What is mental telepathy?

Synopsis : The subject of mental telepathy is of great interest so it is discussed here and an effort is made to try to understand what it means. Numerous examples are given to show that it exists although not very well understood.

What is mental telepathy?

telepathy

Source : Google photo

What is mental telepathy?

I have often thought about this subject. Yesterday I wrote a blog called “Adoption is an act of altruism”. It is about a couple who had a child born with defects that ultimately killed her at the age of ten so I encouraged them to adopt a child. They found such a child in a hospital where her mother had abandoned her and fled.

Today I received an e-mail from that child who is now almost ten years old and calls me grandpa saying that she has passed her exams with very good grades. I was stunned. Was it a coincidence that she wrote to me soon after I published a blog in which I wrote about her?

Is this what some people call mental telepathy? Has it ever happened to you that you have been thinking about a person and the very next day that person shows up out of the blue? Has it ever happened to you that you were thinking about a person thousands of miles away and all of a sudden an e-mail arrives from that very person who normally does not write often?

I know that identical twins have the power to feel each other’s feelings from a distance and if one gets sick, the other also gets sick although I have a friend who has an identical twin brother and both were into all kinds of mischief. If one got sick, the other went to the doctor to get a medical certificate in his name because the doctor could not tell who was who.

Levity aside, I would like to write about this topic because it is of great interest to many of you who may have had similar experiences.

There is a case where an animal lover who spent his lifetime in Africa rescuing orphaned elephants whose mothers were killed by poachers was dying. He raised the baby elephants with love and compassion and released them into the wilderness when they were ready to be on their own. We all know that the elephants are extremely intelligent animals that show a wide range of emotions and have incredible memory. We also know that they can communicate with other elephants using ultrasound over vast distances. Whales and dolphins are also known to communicate with each other over vast distances using ultrasound.

What was surprising was that the herd of elephants came to the bed side of the dying man and stood there silently mourning his last few hours on earth and still they stayed touching his body with their sensitive trunks and paid tribute. They had not forgotten him and his benevolence and had traveled no one knows from what distance to be at his bed side. How did they know he was dying? This is a true story.

We often wonder about the power of our brain that communicates with neurons using electricity. Certain parts of our brain show this electrical activity depending on what we are feeling or thinking but it is still a mystery how complex our brain is and how it communicates.

If our brain uses electricity which is a form of energy then is it also possible that our brain can communicate over vast distance with other brains using some other form of energy like radio waves? Is that what is called telepathy?

There are some people who can move objects by just using their brain power called telekinetic that is quite astounding while others know exactly what you are thinking.

Shri Rama Krishna Dev had such powers. One day he was praying while his benefactor the Queen Rashmoni Devi was sitting nearby also in meditation. All of a sudden Shri Rama Krishna Dev said “ stop thinking about your worldly affairs and concentrate on God”. She was very surprised because she was thinking of her possessions and other matters. But Rama Krishna Dev was a spiritual person who had attained a high level of spirituality and was called a saint.

Ordinary folks may not have the level of such spirituality but they too have the brain power to do things seemingly impossible to understand. How many times you have a premonition about certain things and it turns out that you are right? What is a premonition? It is your brain that is telling you or warning you that something bad may happen.

A young girl one day insisted that her brother wear a silk lined jacket so he put it on and went out. He was robbed in a dark alley and the assailants tried to stab him several times but failed each time because of the silk lining of the jacket he was reluctant to wear that day. What made the young girl insist? Was it a premonition? There are numerous examples of the power of the brain that until now is not very well understood although science has made progress in deciphering some of the secret of the brain.

My subject today is telepathy which is also not understood very well but we are very interested to know if telepathy is real and how people can send a mental message to someone over a great distance.

I wrote about a religious man in my home town who had the ability to know what was happening to me in Vietnam during the fighting in Saigon in February of 1968. He correctly said that I was with two Americans and I was in no danger but how did he know that?

We read a great deal about how the Aliens communicate among themselves and can read thoughts. The American researchers are working hard on developing an artificial intelligence (AI) based program that will eventually read the thoughts of anyone so they can use it for intelligence gathering. As I wrote earlier, the brain gives out electrical signals of various kinds when it is active and thinking about any specific subject. These signals can apparently now be monitored and deciphered to know what the person is thinking about. This sort of computer based program has wide implications so nothing may remain private, even your thoughts in the future.

