PICTURE PERFECT: WATER

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink…”

It’s from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge – when the Ancient Mariner is stuck in the middle of the sea.

Planet Earth has a total surface area of close to 197 million square miles. Most of this surface is covered by water. Most of this water is salty or in the form of ice and thus is not directly usable by humans. About 97% of the total water on earth is in the oceans or salt lakes. Another 2% of the total amount is locked up in the form of ice; so that is to say that we humans only have ONE per cent of the water to use and re-use over and over again!! And, of this 1%, agriculture takes seventy per cent; thus leaving for the population on the globe just 30 per cent (of that one per cent) of the water to ‘indulge’ in!

It is estimated that at any given time only about 1/3 of 1% of the total water on earth can be used by humans for agriculture or human consumption!! (pages.prodigy.net/jhonig..)

Southern end of Lake Kinneret
© All photos  Riihele. All rights reserved

This photo is part of a set pics that I took  in Israel in November 2002 at the Lake Kinneret* or as it is known as well, Sea of Galilee. The town of Tiberias is on the right of the photo and the Golan Heights on the left. These boats that we had the ‘rides’ are based on an ancient model found by the lake shore some years ago.

Did you know that more than five million people die from waterborne diseases each year – 10 times the number killed in wars around the globe. (BBC online on article, Water scarcity: A looming crisis?) Here is a Quiz: World Water crisis. Go on, have a go and see how you will do on it. Intriguing information methinks. ‘

Another rather amusing article I read in a newspaper about a scientifically made testing about some of the bottled waters on the market versus the tap water in Helsinki. Guess which one came on top as the best? Tap water in Helsinki, believe it or not! (Certainly tis true that the water on tap here in Finland is both very tasty and very clean – so far, so good, that is.)

This is my contribution on the PICTURE PERFECT theme  WATER.

 Have a grand weekend and do keep so well. Rii

*
The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor (“harp” or “lyre”) in view of the shape of the lake.

This is a video of a bunch of kids dancing the Israeli folk dance called ‘Mayim, Mayim‘ aka ‘Water, Water’. I dance it meself as well, by the way.

TREASURES in LIFE: True Friendships

Two Friends

These two friends are my daughter and her friend
in the countryside one summer in Ireland.
Photo by me.

“A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES”
(Proverbs 17:7 Ampl.Bible)

In some countries it is harder than in others to make the ‘cut’ – that is – to get into the mainstream of the life and the living but once you are in, ‘you are in’, for good! Finland, Sweden and Israel are like this. It requires much patience to get there. The Finns, the Swedes and the Israelis are cautious at first, then after a while they let their guard down and you will be firm friends for life. No matter how fiercely your opinions on matters differ and how much you would argue, at the end of the day; it only clears the air and strengthens the bond of friendship. I am not saying that this the rule 100 per cent in each and every case, but certainly in my own personal experience, it has been the norm.

The Irish give the ‘hail fellow, well met’ – impression of ease and quick skills of getting to know other people. That does not lead to lasting friendship, most of the time. It is just politeness, social skills or whatever one will call it. I am most outgoing but it was in Ireland that I found it the hardest of all to really get to know people where they would be genuine and real. No stereotype Irish, but the person, the people as they are.

A friend said this in one of her comments in my page on another entry on friendships:

“Funny how to put the differences in friendships in a cultural view, because I’ve had to deal with this issue myself. Americans are more like the way you describe Irish…easy get by with on basic social levels, friendly in that “hi, how ya doin, see ya” way.

But maybe because it’s so easy to become “friends” with them, you don’t realize that you aren’t really really friends, true friends, until you try to get closer and come up against a wall. I sound disparaging, but that’s the way I am. My Israeli friends often tell me that they see Americans as hypocrites, or pretend friends. And I find the Israeli friendships to often be suffocating. It’s worth knowing when you go to a strange culture.”

My response to her:

“Yes indeed, it is wise to know some basic things about the strange, as in different, culture one is moving to. It makes the adjusting so much easier. The Scandinavians, particularly, the Finns are considered ‘cold, aloof and distant’ by the others who don’t understand that the culture is such that people take their time ‘letting’ you through the barriers bit by bit.

Then once you are IN; YOU ARE IN for life. This kind of process takes a lot adjusting to do but it’s worth it in the end. I’m not a typical Finn in this aspect either but more Latin in my manner, style & personality in that I am not reserved in meeting new people, yet still Finnish in this that when I am your friend – I truly am your friend through thick & thin!”

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Alien Corn in an Alien Land – Shavuot

Nafoura

Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,

She stood in tears amid the alien corn;

Source: Line 65 of the Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats (1795-1821)

The story of Ruth is a story of an alien in an alien land as she originated from the neighbouring and somewhat distantly related country of Moab in the ancient times. I came to think of her and her story as tis the time of the year when this story is read and celebrated in Israel. Shavuot – the weeks – is what this word means; as does the word ‘pentecost’ meaning: fifty in Greek, which both count the fifty days – that is seven weeks – from the Passover to this festival as instructed.

I went to Israel at the time when the war had been going on in Irak for just a short while. Not the best time to go to the neighbourhood, I hear you think. True, but twas the time I had to get away to be totally in a place of absolute rest and recuperating from an extremely hectic time of work and whatnot. A time to get me head together again – not having to take anybody else into account in any way affecting me. I had given so much that I could not give no more, to put it bluntly.

The spa treatments, the complete rest and the time to be still did me wonders. Even with the F16’s and their relatives constantly flying really low – I was on the 12th floor in the hotel and they flew at that height over the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel – did not disturb my recovery that much. I found the aisle seat to observe rather interesting, actually.

The temperature was just perfect – not too hot, not too cool – to take moonlight walks by the shore and while walking looking over the Dead Sea to the other side where the ancient Moab was and where the present day Jordan is situated, I came to think of Ruth, the Moabite – in that link there is a poem I was inspired to write about her. It must have been extremely tough for her to leave all that was home to her and go to a place unknown, unfamiliar and unsure. One has to be/have been an alien in alien land to get to the depths of her soul. I have been that several times in several countries. And like, Ruth, I did get integrated into the greater society as a member and not as an observer. Here some thoughts on the being an alien in the alien land as an immigrant that I wrote earlier on.

Ruth’s secret was the giving:

  • She gave of herself to her mother-in-law unconditionally.
  • She gave her birthright away in her own culture and country.
  • She gave of every morsel of food she got to Naomi, too.

I am sure that there is more but these are the ones that spring to my mind while writing this here and now. Ruth also received blessings and fame beyond measure. Even today we know who she was/is.

The story of Ruth is the most beautiful love story that I have ever read. I hope that the people in Israel do think of her in the midst of the feasting on the mountains of cheesecakes and the fresh fruit as this also the Festival of the First Fruit – HaBikkurim.

Tis for now again. Riihele xx.

The mountains of Moab are the most gorgeous shades of pinks – one of these days I shall paint them.

PS.
The photograph is by me of one of my very favourite restaurants and it’s in the Old City of Jerusalem. The wall on the right is the actual wall from the 1500’s that surrounds the entire old city there.