Wednesday, October 1, 2008

UPDATE - September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008

1. Name a type of food where you would normally find Durum?
2. Which of the following is not an onion? Leek Fennel Spring Onion
3. What is the youngest country in the world?
East Timor
4. In which country would you find a smorgasbord?
5. Name 11 countries with oil.
Various answers including Sudan, Angola, US, Mexico, Nigeria, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, Venezuela, etc.
6. If you could only learn 3 languages, which 3 languages would take you the farthest across the world without needing a translator?
Tough question—depends if “farthest” means to the most countries or to the most people
7. What is the basic ingredient used to make hummus?
Chick Peas
8. Out of turkey, chicken, goose, and gammon which one doesn’t belong in the group?
9. Which one doesn’t belong in the group?
Omelets pancakes soufflé fondue
10. Botulism is a rare form of what?
Disease or Paralytic Disease
11. Champignon is the French word for what?
12. Which one doesn’t belong in the group?
Lasagna risotto fettuccine ravioli

I’ve had a few people think I was a vegetarian and become disappointed that I wasn’t. I tell them I was. And they always say, “But you look like a vegetarian.” “Or you have a vegetarian’s personality,” or “You seemed like a vegetarian.” If, with my personality, I have defamed any of you vegetarians out there by living a lie in this guise, I sincerely apologize and ask forgiveness as I may do it in the future.


Happy Birthday to Jeannie, Credell, Pat, Brian, Kim F., Kent F., my moms, Papi, Tito, Efrat, Van, Michael, Van, Elisa, and everyone else I missed recently or will miss. I pray it was joyous and most days of the year can be a celebration for you as well.

Here are pictures of the work of Hurricane Ike along the Gulf Coast.

Other than that, my church had its 4th annual student & 20’s formal which I attended and helped to plan. It was on Tuesday. The 25+ formal was on Friday (yesterday), so I could actually go to both, though I only went to the student & 20’s one which was entitled “A Night at the Oscars.” The 25+ one was called “A Night with the Stars,” so you guessed it: we used the exact same directions for both. I had to order life-sized Oscar statues and find red carpet and order actual Academy award statues to give as awards to people that received the most votes for various categories (people voted when they bought their tickets; we received nominations from all student & 20’s life group leaders). It was a nice event. I wanted to go over the top and have the youth acting as the audience, rope off the red carpet, have video camera men and interviews with photographers and all that. I heard people say that it wasn’t as good as last year. I think that’s because they didn’t like having mc’s and then different people come up to be presenters and things like that. I’m not sure. After all 8 awards and two performances were done (by the time we ate dessert), we did a few thank you’s and then started the DJ music. The black-and-white checkered floor was moldy due to strong rains that entered the building. We didn’t kill the mold. Someone just painted over it for the white squares, though you could still notice something was wrong with the floor. But in the dark, people had fun. On Friday, I decided to help out with Melissa. We went shopping for a barbecue she was hosting for her group during an Alpha course for university students that our church hosted. It was a reunion for her group. We had a great time, and I really enjoyed it. And I’m glad I helped. I really wanted to be at the adult formal especially because they were going to have a live jazz band (not for the whole time) and I was hoping you could dance to it and not only to a dj (they could do the trick where the band only performs during the meal).

At the one I organized on Tuesday we lost some waiters, so I ended up serving the table at which I was seated. Imagine their surprise when I introduced myself as the waiter while the open seat was for me. I met a few American exchange students I hadn’t met before.

At my church we have had two American couples from Ashville, NC arrive. One couple has a child of 1 year or less; the mother is hearing impaired and I thought she didn’t like me because I didn’t understand what her name was the first time she said it.

And we’ve had two youth volunteers arrive. One girl came from Hawaii under the official FYP (Frontiers Year Programme – I don’t know the name) program, and the other came from France on his own so he doesn’t have to attend FYP trainings. He’s cool. His name is Nathaniel and he knows Bronwyn a friend from church under whom I work. Bronwyn, the children’s administrator, is the ex-fiancé of Nathaniel’s sister’s fiancé’s brother. So they have known about each other and finally met.