We are already being eavesdropped by the governments that read our e-mail, monitor our phone conversations, know our address, location and even the passwords. They use facial recognition cameras to identify practically anyone any time except that real crooks are always a few steps ahead of them and make mischief.

There is no question that mass surveillance is now a fact of life. They know where you go, how much money you spend using your credit card and what you buy where and at what time. They know your eating habits, reading habits, what kind of car you drive etc. What they show daily in the TV shows is not just fantasy but very real. The only privacy left to us is what we have in our brain but even that is under threat with the development of programs using AI so what we will be left with?

I can see some benefits of surveillance to ferret out bad people before they make a move to blow themselves up but the terrorists are determined so crimes like in Manchester, Paris or elsewhere will happen. The mass surveillance over billions of common people just to find a few bad people is perhaps not warranted and should be condemned. It is our personal freedom that is at stake here that is being taken away systematically in the name of finding a few bad people.  Mostly they fail anyway to prevent wrongdoers but take away our privacy in the process.

I am therefore concerned that our last bastion of privacy that is our brain is under threat and should be safeguarded from prying eyes. People who can read my mind have the power over me that can be very unsettling. As if I stand naked in front of them and bare all my thoughts.

If our brain can show us how to safeguard our privacy, that will be a good thing. I know that some people go overboard when they write about things in their Facebook page or other social media that should remain unsaid so they do not know when to stop.

The scientists say that our brain can remain sharp by constantly honing it the way you sharpen a dull knife. This can be done by reading, by doing cross word puzzles, by debating, by doing difficult cognitive tasks like remembering, by analysis, by doing complex mathematics, by writing and by thinking about a subject deeply.

When the plaques start forming that prevent the neurons to communicate between them then you have what the doctors call Alzheimer’s disease but it is not common so most people are not affected. My mother was sharp at her age of 92 when she died.

The ability of some people who can communicate telepathically over vast distance is little understood. Perhaps that is how the dying man communicated with the elephants who came to pay him tribute.

We know that a child’s brain makes neuron connections at a faster rate than an adult because the size of the brain grows as the child grows but reaches its apex at a certain age. It is also known that a child can see, feel and sense a whole lot of things about any person a lot quicker than an adult. I knew of a child who kicked hard a person when that person came to the house because the child felt that the person was evil. Dogs also have this ability and will bark and attack an evil person.

There is a scene in the Godfather movie where the child does not stop crying while the mafia people are killing each other somewhere. They cannot vocalize what they feel or see because of their age but their brain is active and can perhaps send or receive signals using telepathy.

One of the most remarkable thing about our brain is that we remember. How the memory is stored for a very long period of time in fine details is also a mystery. If I told you that I remember sucking my toe as a baby, you will probably not believe me but I do remember my first birthday in some detail that no one told me about. My Ma was very surprised and thought that it was unusual but she confirmed what I told her. Some people have astounding memory of their early life and retain everything like a photocopy in their brain.

Do such brains also communicate with others through some sort of signal of short wave frequency that can explain telepathy? We don’t know but I will be very curious to know the answer.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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My blogs at Wix site

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

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Anil’s biography in Japanese

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Adoption is an act of altruism

Synopsis : To adopt an orphan or a child is a great act of compassion that has its own reward and satisfaction .It is also a great act of altruism that the humanity needs to practice more as there are millions of children worldwide who need compassion.

Adoption is an act of altruism

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Source: Google photo

I knew a couple who had a daughter. She was born with a birth defect that caused her terrible headache as fluid built up in her brain that exerted pressure. She had surgery and a tube was inserted in her skull to drain the fluid but she still suffered. The doctors said that further surgery to correct the problem was not feasible so her parents were very disappointed and tried to live with the sick daughter as best as they could.

She was a vivacious child who would laugh at my jokes and listened to my stories with curious eyes of a child so I felt sad when I learned that at the tender age of ten, she passed away. Her grandparents and her parents were devastated and longingly looked at her photo on the wall all but choking up with emotion because she was such a lovely child who had won everyone’s heart.

