Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because of you...

Because of you
my world is now whole
Because of you love lives in my soul.
Because of you I have laughter in my eyes,
Because of you I am no longer afraid of good-byes.
You are my pillar my stone of strength,
With me through all seasons and great times of length.
My love for you is pure
boundless through space and time,
it grows stronger everyday
with the knowledge that you'll always be mine.
For I have it all now
and it's all because of you.

by Amy S. Bedford

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Aboriginal People...

The word "aboriginal" means "the first" or "earliest known". The word was first used in Italy and Greece to describe people who lived there, natives or old inhabitants, not newcomers, or invaders.
Australia may well be the home of the worlds first people. Stone tools discovered in a quarry near Penrith, New South Wales, in 1971 show that humans lived in Australia at least twelve thousand years before they appeared in Europe.

The first Aboriginals found an Australia with a better environment than today. Large animals, now extinct, provided more meat than the animals with which we are familiar. Some parts of the continent were richer in vegetable foods, but the land contained no cultivated crops, or animals that could be domesticated, such as cattle and sheep.
Whatever their early history, Aboriginals had settled throughout the entire continent many thousands of years before the white man came and had evolved a way of living that was in harmony with the environment, and that satisfied their needs. Because Australia was isolated from the rest of the world, Aboriginals had little contact with outside groups from whom to "borrow" techniques, to trade goods, to acquire crop seeds, or animals, as was happening in the North of the world. It was only for a few centuries prior to white settlement that visitors came from islands to the north. However, the Aboriginals adjusted to the environment, learned to understand it and gained the maximum from it.

Aborigines were limited to the range of foods occurring naturally in their area, but they knew exactly when, where and how to find everything edible. But food was not obtained without effort. In some areas both men and women had to spend from half to two thirds of each day hunting or foraging for food.
Inland, the quest for water was a life and death matter. Aborigines survived where others would perish. They knew where the water holes and soaks were in their area. They drained dew, and obtained water from certain trees and roots. They even dug up and squeezed out frogs, which store water in their bodies.

The necessity to be mobile meant that Aboriginals could afford only those possessions that were essential to their way of life. Many belongings were multipurpose - like the coolamon, a curved wooden dish, which was used to dig, to carry water or the baby; to toss seeds or collect the plant food gathered daily by the women.
As well as the practical side of life, they began to join in spiritual matters. They were taught the rhythms of dances in preparation for later participation in sacred and non-sacred rituals. Children began to learn songs and stories that embodied knowledge to be passed on from generation to generation. From early childhood to death, the Aboriginal was continuously learning more about the traditions of the past. Religion was related to the past, the present and future. Man identified with animals, plants and other natural phenomenon, and grouped himself according to this identification - his totem. Relationship with a totem meant a responsibility towards that totem - for example, people of a kangaroo totem might not kill kangaroos, and carry out special ceremonies to ensure the continued increase of the kangaroo.
The "Dreamtime", the mythological past, was the time when spirit ancestors had travelled throughout the land, giving it its physical form, and setting down the rules to be followed by the Aboriginals. Beings such as the "Fertility Mother", the "Great Rainbow Snake", the Djanggawul brothers and sisters, survive in stories and ceremonies that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Some sacred aspect of these stories and ceremonies were available only to initiated adult males. Women had their own sacred ceremonies from which they excluded men, but there were ceremonies and songs in which the whole group joined men, women and children.
Old people in Aboriginal society were cared for, and respected for their wisdom and knowledge.

The MAORI People ...

"Hi everybody!

Many of you asked me to speak about Maori so I decided to make you happy....
I did some research because I wouldn't make mistakes telling you about this People. There are so many things to tell you about them so I think I will do it in more than one day, otherwise you will become bored I'm afraid!! Today I am going to tell you a little bit of history and I will show you some pictures we shot three years ago, when our cousins Valentina and Gianfranco, came to visit us. In that occasion we went to visit an ancient village, now used only as a tourist attraction, situated few kilometres from Rotorua, in the middle of the North Island. It is in the middle of a wood and all the huts are in wood as well. They are very tiny so you can't stay stand up in one of that. They were used just for sleeping as Maori used to live all together in the village.

