Fun in the City

Yesterday here in Prince Edward Island it was Farm Day in the City.

This is a large street market which takes places as part of the month long Fall Flavours Festival. It is a celebration of our province’s rural roots. It was a spectacular sunny warm fall day, so of course I took to the streets with some friends to browse the stalls, buy some farm fresh produce, fresh bouquets of flowers and one very special item which is a surprise.

During our browsing we came across Sir John A MacDonald, the founding Father of Canada’s Confederation dressed in his farmer attire happily participating in the day’s events.

Farmer John A
Farmer John A

But my favorite find at the market were special pink pumpkins. This year as a special fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness, local producers are painting locally grown pumpkins pink. Guess who couldn’t resist purchasing one…thankfully my mom was only too happy it give it a home on her front step

Cinderella eat your heart out!
Cinderella eat your heart out!

Now you certainly wouldn’t find one of those in Africa!



It is Fringe Time!

It is Fringe Festival time on PEI. So there will be lots of great theater to take in this coming weekend. And I can highly recommend one of the plays in particular.

Labrador mat

While I am still firmly ensconced in Botswana enjoying my final weeks in Africa (for now) and tormenting Buche, it is show time for my Mom and her production of “I Am What I Am”.

Her award winning play is based on the true story of Lydia Brooks Blake Campbell, a Metis woman from Labrador in the 1800’s.  The play is a wonderful one woman show in which Lydia, played by Marisa Boudreault, tells her story in her own words. It is a brilliant piece of play writing if you ask me. My absolute favorite of the plays that my mom, Marjorie Hooper Dalziel has written…and there have been a few. 

This play is also featuring a very special touch – the very godlike voice of my friend, Mike Wedge, who truly does think he is God sometimes.  No doubt he will have a very swelled head after this weekend as he becomes a shining star for providing the voice of the Deer God. Let’s hope that fame doesn’t ruin him 😉

You can catch performances of “I Am What I Am” during the Island Fringe Festival running August 29 to 31 in downtown Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  Performances  will be Thursday, August 29th @ 6pm; Friday, August 30th @ 5pm and Saturday, August 31st @ 3:30pm. All performances will take place at Confederation Landing alongside the water.  So you can grab a Cow’s Ice Cream and enjoy the show!

Additional information about the Fringe Festival is available at

I hope that some of you will take in the performances and cheer extra loud so that it will seem like I am there!

Happy Fringe Festival!



Fringe Festival

I am proud to announce that my mother the playwright, Marjorie Hooper Dalziel, is making her second Fringe Festival appearance this summer with her play “I Am What I Am”. This is a one-woman show based on the true story of a Labrador woman, Lydia. (with the male voice of our very own Deer God, Mr. Mike Wedge who has been cajoled into providing his perfect God voice)

Last summer in the midst of the chaos that was my life pre-Africa I had the pleasure and challenge of producing and directing mom’s play “Circle of Stone” in the inaugural 2012 Island Fringe Festival.  Directing and producing a production of 8 cast members in an outside venue (park in the middle of downtown Charlottetown) was certainly a challenge that came with an incredible sense of accomplishment once over and done with. There are some great pictures of the show available on the Island Fringe Festival website

So my Mom enjoyed the experience so much she decided to enter another one of plays in the Fringe lottery, which is not surprising as it as won awards in the past. I love all of my mother’s plays but “I Am What I Am” is my absolute favorite of all that she has written. Why it is my favorite is based on many different reasons beginning with it is Lydia’s, a Labrador Metis, actual story spoken in her words.

“I Am What I Am” is part of the Labrador Trilogy which was written by Mom following her time living in Labrador.  While living there she spent many happy hours volunteering at Them Days Magazine and Archives in Happy Valley.  She became very good friends with Doris Saunders, Editor and Administrator of Them Days, which was a quarterly magazine compiling the oral histories of people from Labrador.  Doris’ historical work on behalf of the people of Labrador was recognized when she was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1986 and received an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1994.  Mom and Doris became such good friends that Doris decided to share her own family journals, a multitude of resource material and wonderful stories so Mom could work her writing magic and capture the strength and courage of Doris’ ancestors through the Labrador Trilogy of plays.

The first time I read a draft of the play (as Mom’s editor) I fell in love with Lydia. Her character spoke to me in a way that just can’t be described. That is the secret of Mom’s ability as a playwright. She brings amazing characters to life with her words. This play in particular is truly magical as it is simply Lydia telling her story  in a spellbinding way that captures your attention and holds it until the very end of the play.

