"The master in the ART of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion" -- James Michener

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chase Community Giving Contest Vote for Grassroot Soccer

Vote for GRS to win $500,000: http://bit.ly/eJtKKq

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. We conduct HIV prevention and life skills interventions in over 15 countries, to provide youth with the knowledge, skills, and support to live healthier lives. GRS has graduated 400,000 youth worldwide. In response to overwhelming research promoting the value of girls’ participation in sport, coupled with the need for effective HIV prevention, GRS launched Skillz Street in South Africa in 2010. This girl-centered initiative creates a safe space for adolescent girls to play soccer, take action in their community, and have vital conversations about HIV and AIDS. Our Big Idea is to implement Skillz Street in locations throughout South Africa in 2011. In 2012, GRS will bring this innovative program to scale by sharing it with our global partners, enabling us to reach girls around the world.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aaaaand Were Back!

OK, So I've been terrible at the updates. Heres the latest news:

Last week I came back from a wonderful holiday in Zambia and Botswana. Hannah, Mike, Sara and I visited Victoria Falls, Lusaka and Chobe National Park. This was such a refreshing and different experience from Cape Town and Most of South Africa. WHAT a blast!

Below are some highlight pictures and the link to my picassa album.

Monday, March 28, 2011


There are a couple slogans that newcomers learn the meaning of quickly and learn to use often. Anyone who has traveled and stayed in a foreign place for any extended period of time knows that each destination comes with its particular quirks; but to my experience, and to many others, Africa is a step above the rest. These two slogans play out in many different ways in our every day lives. These two sayings are TIA: this is Africa and AWA: Africa wins always.

On a broad scale it means that foreigners living in Africa, and even to some extent locals, can’t expect everyday things to work out exactly on time or as planned. When your package is lost in the mail, someone will gently pat you on the back and say “so sorry, TIA” and you learn to just accept those things as they come. Another example is when you acquire, which eventually everyone is bound to, what we call the African Sickness.This is some nebulous conglomeration of gastrointestinal symptoms that can play out in a variety of different endings. I had the privilege of an African experience with my mother when I had to drive her home from dinner because shewasn’t feeling well. After we had pulled over so she could lose her lunch on the side of the road. I had to rubher back and say “So sorry mama, AWA.”

This mother-daughter bonding experience happened in the middle of my parent’s trip tocome see me, which was admittedly one of the highlights of my time here. I was able to experience my father driving on the left side of the road which means one of the anthems of the trip was “keep left, keep left, keep left!” Even in their short time here they were able to experience many TIA moments.Their luggage was lost so they were three days without clothes. When they went to go pick up their baggage at the airport, the airport was actually delivering it to the place we were staying due to lack of communication so they passed each other on their way. Additionally, my admittedly micromanaged itinerary for them was shot to pieces and we pretty much just winged it for a week. “This and that restaurant don’t serve dinner on every other Tuesday or you cant make it down to Cape Point on Saturday because of the biggest cycling race of the year, you cant go out to the townships for the rest of the week becuause of taxi strikes, etc., etc. ”

Nonetheless, we had a blast, were eventually able to do almost everything we wanted to and Mom and Dad had the best cultural experience of all which is becoming intimately acquainted with saying TIA and AWA.

Marla, my dedicated reader, I hope this is sufficient and I am so sorry the lag time between posts. TIA, wink wink.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Social Advance Gauntlet that is Cape Town

Race and gender relations in South Africa is something that I will not even pretend to understand but I think I can safely say that its a force affects all of the girls that I live with. Capetonian men of all races and classes tend to be pretty forward and us GRS women have definitely felt the heat in our short stay here. As if wearing matching bright yellow T-shirts with the GRS logo isn’t enough, walking in a large gaggle of, if I may say so myself, attractive girls, brings about a lot of attention, especially if you are wearing shorts or skirts (which by the way is completely acceptable and normal dress for many locals, not the case in many more rural places around Africa) and especially if you are American. This has somewhat forced us to develop a sense of humor about these encounters because, quite frankly, many of them are absolutely ridiculous. Below is a list of the relatively PG rated advances that we as a group have endured.

  • “Excuse me, excuse me! Thank you for your beautiful legs.”
  • “Ive seen you before, and I like you.”
  • Standing in nothing but his tighty whitie underpants “Can I take a picture with you?”
  • Wasted bum: “I louf you, we would make a great Top Deck” (chocolate bar that is layered with both milk and white chocolate, sometimes used to describe mixed race couples)
  • Chasing us out of a gas station at 2am “Excuse me, you are really beautiful…(questioning looks from our side)…. thought I would give it a try!”
  • Drive by “I love you!”
  • Toothless car guard serenading us with “I want to know what love is!”
  • “Ladies! Ladies! Would you like a haircut?…. Can I have a ride?… I’ll buy you beer, Black Label!” To Talia and I in our car, stopped at a light.
  • “You have the legs of an African!”

These are just the ones that stand out from the usual "hello sisi," "hey ladies," kissy noises and generally suggestive looks. Can’t blame them for trying a multitude of different approaches. More to come as incidents occur.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kidney Bean Couches

Traveling always poses an array of challenges and experiences. We all have our stories but this one I found particularly amusing for some reason. Apparently amusing enough to take pictures. Mike and I traveled back from Boston to London Heathrow together, from there we were traveling to our respective GRS sites. Were were sleep deprived jumping on the plane from Boston and were only more so when we arrived at Heathrow. After a meal, a game of Scrabble and many games of Connect 4, we realized that staying awake was a miserable prospect. Walking into the main terminal of Heathrow we see five of the largest couches we have ever seen. They are red leather and shaped like concave kidney beans. All of them were occupied so we sat down nearby to wait for one to become vacant. After about ten minutes of dozing in chairs a lady stands up and I promptly sprinted over to the kidney bean couch, realizing midd run that I was apparently racing a 10 year old boy and had beat him to our destination. I felt bad, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He could fall asleep on his mom, I was going to fall asleep on that couch. Mike and I passed out for abut 4 hours in the busiest terminal of Heathrow. Wrapping our heads in sweatshirts, we tried to create the illusion we were anywhere but there, yet it ended up being one of the most rejuvenating and needed sleeps I have had in a while. Oh, the places you'll go.

Forgive our faces, we were tired.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


So I am finally back in Cape Town and through the dark throws of jetlag. After almost a month back at home in the good ol’ USofA I, admittedly, had a hard time adjusting this week. Apparently, it is really tough to get used to copious amounts of sunshine, warmth and the general wonderfulness that is the Capetonian
summer. I have big plans this weekend to catch back up on my tan, read a good book and really get some good sleep in.

On my first grocery trip back I was SO tired that all I could bring myself to buy was oatmeal, yoghurt and MANGOES, which are the most heavenly fruit when they are the real deal. Granted we have to trade Avocado season for mango season but in my eyes it is a timely switch. My roommate witnessed me have my first go at eating a whole mango. I started out with complete civility pealing the skin with a knife then systematically cutting the flesh off around the pit. Yet, the trouble is, after the knife cant go any further, there is still so much mango left. SO I did as I saw my African babies do in Malawi, which was bite right into the pit and scrape the extra meat off. I ended up with juice up to my elbows, all over my face and running down my legs. Quite the scene. Good to be back.