Showing posts from January, 2017

60 years of ‘Sister Act’

AS A little girl Regina Kuhlmann dreamt of travelling to Africa and serving as a Catholic nun.
And so in 1952, when she was only about 18 years old, Regina, who would later be known by her Christian name “Maria”, decided to follow her dream. She left Germany for Africa to begin her new way of life.
Although her parents were devout Catholics, Maria, who is the oldest of five children, says it was very hard for her family to let her go, but they never tried to stop her.
Perhaps what made it even harder for the Kuhlmanns to let their daughter leave the family and travel to Africa was the fact that they, like millions of Germans at the time, were still trying to rebuild their lives after World War II.
Now aged 85, Maria still has fresh memories of the war.
“When the sirens went off, we had to get out of bed and look for a safe place. Before the war ended in 1945, we had lost everything,” she says.
Maria’s father, who was serving in the German army at the time was captured by Russian …

Stockholm: A picture-postcard city


THERE is nothing more comforting than the screeching of tyres on the runway and a little jolt back and forth.
It is that sound and feeling, not the assuring voice of the pilot or flight attendant that confirms you have safely landed on terra firma.
“Welcome to Sweden,” said the waiting taxi driver with a broad smile on his face.
After 13 hours of flight, I was relieved that I was not going to spend time at Arlanda Airport before my arranged transport arrived to take me to my hotel in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Airports, no matter how big and posh can be such boring places, and the niggling thought that one is in-between places can be sickening.
Well, at least for me.
I was in the Scandinavian or Nordic country on invitation by the Swedish Institute to look at some of its novel innovations meant to reduce greenhouse emissions and encourage sustainable living.
The taxi driver, a Turkish migrant, was kind enough to point out some important buildings on the way to the …