How to Pass the ICC Structural Masonry Plan Examination

A Structural Masonry Special Inspector is a member of the construction project team who ensures that the masonry segment is constructed based on the approved structural plan and specifications. Special inspection of masonry is being conducted due to the requirements of the building code and also to report the safety and reliability of the building structure. Anyone interested in being a special inspector can be part of the inspection team provided that he or she complies with the requirements mandated by the International Code Council (ICC). One of the requirements of ICC is for the interested individual to pass the ICC Structural Masonry Examination. Successful candidates are expected to secure the integrity of the building code and uphold the provisions of the ‘Code of Ethics.’

Ways to Pass the ICC Structural Masonry Plan Examination

The passing score of ICC Structural Masonry Plan Exam can be easily achieved if you come prepared for the exam. If you think your knowledge on the subject is not yet enough to successfully pass the test, you can increase your chances of getting your target passing score with the following tips:

  • The exam is conducted at a third party testing area. Read the ‘Candidate Bulletin’ and comprehend the information stated therein. The bulletin will tell you important details regarding the exam including the things you need to do before and after taking the ICC Masonry Plan Exam.
  • A Structural Masonry Special Inspector has a number of duties and one of them is to ensure that the contractor strictly implements the approved materials, such as the reinforcement being placed as per the plans properly. A candidate should be familiar with the tools and steps that will be found in any set of plans and also used not only in the field but at this important time, during the examination.
  • In relation to that, the exam is an open book type so examinees can take pertinent materials with them such as the 2009 International Building Code and the 2009 Masonry Codes and Specification Compilation. Familiarize yourself with these references along with other prescribed reference materials to build navigational skills.
  • A special inspector is also expected to understand important terminology related to the masonry construction industry. Therefore, a candidate must improve his or her memory ability and learn how to interpret and decide which the proper use is. By doing this small step it will increase your chances of passing the exam.
  • Part of the exam is to identify symbols and abbreviations found on building plans so candidates must know these symbols to get the passing scores.
  • You would also need instruments such as a calculator and a magnifying glass to help you figure the required bed joint size and also read the plans to answer the questions more competently.

In closing, learn how to manage your time. Examinees are given 3 ½ hours to complete the exam. 2 hours should be allotted to answer questions related to building plans. If you find yourself in need of guidance to make sure you are able to do this often overlooked step.

Best of luck on the examination…

The McDonnell-Douglas MD-90

Long before engines propel aircraft in the sky, they drive designs on the ground, providing the thrust for larger and longer-range models, which offer improved runway performance, reduced fuel consumption, and lower noise emissions. They certainly served as the catalyst for the McDonnell-Douglas MD-90, a development of the earlier MD-80 series of twin-jets. But its initially conceived turbofans looked nothing like the ones that had powered this predecessor.

Advancing powerplant technology, coupled with higher thrust capabilities, had already given rise to the original DC-9, whose capacity had increased from 90 in the baseline DC-9-10 to 139 in the ultimate DC-9-50 stretch. Refanned, their Pratt and Whitney JT8D engines had spawned the succeeding MD-80.

Incorporating the high pressure compressor and turbine speed, along with the combustion section, of the existing JT8D-9, it introduced a new six-stage low pressure compressor, a low pressure turbine, and a bypass duct.

Although its resultant increase in length-from 120 to 150 inches-and diameter-from 42.5 to 56.34 inches–would have created installation restrictions on wing-pylon mounted twins, such as the competing Boeing 737-300 to -500 series and the Airbus A-320 family, the aft-fuselage mounting characteristic of the DC-9 and the MD-80 proved no hindrance.

Installed on a DC-9-32, the turbofan, designated the JT8D-109, was first flight-tested on January 9, 1975 and certified as the JT8D-209 four years later, offering thrust capabilities of between 18,000 and 21,000 pounds in its several versions, the latter as the JT8D-219.

An MD-80 successor, powered by still-higher thrust engines and possibly incorporating a fuselage stretch for increased passenger capacities, would logically have hinged upon a further engine derivative. But Pratt and Whitney had developed the basic JT8D core to its ultimate capability and McDonnell-Douglas, at least initially, elected to explore the use of a radically different, hitherto untried engine that would offer a technological step-change.

Designated MD-X, and initially conceived in 1985, the aircraft, using an MD-80 fuselage, wing, and tailplane, discarded the traditional, nacelle-encased engine with one featuring exposed, unducted, highly-contoured, counter-rotating, multi-bladed fans, known both as an ultra high bypass powerplant (UHB) and an unducted fan (UDF), and jointly developed by Aeritalia, Saab-Scania, and Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego.

Fuel consumption on short- to medium-range routes was predicted to be an unprecedented 50-percent lower than that of current MD-80s and between 25- and 35-percent lower than that of emerging, but ducted turbofan designs.

Taking the form of the General Electric GE36, the unducted fan was installed on the left side of the MD-80 prototype, registered N980DC, and first flew in this guise from Edwards Air Force Base on May 18, 1987, requiring an extended pylon between the engine and the fuselage to provide sufficient clearance for blade rotations.

Several configurations were tested: with two, 12-foot-diameter, eight-bladed fans; ten forward and eight aft blades; and two six-bladed, counter-rotating fans, the latter as the Pratt and Whitney-Allison 578-DX. It first flew on April 13, 1989.

The type’s military potential was also explored. Entering the Navy’s Long-range ASW Capable Aircraft (LRAACA) competition, McDonnell-Douglas proposed a propfan-powered MD-87, although the contract was ultimately awarded to a P-3 Orion development.

Two commercial versions, promoted during early-1988 marketing campaigns, included a 114-passenger MD-91X, which was essentially an MD-87 counterpart, and a 165-passenger MD-92X, which corresponded to the full-length MD-88. A still-higher capacity version, with seating for 180, incorporated significant technological advancements, including laminar and turbulent boundary layer control, fly-by-wire and fly-by-light actuation, and a high aspect ratio supercritical wing. It was designated MD-94X.

Concurrent with these studies was another, more conventional design proposal, which offered a smaller technological leap with more traditional high bypass ratio turbofans-in this case, International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500s. Paralleling the earlier versions, McDonnell-Douglas conceived of an advanced twin-jet family, encompassing the 114-passenger MD-91V, the 165-passenger MD-92V, and the 180-passenger MD-93V.

Originally comprised of five companies, inclusive of Motoren und Turbinen (MTU) Daimler Benz, Fiat Aviazione, the Japanese Aero Engines Corporation (JAEC), Rolls Royce, and Pratt and Whitney, the International Aero Engines consortium was located in Pratt and Whitney’s own-and autonomous-East Hartford, Connecticut, headquarters.

Their design, the V2500, featured wide chord, semi-hollow fan blades consisting of metal honeycomb sandwiched between two titanium sheets. It was strong, but at the same time flexible enough to minimize damage from foreign object strikes and ingestion.

Its components were supplied by the consortium’s manufacturers themselves. JAEC, for instance, provided the fan and low pressure compressor. MTU supplied the low pressure turbine, Fiat Aviazione the gearbox, Rolls Royce the high pressure compressor, and Pratt and Whitney the high pressure turbine and combustor.

Although unducted fan technology would have offered several advantages, it would not have been available and certified until much later in the decade and had not been operationally proven, leaving questionable airline and passenger acceptance of a still-experimental concept.

Thus without choice, McDonnell-Douglas combined its proven DC-9 and MD-80 foundation with the new IAE turbofans, launching the MD-90 program on November 14, 1989 and paving the way, as its numerical nomenclature indicated, for its entry into service during the next decade.

The initial MD-90-10, a 114-passenger counterpart to the MD-87 for hot-and-high deployment, and the MD-90-20, a designation reserved for potential, full-size MD-80 retrofits, were not, in the event, built, leaving the MD-90-30 as its first production version.

Featuring a 4.6-foot forward plug to counterbalance the increased engine weight, the aircraft offered a new, 141.2-foot fuselage and 152.7-foot overall length as compared to the MD-88.

Formed by means of modular construction techniques, it was the result of subassemblies provided by Alenia, AeroSpace Technologies of Australia, Dassault Aerospatiale, CASA, Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Corporation (CAC), and Shanghai Manufacturing Factory (SAMF), and delivered to Salt Lake City before being transported to the combined, MD-80 and MD-90 production line in Long Beach, California.

The strengthened, 107.10-foot MD-80 wing, with a 1,209-square-foot area, 24 degrees of sweepback at the quarter chord, and an aspect ratio of 9.6, retained its predecessor’s tri-section leading edge slats, double-slotted training edge flaps, and spoilers, which could be used as air brakes and lift dumpers.

