‘Smoky World’

Beautiful series of photos!! words too short for it! telling a hard, disgusting but true story.


The suffocation is unbearable in the dark. The smoke is so intense that you cannot breathe for a few seconds. When you will be able to see something then you will realize that hundreds of people are working attentively. Suddenly you will hear the sound of coughing by some small kids; very soon you will be discovering that half of the people working in the area are children, as young as they can be. The faster they work the more they get paid. But their production rarely increases and their payment remains in the same range: 100-150 taka daily for 12-16 hours of work. Still, all of them are continually trying to do the only job they know.

Tobaco fgactory (159)

Tobaco fgactory (124)

Tobaco fgactory (38)

Most of the poor villagers are dependent on this job. Small kids sometimes forget their surroundings and start to talk to each other. Parents swiftly scold them or punch them in their…

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for Christmas: the littlest Christmas tree

a Christmas poem which I like.
text claimed by Amy Peterson, family friend poems

The littlest Christmas tree,
lived in a meadow of green,
Among a family,
of tall evergreens,
He learned how to whisper,
the evergreen song,
with the slightest of wind,
that came gently along.

He watched as the birds,
made a home out of twigs,
and couldn’t wait till,
he too was big.
For all of the trees,
offered a home,
the maple, the pine, and the oak,
who’s so strong.

“I hate being little”,
the little tree said,
“I can’t even turn colors,
like the maple turns red”,
“I can’t help the animals,
like the mighty old oak”,
“He shelters them all,
in his wide mighty cloak”.

The older tree said,
“Why little tree you don’t know?
The story of a mighty king,
from the land with no snow?”
Little tree questioned,
“A land with no snow?”
“Yes!” said old tree,
“A very old story,
from so long ago”.

“A star appeared,
giving great light,
over a manger,
on long winters night.
A baby was born,
a king of all kings,
and with him comes love,
over all things.”

“He lived in a country,
all covered in sand,
and laid down his life,
to save all of man.’

Little tree thought of the gift
given by him,
then the big tree said with the
happiest grin,
“We’re not just trees,
but a reminder of that day,
there’s a much bigger part,
of a role that we play!”

“For on Christmas eve,
my life I’ll lay down,
in exchange for a happier,
loving ground.
And as I stand dying,
they’ll adorn me in trim,
this all will be done,
in memory of him”.

“Among a warm fire,
with family and friends,
in the sweet songs of Christmas,
I’ll find my great end,
then ever so gently,
he’ll come down to see,
and take me to heaven,
Jesus and me”.

“So you see little tree,
we are not like the oak,
who shelters all things,
beneath his great cloak.
Nor are we like the maple
in fall,
who’s colors leave many,
standing in awe”.

“The gift that we give,
is ourselves, limb for limb,
the greatest of honor,
in memory of him”.

The little tree bowed,
his head down and cried,
and thought of the king,
who willingly died.
For what kind of gift,
can anyone give?
Then to lay down your life,
when you wanted to live.

A swelling of pride
came over the tree,
Can all of this happen?
Because of just me?
Can I really bring honor?
By adorning a home?
By reminding mankind,
that he’s never alone?

With this thought, little tree,
began singing with glee,
Happy and proud,
to be a true Christmas tree.

You can still hear them singing,
even the smallest in height,
singing of Christmas,
and that one holy night.

Stranger in Jordan

Jordan, what a beautiful country! I visited Jordan twice until now, and I absolutely want to go another few times! Aqaba, wadi Rum, Petra (this is a must go, very beautiful!), the kings highway, Madaba, Jerash and of course Amman. Jordan has very nice people, and in spite of the wars in neighbor countries it is very safe there. Queen Noor, wife of late king Hussein, had a big influence on the country, making people more open minded than in surrounding countries. If this is only because of her I do not know, but that they are more open and easy going for western people is a fact. (compared to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon)

Aqaba is definitely the perfect location to go snorkeling or diving! We went a few miles offshore to get to the right spot, and it was spot on, wonderful!! In the city lots of nice restaurants, and try the fresh baked baklava from the bakery, delicious!

     Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a beautiful place, desert, full of colors, where you can make a tour with a camel or with a Jeep (or other 4 wheel drive car) and we slept a night in a Bedouin tent, under a starry sky.

Petra is one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. buildings in the rocks. First time I went there we did the most touristic walk, and second time we took another trail, which was even more overwhelming. such beautiful colors, impressive buildings or what is left of them. Solely Petra already makes Jordan a must go! One of the visits we encountered a group of Asian tourists (I thought they were from Korea), who did an excursion to Petra running. What a pity for them!!

     Mosaic map in St.George’s church

From Petra we went to Karak, a place with an impressive ancient crusader castle. I really can recommend going there. From there it is a small distance to the red sea. The story of a man reading the French paper ‘Le Monde’ in sea is true: one does float on the water enough read a paper without sinking.

The next must see town is Madaba. You can see lots of beautiful mosaics there, one I want to mention in particular is a map on the floor of St. George’s church. It is a map from around the year 560 AD showing the biblical sites in the area (from Egypt to Lebanon). Really impressive!!!

From there we went to Amman, but not before visiting mount Nebo, where Moses is said to have seen the promised land and died before entering it. There is a memorial church, a large bronze memorial, a monstrous plaque that the pope visited the site and a very beautiful view over the surrounding area.

    Ruins of Jerash 

From Amman you can easily travel to Jerash, where are through time well reserved ruins of a roman city. Again a very beautiful must see. I am aware I have used this words very often in this piece, but that’s what you get with such a beautiful country. Final words on this post should not be else than the very strong advice to go there and see and experience it yourself!!