When I happened to visit them, I found the parents still very distraught. The doctors had warned them that any future child they may produce will also be born with some birth defect because the father has a genetic disorder that he will pass on to the next child.

So I told them that they should seriously consider adopting a child, boy or a girl who will bring them immense joy like only a child can. This will also act like a balm on their wounded soul and they will learn to love this child as their very own and give him or her all the love and attention the child deserves.  The grandparents were also listening as I explained that any woman can give birth but to raise an adopted child as her own, give him all the love and care and raise him well with proper education requires special skill and a benevolent attitude.

They must never let the child feel that he or she is adopted because the child will know no other parents and will love them as real parents even if later he is told that he was adopted.

I said that there are thousands of children who are looking for love and a home because their biological parents can’t take care of them for various reasons. Illegitimate children are especially vulnerable due to no fault of their own but there is a social stigma to being illegitimate in India where adoption is very rare.

They listened attentively but said nothing. I had planted the seed of an idea in their mind but had no way of knowing if it would amount to anything so I left.

May be one year passed when I received a letter from them in which they said that they had found a healthy baby girl in a hospital where her mother had abandoned her and fled so the doctors who knew about their desire to adopt a girl or a boy called them and said that a baby needs a home right away. So very excitedly they went to get the baby and did something very smart. They got a birth certificate with their names as parents so now she was their legal child.

During my next visit to India, I went to see them and was delighted to see a one year old baby who was the apple of their eyes and her doting grandparents. The child was so active that they tied a soft tether to her legs lest she get into trouble crawling all over the house including the kitchen.

The news that they had adopted a child spread like wildfire because adoption is so rare in India but everyone agreed that the child had brought joy to their lives and congratulated them for taking a wise decision. The grand parents had in the meantime totally forgotten that it was my idea to begin with but it did not matter to me. People who listen to me usually benefit from my advice so I was happy that it turned out so well.

Many years later one day I received an e-mail in which the sender introduced herself as the child who was now over ten years old and in school learning computers. Believe me, I could not be happier.

When I saw a photo today of an Ethiopian starving baby like a skeleton being lovingly bottle fed by a white woman who took pity on her and adopted her and the photo of the same child now who is beautiful and healthy and smiling, it triggered my memory so I started writing about adoption.

I have lived in the United States where many people adopt children who are unfortunate  like that child in Ethiopia but you do not have to go to Ethiopia to find a child. There are so many right in your own community who are abandoned at birth and the hospitals give them over to some adoption agency that keeps a long list of would be parents and calls them to interview them and let them see the child.

Madonna comes to my mind who has shown the world her loving nature when she adopted children from Malawi but there are many others in other countries who have opened their heart to the unfortunates and adopted them to raise them as their own.

What is remarkable among the Christians is that such parents are not racially biased and adopt black or Asian children to raise them along with their own white children so all live happily together.

In India women are loath to even consider adoption because in their culture a woman must have her own so she cannot share her love and home with a child not her own. There are horror stories about how a step child is treated by a woman or man. In the olden days, a man often took a second wife if the first one died so the issue of step children meaning children from his first wife became an issue that bedeviled them. Others who could not have children due to medical reasons remained childless because the wife could not accept an adopted child although I have seen just one exception so far.

Now with the advance in the in vitro insemination technology, many women can conceive but it is still not the practice in India because of the cost and lack of awareness. It is a country where women still believe that “a child must cook for ten months and 10 days” before birth and they have never heard of ultra sound.

We knew long before our daughter was born that she was coming on a precise date because our Filipino doctor showed us the ultrasound but in India they could not believe that we knew. They said no one can know the sex of the child until he or she is born so I kept quiet. You could not argue with someone as stupid as an Indian woman about such things. I think a door knob is smarter.

This brings me to write about the cultural bias against a girl child that is widespread in India so the doctors do not tell the sex of the child even if they know because of this bias. The women often terminate their pregnancy if they know that a girl is to be born because they all want male children.

Once my sister played on this bias when a neighbor woman would not cut down the Neem tree that was growing on our mutual fence until she was told that a Neem tree is not good for the future of her son. She only had a son after many daughters so the very next day she cut down the tree.

Thus hundreds of thousands of female children are aborted which is a very shameful thing to do in a country that claims to be civilized and modern. Illegitimate children are loathed and mocked so women do not like adoption of any child legitimate or not.