Utilizing the enlarged, 40.2-foot tailplane of the MD-87, the MD-90 had a 30-foot, 7 ¼-inch overall height. In order to counteract the pitch axis motion created by the elongated fuselage and heavier engines, powered elevators with dual actuators and manual reversion were introduced.

Power was provided by two 25,000-thrust-pound, cascade thrust reverser-equipped IAE V2525-D5 turbofans, which were attached by means of a new pylon and were fed by 5,840 US gallons of fuel.

The aircraft was ground-supported by a dual-wheeled, hydraulically actuated, tricycle undercarriage, equipped with carbon wheel brakes (for a 400-pound weight savings) and provisioned with a digital antiskid system.

Aircraft access was provided by four doors: a 34-by-72-inch forward, left passenger door; a 27-by-48-inch forward, right service door; a 27-by-60-inch aft, left service door; and a 27-by-72-inch tail passenger door with an integral, ventral airstair. Four 20-by-36-inch overwing emergency exists were also provided.

An updated, two-person, electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) cockpit, based upon the MD-88’s, featured a flight management system (FMS), a digital flight guidance system (DFGS), an auxiliary control system (ACS), an advanced inertial reference system, and a new air data computer.

Introducing a “new look” cabin with 12-percent larger-and lighted-overhead storage compartments equipped with full-grip handrails, the MD-90 standardly featured two forward, right, and two aft, left vacuum lavatories. Although its exit-limited capacity remained the 172 of the MD-80, its larger cabin could accommodate two additional seat rows, providing increased comfort. A typically mixed class interior entailed 153 passengers, while a tri-class one included 12 seats at a 36-inch pitch, 14 at a 32-inch pitch, and 132 at a 31-inch pitch. A 163 all-coach arrangement entailed 19 seats at a 32-inch pitch and 144 at a 31-inch pitch, all in a five-abreast, two-three configuration.

Lower-deck baggage and cargo holds, accessed by three starboard doors, collectively offered 1,300 cubic feet of space.

The MD-90 offered AlliedSignal variable-speed, constant frequency electrical generators, a new environmental control system, and a 565-shp AlliedSignal GTCP131-9D auxiliary power unit (APU), which had an 8,000-hour life.

With an 88,171-pound operating weight, 156,000-pound maximum take off weight, and 142,000-pound landing weight, the MD-90-30 could carry a 41,829-pound payload and had a 2,085-nautical mile range with 153 passengers.

Piloted by Crew Chief Test Pilot William Jones, Test Pilot G. R. “Bear” Smith, and Flight Test Engineer Barry McCarthy, the MD-90-30 prototype, registered N901DC, took to the air for the first time on February 22, 1993.

“The… MD-90,” according to McDonnell-Douglas, “is an advanced mid-size, medium-range airliner that serves the needs of travelers and airlines today and well into the 21st century. The aircraft, one of the quietest large commercial jetliners in the skies, belongs to the twin-jet family of aircraft that started with the DC-9 and includes the… 717 and MD-80… (It) was designed to be technically and economically competitive by incorporating many cost-effective technologies. It offers an advanced flight deck, including an electronic fight instrument system (EFIS), a full flight management system (FMS), a state-of-the-art inertial reference system, and LED dot-matrix displays for engine and system monitoring.”

Its second prototype, registered N902DC and used for avionics and systems tests and automatic landings, first flew on August 27, or three weeks ahead of schedule, while the first production aircraft took to the skies on September 20 of the following year, joining what would become a 1,450-flight, 1,906-hour flight test program, which culminated with FAA type approval two months later, on November 16.

Launch customer Delta, which had placed a 31-firm and 106-optioned order, took delivery of the first MD-90-30 (N902DA) on February 24 of the following year in Atlanta, the 2,094th aircraft in the DC-9/MD-80 family built.

Commenting during the hand over, Ronald W. Allen, Delta Air Lines Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, said, “From the start, we participated in writing the specifications for this aircraft in anticipation of where our industry and our company are headed.”

Although it offered considerable commonality with its existing MD-88s, Delta had calculated an annual, $200,000 fuel savings due its IAE engines over that achieved by its predecessor’s JT8Ds.

It was inaugurated into revenue service on the Dallas-Newark sector on April 1, 1995.

Other major operators included Alaska Airlines (20 firm and 20 options), Japan Air System (10 and 10), International Lease Finance Corporation (15 and 15), Reno Air, China Northern, China Eastern, EVA Airways, Uni Airways, KTHY, Grand China Airlines, and Saudi Arabian Airlines, the first of which inaugurated it into European service on November 1 of the following year. By March of 1997, 46 aircraft were operated by ten carriers.

The type’s design service life, of 90,000 hours and 60,000 landings, was significantly greater than the 50,000 hours and 50,000 landings of the comparable MD-83.

Several other versions were either built or proposed.

The MD-90-30ER, for example, was intended, as its designation suggests, for extended ranges with an optional, 565-US gallon auxiliary fuel tank. Launch customer AMC Aviation of Egypt took delivery of the first of two ordered, registered SU-BMQ, on September 24, 1997.

The MD-90-30T resulted from the Trunkliner Program with China, whose agreement, signed on June 25, 1992, originally stipulated three MD-82s, 17 MD-82Ts, and 20 MD-90-30Ts, and the gradual transference of skills and components for ultimate license-building. Although fewer airframes emerged from Chinese production lines than the initial-and ambitious-contract had covered, these aircraft featured quad-wheeled main undercarriage units.

The higher-capacity, but unbuilt MD-90-40, for 180 passengers, was planned with forward, 190-inch and aft, 95-inch fuselage plugs.

And the MD-90-50 was optimized for airlines requiring increased range. Powered by two 28,000 thrust-pound IAE V2528-D5 turbofans, it introduced a 565-US gallon auxiliary fuel tank installed in the lower deck hold, reducing its volume to 822 cubic feet, but increasing its fuel capacity to 6,405 US gallons. With a 33,500-pound payload, 172,500-pound gross weight, and 150,000-pound maximum landing weight, it had a 3,022-nautical mile range.

The addition of two doors would have circumvented the aircraft’s otherwise 172-seat exit-limited capacity with the MD-90-55, a high-density derivative for up to 187 passengers.

Despite the fact that the MD-90 represented the pinnacle of McDonnell-Douglas twin-jet evolution, with the original DC-9 and the subsequent MD-80 having provided worldwide service for some three-and-a-half decades, its technological success proved counter to the manufacturer’s financial one. Having quickly lost ground to both Airbus Industrie and Boeing, it was all-too-aware that the progressive stretches of its three basic DC-8, DC-9, and DC-10 pure-jet products had failed to keep pace with the all-new airliners its competitors had intermittently offered, and to do so now would have cost it many times its worth, which was an unfeasible proposition.

Buoyed by a buyout from Boeing, its fiercest US rival during the jet age, it relegated itself to becoming the Douglas Products Division of the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company after the acquisition had been consummated on August 4, 1997, and the MD-90, for all its merits, was withdrawn from production in 2000 after only 114 aircraft had been built, now rendered superfluous by Boeing’s own-and competing-737-700 and -800 short- to medium-range twin-jet product line.

Waterproof Decks and Balconies Over Living Space: Doing It Properly

Waterproof decks over living space have proven to be a popular architectural detail. While the functionality of the deck over living space is nice, things turn ugly without proper waterproofing. A very large percentage of flat top roof decks end up leaking within the first several years due to improper design and/or use of the wrong materials. Using a waterproof deck contractor is a good starting point. This is a specialized field that even most general contractors don’t like to deal with.

Some major considerations in proper deck design include proper slope, a good drainage scheme, and roof grade flashing details around all edges and walls. Without these crucial elements in place, it really does not matter what waterproofing system you employ. Using a trained waterproof deck expert will dramatically reduce your risk when installing a deck over living space.

Design of the deck over living space should always be done in consultation with the waterproof deck contractor, before construction begins. Framing details, drainage, and floor substrate materials are all needed to compliment the waterproofing system being used. Deck design, waterproofing systems, and tie in trades such as stucco repair are all important.

