Wednesday, May 31, 2006

South African Directions

Photo taken April 15, 2006 from a bus, eating lunch and (I think) an unwashed apple.

Scouts and Flag

At a recent bridge ceremony. . . Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

An Engineer looks at Noah

I've recently been reading a book about math and numbers.

This book makes a couple of assumptions then postulates an outcome that causes me (the engineer) to say (cleverly) "humh?" One of the stories is about Noah and the storm.

It rained for 40 days and nights. There was no place for the dove to land, therefore, all of the mountains in the world were covered.

So, given these starting points and assumming (conservatively) that the tallest mountain in the area was (say) 15,000 feet above sea-level; it must have rained 15,000 feet of rain in 40 days -- or about 15.62 feet of rain per hour.

Said another way, every hour for forty days, New Orleans deepest flood was created and surpassed.

I am not taking a stand either way as I (like Fox Mulder) want to believe.

[Hey, what happened to the fresh water fish?]

But the Creator gave me me, just as I am, for a reason. That is a lot of rain, isn't it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day and Self-Imposed Deadline

Perhaps there can be some sort of middle of the road compromise between being here and doing the things that need to be done elsewhere.

I was quite happy that I completed my goals from the previous post AND was able to give a little Mother's Day gift of a relatively free afternoon (ok #4 was sleeping at home, but it was relatively free) .
The kids (and their dad) liked the park and the catepillars [man, that was a spelling word for Kira last week, I hope that I just spelled it correctly.]

On another front and as a part of the journey, today I found a $5 bill in a ziplock bag that Crossroads had given me (along with the rest of the congregation also receiving other denominations). This happened about a 1 1/2 ago and I never gave it to someone that just might need it (e.g., someone in the grocery line a little short, someone that needed just a little something extra, etc.).

Well, while completing one of the weekend tasks that was on my list, I found the ziplock bag. And as I was going to complete the other tasks (the letters), it occurred to me that I'll just send along the $5 bill (bag and all) to one of the people in South Africa.

To me, it is only five dollars, but perhaps, just perhaps, the thirty (South African) Rand that it turns into will be a blessing of (a) completing my task of letters and (b) completing my task of giving from 18 months ago.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Top of the World, Dad

The funny thing about being a person is that items at-hand are frequently of utmost importance.

We've been away from Mamelodi, South Africa for a couple of weeks now. As amazing (and easy) as it was to acclimate to things there - no grass, lots of trash, fires burning (seemingly at random, but without alarm), business under blue tarps, not going out at night as it is too dangerous, large amounts of pulp in OJ . . . it is just as easy to acclimate to things back here in the US (and away from SA).

There are things that I wanted to do upon return to the US, but now they have become a lesser priority as (well) I am continuing to live my life here (with its (possibly relatively trivial) issues and problems). There are letters/postcards (it'll cost only 84 cents to mail) that I'd like to write to Raymond and to Nancy.

Heck (actually, I'd like to write Hell, so) Hell, there are some minor amounts of cash that I'd like to send to some people there -- just to make. . . well, I don't think that I can call it a dent. . . just to make a statement -- "I remember you and I hope that you are doing well; perhaps this will make your day a little better" type of letter.

So, why haven't I?

Because, perhaps, I've drifted away from the experience a little, because my "remember-Mamelodi" button is inoperative. Because (well) I'm (a) human, I'm a husband. I'm a father, I'm an employee.

Because the things at hand are not out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Because in Dave-World, pushing a swing loaded with a just over 1,000,000 minutes old person is pretty darn important; giving a hug to someone that has donated her (now-shorter) hair is pretty darn important, too. As is cutting the hang-toenail of #3 while he sleeps and handing a wrench to #2 to fix a bike. Because talking to one's wife over the sound of rain and wind is fun.

So, here is the deal: If you went on the trip to Mamelodi, do one (just one) of the things that you thought of over there that you really ought to do when you're back over here. Do the one that just popped into your mind just now. Write it down ('cause if you don't within 9 seconds, studies show that you probably won't). Put it on your 'fridge or in your calendar. And don't Nike it, but plain and simple "Do It".

If you didn't go to South Africa. Great, thanks for being part of the support team. But, when you read the above statement, you thought of something useful/good/supportive that you wanted to do. It might have been to write your Mom (when is that Hallmark-created holiday anyway - is it this weekend or next?), to pick up some trash, or to schedule (really schedule and then follow through with) some quality time with your son, daughter, Mom, Dad, friend, book, dog (sorry, but cats don't fall into this category). And once again, "Do It".

Do the Important, I want to help friends/society/the-world thing. Do the I-say-that-I-don't-have-time-but-its-just-an-excuse thing that you've been meaning to do.

Do It by Sunday Evening . . . and then celebrate the Did It.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I've been back for over a week. Here are some differences that I wrote down during the first day of return.

911 and/or Police - when things go bad around our house, we are able to dial three digits and get help. In Mamelodi when the neighbor's music went on to 2 a. m. and she was trying to get some sleep, there was no one to call for assistance to ask for assistance with the neighbors. Nights are spent getting used to bad, loud music.

Friends/Family - In Mamelodi, Friends are of paramount importance. They are the lifeline to getting along, to being entertained, and to the extended Family. In the US, things are the same . . . sort of. Here, one has to consciencously plan to spend time with Friends to make the extended Family work.

Health Care - Here our kids go for annual checkup to make sure that things are progressing healthily. There, kids are apparently healty, but all of the kids and youth appear much younger than their US counterparts. Even the 18 year old in South Africa looks to be about 14 or 15. It's different.

Water - There, every formal settlement home is entitled to water (and power). The water there is potable by South African standards. But the standard varies.

CNN, TV, and radio (for the most part)- Same. Only difference is the quality of the reception. Both South Africa and the US lose here.

Gas Prices - Here high and we hear about it in the media. There, sold by the liter and high too.

Airplanes - During the week there, I saw two airplanes and one helicopter all week. We have some privledges here (that aren't too expensive).

Electric Tools (or anything not-man-powered) - Here, ironically, we want cordless tools. There, we would have been very grateful for a corded circular saw or electric concrete mixer.

A/C - Here, I don't want to say that it is needed, but it is appreciated. There, it was autumn, so I don't quite know how it might be come summer.

Supermarket - Here, we take a trip to Kroger for granted. There, chickens are sold plucked on the street. So are their feet.

Swingset - Here, many backyards have one. There, the church has one that was just painted.

Fridge - We have two. There, well, I don't remember seeing any in the houses.

That is all. Food for thought.