Through this play, Lydia speaks to you as a master story teller telling her story as a Metis woman in the north in her own words. Her story is equal parts courage and humor and clearly reflects the challenges and joys of living in an arctic environment. Not only did she need to battle nature to survive but also learn to navigate her ever changing world as the result of colonization of the new World. I can promise you that if you attend a performance you will be mesmerized by Lydia and her story of life in Labrador.

While I won’t be there to direct and produce this year’s performance I will still be actively supporting from a distance including do as much public relations as I can. Once we have the performance times I will certainly be posting them here on my blog. In the mean time, all of the information about this year’s Fringe Festival and line of shows can be viewed via this link:

So reserve some time on the weekend of August 30 to September 1st for some more wonderful theater in Boulder Park.

I support PEI Fishermen

I was very proud to read in the on-line versions of the Guardian newspaper and CBC website that Prince Edward Island lobster fishermen have united in an effort to achieve a break even price for their hard earned catches.

PEI lobsters are reknown around the  World and the spring season has been underway for only a couple of weeks. Yet fishermen have not been told the actual price that they will get paid for their actual catches but the prices being tossed around by the buyers and processors are  from $2.75  for canners to $3.25 Canadian for market lobsters which are the ones that you and I would buy in a shop for more than $8.00 Canadian dollars.

Having grown up on a dairy farm and having cousins who are still farming I am all too aware of the costs of food production and how those responsible for the actual hard work are seldom ever fairly compensated. The lives of fishermen and farmers who provide our food is a tough living. However, those who chose that way of life have a passion and commitment not found in those who chose less physical jobs of sitting at a desk all day. These people are the ones who work extremely hard from early in the morning through long grueling days with little time off to ensure that we have food when we go to a grocery store. We often never think about how the food got there and whether those ultimately responsible for the creation of it are appropriately compensated.

I am truly thankful that my mother, Marjorie raised me to be a conscious shopper and supporter of buying locally available food when possible. And that means buying PEI, not Nova Scotia or Ontario if choices are available. Yes, we happily pay more for local goods to support our communities and neighbors. Do you?

I am not an economist and the whole supply and demand chain is a complicated system that requires expertise far beyond what I possess. However, I do know that PEI fishermen are not being treated fairly! It is historic that all fishing boats have tied up and the usually very divided fishing community stands united in their fight for fair compensation. So I am asking those who read this blog to consider supporting them in their efforts.

While we may live in a global market place, our food products still happens locally. Without these local fishermen and farmers would you have affordable food on your table? I think not. Next time you meet a local fisherman please ask them how much it costs for them to actual operate their boats and make their catches. Then see what they are getting paid in comparison to what you are buying the product for. I think that if you take the time to view it from this perspective you will find it easy to support their efforts.

For those who don’t live on PEI, here is a link to local media that can give some further perspective

Continuing Power Outages

I know it is a continuing theme of my posts but it is a reality here in Gaborone these days.

Once again for the past two days the power has gone off in the afternoon not to be switched back on until 10:00 pm. This is a switch on time that seems to be getting gradually later and later. Previous Monday & Tuesday outages at least allowed for me prepare and eat my dinner by 9:15 or so. This 10 pm is really a pain especially when the power goes out well before it is time to prepare a meal.

As much as I am complaining about these outages, I have to admit that I am coping with them much better than some Batswana that I know. My coping skills no doubt were honed by living on Prince Edward Island, a tiny island off of the east coast of Canada. Growing up on this island in a very rural community situated directly on the north shore (we have amazing water views and shore front for sale!) you became very accustomed to winter, spring and fall storms knocking power out for days sometimes weeks at a time.

In the winter there are often blizzards and snow storms that make venturing out impossible…in fact I was just talking to my parents and my mom was saying how they are getting snow storm after storm right now and it is almost the end of March. During my childhood sometimes the snow would pile up so high that it was virtually impossible for the very large snow plows to cut even a path through them. If you lost power it often took days for the electricity crews to make their way through the snow to fix the problem.

Spring time in on PEI can bring similar power challenges only this time it is the result of ice storms. I can remember that the spring five years ago brought a major ice storm that knocked out our power for more than a week. Luckily I was able to shower at work everyday!

And fall can bring hurricanes or major wind storms that also bring down the power lines. So as you can see the Gaborone power outages really are old hat to me! It is very nice to know that some of my adaptive skills learned in Canada come in handy here in Africa.

Well it is time to go and finish preparing my dinner….it is so nice to actually eat hot food at a reasonable time.