Natural Living Family

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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

I haven't been posting much lately, partly because setting up a business around three kids is more than a full-time job in itself, but also because I simply have't had anything to say.. but the e-mail in my in box from this morning about South Africa refusing to give the Dalai Lama a visa to enter the country  just made me mad and really sad.  How ludicrous that the SA govt refuses a Visa to the Dalai Lama to keep China happy.  China with its horrible, horrible human rights track record and its general lack of respect for life (human and animal).

My blood pressure just goes through the roof when I think that I live in a country (a country that I love) where the shops are flooded with cheap Chinese rubbish, made by what amounts to slave labour in China and then refuses to allow somebody like the Dalai Lama into the country.  It is really sad that people who fought for the human rights of their fellow people can feel so little for what the Chinese government is doing to its own people – all in the name of money.

To me the issue is not about whether the Dalai Lama is allowed into SA, but rather about the fact that South Africa bows to what the Chinese govt wants, whether it is because the ANC feels they 'owe China' because of arms received during the struggle or because of pure greed, SA is allowing China to dictate what should be done.  They are allowing the events in Zimbabwe to just carry on...
I now feel the need to go play with my kids outside or my whole day will be wrercked, all this and the taxi strike we narrowly missed in Gauteng yesterday is really not the kind of future I envision for my kids - raising them in a world where money is more important than human rights. :-(

e-mail I received from

Despite its denial this week, our government appears to have refused the Dalai Lama an entry visa because of fears it may affect the burgeoning trade relationship with China.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called this act a
‘total betrayal of our struggle's history’ and along with other Nobel laureates including FW de Klerk has announced he will boycott the World Cup peace conference, which the Dalai Lama was planning to attend before it was postponed today.

Generations of South Africans fought long and hard for cultural respect, political equality and democracy in this beloved country. They struggled hand in hand with friends around the world for freedom. We appeal to you to sign the petition to President Motlanthe reminding him that the New South Africa is a country built on solidarity and calling on him to safeguard our sovereignty from unwanted Chinese government intervention. If enough of us sign, our voices will be heard by the President to reverse his decision and allow the Dalai Lama into the country before the World Cup:

South Africans have a proud history that must not be bargained away. Global solidarity and international leadership were instrumental in the demise of Apartheid. While economic ties with China have grown, culminating in last year's undisclosed agreement between our two countries, this opportunity should not come at the expense of human rights or support for one of the world's leading lights of peace and non-violence.

The Dalai Lama has been campaigning non-violently for autonomy for the Asian nation of Tibet from China for more than 50 years. Denying him a visa will weaken the resolve of other nations to stand up for human rights. It will certainly not serve the interests of South Africans. Almost a century ago, Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train in South Africa because of apartheid abuse. We must appeal to our government not to mete out similar disrespect to one of the most revered international figures of our times.

A Chinese official has admitted that they asked South Africa not to grant the visa citing the danger it would do to their bilateral relationship; the South African government has in turn said “it would not be in the interests of South Africa” to allow the Dalai Lama in. Let's together let our President know that
abandoning an international human rights struggle for a trade relationship is a rejection of South African history, and unacceptable for the South Africa of today:

This recent visa decision comes on the back of the South African government blocking vital UN Security Council decisions which would have encouraged human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe and Burma. Now
China appears to have been successful in telling our government who should and should not enter South African territory. This sets a dangerous precedent and we must appeal to the President of South Africa not to bow down to bullying tactics.

As we commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Dalai Lama being forced to flee his home in Tibet,
let's together call upon the government to issue a visa to enter the land known internationally for its commitment to political freedom and human rights.

With hope,

Elinor Sisulu, Human Rights Activist
and the Avaaz team


South African trading relationship with

Nobel Laureates respond to South African decision

Some reasons why South African refused to grant the visa

China African relations

More information about

Friday, 06 March 2009

Child Led Living

I have always thought that things like child led weaning and 'potty training' made a lot of sense, but weren't always easy to do. Recently I came to the realisation that in fact they are the simplest, easiest and most natural way of doing things.

With Ryan we decided to go the child led weaning route and while I did start him on solids sooner than I now think was necessary, he very soon started to feed himself and was eating pretty much whatever we ate. I never forced or bribed him to eat something he didn’t want to eat. Now at almost three years old, he is a healthy eater who prefers veggies to sweets and loves salad. He even enjoys foods like olives, pickles (ok, so not exactly healthy) and camembert cheese. He has no problem eating mushrooms, brinjals and baby-marrows – all items my twelve year old hates. Unfortunately with our oldest we weren’t as enlightened. While I never believed in forcing him to eat something he clearly didn’t like, he did learn a lot of bad eating habits at pre-school, back in the days before I was able to be at home with the kids. Now I just wait for Ryan to decide he no longer needs his ‘nanas’, but he will stop breastfeeding when he is ready. At this stage the most frustrating part of still nursing two kids is the comments from my mum-in-law. To Ryan nursing is not only a source of nourishment but also security, he is pretty high needs and given the choices of forcing him to wean and making him miserable or listening to funny comments from MIL when she visits, I would rather just deal with her. Funny enough Storm – who is seven months old – is the total opposite, to her breastfeeding is a source of nourishment and her security comes from cuddling with mom or dad. I sometimes wonder who will decide to wean first.

Ryan 'potty trained' – I use inverted commas because I didn’t do any training – he basically figured it out for himself by watching us - yippee. With the help of a kiddies potty learning book and the minimum of fuss, no star charts and bribes to get him to perform. I decided to put off getting him out of nappies until I felt he was ready for it. Also with a baby arriving two months after he turned two and us moving provinces shortly thereafter, the time just never seemed right. I am glad we went this route as it all just happened so naturally without any forcing.

