Africa First

Blogging my journeys through this exotic continent!

Places to Visit When in Africa

vic-falls-bridge1[1]Having lived here in Africa for almost 5 years, I can safely say that I have been to some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Nothing compares to the experience of being up close with wild animals. I remember how beautiful yet frightening it was to see a gazelle being chased down by a lioness. How the poor gazelle tried to outrun its predator but failed.  I remember feeling grossed out seeing a wake of vultures feeding together at a carcass. I have learned later on that vultures are the only animals that can stomach eating rotten flesh and that they help prevent diseases spread by rotting corpses.   I have seen the smiles of locals and how accommodating they were. I have visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and believe it or not, they are in Africa.

Despite the negative picture the media paints us of Africa; we cannot deny that it is a beautiful country. It has been my home for the last 5 years. In the years that I have been here, I can safely say that I know some of the best places that travelers need to visit when they find themselves itching for a little African adventure. Check out the list I made below.

TABLE MOUNTAIN

Where: Cape Town

Table Mountain is named as such due to its appearance—it is a flat topped mountain that overlooks Cape Town. Just like any hiking trip, the climb can be very hard and taxing, but the view from up the mountain is just spectacular. You can see all of Cape Town from up there. If the idea of hiking up the mountain does not appeal to you, don’t worry; there’s a cable car service to the summit.

ROBBEN ISLAND

Where: Cape Town

Robben Island is famous for many things such as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to the prison where South Africa’s prisoners hid during the Apartheid era. Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned in Robben Island too.  According to Africa’s history, that Robben Island was once a leper colony, a place where mentally ill patients were sent and a defense training base.

Usually, the people leading the tours to Robben Island are former political prisoners who have a lot to share of Africa’s political history.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Where: Phalaborwa

If you think the view from the Table Mountain is spectacular, then wait till you visit Kruger National Park. This place is the very definition of breathtaking. It boasts of a diverse collection of flora and fauna—336 types of trees, 34 types of amphibians, 49 kinds of fish, 112 different kinds of reptiles, 147 kinds of mammals, and a whopping 507 different species of birds.

THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

Where: Krugersdorp

Situated just 50 km away from Johannesburg, The Cradle of Humankind is made up of a complex of limestone caves where scientists have discovered fossils dated back to the birth of humankind. It is said that man’s earliest known ancestors evolved from the Cradle of Humankind.

I hope this list can help you guys if you ever decide to visit Africa. It is a place that will leave you with some amazing impressions and wonderful, unforgettable memories.

Gorilla Trekking Tips

One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had while living in Africa would have to be the time when I saw mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Up close.

The first time I was invited to a Gorilla Trekking party, a few years ago, I did not hesitate to say yes. I wanted to go even though I was uncertain as to what I would see or how I would feel. I said yes, in the spirit of adventure.

When I first saw the gorillas, I felt as though I were meeting some old, distant relatives—albeit more hairy than me. I took a lot of photos of the gorillas, but then I had to put my camera away so that I could just observe them. Please note that I was just a few feet away from these animals. I watched them without bars, fence, glass or rumbling safari car. Nothing stood between us and the gorillas and they calmly let us watch them. Up close, we were able to get a glimpse of what it is to be part of their world.

If anyone of you decides to go on a safari adventure in East Africa, do consider visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Congo or in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is fun, but it is unlike traditional safaris as it requires more active participation. My advice is that you plan ahead so that you won’t come unprepared in case you face challenges along the way. If you do push through with Gorilla Trekking, here are some helpful tips to make your experience a memorable one.

WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

When picking out clothes for this activity, remember two things: muddy trails and changing weather. You might want to wear shirts made of synthetic materials that dry quickly. It can get quite warm and muggy in the forest, so be sure to wear comfortable clothing. If you and the group stop to rest after a few hours of hiking, it’s best to cool down with clothing made of fleece. It’s also necessary to bring a raincoat or a waterproof rain jacket as rainstorms normally happen in the forest. Always wear pants made of synthetic material. Avoid wearing shorts.

WEAR THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR

I’d suggest wearing above the ankle boots. You’ll likely walk through ankle-deep or even knee-deep mud and everyone knows this is no fun. Sometimes the mud could even suck the boots right off your feet so wear gators over your boots.

BRING ENOUGH FOOD AND WATER

There are no stores where you can buy food and water on national parks so, be sure to pack a liter of water and some snacks with you. I suggest packing energy bars as they don’t take up too much space in the bag and they can stave off hunger for a few hours.

These are just some of the things you need to know when getting ready for Gorilla Trekking. Once you’ve reached the destination, be sure to take a lot of photos to document the success of your Gorilla Trek.  Have fun!