I therefore praise the courage of the couple who adopted the baby girl who is now ten years old and learning computer.

Surrogacy is another topic never discussed in India but in other countries surrogate mothers often produce children for others for a fee so the womb for rent type of commercialization is now discredited. When I see hundreds of kids who appear out of wood work like termites in the slums of big cities, I often wonder what they will grow up into whose parents can’t feed themselves but keep on producing children. This is a big social issue in poor countries.

In the United States, Australia and in European countries they set up boy’s homes and girl’s homes for abandoned kids often run by the religious nuns but there are many horror stories there as well about how these children were treated. They have found hundreds of graves of children in one Irish home run by the religious sisters but no one knows how and when they died.

Then there are abominable stories of how Native Australian children were forcibly taken from their parents by the Australian government and forced them to learn English and Western ways in strictly controlled homes for such kids. It is only now that the government has apologized to the Native Australians for such tragedies committed in the past.

There is a movie called The education of Little tree where a Native American child called Little tree is forcibly taken from the loving care of his grandparents living in the hills and put in a boy’s home. He was lonely and was often punished for being honest in answering his teacher who was culturally and racially biased. Finally his grandfather came to his rescue and took him back to the mountains. They were white and had adopted the Native American child. It was a beautiful movie.

I have seen white French women marrying black African men and white French men marrying black African women but France has always been a liberal country where such marriages are acceptable and their beautiful mulatto children integrate seamlessly but such is not the case elsewhere. It is the hall-mark of a multicultural society where adoption is acceptable so many people adopt children.

But elsewhere such is not the case especially in countries that are not multi-cultural and where inter marriage is not the norm like in India so such people have a harder time accepting an adopted kid.

The religion plays a part as well. The Christians are taught to be charitable toward the less fortunate so they accepted thousands of refugees after the Vietnam War and adopted thousands of children. The churches open shelters for them, feed them and even get used furniture for them so the newly arrived people can settle down somewhere.

So I commend all those people who open their hearts and give a child a new home, new hope and new life. This is an act of pure altruism that is found in many good people including in India.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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My blogs at Wix site

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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Old age care

Synopsis : The old age care is a pressing need as we all get old some day. The blog studies the importance of old age care and how the younger generation needs to deal with this crucial subject as it provides a blueprint of their own old age care issue later.

Old age care 

Care

Source: Google photo

I was just watching the TV program here in the Philippines where the reporters showed the appalling conditions in which the poor people live in the so-called old age homes run by the government.

They showed how the old men and women sleep on bare iron beds without even a mattress or sheet and how two women shared a single bed because they did not have enough beds for all the residents. The common refrain is that the government does not have the funds to take care of all who need to be taken care of so the TV reporters are asking private donors to sponsor the old people by bringing in food and other supplies that are needed.

The reporters complained of unhygienic conditions in which the old people live and the foul smell because the quarters are not cleaned properly or regularly all because of shortage of funds.

To rub the salt on the wound these stupid reporters then ask the old and sick people what their problems are and why their sons and daughters do not visit them and bring in the supplies they need so desperately.  It is like asking a very poor and sick person why he does not go to the hospital or why he does not buy medical insurance.

Such insensitivity is common among the reporters who while showing the actual conditions of the old age homes ask stupid questions to which there are no answers and the old people simply shed tears in reply which is like reality TV and gets good ratings.

But life is not a reality TV show. This is a common story in poor countries but the so-called more developed countries also face similar issues.  There has been CCTV footage taken in some homes where it is clearly shown that some attendants physically mistreat the residents and show contempt and utter neglect for them.  Who really knows what goes on in the old age homes where there are no cameras to record or are intentionally turned off so that no one will know?

There is a great divide between the poor old people who have no medical insurance and no one to look after them and the middle-income people who can afford to live in a home where they are very well taken care of by the staff.

The old age homes are sprouting all over India but they are being built as business to attract those who can afford them. The internet is full of such homes that are beautiful surrounded by acres of garden, where the residents get their own room and where  nurses and other care givers are in attendance  24/7,   where the residents have a large common dining room where good food is served, where the residents can play chess or paint or write using their computers.  The complete medical care provided by such homes makes them a good place to retire to but only if you have money .It is definitely not for the poor.

