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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Word(less)Ful Wednesday


In honor of Halloween and the election season, today I tell a tale that is frightening because it is true. We have a democracy in the United States - our votes count and our laws uphold our nation. This is not true everywhere in the world. I lived in South Africa several years ago and during my first Christmas holiday there some friends and I decided to travel around southern Africa.

Before the current anarchy that abounds in Zimbabwe, we spent lovely days in Bulowayo, enjoyed the rock formations at Matopos and traveled north to revel in one of the 7 wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. We continued our journey and traveled on to Zambia - passing by the beautiful Lake Kariba. The baboons that "greeted" us at customs and the elephants walking near the sides of the road added to the adventure.




After the beauty that surrounded us I was not prepared for what was next.

A Road Block.

Armed men in uniform welding semi-automatic machine guns. My stomach dropped and my heart began to beat faster. The air in the car became palatable as my Zimbabwean friend uttered "remain calm, I will take care of this." My friends and I were silenced - if the armed men heard our American accents the ante would have been significantly higher. We were ordered to stop and after an brief exchange of words and a handshake we were allowed to continue on our way.

The driver muttered curses to himself but counted us lucky that the armed man took his first bribe and did not ask for more - that handshake was actually an exchange of money. Had it not been sufficient our path may not have been so easy.



On this brisk fall day I remind you of our blessings. We live in a democratic nation and each and every one of our votes count. I thank God daily that I am an American. Never in my life will a scene like the one played out in Africa happen here.
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To read more Wordful Wednesdays visit Angie's 7 Clown Circus, WW at 5 minutes for Mom and Mom Dot. For scary travel stories visit Just Go! and enter to win some great prizes!


*photos courtesy of travel websites - I don't know how to work my scanner!

90 comments:

Christie-A Work In Progress said...

Wow! What a story! You are just full of phenomenal surprises! Glad we are bloggy buddies!

Mandy @ Adventures of a Millennium Mom said...

We are so lucky to live in the US. I've always wanted to travel to Africa. It is such a beautiful country...

les_mason_curt said...

love the pictures! i am so grabbing your button!

Amy said...

A great post, A magical WW to you!

Ms. Bar B: said...

Wonderfully said. I know that America has its blessings and I am appreciative of those that exist, but I am not yet proud. Starting to wonder if I really ever will be... perhaps one day.

angie said...

Wow Renee......what a story, and what incredible photos. I can see why that trip is unforgettable. I'm very thankful for a Democratic nation, too.

nikkicrumpet said...

Thank you for posting that story. What a great reminder of how lucky we are. Voting is not just a right but a priviledge...one that none of us should take lightly. I'm so glad I stopped in here to read this post!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

WOW - amazing pictures - but such scary times!

Felicia said...

What an extremely thoughtful post! I am now a follower!

Go Graham Go!

Casey's trio said...

You are so right. We are so lucky to live with all the freedoms we are given.

Kimberly/Mom in the City said...

Beautiful pictures (and a great reminder!)

Trish said...

Wow, that is crazy. It is a good reminder that we need to take advantage of our freedom and vote for our next leader.

Sara said...

Great post! Wonderful pics!!

Michelle said...

I have traveled in several third world countries and I don't think I ever appreciated our own country as much as I did after seeing how others live!

Great WW!

anymommy said...

It's hard not to feel lucky, once you've traveled like this. You are full of surprises. What an amazing experience - I am so glad everything was okay that day - and what a timely reminder that we really are lucky.

Rhonda said...

Wow! How scary!

I love the pumpkin! When do you guys go to the polls?

And I love the new look, by the way!

Lorina said...

Wow.. great post. And beautiful pictures! We are so blessed to live here... thanks.

Jenna said...

Those are some beautiful pictures!

Tena said...

Beautiful pictures and a fantastic entry!!!
Happy WW

That Girls Bath and Body said...

Thanks for your comment about my cake and I found your recent post most interesting. Ty for reminding us to appreciate our freedom and to be thankful.

Jacqueline said...

It's so sad that a place with so much beauty has so much pain. Thanks for sharing your story with us as well as the photos.

sheila said...

Interesting post, very attention holding! I was a bit scared for you with the armed guards! Geez! Beautiful pics !!!
You must tell me, HOW did you get the Nov 4 shadow? Is that from carving the back of the pumpkin? Now THAT is awesome!!!!!!!!!!