Other than that I went to a wonderful birthday party. It was wonderful because it was Jeannie’s. She had a joint party on Tuesday when I had the formal, but the Saturday before, she had her own. She chose for us all to go see a show called “Puppetry of the Penis.” I had seen the signs but had no desire to go nor to even find out specifically what is was about though I wondered. She kept asking if I wanted to be there, but of course, I was there for her birthday not for the show. Anyway, it appears that two men have made money for the past two years bending their genitalia in different shapes like a sailboat, a hamburger, or a –I don’t even remember. It’s a bit strange; they had a book that they opened on stage, but I thought they were joking. . . .they were serious. They had a table outside afterwards with their book and DVD. So I couldn’t figure out how they made the money to support themselves, but then I realized that people go to see them. We were there to see them. The two girls next to me got up and walked out during the show. It’s hard to understand exactly. The girls on my left got up and left while the guy on my right was laughing sooo hard. I tried to understand how it was super funny. I don’t think it was. Someone later said it was amusing. But some people were laughing like it was hilarious. I think it was what you might call gross or weird or shocking or strange, but it never produced the desire to strongly laugh.

Sadly the theatre wasn’t completely full. I don’t think it was even half full so they asked us to tell our friends because they had three shows the following week (this week that just ended). I’m not sure how they fared. But this was there goodbye tour. I felt for them somewhat because they had altered the shape/length of themselves by all the constant pulling and stretching.

The vegetarian restaurant we went to afterwards was really nice. And the best thing was that I saw Jeannie alive. Back around June, say 3 months ago, it was as if she disappeared. It was hard to reach her. But it turns out she was just sick. She’s still sick as she relapses and collects new viruses. But she is doing better and she’s seen the doctor somewhere in there. And she’s writing up her the—well she’s doing the research (interviews) and dj'ing and dancing. So she seems to be enjoying life. It was nice to get together to celebrate her. I even got to see Kristin which is a friend of hers that I enjoy watching grow.


Well, it finally happened. I had my first crime incident, and it only took a year. But luckily this was not a personal crime incident, and I will explain what that means when I tell you what happened.

I was sick, remember. And I had to go to the doctor. Melissa offered to take me (she’s like my sister here), and she asked if I could go with her to turn in some theses (8 copies of her thesis and 8 copies of the thesis of her friend) to a bookbinder to bind them. I told her she could go while I was at the doctor’s office. She said no, that she wanted me to come. I didn’t understand why, but I don’t ask a lot of questions. I said it was fine. After my doctor’s visit during which the doctor point blank asked me, “Why did you come to me? I mean, I’m just curious. What did you honestly expect me to do?” we went on our merry way to get the theses bound. The funny thing is that we went to Woodstock.

Woodstock is a “tough” southern suburb of Cape Town. You’re not supposed to go there at night alone. Granted, there is a good part of Woodstock and a not so good part, but in the daylight it all looks the same. You can definitely tell you’re not in the US, but it’s not fully developing-nation-looking. It looks like its bordering on slums but it’s not there yet. Anyway, we looked for parking on a side street off the main road, and we parked maybe 30 meters from the intersection of the main road and this side street. The bookbinder was exactly on the corner but on the opposite side of where we parked our car.

We went in and immediately were unsure if this was a bookbinder or a haunted house. I mean it looked sketchy. After finally opening the heavy door with the huge combination lock on it, and going up the decrepit stairs to the top we soon saw book binding equipment and realized it was the right place. Though they had no automatic machines or computerized assembly or automation, it was a book binder.

During the course of the conversation with the main guy, it became apparent that he had to alter the fold of a foldout page on the thesis of Melissa’s friend, so Melissa needed to call her if that was ok. Realizing her phone was still in the car, she asked if I could get it especially after the book binder-guy said it’s dangerous to leave it there. I went down, cross the street, opened the car, and searched. It took me 5 minutes but I found the phone eventually. Melissa’s backpack was still on the floor of the front passenger side. I left it there and went back. Before I made I left the car, though, a guy at a business on the side of the street we parked said something to me as he passed by, looking at the car. I thought he was wondering why we parked in front of his business on the sidewalk (sidewalk parking is normal in South Africa). But he gave a look like I needed to move it or like he was interesting in some mischief. I’m not sure.

