Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hamas and the Holy Land

Many people have been asking me recently about my opinions on the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections. Although it has been almost seven years since I lived in the Holy Land, I still feel a strong connection to the land and its people. I don't think there is another place in the world where politics and religion are so intimately and passionately intertwined. If you've ever been there, you know that there is an evergy in the region that grips your heart and awakens your consciousness. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that will never go away as the voices of moderation continue to be drowned out by the extreme saber rattling factions on either side of the fence. Leonard Cohen once had this to say, "I've seen the nations rise and fall, I've heard your stories heard them all, but love is the only machine of survival." When looking at the current state of Israel and Palestine, I could not agree more.

One Love Brother

Sometimes I want nothing more
Than to know how I can love you
We are brothers standing here
On either side of this wall
That has existed
In one form or another
For the past 3000 years
When will we finally see
That it is one Father we serve
One Mother that gave us birth
One Blood that unites us
and one Love that will save us

How did this victory happen?
Through the spiral of violence
That has been tolerated
Throughout the Generations
And now is roaring loudly
And gnashing its teeth
At the branches of olives

To cross this sea
That divides us from heaven on earth
We must balance on this boat
Each digging the oar in deep
And each trimming the sail
Why must we rock this vessel
And incite the storms of destruction
That are gathering as we posture
And sharpen our swords

Monday, January 30, 2006


Hey this notice is for all you peggers out there. When was the last time you had the chance to partake in a spectacular display of Icelandic culture? My guess is that it has proabably been a while. Well now you have the chance to see some incredible Icelandic dancing, music and artwork while supporting some beautiful local Icelanders in the process. I'll let the words of Kristjanna Oleson explain the rest:

Hey everyone,

Well, a new exciting project is about to be launched. Come out and join! It's cheap cheap cheap... and the beginning of an epic project in the works. I can't tell you how excited we are and how much of a dream come true this is for me and my partner in crime, dancer/painter extraordinaire Freya Olafson. The Oleson and Olafson duo will be performing this wonderful multi-media piece

"The New Icelander: The Search for Sessilia"
at the Contemporary Dancer's studio, 211 Bannatyne
Thursday February 9th and Saturday February 11th,
both shows start at 8 pm.
The piece will run aproximately 40 minutes
$5.00 at the door

-in association with Plug-in Art Gallery and The Icelandic Consolate

reception to follow both nights in MCMA (right beside Contemporary Dancers) with wine and beer for all. For drinks we ask for a small donation...

Other musicians include Rob (DJ from Absent Sound)
David Schneider - (recorded)
Mathew Kroeker - (dij-recorded)
Constantine Caravassillis (composer - piece for CD and amplified viola)
And Kristjanna Oleson (composer/violin/viola/mountain dulcimer/guitar/sample sounds-recorded and manipulated)

This is the beginning of something big....
Come out and celebrate the beginning of the Search....

see you there!
much love
Kristjanna Oleson

-here's to all of our dreams -

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Walking in the Sand

This past weekend presented yet another opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of Maputo and head out with some friends for a camping trip. This time the destination was Bilene Beach, about two hours north of Maputo. The crew all headed up after work on Friday but I stuck around for a birthday party, of which at one point we had 10 different nationalities represented at the dinner table!! In a classic picture of ex-pat life in Africa, each one of us was somehow working in development for a different NGO. It certainly exposes you to how other cultures approach the issue of development and their role as foreigners here in Africa. There certainly was no shortage of interesting people around the table that’s for sure.