So where do the poor people of this world go in their old age and why they cannot stay in their own homes and why their children neglect them?

There was a movie made on this subject although I can’t remember the name of it now. It showed that a very old woman who lived in her own house was looked after by her spinster daughter. One day a social worker showed up to check on her and found the old woman with bruises on her body, with fever and pain. The old women said that she fell down and hurt herself but the social worker was not convinced so reported the case to the police.

The police found out that the woman was beaten by her own spinster daughter who hated her and did not want to take care of her so she took out her anger on her hapless mother and treated her badly.

The old woman was so ashamed of admitting it that she lied about it to the social worker. I can’t remember the rest of the movie but the spinster was charged with a felony.

There was another case in our neighborhood in India where an old couple secretly left their house in the middle of the night with just a few belongings because their daughter in law was mistreating them and did not feed them. The couple sought shelter in an old age home run by the religious institution but such cases are far from isolated ones.

The relationship between a daughter in law and the old people is not a normal relationship even under the best of circumstances because she comes from a different family and does not have the same feelings as she would have for her own parents so many families suffer the consequences as mentioned in the case above.

Normally speaking, the son is supposed to look after the parents in a patriarchal society and the daughter in the matriarchal society but how many take care of their parents when they are sick and feeble? Now I am writing about the poor people who are so neglected by their offspring but it is by no means limited to the poor people only.

We see that in the United States, often the sons and daughters put their parents in the old age home somewhere, pay the cost and consider their duty done. Seldom they visit them but send a card or some flowers on the Mother’s day or the Father’s day once a year so they are lonely and wish their relatives and friends would visit them once in a while.

There is a classic story that I read somewhere so I will mention it here. There was a woman who was the wife of a manager of a company and lived in comfort in her own home, raised her children with great care and took photos of them to record all the important events like birthdays etc. and even made 8 mm movies of their first walk and first day in school. She was an ideal mother who doted on her kids.

The kids grew up and left home as most kids do and did not keep in regular touch with her. The daughter became a drop out and a hippie smoking pot and living a promiscuous life while one son joined the army and was based in Germany while a third son lived out in the west not keeping in touch with their mother. They also did not keep in touch with their siblings.

Now the woman was old and decided to live in a hospital because she had medical issues that she could not handle staying at home alone. Her husband had died and her kids were nowhere near her. No one visited her in the hospital so to keep her sanity she started reading the encyclopedias and read every volume.

Then one day the hippie daughter showed up to know what her mother was up to and specifically what she planned to do about her home and other things. The old lady replied that she had donated her home and cars to charity because it was her home and she was entitled to do as she pleased. This did not please the daughter and she left very angry because she was only after the property and did not care about her mother who took great care of her when she was a child.

There is a lesson in this story. It is the relationship between the parents and their kids and whether or not this relationship is based on mutual love or just the give and take relationship based on greed of the kids. All parents deserve respect if not love from their children because good parenting is a hard job anywhere.

Now rich people give their kids the best home possible and buy them all kinds of toys and send them to good schools and later to good colleges  while the poor parents can’t do the same but that does not mean they do not love their offspring as much.

In his book called The Prophet, writer and philosopher Kahlil Gibran says that the kids do not owe anything to their parents  except love and respect for all the hardships they parents go through to raise them and it is quite unfair for the parents to demand  care, money, gifts etc.

In some cultures like here in the Philippines, it is quite acceptable for the parents to make demands from their kids specially those who are abroad so they demand a new car or tickets to go to the US or build a new house for them. They even admit that it is the turn of the kids to pay for all they had done for them to raise them. This attitude is morally indefensible and shows that such parents do not have self-respect.

There is a scene in the Godfather movie when he says “today consider it as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day but a time may come when you may have to repay it”.

Gibran says that this is wrong of the parents to make such demands so people who have self-respect should prepare for their own old age. But self-respect is in short supply when people are poor and cannot take care of themselves.

People who remain poor all their miserable lives are the subject of this blog. Rich people can take care of themselves and they do not depend on their children in their old age but this is not the case with the poor people so they depend on the government.

