Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Christmas in July

After a mind-blowing experience in Moçambique, I was due for a relatively low-key week back in Johannesburg. So, that's what I had (except for last Saturday, but I digress).

Most of my week was focused on preparing for the final project of our Mandela Day Initiative in the Office for Community Engagement at University of Johannesburg. In the spirit of Mandela Day (July 18th) our team designed five different projects to be carried out at the end of the month. The projects were designed around the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, focusing on 1) Poverty & Hunger, 2) Literacy & Primary Education, 3) Gender Equality, 4) Health, and 5) Environmental Sustainability. I was responsible for designing and pulling off the Environmental Sustainability Project, and I am proud to report that our City Clean Up Day was a success!

The next day I was exposed to an interesting global phenomenon for the first time in my life... Christmas in July! I was a little skeptical at first. Honestly, I love me some Jesus, but Christmas is probably my 13th favorite Holiday (after Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, my birthday, your birthday, your Mama's birthday etc.). But, after a whole bunch of coaching and volunteering, I was ready for some good ol' fraternizing, so I accepted the invitation and got myself in the spirit. Actually, the event was lekker, and a lot more affordable than real Christmas. We stopped at the sto' on the way to buy our contribution to the gift exchange: a flask of Zorba vodka, a can of Red Bull, a mini-bottle of champagne, and a pack of South Africa's version of bubble tape—all for less than 30 Rand!
The function was complete with Christmas decorations, frosted windows, gluvine, costumes, and a fully functional ice sculpture. Here's how it worked: you pour a shot of Jäger (or some other poison) in the top the snowman's head, and it comes out the bottom extra cold and ready for consumption. It's your job (not mine) to be well positioned and ready to receive!

When I'm not coaching, working at UJ, or drinking from a snowman's belly, I manage to make time for my one true habit: the books (and the Kindle, Lita!). Here's an updated list of what I've been enjoying (some more than others) since I left the Bay at the end of May.

- Uncle Tom’s Cabin - by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
- Three Cups of Tea - by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin (2006)
- Wuthering Heights - by Emily Brontë (1847)
- How Can Man Die Better: The Life of Robert Sobukwe - by Benjamin Pogrund (2006)
- Beauty and the Beast - by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (1756)
- The Prince (De Principatibus) - by Niccolo Machiavelli (1832)
- The Last King of Scotland - by Giles Foden (1998)
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - by Benjamin Franklin (1791)
- The Constant Gardener - by John le Carré (2005)
- Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy - by Moisés Naím (2005)
- The Poisonwood Bible - by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
- Man and His Symbols - by Carl Jung with Henderson, von Franz, Jaffé and Jacobi (1964)
- So Long A Letter - by Mariama Bâ (1981)
- Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) - by Henry David Thoreau (1849)

Pura Vida...

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