Sunday Stamps 061: The Cross River Gorillas and the Pine Martens

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Animals, domesticated or wild, have been a source of awe and fascinations amongst the young and old. When I was younger, when the subject of animals was brought up into the conversation, the ones from the wilds of Africa automatically came into mind. How wrong I was. The whole world is one big zoo! Sadly, though. with current situation of our world environment, these animals are decreasing in numbers — fast! And we are, in one way or the other, contributing to it.
Animals have graced postage stamps for as long as I can remember so I was glad when Viridian announced the theme for this week. Stamps are great tools for disseminating information about the plights of the animals.
Here are my choices for this week. They are exotic animals and come from far, far away lands:
I have one stamp from Nigeria:

Cross River Gorilla / Gorilla gorilla diehli. I would love to complete the four stamps in this series.

In 2008, the Nigerian Post and the WWF, launched a special stamp featuring the Cross River gorillas. There are two species of gorilla, the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). The Cross River gorilla, on the stamp above, belongs to the western gorilla species and is native to the Cross River area on the border of Cameroon/Nigeria, and is considered to be one of the most endangered primates (classified as critically endangered according to IUCN in 2008) and one of the rarest. Approximately only 300 left in the wild, and just one in captivity at the Limbe Wildlife Centre, Limbe, Cameroon. (Source) Very few have ever seen a Cross River gorilla. Most of the gorillas live outside the protected areas and the major threats to their survival are loss of habitat and poaching 🙁


 Here’s another curious animal from Latvia:

The European Pine Martens are related to the wolverines, otters, and weasels.  The stamp is awesome, I love the colours!
Pine martens are elusive mammals native to northern Europe and are characterised by their creamy, yellow throat bib and are about the size of a domestic cat or a house cat.
Pine martens are known for its beautiful soft fur that in the 1700s-1800s they became almost extinct because their pelts or furs were highly-valued goods because of its soft, luxurious feel. These were were used as a form of payment in the Middle Ages. Hunting martens still occur these days but, thanks to the increasing awareness on fur trade and laws protecting these animals, there is less demand for marten fur nowadays.

Tunisian traditional costume for women

Hey, hey, hey… I have another postcard to post, the last one for today before I resume my apidextra research. I’m on a roll today, I know.

I have always been fascinated by the different traditional costumes of the world. Which is why, I have placed a request for postcards showing traditional costumes in my Postcrossing profile. Thankfully, I’ve received a lot with this theme so I thank them all for granting my request.

From Tunisia comes this postcard showing the traditional Tunisian costume for women.

In Tunisia, they have so many different styles depending on the region. Unfortunately there is no description or information as to what region the costume above is from. 
Reading through various sites, I learned that the essential part of the traditional costume is a “bent cut” tunic. The costumes are also made from wool, cotton, silk depending on the occasion. Very ornate embroideries, money wires, and other jewelries with intrinsic designs are used to decorate the women’s garments, namely, farmla (waistcoat), jebba and kadrûn (dress), takrita (scarf), qoufiya (cap), kmâm (“handles”), and qmajja (tunic). – Source
Once all these garments are put together it creates a lovely and very colourful costume! Wedding dresses are even more elaborate than this. With all the decorations on the garments, I wonder if it gets too heavy though. Nevertheless, it is wonderful showcase of the Tunisian culture.

Thank you, Noor, for this postcard!

Sunday Stamps 034: Christmas stamps fund fight against TB

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From the South American continent, this week we feature stamps from the great continent of Africa.


My stamps for this week comes from Suid Afrika (South Africa) which was issued in 1966:

An online auction site says this is a one-of-a-kind issue.
This is a full sheet of mint Christmas stamps, oh what a joy! I have to thank my bestfriend, Fe, for sending this to me, along with postcards and stamps from Botswana. Salamat, Fe!
Christmas stamps were issued and sold worldwide to raise money for charity through the Christmas Stamp Fund. Proceeds were used for things such as Tuberculosis (TB). South Africa was one of the later countries to issue Christmas stamps (in 1929). Various themes are featured on these stamps, from culture, landmarks, nature, traditional arts or folk art, costumes, produce, and nature and wildlife that represent South Africa. The map of South Africa serves as the background of the sheet – very clever, in my opinon – the colourful artwork and the blue ocean pops out of the page. One of the notable features to me is that  the stamps in the sheet were alternately in  English and Afrikaan. Also of particular interest in the stamp design is the cross with two horizontal bars, which is the patriarchal cross, that has become known as the international symbol for the fight against TB. It is also known as the Cross of Lorraine. 
The South African Christmas stamp 1966 was issued in support of Sunshine homes in South Africa. I could not find any info about Sunshine homes but I’m assuming it is a centre caring and providing treatment for people afflicted with TB. This makes me also wonder…  Now that TB is no longer considered a deadly disease, I wonder if the Christmas Stamp Fund provides funding to research on other diseases such as mental illnesses and new methods of treatments, like dual diagnosis treatment and many more.
I found this comprehensive information on South African Christmas stamps.