 

Birthday Barbecue in Africa

Our son’s birthday is nearing in a few weeks and I’m getting pretty excited about throwing him a party. Planning a birthday is really exciting but it’s expensive and can be very tiring as well. Good thing I have my wife help me out with the party planning. Parties won’t be complete would good food and I ask our son what kind of food he’d like to have on his birthday and he said without any hesitation: “I want barbecue and ice cream!”

If there is one thing in the world that I would not tire of eating every day, it would be barbecue. I reckon my barbecue addiction must have rubbed off our son because he seems to love it just as much as I do. Now, I love barbecue but here in Africa, particularly Johannesburg, it seems to be a national obsession. In fact, men here seem to take pride in barbecuing. There’s even a reality show on South African TV called “The Ultimate Braai Master”. Braai is the Afrikaans equivalent for barbecue, I guess.

I’m pretty excited about barbecuing meat for my son’s birthday only I have a teeny problem with that—our barbecue grill broke a month ago. We could just buy barbecue from the nearest barbecue joints but our son wouldn’t want that—he’s always bragged about how his dad makes the best barbecued pork briskets.

Fortunately, my friend, Kade, volunteered to help us out. He owns an electric smoker, which he claims, is a lot better than traditional smokers. He said I could borrow it if I don’t have time to buy a new BBQ grill. I was a bit confused because, as far as I know, smokers are used for smoking meat. How would that help me with grilling barbecued meat?

We went over to Kade’s house and he showed me his electric smoker. Electric food smokers, he said are efficient and versatile. They can smoke, grill and barbecue meat, fish and vegetables. He showed me how the device works and I can say I’m pretty impressed. The fact that this smoker can be used indoors was impressive as well.

Learning how to operate the smoker was easy so I got the hang of it in just a few minutes. I thought the vertical electric smoker couldn’t impress me more until Kade showed me how to barbecue meat using it. He just set the timer and said we could leave it alone and the meat be done by then. He said I could just set the device and let it do its own thing. With this I could cook barbecue while watching TV, surfing the net or talking with my friends on the phone. Who invented this device? I want to give him/her a big thank you hug! Haha!

Because I got curious about electric smokers, I did some research and learnt a lot of useful things about it on the internet. It seems that Wikipedia has got everything you need from reviews to basic information about electric smokers. I’m definitely getting an electric smoker, but for the meantime I’ll be using Kade’s for my son’s birthday bbq party. I can’t wait to start using it!

Game Hunting in Africa

Game hunters are always running into people interested in protecting the environment, so that can make hunting difficult. This issue will continue as long as the hunting spirit remains in the minds of today’s hunters. Hunting for food is a widely accepted, though hunting for sport is not. But when it boils down to hunting in Africa, there are varying kinds of struggles that seem to never end. Hunters can leave these on the side and continue their passion to hunting game in the wilderness once they’re in Africa.

Make sure that when you’re hunting in africa, you bring the right gear out. Hunting there is far different from hunting in the states, which I grew up doing. Everything is different, so it’s wise if you be prepared. For tips on what to bring while hunting, check out Hunter Insight , or read through some of their buying guides.

Note: Poaching is illegal, and it is bad for the species. Many african big game species have been hunted to the point of extinction, and only with heavy protections are beginning to come back. Make sure to comply with all local laws and regulations when hunting in Africa.

With regulations now allowing local and international hunters to have ample room to hunt in Africa, the country now is an exotic game haven for those looking to flex their hunting muscles. It should be noted that not all of the species below can be hunted due to various restrictions, or need to be hunted on game farms. Here are some of the most known wild game seen in the country today:

Crocodile
Crocs are also there for hunting in africa, and can be done in many places in africa (as well as the US). If you’re looking to add a little danger to your hunt, look no further than the croc, which has a huge temper and moves quick.

Hippopotamus
Hippos are known to have killed more humans in Africa than other animals. These animals are highly territorial and unpredictable. They’re known for tipping boats they feel are infiltrating their water territory. A single chomp from a hippo is equivalent to a shocking bite force of 1,821 pounds. It has a charging force of 8,000 pounds and can run at speeds between 18 to 30 mph.

Cape Buffalo
Known individually as the “Black Death,” these animals are highly dangerous and are known to be have killed more animals than the hippopotamus. Males have an average height of 6 feet while weighing a muscle-heavy 1,750 pounds. A savannah females are heavier at over 2,200 pounds with running speeds of up to 35 mph. This is one of the Africa “big 5″ species.

Bears
These animals are considered to be the most perilous to take down, not only because of their immense size, but they’re very intelligent and with a keen sense of smell that can track anything from a distance. Males can weight anywhere from 800 to 1,500 pounds. They have a towering height of 7 to 10 feet and possess razor sharp claws.