Jennifer J said...

That is a scary story. I can't believe that happened, then again I can. I've never been to Africa, but read about how corruption like this is rife. Thank God nothing happened horrible that day!

CaraBee said...

Beautifully said and gorgeous pictures. We are lucky.

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Beautifully said, Renee. How dare we squander all that our people--black folks, women--fought for? I vote in EVERY election, down to dog-catcher if that's who's being elected, if only for this story: A good writer friend of mine revealed that her grandfather, one of the earliest voters after blacks got the right to vote, had his hands chopped off for exercising his new right. After hearing that, how could we not vote? And appreciate where we've come from? And understand how lucky we are here to be able to exercise that right?

Thanks for the wonderful reminder, my love.

CrackerJacks said...

Very nice captures. The waterfall is beautiful.

Rona's Home Page said...

Ive had the honor of living in Bermuda and Portugal, as a child. Yes, we have a great priviledge living in America.
Love the photos. Enjoy your Wednesday.

Mrs. S said...

I'm pretty sure your blog gets cuter each time I come back. Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy WW to you!

Tami said...

Wow! Breathtaking pictures and scary story...I'm so glad not to have to endure situations like that in our country.

Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for visiting me on my SITS day - I'll be back soon!

Dejoni said...

Great pictures!!!

Asha said...

what great pictures.

Debbie said...

Very wise words - and words we all need to hear. Thanks for the reminder.

Deb said...

what stunning photos and truly thought provoking post. thanks! and love the pumpkin!

Susie said...

Great pictures:-)

Kim @ What's That Smell said...

That is a story that definitely makes me appreciate what we have here, regardless of who wins the election.

Great pictures too!

Susan G. said...

Great photos !

Sheliza said...

great post! We are indeed blessed with the freedom we have as Americans. I hope everyone gets out there and votes!

ICQB said...

What a hair raising stop. I'm glad you made it through ok. We should indeed count our blessings here. Thanks for the story!

Melissa said...

Such a great post. Thanks for sharing your story.

Lisa @ Serahs said...

Beautiful pictures! I'm so grateful that you didn't become a victim of those armed men. I pray for people in those situations all the time.

ali said...

That's a really great story, Renee! You should develop it some more and submit to a magazine--very interesting. I would read it!

Scintilla said...

My husband worked in Africa for a year and he has similar stories to tell. Great post!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

I'd love to see Africa. I'm glad the roadblock opened up. How frightening.
I'll have to check out the diaper cakes too!
Sara

Ordinary Mom said...

Gorgeous pics and a great story to go with it! Happy WW!

mommaof4wife2r said...

cute...and i have never missed an election!

Muthering Heights said...

GREAT reminder...I think it's especially important that we, as women, exercise a right that so few others have also!

3 Kids and Us said...

Now those are just awesome!

Munchkins and Music said...

Vote!! Very important! The pic of the falls is beautiful!
By the way, I am adding you to my blog roll...

sruble said...

That is a most excellent pumpkin! I'll be voting Nov. 4th.

Thanks for the story and the reminder of how lucky we are in this country!

Stephanie

Cara said...

It is so often that we take things for granted, we need to be more appreciative! Good posts! Happy WW!

Kelly said...

Thank you for reminding us how very lucky we are to live in this GREAT NATION!

Angela K. Nickerson said...

Wow! That's a truly scary event. Thanks for the photo, too! It is awesome. And thanks for participating in Blogapalooza!

TattingChic said...

What a hair raising experience. Glad the guards took the first bribe and that you made it through unscathed!

On The Verge said...

You are so right. We are all so lucky and blessed. Happy WW!

adrienne said...

Wow, what a story! It is a striking contrast to those beautiful pictures.

Threeboys1mommy said...

I'm 32 years old and I have never ever voted. I've never even bothered to register, until this election. Nov. 4th, I'll be there, grown ass woman voting for the 1st time. I can't wait.

Sweet Serendipity said...

These are gorgeous! I particularly love the first one.

Momstart said...

Great pictures, and I love this country

The Mom said...

That is so very scary Renee.

On a happier note, I've given you an award http://sexdiariesofamom.blogspot.com/2008/10/sex-diaries-of-mom-receives-award_29.html

Hope that you have a great day!

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Yes, just think in one week we either be jumpin for joy or crying our eyes out! LOL! It's been quite a journey.

Liz said...

