things have settled into a slow and yet constant grind here in Bez Valley, JHB. i’m working stupid hard right now as my project is finally ready to be launched at the HIV/AIDS organisation. i’ve given my final notice at the labour organisation and am slowly getting more and more excited about the new work.

Shigazi, Wonder Dog

while i feel like there are a few conceptual problems with the new project (like having only 5 months to build an entire pan-African network with no funding!) i’m still excited about the change – ‘cuz we all know how much i like change! 😉

in the meantime i’m trying to tie up all the loose ends at the labour organisation. they’ve hired a new communications officer who is already far surpassing our expectations of such a post. i have confidence that i’m leaving everything in good hands.

i’m also applying for scores of new jobs, including some UN ones. while i’m not too fond of UN and –equivalent style bureaucracy, the starting salaries are nothing to sneeze at! at least this way I’d be able to continue in development work without having to worry about my ever-painful student loans. have debts, will travel.

so i’m starting to feel the winds of change blowing through my hair once again. while i’m excited about this new project, given the length of time it took to get it all settled, as a result i’ve become a little less committed to it. i got a note from a similar position in Thailand saying that they’re currently considering my application. we’ll see what happens. heaps of noodles and miles of sandy beaches… i think I could be okay with moving to Thailand! 😉

i definitely want to make a trip to Canada before committing to any “next step”. i miss my family and have recently realised how out of touch i am with friends. this is the problem with living in the future rather than the past or present – you forget where you are and where you’ve come from until you feel so completely out of touch with everything you knew.

home is fine. ton’s pretty busy with work but still really enjoying it all. i know she and i would both love to extend our time here in SA, but it’s looking pretty unlikely given Canadian funding restrictions (CALL YOUR MP OR FEDERAL DEPARTMENT – TELL HIM/HER THAT YOU SUPPORT CANADIAN FUNDING FOR OVERSEAS PROGRAMS!!). there’s still always so much to do.

i’ve gotten infinitely busier with side projects to keep me occupied as well. the “fix-it phase” has continued and our place is looking pretty fabulous now. this month we’re buying a lawn mower as it’s taking an average of 2 days and 3 people (tonya, eunice and i take turns!) to cut the entire back yard with a cheap trimmer. i see all these major purchases as investments… i know how easy it is to sell barely-used stuff at the end of a stay somewhere so, even if I don’t get the full amount back, i imagine we’ll make a good portion of our cash back when we have to sell all our stuff in preparation for leaving.

on top of the home repairs – most of which were done before the graham’s came – new personal projects have popped up.

i started my Portuguese lessons last week. A Mozambican acquaintance of ours is interested in learning more English and so we arranged for a trade – her to teach me basic Portuguese and me to work with her on her English. so far so good. i’m still crap, after how many years of university education and professional project development and implementation, in keeping up with my homework. good to see that some things never change! i’ve been listening to Spanish music almost religiously though… it’s how I rationalise neglecting my homework!

i’m also still leading training sessions on various topics. i have a CV writing course i’m conducting tonight with a friend of a friend (paid – yay!) and will start graphic design instruction with a Zimbabwean friend of ours next week in exchange for him locating and donating a piece of expensive software I was desperately seeking (shh, don’t tell the cops I use pirated software – in any case, here they’d just ask me for “cool drink money” [read: bribe] rather than actually do anything about it anyways!).

The view from Cape Point

stone carving has also become a favourite pastime. i approached a Zimbabwean carver in the market one day, got a couple bags of his broken off-cuts and have been really enjoying this new hobby. it’s quite a power trip to think that i’m shaping stone… and it gives me a great creative outlet after a day of meetings and report writing and training sessions and and and…

i was able to start a couple new stone carving projects while the graham’s were here. it was a nice visit that saw us going on a safari in Kruger National Park (www.krugerpark.co.za/) as well as a trip to Cape Town. I loved CT a lot. It was the first time I’d travelled there and we were able to rent a car and see much of the spectacular sites that surround the city. of course we walked around Table Mountain and the views were astounding. Cape Point was by far one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever seen. i highly recommend it if anyone’s looking for a vacation get-away. the crime is a lot less rampant in CT as well so it’s a very “European” city with lots to check out. ton and i have already made a deal to try and return if we get the chance.

i also still really want to take a scuba trip to Mozambique before leaving SA. i’ve been told that Ponto d’Ouro is absolutely fabulous in terms of sea life.

big plans.

too much work to even think about travelling further at this point. change is coming though, I can feel it. I like it.

back to the grind in the meantime.

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