Sunday Stamps 027: Tunisian flag on stamps

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The following stamps were affixed to the Tunisian flag-on-postcard that I received early this year.

 

Tunjsian flag on stamps

The postcard (posted previously, click here) and stamps were my firsts from Tunisia.

The sender, Nour, actually sent me two postcards – the Tunisian flag-on-postcard and another one showing the Tunisian’s traditional costume for women. How the postcards got to Cambodia is a story in itself.

 

Nour emailed me in the first week of December asking me for swap. I don’t usually accept private swaps unless the swapper comes from a country that I consider difficult to get postcards and stamps from. So I quickly said yes but asked him to postpone the swap till after the Christmas holidays. We all know what happened in Tunisia, right?  In the days that followed after our initial contact massive protests and riots happened in the streets of Tunisia (now known as the Tunisian Revolution) that stretched for months. People were clamoring for reforms. During this period I was afraid of Nour’s safety as he went to the shops in Tunis to find the postcards that we agreed to exchange and mailed them.  I felt a tinge of guilt. Fortunately, Nour was safe, so is his family, and the postcards arrived in Cambodia just over a month after. Merci beaucoup, my friend. شكرا جزيلا لك من أعماق قلبي.

When I received the postcards, the old government was already overthrown and the then- President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family already fled the country. And what a strange coincidence it is. If you look at the stamps, it is a commemorative issue celebrating the 23ème Anniversaire du Changement (23rd Anniversary of the Change) in Tunisia.   Mr. Ben Ali, was a former prime minister who took over the Presidency in November 7, 1987 in a bloodless coup d’état from then-President Habib, was only the second president of the country, which won independence from France in 1956. I could not exactly find info specifically what is “The Change” but now I can only assume that the Movement of Change was launched when Mr. Ben Ali took power. (Source)

The Tunisian revolution paved the way for the citizens in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, and other Arab countries to also begin protesting against their governments. Let us hope that the mass movements going on these countries will yield positive results.

Postcard Friendship Friday 043:Tunisian flag on postcard

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I was arranging my things today when, of all things, I found two postcards tucked in my Harry Potter Deathly Hallows book. I was aghast about having forgotten about these precious postcards. How could I when they were, in fact, my first two postcards from Tunisia! Jeepers! Anyway,  I’m sharing one here:

Tunisian flag on postcard
I rarely accept direct swaps but this one I had no problem accepting. The sender contacted me in December last year but I begged him to postpone the exchange till January as we were having a busy Christmas holiday then.  And we all know what happened in Tunisia in January. Despite the massive riots in the capital, the postcards were successfully sent  and arrived in Cambodia in less than a month. I am also happy to tell you that the sender, Nour, and his family are safe and sound. Merci beaucoup, monsieur!

 

Tunisia is officially called the Tunisian Republic ( الجمهورية التونسية‎, al-Jumhūriyya at-Tūnisiyya) located in the northernmost part of Africa . It is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. It’s capital is Tunis. In Tunisia, Arabic is the focal language. French is spoken in the media sector, business enterprises and administration departments.

Here are bits of info about the flag of Tunisia which I took from World Flags 101:

 

Tunisian Flag Description:
The flag of Tunisia consists of a red base with a white outline of a circle in the center. Inside the circle there is a red five pointed star which is based on a white circle and a red crescent.

Tunisian Flag Meaning:
Red is a traditional color of Islam and was the color adopted by the Ottoman Empire who ruled Tunisia from late 16th century until 1881. It also came to represent resistance against Turkish supremacy. The crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam and are also considered to be lucky symbols. The white circle represents the sun.

Tunisian Flag History:
The Tunisian flag was originally adopted between 1831 and 1835, making Tunisia’s flag one of the world’s oldest flags. However, the Tunisian flag wasn’t legislated in constitution until 1959, after Tunisia had gained independence from France on March 20, 1956. The current version of the Tunisian flag was adopted on July 3, 1999.


Interesting Tunisian Flag Facts:
Even though Tunisia resisted against the Ottoman Empire and Turkish rule, the Tunisian flag is very similar to the Turkish flag.

Sunday Stamps 023: Butterflies of Botswana

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Summer, and anything related to this season. So here’s my share for this week, two butterflies on stamp from Botswana. They were affixed to two postcards sent to me by my very good friend Fe who lives there with her family.

