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Earth Day

Here’s a random fact you can use to impress people: Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign state in Africa where Spanish is the official language.

Situated on the west coast of central Africa, Equatorial Guinea spans nearly 11,000 square miles, making it about the size of Massachusetts, and it’s home to only 1.2 million people. According to some reports, the country was the sixth least visited country in the world in 2015.

The country is gorgeous, too. It's one of many beautiful places around the world that you might not have heard of.

Don't believe me? Here are 14 photos that sum up what the country is all about:


1. Tiny fishing villages.

Every day, locals wait for the daily catch to be brought in at a beach in Annobón's Capital, San Antonio de Pale. Photo by Oscar Scafidi, used with permission.

2. 19th century colonial architecture.

La Casa Verde (“the green house”) is one of Malabo's architectural highlights and previously served as the Portuguese embassy. It was fully renovated in 2014. Photo by Oscar Scafidi, used with permission.

The country became known as the Republic of Equatorial Guinea ("Guinea Ecuatorial" in Spanish) when it declared independence from Spain in 1968. And although Spanish isn’t the only language spoken in Equatorial Guinea, years of Spanish education means the Spanish language and culture is still deeply entrenched in society.

3. Italian basilicas.

This is the Italian-designed Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción in Mongomo. It is the second largest Catholic church in all of Africa. Photo by Oscar Scafidi, used with permission.

4. Lots of cathedrals.

The Santa Isabel Cathedral dominates the central Malabo skyline seen here from the port and was partially designed by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Photo by Equatorial Guinea/Flickr, used with permission.

5. Ornate decorations.

The entryway leading to the interior of the Catedral de Santa Isabel in Malabo. Photo by @jbermudezm, used with permission.

6. Members of the indigenous Fang tribe.

The majority of the population is made of up the Fang tribe, but the buildings still have classic Spanish facades. This is one such example: the Cathedral in Bata. Photo by John and Melanie/Flickr, used with permission.

7. Ruins on ruins on ruins.

The remains of a Claretian mission house on Corisco, an island in the Rio Muni estuary. Photo by Oscar Scafidi, used with permission.

8. Tropical beaches with palm trees.

Malabo is tropical and lush, which means jungle-like vegetation grows alongside palm trees. Photo by John and Melanie/Flickr, used with permission.

9. Untouched white sandy beachscapes.

The luxury hotel Sofitel Sipopo Le Golf in Malabo has a quiet private beach on a botanical island, and it also houses a spa and 18-hole golf course, which are said to be the first on the island. Photo via @mary_gdsg.

The country’s landscape is made up of the mainland territory, Rio Muni, and five islands (some volcanic), including Bioko, the largest.

10. Waterfalls surrounded by lush jungles.

This is one of many waterfalls in the southern beaches of Ureca in the Gran Caldera. It’s on the southern coast of Bioko with black volcanic sand beaches, whcih is also known as a sea turtle nesting site. Photo by @janzieglerphotography, used with permission.

11. State-of-the-art city plazas.

Independence Plaza in the capital city of Malabo. Photo by @jbermudezm, used with permission.

Oscar Scafidi, the author of the Bradt travel guide to Equatorial Guinea, says his experiences visiting the country were both wild and quiet.

“To get [to new capital city, Oyala], I drove for two hours from Bata, the mainland capital on the Atlantic coastline. I approached the city on an eight lane highway, completely empty in both directions, and when I arrived I was amazed. It is very strange to find a huge, modern, empty city under construction in such a remote location.”

12. Awe-inspiring sunsets.

Arena Blanca's beach is famously beautiful with warm water and gentle currents and several hiking trails. It is the only white sand beach in Bioko island. Photo by @quineaecuatorial, used with permission.

13. Delicious snacks.

Plátanos are similar to bananas but less sweet; they are typically fried, which extracts the natural sugars. Photo by @quineaecuatorial, used with permission.

14. Incredible mountains.

Pico Basilé is the highest mountain on Bioko with an altitude of 9,879 feet. It is the summit of the largest and highest of the three shield volcanoes that form the island. Photo by @lovetwp, used with permission.

“There’s an incredible sort of mini Dubai being built in the middle of the jungle, and on the other hand it’s a paradise if you’re into animals — western lowland gorillas, forest elephants and a sea wildlife unique to the area,” Scafidi told The Guardian about his visit.

But this untouched corner of the world also reminds us that beauty is hiding behind every corner, beyond typical tourist destinations and marketing campaigns.

We just have to look for it.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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