Wild Boar
Experienced wild game hunters say a wild boar are twice as dangerous to hunt compared to a bear. Packed with thick-sharp tusks and intelligence, a boar can weigh as much as 660 pounds and showcase an unpredictable and ultra-aggressive behavior. These animals tend to circle a human and can charge from behind.

Lions and leopards
Lions and leopards are some of the trickiest and dangerous mammals to hunt. Both cats have superb night vision, intelligence, speed, and agility. They’re known to be nocturnal hunters and are difficult to take down in the dark. They make full of their senses including their smell and hearing. This is one of the Africa “big 5″ species.

These wild game examples are what most seasoned hunters are after in Africa. But not all of them are spotted in all seasons. Hunting them requires kill and patience to achieve a successful take down.

Proper Travel With an Air Mattress

Taking an air mattress with you on your vacation / travel / tour can make all the difference between a comfortable sleep and staying awake in discomfort, at times. Whether it’s a solo trip or a family affair, a portable air bed will help you save money during a stay at a local hotel, and enable you to rest easy on camping expeditions. Even though you might be concerned about travelling with a bulky mattress on your back, this is rarely the case. Air mattresses occupy a very small space in your car’s trunk during road trips, and you can fold them up to fit in your carry-on or suitcase while on foot. Whether it is sleeping under the open sky or crashing at a buddy’s home, this post will be your guide to travelling with an air mattress.

  • Embrace simplicity: Even though new air beds often come with double mattresses to provide the most comfort, you should stick with single air beds if you want to enjoy true portability on your journey. To have the most ease during packing, spend money on an air mattress that comes with valves which allow self-inflation and deflation.
  • Fold here: When you’re packing the air mattress, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve folded it in the most efficient way you can. First of all, you need to get rid of any extra air that may be trapped inside the mattress. Begin at one end and force all the air out of it with your hand. Now fold the tent into half along the length, then along the width and repeat this cycle. Keeping doing this until you’ve got your air mattress folded into quarters. After this is done, roll the mattress to make it fit in a narrow space, or fold it into quarters to pack it flat.
  • Keep your mattress covered: Once the mattress has been folded, you should put it away in a carrying case. This will keep it from puncturing and will make sure that it won’t be shifting around as you go about your journey. The majority of air mattresses incorporate a protective cover, but if you have misplaced yours or your mattress didn’t come with one, you can make a cover of your own quite easily. All you need to do is take a pillowcase, cut out two slits on both sides of its hem, then thread a tough string through it to tie it securely.
  • Be ready: Make sure that you have some substitutes for your main mattress when you’re travelling to make sure that your bed remains in the best condition possible – here’s an excellent review of some great air mattresses where you can find mattresses that match your budget and requirements. Take an extra pump along with the primary one if you have a mattress that doesn’t self-inflate.

There’s also a chance that your mattress could develop a leak (although this is quite rare, since most manufacturers use top-notch materials to construct the mattress) so you should pack in some specialty patches just in case.

How to Prepare to be a Professional Archer

You can always do better in archery if you focus well and set your mind in what you are doing.

Anyone who is really interested in being an archer can do so by practicing on the basics. In fact, a lot of people have archery as their hobby. If you want to make it as a hobby, then you can go ahead and learn the basics from experts as well. However, if you want to go beyond just an ordinary hobby, then you can train to be a professional archer. There are a lot of things that you have to go through though if you want to take this field really seriously.

Spend more time practicing

Archery as a hobby would take only a few hours of your time every day. In fact, you can only do it whenever you feel like doing it. However, when you want to train as a professional, you have to spend more time for practices. A few hours a week won’t suffice. You need to devote your time just to be better. You also need to divide your time on what you need to focus on each practice.

Find the right equipment

As the cliché goes, you cannot go to a war without the right weapon. The same thing is true for archery. You cannot be a professional archer if you don’t have the best crossbow. You need the best one in order to be a cut above the rest. You also have to get used to your instrument. You have to set it up and tune it every now and then. You also have to find a way to improve the equipment whenever needed. You can find the PSE Surge Review and read this review of a bow suitable for beginners.

Preparing for the tournament

You need to prepare for different tournaments if you wish to go big as a professional archer. As a beginner, you have to lower your expectations. You can join some small tournaments first. If you feel like you are doing well, then you can move on to bigger tournaments. You might also have to check out your schedule to see if you can join the tournament or if you even have enough funds. As you are to embark on a tournament, you have to spend more time to practice and you have to manage a more complicated schedule this time.

Physical preparation

Even if you only use a few parts of your body to be a professional archer, you still have to ensure that you are in perfect shape. This sport is about strength and agility. Therefore, you need to have the best shape to do well. Otherwise, you will have a hard time controlling your body. You also need to check if you can sustain long practices without affecting your performance since actual tournaments are very long.