There are a wide selection of waterproofing systems available on the market today. Two main types are liquid coating systems, and membrane based systems. Generally speaking, the membrane based systems are more durable, have a longer life, and can withstand the movement inherent in wood frame construction. Most failures with liquid coating systems stem from cracks that develop over time due to expansion and contraction. These types of problems are almost non-existent with membrane type systems. One of the most well proven membrane systems is made by Duradek. Many questions arise with respect to tile decks. While this is an entirely different discussion, keep in mind that tile and mortar are not waterproofing systems. Waterproofing must be considered first prior to considering tile, and the system must be designed with tile in mind. Experienced General Contractors can handle all of this for you.

Balconies and second floor decks typically have doors to access the deck. A critical waterproofing detail is to properly flash the door as part of the waterproof deck installation. This detail is known as a door pan flashing. As crucial as this is, it’s often overlooked by less experienced contractors.

In conclusion, second story decks over living space are great features, but must be designed properly. Consulting with a professional waterproof deck contractor expert in advance will prevent many problems that are common to decks that are not planned properly.

Make You Gas Barbeque Grill Ignitor the Most Reliable Part of Your BBQ Instead of Buying Repairs

I get to see thousands of barbeque grills at their worst. People call me when the grill will not heat properly, can’t ignite or begins to fall apart with rust and corrosion. I repair gas barbeque grills and I get to see how you treat your BBQ. The most common misconception I deal with is a belief grill ignitors do not last. Many customers will tell me their barbeque grill has served them for over ten years but the ignitor stopped working within six months. More often than not, when I test the ignition it works just fine aside from being ignored for the past nine and a half years. Inject a little education and most clients are able to use the barbeque grill ignition for many years before needing a replacement part.

A gas grill ignitor is made up of several different parts although most backyard chefs envision it as a single fragile item. The module is often referred to as a spark generator and generate sparks is what it does. A module can contain a button to act as the electronic switch, spark generator and battery pack. These items can also be installed separately depending on the barbecue grill design. The switch is usually accessible but the ignition module is mounted behind the control panel. Placement behind the control panel keeps you from breaking it and keeps the weather from directly affecting its performance.

The electrode is attached to the module by an electrode wire that runs into the firebox of the gas BBQ grill. The electrode acts just like a spark plug in your car. The charge from the battery is activated when the button is pressed, rotary is turned, control knob recessed, etc. The battery charge is converted within the module and sent to the electrode. The electrode sparks and gas ignites. It is really that simple and the simpler the tool, the more difficult to damage.

A barbeque grill ignition electrode should be easy to locate in the firebox of your gas grill once the cooking grates, briquette tray or heat shields have been removed. It will even look like a small spark plug with a porcelain housing and a steel rod coming through it. Often there will be a second steel rod mounted alongside the rod coming through the porcelain. Many barbeque manufacturers will place a stainless steel collector box over the electrode to protect it. Whether your gas grill electrode is a single steel rod in a porcelain sleeve, two steel rods or is contained in a stainless collection box, this is where the electric charge arcs to ignite your gas grill.

One reason a barbeque grill ignitor will seem to function poorly is the same reason the spark plug in your car must have its gap adjusted when it is installed. Whether the electrode is grounding against the gas grill burner, the collector box or secondary steel rod, the distance has to be close enough to make a strong connection but far enough apart to maximize the exposure to gas flowing from the burner. Check the gas grill manual and properly gap the distance to achieve the best spark from your ignitor.

If you purchased your gas barbecue grill from a grill store as opposed to a giant retailer selling everything but properly educated in nothing or buying it online and assembling it yourself the specialty grill store will have completed this for you as part of the assembly of the grill.

The primary reason most people believe their gas BBQ grill ignitor is broken is grease. The electrode must mount inside the grill near the gas burner in order to access the gas as it leaves the burner. The proximity to the gas it ignites also places the electrode in the path of falling grease. Grease, dirt, rain, water and pieces of food all combine to hinder the effectiveness of your gas grill ignition. When the button is pushed, clicked or turned and the gas does not ignite most backyard grillers will assume the ignitor is broken. Often it can be a single drop of grease that is stopping the arc from connecting to the ground.

Even the rare client who truly does clean their gas barbeque regularly will focus on the grill parts they can see or the BBQ parts that touch their food. The more devoted cook may remove the cooking grates to clean the rock tray, heat shields and sometimes poke put the gas ports on the gas burner. All this is great but an extra thirty seconds to lightly brush the collector box or the exposed electrode will keep the ignition function safely through many years of use. When you clean the electrode, rely on your de-greasing spray. If too much pressure is applied and the porcelain sleeve gets cracked, the electrode will have to be replaced. Spray the de-greaser, lightly brush the steel rods then replace the battery and activate the switch. Most ignitors today use a battery operated button but many grills still use rotary knobs or piezo clicking buttons. Check the arc to make sure the spark is a solid blue and adjust the gap if necessary.

I have assisted thousands of backyard chefs over the past several years and a vast majority of them have believed a faulty ignitor was standard practice on a gas grill. It is not. A little education and a little maintenance and your ignitor will exceed your expectations and safely ignite your barbeque grill every time.

How to Get Rid of Stress and Tension With a Self Face Massage

We all live in a sometimes if not constantly stressful world, deadlines, appointments, errands, work, school, kids, pets, traffic, relationships; whatever it is we all face stressful times. But there are ways of dealing with it and self massage techniques that can get rid of the stress in a positive healthy way. This article will teach you to relax enjoy being with yourself and how to give yourself a relaxing head and face massage.

The first and highly important piece to you getting to relax unwind and let go into relaxation is your environment. Find a spot, any spot were you can get comfortable maybe alone or near a silent partner. If you live in a very crowded loud space learn to get creative in ways to escape. Your parked car is always an option if you have noisy kids, pets or roommates. Sometimes in the shower with the water turned off is an option. Where ever your place is make it yours. This is all about you making a deeper connection with yourself, taking time out to relax and give yourself the love you need. Just like a meditation practice lay sit or rest in a comfortable position laying on your back is preferred because it allows most of the muscles in your body to let go of tension and relax.

Start lying on your back on the floor on carpet or a rug or soft blanket close your eyes and focus only on breathing in to a count of 4 and breathing out to a count of 4. Slow steady breaths in wave crashing on the shore, breath out wave going back to the ocean, steady slow and consistent. Effortless breathing, let go of all thoughts and send yourself positive energy.

Place your thumbs underneath your eyebrows just below the ridge of your forehead bone or frontal bone under the eye sockets. Feel a sensation as you press firmly but still soft on the pressure points. These points when massaged regularly detox the body and get rid of stress very quickly. Press and circle with counts of 3. Press and circle 3 times repeat until any slight pain or sensation fades away into relaxation. Follow the under part of the eyebrows pressing and circling 3 times until you come to the sides of your eyes by your temple. Press and circle your temple 3-6 times. Next move to the sides of your nostrils, using your index fingers press and circle 3 times. Follow the under part of your cheek bones pressing and circling until you reach your ears. Continue pressing and circling your masseter or jaw muscle all the way down following your mandible or jaw bone until you reach your chin. Move around your mouth with larger circles massaging the cheeks in bigger circles. Move back to your temples circling 3-6 times in forward and backward circles. Next move to your forehead; massage in small circles moving your hands towards each other meeting at the center of your forehead. Move your hands up a little bit starting at the center with both hands and moving towards your ears. Continue back to the center part of your forehead massaging with small circles. Move your fingers to the top of your head at the front of your hairline. Massage the skull in small circles with strong but not stiff hands. Next move to the ears circle around the ears then focus on the earlobes and ear itself. Follow the underneath part of your jaw line end with pressing and squeezing your thyroid and parathyroid gland underneath your Adams apple.

Effects Of Colonialism On Mission In Nigeria And Its Implication For Contemporary Missionaries


Africa, the land of blessed race, where the opportunists came to develop in order to colonize their resources for their good are left in vain hope. Even the religious motives of some were not Gospel but material gains. Africa had suffered so much from the white Generals and ‘missionaries’ because we trusted and relied on their concept of modernization, civilization and development. Colonialism was not in the dictionary of a black man because the idea of collectivism was the order of the day. Africans live in community headed by a leader that always seeks the good of his subjects. The Africa shore was blessed as vast as the sea in treasure, yet the ‘developers’ came and explored the land in the name of the Lord, saying African do not know God, having no theological platform for theology. However, Nigeria was part of the countries that suffered the development. The people around the Niger River area had intention of accepting the white men and their mission but the effects of colonialism affected the country till today as we deny the authenticity of our culture with civilization that promotes immorality that even the Gospel could not handle due to the dilapidated foundation of deception. Nevertheless, the presence of these missionaries still brought about development of infrastructures and other benefits to the nations. This paper shall review the positive and negative effects of the missionaries during colonial era in Nigeria.


