My Mother’s Birthday (Dedication: to all mothers)

first_imgI stood at the flower shop on Benson Street with a smile on my face. “I need a nice bunch of flowers for my mother and beside the fact that she loves flowers today is her birthday.”  “You lucky man,” the flower seller, a woman in her thirties, said also with a smile. “This bunch of flowers your mother will love.”   I said, “You started this business not too long ago?”    “Yes,” she said, “about two years ago.”   “How well is going for you?”   “Pretty much,” she replied, “I did not realize that people here love flowers.”   “How easy is it to be in such a business?”   She kept the smile in place and swept her head back, rolled her eyes, turned to look at me and said, “As I said I’ve been in this business for the last two years and my patrons have been people who have class, and love and remember how important their parents are in their lives.”  “You get customers from all over the country?”  “Not all over,” she said, sitting down behind the counter, “there are people here who love flowers and want them at various occasions.”  “Quite right,” I said. “I need flowers during an occasion like this when it is that of my mother’s birthday.”   She smiled.   I could not hide my appreciation for the woman’s remarkable interest in her flowers. Besides, I knew she wanted me to buy her product anyhow.  “My family loves flowers,” I told her, “and my mother’s birthday is today. Can you send the flowers to my mother’s residence?”  “Yes,” she said, and her sweet smile raced across my face.  “I want you to send the flowers to my mother.” “Where does your mother live?” “Tubmanburg,” I said, “the address is easy to find.”  Still keeping her smile in place, she said, “I know Tubmanburg, a small town. I have a business contact in there and we can deliver your purchase to her.”  “It’s about eight fifteen,” I glanced at my wristwatch.   She said, “Yes, the flowers can be delivered at 2p.m today. She will be contacted on her cell-phone once the flowers are in Tubmanburg.”   “That’s wonderful,” I said.   While the discussion went on, I noticed a young boy with a blue shirt and in black trousers standing further away from me, watching me. I became curious when I saw that he had tears in his eyes. I could not figure out what was happening to him and was inclined to find out.   So when I concluded the arrangement for the flowers to be sent to my mother, I walked to the boy and inquired from him the reason for the tears.  “Today is my mother’s birthday,” he said, “and the woman,” he pointed his right hand to the woman in the Flower Shop, “said the flowers cost L$1,000.00. And I’m just seven.   “She would not accept my twenty dollars.” I looked directly in his face, with personal sympathy and told him, “Ok, friend, no need to shed tears I can help you with this.”    I took him to the flower shop.  “Give this boy the flowers he needs for his mother,” I told the woman, “and I’m going to pay for it.”   She said, “Yeah, he’s been here the last couple of minutes but I told him the money he has could not purchase any bunch of flowers.  “But since you said so, ok I will let him have what he wants.”  The boy looked at me with a grin, and lowered his heard, lifting his right hand to wipe away tears that had formed there.  Few minutes later, the woman handed the little boy a bunch of neatly organized flowers. As soon as the boy received them, he began to run to the opposite direction without even saying a word to me. I regarded him with some further curiosity and smiled, remembering when I was at his age.   Several seconds later, I felt someone tucking at my clothes, and when I turned around, it was the same boy.  “’Thank you, mister,” he said, with a smile, “thanks for the flowers.” I nodded in anticipation, saying, “No problem, son, have a nice day.”  He smiled and ran off. I could not understand the little boy’s interest in flower and that the day was her mother’s birthday got me thinking about my mother. I could also not get it clear about the boy’s love for flowers for his mother. To my knowledge, it was not common for kids to show an exceptional interest in their parent’s birthdays. It was a thought I could not get out of my mind. But in these days of Ebola virus disease that had resulted into many deaths, I could agree that even a child could show gratitude towards his mother. Times were changing, I thought. Meanwhile, I felt a sense of admiration for the little boy and I wished I had known him a little better to know the kind of mother he had. In any case, he was gone and that was it.  