Blogging

Winner now to be announced in October

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Due to unforeseeable circumstances we are yet to announce our winner. We will be announcing in October, so if you’ve entered good luck and you should hear something once we do announce a winner. Once again thank you to those who entered and raise valuable funds for Umoja Orphanage Kenya.

Here’s another writing quote to keep you motivated to write in the meanwhile:

Nature inspires writing
Nature is perfect inspiration to write.

Things I have learned: Part 2….This is Africa

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by Guest Blogger – Lauren Dionysius

Things I have learned:

  • jamming people into the back of a ute is an acceptable means of transportation
  • the average cactus makes for a perfectly functional clothesline
  • red dirt turns to red mud in the rain
  • car maintenance is overrated:  8 breakdowns in 3 days between 4 Land Cruisers is a lot, even for Africa!
  • urgency does not exist: no-one is in a hurry and nothing happens quickly

    African car breakdown
    One of many breakdowns in Africa.
  • and the quicker you can adjust to (and accept!) the previous point, the easier life will be!
  • don’t be fooled: ‘pap’, ‘maizemeal’ and ‘sadsa’ are all the same stuff, but different countries use different names.  And while it might look like chocolate pudding, it will never, EVER taste like it, regardless of how much sugar you add!
  • the ticks in Africa enjoy the taste of humans and the resulting ‘tick bite fever’ is cruel, especially in the remote African bush
  • every tree in Africa has a thorn of some description
  • electricity is overrated, however hot showers are NOT!
  • do not visit the Tanzanian coast during Ramadan – food is scarce!

    African sky
    Starry African sky.
  • 25 children died unnecessarily in Malawi because the hospital ran out of anti-malarial and they weren’t restocked for a month
  • bean stew actually looks and tastes worse than it sounds
  • the ‘toilets’ in this part of the world are on a whole new level of stink! You are better off learning to squat in the bush – just look out for thorns &, um, local kids!
  • when the entire mobile and internet networks are down, Africa just keeps on going. What would Australia do?
  • ‘nibblies’ in Kenya are called ‘bitings’
  • sleeping out under a starry Namibian sky is a magical experience
  • 1000s of seals in the one place = one giant stink (though still smells better than a Tanzanian toilet!)
  • the city of Cape Town is just as beautiful the third time round as the first

    Seals in Africa
    Many seals – giant stink!
  • seatbelts are optional in Africa
  • dust gets everywhere into EVERYTHING
  • don’t underestimate the off-road capabilities of the humble mini-van – those things can go up, over and through things at speed, if given the chance!
  • it is possible to survive without phone reception for two weeks.  I am living proof.
  • a sossusvlei is a lake in the desert between sand dunes
  • a deadvlei is a dried up sossusvlei
  • don’t eat tuna at the beach – you will attract lots of seagulls
  • it is possible to survive (many days even!) without the internet

    Ugandan Mountain Gorilla
    Beautiful Ugandan Mountain Gorilla
  • I am not cut out to be a makoro poler (those little dug out canoe things in Botswana)
  • Namibia is the most stunning country in Africa, that I have been to so far
  • every place in Namibia starts with an ‘O’ or an ‘S’ which is very confusing!
  • trekking through wild Ugandan jungle in search of gorillas is no easy feat
  • there’s very little in Africa that cannot be fixed with a screwdriver and duct tape.

Thanks again to Lauren for her wonderful contributions to Umoja Writing Competition. You can succeed in your writing just like Lauren. The first step might be entering the Umoja Writing Competition.

Why not enter today and see where it takes you?

ENTER NOW!

A glorious Namibian sunrise
A glorious Namibian sunrise

 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger – Lauren Dionysius

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Lauren Dionysius is a 30-something Registered Nurse chasing bigger dreams.  She’s passionate about writing, bikram yoga and wholefood nutrition and is in the process of combining these into her dream career.  She lives in Bundaberg, Queensland but travels regularly overseas seeking new life experiences, from volunteering in Africa, or a writing retreat in Italy, to yoga in Bali, and studying nutritional healing in the USA.  She thrives on growth and deepening her awareness of world we live in.  She is a writer, an editor & a hungry soul searcher.

Lauren Dionysius, winner of the Inaugural Umoja Writing Competition with her trophy.
Lauren Dionysius, winner of the Inaugural Umoja Writing Competition with her trophy.