Nigeria Background Information (2010, Standard 17) reveals that during the period 1885-1900, nearly the entire continent of Africa fell under the formal political control of European powers; Nigeria was no exception. After the ground rules for colonial conquest had been ironed out at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, Europeans intensified their expeditionary and colonial activity within the “Dark Continent.”

Before the advent of colonial rules, missionaries had visited African soil to spread Gospel of Christ and this led to the trooping in of other people of different motives either for trade or politics. However, missionaries were used by the colonial power as an avant garde, to expand into new regions. For many Nigerians, missionaries were the first Europeans with whom they came into contact. Many pioneer missionaries served during the colonial era without looking back. John Ferguson (1971. 52) writes about these pioneers devotion to mission. Anna and David Hinderer in 1848 served rejoicing in the thought of living and dying for Africa. Also, “Mr. Venn, that great and good man, whose name has for us a familiar household ring, which has never failed to kindle in our hearts a feeling of genuine enthusiasm”, says Ferguson. The pioneers’ suffered for the mission brought yet they stood their ground. Ferguson notes the ordeal of John Taylor and Jona. He states that:

Taylor and Jona were left alone with an immense task before hem. Any who think that the picture of West Africans society at this time is coloured by European prejudice, should read the diary of Taylor, an African, wit its record of slavery and murder, blood-feud and tribal war, human sacrifice and twin-killing, superstition and idolatry, filth and disease. The missionaries first made their presence felt through their work in abolishing the slave trade. As Crowder notes, they took the emphasis away from the ”human products” of Africa in a bid to use more fully her abundant natural resources. The overall, and idealistic, aim was to promote a healthier and mutually beneficial trade between Africa and Europe. Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton once put forward the argument that ”the only way to save Africa from the evils of the slave trade… would be call out its own natural resources” (Crowder, The Story of Nigeria, 111).

Right from the outset, there was both a commercial and religious context to all missionary work in Nigeria. If anything, it could be argued that initially, the commercial aspect was more pressing than the religious, due the urgent need to find a quick substitute for trading slaves so that the traders would not feel their profit was at stake.

However, the scene changed in the face of Christianity spread that brought hope to all. Edmund Ilogu (1965) says that those who embraced Christianity prior to 1900 were mainly people who, perhaps, were alienated from the traditional society; or suffered from certain social disabilities; or experienced certain natural misfortunes. The heathens are looking on, bewildered, and powerless to stem the torrent of enthusiasm that is flowing like a river towards the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the CMS Archives (1881), the records reveal, however, that it was in the period following the extension of British political authority into the Igbo country that missionary evangelism prospered. Prior to that time, in fact, it may be safely said that most Igbos treated missionary propaganda with ‘respectful indifference’. Thought many came to the missionary because of relief. Ekechi, F. K. (1971) writes that other forces that brought about the remarkable mass movement of the early twentieth-century included fear of being flogged or imprisoned for refusal to comply with the government’s Forced Labour Ordinance or failure to pay local fines. Nevertheless, missionary interest in Africa achieved a similar level of British evangelical militancy to that of the 1650s, when the Interregnum witnessed a proliferation of Religious sects in the wake of the English Civil War.

Yet despite this setback, within a decade the missionaries were back in Nigeria. The missionaries completely overlooked any cultural richness that existed in Nigeria. They arrived with the same straightforward views as the colonial employees were later to possess. They were absolutely convinced of the superiority of Europeans as an undeniable fact against the assumed inferiority of the natives. Indeed the missionaries could be seen as the first colonial propagators of Manichean Opposition ideology, from the outset using it as one legitimizing factor for their presence in Africa. This resulted in a potent attitude of patronization towards the natives. Indeed, they often found the Africans themselves, the very subject of their duties, to be utterly repulsive both in appearance and behaviour.

This is not to say that the missionaries were not dedicated to what they felt was their duty in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole. CMS Archives (1902) affirms that:

Initially the entire populace was subjected to military expeditions and wanton exploitation, in due course, however, it appeared that Christians became immune to certain local exactions. Some ‘Christian’ villages were indeed treated with some measure of respect by British officials and in a few cases were freed from military patrols. To most people, therefore, it became quite obvious that those who were associated with the Christian missions received preferential treatment. Fear and insecurity coupled with the realization that Christianity had suddenly become a badge of honour, persuaded many people then to reconsider their position vis-a-vis the Christian missions.

Many made sincere efforts, often putting their lives in danger to accomplish their goals. Yet, the underlying forces at work behind the missions, as well as their inextricable links with commercial activities should never be overlooked. From the outset, the missions were seen as ideal vehicles for gaining the trust and confidence of the tribal leaders, before the real monies interest moved in. It could be argued that the missions were one part of the wheel of business and economics that starting to turn in Nigeria, while a substitute for slaves was sought. The humanitarian touch they seemed to bring disguised these motives behind a facade of peaceful and beneficent civilization. It would be naive to assume that the missionaries were innocently unaware of the drastic consequences their opening of the African heartland would bring. In this sense they must, at least in part, be held answerable for the colonial predicament of Nigeria.



Formal Education

Jordan (1905) writes that the missionaries’ formal education was a means to an end. Through a sustained education programme both religious proselytization and social transformation might be realized. For, as Father Shanahan suggested, ‘Those who hold the school, hold the country, hold its religion, and hold its future.’ For the Africans, too, the acquisition of Western education was a means to an end; education would provide the weapon with which to fight colonialism. Stewart, Dianne (2005) notes that embracing Christianity provided African captives with opportunities for leadership, education, travel, and social mobility, which were unviable to them as adherents of African religious traditions. Becoming a Christian meant having the opportunity to learn how to read and write along with opportunity to receive standard theological training. This offered converts more potential for upward mobility than ancestral religions of Africa. Ekechi (1971) adds that the writers of the era had tended to stress the utilitarian aspect of Western education as a means to higher jobs and overall economic improvement to the neglect of its ideological aspect. From 1901 both the C.M.S. and the R.C. Missions were intent on expanding their education programme.

Relief and Health Programme Developments

Health facilities were in place during the colonial era through the missionaries. It was a great impact to affects the lives of people that were neglected by the government of the day. Babajide, Femi (5) notes the benefits that were in place when the missionaries entered Nigeria, especially Yoruba Land. He observes that Christianity became so successful in Abeokuta such that the town was described by Miss Tucker as “the sunrise within the tropics.” Also, the various denominations that arrived in Abeokuta were able to translate into three fold programmes of the missionaries: Christianity, commerce and civilization (western education). Although, a fourth dimension was later introduced by the Baptist Mission, which is Healthcare.

Commercialization and Modernization

From the outset, the missions were seen as ideal vehicles for gaining the trust and confidence of the tribal leaders, before the real monied interest moved in. It could be argued that the missions were one part of the wheel of business and economics that starting to turn in Nigeria, while a substitute for slaves was sought. The humanitarian touch they seemed to bring disguised these motives behind a facade of peaceful and beneficent civilization.


Condemnation and Abolishment of Culture

Adrian Hastings (59) observes that the first assumption of these early missionaries was that everything African was heathen and superstitious barbarism. They came with an almost impregnable confidence in the overwhelming superiority of the European West and in all the ways of society and culture which they had taken for granted in their own homes whether Evangelical or Catholic. According to Adrian Hastings (58), the missionaries admitted little, if any, culture of value in Africa, just as many had denied that it really had any religion other than fearful superstitions. It was this feeling of superiority which crystallized in the social situation of masters and servants, which was very much pronounced in the churches established by the early foreign missionaries.

Ibewuike (352) expressly narrates the situation that negated the mission of the missionaries during the colonial time that as the time the CMS missionaries arrived, they condemned polygamy on the ground that it was against the Christian doctrine. They also condemned the traditional marriage ceremony and preached in favour of couples wedding in the Church with a priest officiating, rather than the elders negotiating according to the rules of the traditional system. Due to the missionaries, Christianity helped to modify this act, and some Asaba people, who were Christians, later wedded in the Church. All indigenous names were also censured by the missionaries (CMS), and they advised the people to take Christian names. All newborn children were to be baptized in the Church rather than by the traditional naming ceremony presided over by the elders. On several occasions, the missionaries and Asaba people disagreed on this issue. Stewart, Dianne (2005) also observes that the missionary insisted that Western Christian culture was the antidote for African spirituality, religion, and culture. Africans had to equate all of their inherited traditions with s sinful past if they were to convince the missionaries of their authentic conversion to Christ. European Christianity forced African religion underground (away from public view and influence) and there it remains even today.