The Monrovia weather was getting hotter, now that we were in the dry season. In the wake of the declining Ebola infections people’s confidence was creeping back to their lives. The sun was early and hitting gradually hard and many people were surprised at its early appearance.  Thirty minutes later, I made my way towards Slipway, just across from the Gabriel Tucker Bridge. The hot weather was losing its power due to the Mesurado River’s proximity to my location. The river flowed silently into the Atlantic Ocean. The sudden change of weather gave me some courage that nature had its own way of bringing reassurance that all was not lost. I began to think about nature’s provision for our existence and wondered how wonderful things, particularly happen to bring changes in the environment for our own good.   I was in such deep thought when I was suddenly attracted to the location where a small figure sat before an old cemetery that I thought had been abandoned many years ago.  What also got me interested was the blue shirt, for it was clear that it was the little boy I had encountered nearly thirty minutes ago. The boy knelt before what seemed me to be a recently constructed grave in an old cemetery. The boy sat beside a fresh bunch of flowers inserted in front that particular grave.  “What’s he doing there?” I said to myself. My curiosity got the better me and therefore I chose to find out what he was doing alone beside the grave. I descended the steps leading to the cemetery and strolled towards him. Closer, scattered graves came in view and I realized that the most recent graves could be any of the people who might died but not really from the Ebola virus disease; meaning from other natural causes and were interred there. But for a seven-year-old boy to be here alone was a mystery that pricked my attention, particularly so since I had encountered him sometime earlier.  The echoes of my footsteps drew the boy’s attention. He turned around slowly, and realizing who it was, said, “This is where mother lives,” as he pointed to the grave he sat behind, “and she is very grateful for the wonderful flowers.”  Suddenly, a lump jumped in my throat, as I was overwhelmed with emotion. I could not get over the demonstration of gratitude and love that this little boy had shown by example to celebrate his dead mother’s birthday.  Without saying a word, I began to walk away from him, and my destination was of course to the flower shop. I arrived at the shop few minutes later and met with the beautiful lady who had assisted me earlier. “Have you sent the flowers?” “Not yet,” she said, “they are about to leave the office.”  “I will take them with me,” I said, “so that I can personally deliver them to my mother.”   She wanted to know why the sudden change of mind, but I was not prepared to go into it. I felt some guilt about it somehow, especially when I compared it with the little boy’s life lesson that I had just received. The little man taught me a great deal about a child’s love for his mother even if she was no more alive. Some questions began to come to my mind: how many of those whose parents are living really appreciate them? There are some friends that I know who care little about their parents, and I realized that the little boy’s instructive lesson would leave a large mark on my person and I would not be the same again, that was for sure.  I then had some fill of excitement that I never experienced before in my life. I held the bouquet flowers neatly wrapped and held it close to me. I began to think about the days gone by when all my attention was to my mother as hers had been on me when I was a little boy. I knew I could not keep this story away from her, because by the afternoon, I would be with my mother as she would celebrate her birthday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Alan Pardew admits he’s worried after Newcastle’s latest loss