What an amaing post. I can't imagine the fear you must have felt that day. Thanks for sharing - it is definitely a great reminder to us all how blessed we are to live in this great country.

Mama Zen said...

What a great post and great reminder of how lucky we really are!

Meredith Teagarden said...

Thanks for visiting! I will be back to read your blog. This sounded terrifying! And you are right, we are blessed to vote!

Mamasphere said...

I was with some local friends when we came up on a road block in Guatemala. Luckily, one of the guys I was with knew one of the guys at the roadblock, and we made it through. It was especially scary to find out afterwards that it wasn't a military roadblock- just one set up by some hotheads who needed some cash.

I'd totally forgotten about that until I read your story. Which is wonderfully written.

Doll CLothes Gal said...

Fabulous pics - the views are stunning. The first one is important - everyone needs to get out and vote.

Brenda said...

What wonderful pics...I'm so glad you were able to get by without harm...

Hugs...

MMJ said...

Thanks for sharing your story. What beautiful pictures! As a proud American, I voted this past Saturday. Happy WW!

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

Those pics are beautiful...thanks for sharing.
alicia
http://todaystyle.today.com/

BoufMom9 said...

Amazing story.
I have a very good friend who lives in S. Africa and I am constantly horrified by the tales she tells.
Good bless our country.

jennifersusan said...

Hi! Cute blog! Thanks for stopping by and visiting mine. :)

Karen K. Kennedy said...

Thanks for an important reminder--both to vote and that those of us who live in the US are very lucky.

Shan said...

A very moving WW! Nice job!

Heather said...

How terrifying! I can't imagine how scared you must've been.

annavhutchinson said...

Your pictures are gorgeous, and they provide a very interesting contrast to the harsh reality of your story.

It's definitely good to be reminded that even with all the nonsense that goes on here in the US, things could be much, much, MUCH worse.

Thank you.

Jessie V said...

yes, we're very lucky!!

LaTonya Yvette said...

Wow Renee! Your story gave me chills. We don't realize how blessed we are. I wish I could send my daughter to another country to open her eyes. She takes her education for granted.

Your pictures are beautiful

GNO Gals, Jyl and Carissa said...

Holy Bananas. That laid it out for clarity eh?

And we just complain complain complain don't we.

Not that I want to go through that, but think if everyone did, would it help?

Carissa @mommygossip-gno

Kelly said...

What gorgeous pictures! I am truly thankful to feel safe to travel within our large country. Thanks for the eye opener!

San Diego Momma said...

That story gave me chills just reading it. I cannot imagine experiencing it myself.

I'm glad it worked out well in the end, and thanks for reminding me to count my blessings.

(Also: GORGEOUS pictures.)

Michelle said...

Hi Renee.......You asked what photo editor I used for my WW photo. I used picnik.com. Super fun and easy photo editor.

mannequin said...

Well that was unexpected. I'm referring to the post but how unexpected the roadblock must have been. I am sure you were terrified; it is so very sad that little children and innocent people are basically the victims of their own societies.

I have to wonder though Renee when you say "this will never happen here". Hmm... do you think that may be a little starry eyed and quixotic to assume that we are above that just because we live in America? I'm not so sure anymore.

3rdEyeMuse said...

thank you for the timely reminder ... and I am happy that your roadblock was only of the temporary kind.

Vodka Mom said...

That was a wonderful story, and reminds me how damn lucky we are. LOVE the pics. Nothing like a field trip in the morning!!!
xoxo

Carrie said...

Amazing photos and an amazing story. Your life has shown others things that we would have not known unless we have met you. Thanks for talking about your time in Africa. It sounds like an amazing yet scary place to go.

Justice Jonesie said...

Yes, we are lucky. As bad as it may seem here, we have it really good.

Diva Ma said...

Hey those pictures are awesome! And so was that story. Thanks for sharing it.

Oh and TAG! You're IT!

http://divaattitudes.blogspot.com/2008/10/tag-isnt-as-easy-as-it-use-to-be.html

Linda S said...

amazing story, Renee,
thanks for sharing. we are so fortunate to live in a Democracy...

Jay @halftime lessons said...

Hah! I carved the Vote pumpkin this year!!!

Looking forward to looking in on you again!
Jay

All Rileyed Up said...

Intense story, and beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing both.

WishTrish said...

I found you through SITS. I love this story. You are a moving writer! And I am a Cake Baketress, too! :)

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