To Bless Africa

How can we make the biggest impact with the most efficiency for the greatest good?



So this past weekend we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving (or, as it is called in Canada, ‘Thanksgiving’). It was so nice to be warm and comfortable as we looked out the insulated window at the beautiful colours of fall. So nice in fact that it reminded us of all the things we missed, spending the last few Thanksgivings in Africa. Here’s a quick (though not exhaustive) list for your enjoyment:

Clean Water!
As fun as it would be to have tea or some other beverage flow freely out of your bathroom tap, alas, brown water is not nearly as tasty as it sounds. Although I do hear it’s very rich in minerals and other nutrients…

Brown Water

Nope, that’s not chocolate milk coming out the tap!

Water Pressure!
Nothing reminds you how convenient showers are than having to bathe out of buckets for a few weeks. While we’re on this point – hot water! One of the greatest innovations mankind has come up with.


Neighbourhood kids taking a shower as the rain caused our water tank to overflow. I wished I’d thought of that!

Organized Mass Transit!
Squishing 20 people into 10-seater vans (or an entire family onto a motorcycle), livestock onto carrier roofs, and cruising along at a steady 20 km/h (~13mph) are just some of the joys of commuting in Africa, where traffic rules are really traffic suggestions. Maybe.


extreme overload!

goat on bus

make sure the goats are on tight!

Between the convenience of finding everything you need under one roof, the ease of having expiry dates on things, and the facility of not knowing how much you’re being overcharged as you try to bargain things down, supermarkets might not be nearly as fun as the average Souq/Soko/Bazaar, but they sure are handy!


expiry date: today.


Markets are a ton of fun, but not quick!

I cannot imagine a people as hospitable, friendly and generous as the average African, irrespective of country of origin. People go out of their way to make sure you’re taken care of, and really make you feel like family. That said though, holiday times are certainly among the hardest to be away from mommy!


Yup, it’s tough being away from family!

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What’s in a Week?

Came across a really fun photographic survey recently of families around the world and the groceries they consumed in an average week. Couldn’t help but be startled at the difference between the couple of places surveyed in Africa and the rest of the world. Here are a few of the pictures for some contrast:

Australia – Fire up the Barbie!

Canada – fairly accurate I’d say except our family eats a LOT more veggies thanks to the wife, and definitely less Eggo waffles

Japan – love the fish, bring on the sushi! Yum!

Germany – they like their beverages, those Germans!

Italy – a lot more bread than I would’ve guessed!

China – looks good, love Chinese food.

Mali – that’s a lot of mouths to feed!

The U.S.- is this an accurate representation?

France – seems pretty balanced to me…

The U.K.- Does that seem like a lot of processed stuff to you?

Chad – again, fairly accurate I’d say.

I thought this was especially cool because I’ve been to Chad and spent a week in conditions pretty similar to those pictured above, and other than the fact that the water-bottle pictured wouldn’t have lasted me more than a couple of hours in the 50 C (122 F) heat (I was drinking 8-10 litres a day and still having issues, but then I wasn’t as accustomed to the conditions as this family would’ve been), the rest of the menu seems pretty accurate. My gracious hosts actually slaughtered a chicken in my honour though, so I had various bits of the chicken through the week, fun times!

As I was about to post this I noticed the gallons of water behind the family, which means that little 2/3-litre bottle is probably cooking oil. THAT would be a lot more accurate!

That was me in Chad a couple of years ago – I’m the slightly lighter-brown one. I borrowed these wonderfully comfortable clothes from a friend. With water being far too precious to bathe with in the village, these clothes were my constant companion that week!

For the original article and all the pictures, check out .