 

 

 

 

 

These fantastic butterfly definitives are great additions to my  collections. Both stamps are part of a 14-set of stamps  classified as Standard Postage B and issued by the Botswana Post under the Butterflies theme. These butterflies were beautifully illustrated by Philip Huebosch and came out in November 2007. 

 

I just learned that the Botswana Post releases four to six commemorative issues per year, and definitives after every five years. 
 

Just a bit of info about Botswana.

 

Botswana is a country unrivalled in its abundance of wildlife and natural resources, which are as diverse as the Kalahari Desert in the southern and eastern parts of the country, to the lush Okavango Delta swamps and river plains of the north.

It is a land locked country that straddles the Tropic of Capricorn and shares borders with Namibia to the west and north, Zambia and Zimbabwe to the north-east and South Africa to the east and south. Botswana is approximately the size of France and twice the size of Arizona. Most of the country is arid and desert like with large tracts of land set aside for maintenance and development of national parks and wild life sanctuaries by the Government of Botswana.

Botswana is the worlds leading gem diamond producer and relies heavily on mineral exports to provide one of the most stable economies in Africa. Eco-tourism is also an integral part of the economy with the country deeply committed to the conservation of wildlife heritage. (Source)

Sunday Stamps 014: Poets: They who have a way with words

 

 

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I must say that this week’s entry was another challenge but I’m glad I have found several stamps. Let’s begin with the only woman in the group. So lucky to have found a woman 😀

Julia de Burgos

 

 

The renowned Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos, who has won fame after dying nameless on the streets of East Harlem in 1953 at the age of 39, [is being] was honored with a U.S. stamp last year.

The stamp was dedicated in a ceremony in Puerto Rico… and became available at post offices across the country and online, said Roy Betts, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

It features a portrait of the poet with blue water flowing in the background. The water evokes one of her best-known poems, "Rio Grande de Loza," a sensuous ode to a river in Puerto Rico on which banks she was raised.

Source: NYDailyNews.com

Cesare Pavese

“We do not remember days, we remember moments…”

 

The stamp was issued by the Poste Italiane in 2008  to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Cesare Pavese (1908-1950). It features a portrait of the writer and poet Cesare Pavese, and a close-up of one of his poems, with words in the author’s handwriting, “Hai un sangue, un respiro” (You have one blood, one breath).

A

poet, a novelist, a literary critic, a translator, and widely considered among the major authors of Italy in the 20th century.

His work fuses considerations of poetic and epic representation, the theme of solitude, and the concept of myth. He began his career with poetry. His first book was a collection of poems entitled Lavorare stanca (Hard Work) came out in 1936 had been shortened by four poems deleted by fascist censors. Seven years later, he published an expanded version nearly double the size of the original. His major novels include  

Il Compagno (The Comrade), Tra Donne Sole (Among Women Only), and La luna e i falò (The Moon and the Bonfire). Pavese’s recurrent theme in these novels is the search of urban man, who is caught in continually changing situations, for permanence and stability. In 1950, unhappy with both his personal life and the political climate of postwar Italy, he committed suicide.
Source: Wikipedia 

Charles Baudelaire

He was a French poet, noted essayist, art critic, and a pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Baudelaire is considered to be one of the innovators in French literature and often called as the “father of modern criticism”. 

The stamps, featuring Baudelaire, is a part of the 5-set commemorative stamps issued by the Mauritius Post Ltd., to highlight the country’s presence in World Literature.  The five featured – Baudelaire, Bernardin de Saint Pierre, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain, and Joseph Conrad – are world renowned novelists and poets who wrote on or visited the island between the 18th and 19th centuries. Baudelaire was on his way to India when his sailing vessel stopped in the port of St. Louis in September 1841. While there, he found the island and its inhabitants awe-inspiring and wrote a sonnet for a charming lady, entitled À une Dame Créole. Baudelaire’s first and famous work is a volume of poems called Le Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). I thought Baudelaire’s name rang a bell for it’s the family name of the protagonists of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. And I was right, they were indeed named after him!
Source: Wikipedia and Mauritian Philatelic Blog.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns, born into a farming family in Alloway in Ayrshire in 1759, is universally known as Scotland’s national poet and this Special Stamp Issue commemorates the 250th Anniversary of his birth.  It is also released in time for for the annual Burns Night celebrations.

When this edition was  unveiled and issued to the public in 2009, Robert Burns became the first person outside of the Royal Family to be celebrated with three collection stamps!

The stamp features the title of one of Burn’s greatest poems with a detail from Robert Burns turning up a mouse in her nest with his plough. He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism.

Although Burns died at a young age of 37, his poetry has made him a cultural icon in Scotland. One of his poems, Auld Lang Syne, is traditionally sung around the globe to mark New Year.  I studied a bit of literature in uni and one of the Burns poems we studied, that I really like, was the Red Red Rose.Who could ever forget the first lines..

