Saturday, December 12, 2009

De Aar TOC

Just finished an amazing Training of Coaches with the De Aar school district. 18 teachers and 3 employees of loveLife-South Africa's national HIV/AIDS and life skills education campaign-were trained to be able to deliver the Skillz curriculum to youth. Here is a picture of everybody:

Anna and I just holding a GRS holiday camp next week for kids in Richmond, and then off our separate ways for holiday travels. I am staying in South Africa, driving up the coast with a few other interns surfing, beaching, and so on. Should be great.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Heartbreaking List of Monica's Staggering Problems

We were recently fortunate enough to have purchased for us a spunky little Volkswagen (the Afrikaaners would say Vullksvvahhhggghen) Golf Citi, named Monica because-in this Friends-obsessed household-she now joins our fleet alongside Chandler the Pickup Truck. She is a true, definitional beater.

Monica in better days:

Our suspicions were first aroused when, on her maiden voyage back to Richmond from the purchase site Colesberg, Monica's gas tank leaked out nearly all of its gas. We didn't realize until the morning after, when the smell of a pool of gasoline which had formed overnight caught our attention. A comprehensive list of Monica's faults follows.

- Gas tank major leak (fixed by Schuman the Handyman)

- Oil tank major leak (fixed by Vossie the Mechanic)

- Sound system only works on driver's side speaker (fixed by repeatedly kicking passenger side door)

- Driver side back door will not open (fixed by never using driver side back door)

- "Vehicle Immobilizer" technology appreciated but consantly sets off car alarm at seemingly random intervals (when people look at you strangely while driving around with a car alarm on, fixed by personally knowing every policeman in Richmond)

- Ignition will not turn when it is 95 degrees outside and hotter in the car (fixed by sweat-soaked Chris not being an idiot and realizing that you have to move the steering wheel ever-so-slightly to fix something and prepare for ignition sequence)

- Accelerator pedal stuck to floor (*this actually happened to Anna yeserday; fixed by Schuman the Handyman after Anna careened around Richmond trying not to kill people or donkeys)

Monica goes in to the VW garage in De Aar for a full servicing on January 13th. Pray for us until then.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Kom Manne!!! Kom By Die Soccer Veld!": World AIDS Day Hits Richmond

Today, 1 December, is World AIDS Day. Anna and I wanted to do something big for Grassroot Soccer's operations in Richmond, so we came up with the "World AIDS Day Richmond Dream-Team Match Up." The idea was based around a soccer match of 2 or 3 of the best soccer players drawn from each of Richmond's 9 men's teams. That would give us around 27 players, or enough for 2 full squads and reserves. We would give the players some cool Grassroot Soccer jerseys to play in and keep, and at halftime they would go through some GRS HIV education activities. Meanwhile, tons of fans would come to the event (lured by the prospect of the answer to the question: "What would happen if the best players from our town were all put on the same field and had a clash of the titans?" as well as a prize raffle involving bags of candy, soccer balls, and a World Cup 2010 t-shirt).

We did much of our event advertising by driving around every street in Richmond (not hard), blasting rap music, shouting at people with a megaphone borrowed from the local ANC office and having a bunch of coaches and kids wave the prizes around in the air. Shouts of "Kom! Kom Vandag By Die Soccer Veld!!!" could be heard from here to...a ways that way into the desert.

The "staging area" before the match. We had a dream of an English Premier League-style opening ceremony where the players walk out onto the field holding the hands of cute little kids dressed up in mini jerseys who get to have their dreams come true by holding some mega star's hand for 15 seconds. Johan the Policeman is no Wayne Rooney, but the effect was really cool and the crowd went wild.

These are the two "Dream Teams" lined up before the match. Saddam called out each player by name and acknowledged his normal team in town. Different cadres of fans who support each of Richmond's men's teams could be heard cheering for their favorite players. Pretty cool. You could see it meant a lot to the players to get such special celebrity treatment.

A picture we took with all the players, our (hand-made!) banner, and the massive crowd that showed up for the event.

The players doing GRS games at halftime. This is "Risk Field," a cone slalom relay race where each cone is labeled with a different risk factor for getting HIV/AIDS (e.g. unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, drug/alcohol abuse). At the same time, we had the whole crowd doing a GRS classic called "Find the Ball." Somehow 400 people playing a modified version of the game made it so much better than ever before.

Overall, an amazing event and day in general. Pretty cool to see a huge portion of the town participate in the event, not to mention a lot of our soccer-playing friends on the various teams.