life of a 40 something few words-uncountable colorsInteresting Square | HIP Photography pdjpixTravelrat’s TravelsJulie Powell – Photographer & Graphic ArtistThe Quotidian HudsonThe Quotidian HudsonLe Drake Noir;

 

 

A Child laughs in Lagos


The January 18th daily prompt was called Reason to Believe it asked; In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.

— Linda Ellerbee

My reason to believe is even in the worst of circumstances, the most harrowing of places, and in the lowest depths of humanity, I find laughter.  Usually in the face and body of a child.

This is the third blog regarding my tour of Makoko the stilt village in Nigeria.  As always, my favorite part of this tour was being able to interact with and watch the children actively engaged in the routines of their daily life.  It seems that no matter where I go and what environment I am in, the children are always the happiest or at least the most engaged and willing to interact with the people who pass through their lives.

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Every house we went by the kids would jump around, try to hide from us, and laugh and scream and call us silly names.  They loved getting their pictures taken. It was inspiring and made you really think about where you were in your own life.  Despite everything, this area was filled with play and constant laughter.  How can you not have hope and believe with those smiling happy faces staring back at you?

If you’re able to grow up in Nigeria and go through certain things, you’re able to tackle anything around the world because you’re able to live wherever, if you can survive in a city like Lagos or Warri or Niger Delta, as far as I’m concerned.

Nneka

 

[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. — Mark Twain

I hope you enjoyed my tour of Makoko.  Like I mentioned, this tour was just the start, just the beginning of my new routine.  Tours like this give me a reason to believe that I have a purpose for being here or anywhere.  For me the only difference between a routine and a rut, is how you move through it.

My goal is to once again move through my new routine in as a manner of learning about where I am and gaining a larger understanding of what I am doing and how to do it better.  It’s what keeps me believing.

Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.

Paulo Coelho

Nigerian Proverb:

Chicken wey run way from borno go Ibadan go still end up inside  pot of soup

loose translation: You Can’t Run Away From Your Destiny

HOPE – by Shaggy

More Reasons to believe

 

What is normal – Lagos Part 2


“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.”
― Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

It’s easy to get caught up in how normal or abnormal a different life lived might be.  I would like to think that in general I live a fairly normal life.  I get up, do my stretches, eat breakfast, go to work..work..toil..worry..stress…eat lunch…work some more, come home, eat dinner and go to bed.  It’s my routine and I’m comfortable with it.

In the process of doing what I do, I will sometimes pass by lives, actions, ideals and philosophies that sometimes feel incredibly abnormal.  I might at times feel saddened by the brutality of it all, the abnormality and chaotic nature of it all.  I have to force myself to put the brakes on because what is normal to me now, might have at one point not so long ago, appeared to be very abnormal.  This life I lead right now often presents to me situations that do not feel normal at all.  When I visit some of the places I visit, a part of me screams inside my head that, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!”

I have to ask myself what is normal?  What is routine? Who am I to make that call?

So Makoko Stilt Village part 2.

We visited the village in a traditional canoe which allowed us to see more of the area and see how this community really lives.  We visited a maternity ward, a school, passed by local markets and we were able to get an authentic feel for the lives being lived here.  To me interesting and lives uniquely lived.  There is no argument to that statement.  Except maybe to the people who are living that life.  Their routines are no more abnormal to them than mine is to me.

It is brutal, it is beautiful, it is every shade of black and white.

The more I travel and the more I see, the more I realize that in the middle of every single place I visit, exist regular people doing what is normal to them.  They all have a voice and they all have a story.  It’s crazy that I have to remind myself of this so often.

But on the other hand, in the midst of the chaos, you find normal people. You find people who are willing to risk their lives to tell you what they saw, even though they have no dog in the fight.

John Pomfret

Other routines.

Topsy Turvey and a little off-center


Well, it’s monsoon season again in Nepal.  My last monsoon season here. I’ve packed up my house, planned my travel from here to home, from west coast to east coast, to training and off to my next great adventure.  The two years I have spent here in Nepal have been amazing in every kind of way possible. I believe I have grown in my understanding of my work and myself.  I have come to realize things I need to change about myself as well as what about me is good and I just need to learn how to strengthen and smooth these things out.  I had a professor who once said to me, “Sam, you are really an amazing person.  A little rough around the edges and if you could just learn to smooth that out and channel it, you would be even more amazing.  You are a diamond in the rough.”

I have to say, he was right.  I do need to smooth out some things.  However, what is good is very good.  I little off-center for sure, but good.  It’s a bit shocking that my time in Nepal has brought all of these things out.  The good, the bad, the rough and the smooth.  In honor of all things off-center, I have chosen Ailsa’s travel theme off-center to focus on some of my favorite off-center photos of people, places and things in Nepal.  I hope you enjoy.

Other takes on off-center