Mental preparedness

Aside from being a physical sport, archery is also a mind game. You need concentration and focus. If not, you will have difficulty hitting the targets. You need to find a way to focus on this aspect since no matter how good you are if you are not mentally prepared for the tournament, you will have a hard time.

Go ahead and start your preparations now.

Food and Healthy Living for Breastfeeding Moms

A well balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is something that every one of us should take a very serious look. This is especially true for nursing moms. The reason for that is that she is no longer just making effort for her own body but for her child as well. In other words, a nursing mother should more than responsible in ensuring she is in excellent condition at all times.

Among the best ways for a nursing mom to achieve excellent physical health is by monitoring her fluid and food intake. This will help her not only to be in great shape but also to produce substantial milk for her child.

Here are some basic practices a nursing mom should seriously follow:

Do not deprive yourself of food

Normally, we should cut our calorie intake. But in the case of a nursing mom, the added calories are definitely needed if you are to hope to boost your energy so you could perform nursing duties to her child. You could get the much needed calories from whole-grain bread, peanut butter, fruits like banana and apple, and of course a fat-free yogurt.

Fruits and vegetables are also great in helping you produce more milk for the baby. It would also be an excellent idea to vary the food you eat so that your milk will have more variation in terms of flavor. This will greatly help your child develop the ability to appreciate different tastes.

Other than your food intake, also closely watch your fluid intake. It is advisable to always have a bottle of water with you wherever you may go, most especially during feeding time.

Ensure consistent feeding

Consistent feeding of the baby, especially during the first 6 months, is very healthy not only for the baby but for you as the mother as well. Consistent feeding means there is constant changing of milk as your body produces more and more as a result of your balanced diet. Yes, there are moments when you cannot feed the baby.

The best way to compensate for situations such as this is to use breast pumps. These tools are perfect for pumping and storing milk on a feeding bottle so you can feed anytime. This is perfect for working moms as well as during travels. If you want to learn more about them, you can check out breast pump reviews from this site.

Having a healthy eating habit couple with good exercise can get you a long way especially when you are breastfeeding. Just remember, you have to have enough so you can give something for your baby.

Breastfeeding is a healthy way of raising a child. However, some women fear it because they think that when it is all over, getting back their figure is a difficult task. If you are a bit worried about your figure when all this breastfeeding is over, it would be a good thing to entertain breast augmentation. You would find that doing so would also be healthy for you psychologically. You can learn more about this topic such as breast implants cost at http://www.breastprocedures.org/.

Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While Making Great African Food

Seriously, can you keep your kitchen clean as you cook dishes that require a lot of processes, utensils, and equipment? Apparently, it’s not going to be easy but it’s not impossible. There are techniques you can employ to minimize the mess you make as you cook. Do these in addition to the tips you can get from http://www.finecooking.com/ and you should be able to prepare great dishes with very minimal mess.

  • Position the garbage bowl in a strategic place. One thing you don’t want to do while you cook is going to the trash bin over and over again in an attempt to keep things neat as you do the cooking. You can eliminate the tediousness by having a temporary garbage bowl in some strategic position where you can easily throw the scraps, peelings, and other trash. Of course, this doesn’t have to be a bow. It can be any container large enough and capable of containing messy liquids dripping from your kitchen trash.
  • Cut, peel, or do other messy things near the sink. Make it easy to clean your knife and the rest of things you use to prepare your ingredients by doing the cutting, peeling, dicing, slicing, or chopping near the sink. Just remember not to clog the sink. Don’t allow trash to accumulate on the water filter of the drain.

  • Make it a habit not to throw or leave trash anywhere. Pick any mess you find as much as possible. A few peelings or wrappers scattered around can already make the “instinct” of messing around kick in. There’s this tendency hidden in most people’s subconscious that since some trash are already scattered, it’s okay to not care about the mess and just do the cleaning later on.
  • Try to limit the number of utensils, containers, and dishes you use. The less utensils and equipment you use, the easier it will be to clean things up. It also forces you to be efficient. Unless the recipe is sensitive to the unprescribed mixing of ingredients, you can use the same measuring cups and containers after a little washing.
  • You may need to rearrange your kitchen. Some kitchens are just so thoughtlessly arranged that they make it difficult to cook efficiently. It’s okay to have spacious living and dining rooms but the kitchen preferably has to make things close to each other, without being too cramped up. The sink should not be too far from the stove and the area where you prepare your ingredients. Also, additional lighting or better ventilation may help you become more efficient as you move around.
  • Always have rags around. As much as possible, spilled liquid ingredients should not be allowed to stand. They become difficult to clean when they dry up. There should be rags that can be easily reached to do quick cleaning.
  • Be good in carrying out cooking procedures. If you still don’t know how to beat eggs without spilling them or if you still chop or mince ingredients without spreading a generous portion into the table or floor, you must try improving your skills.
  • After you transfer the dish from the kettle or pan, put water into them. This is to prevent leftovers from toughening. The heat left in them can help dissolve the portions that may have stuck on the pan or kettle. For greasy dishes, you can add dishwashing liquid with the water.