first_imgNewcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted his growing concern after his team’s poor recent run continued with a 2-1 defeat against Fulham.The Magpies, so impressive last season, have lost five of their last six league matches and their defensive shortcomings were exposed again at Craven Cottage.“I’m worried in as much as we’re not picking up points,” said Pardew.“Performances have been much improved – our attacking has more fluency about it – but it’s a worry that we don’t have enough points on the board.“We’ve got a tough run of games. We’ve put ourselves under pressure by losing two home games against Swansea and West Ham – that hurt us.”Pardew’s side have now gone seven months without an away win.“It’s difficult to put our finger on it,” he added.“Some performances have been good. We need to get back the resilience we showed last year away from home.”See also:Rodallega’s winner gives Fulham victoryPoor Magpies defending angers 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Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Cape Town’s new bus system

first_img2010 host city Cape Town is getting anadvanced integrated rapid transportsystem, just in time for the World Cup. The Green Point stadium construction site.The stadium precinct will link to the citycentre, airport and residential areas in thecity bowl.(Images: City of Cape Town)Janine ErasmusIn May 2008 the City of Cape Town unveiled plans for a world-class integrated rapid transport system. Now the first phase has received the green light and will be operational by March 2010, say city authorities. The entire four-phase project will be implemented over the next 10 to 12 years.An integrated rapid transport (IRT) system brings various modes of public transport together into a united effort, and takes priority over private transport.“In the context of our goal of infrastructure-led economic growth and job creation, this is possibly our single most important project,” said Cape Town mayor Helen Zille, recently voted the world’s top mayor for 2008 by the London-based World Mayor Project.“The 2010 Football World Cup is our chance to show the world what we are capable of as a city and as a nation,” commented Zille. “It is one of our best opportunities to market Cape Town as an investment and tourist destination. It is also an important opportunity to fast forward a few years in infrastructure investment, and create a lasting legacy for our citizens.”Cape Town’s IRT system will bring the city up to the required standard for the national Department of Transport’s 2010 host city transport operations plan, as well as the host city agreement signed with Fifa. These plans will make maximum use of existing transport resources, ensuring that security and emergency response strategies are in place, and catering to those with special needs.However, Cape Town citizens will benefit from the new system for many years to come. The initial Phase 1A is designed to demonstrate the system’s capabilities and garner maximum public support ahead of the expansion into the full Phase 1 plan. Each phase has been designed to be financially self-sustaining independent of any future development.Better bus serviceCape Town’s system largely involves an efficient and reliable bus service that will run in two parts – main or trunk routes and feeder routes. The trunk routes will feature dedicated bus lanes, in most cases in the middle of the road, for special 18m articulated vehicles. These vehicles will feature wide doors to allow many people to embark and disembark simultaneously into weatherproof stations, while fares will be collected beforehand using smart cards at station entrances.The emphasis is on easy access between the system and other transport options such as bicycles, taxis and walking, as well as convenience for children, the elderly and the disabled. In addition, vehicles will feature clean, low-noise technology and the whole system is designed as an environmental showcase for Cape Town.The feeder services will connect communities with trunk routes using use smaller 8m and 12m vehicles running on normal streets. Passengers will pay with smart cards as they board. These services are expected to run for longer hours than the city’s current public transport systems.Linking the city and communitiesThe R1.3-billion ($130-million) phase 1A will link Cape Town International Airport and the inner city with the Green Point stadium precinct, a requirement of Cape Town’s status as 2010 host city. Key destinations in the city include Central Station, the V&A Waterfront, Long Street, Sea Point, as well as Hout Bay. Nearby residential areas such as Tamboerskloof, Oranjezicht, Vredehoek and Gardens will be serviced by the feeder system.The inner city service will provide an affordable and convenient way of getting around, not just for the millions of tourists who are expected to pour into South Africa’s host cities during the weeks of the Fifa World Cup, but also for the many thousands of people who live and work in Cape Town’s city bowl.The airport link will provide rapid, high frequency services between the airport and the city centre, Green Point and Sea Point via the N2 freeway’s dedicated bus and minibus taxi lane, which went live on 1 August 2007. The bus lane is already proving to be a great success, getting city commuters to their destinations with a 20 minute saving over previous journey times.Phase 1A will also reach out to high-density residential areas and low-income communities up the west coast, including Bloubergstrand, Table View, Mamre, Atlantis, Doornbach and Du Noon. Many of these communities currently have no sustainable public transport option to boost employment and the new service is expected to breathe new life into the region as well as alleviate high levels of traffic congestion closer to Cape Town.The next three phases will cover the northern and southern suburbs and the Cape Flats communities of Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Delft and Blue Downs, as well as the university town of Stellenbosch, located about 50km from the Cape Town city centre.Public participationIn order to ensure that public needs and concerns are met, the City is holding a series of information meetings during October and November 2008. The meetings will involve communities, people and businesses affected by the first phase.City authorities are also working to provide all existing bus and minibus owners the opportunity to participate in the Cape Town IRT system.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Useful linksCape Town IRT websiteDepartment of Transport 2010 transport projectslast_img read more