Over the years we have been homeschooling, we have come to the realization that child led learning is the way to go. Like so many parents new to homeschooling we went the formal curriculum route, this just didn’t work for us and caused a whole lot of stress before we saw the light and abandoned the curriculum and allowed our son to lead us. I must admit that I did get frustrated when he had no interest in doing anything even remotely school related, but we got him to read by allowing him to read (almost) whatever he chose and he is now an avid reader. He has also become quite motivated this year and is doing loads of schoolwork on his own. He talks about wanting to become an engineer or archaeologist and realizes that he will need to study to do these. I have days when he doesn’t want to play outside with his brother and rather sits in his room studying. He has developed a great enjoyment in doing maths and has whizzes his way through an entire grade 6 maths text book already this year. His other loves are science and art.

I have definitely learned over the years that child led living is the way to go; it is far less stressful for all concerned, most importantly the children involved. It is like most things in life, they all happen in their own good time and if we can all find the patience to allow life to happen at its own pace our lives will be so much richer.

Monday, 02 March 2009


Well I have finally done it!!! – Gotten EarthWear off the ground that is ;-). The website is, and the Etsy Shop is .
The site is still a work in progress and I have some fabulous adults wrap pants and skirts that I will be adding shortly.

Lemonade Award

Thanks Carle from for nominating me for this!! It will hopefully motivate me to post more often. I have several posts that are a work in progress, but just cant seem to get finished...All part of trying to keep up with three kids. I don't know how moms do it all...

Now to nominate 10 blogs, mmm there are so many I love!!

I definitely want to nominate Carle's Blog, it is an inspiration to me. Her pictures are great, and i love to read and see what she and her family are up to. Her Waldorf Maths blog is way cool, and I look forward to using her gentle way of teaching maths for my little ones.

Urban Sprout - is a South African blog I love to read, it is full of all sorts of 'green' info and one of the first places I look when I need info and products here in SA.

Heathers Mama is... and Hathor the Cow Goddess blogs have kept me going through two pregnancies and homebirths. She writes comics about everything attachment parenting, birth, breastfeeding, homeschooling... I really look forward to reading her blogs.

Tiffany's blog Naturemoms is another inspiring and full of info blog I really enjoy reading.

Suzane's down in the meadow market blog has the cutest knitted gnomes and animals. I just love looking at her latest creations.

So now that you have been nominated, this is what you must do...Pass on some lemonade & let someone know they have inspired you. Here’s what you do:
1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2.Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Announcing a birth video/documentary contest! $1000 prize!

Birth and specially homebirth, is one of those life events that I am passionate about. Recently I was approached about a fantastic competition from Birth Matters Virginia.

Announcing a birth video/documentary contest! $1000 prize!

Birth Matters Virginia (an organization that works to promote an
evidence-based model of maternity care) is inviting mothers, fathers,
filmmakers, film students, birth advocates, and others to create a 4-7
minute educational video about birth. The first-place winner will
receive a cash prize of $1000. Second place $500 and an "honorable
mention" prize of $100 will also be awarded. The deadline for entering
the contest is Mother's Day, May 10, 2009.

Guest judges include: Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, acclaimed producers
of the Business of Being Born and Sarah J. Buckley., MD, international
birth expert and author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Ricki,
Abby, and Sarah will join a consumer-based panel of judges who will be
evaluating the tone, educational content, creativity and more. You
don't have to be a professional to enter and you don't have to be from

As the national rate of c-sections surpasses 30% and the U.S. ranks
41st in terms of maternal mortality, it is more important than ever
for women and their partners to be educated about the options they
have during pregnancy and birth. Birth Matters Virginia advocates "evidence-based" maternity care, which simply means using the best available research on the safety and effectiveness of specific practices to help guide maternity care decisions and to facilitate optimal outcomes in mothers and newborns. There are a lot of ways to approach that topic, and we're looking forward to the variety of entries.

For rules and to see how to enter, please visit

You can also join our Facebook group to get updates about the contest
and exchange ideas with other participants at

And if you have questions, email Sarah at

Even if you don't plan to make a video or submit an entry, please pass
this email on to everyone you can think of.

Having birthed all three my kids at home, I consider myself among the lucky few to have had that experience. Partly I have to thank my mom for raising me to never follow the so called experts blindly - be they doctors, religeous leaders or other - this has taught me to question, research and question again anything that did not feel right. While statistics in the US quote c-section rates at 30%, I have read that here in South Africa they are as high as 60% in many private hospitals - a frightening fact! Specially if you consider that giving birth is something that women have been doing since the begining of time, I find it truly hard to belive that 60% of women are incapable of giving birth without all the interventions that doctors deem as necessary.

I recently watched a Birth Stories episode on TV and realised yet again, that women simply are not educated enough about their choices when it comes to birth and many follow doctors blindly. I cannot recall one birth that I watched where there were not interventions, mostly to speed up labour that was not progressing sufficiently. When one woman asked about being induced, she was not warned that the induction would make for a more painfull labour, that she would be hooked up to an IV and require constant monitoring and most likely need pain relief meds - due to the drugs used to induce. The doctors all just said, that the gel or IV would simply get things going, no mention of side effects etc. In one case where the woman ended up needing a c-section, the father dared ask about being involved in the birth and was rudely shot down by the doctor (in my opinion, doctors are after all demi-gods and above being questioned, are they not!?!). Not to even mention that every woman who did give birth vaginally, did so lying on her back on the bed... Anyhow the reason for this post was to spread the word about the competition and not to vent my frustrated feelings - maybe I should stay away from these TV programs in future LOL.