I went back. We came back maybe 10-15 minutes later, and the passenger’s window was smashed completely and Melissa’s bag was gone. I call this an impersonal crime because it was not one in which someone accosted me directly or mugged or robbed or assaulted me. It just happened to the car we were using while we were away. I actually couldn’t believe it. I had never ever experienced anything close to this in my real life in the U.S. So it was strange. Immediately as we were standing there two guys came out asking us all sorts of questions about why we would leave a bag in plain sight (you don’t do that in South Africa) and not put it in the trunk. They said they saw the two guys break it grab something and run towards the main road and turn the corner. They asked if it was black. Melissa’s bag was tan/cream/beige, but perhaps they were telling the truth. They tried to help us. They asked why we didn’t park the car in the garage (the mechanic’s shop next to the book binder across the street) instead of on the street. We didn’t know. But we asked the mechanic if we could leave it there while we filed a police report. The mechanic was very kind and let us leave it and told us that just yesterday two guys tried to rob the place across the street, the same place that the guy went into who was looking at the car when I was getting the phone out. Compared to most South African cars, to be honest, Melissa’s is a nice one. Perhaps it’s just within the student car market. Students tend to have not-so-great cars compared to what I’m used to seeing in the US. But she has a nice one.

So Melissa and I had to go to the Police Station and file a report. If you’ve ever visited South Africa you know administration is not its strong point (I’m currently going through this right now as an official illegal resident). The police took there time, were confused, had conversations while we waited. Finally, I called one guy (a different one) and asked if they could help us. So he did. We filled out forms on identity, description, location, Melissa’s life, our childhood, and the color of sheets from Mongolia. I mean there must have been 10 forms to fill out. Finally it was done, and we got information (we had to push to get it) for a case number to use for the insurance claim. The police told us that they probably discarded the bag when they realized that there was nothing important in it.

That was a funny point in the entire day when the police asked what was in the bag. Melissa said, “My research papers, my ID, my diary, my Bible---“
“yeah, yeah, anything important?”
“Those are important TO ME!” she cried.

We laughed about that. The two guys who Melissa thinks stole it—they also said something like “Oh nothing important, then.”

We laughed really hard. She was clueless about her meetings for the next two weeks and had to get copies of research papers. She also had to get a new ID.

Still, we made it out unscathed for which I thank God. And she was able to get the window replaced within 24 hours with her insurance (thank goodness as those guys can be misers when it comes to claims and vultures when it comes to premiums and deductibles).

Here in South Africa a common line of conversation is what you would do when someone attacks you. The reason it comes up is some of the people I know who thought they would just lie on the floor and say “just make it quick” or “don’t make it hurt” or turn over their entire wallet/purse and hand-lead them to the nearest ATM to give them more money—some of these people actually said “no” or fought back. They were even shocked at their actions while they were happening, as if watching themselves from outside their bodies not recognizing the person who is being resistant. These people tell me you never know what you would actually do. And luckily, by nature of the conversation, all those that were resistant are still alive. There are stories where it does not go so well.

Ahhh, South Africa. Crime is everywhere. Anytime any day anyone.


Let’s see—where to begin. I don’t want to write too much but I’ve never seen so much happen in one week in the country of my current residence. It boggles my mind. You remember the court case against Zuma that I mentioned before?

Well, the problem is that the judge did not only rightfully (technically correct let me say) throw out the case because it was procedurally incorrect. (They were required to inform Zuma that they wanted to charge him so he could make representation. This was not done.) He went one unnecessary step further: he said he believed that the decision to recharge Zuma may have been politically influenced. Though the judge used conditional and potential words (softeners) like “appears” and “may,” the ANC (main party) took those words and ran with it. Both Mbeki and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) say that the judges comment is untrue or “nonsense,” that Mbeki and his ministers (cabinet) did not exert undue pressure on the NPA to recharge Zuma and go after him.

But you see, people have been trying to get rid of Mbeki for awhile. Even after being here for over a year, I have difficulty finding out what specifically Mbeki did that angered his fellow ANC party members. All I can tell you is vague. During his two terms he was accused of centralizing power in his hands, being arrogant, and being aloof (perhaps intellectually elitist). The Economist says Mark Gevisser (one of his biographers) says he rewarded loyalty over competence and sidelined rivals and dissenters creating a coalition that coalesced around Mr. Zuma (trade unions and communist allies felt ignored).

So after Mbeki fired Zuma in 2005 amidst allegations of corruption and fraud when his financial advisor (Shaik) was indicted for corruption and fraud, it’s safe to say Zuma was not happy and has not been ever since. In fact that is when the anti-Mbeki faction began to grow up to this point 3 years later. They did not like Mbeki seemingly shielding Jackie Selebi who was facing corruption charges as the national police chief, and they did not like when Mbeki ran for president of the ANC against Zuma when people within the party already endorsed Zuma. So Mbeki lost that race last year in December, I believe it was.

