My Ancient History

As National Geographic closes out their human history project or “Genographic Project,” they have just made all information available one last time to participants, of which I am one, having sent them my cheek swab in 2013. They are no longer accepting participants and totally close the project at the end of 2019 with data going to another research company, Here is link to the latest summary image of my DNA family history findings (won’t let me copy image}:

And I am posting the more detailed information (12 pages) on my Family History  web pages if you are interested. Their latest (22 Nov 2019) report of my DNA ancient roots are on a sub-page of the above family history page called Genographic Project Family Report  page. And at the conclusion I posted the original 2013 Summary Image which is almost the same with fewer participants. And I’m posting that DNA Summary Image in my Family History Gallery also. FYI.

And for relatives doing research you may also find helpful photos in my Family History Photo Gallerythough much more recent than these ancient DNA trails from Africa!   🙂  Though a few images from 1800s.

Family history is not my main activity or hobby now, so additions to these family pages may seem very slow or seldom, but I have great plans for them!   🙂

And actually there are some pretty interesting things on my family history pages now like the 1800’s Hardgrave Family Cemetery I discovered in Nashville, TN while living there and the stories and photos of my Uncle Earl Doggett’s World War II sacrifice. More to come! Little by little! (Or poco a poco we say in Costa Rica!) There’s even a page just for Stories from my life – eventually family history!   🙂

“Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Postscript to Regular Readers:  For the last two days I did not have internet connection and I will share that story soon + my very busy week with two medical appointments, a lost phone and more! Too busy a week!


The Heart of the Evangelical Crisis

Featured Photo above is of a Mandinka Potter in the Makasutu Forest of The Gambia, West Africa using an old foot-treadle potter’s wheel. Scripture is my addition to a favorite photo from my 3 years in The Gambia, a print of which hangs in my bedroom here.

Though I dropped my paid subscription to Christianity Today, I continue to get the free CT Newsletter and just read this article that speaks to my desire for a new church and new identity: The Heart of the Evangelical Crisis. I hope the link works for you to read it. Like other writers on the subject, he does not have all the answers, but describes the problem in an interesting way that rings true with much of my life experiences.

While serving as a missionary in The Gambia, West Africa, I soon quit calling myself a “Christian,” a “Baptist” or an “Evangelical” as I related to Muslim friends calling myself “A Follower of Jesus.” The difference in our relationships was amazing with a new label and I found other reasons for the title when I returned to the states for the first 12 years of my retirement and even now while living as an expat American Retiree in the Roman Catholic Costa Rica. I’m a follower of Jesus!   🙂

The primary focus of this blog is retirement in Costa Rica, my love of nature and especially the birds here in Costa Rica, but occasionally I feel the need to speak my deep feelings about what I consider a crisis in America today, for which I partly blame Southern Baptists (the largest of the Evangelicals) for whom I worked my total adult working life. I now have no pride in those years, even though the denomination was different when I started. I apologize to the readers whom I offend when I speak like this, but it is a sincere concern of mine that I feel compelled to express at times. We who follow Jesus cannot allow the “Republican Trump America” of today to define Christianity! Far from it!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Matthew 16:24-26

And it was accentuated by this morning’s Bible reading in The Message, Matthew 7:13-29 titled “Being and Doing,” a sort of warning to us believers.
¡Pura vida!

Saving a Wetland “in the nick of time”

An old English saying “in the nick of time” or Just in Time could be applied to the saving of a wetland near my old home of The Gambia West Africa on the Dakar Senegal Peninsula:  Diplomats visit a key biodiversity site (article on which I encourage nature-lovers to subscribe to).

If you have ever been to the sprawling metropolis of Dakar you have seen the danger of another city getting too big and another wetland destroyed like New Orleans did in the states. The great Niaye of Pikine, commonly known as the Technopole, is an exceptional urban wetland located in the heart of Dakar. And a big chunk of this one has been saved and hopefully the biodiversity that goes with it. Though getting less news coverage, scientists say that the loss of biodiversity around the world is as big a danger to the future of life on earth as is climate change. Yet modern man continues to destroy the natural worlds of places like this in Africa, in Amazon, etc. I’m thankful to live in a small country trying to do its part in saving the world’s biodiversity!

Read more about Birdlife International and sign up for email alerts.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”       ~Albert Einstein


Good Samaritan Serendipity!