Ibewuike (353) states further that the converts were left in a dilemma, because their people back home wished their children to be given indigenous names, whereas the missionaries condemned this practice. Any couple who decided to name their child in the traditional manner had to face suspension from the Church, or, alternatively, if the child was baptized in the Church, the couple was alienated from their families back home. But as time went by, the majority of the Asaba people became Christians. Furthermore, the CMS missionaries did not accept traditional burials because of the rituals involved. But the Asaba people could not see anything bad in these customs. To them it was a prerequisite for the final appeasement of the dead. The CMS missionaries preached against it, and Christians who took part in traditional burials were asked to leave the church. The CMS missionaries and the traditionalists, especially the Obi, did not agree on the question of title taking.

Entrance for Exploitations through Slave Trade Abolition

From the inception, white men had discovered what African had and the only way was to strategize by substitution. Amos Tutola ( ) writes online that missionaries were used to their utmost effectiveness. After their success in fighting for the abolition of the Slave Trade, they targeted Nigeria with a dual purpose to convert the natives and to discover natural resources which could be traded as a substitute for slaves. It was on the back of the large trading companies, like the Royal Niger Company, that colonization began in the latter half of the nineteenth century. To a large extent, Nigeria was colonized using her own resources. Nigerian soldiers were used to apply the brute force of colonial demands, the administration and bureaucracy relied heavily on Nigerian co-operation, and the missionaries made full use of Africans in evangelizing the region.

Blackman Inferiority

Omoyajowo, J. A. remarks so much on the state of black man when the missionaries came with the Gospel. His word is quoted below:

These missions made reasonable and considerable impact on the society and paved the way for the later successes of the Church in this African country. But the approach by the foreign missions was largely negative. The general tendency by them was to condemn African things in toto and to paint the picture of a dark continent. The missionaries had no respect for the peoples’ way of life, their religion or culture. Here is an illustration of such negative attitudes by a Capuchin missionary in the Congo. “On my way, I found numbers of idols which I threw into the fire. The owner of these idols… seemed very annoyed. To calm him down by humiliating him, I let him know that if he persisted in anger, I should see that he himself is burnt with his idols”. It is this negative attitude which characterised the missionary work of the foreign missionaries. It was evangelism that had no regard for the peoples’ culture and religion. They were too simply convinced of the enormous superiority of the European West and came unconsciously, but naturally, as bearers not only of the Christian message, but also of westernization. We are, therefore, little surprised that the Christianity imbibed by the Africans from these foreign missionaries was veneer and in most cases superficial and hypocritical. It was these weaknesses that the ‘African’ group of Churches and after them, the African “indigenous” Churches exploited in establishing their Churches.

Leon Litvack (1998) probably rebukes missionaries on the guilt of graded humanistic hierarchical order that Blackman is inferior. He also notes that missionaries completely overlooked any cultural richness that existed in Nigeria. They arrived with the same straightforward views as the colonial employees were later to possess. They were absolutely convinced of the superiority of Europeans as an undeniable fact against the assumed inferiority of the natives. Indeed the missionaries could be seen as the first colonial propagators of Manichean Opposition ideology, from the outset using it as one legitimising factor for their presence in Africa. This resulted in a potent attitude of patronisation towards the natives. Indeed, they often found the Africans themselves, the very subject of their duties, to be utterly repulsive both in appearance and behaviour.


To this state, it is revealed that missionaries were both salt and sour to Africa, especially Nigeria on influence and affluence towards economy growth and civilization which actually brought eye opener to our taste of survival and changes. The effects had much on the contemporary missionaries in some other region whereby the colonial missionaries were rejected for their negative impacts and to the others that were warmly received due to physical and spiritual development realized. Missionaries of this age have to learn to inculcate the value system of the people as culture appraisal as platform for theological approaches.

African knows God but in the myth and oral tradition that was not really documented yet mission has to come in that line to step up through it but not to become syncretism (the extreme mix up of Christianity with culture). The imbalance of thought over what Africa is relegated the missionaries in the land. However, contemporary missionaries should learn from the past err of the former that inferiority should be omitted from human relation in mission work. Equality before God is the message of Christ. Though developments were recorded, however, if the tragedy aftermath is overhauling the structures, greater failure will be the end. Visible structures do not weight as the invisible character. Nigerian loves character appreciation as part of African ethics, so missionaries of today should create platform of integrity and loyalty to Christ and the gospel. Missionaries were an important factor in promoting economic change. The contemporaries should engage the people in things that will enhance their daily living without taking advantages of the people for self gain.


The effects of colonialism on mission in Nigeria has greater impact on contemporary missionaries to rediscover and redesign mission strategy that is not from ‘love and hate’ syndrome of the westerns, but genuine purpose to win the world to Christ. Nigeria had suffered from the colonial rulers which came in through the missionaries path, yet it has make up of development that was set up then in view for the contemporary missionaries to strive for excellence as they missionize the nation with integrity, adequate information of the people and their culture and indifference and discrimination over colour, tribe, language and ethnic differences.


Babajide, Femi. The Beginning of Christianity in Nigeria. The Marks, Aflame Discipleship Labour Magazine, Volume 4 No 1, 2010, Ilorin, Nigeria, 2010.

C.M.S. Archives, Elm to Baylis. G3/A3/o, 7 Dec. 1902.

C.M.S. Archives, Report of Stations in the Archdeaconry of the Upper Niger for the year ending December, I88I. Standard 17, Historical Geography of Nigeria, A Basic Chronology for Nigeria’s Historical Geography, G. 3/A3/o: Niger Mission.

Ekechi, F. K. Colonialism and Christianity in West Africa: The Igbo Case, 1900-1915. The Journal of African History, Vol. 12, No. 1, Cambridge University Press Stable,

Ferguson, John. Some Nigerians church founders. Ibadan: daystar press, 1971. 52

Hastings, Adrian: Church and Mission in Modern Africa. New York: Fordham University Press, l966. 59.

Ibewuike, V. O. African Women and Religious Change: A study of the Western Igbo of Nigeria with a special focus on Asaba town. Uppsala. ISBN 91-506-1838-5, 2006. 353

Ilogu, Edmund. Christianity and Ibo Traditional Religion. International Review of Missions, LIV, 1965. 335-42

Omoyajowo, Joseph Akin. Gospel and Culture from the Perspective of African Churches Founded by Foreign Missions. accessed 13th February, 2011 by 2.15pm.

Stewart, Dianne M. Three Eyes for the Journey: African Dimensions of the Jamaican Religious Experience. New York: Oxford Press, 2005. 92

Omega Watches – Do Refinished Dials Reduce the Value of Your Investment?


A dial is, arguably, the most important visual feature of a watch. Irrespective of the excellence of the movement or its timekeeping qualities, if the dial is badly discoloured or flaking it makes the watch look sub-standard, tired or worn out and certainly diminishes its value.

Often Collectors are put off by flaking and badly discoloured dials on otherwise quite original Omega Constellations. Many shy away from such watches because of the general assumption that moisture is the primary cause of dial disintegration. The theory goes, that badly discoloured dials provide a good outward clue of a possibly rusty movement and are best avoided.

There is another possible cause of dial discolouration that behoves the canny buyer to look more closely at watches with discoloured dials.

Sun damage is another cause of paint failure and sun can mimic water damage to the dial paint in many cases.

A beautiful movement with no water damage can lay below, and this type of paint failure, while not good for collectors of original watches, is a wonderful candidate for restoration. However, even seasoned buyers need to be careful when buying watches with badly deteriorated dials – you need to determine very carefully whether the watch dial is damaged from sun or moisture.

So, the first thing that needs to be done when chancing upon an Omega with a badly discoloured dial is look under the bonnet with a jewellers loup. A clean, rust free movement is easily identified, and if the seals on the case have held up well, there will be no tell-tale rust spotting on the non-copperised parts of the movement and no corrosion of the case, particularly at the caseback seam.

If the movement has stood up well to the elements and history or use, you have a choice: Buy and restore (or have restored) or continue on your journey to find a vintage Omega with an original dial. If you take the restoration route, you could have the watch sent to Omega in Bienne, wait for quite a while, and ultimately receive the watch back with a new factory dial.

In the case of Pie Pan Constellations, however, it’s believed that Omega has run out of factory dials and will replace old Pie Pan dials with convex Constellation dials from the same period. Given the increasing likelihood of not being able to source an original Pie Pan dial, you may choose to opt for a re-dial.