Mowrystown FFA gets into the giving spirit this holiday season

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Mowrystown FFA hosted a school wide day of giving at Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School on December 18th. Students had two different sessions to go to where they could either make tie blankets, assemble boxes of food, help decorate and fill bags for Totes for Hope, or watch a movie.By the end of the day the students had assembled about 30 blankets, 95 boxes of food, and about 25 bags for Totes for Hope. It was a fun and successful day of helping others and the Mowrystown FFA would like to thank everyone who helped and those who donated the material.last_img read more

Mining and Quarrying Top-Performing Sector

first_img The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that mining and quarrying grew by an estimated 25.5 per cent from January to March 2018, to emerge as the top-performing sector over the quarter, compared to the corresponding period last year. The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that mining and quarrying grew by an estimated 25.5 per cent from January to March 2018, to emerge as the top-performing sector over the quarter, compared to the corresponding period last year.Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, said the sector’s out-turn, to a large extent, spurred the goods producing industry’s estimated three per cent growth over the review period, which also saw the services industry growing by approximately 0.7 per cent.Dr. Henry was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing at the agency’s New Kingston head office on Tuesday (May 22).He said the mining and quarrying sector’s out-turn resulted from a 28.7 per cent increase in bauxite production. This, he pointed out, reflected higher alumina and crude bauxite production.“Alumina production was 27.1 per cent higher, reflecting the resumption of productive activity at the JISCO-Alpart alumina refinery since October to December 2017. Crude bauxite production grew by 27.7 per cent due to more conducive weather conditions,” he explained.Other sectors under the goods producing industry recording growth were construction, up 1.5 per cent; manufacturing, up one per cent; and agriculture, forestry and fishing, 0.5 per cent.Dr. Henry said growth in the building construction component was due to an increase in residential and non-residential developments, reflecting a 286.6 per cent increase in housing starts by public institutions to 1,527 units, of which the National Housing Trust (NHT) accounted for 1,512 units.Additionally, he said there was an increase in the volume and value of NHT mortgages by 6.2 per cent and 10.9 per cent, respectively.“The estimated growth in the ‘other component’ (of the construction sector) was facilitated by higher capital expenditure recorded by the National Works Agency, which disbursed $3 billion on the construction and rehabilitation of roads, relative to $2.2 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2017; Jamaica Public Service, which disbursed $1.7 billion, relative to $890 million (last year); and the Port Authority of Jamaica, which disbursed $1.1 billion, up from $624.5 million,” the Director General said.Meanwhile, hotels and restaurants, with an estimated 1.6 per cent out-turn, was the dominant sector under the services industry.This out-turn was spurred by a 6.6 per cent increase in arrivals, to 1,298,674 visitors. This was reflected in stopover arrivals, up 6.8 per cent, and cruise passenger arrivals, up 65 per cent.Dr. Henry also indicated that visitor expenditure is estimated to have grown by 8.5 per cent to US$825.3 million.He pointed out that the out-turn for 2017/18 fiscal year growth was estimated at 0.8 per cent, with the goods producing industry recording 0.3 per cent and services, 0.9 per cent.The industries recording the largest growth were mining and quarrying, up 4.7 per cent; hotels and restaurants, up four per cent; construction, 1.2 per cent; and manufacturing, 1.1 per cent.Dr. Henry said the growth prospects for April to June 2018 quarter are “generally positive” based on the anticipated strengthening of the performance of most industries, relative to the similar quarter of 2017.“Baseline economic growth is expected to be in the range of 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent,” he indicated. Story Highlights Dr. Henry said growth in the building construction component was due to an increase in residential and non-residential developments, reflecting a 286.6 per cent increase in housing starts by public institutions to 1,527 units, of which the National Housing Trust (NHT) accounted for 1,512 units. Dr. Henry said the growth prospects for April to June 2018 quarter are “generally positive” based on the anticipated strengthening of the performance of most industries, relative to the similar quarter of 2017.last_img read more