Tuesday, 29 October 2013

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Dickens famous sentence at the start of 'A tale of two cities', could not describe our holiday better, for that's exactly what it was, the best and the worst of times.

Best in some of the views of the lovely countryside we saw.

The ancient Roman city of Ephesus was even more fascinating and interesting. Perhaps not quite on the same scale as Pompeii but well preserved and a large ancient city, a part of both Roman
This huge two storey library shows that the Romans had a great love of books.

and Biblical history -
This arena where there was a disturbance after Paul had preached in the Synagogue. His companions, Gaius and Aristarchus where taken here but Paul's other followers wouldn't let him go fearing some harm would come to him. In the end the disturbance was settled by the town clerk and Paul's two companions were released. (Acts 19 v 29-41)

All these things denoted the best of times and things.

However too many of our tour party - 20 out of 43 went down with the Norovirus or diarrhoea and sickness bug and as a consequence saw far too much of these -

Although the modern rather than the Roman equivalent!

But I would say in all this, although many of us missed a number of meals and sites (personally grieved to have missed Pumakala or the white terraces and thermal pools) it did bring us all together in a positive way, looking out for one another.

Suffice it to say, however, I'll not be returning to Turkey again in a hurry.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ethiopian Charity leader receives award.

Jember Teferra. Not a name that means very much to many people, but it should. This lady has spent her life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, fighting for the rights of the poorest of the poor in her capital city. People who live in slums and until she came along, had no voice. But she has helped to save 52,000 + people from poverty by setting up project teams to help the people in a 'holistic' or whole person approach, dealing with their housing, education, health, food needs etc and then providing a way for these people to take a low interest loan, start a small business and become self financing. David Dimbleby once referred to her as a 'modern day Mother Teresa'.

Not a celebrity, no. But here she is, this last weekend (5 Oct) receiving a small engraved silver plate from a few of her supporters. It seems such a small token for such a huge work and yet she is grateful.

It is the Literature Festival in our town at the moment. Celebrities abound. Some with airs and graces sign copious quantities of books and receive the accolades of their fame and status by an often fawning crowd. Jember isn't a celebrity, she is hardly known but isn't her work worth celebrating? What a topsy turvey world we live in where someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for the basic human rights of a voiceless majority is so little known and someone who has simply given people some entertainment and written a book or two is so venerated.