Uniting strangers, creating friends, that was Selma!

When I first read Selma’s Introduction Page I already felt we had a special bond having both spent our formative years growing up in Kenya, Canada and England.  When I reached out to her via the blogging  world it was obvious that I did not know what I was getting into.  We exchanged some Swahili words, talked about our experiences in these different countries and immediately I felt the warmth and friendship that emanated from her.  Selma Jeevanjee’s family at one point owned 70% of Nairobi in the pioneering, colonial days of the city.  We talked about our love of Kenya and Africa as a whole.

For those of you who are reading this and not aware of who Selma was, we’ve crowned her “The Sparkling Diva”.  Our friend, soulmate, sister, companion and confidante lost her battle to cancer on July 4th, just a few short weeks ago.  Our Fiesta Friday family is grieving, we mourn her loss, yet celebrate her life, her effervescent personality, her humility, her modesty, her ability to reach out to strangers, thus creating friends and forging everlasting friendships.  Selma introduced me to our virtual Fiesta Friday parties, she held my hand and showed me the way.  Then came a multitude of questions and she answered all of them with patience and encouragement for a new blogger such as myself.  When reading through some of the comments of other bloggers on here, it seems like she’s helped more than just a few new bloggers.  Almost every comment I’ve read is indicative of the type of person that we knew to grow and love.

Fiesta Friday will not be the same with Selma’s absence.  She had wit, a penchant for writing, and a great sense of humor. I loved reading not only her blog posts, but also how she responded to other bloggers, always coaching on the sidelines, a pat on the back, and encouraging words of support.  She had a great blog, I just loved all the ingredients she’d use as I do believe we shared similar tastes.  Her tips and tricks on food styling, her knowledge of Word Press and all the technical jargon, her photography tips, and so much more, all contributed to the wealth of information that she so willingly shared with everyone.  Take a peek around her blog. https://selmastable.wordpress.com/

I had noticed her absence a couple months ago both on Facebook and on her blog.  I had hoped that all was well but was oblivious of the fact that she suffered from the dreaded disease.  In fact very few folks were aware of it, she did not want to dwell on it, but rather live life and that she did in strides!  When I first got word, so many emotions went through my head, I was upset with myself.  Why you ask?  Well Selma and I were to have met up last August in England.  We had planned it all, she had some wonderful suggestions on spending the day.   She knew I was in the south of England, so she decided to take the train from London and we arranged to meet in Winchester, just a hop and a jump from where I was in Southampton.  I was real excited to see her as we had shared much via emails, we both enjoyed blogging and enjoyed food.  I had brought her a jar of Smuckers Blueberry jam that she loved, and also kosher salt that was not available in the UK.  But alas, it was not to be, I had called her up and cancelled as I was not able to meet her.  I was visiting my family in England and my Mother was in between moves and because of a turn of events, I had decided to cancel our meeting.  We were both disappointed but felt sure that we would meet again, as I visited England fairly frequently.  I was looking out for Selma recently as I had wanted to re-arrange our meeting for October when I had planned to visit.  So many thoughts, so many regrets, how I wish I had met this wonderful lady who has given so much to so many people.  There have been various Fiesta Friday meet-ups of foodie bloggers from around the world, with a few in England and one even organized by Selma herself in London.  Fiesta Friday is family, we have all grown so attached to each other.  Strangers first, then close friendships are established over common interests.

A few months ago Selma visited South Africa to attend a wedding.  I remember seeing those pictures on Facebook, she looked so happy, she was glowing!  I was thrilled that she did visit her beloved Africa one last time.  If you’ve lived on that continent before, you’ll know what I mean.  “Africa – it gets into your bones”.

I’ve just returned from a vacation in Quebec – the picture I took was specifically for a Selma post that I had planned to write on my return.  Our hosts had the most gorgeous home and garden overlooking the mountains and river.  I had taken this picture with the poppies and peacock in front of their barn.  I was glad to learn on my return that we were allocating this week to memories and dedications for Selma, so here’s my contribution to an amazing blogger, friend and kindred spirit.  Thanks Angie for creating such a wonderful environment here, and also for being able to come together collectively to honor Selma.  Thanks also to Selma’s friends for being here for support.  Elaine@foodbod, Jhuls@thenotsocreativecook and Sue@birgerbird.  Thanks to you all.  In the words of Sue who so succinctly put it, “I know Selma is chilling with the other baking angels and sourdough fairies in heaven”, I’d like to second that 🙂

In closing this post I’d like to dedicate this song to our wonderful angel Selma.  Malika in swahilli means “Angel”.  The song is sung by Mariam Makeba, a South African singer.  Selma, this is for you, you’ll know the singer and you’ll remember the very famous East African song Malika.  Jake, if you are reading this, know that your Mum was loved by all, she was very proud of you and shared so many wonderful stories, cherish those memories and keep them close to your heart.  God Bless you and Selma’s extended family.  Rest in peace sweet angel!