The next morning I got up bright and early and hopped on a northbound chapa, determined to get to the beach before noon. My journey was stalled at the dusty town of Macia where I had to catch a second chapa to take me the remaining 35 km to Bilene. Unfortunately, not a lot of tourists were lining up for rides and the chapa drivers wanted to wait until they had a full load. It was looking like I was going to wait at least three hours. One of the motoristas, who thought I was South African, offered to personally drive me the 35 km for a cool 130 Rand ($22 Cdn). I told him he was crazy and tried my luck at thumbing my way to Bilene. Sure enough, within two minutes I was picked up by a wealthy Portuguese landowner in a huge air conditioned ¾ ton truck. He loved the fact that I was Canadian and rambled on about all of the friends he had in my country. Despite informing my driver that my Portuguese was still in its infancy, he went on at a frantic pace about the glory years of Mozambique (pre-1975 of course) and the triumphs of the Portuguese Empire.

The town of Bilene is situated beside a large salt water lagoon that pours into the Indian Ocean about 5km away. The lagoon is very shallow and you can almost walk halfway across (very strange). To get to the ocean you have to take one of the small ferries run by the locals, who notoriously gauge unsuspecting tourists. I figured that I was in for a real hit to the wallet when I spotted a tiny ferry being boarded by a middle aged Mozambican couple. I quickly hopped on board and was taken across the lagoon by a team of brothers who were no more than 15 and 9 respectively. The 15 year old, Amilcar, was in charge of the money, petrol and recruiting customers while his younger brother, Pedro, drove the boat. I was pretty impressed by these boys and the lucrative transport business they were running. Here is little Pedro at the helm of the boat.

When I got to the other side I sent a text message to my friends but then quickly, and without my knowledge, lost network connection. I was so enthralled by my surroundings that I decided to explore the huge sand dunes, drift wood deposits, crashing waves and fascinating water birds before trying to locate my group. I walked off in the direction where I “thought” they would be based on our earlier conversation. Little did I know that I was walking in the direct opposite direction from where they were located. Here is a picture that I took of the massive sand bar where they were camped just minutes before I headed the other way. I walked for about an hour while the sun got hotter and I got more fatigued and confused over the fact that I still had not found any sign of human life on this spectacularly deserted piece of coast line.

By the time that I had finally got a hold of my crew, and realized how much of a predicament I was in, I decided to just continue hiking through the dunes and eventually find my way back to Bilene on my own. The dunes were fantastic and provided me with some much appreciated time in solitude. I got stuck a few times along the way, and took some extended breaks in the rejuvenating patches of shade, but finally I found a foot path that led me to a tall dune over looking the lagoon and a small traditional fishing village. I must have been quite a sight for the locals who certainly don’t see many brancos walking through their village, especially with full camping gear in tow. I had many young children stare at me with some of the widest eyes I have ever seen and call out “malungu malungu.” I did have two local boys energetically approach me and offer, in remarkably proficient English, to escort me to their brother’s ferry boat which would take me across to the “tourist area.” I followed them past straw huts, chicken coops and laughing families to the shores of the lagoon where I got on a boat with about 20 other shangan women. They were also fascinated by my presence and we laughed all the way across despite the fact that I could not understand a single word that they were saying. African women produce the most amazing laughter I have ever heard.

As much as I enjoyed wandering around the wilderness that afternoon I was extremely happy to see my friends on the other side and get settled into camping mode. After a wonderful meal we all relaxed by the lagoon, sipping wine and swapping stories. The next morning was pretty much more of the same as we hung out on the beach and explored more of the surrounding area. An abandoned beach resort caught my attention as it had clearly been reduced to ruins after independence. I thought he run down villas, engulfed in years of neglect, made for an intriguing picture. I was also able to use the lazy afternoon to finish my latest book, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I loved this book so much that it made it onto my favourite books list before I had even completed it. A fascinating read that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Morning After

So this morning I woke up to the news that I had already been anticipating for weeks: That Stephen Harper was the new Prime Minister of Canada and the Conservatives were back in power for the first time in 13 years. Now I know that many out there are shuddering at the thought of the Harper Conservatives calling the shots in Canada but I think we can all admit that it was high time the scandal plagued Liberals were finally put out of their misery. It really was pathetic to see Martin and rest of his Liberal co-horts over the past few months, who had become WAY to comfortable in their governing seats in the House of Commons, desperately cling to power in survival mode while dodging one more scandalous accusation after another. It would have been great to see Paul Martin on the other side of the floor as the Leader of the Opposition but of course the guy couldn't stomach that humiliation and quickly stepped down as Liberal leader minutes after his concession speach.