So when the judge implied that the Mbeki administration may have meddled in the Zuma case, ANC leadership met through the night last Friday night. And in the wee hours of the morning they decided to drop Mbeki, the 2nd president of the New South Africa. It’s rather strange for someone from the US, because in the US you elect a candidate. Here we elect and vote for a party. So the party can axe politicians—governors (the heads of two states—Western Cape (where I live) and the Eastern Cape (where Haley lives)—were earlier forced to resign. It’s a different system. Here we elect a party.

So Mbeki on Sunday night gave a farewell speech to the nation. I hoped he would cry or emote in one way or another but newspapers report he was the same stoic man. Remember many people still feel that they should have let him just finish his term (elections are in April 2009). But even with most of the country in shock or joy, Mbeki did tell of the good that happened under his watch.

The economy of South Africa is doing relatively well and still improving since apartheid’s economic destruction (4.5% growth per year since apartheid). The government is running a surplus. The high unemployment (25-40%) has been decreasing sharply.

Mbeki was deputy president under Mandela, so he has been serving as deputy or president for 15 years. He does have some blemishes though. He is known internationally for his AIDS "denialism" (he questioned the link between HIV and AIDS and questioned antiretroviral efficacy). Violent crime and socioeconomic inequalities are huge problems here still today. We’re battling power cuts around the country, and people criticize his handling of negotiations with countries like Zimbabwe (he has had successful negotiations with countries in Africa).

I could say more about both, but since that Friday meeting last week and the Saturday morning decision and the Sunday official resignation, more has happened. The deputy president and 10 ministers stepped down. Trevor Manuel, who I think would be a great candidate for president (but he lives in a South Africa that has trouble electing a coloured or white person) was one of the ministers. So the rand lost value because investors (oh those investors!) thought the handling of finances would go to shambles, I’m assuming. Remember, Manuel has won international awards for his fiscal work here in South Africa. And he is respected by all peoples in the public eye.

Right at this time, my housemate, Anna received a paypal transaction for Obama beadwork from Americans. She was sad because Paypal charges a percentage fee. So on $400+ payment she lost $17 which is a lot in South African rand (our currency), but then the rand dropped in value because Manuel stepped down. So it change the amount of the $17 for her. But now Manuel and others have agreed to be reappointed under the new president though I don’t know if any will serve under Zuma. So the rand climbed again.

In the meantime, on Thursday (two days ago) Motlanthe was appointed the acting president (voted by parliament not the ANC) until the next elections next year. He may or may not reappoint Manuel. We shall see. In voting for Motlanthe all the opposition parties wanted to band together to offer a different candidate who could possibly win as acting president. Instead the DA (party of the mayor of Cape Town) decided to split from the other opposition parties and offer their own candidate, a person who did not win as head of the DA (you might think they would offer the head of the DA).

So Motlanthe won; he’s a Zuma ally and supporter.

Zuma is a populist; he says and does what the people want. He doesn’t reign in the comments of his followers (like the guy who said he and the Youth League were ready to kill for Zuma). In the sense of having his ear to the ground and listening to the everyday people, he would actually make a good president. In terms of fiscal policy or any policy I have no idea on that one. And people are scared. He has evaded charges now 4 times, I believe (there was a rape charge in 2006 for which he was acquitted). So though his followers claim the judiciary arm of the government is biased, it’s hard to see that, especially after the ruling that gave ANC top leaders enough to call a vote to recall Mbeki. It’s one of those situations where the judiciary is biased only when it acts against Zuma, I think.

So Zuma will probably become president, and I was discussing this with an American masters student holding a Rhodes Ambassadorial Scholarship at UCT (she has a two year scholarship). She was saying how EVERYONE she knows does not like Zuma. So she cannot understand where he gets his support and following. I told her I had thought about this before she ever mentioned it because I had the same experience. My conclusion is that I don’t know a great enough cross-section of South Africa; or I don’t know a representative/proportional cross-section of South Africa. I live in Cape Town which is somewhere around 19% white. So I know a LOT of white people and work with a lot of white people compared to the actual population of whites in the country (like 9%). Cape Town is also in the Western Cape which has a large coloured population of close to 50%, so I know a lot of coloured people compared to the 10% of coloureds in the nation.
And we have only 31% Blacks compared to the close to 80% in the country. Besides that, many of the 31% live outside in the townships and come in to town to work. So the people in town tend to be white and coloured and even that is segregated based on the type of neighborhood. So I think a lot of the Black people that support Zuma are not in my sphere. If they are they keep quiet in such circles such as the university or cafes or non-township churches with white people. But I suspect if I go outside these realms, I will find strong Zuma support. As yet, I have not heard one person say she supports Zuma even though I know one of his daughters.