So if you choose to re-dial, what are you letting yourself in for? If you can source an excellent re-dialler – they are few and far between – then a dial refinished to look exactly like an original will indeed make a watch look much more attractive.

But, from the standpoint of collecting original Omegas it may not improve the value of the watch – there is an exception and we’ll review that later. From a vintage collectors point of view, a refinished dial diminishes the value of a watch when compared with a watch with an original intact dial that may have a nice patina.

Why is this? Well, generally, refinished dials are not of the same quality as the factory originals. Many refinished dials don’t last as long and are not as durable as original dials. Factory dials may have baked-on, anodised and other manufacturing finishes such as clear coatings covering both the dial and markers to inhibit the ageing process.

Refinished dials are often painted, have ink stamped script and are finished to a lower level of quality and durability. They may mark more easily and often do not contain the level of detail of the originals.

Also, many original dials have the markers soldered to the dial, whereas in quite a number of refinished dials I have seen, the markers have been glued back rather than soldered (for the obvious reason that the soldering process could damage the paint on a re-dial) On occasions the glue is so thick on the back of the dial that it interferes with the running of the watch, particularly with date models.

A bad re-dial with inaccurate detailing can have the value of your watch dropping quicker than a souffle placed in a refrigerator! It’s fair to say that there are many more slap-dash, incompetent and inferior refinishing houses than there are high quality re-dialers. So, if you chance upon one, treat him like royalty.

Now, to the exception mentioned earlier. Because of the globalisation of the vintage watch market and accessibility of stock, many more people have the opportunity to buy Omega watches. A new niche has emerged in the vintage watch market for vintage watches that look almost showroom new. This market is driven, largely, by newcomers. I can attest to that from a continuous flow of emails from such individuals, and, to them, ‘look’ is very important and ‘patina’ and originality is often overlooked. These buyers will pay big money for look and wearability, so you will see on occasions quite high prices being paid for watches with refinished dials.

I imagine though that quite a number of newcomers to collecting, if they’re serious, will ultimately develop a greater level of collecting sophistication and become interested in the finer points of detail, originality, richness of patina and other collectibility factors.

Because of the diminsihing supply of new-old-stock Omega dials, particularly Pie Pan Constellations and other early models, re-dialing will increasingly become a fact of life. Never-the-less, from a long-term collectibility standpoint, re-dialling should be an option when you have no other options.

(c) desmond Guilfoyle 2006

Fast Shoulder Pain Relief Using the Feldenkrais Method

Chronic shoulder pain is a very common complaint. The shoulder is the most freely movable joint in our body. Because of the range of movement allowed, it is an unstable joint. It is easily injured because the ball of the upper arm barely fits in the shoulder socket designed to hold it. For its only stability, the shoulder is anchored by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Some shoulder problems arise from injury of these soft tissues as a result of overuse or weakness of the shoulder. Other problems arise from degenerative processes in which tissues break down and no longer function well.

Some common causes of chronic shoulder pain include:

  • Shoulder tendonitis occurs when the tendons that control the shoulder joint’s movement become inflamed. This is the result of overuse, misuse or injury of the shoulder muscles and is very common.
  • Rotator cuff tear is a tear that occurs in a shoulder tendon as a result of overuse or injury.
  • Frozen Shoulder may be prompted by tendonitis, a rotator cuff tear or another chronic pain process in the shoulder. It literally means a shoulder that cannot move.
  • Arthritis shoulder joint pain caused by degeneration or inflammation inside the joint.
  • An injury or fall on the shoulder can cause chronic shoulder muscle pain if the injured muscles never fully heal.

When addressing chronic shoulder pain treatment consider that the shoulder has to relate well to the rest of the body to prevent excessive strain and pain. For example the shoulder blade may no longer glide easily along the rib cage, thus straining the whole arm each time the shoulder moves.

Shoulder pain relief is the result of optimizing the function of the shoulder. The system should be addressed as a whole and therapy involve the whole body, restoring the working relationship of the shoulder with the rest of the body. Some gentle form of exercises are needed.Want to be rid of your shoulder pain now? The Feldenkrais Method is a systematic method to improve human movement and general functioning. Feldenkrais uses simple, gentle movements to reorganize posture, flexibility, strength and coordination and in doing so provides shoulder pain relief.

A new approach to pain management, Feldenkrais integrates mind and body, using the plasticity of the nervous system to help the body function more efficiently. More efficient use of self creates an environment within which chronic shoulder pain can heal. Discover what Feldenkrais can do for your shoulder pain.

Medical Care in Barbados

While most people visit Barbados for a relaxing holiday in the sun, the realities of life often come into play when medical assistance is needed. This was in the international spotlight recently when emergency medical assistance was required of the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and his wife Cherie’s son Euan.

It is important to have a plan in case of a medical emergency during your stay in Barbados. Ambulances can often take up to one hour to reach your location, especially if you are on the busy West Coast.

Barbados is fortunate to have highly skilled medical personnel but those practitioners often do not have access to state of the art equipment. With few exceptions, the medical expertise and bedside manner of Barbados’ physicians is on a World class level. It is highly recommended for those visiting Barbados to be proactive in selecting a course of action should the need arise.

What are your choices?

The Government owned Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is Barbados’ only full service hospital, with intensive care facilities, located just outside of the capital Bridgetown. It also has a reciprocal arrangement for British nationals on the National Health Service (NHS) scheme, where you would be treated and cared for in a Public Ward. Be advised that QEH is often crowded and the wait can be long and sometimes frustrating if your medical needs are not deemed to be of immediate attention. Telephone 436-6450 or 511 for emergency dispatch.

FMH Emergency Medical Clinic is a private accident and emergency medical centre. Located in Belleville, St Michael, this facility offers X-ray, MRI and care for serious but not life threatening injuries. FMH is open from 8 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. and will handle most emergencies or refer patients to the QEH as needed. Telephone 228-6120.

BayView Hospital, a privately owned and operated facility, with seven private rooms and four four-bed semi-private rooms, has been operational since 1989. Situated on the outskirts of Bridgetown and within close proximity of many leading hotels, BayView Hospital offers private non-emergency medical care in a variety of fields including cardiology, dentistry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery and urology. However, you must be admitted under the specific care of a physician who holds admitting privileges at this hospital. Please call 436 5446, or visit their website for more information.

A new state of the art, privately owned facility has opened its doors on the West Coast – Sandy Crest Medical Centre in Sunset Crest, St James. This ultra-modern complex offers 24 hour comprehensive emergency and non-emergency care service, x-ray, ultra-sounds, CT technology (by the end of the year), access to an ambulance service, 24-hour pharmacy access, as well as an asthma bay. This emergency clinic has employed the services of five of the island’s leading emergency room practitioners, one for every shift. Please call 419-4911, or visit their web site (under construction) for more information.

The island has two private ambulance services, Island Care Ambulance (246) 435 9425, and Get Help Ambulance Service (246) 438 4357, and the QEH Ambulance Service (246) 436 6450 or 511, all of which are located in the Bridgetown area. However, there is a QEH Ambulance service out of the Arch Hall Fire Station in St Thomas, to service the West/North coast of the island. In extreme cases, patients will be air-ambulanced to either Canada or the USA.

ChengGong Harmonica – Beginner’s Guide to the Harmonica

If you’re looking to learn how to play the harmonica, then you must know that this wind instrument comes in several different types. The basics of playing the harmonica is the same across all its types: you have to blow air into the individual holes or reed chambers to create sound. However, that’s where the similarities end as reeds for different types of harmonica are pre-tuned according to the pitch and tone that they are supposed to create. A ChengGong harmonica, for instance, is different from all its cousins because it has a sliding mouthpiece and a main body.

The ChengGong harmonica is named after a pun on the surname of its inventor, Cheng Xuexue. As earlier mentioned, this type of harmonica comes with a body and a sliding mouthpiece. The body is composed of a 24-hole diatonic harmonica that covers three octaves and start from b2 to d6. The 11-hole mouthpiece of this type of harmonica can slide along the front of the instrument. This feature produces a lot of chord choices and voicings such as seven triads, seven 7th chords, three 6th chords and seven 9th chords.

The ChengGong harmonica can also play single-note melodies as well as double stops over three diatonic octaves. Unlike other types of harmonicas, blowing and drawing air from the instrument can produce the same notes. This is because tuning of this harmonica is more like the note layout of an Asian tremolo harmonica.