Even though the conservatives did not come close to garnering my support this election, I wish Harper all the best as he assumes the leadership role of a country is a political mess right now. As Canadians I honestly don't believe that the man is going to sell us to the United States of George Bush, I don't beleive that he's going to revoke a woman's right to choose, I don't beleive that Adam and Steve need to worry that they will no longer be able to get married this year, I don't beleive that he'll put weapons in space and I don't beleive that he'll ship Canadian boys and girls off to Iraq with guns in their hands and freedom in their pockets. I can confidently say this because the conservatives will only form a minority government, openning up opportunties for the NDP to hold the balance of power and bring more socially, economically and environmentally progressive ideas to the table. If it had been a Conservative majority then I would have woke up with a headache ten times worse than the one I had on Jan. 1st this past year.

Now despite the fact that I believe our country is spared from this frightening prospect of an "ultra right-wing hidden agenda," I think the other parties will have to keep a firm check on the Harper Conservatives and this is where things could become fractious and turbulent. I think Harper will have to do some pretty skillful political diplomacy if he is expecting to hold together a coalition government in the significantly divided polity that is the Canadian political scene right now. I wish you luck PM Harper, but for some reason I see your political dream crashing down sooner than later and us Canadians reluctantly going back to the polls in less than two years. These minority governments in our country, while exciting, certainly don't have a very long shelf life.

I would love to know what you other Canadians though about the election. Where do you think ol PM Harper will lead our country? Should we be panicking this morning after? How long can this conservative minority government last? Any other thoughts?

Friday, January 20, 2006

No Direction Home

I received a wonderful gift from my parents for Christmas this year. Actually, the package they sent, back in the middle fo November, never actually got here until two weeks after Christmas. Such timeframes you come to accept when waiting for things in this country. Now you may already know the intensity of a mother's love for her only son but my mother takes this a step further. She loves to send me packages while I'm abroad containing various, and sometimes embarrassing, objects to remind me of home. This year she sent Christmas chocolates, a goofy looking Santa hat, a jar of Planter's nuts, a stick of Gillette deoderant and two pairs of colourful and ridiculous boxer shorts. Just imagine the customs guard's face when I had to open up my package in front of him and try and explain the contents.

One of the gifts that they managed to get to me prior to Christmas, through special delivery from Pierre while he was in Canada for a MEDA conference, was the Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home. This is a four hour biography of the definitive years in the musical career of Bob Dylan. Now as many of you may know, I have been a tremendous fan of Dylan's music since I was 14 or 15 years old. I can distinctly remember being turned on to Dylan at amateur high school coffee houses, late night sessions with the oldies radio station and sitting on the steps of my former elementary school singing "Like a Rolling Stone" at the top of my lungs with my friend Andrew.

What captivated me about Dylan, even at that young age, was his ability to deliver a message through music that was poignant and challenging, ringing out like a fire bell on a silent street. Songs that always grabbed me were early Dylan folk tunes such as Blowin in the Wind, The Times they are a Changin, Hard Rain a Gonna Fall, Only a Pawn in their Game and With God on our Side. You can find the lyrics to these songs and nearly every other Dylan song ever recorded at slopbucket.com, an extremely useful Dylan fan site. His politically driven, socially motivated and hard hitting folk music was the stuff that really spoke to my soul. I thought that the movie did an excellant job of portraying Dylan's transformation from this stage in his career to his electric, more experimental phase.