Don’t be too disappointed if you can’t really keep your kitchen mess-free as you cook. The goal here is not to make things appear like nothing is going on. It’s more on reducing the cleaning task that will have to be carried out later on. After all, the focus should always be on making the food you cook great. It’s like doing the right things on how to become a nutritionist. You want to make the process smooth and hassle-free but ultimately, the purpose is the mastery of nutrition, not the mastery of the steps.

Eating on the Go – Countries with Great Local Cuisine

One of the biggest reasons why people travel abroad is to experience the food in different countries across the globe. Yes, seeing certain landmarks and all the wonders that the world has to offer can be great, but a great meal is something that you’ll remember for a long time. Whether you consider yourself a foodie, or you just love to travel, here are some countries where you can experience some great local cuisine during your travels. After talking to so many chefs about what they do and where they learned to cook, I was really keen on getting more information – and one great resource I found was culinary dreaming.

The first country worth noting is Thailand, which is arguably the top culinary destination in Asia. Its location in Southeast Asia allows for a mixture of influences from China, India, and the South Pacific. Thailand also has a long, coastal border, with the capital of Bangkok not too far inland, which allows the country to create an awful lot of seafood dishes. Then there’s the spiciness that Thailand is so well known for, as garlic and chilies are incorporated into just about every meal. I have also found that in thailand having a personal chef is very common because of the difference in costs of currencies from other countries. Most thai people dont have one, but many foreigners do have one.

Of course, while Thailand has plenty of spice, it’s tough to forget about everything China brings to the table in the culinary arts. The food served in American Chinese restaurants is nothing compared to the real thing. China is great at creating a balance between hot and spicy meat and cool complementary food like fruits and vegetables. Traveling to China also gives you the chance to try authentic rice and noodles, for which China is famous. The other great thing about China in the culinary sense is that every part of the country has different cuisine due to variations in the geography and history of the area, making every new place a different experience

In Europe, Greece is one of the top destinations for local cuisine. The bread, tomatoes, and the fish that are caught straight from the Mediterranean are all unique parts of Greek cuisine that can’t be duplicated elsewhere in the world, as the country takes great pride in producing authentic Mediterranean meals.

Of course, a conversation about great food wouldn’t be complete without France. There are so many things the French do well, from cheese to baguettes, and of course champagne. Some of those foodstuffs may be imitated in the U.S., but they are never duplicated. Also, while Paris gets a great deal of attention, France has a variety of different regions with different regional specialties, making it a wonderful culinary destination.

Finally, there is Mexico, our neighbors to the south. Mexican cuisine has a variety of influences, mostly Spanish, but African, Caribbean, and European as well, and while many try to replicate it in the U.S., there’s nothing like the real thing. Whether your preference is tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or enchiladas, you won’t get a taste of the real thing outside of taking a trip down Mexico Way.

Help Promote Africa Through SEO Strategies

There are many ways to help Africa and one of them is to help promote tourism in the region.

Many people have a lot of negative perceptions about Africa. When it comes to African countries, people always think about diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, poverty, and drought. Thanks to the inaccurate and exaggerated reports from media, people are now afraid to visit these African countries. This is so unfortunate considering that Africa has a lot to offer. From its rich cultural heritage to its unique food, breathtaking sceneries and animals that can only be found in the continent, there are a lot more to discover in Africa.

Having been in Africa for many years, I have personally witnessed just how beautiful African countries are. I have traveled from one country to another and I have proven that a lot of stereotypes against African countries are wrong. Yes, there might be some truth to some reports here and there, but the good parts about Africa are kept hidden. If people will just realize how amazing the continent is, they won’t have second thoughts of booking a ticket heading to these African countries.

Well, the good thing is you can help. As someone who has been there, I make sure that people are encouraged to visit the continent too. I share my personal experiences online as well as the reasons why I decided to visit those countries. I believe that in this small way, I am promoting African countries. You can do your share too. If you have been to Africa or you are simply fascinated by African countries, then you can share your reasons online. Let others see Africa through your eyes. By then, you can encourage them to see the treasures hidden in the continent.

Start with a blog

You can just setup a blog where you can write your thoughts about Africa. This is not difficult. In fact, you can just create one in a snap of a finger. There are sites that allow you to create a blog by just following a few steps. The post will then be generated for you. Just make sure to update the blog regularly.