So there we are. A lot of the people around me are angry; they are in shock; some are not that worried that Mbeki left but they don’t want Zuma to become president. Some are angry that Mbeki left and feel he should have been allowed to stay. Some young people are disillusioned and don’t want to vote for a country that doesn’t ask their opinion before ousting a president who they feel is better than the one will come in April next year. So it’s a mess. A lot of people are praying.

In all honesty, I have had a feeling only this year that it would be good for me not to be here in this country after next year. I’m not sure why but it just doesn’t feel like it’s headed in the best direction. Nonetheless, professors and lecturers say it’s good for democracy. I think people only say that when they are distanced from it. But I’m sure if you’re Mbeki your pride is hurt; perhaps you’re relieved that you can get out from the huge burden of your party disliking you and having severe enemies (I didn’t even name the ones that were at the midnight meeting) who wanted you out years ago. Mbeki is trying to appeal the part of the judgment that implicated him as interfering.

And now we jus wait. The NPA has decided to appeal the judges decision but has not filed the papers yet. If they lose the appeal they will decide whether or not to recharge him, but my understanding of how things work here (which is low—my understanding) he should be fine. I doubt Zuma will ever be convicted. If he does get indicted he will go to trial after the elections due to this judgment and the setback to the NPA. The ANC would like the charges to be dropped once and for all. And I believe in November a judge will decide in that manner if it can ever be brought up again.


Well, there’s renewed fighting in Somalia. Pray for them. This has been going on awhile.

In Zimbabwe, they signed that peace deal but the deal is vague and the conditions and specific responsibilities are not clear. Mugabe is the executive president who runs a usual cabinet and creates policy while Tsvangiari is the prime minister who runs a parallel cabinet of ministers that implement policies and legislation.
The JOC (Joint Operations Command I told you about) which includes Mugabe’s top security guys is replaced by a National Security Council on which Tsvangirai has a seat. There is also a Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee which draws from all parties which should help with disputes.

ZANU-PF will get 15 cabinet ministries (the army is one Mugabe will keep) while Tsvangirai and the main MDC will get 13 (probably finance, home, foreign affairs, social service ministries) and Mutumbara and his MDC-spinoff will get 3 for a total of 31 seats. Mugabe must appoint ministers, but he must do it in consultation with Tsvangirai.

But the holes in the deal are as follows:

How are disputes resolved?
What happens to those who committed political violence? Do they get amnesty?
What happens to the victims of political violence and those still in jail?
How do we intend to stop the ZANU-PF violence in the countryside that is still said to continue?
Who gets the Central Intelligence Organization?

The documents say the ousting of farms and land is irreversible and people should appeal to Britain for compensation (the white people were ousted). But property rights and security of the tenure of property should be irrespective of race according to the document. It also abolishes multiple farm ownership (Mugabe has many).

The big question is if the deal will work for the betterment of the country. It’s definitely a psychological shift, but if policies don’t change the 10 million people still left in the country will suffer more and more with inflation being rated at 11million% and some say as high as 40million%. 3 million people have already left the country.


I went to a poetry event on Tuesday night when my body had a relapse due to the viral resurrection, but I had promised to take these American girls to help out my South African friend who is hosting them (10 students at Cornerstone College are hosting 35
American 3-week California exchange students). So we went, and it never fails. For any arts performance featuring the voice (musical theatre, vocal music concert, opera, play, etc.) there is always at least one other non-English language. This one had complete poems in other languages. And the host kept speaking in Xhosa with a mix of English. At first it was normal and cute like the TV soap operas without the subtitles for the Xhosa words. But without the English subtitles you sometimes miss the Xhosa (or most of the time) words. Then I started not to like it because it becomes alienating I thought. She started speaking in Xhosa for extended periods of time and it was nonsensical. Anyway, there were two warrior/praise Xhosa poets that were cool. I really appreciated them. Everything else that was American was not so great for me as I have been burned out on the American scene where poetry events start with such artistic integrity in creativity and then mutate into an event where everything is angry and about either race, sex, or other oppression. That’s why I’ve sometimes enjoyed going to performances of what I call non-performance poetry because the range of topics is greater and creativity hasn’t been loss. You can here poems about the flowers, about miracles, about the mirror, about anything. I miss that.