Buying tips

When shopping for a harmonica of any type, there are several things that you need to consider. For starters, you want to opt for a harmonica whose cover plate feels comfortable inside the mouth and the holes are accessible for easier tongue blocking. Look for a model that will let you blow from the sides of the mouth as you reach its holes with your tongue.

The Use and Symbolism of Candles in Buddhism

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” The Buddha

Candles are an age old traditional part of Buddhist rituals. In conjunction with incense and flowers, they are placed in front of Buddhist shrines or statues and images of the Buddha as a mark of respect. They are often accompanied by offerings of food and drink. The light of the burning candle flame represents the light of the Buddha’s teachings. Candles and incense also evoke the state of impermanence and change.Their light can also be said to symbolize the enlightenment of the Buddha.

Thailand Buddhist Candle Festival

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” The Buddha

Buddhist Lent Day in Thailand, an overwhelmingly Buddhist country is in July every year and is mainly practiced by established monks. The day before the start of Lent, the Candle Festival is celebrated by Thai people. This Festival is celebrated right across the country, but the most particularly celebrations take place in Ubon Rachathani north-eastern Thailand (Isaan).

According to tradition, Buddhist Lent Day started as a result of villagers complaining to the Buddha. It is said that a group of ordained monks were making merit (tamboon) and had walked through wet rice fields. At this time the rice fields were at the peak of their growth and by walking in them they had ruined the crop. As a consequence the legend has it that the Buddha told all monks to practice making merit whilst only staying inside the confines of their temples. Nowadays Buddhist Lent stipulates that all monks must remain confined to their temples for a period of 3 months during the rainy season, beginning on the first day of the eighth waning moon.

Thai people offer a range of basic goods to their monks and this offering also includes candles and this of course includes the famous Candle Festival. In previous times most temples had no electricity and so candles had an important symbolic significance for ceremonies but also more practically for illumination in daily use. Furthermore they are said to represent wisdom as divine light; during the Candle Festival the Buddhist laity practice their beliefs by offering large and often extravagantly decorated candles to the monks.

Candle Festival Celebrations: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton

On the day before Lent, large groups of people gather with their beautifully decorated candles and march with them on elaborate and beautiful parades. The rich, luxuriously sculpted decorations on these beautiful works of art portray willpower, unity, and the beliefs of that community. The candle parade procession contains the broadest cross section of the community all in their finest clothes. In Ubon Ratchathani this also includes many groups of local Isaan performers, musicians and dancers who accompany the candles as they make their way through the city. There is also a popular beauty contest to select Miss Candle (who is regarded as the most beautiful lady of that community).

Throughout the country, there are celebrations of the Candle Festival. Whatever the weather in Thailand the people have fun and expressing their faith on July 8, the beginning of Buddhist lent.

“How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.” William Shakespeare

Candle Meditation

Sit a quiet peaceful room and light a candle. It could be of any colour but some prefer a blue or a white one. Now stare deep into the burning flame of the candle and focus on it. Don’t let your vision of the candle flame become blurred. As you stare at the burning flame your mind will become filled with the noise of everyday thinking, worries and trivial concerns. These should just start to drift away and after a short while, you may begin to receive images and thoughts that don’t seem to come from you. Take these as your spiritual guides and try to interpret them.

Keep staring at the burning flame do not be distracted and try to interpret the visions you are receiving. One common example is that of ‘seeing’ a peeled onion. At first this may seem senseless but in this example it could signify that as you travel further along on your life’s path, the layers are being peeled away allowing you to see and experience the ultimate core of you existence.

As you progress further with your candle meditation try to learn to trust your own analysis and understanding of these thoughts that the candle brings to your mind. This form of meditation thus acts as a powerful way of focusing your concentration.

Try to build up your experience of candle meditation from 5 minutes a day to 20 minutes and do this over several months. Your eyes will need to adapt to the dim light and over time, you will be able distinguish between which thoughts are your own and which can act as your spiritual guides.

“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” Chinese proverb

“As a white candle in a holy place, So is the beauty of an aged face” Joseph Campbell

Where is the World’s Biggest Candle?

“We say God and the imagination are one… How high that highest candle lights the dark.” Wallace Stevens

Digressing slightly from the use of Candles in Buddhism in my research I diverted to see what human imagination could bring to the world of candles – this is what I found.

“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Anon

There are many contenders and a long history of the search for the world’s biggest candle. The first contender for the world’s biggest candle is the USA – the Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centreville, Indiana where they claim to have the world’s biggest candle. However At the Stockholm Exhibition of 1897 what has been described as the world’s largest candle on record went on display. This massive candle is said to have been eighty feet high and measuring eight and a half feet in diameter.

The long established firm of Ajello Candles is another contender for the historic title of the world’s biggest candle. In 1921 it created the Enrico Caruso Memorial Candle.This candle measured five feet in circumference and tapered at the top to 18 inches. This candle stood an impressive 18 feet tall and once the candle was burning the company claimed it could continue for 1800 years, burning one day each year on the anniversary of Enrico Caruso’s death.

In 2005 in Jerusalem they made the world’s largest Hannukha candle. This massive candle was over eight and a half metres in height and 85cm wide. It was located in the Pisga mall in the city. These are just some examples of what claim to be or were the world’s largest candles.

“Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the candle’s flame because day is come.” Rabindranath Tago

How Many Light Bulbs Are In The Average American Household?

Many homeowners in today’s America, are aware of steps that can be taken to reduce the normal household expenses. Everyday things like sealing windows and doors, to insulating attic spaces properly can yield high returns for ones investment dollar. However one of the most over-looked ways to save money is by changing light bulbs.

Sure, we have all heard for years about switching to compact fluorescent lamps, and how changing one bulb can save up to $67.00 in energy. Further, many of us have gone to a store, purchased a few and started to save energy. We have prided ourselves on getting rid of the old incandescent light bulbs as part of our own person efforts to save the planet, but have we done all we can do? Chances are you have not even touched the tip of the energy-saving ladder.

Recently we conducted a home survey of over 500 homes in the southern Florida. Our intent was to find out what the average home usage of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL’s) is. Our results were staggering and to say the least surprising. In our survey of mid size homes we found that only one in four (1:4) homes was currently using CFL’s. Further we found that not a single homeowner had changed all of their incandescent bulbs to CFL light bulbs.

In this study, home owners were asked an introductory question. How many light bulbs are in your home? Upon tallying and averaging the results to the question, the average American home owner guess was twenty-one incandescents per household. As part of our survey for the American home, each home owner was walked room by room, and around the outside of the home, counting each light. Not one person was able to guess or identify the true average number for their home. The average number of light bulbs per household was a whopping forty-seven, energy wasting lamps.

By our estimates, over 90% of residential consumers of electricity are not reaching their potential savings. If we calculate the energy savings obtainable by switching or replacing traditional incandescent or halogen’s in a home at a rate of $67.00 each, then the total achievable savings per home would be $3149.00.

Each home may vary in size, layout and number of fixtures or portable lamps, but here are the most commonly missed areas found in our survey and why you should chose to use them:

  • Outdoors: Porch lights and motion activated security lights can give great energy savings when changed to an energy saving lamp. Make sure the product you purchase is rated for use with switching devices.
  • Torchiere Lamps: Consider replacing double ended halogen fixtures with lamps that use a traditional screw base.
  • Closets: Using CFL bulbs in closets can aid in matching clothing colors because they provide higher color rendering and make sorting of blacks and dark blues easier.
  • Garage: Because CFL’s have higher color temperatures such as daylight, this makes it easier to perform tasks in traditionally poorly lit areas. Don’t forget the bulb inside the garage door opener.
  • Laundry Room: Using fluorescent or compacts in this area makes better use of task lighting for pre-treating clothing and sorting of stained items.
  • Refrigerator: Though this light doesn’t stay on long, LED bulbs may save up to $30.00 and keep food fresher.
  • Hallways: Though many people do not use them often, replacing bulbs in this area comes in handy when you need them.
  • Bathrooms: newer compact fluorescent lamps do not have long warm up times as older lamps. Using them in this area can drastically reduce electricity while providing better quality of light for tasks such as makeup and grooming.

Try the home survey for yourself. Make a chart of each type of light bulbs found in and out of your house or condominium. Denote which wattages and base types are required, and then find the energy-saving products that are available and simply add up your savings. Not only will it surprise you but you might just be able to afford that new energy-saving dishwasher you had your eye on!

