Archive for July 2010

South African update

July 31, 2010

The first day at this hotel, I did a lot of work.
I double checked the room arrangements.
I planned and arranged the social events – in two meetings.
I surveyed the grounds, to learn what would happen where.
I double checked the room lists with the staff.
Met up with the other assistants, and after Alan showed up, we all had supper together (mine was ostrich Carpaccio, and springbok shank – wonderful!), which went on for quite a while, and then I went to bed, exhausted.

Second day in George, we started the day with the assistants’ preparation meetings. For whatever reasons, Alan shot down most of my ideas for ice breaker games. We stuc with the most pareve one…
Throughout the day I prepared songs for the next night, as well as dealt with the staff, trying to think how to make the meeting room more colorful, to check that the rooms were allocated appropriately, etc. I also prepared the groupings for the meetings(which Alan approved). More on that later.
At supper, I welcomed everyone, and invited them to the introductory meeting.
At said meeting, Alan gave a long introductory speech, and then we played the simplest of icebreaker games, mediated by me. Everyone put 1 item in a pile, and then a participant came in (the previous person chose an item at random), said their name, where they were from, why the item is of value to them, and their favorite ice cream flavor.
I was not surprised to see how many vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mixes of these there were, but was pleasantly surprised to see how many “uniques” there were – bubble gum, mango, blueberry cheesecake. The closest I came to the “nuts” was Dan’s choice Vanilla-Peach-Almonds. I was the only Pistachio!
Anyway, the evening ended on a high note.
We went back to Dan and Nadav’s room, where the facilitators sit around, playing drinking games. Apparently, no one has done anywhere near as much stuff as Dan and I. Figures.
Went to bed after a good talk with Francois. I am dying to hear his opinions….

Third day in George, the Odyssey really begins!
After the wonderful breakfast, we divided into groups. The groupings were not perfect – I had to make quite a few changes, and I had forgotten 3 people (!!!). Anyway, it all worked out okay.
In my group are the COO of the company that sent most of the participants, the CEO’s sister and daughter, an employee of the company, and 2 TOC practitioners. Quite the opposite of what I had expected.
Alan gives half a day of lectures, and we finally get to work. I make a few blunders and am too “in your face” and abrasive. Grrrr. Not good. I wanted to do the opposite.
I was very happy with the results of it all, though. Everyone seems to hear my points and to understand, and not be threatened – not really.
Of the 6 – one had to turn the solution from external to internal; one had to separate the UDEs a bit; one has a big conflict that he is working “around”, in my opinion; one is working completely in wealth, which is new to me; one has 3 very different areas of focus (!); and one is working on a very emotional place.
Practitioner, shplactitioner – everyone has issues, anyone can benefit. Feeling the power they have in their grasp gives me a high.
What is GREAT about working with practitioners is that they are really listening to one another.

After supper, I ran a karaoke night (thank you Nadav for technical help), which started slow, but took off after a couple of rowdy songs in Afrikaans, and the COO stepping up to sing Hey Jude in a pack. Had a great time, deserved the time in the spa/pool I will finally utilize on day 4.

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South African report

July 27, 2010

On Sunday night, I bade my farewells, said my goodbyes to my wife and daughter, and my mother drove me to the airport.
On the way there, we discussed all sorts of things, but the one thing I could not get out of my mind was K’s image, waving goodbye. I don’t know if it was disbelief, or sadness, or just the longing that was settling in, but I felt something between us. And I really missed my wife all the way to the airport.
I checked in, breaking all my records for speed. The only line I waited on was for the metal detectors, before the duty free, and even there I lucked out and was on the fastest-moving lane. (I guess that means long lines on the way back.)
I quickly did all browsing of the shops, bought nothing, and went to the terminal. There, I chatted online with a friend in London, and downloaded songs for the Karaoke night I want to arrange. During the wait, 2 families came and went in the bench next to me. Each had a child under the age of five.
And I missed K and R all the more.

The flight was mainly uneventful. I slept some 6 hours, and was awoken by the woman next to me, who needed to pee. A conversation ensued (she started it!) and I discovered that she was, to a great degree, bigotry incarnate. Having lived in South Africa for over 30 years, she only had Jewish friends. She distrusted the native population, claiming they were lazy, thieves, murderers, corrupt, immoral – and all INHERENTLY and BY NATURE.
Of course, when I asked her directly if all the natives were lazy, immoral, etc., she said “of course not EVERYBODY”, but two or three minutes later she said that she was sorry the death penalty had been removed, because, after all, the natives are immoral, cannot understand good from bad.
So I asked her what she thinks the goal of these individuals was, and she said “to get something without working for it”. I then asked her about the domination of control of the gold and diamonds – two natural resources which make a LOT of money for those who control it, and two resources which South Africa is one of the top suppliers thereof, she said that it was in the hands of whites, and agreed that this is justifiably seen as a resource that was stolen from the indigenous population. When I added the two together, she agreed that this population has a right to demand things, but could not live with it for more than five seconds, hastily adding that “they are no good”, sticking to the line that her housekeeper steals from her – although I wondered if that was the case why didn’t she fire her?
I got off the plane missing K even more – not just for her physical presence, but also for her staunch moral stance which I admire and adore.

Once off the plane, I got my bag, and promptly called the bunkhouse. Bob picked me up within 10 minutes, and drove me to clean, orderly bunkhouse. It was very nice. I walked into the village of Edenvale, which is anything but a Vale of Eden… there were drunks in the streets, many empty shops to let, and more liquor and adult entertainment stores than I figured such a small place could afford to have.
At least, while roaming around, I found a second hand bookstore, where I bought a Philip K. Dick novel for 10ZAR (=5NIS, just over 1USD). Read it and enjoyed it.
I bought some Chinese food, which was lousy. Went back to the bunkhouse and crashed. Woke up five hours late, and waited for Dan K to wake up. After he did, we reconfigured my ticket to the next day, and went to a pub with another bunkhouse-stayer (Suzie Hughes). Went to sleep, woke up the next morning at 4, an hour and a half too early, so I read some Saki until I woke Dan up, we showered and left.
The flight down to George was uneventful, and it left on time while landing early (!). We were picked up (sort of by chance) and arrived at the hotel.
WOW.
I have NEVER been to something so posh, plush, comfortable, luxurious and enormous. WOW.
A golfer’s heaven.
WOW.

South Africa – 1

July 26, 2010

Been 9 years.

WOW

Anyway, on the flight I sat next to a Jewish lady who was very bigoted. Every second sentence was derogatory. 😦

Anyhoo, finished the flight, got my suitcase, was picked up by Bob (of Bob’s Bunkhouse), and got a bed.

Got to an internet cafe, and wrote this.

More later.

waiting for an airplane

July 25, 2010

by myself, in Ben Gurion airport, waiting for the El Al flight to Johannesburg.
I need to sleep, but have too much stuff to be aware of.
30 minutes until boarding, an hour after that until takeoff.
I would love to have had K’s hand in mine right now.

lovely

July 19, 2010

You are my mother bear and I am your little bear, and we are on Earth, and you know it. Now may I eat my lunch?

I can see for miles and miles

July 19, 2010

but these needles in my eyes are in the way

it’s a girl…

July 16, 2010

And we are happy!