Moreover, many poets don’t realize that simply complaining about the system and criticizing it is a weak position and bolsters any establishment. Instead you have to offer an alternative, a viable one and then you add credibility. Then people have to take you seriously, then people must consider your other option. As long as its complaints, as Jim Wallis says, it’s just taken as the routine, perfunctory, and institutional minority opposition opinion and things remain status quo. In other words, we expect a minority opinion to differ and may even LOOK for it to know that we are on track. Same with Iraq; if you disagreed you had to have given an alternative to add fuel to your case otherwise, it counterproductively fuels the mainstream flow or status quo. Incidentally there were a group of churches from across the globe that came together and did just that (minus the Southern Baptists—they did not denounce it).

So it was interesting watching the people put on American accents or the South Africans who talk like Americans because they watch a lot of movies and TV or hang around Americans and imitate. Perhaps people might say the same for me, I don’t know. But I disdain when the profanity and presentation takes more importance than the content. Give me content, content, content. The same thing happens in the music industry.

But I did enjoy seeing the African poets. I hadn’t seen people doing spoken word from their culture here, appropriated and acculturated. I enjoyed that. And there were a few good American-style spoken word poems that were uplifting and encouraging.

Who I Am Listening To:

Hugh Masekela (South African Jazz Trumpet Player; biggest Jazz artist here)
Flamenco music (various artists)
Norah Jones
Miles Davis
Alison Krause
Passion of Christ Soundtrack
Michael Buble
Ben Harper
Blind Boys of Alabama


I have a friend of friend who is a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa in the Northwest Province. She has a project she is doing with her students and kids and she needs some help. I truly invite you to join with her and partner on this project. The time commitment is minimal. But see if you are interested and would like to help. Whether or not you are, please pass it on as it’s a worthwhile venture that the students are really excited about.
The letter is below.

Hey everybody,

Forgive me for sending an email to everyone who has managed to make it onto my contact list, but I'm working on a project and I could use a whole lot of help.

Below is a letter explaining our project and the type of help I need. Please take a minute and read it, and if you can't help please pass this along to anyone you know who can help. We already have lots of people to correspond with in the US, so if you're living there and you know someone living abroad, if you can forward this email to them I'd be super thankful (not that I want this to become one of those chain letters that you email to everyone you know...please, please don't do that!).

Questions? Email me back!

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thutlwane Village, North West Province, South Africa. Earlier this year, there was a rash of xenophobic attacks on immigrants from African and Asian nations in which over 20 people died and thousands were displaced. Unfortunately, I also witness xenophobia in my community. I decided I wanted to combat the isolation and ignorance that breeds xenophobic hate and fear by helping the students at my middle school learn about different cultures and countries around the world. From this decision the Gaserengwe Middle School World Map Project was born.

The project uses the World Map Project Handbook to create a world map mural. My students and I have chosen to expand this project to include both primary and secondary research on countries around the world, and a community event to unveil our mural and share what we have learned about other countries.

Students involved in the project have amazed me with their enthusiasm for the project and their ambition. The students set their own goals for the project and then broke those goals down into the tasks that we are working together to fulfill. Their goals are:
- Our goal is to get a president (past or present) of South Africa to come to Thutlwane Village to see our project.
- Our goal is to invite the community and have more than 50 people from the community come to International Day.
- Our goal is to make a mural of a world map that is attractive to people.
- Our goal is to invite people from other countries and have 10-20 people from other countries come to International Day.
- Our goal is to contact at least 100 people from other countries in order to learn about their country and culture.

It is this last goal I am writing to request help with. Students in the project would like to write to people around the world in order to get primary information on a variety of nations. I am hoping that I can connect my students with people living in nations all over the world who would be interested in corresponding with my students (one or two letters). We are planning on communicating primarily through the post, but we also have limited email access and would be open to corresponding electronically.

Any assistance would be appreciated. As you can see, the students have set lofty goals but their commitment and excitement have re-inspired me to do everything I can to support their dreams. I hope you will also work to support their efforts.

In the spirit of dreaming big and effecting positive change,

Erin "Refilwe" Gannon
P.O. Box 1973
Mafikeng 2745
South Africa