IV society 2050…(trend 5,6 and 7)

First of all, what I did not write in my earlier post and do want to mention is that elderly people often are alone and may need a place to socialize. Having contact with others when you do no longer have a job is very important. For instant communities like church are very helpful at that point, although you also can visit a church for other obvious reasons (but there also are bridge, pool, sport, read, …,  and other clubs people can go to). But to remain to the social aspect for a moment: not only elderly people need social contacts. In a world where virtual reality, digital contacts become more standard everybody needs a place to meet people face to face.

Relating to that, in order to say something useful about the future, we should not forget people who are not connected to internet, not even have a computer. People that do not want to have one or are not able to afford one.

Places should be created where those people can go to use a computer, and maybe ask someone else to help them or look something up for them when they are not able to do it themselves. This might even go together with places to socialize.

The far going computerization and robotification of the world makes the distance between poor and rich larger, and a vast need of people who now their electronics and mechanics. Besides that I think lots of people will become lonely, what makes space for re-socializing the more important.

Having said that, I come to the last trend: renewable or sustainable energy. At this very moment lots of renewable, sustainable forms of energy are available. The only problem at this stage is that economically seen it is far more preferable to use traditional resources (mainly oil, gas and coal). Governments earn to much on taxes.


But for example for electricity one can use wind (windmills), sun: photo voltaic cells, water: energy from current water, energy from waves, energy from tiding. Main problem at the moment I think is good storage of electric power.

For heat one can use sun, there are very good sun collectors in different types on the market. Heat is much easier to store in for example heat and cold storage in ground water wells, or molten salt thermal energy storage. Also in building there are several solutions to make a building energy efficient.

Actually I think with some investments we can easily use 100% green energy. A good push in the right direction came lately from Eon, a west European energy company, which decided to replace all traditional resources to sustainable ones.

I also want to mention here Ms Leslie Dewan, an USA citizen and nuclear scientist who did research at MIT on clean and safe nuclear energy using nuclear waste and a salt solution to control the process. The idea was use of low radiant nuclear waste, which resulted in enough energy an waste which had to be stored for 300 – 400 years in stead of 30.000 – 40.000 years.

III Society 2050 … (trend 2, 3, 4)

Where people used to rely on the authorities for care and social facilities – at least in the Netherlands at this moment – things are rapidly changing now. As a result of cut down of expenses and decentralization things like home care stop working, or are downsized to a cheap and hardly sufficient level. Homes for elderly people are shut down, one has to live on his/her own as long as possible with help from family and neighbors.

What this means in my opinion is that we, society, needs to look after those people, take care of the needy and miserable people. What is most important for needy elderly people to have a local person who people can talk to, a person with a local network, but also knows how to find and reach organisations for helping people like meals on wheels.

The elderly need someone who can do small things for them like replacing a light bulb, fixing some, some food shopping, and for some people also house cleaning and cooking (meals on wheels for example). For poor people there already are some local initiatives where poor can buy without money. They can deliver services like the ones described above, earn points with it and buy stuff in the store for those points. Those ones needing the services can deliver goods they do not use anymore, and get points for them, so goods can be exchanged for services or other goods.

To make it more specific for the shopping strips I am researching, a point of contact will be of great help, but also a sort of sitting room where people can exchange news, knowledge and just chat (real life), all this based on local social networks who can support each other. In this sitting rooms maybe a computer can be available, where the younger ones help elder ones on internet, and elder c.q. experienced ones can help the younger c.q. inexperienced/unskilled ones. For care nursing should be provided by local government and/or by insurance companies.

Which at the same time brings us at education. For education in the world we have to hold a torch, but for this I would like to refer to and give the floor to Malala Yousafzai, who lately won the Nobel prize of peace. Lately (before receiving the Nobel prize) she did an nice 45 minutes interview (except for short 15 sec introduction completely in English) [click here]. In the Netherlands, every child from 4 till 16 years of age is obliged to go to school. After that, going to college or university becomes more and more expensive. Therefore I think that learning while working will grow, and society has to pay attention that talents get a chance on good education.

II society 2050… (trend 1)

How are we going further into the future, let’s have a closer look on trend 1 I sketched earlier.  What I see happening is for example growing of the online shopping market. I do not think that online shopping will take over, because for many things costs of delivery would be more expensive then necessary. Besides, on some things you want to look in a shop before you take them home. But for non food and relatively small things like computers, phones, small kitchen equipment, I think online sale will be a great thing.

Besides the online stores we see a move to the revival of crafts, people having no job – as a consequence of the economic crises – are making an effort to use their talents locally. Shoe and cloth repair is often cheaper and as good as new clothes. Road workers and gardeners starting for themselves and working together, beauty salons and mani- and pedicure, barrista’s. All sorts of one (wo)man business develop in a good way. This is also stimulated on the customer side, where relative low price for good quality, social contacts, trust,  authenticity and craftsmanship are appreciated.

informal sector

What also will start or grow are in my vision companies that separate trash for recycling and make innovative new stuff of it , second hand markets will flourish. Sustainable use of materials. Maybe even the informal sector will grow, people who want to work hard, not lead by the rules of the international community, but by doing quick and good what they are good in.

Another growing thing is urban farming, growing local vegetables and/or fish and flesh. because it is grown local, transport costs are low and products will be in the shops fresh! That is what people are looking for, good sustainable quality.

urban farming

Concluding on trend 1, I think we can say that local entrepreneurship must be encouraged, which I think automatically will make people more happy, and as a side effect make society more sustainable.