6 Principles Of Self-Awareness

It would be easy to keep on doing what you’ve always done. Life today can be quick, busy, hectic. Rarely do we take a moment to reflect on who we are, why we do what we do, say what we say, think what we think. But without stopping to figure out what makes us tick, we can lose ourselves. We act out of habit, fail to question our actions and before we know it, our lives implode and we find ourselves in the midst of a crisis.

If you are reading this and would like to live your life consciously, here are some suggestions on how you can begin the process. This article is about removing the barriers to a more informed way of living:


We are all resistant to something. The first thing to do when you commit to becoming more self-aware is accept this. We become resistant when we are given information that does not chime with what we believe to be ‘right’. It doesn’t fit with what we’ve been told about life, or our long-held beliefs. Some of you reading this will be saying ‘no I don’t!’ This is resistance. When you dismiss things you hear as rubbish or wrong, you are resisting.

Resistance is so subtle that we can often be unaware that we are actually in resistance mode. When we drop our resistance we open ourselves to hear what is being said. When we allow ourselves to hear what is being said, we can make informed choices about how to act and think and what to say.




Few of us think about what we think about. We behave impulsively, speak impulsively. We think without thinking. Start observing your thoughts. If it helps, visualise a person inside your hide, a scientist, if you like, with a clipboard and pen, recording your thoughts.

At the end of the day review your thoughts. What kinds of things did you think about? Here are a few suggestions: judgements about people and yourself; other people; what’s good and what’s bad; who’s good and who’s bad; who’s right who’s wrong; who’s better who’s worse.

When you start to think about what you think about, you begin the process of increasing self-awareness. You can make positive changes in your life when you think about what you think about.




Have you ever noticed that you always have to be right? Maybe you need to be right when arguing with your partner, children, family and friends. We grow up observing others asserting their rightness, insisting on having the last word. Parents assert their rightness when they interact with their children, teachers assert their rightness when they reprimand their students. Authority figures in general habitually assert their rightness.

There is another way, though: it is possible to allow others to be right – even if you don’t believe they really are. I’m not talking about letting people to jeopardise your safety or the safety of others. In day-to-day interactions, however, we cause ourselves unnecessary aggravation by insisting on being right. Heated discussions can be cut short when we realise our power lies in something much deeper than a victory in a petty argument.




The inner critic can also be called ‘negative self talk’, the ‘chatterbox’ or the ‘internal negative dialogue’. Some people call it ‘radio me’!

The inner critic is that voice that starts up the minute we wake up in the morning and only shuts down when we fall asleep. We all have the inner critic (yes, even you!) and for the most part it governs our beliefs, our actions and the quality of our relationships.

Practice flipping inner critic statements. It is possible to teach yourself to ‘flip’ negative statements so that, for example, “I can’t” becomes “I can” or “I’m going to give it my best shot”. The inner critic’s opposite is the cheerleader. You are your first cheerleader. Encourage yourself.




What are you not taking responsibility for? Perhaps you’re resisting the possibility that you may not be taking responsibility for something. We live in a culture where we constantly look outside of ourselves for a place to lay the blame. Whenever something goes wrong, we look for a fall guy, a scapegoat. How often have you blamed the bus for your late arrival to work rather than accept that you chose not to set of earlier in order to allow for traffic? How often have you blamed your failure to keep your word on your memory when what really happened was that you did nothing to ensure you remembered your commitment?

It’s not surprising we shift the blame onto other people or things: taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives puts us in the driving seat, and just as you wouldn’t blame the passenger for whatever happens in your car, when you’re the driver, you cannot blame anything or anyone for what happens in your life. This realisation takes some getting used to. What are the implications of knowing that you are responsible for everything that happens in your life? It’s great when we think of all of the wonderful things we’ve done, but what about the not so wonderful things?




We can look outside of ourselves for the answers to why things don’t happen the way we would like them to: why we didn’t get the job of our dreams, the husband or wife of our dreams, the promotion we wanted. We can look outside for answers to why we were treated unfairly, denied our rights or subject to disadvantage. There is no doubt that we are all subjected to the effects of external barriers – people, conditions, rules and regulations, lack of money, lack of education. It is rare for us, however, to examine the internal barriers, those that we erect ourselves and that we allow to prevent us from living our best lives.

Examples of internal barriers are: lack of self-confidence; rampant inner critic; long-held beliefs; low self-esteem; not taking responsibility for your life; anger issues; refusal to let go of past events.

Most external barriers can be overcome when we make the conscious decision to search for internal barriers that allow them to rule our lives.



Spend some time looking at the 6 areas above. When you can address them you will be well on your way to greater self-awareness.

Make your luck!

The Timeless Appeal Of A Natural Cow Hide Rug

Maintenance is a Breeze

Cowhide naturally repels dust, dirt and debris, and the process of tanning the hide for use as a rug takes care of anything the hide wouldn’t do naturally. Imagine a stunning natural cowhide rug that requires no maintenance except a very occasional shaking out, and you have just imagined a cowhide rug!

Say Goodbye to Allergies

If you have a member of your family who is prone to allergies, natural cow rugs are an excellent choice to decorate your home. Cow rugs are not only naturally hypo-allergenic, but they are the safest of any animal-based item to wear or walk on!

The natural oils that the cow hide contains repel bacteria and pests as well as other known allergens. As well, you won’t have to worry about cow hide developing mildew or mold, two common allergens. This is because cow hide is nearly waterproof and repels all liquids well.

Say Hello to Affordability

Today’s faux versions of natural animal furs and hides can sometimes be pricier than their natural options. Brand name designers, couture fashion houses, high import rates and other factors can also drive up the price of some natural animal hides. But cows are native to practically everywhere and in large numbers.

As well, cowhide is easy to work with and so remains a popular choice among designers and rug and furnishing makers. You will be surprised by how affordable natural cow rugs and furnishings actually are compared to what you were probably expecting to pay!

Versatility is Another Plus

Cowhide rugs are also light enough in weight which will allow you to use the rug as a wall covering or in some other way instead. Because cow hide is so flexible and versatile, you can let your own imagination guide you in its use.

In fact, you can use cowhide rugs in many unique ways. For instance, you could use it as an attractive cover for a fixture that you only use sometimes. You could hang it on the wall instead of paint, wallpaper or other art pieces. You could use it as a warm blanket for people and pets (they make great throws for recliners and couches!).

Animal Skin Rugs are Beautiful!

Finally, each cowhide rug will be one-of-a-kind, literally! From black and white to ruddy reds and browns, pure whites and soft greys, you can find cowhide rugs to match any decor you have in mind.

Pros And Cons Of Quartz Wall Tiles

Quartz wall tiles suit well on the floors, walls, pathways, porticos, kitchen countertops and backsplashes. All the interior designers recommend them on the high-traffic areas. They are water and temperature resistant. They are available in plenty of colours, designs and patterns. The black and white colours are famous. They make the floor look beautiful and glittery. They are non-porous, which never allows the moisture or germs and they are easy to clean. Regular cleaning is highly recommended and they are affordable, easy to keep up.

Contact the local dealers and check about the latest models of quartz wall tiles. Try to acquire all the features about these tiles before you meet them. There are online dealers who will explain everything about these tiles with the sample at your doorstep. Avail them and discuss with your family members. There are suppliers who offer the guarantees and discounts. Evaluate the cost and the quality before you buy them. Get extra tiles to balance the wastage. Go with the large size tiles to avoid the wastage. The following points will guide you to understand the properties of this wonderful wall tiles:


Wonderful appeal – since they are available in plenty of colours these tiles are available in many colours and patterns. They are easily matched to every decor. The mirror flecks on the surface offer a lot of shine. When you use these tiles on your walls, the light reflection makes the room bigger and more spacious.

Durable- they are long-lasting only for their non-porous nature. You don’t have to spend on the sealant or the conditioners. Take essential to avoid the colour fades, scratches and stains. Since Kitchens and bathrooms are high traffic areas, they are lot of chances for the dirt and grime entries, guard them with these tiles. They are water and moisture resistant, that makes us stay hygienic.

Easy preservation – the cleaning work is effortless, just sweep them daily with the soft brooms. Try to clean the settled dirt’s with the wet cloth weekly twice. Avoid the acids and other ammonia liquids on them. Wash them with the water and the special liquids recommended for these tiles alone.

Different shapes, colours and sizes- quartz wall tiles are natural stone kind but in the manufacturing process they are usually molded into several shapes and sizes. The pigments are then added to get different colour shades.


Heaviness- since you find heavier than the natural rocks, you might have to hire a professional contractor.

Price – When compared to others, they are expensive and money- worth.

All the flooring materials have the pros and cons; it is our choice to select the right one.