After creating the blog, you have to make sure that other people can see what you have written. This is where you might need to get help from an SEO company. They will make sure that what you have posted will be visible over the web. When you have written a lot of things about Africa and no one see it, then it will be useless. However, if you get help from someone who can make your post popular, then your goal will be met in the end.

Getting help from SEO companies in Adelaide

The good news is that it is now easy to seek for help from SEO companies in Adelaide. Whether you are from Adelaide or not, it is easy to avail of their services. You just have to find the best company to help you. Compare the options and stick with the best option possible. If you want to know more about Adelaide SEO, check the Adelaide SEO Marketer Twitter Page. Hopefully, your efforts will soon pay off.

How To Cook Perfect Rice in Africa with an Electric Rice Cooker

I have always wanted to go to Africa, and the opportunity came in the form of a teaching job five years ago.  After obtaining my license to teach I taught for about eight years in the New York school system. Although I loved teaching, I began to get burned out and wanted to venture out into the world.  A friend mentioned a program which offered opportunities to teach in Africa.

Well, I checked it out and this is now my fifth year living in Africa, and I love it!  After a short period of adjustment I have integrated into this new way of life amazingly fast.  I have learned everything from how to speak in Swahili to African dance.  I have seen some of the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife.

My Rice Cooker

One of the things that has been most interesting is trying all of the different foods.  The one thing that we already have in common is rice.  I’ve always loved rice and invested in an electric rice cooker so that I can cook a perfect dish of rice with my meals each time I cook.  The rice cooker has been wonderful because I am also able to steam veggies and keep my food warm until I’m ready to eat.  Of course, the rice cooker does everything – I just need to turn it on.

At first I was concerned that I might not be able to use this appliance in Nairobi, but then it was explained that Kenya has a new prepaid digital meter system.  The system only lets consumers use what they have paid for.  The objective here is to save energy and regulate what you consume each month.  It was recommended that I not leave any appliances on standby mode, but to switch them off at the socket.

I was relieved to hear this because I rely heavily on my rice cooker, and was eager to try some of the Kenyan recipes.  Many of the dishes include rice such as Kabuli, which is rice pilaf with dried seafood, and Pilau, which is rice pilaf with meat.  Pilau is made with a wonderful mixture of spices including cumin, ginger, garlic cloves, cinnamon, herbs, cloves, and garlic. These are all cooked into the rice. Biryani is another variety of rice that is less seasoned, but has a delicious sauce filled with onions and spices.  With Biryani, the rice is cooked separate from the sauce, but the resulting flavor is still excellent.

So, needless to say, I have been very happy here for the past five years.  With my up to 10-cup capacity rice cooker, I have been able to invite over friends that I have acquired and exchange recipes.  We usually try to get together once or twice a month and have a “potluck” dinner.

I have learned so many amazing things about this culture.  I have been able to save a little money, because the cost of living is lower than in the United States.  I am definitely considering renewing my contract when my time is up here.

Squatting Position: One Thing the West Can Learn from Africa

There are some things that Africans get right and one of them is the natural squatting position when pooping.

When it comes to defecation, we are taught to sit properly in the toilet bowl. It is believed that squatting while pooping is improper and inappropriate. Most people in the west are taught that squatting is so primitive and is something that should not be done at all. In most African countries on the other hand, natural squatting position is the way to go. In most Asian countries, it is the practice too. Thus, it is common in some Asian and African toilets to find a bowl that is not elevated from the ground, but attached to it. Thus, you have no other choice but to squat.

If you are from the West, you might think that squatting is yucky and is totally inappropriate. However, it seems like the West has been doing it wrong all along. The truth is that squatting while pooping is in fact a much better option. It can help you in so many ways.

Fecal stagnation is avoided

Do you know that when you sit while pooping, you will have strong chances of not eliminating all your bodily waste? If this happens, the feces get stagnated inside the colon and this can lead to some serious problems later on. Squatting on the other hand allows you to relax and let everything out. The chances of having colon cancer are also reduced if you get yourself used to the squatting position.

UTI becomes less of a problem

UTI happens when you keep on holding your pee. The worst part is when you thought you have already peed, but as it turns out you haven’t. You might also thought of peeing, but you have not released all. This usually happens when you poop while sitting. It is natural to pee when you poop. However, when you sit, the flow of urine out of your body is being blocked. Thus, you tend to not release everything. When you have already gone out of the toilet, you think that you are done. However, since you have not peed completely, this becomes a problem. UTI will soon develop.

Learn to adjust

There are a lot more benefits that you can get from squatting while pooping. The good thing is that you can easily adjust if you are still not used to the Natural Position Toilet. You can go here to find out more information. There are also devices that you can use so you can still sit while pooping, but your feet are adjusted so you seem to be squatting. It really takes time to shift position especially if you have been doing it your entire life. Thus, you need to give yourself some time.