As mentioned earlier, their government fails them so they end up sleeping on bare steel cots in very unhygienic old age homes where the bare minimum care is often lacking. I don’t know if they get enough to eat.

They are poor because they did not get any education that is necessary to get a good job. They produced numerous children but were unable to take care of them, send them to good schools and give them what they needed to succeed in life. Such children often end up as drug addicts or prostitutes at worst or getting menial jobs at very low pay.

This is the vicious cycle where the poverty breeds more poverty. There are no easy answers to this issue but I know many people who were poor and without much education yet they managed to live a decent life and prospered through hard work and remained honest.

There is a blog I wrote called The result of hard work that is perhaps worth a look in this respect.

While I feel sorry for all those old people who live alone or in old age homes under poor conditions, I also feel that each person is responsible for his life and how he or she decides to spend it. Poverty itself is not the ultimate culprit as many poor people rise above their poverty through sheer hard work and honesty.

I salute all governments that create jobs for their poor and raise their living standards. This is the opportunity all poor people need to break out of their vicious cycle. One Chinese official said that their government raised hundreds of millions of their citizens out of poverty by creating jobs for them and built very modern and decent living quarters all over the country. This was the greatest human rights achievement than the violations the western press harps about. I agree.

What poor people need most of all is decent jobs and a good and clean place to live in with modern amenities.  There is a similar effort going on in India although not in the same scale as in China but both these countries show that they are moving in the right direction.

My earlier blog called The remaining days on somewhat similar topic is perhaps worth a look.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

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Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

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Anil’s biography in Japanese

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Powerpoint on Dilwara Jain temples in Mt. Abu in Rajasthan, India

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This is a power point presentation on The Dilwara Jain temples in Mt. Abu in Rajasthan, India that are world famous and are a world heritage site.

LINK  https://1drv.ms/p/s!AmoX9W4gHulzh1hEr527LJ72PFXR

Dilwara powerpoint

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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How to be truly self reliant anywhere

Synopsis : How to be self-reliant anywhere is a blog that gives you many ideas on how to be self reliant under any situation anywhere. It should be a blog of common interest as many people find it hard to adjust to new situations and find it difficult to rely on themselves  due to their own cultural upbringings.

How to be truly self-reliant anywhere

Man on top of mountain

Source : Google photo

I have lived in many countries in all sorts of situations from dreadful to decent and have experienced difficulties in finding a proper house to live in many countries.

Whether you are a bachelor or with a family, you will have to find a proper house to rent and seek the very minimum required to live peacefully and in reasonable health. It is a lot harder than one may imagine or expect in a foreign country where the conditions of living are primitive at best and sometime outright difficult.

I have written in my biography “The story of a life time of Anil “ how I suffered in Algeria where at first I had to stay with an American drug user and then in desperation rented a room in an Algerian house where the babies pooped all over the floor the whole day and I had to live there under such horrible conditions.

Escaping from there to another horrible place where I was given a dressing room in a sport complex as a temporary shelter where the janitor’s son broke into my room and stole my money was the last straw in my struggle to find an apartment for myself and I went to the housing office and refused to leave until they gave me a key to my own apartment.

Such insistence finally paid off and I was given a nice apartment finally that overlooked a vineyard from my balcony and the distant Mediterranean Sea so it was a happy ending of a dreadful period of my life. It also taught me a lesson that in the future I will have to be more self-reliant when it comes to the housing in any foreign country.  When you are a bachelor, you can accept many difficulties like I did but once you get married, it is absolutely necessary to find decent housing for your family and your kids.

When we arrived in Mali with our new baby daughter who was only 2 months old and our son who was only 2 years old, my young wife and I found a concrete pill-box of a house in the town in Sikasso  that was so hot that our children developed heat rashes over their baby skin which was terribly hard for me to watch.

When new air conditioner was installed, they failed to work because of very low and fluctuating voltage so we continued to suffer the heat and mosquitos for one year. Before the one year contract was over, I sought a new place that was better than that pill-box of a house and started to look for a village near Sikasso where I could build our own house.

An office mate who was a Malian came to my aid and together we searched for an ideal village within a 10 km radius from the town and finally located a village where the village chief was at first very reluctant to accept us because no foreigner had ever lived in their village or even visited so it was a first.