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune!

Source: Wikipedia, Royal Mail

Totally unrelated to postcards and stamps post….

… but I just want to share anyway.

My younger sister has just returned to the Philippines after a one year assignment with the Voluntary Services Organisation. For 13 months, she worked with the Lukore Farmer’s Cooperative in Mombasa, Kenya. For the whole duration of her assignment, she lived in the local community, spoke the local language, ate local food, drank local beer, and… get ready for this -  wore her hair like local women do!

 

 

She was really interested on having her hair done like the local women’s, and one Saturday when she has nothing to do, she walked in to a local beauty salon to complete her African experience. Some of her co-volunteers actually warned her that corn-braiding is a painful experience but she didn’t feel any pain at all. Little did she know that one of the most unforgettable African experiences she has would happen a day after her visit to the local salon.

Shampooing (or even wetting the hair), the local beautician told her, is a no-no when you have a braided hairstyle. But she did anyway.

   The shampoo wasn’t rinsed off completely, and it became flakes when it dried. These flakes plus the dust, combined with oil in her hair, made her scalp flaky. Eeeeeew! The nights were very uncomfortable she was crying – her scalp was extremely itchy! Corn-rows are supposed to be worn for a long time, but my sister had hers for only 4 days! *lol* The itching was really unbearable. After her braids were undone, this is how she looked like:

Her son was so surprised to see his mum on the webcam looking like this – with “big-big” hair like a witch’s! He was worried his mum has suddenly gotten “tambok” (fat).

It was hysterical – my own mother laughed so hard tears came running down her face when she saw her on webcam, too. My sister’s hair obviously made her face look bigger than it really is. And, of course, my brothers were teasing here. The taunts range from her big hair, to her big face, anything big and went on to ask questions like, are diet pills safe there in Mombasa and if so she better have some pronto. Otherwise, they teased her, her son wouldn’t go near her at all.

My sister said it was fun and a good learning experience for her… and one good effect of her corn-row hairstyle was the compliments she received from the elder women in the community. I think braided or having a corn-row hairstyle is cool. I, myself, would love to have my hair done like that if only I could find one in Phnom Penh who knows how to do so. Summer is here and this is the hairstyle I want to have to beat the heat.  How about you?

Chobe National Park, Botswana

 

 

 

This is another postcard from Botswana from the same sender mentioned in my previous posts. Okay, ladies and gents, just pretend we are on a safari…  So take out  your bushnell binoculars and ready your cameras because here is an amazing wildlife postcard…

ChobeNP, BotswanaFrom left to right: Chacma babboon; Puku; White-fronted Bee-eater; Kudu; Hippo with calf; Lion; buffalo herd; Elephant herd.

The Chobe National Park is one of Botswana’s finest wildlife areas boasting large herds of elephant and buffalo as well as numerous other animal species in a wild, unspoilt habitat.

  

Long before my sister was assigned for a volunteer-position in Kenya, it was I who was nurturing an ambition to be the  first in my family to ever set foot in the African continent. As a development worker, it was one of my dreams to be working in any African countries. But as luck would have it, my sister beat me to it. Although a volunteer’s life is not comfortable all the time, it has given her the opportunity to see with her own two eyes the many wonderful places, ethnic tribes,  and wildlife animals in Kenya. 

Again, the stamps are the same as the previous Botswana postcards that I posted the past few days – the white-rumped Shama.

ChobeNP, Botswana stamps

Show me your six-packs, stripey!

 

This male zebra here must have undergone some good ab workouts and thus showing off his stripey abs to his rival! *lol* Okay, here’s what I’m talking about – another wildlife postcard from Botswana featuring one of my favourite wildlife animals:

Zebra, BotswanaThe information at the back of the postcard reveals one interesting fact about the zebras. During the mating season, male zebras fight over females. These sometimes fierce battles include rearing up on hind legs while trying to bite or kick their opponent. Now, you see the connection with the title, eh?

The zebras in the postcard are called the Burchell’s Zebra or the plains zebra, (Equus, Burchellii), or simply zebra to us laypeople. They are the most common type of zebra found in rich grasslands of Eastern and Southern Africa.  Wildlife experts describe them as being related to the horse because of their stocky build. They usually have white or cream coat with black stripes that continue down to the belly. Unlike the other zebra species, the Grévy and the rare Mountain zebras, the underside of the Burchell’s zebra’s belly is completely or mainly white. The mane is upright and striped to match its neck while the tail is also striped with a black tassle.

This postcard was sent from the Kuala Lumpur Airport with Malaysian stamps, of course:

Zebra, Botswana stamps Thank you, Fe, for the lovely postcards and stamp sheets you sent me.