Pope Francis’ commitment to the vulnerable

Photo credit: The Jesuit Post

I am so inspired by Pope Francis’ determined commitment to shun the material pleasures and comforts that he could easily have access to as part of his papacy. He not only wants to get closer to the people, he embraces the poor, the sick and the vulnerable and preaches care for the environment.

This for me is what religion is about: a set of values that can guide us in our daily lives and help us achieve a world of peace, progress, prosperity, and greater happiness. As Pope Francis shows in this image, we are all worthy of love and we are all equal in the eyes of God. May Pope Francis’ actions enable faith to return to the faithless.

The joy of solitude

After 15 years of travelling mostly solo, I have really grown to appreciate and love the moments when I have only myself for company. Whether trying new foods, learning a new language or enjoying the sights and sounds (and sometimes smells) of a new place like Baja Mexico in 2002 or Ghana in 2013, there are feelings of both thrill and fear. Over time, my mind has learned to relax, reflect and take in all I am learning. For me this is one of the pure joys of travel and part of why traveling has become a passion with a purpose.

Top: Mulege, Baja California, Mexico – September 2002
Bottom: Accra, Ghana – March 2013

Accra, Ghana

I am on work travel in Accra, Ghana working with the government on national water and health policy issues. Ghana is a country of about 21 million people in the western part of Africa, with a long and beautiful Atlantic Ocean coastline. Accra is its largest city and capital. Ghanaians are friendly and laid-back; upon greeting you they will shake your hand with a snap and a smile, and occasionally a fist to the chest – “Respect”. Its my first time in this country and I’ve already been given a local name: Kweku Anigye, which translates to Wednesday Happiness.

Safari in Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Liwonde National Park, Malawi

I am on safari in Liwonde National Park, Malawi. The park is one of the country’s national treasures. It is rainy season now in Malawi and although the wildlife is not as teeming as in the Southern Hemisphere winter (June to November), elephants, hippos, birds, warthogs, bush bucks, water bucks, porcupines, antelopes should still be in abundance. The park is situated around the banks of the Shire River, a major waterway in the south of the country.

Malawi is a land-locked country of 14 million people located in Southern Africa. It is bordered on the south and the east by Mozambique, on the north by Tanzania and on the west by Zambia. The country’s most significant geographic feature is Lake Malawi, the third largest freshwater lake in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage site.