The matter was brought to the attention of the governor who was happy that a foreigner thought of living under such primitive conditions in their village and happily gave his blessing.

The village had no running water, no electricity and no road inside the village although the village itself was near the paved highway and was about 10 km away from the town.

I fell in love with the village at first sight and thought that we could live there happily because it was a beautiful village of mud huts and mango trees everywhere. We did not care about not having electricity or running water because the town house where we lived had both but was a dreadful place.

So I had a meeting with the villagers and asked them if they could build a house for us using traditional materials and grass roof. They looked at my design and said that it is a very unusual design but they liked it and will build such a house for us for a price. When we agreed upon a price which was only three month’s rent in the town house, the project began in earnest and soon a beautiful house with five rooms came up.

Now let me explain why they thought the design of our house was so unique and revolutionary. The Africans build round houses with just a door and apart from other round houses so a farmer may have 3 or 4 such round houses in his compound that he surrounds with a fence made of tree branches. They used these round houses for sleeping only because the women cooked their meals outside under a tree where they sat most of their time on grass mats on the ground.

When it rained, they ran from one round house to another and had no screens on their door so the huts were full of mosquitos which were dreadful because it is a Malaria endemic place.

Our house had five large rooms of 4 meter diameter each and arranged in a semicircular way, 75 cms off the ground and all the rooms were interconnected with passageway one meter wide so we could go from room to room without getting wet. The floors were hard packed soil that was coated with cow dung once a week that gave it a hard surface free from dust.

All the rooms had cross ventilation with two windows facing each other and the doors and windows were screened to keep the insects out. The foundation was made of laterite stones that were found nearby and the walls were made of thick clay bricks that the farmers made themselves. They coated the walls with shea butter that they made from shea butter nut found in the forest. This coating gives the walls a waterproof finish and looks very nice and smooth. The process of gathering shea nuts in the forest in sufficient quantity to make butter out of to coat the entire outside walls of the house was an enormous task that were done by the women.

Here is the schematic layout of the house with interconnecting passageways and a closed inner courtyard with toilet and bath at the end.I planted an orange tree in the middle .

IMG_2860

The roof was made of golden-yellow grass that was beautiful to look at and completely waterproof. I asked them to make niches on the wall where we could keep things which to them was a novel idea. They had never built a round house that could be joined together so the idea was revolutionary and they were not entirely sure if it could be done. But with my assistance and encouragement they built our beautiful house in the shade of a huge mango tree and were very proud.

Soon the word spread to other villages that a toubabu (foreigner) had built a round house in the village which is unique so groups of people started to come and visit to see the house. The women found the house so cool and free of mosquitos and flies that they laid down in the living room and slept. They wandered through all the rooms and inspected everything and liked our house very much. We never disturbed them when they slept and welcomed them anytime.

home 1

Our new and beautiful house with very clean surroundings, a green peanut planted lawn and a living fence of pigeon peas made it an attraction to the village youth who always got excited during the full moon and running around our house at mid night chasing each other then became a nuisance. The boys and girls chasing each other giggled a lot so sleep became just a wishful thinking.

Mali 1- Kids in Kaboila

I had to do something to reduce their romantic ardor so I told them that the ugly stone statuette that I had mounted on the wall near our main door outside was a genie that came alive during the full moon and ate romantic people wholesale who made so much noise. This sowed endless fear into their heart and they stopped coming and making noise. The Africans have endless fear of genies, ghosts and other such paranormal entities so all you have to do is to make up a story like the one I did. It works all the time.

Then to liven up our interior decorations, I put on the walls some plaster of Paris Khajuraho statuettes in erotic poses that I had brought from India.

If you have never heard of Khajuraho temples then I will just post a  photo here  to give you an idea. Khajuraho temples are a world heritage site in India.

khajuraho

What was hilarious was when some nuns came to visit us and looked at the Khajuraho erotic statuettes embedded in the wall closely and turned red in their faces when they realized what they were looking at and hastily exited our bed rooms. We always had a good laugh when they were gone. The nuns were from Europe.

The semicircular layout of our five round rooms gave us an interior courtyard where I planted an orange tree in the center and papaya trees all around.  At the end of the walled courtyard they built for us a dry hole that served as latrine and an adjacent bathroom where two large clay jars were always filled by the maid so we could take bath anytime. I cemented the floor of the bathroom and the toilet but that was the only cement I used plus the main stairs leading to the living room that too was cemented.