You might also have to learn more about squatty potty to aid you when adjusting. Once you have learned how to squat, then you will experience all the health benefits that come with. See? You think you have been doing things the right way. The truth is that the position which you think is primitive is the right thing to do after all.

Living in Africa: The Drawbacks

Media stereotypes have always shown you that Africa is a land of adventure; a place that provides you with the unique opportunity to experience nature in its rawest form. Tourism websites pique your interest about Africa by showing you key historical sites such as the pyramids of Egypt, a host of artistic pieces, beautiful beaches, favorable climate, and the diverse culture and population of African people. However, have you ever stopped and asked yourself what’s there to dislike about Africa?

Corruption
You will probably agree that the problem of corruption is not unique to Africa. This is because it affects even the most stable regions of the world. However, what should concern you is the pervasiveness of corruption in Africa. In 2010, Transparency International ranked Africa as the most corrupt region in the world. So how does this affect you if you live in Africa? To begin with, corruption impedes development both in the public and private sectors. If you own a business in Africa, you will most definitely be affected by the vice of corruption, which may force you to occasionally lower your ethical standards in order to access service delivery, or wait long periods if you do not comply.

Pests
If you take a close look at many images of Africa, you will immediately realize that Africa is largely bushy, with long grass and forests occupying a large chunk of the land. While this may be a good thing, it has its negative side too. Long grass provides the perfect breeding habitat for pests. One such pest that is common in Africa and should concern you is the mosquito. This pest is not only annoying, but also blood-sucking in nature. If you are unlucky to be bitten by one, you may be infected by potentially lethal diseases such as malaria and dengue. My home had a serious problem with carpenter ants, and it took a lot of effort and following a guide to get rid of them.

Health
You will be surprised to discover that health facilities in Africa are scarce, underfunded, under-equipped, and understaffed. Secondly, there are many forms of health threatening diseases that are prevalent in Africa. If you decide to live in Africa, it is in your best interest to understand that the World Health Organization ranks Africa as the leading region in HIV/AIDS infections. Additionally, the Ebola virus that kills only 48 hours after infection should be of great concern to you.

Transport and Communication
By living in Africa, you are likely to experience congestion, pollution, and free flowing sewage among other similar problems due to poor planning of urban areas. Moreover, if you wish to access Africa’s interior, you will have to dig deep into your pockets for a chartered flight, because roads are few and frequently inaccessible. Additionally, most African cities are occasionally faced with the problem of power outages, the scarcity of internet, and the lack of reliable mobile connectivity. Hence, you may be locked out of sharing important moments with those you love.

Political Instability
Most African nations are known for tyranny, bad governance, and endless political turmoil. It is very unlikely that you will experience democracy when living in Africa. Zimbabwe, Libya, Somali, and Nigeria are examples of countries that should inform you of the impact of political instability. Moreover, if you live in Africa, chances are you may experience police harassment, because most African governments use the police as instruments for aiding dictatorship.

Simple Ways to Put a Smile on African Children’s Faces

Lots of children in Africa need your help. Your simple help will surely light up their sad faces.

When you think about African kids coming from depressed regions, it might be difficult to picture out kids who are happy just like kids in some other parts of the world. You can’t blame them. They experience extreme poverty, lack of potable water, inadequate nourishment, financial problems and many more. Thus, it would be great to somehow bring joy to these kids in any way possible.

Join a medical mission

This is not something that you should be afraid of despite the news about health risks in Africa. Before you will be sent for this mission, you will be fully prepared. You will also be vaccinated. You will stay there for some time and you will only assist medical professionals unless you are one of them. Africa is in dire need of better health care. Thus, volunteering for a medical mission and spending some time going to these depressed areas would mean a lot.

Donate items in kind

There are certain organizations that don’t just accept cash, they also accept items in kind. This includes clothes, canned goods, toys and many others. If you don’t like donating money, then you can go for this option. For sure, your donations will go a long way. You also don’t feel pressured with the amount since anything that you don’t need can be given to the organization.

Volunteer for a tutorial program

Education is also one of the biggest problems most Africans face. The continent has countries with low literacy rates. In some areas, only a few schools operate. Thus, even basic literacy skills are not available for the students. By volunteering in this program, you give them the chance to learn even through an informal course. During the program, you can teach them how to do simple arithmetic. You can also provide games for self- improvement. You might even want to play some English movies especially those with comedic values. Teaching them how to use a computer is also an important thing you can do. For some of these kids, computers might be something that is totally alien to them. Once you have provided internet access, you can open some educational sites. You can also open funny websites to give them something to smile about. Check out caddyshack quotes here for them to laugh some more.