“It’s a small world!” phenomenon only happens occasionally and when it does it always brings a big smile to my face.  🙂  It happened today, January 1, 2019, with a message through the contact form on this site from an address I did not recognize.  I will keep their names private but briefly share the fun serendipity story of that email greeting:

The email starts with the couple (an educator & a musician from Canada but now in the states) saying they were looking at a travel book reviewing all the countries of the world and when they came to The Gambia, they were reminded of me since I’m the only person they had ever met from there, though a long time ago, and remembered the Gambia photos on my condo wall.

My downtown Nashville Row House for first 10 years of retirement.


It was around the first of January 2003 (16 years ago) when after returning from The Gambia I finally moved from the Residence Inn Nashville West End to my new row house in Hope Gardens/Germantown across from the Farmer’s Market and Bicentennial Mall State Park (Header photo above). I think I used my new Tacoma pickup to move my stuff from the hotel to my new row house. As happens sometimes, a box fell out of the truck along West End Avenue and this charming couple from western Canada, in town as Vanderbilt students, saw the box and stopped, picking it up and diligently tracing it to me at my new address! Wow! There are still a few “Good Samaritans” left in the world!   🙂  Thank you!

When they brought the box to me I gave them an invitation to my already planned open house later in January and they came! And still remember it and all my Gambia photos on the walls.

Thus the connection when they read about Gambia in the book. They found me and my website in an internet search and decided to write their very kind and thoughtful New Year’s greeting through the contact form on my website. Small world & fun memories!     🙂

Thanks friends! For remembering AND writing!   Good Samaritans in my life!

“We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need – regardless of race, politics, class, and religion – is your neighbour. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.” 

― Timothy Keller, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just

¡Pura Vida!


Bicentennial Mall Carillons across the street from my Row House – Nice music!


How blessed I am to have lived is so many beautiful places!  AND to have had so many neat experiences like this! THANK YOU GOD! 

My Africa Adventures Added to Website

On Safari in Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya, November 19, 2005

I am beginning a new stories section of my website titled Travel. It will eventually have many stories of my many trips around the world (outside Costa Rica) with some illustrative photos along with links to the newest section of my Photo Gallery titled Pre-Costa Rica Travels.  where I am slowly creating a gallery on each trip over the years or at least the recent years, one at a time as I slowly move such photos from the Travel Section of my old Pbase gallery.   PHOTO ABOVE: Masai Shepherd in Kenya

Writing the stories and moving the photos are both very slow and time-consuming jobs, but time is what an ol’ retiree has isn’t it?   🙂

For multiple reasons, I decided to start with Africa in both the Travel Stories and the Photo Gallery sections. The photos are mostly moved but all of the stories have not been written yet. I have a good start, especially with most of my Gambia stories already told here. Here’s what you can expect to find now:


Driving from Nairobi, Kenya to Musoma, Tanzania, November 7, 2005

You find Travel on the main menu above with dropdown menus for stories started here and additional menu links on each country’s home page for related stories in other pages of the site. For example: my Gambia Missionary experiences and mission trips are on the HIS SPIRIT menu first and thus linked to there from this Travel Gambia Home Page or Kenya Home Page, etc. The software allows for drop down menus for only items initiated on that page, thus regular links to other pages like the missionary stories.

And since my photo galleries are actually on, they cannot be on any of my site drop down menus but must be linked to from each country’s Home Page or found by going to the big gallery first from the above menu. I hope that is not confusing. Just use the country’s home page to find everything about that country.   🙂

I have only barely started on all the stories I want to tell, but for the main Travel section described above I have started these pages with more stories coming on each in the future:



Masai people in the Great Rift Valley near Masai Mara, Kenya

My travel photos made before moving to Costa Rica are in a special sub-gallery title Pre-Costa Rica TRAVELSLike my Costa Rica Trips gallery they are arranged chronologically by dates of each trip with most recent at top. At this moment, I have only travels to Africa included. Click above to see all or here is the list of my Africa Travel Galleries which will later be mixed in with other travels depending on the dates:

Africa Travel Photo Galleries:

Sunset on River Gambia, McCarthy Island, Janjanbureh, The Gambia


“The darkest thing about Africa

has always been our ignorance of it.”

~George Kimble

All photos by Charlie Doggett.

Questions?    Contact me!