Needless to say we were quite happy living in the village in our own cool house and a maid. The kids were out in the village the whole day but we knew that all the villagers looked after them as baby sitters and our daughter was always carried on someone’s back the African way.

Soon someone brought us a baby monkey we named George who in fact was very true to his nature and was very destructive. He destroyed the papaya leaves just for fun and did other things as well but he was cute and came running whenever I called him with a banana in my hand. He also looked for lice in my hair when I slept under the mango tree on a grass mat although never found one. His fingers were so nimble and he had such a soft touch, it was unbelievable.

Farmers also brought us a piece of huge leg of a wild pig they had killed but it had a funny smell and taste so we could not eat it although the French and Belgians loved it. Malians are Moslems and do not eat pork. There are plenty of wild pigs in the forest that can often be seen crossing the roads as a herd. At such time one should stop and give them a wide berth because they are known to puncture your tires if they get excited. Believe me it takes very little to excite a wild pig and they have sharp tusks.

We then planted peanuts in the front of our house in a neat way that looked like a green lawn and pigeon pea fence that came out strong and made a living fence. For light we had five kerosene lamps that stayed lit the whole night giving soothing yellow light. We got a gas cylinder so my wife had a regular stove because cooking with firewood the African way was too much of hassle.

Soon an American missionary dropped by and copied our style and built a similar house in another village far from the town where they lived and preached.

From this experience I learned that one can be self-reliant anywhere in the world and live comfortably. All you have to do is to look for suitable village where the villagers will build a lovely house for you.

Now the important question of sanitation and health comes up so as I mentioned earlier, we screened the whole house to keep out the malaria causing mosquitos and gave our kids Nivaquine powder that they took everyday so no one got sick. It was more of a prophylactic measure than anything else.

Then we filtered the water to make it safe to drink. We did not have a refrigerator because we did not need it. The villagers brought to our door eggs, chicken, fresh vegetables and milk that we bought daily. From the butter the Fulani women brought, we made ghee for cooking and the rest of the things we needed came from the weekly market in town so we spent two happy years in that village. The milk we bought from them was pure. We suspected the kids who showed up with a few eggs to sell because probably they had stolen them somewhere but kids will be kids anywhere.

If you happen to live in a country where the water is not safe then you can make your own water filtration system by putting four or five large clay pots one on top of each other each with a tiny hole at the bottom. Then fill the three middle pots with at least four layers of sand and ground charcoal in each and then fill the top pot with water. The next day you will have very clean water in the bottom pot. Sand and charcoal is available anywhere and potters in Africa and Latin America make wonderful clay pots.

We donated our house to the village where we lived to do as they wished with it and even suggested that they use it as a clinic or a school for the children but we do not know what they did.

In West Africa, no one owns the land in the village. The village chief allocates the cultivable land among the villagers according to their need so the village chief gave us the land to build our house on. They also appreciated that I brought them to town anytime they needed to go there because I had a car. They often waited at my office to get a ride back.

So those of you, who are young and are planning to work in underdeveloped countries like Mali or somewhere else, do not despair and do not listen to your countrymen who will tell you that no one can possibly live under such conditions. I have done so and enjoyed living in an authentic African village.

But the greatest benefit came from raising our two children among the Africans in a very rural setting was that they are colorblind and the race of anyone is never an issue with them which is truly wonderful. Our daughter who used to ride piggy back with African women now loves to work with them in Zambia and loves to get her hair done the corn row way.

I wrote this blog particularly for those of you who are young and are starting out as development worker somewhere where the conditions are far different from what you are used to. Sometimes you have to take the matter into your own hand and decide what to do to get out of a horrible situation like we did. We enjoyed the process and came away richer in experience.

Here are some more photos of our house and the kids in the Malian village we called home for a while.

Mali 17- Our house in Kaboila

Some neighbors in front of our house in the village in Mali.

Mali 9- In Kaboila

Our happy kids in our round house in the Malian village.

Mali 21- In Kaboila

My family under the mango tree in front of our Malian village home.

kim

Source : File photo of  our very self reliant daughter who travels the world.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

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Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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