Lauren is also the winner of last year’s Umoja Writing Competition. She said, “My love for writing started as a ten year old with a bizarre, if not somewhat obsessive, collection of pens, rubber erasers and pretty paper.  Even at school, I was fascinated by how words looked on paper and enjoyed the task of giving meaning to their order.  Later, my nursing studies morphed my creative writing into dull academia, and, as a perpetual uni student who loved to write, I continued on to study a variety of topics including research, photography, clinical nursing, counseling, and most recently, international health.  But it wasn’t until I enrolled in a travel writing course that I realised that I didn’t want to write about someone else’s topics anymore, I wanted to write about what was in my heart…

“In 2011, I took a “career break” from nursing to volunteer in Africa doing wildlife conservation and research projects.  It was here that my love for travel was united with my creative spark to write my feelings into words and experiences into stories.  I recounted my adventures in a blog to share with friends and family back home.  I wrote about how Africa changed my view of the world and nudged me to re-evaluate what was important in my life.  I soon realised that my life in Australia was inside-out and upside-down.  By quitting my day job and leaving that stressful, money-driven life behind, I was free to embrace the vulnerability and uncertainty that is synonymous with Africa.  It was the bravest, scariest decision I’ve ever made, but I learned so many life lessons along the way.  I learned that living a rich life had little to do with money.  Richness came through connections with myself and other people in the form of friendships, relationships, kinships and hardships.  I realised that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t “buy myself happy”.  Perhaps most importantly though, Africa taught me to be grateful, not guilty, for the opportunities, safety and freedom that was my privileged life back in Australia, one that I’d long taken for granted.

“Since returning from Africa I have kept these lessons close and have worked to apply them to my life here in Australia.  I have returned to nursing, but in a position with healthy hours and less money (to match the effort required!), while still continuing to travel overseas.  I am surrounded by friends and family and finally understand what having a ‘work-life balance’ really means.”

She draw inspiration from other writers and a wide variety of genres.  She gets her “chic lit fix” from Sophie Kinsella and reads Jodi Picoult to absorb life-inspiring messages.  Dean Koontz keeps her awake at night jumping at every noise she hears, but his use of language is alluring. She also loves Brene Brown and Eckhart Tolle who allow her to look beyond the words into mind and soul in order to create different words and new stories”.

We thank Lauren for contributing to Umoja Writing Competition blog and wish her the best in her endevours in writing and life. She will be contributing further as a guest blogger so look out for her new posts. She’ll be firstly writing about ‘why we write’ and then giving us an experienced insight into volunteering overseas. We look forward to her next posts.

Guest Blogger – Sarah Cannata

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Sarah is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She has recently launched her own website (www.sarahcannata.com.au – original, huh?) with the aim of connecting with a variety of people (feel free to take a squiz, she’d love to hear what you think). Sarah has written for a number of websites and magazines and in her downtime, enjoys travelling and listening to music. Journey into the land of ‘make-believe’, Sarah sees herself writing in Mdina in Malta which is referred to as the silent city (aka, a writer’s dream).

Guest Blogger Sarah Cannata.
Guest Blogger Sarah Cannata.

 

Thank you to Sarah for contributing to the Umoja Writing Competition. Every guest blogger helps spread the word of this competition and its fundraising for Umoja Orphanage Kenya. A terrific cause creating a self-sustainable village in Ukunda, Kenya, Africa with the help of Australians.

Sarah’s interesting and helpful blog post, using the theme; rejection, will be posted shortly. It’s a good one to start with because, unfortunately, rejection goes hand-in-hand with a writer’s life. Perseverance is the key and I hope you enjoy Sarah’s hints on how to keep to your writing path.

www.sarahcannata.com.au

Guest Bloggers are Coming to Umoja Writing Competition

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Guest Bloggers will be posting to this blog shortly.

We’ve decided to include a variety of writers, journalists and bloggers to give you more information about writing, volunteering and publishing. Some guests will stay for a while, others will post just once, but all will contribute to the Umoja Writing Competition in a worthwhile way.

The more opportunity we have to build the blog and its readership, the more chance we have of a successful competition and a new platform for writers. The biggest benefit of all is to the Umoja Orphanage Kenya. It’s simple: the more entrants, the more funds raised for this wonderful, worthy cause.

I hope you’re excited about the new development. If you don’t already Follow the Umoja Writing Competition, click on Follow now to join (right-hand side of home page). You’ll then receive new posts and never miss out on new information about the competition.

Now – START WRITING.

If you would like to guest blog please contact Donna on the Contact page. Give her a reason you should be posting, what you’ll post about and how often you can post.

one bite at a time

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I thought our writers might enjoy this elephant.

Just words ...

1 January, 2015. This is the Year of the Thesis. Of course, the process started quite some time ago, but there is something about the calendar year ticking over so that the year matches the one on everything where my planned submission date appears. If clichés abounded before, I’m bracing myself for another inundation now. Rubber hitting the road, putting one’s money where one’s mouth is, hard yards, light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t an oncoming train, and so on.

If I’ve wibbled over things before, I am prepared for that to pale into insignificance before this thing that I’ve never done before – write a book. The PhD thesis is an odd kind of book, but it is nevertheless a book of 80,000-100,000 words (somewhere in the region of 200 or so pages of double spaced text). The unique and arguably still valuable thing about the…

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