33 comments

    1. Thanks Angie, it was an emotional write up, I know Selma would have loved it. I have been enjoying reading all her tributes, thanks to you all for making it happen. Xoxo

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    1. Thanks Elaine, I do hope some day her family get to read all her tributes, I feel sure her Mum, brother and immediate family would appreciate the song. Thanks for making this happen, I’ve been enjoying reading all the tributes.

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  1. Loretta, this was a wonderful heartfelt tribute to Selma, and I am sure she is partying right along with us. I also know that she would not want you to have any regrets. I enjoyed this beautiful song. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photo is so pretty too.

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    1. Thank you so much Julie, it stirred all types of emotions inside of me. Like our family, Selma’s family probably had to leave Kenya when things got out of control. She’s led a wonderfully full life since and kept on going. Such a great example to live by. I’ve been enjoying reading all her tributes. She was one of a kind.

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      1. Me too Loretta! She was an inspiration in so many ways. I’ve really tried to give back to newer bloggers that ask me questions. I was always amazed how helpful other bloggers were with me, including Selma.

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  2. What a lovely story and tribute to Selma – so interesting to hear about both your backgrounds and that you could have been “sisters” in the real sense. Blogging with Selma must have been extra special for you since you had so much in common and not only food. Memories of Selma are in our hearts and I feel lucky that I have Rosebud, daughter of her sourdough starter Twinkle 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Judi, we did feel like kindred spirits. The sourdough starter will be a great remembrance of her, how I wish now that I had accepted her kind offer of mailing it across the pond. I’m sure you will think of her every time you bake bread.

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  3. Just wonderful that you sent a song and what a perfect one at that. Music is absolutely so evocative of memory . . . that and scent, at least for me. I am so happy you turned us on to this song so that we can remember Selma every time we hear it. By the way I’m angry too that I didn’t get to meet Selma, and I never even had a meeting scheduled!!! Thanks again for joining the tribute!

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    1. Sue, I’m so glad you liked the song, it is still very popular in E. Africa, I know Selma would have enjoyed it too. You are absolutely right about music and scents….so sorry you never got to meet her either, but by the sounds of it, you had a special connection and I’m sure you both enjoyed one another. Thanks for making this happen, I’ve enjoyed reading the tributes, May Selma live long in our hearts and minds. Xoxo

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  4. I was never lucky enough to be part of Selma’s world but I have been reading so much about her recently. It seems she was a wonderful woman who will be sadly missed. This is a lovely post and beautiful tribute Loretta. X

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    1. Thanks so much Desley, so nice of you to acknowledge that. True indeed you’d have enjoyed her blog. You too have been so helpful like Selma whenever I’ve come across a brick wall. Your photos continue to amaze me, just love them. Just got back from a trip to Quebec and I captured some amazing scenery. Are you on FB?

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    1. Thanks Arlene, I’ve enjoyed all her tributes, and there’s one common thread through all of this, and that was her ability to reach out to everyone of us, that truly is a gift!

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  5. Loretta,
    Such a touching and apt tribute to Selma. I absolutely loved reading her about page. I wrote to her but had not heard back from her. It looks like she was battling her illness.
    I am truly saddened by this news.

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    1. Hi Sandhya, thanks so much, it was quite an emotional post. I too loved her About page, that was what drew me to her blog in the first place since we shared a few commonalities. I still can’t believe it, she was so encouraging to so many bloggers all the while battling her illness. So very sad. Hope you’re enjoying your summer…it’s been busy here with trips, but I’m hoping to catch up on blog visitations soon, I’ve missed yours too. 🙂

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  6. Such a lovely post, Loretta. One of the nice things about the tributes is I am learning more about both Selma and other FF bloggers, it’s just a shame it’s too late with Selma. I hadn’t realized about the Kenya/Canada/UK connection you both have (I’m from UK and have some good friends in both of the others, and have been to weddings in all!). A lovely tribute.

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    1. Thanks Caroline, yes we often talked about those countries. How I wished now that I hadn’t cancelled my meeting with her that we had planned last August when I was in England visiting my family. I live in the USA now. I knew you were from the UK, whereabouts are you?

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      1. I’m from Edinburgh, but I live in the US these days too (Boston area). I know what you mean on wishing meet ups had happened etc, I have some of those too. I guess times like these help us reflect to try to make the most going forward.

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  7. Such a beautiful beautiful tribute to Selma! It’s amazing how people make connections that can be strong even if you don’t get a chance to meet in person… 🙂
    While I wish I knew Selma better, I am still thankful I knew her at all… she was wonderfully supportive!
    I love what you have written about her 🙂

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  8. Thanks dear Fae, we shared a common love of Africa for sure. How I wish I did not cancel that meet-up with her last year, I was so upset when I heard, as I wanted to meet up with her and re-schedule the date we had, as I will be visiting the UK in October…..but alas…

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