There are many legends about Maori so dates are not so sure. Anyway, I will tell you what I found.....
In the 1300s the Maori came from the islands hundreds of miles to the north and by 1500 had established contact with over 60 countries, including the Vikings. When the English began to settle here the Maori had many of the same experiences as American Indians - wasted by white man's diseases, and their huge sequoia like (kauri) forests were razed. The Maori fared well compared to natives in other countries because they were such fierce warriors. Even with superior weapons the whites gave up fairly quickly. The land was so rugged and the Maori so fierce and scary, that the whites signed treaties which they largely kept (quite a contrast to most histories with native peoples). In 1840 the Waitangi treat was signed between 45 Maori head-men and Captain William Hobson and so the Maori had a relatively peaceful and prosperous relationship with the English. Today this treat is still very important as it defines the relation between white and Maori regarding both aspects financial and territorial. The Maori were cannibals who ate their enemies as a way to insult them. Much of the Maori art shows bulging stomachs to warn you what will happen if you mess with the locals. I think all these should be very scary for enemies! It was probably one of the main reasons white people came here just in the late 1600s.
Below you will find some pictures of carvings images. As you can see all the faces are with tattoos. In fact it is very common here seeing Maori with many of them. Some people have both arms and legs painted!! Do you like them?

Today some of the tribes are quite well off, as they own large tracts of land which they lease. They are all over the island, fully integrated into every aspect and corner of NZ.

Well, it's all for today. I hope you enjoyed this story! I will tell you more tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day!!!!

Rosalba "

in BBC Learning English

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Susan Boyle: unlikely superstar?...

Less than a few weeks ago Susan Boyle was a virtual unknown. However, since auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent, a televised talent competition, she has experienced a stratospheric rise to fame. A YouTube video of her audition has been watched by more than 26 million people, making it one of the most watched videos on the internet in recent times. It is undeniable that technology such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter has helped to spread the word about Susan’s performance.
So just what is it about Susan that the people find so fascinating? Arguably, it is the fact she is such a class act. However, many have suggested that her biggest appeal lies in her unassuming persona.
Susan’s persona and appearance have been somewhat controversial and the initial reaction to her audition has made many people question whether they are guilty of judging a book by its cover. With her plain Jane, middle-aged looks and her no-nonsense approach to life, Susan is perhaps the most unlikely star to be discovered of late.
Commenting on her rise to fame, Max Clifford, a renowned PR guru, said that the massive public interest in her is partly due to people having to challenge their own assumptions and prejudices.
So what’s next for Susan? For the moment, she is preparing for her next appearance on Britain’s Got Talent and she is the odds-on favourite to win.
Looking forward, with talk of record contracts and celebrity duets, it is very likely that we’ll soon be seeing a Susan Boyle album in the charts!

in BBC Learning English( 20th May)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cristo Rei...

Cristo Rei in Almada, faces Lisbon and celebrates today 50 years since it was built.
It is a monument that symbolizes peace.
Lisbon and Almada saw the image of Nossa Senhora de Fátima for the second time. Faith and hope for a better future were the feelings of thousands of citizens that have participated in the official ceremonies Cristo Rei's 50th anniversary.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Like The Water

Like the water of a deep stream,

love is always too much.

Though we drink till we burst,

In its abundance it survives our thirst.

In the evening we come down to the shore to drink our fill,

and sleep,while it flows through the regions of the dark.

it does not hold us,

except we keep returning to its rich waters thirsty.

We enter,

willing to die,

into the commonwealth of its joy.

by Wendell Berry

On The Breakwater

On the breakwater in the summer dark,

a man and a girl are sitting

She across his knee and they are looking face into face

Talking to each other without words,

singing rythms in silence to each other.

A funnel of white ranges the blue dusk from an out-going boat,

Playing its search light,



over a streak of green,

And two on the breakwater keep their silence,

she on his knee.

by Wendell Berry