The satisfaction in giving

You might not get any material reward for volunteering or doing acts of charity. However, once you see the smiles on these children’s faces, you will realize that everything is worth it. You have a lot more in life while some others don’t have anything. Thus, to give a part of what you have would be very meaningful.

Some areas in Africa have seen rapid improvements in the last few years. With the efforts of the local communities and foreign aids, these people no longer suffer in the same way that they used to. If given the chance, don’t hesitate volunteering over and over again. We have already gone a long way, but there are still a lot more things needed to be done.

How to Help Someone Who is Recovering from an Injury

It takes time before someone fully recovers from injury. However, it becomes faster with your love and support.

If someone met an accident and he is still recovering, it might take time before he gets back in shape. This is why it is important to have someone guiding the patient during the recovery process. This will not just hasten the recovery, but will also make him feel that he has the love and support of people around him. This article covers some of the most useful tips that can be done to help the patient recover fast.

Be extra careful in feeding him

If possible, try to prepare home cooked meals instead of buying one outside. By then, you will know what goes into his food and if the ingredients are safe enough. Sometimes, patients have special dietary needs as recommended by their doctors. Therefore, this must be faithfully followed. Otherwise, it could take some time before he heals. The kind of food that he eats will contribute to his speedy recovery. Make sure that the food is balanced. It should be rich in Vitamin C and Iron. You should also watch the calorie content of the food. Take note that during the recovery period, he is not doing any physical activity. You don’t want him to gain weight during the process.

Keep the patient hydrated

Water is vital for faster recovery. When the patient is hydrated, his kidney works well. Thus, it becomes more effective in cleansing the toxins in the body. When patients suffer from extreme pain, he might just end up sleeping all the time. Thus, you have to remind him to stay hydrated every now and then.

Allow the patient to practice using the injured body part again

This might take time, but it should be done gradually. If he breaks his leg and cannot walk for some time, you might have to train him every day with small steps. You can do this until he can learn walking again. However, you need to be extra careful. When you are always there to do this, the patient might not have the courage to do it on his own. Therefore, you need to allow him to recover as well and try things out without your guidance.

Provide him with comic relief

As always, laughter is the best medicine. Therefore, you need to ensure that he is relieved from stress with comedy movies or funny online videos, like sharing funny caddyshack quotes such as the best caddyshack quotes of all time with him. You will surely make him recover easier with these funny quotes. They are extremely hilarious and anyone who reads them will definitely forget any pain that he bears. You can also vary the material that you use just to avoid the novelty from wearing off.

It might take weeks or even months for an injured patient to fully recover. It will not just eat up your time and effort, but also your patience as well. However, you just need to remember that you are helping someone you love. Thus, you have to do whatever it takes for him to recover fast.

Help Africa by Donating Faucets and Change Lives

Everyone knows just how difficult it is to get clean drinking water in Africa. For some African countries, people have to walk long distances just to get clean water. Of course, water is essential for survival. This is the reason why thousands of Africans die each year due to dehydration and other diseases. If only these people have access to clean drinking water, they would not have suffered a lot.

The good thing is that you can now help save them. There are lots of organizations around the world dedicating in saving Africa by providing access to drinking water. Researches are also being funded to ensure that these people will transform their limited resources into something everyone can benefit from. If you want to be a part of this help, then you can support these legitimate organizations. You can donate money or other items that can be used by Africans.

Donate Kitchen Faucets

For most African families, having a clean drinking water is not easy. They have to queue with other families just to get one. Therefore, if they are given a drinking water line direct to their homes, it can really help them. They won’t have to suffer walking long distances anymore or stay under the scorching heat of the sun.

Of course, it does not just take a faucet to help them. There must be a clean water source. There must also be water lines available. However, by donating faucets, you can now help them in one way or the other. You don’t have to do everything. You just have to do something. For sure, your help will go a long way. Imagine having donated a dozen of these faucets. Given your financial resources, it might not really be a big deal. However, for these people, it means a lot. You can check out the best kitchen faucets to donate here.

There is hope

Some people might think that Africa will stay the way it is. However, this is not really true. The continent has gone a long way. With the help coming from various countries and the efforts of Africans, this problem is gradually being solved. Yes, there is still a long way to go before it is over, but there is hope for the problem to end.

Go to Africa

If you really want to see how huge the problem is, you can visit to Africa and go to these places. Find out how people there live and see the problem for yourself. You can volunteer in some mission programs and help in certain projects. There are medical missions available. There are also construction projects on going. You can also go for tutorial missions. There are also some programs involving cleaning the community. You can volunteer in this program if you don’t have specialized knowledge in medicine or education. You can also donate cleaning items that can be used for the mission. For instance, you can check out the best steam mop at http://www.thesteammopguy.com/.

Once you have done your share, then you will be satisfied with your decision.

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