Now don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate this side of Dylan as well (and I LOVE The Band). However, I do prefer the one man on stage, axe strung on his shoulder, tell the world the way it really is side of Dylan. It's just an honest preference. The man had such a big part of the western world watching his every move, waiting for his next song, and hanging on every word that came from his mouth on the stage. But the man that literally had the attention of the world stepped away from the microphone, backed away from the spotlight and cast off the media given title of the "voice of a generation." I know that he had his reasons, as we all have our reasons I suppose. Still I cannot help but feel a touch of disappointment for a man whose music could have made a greater difference in the world. There is a wonderful exchange in the movie between Dylan and Joan Baez, two folk powerhouses in the early 1960s that took very differant paths. The latter belting out protest songs and attending countless sit-ins, rallies and demonstrations even to this day while the former content to live and walk away from the crowds all in the name of creative freedom.

Bob, I admire you as a musician and as a poet but I do believe that you neglected a powerful role that had been granted to you. I think Baez raised an interesting question in the movie: what would have happened if her and Dylan had continued as an international political folk super couple? How would the last 40 years have been different in politics and music? I found it interesting that she, full of nostalgia and persistent idealism, still held a desire for that historical scenerio.

I guess I question Dylan's motives slightly when I look at the drastic change in his art through the mid 60s and after. I would not have joined the crowds that booed Dylan off the stage when he walked out with an electric guitar in his hands but I do believe that his music lost an edge, and that distinctive poignancy, during this period. I can sort of explain what I mean by looking at Dylan's relationship with my present country of residence. In 1974-75 Dylan visited sunny Mozambique and wrote the following song for his Desire album,

I like to spend some time in Mozambique
The sunny sky is aqua blue
And all the couples dancing cheek to cheek
It's very nice to stay a week or two

There's lots of pretty girls in Mozambique
And plenty time for good romance
And everybody likes to stop and speak
To give the special one you seek a chance
Or maybe say hello with just a glance

Lying next to her by the ocean
Reaching out and touching her hand
Whispering your secret emotion
Magic in a magical land

And when it's time for leaving Mozambique
To say goodbye to sand and sea
Your turn around to take a final peak
And you see why it's so unique
To be among people living freely
Upon the beach of sunny Mozambique

Now this is a nice and happy song and I can tell you that parts of Mozambique really look and feel like this picture that Dylan paints. But come on Bob, while you were writting this song the country that surrounded you was in the peak of its war of independence. You could have wrote a song that would have told the world about the struggles of FRELIMO and inspired the hungry and the destitute in Mozambique. Instead you came for a vacation, wrote a quick song, and left. It's not my place to judge but I guess I expected a bit more. Just some thoughts. Anyone agree or disagree?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Northern Ontario

I heard the news today
moved me on down the line
It helped me miss familiar skies
and the feel of your back
in the night
I listen for your sound
and I hear nothing
only the call of this chain
around my neck
and the heavy stone that is attached

I hear he's from Nothern Ontario
You always said
you had a heart for those boys
I hope he treats you better than I
I know he certainly deserves the chance
Still I kind of feel uneasy
with the thought of him with you
His hand on your skin
and his part in your story
feeling the warmth of your laughter
and drinking with you
the wine of compassion

Two paths stretching onward
far beyond all sight and sound
full of twists and turns
and mountains and valleys
moving us forward
to where we need to be
Still I cannot help but smile
for the time our paths ran parallel
and sigh with nostalgia
for your song and your touch

Paz e amor


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vamos a la Praia!!

Another weekend, another beach excursion. This time I set off with some Canadian friends (Pete, Wes and Caitlin) from Maputo to Macaneta beach again about a half hour north of the city. It’s pretty much the closest beach paradise to Maputo where you can swim in the water without fear of industrial pollutants. We set off bright and early on public transit with all of our camping gear in tow, attracting a combination of stares and snickers from the locals on board. Once we got to the town of Maracuene we had to take a ferry across the river and then hitch a ride the rest of the way to the beach. Local entrepreneurs with rusted out trucks spend the whole day going back and forth from Maracuene to the town of Macaneta carrying Mozambicans and the odd crew of mulungos. We piled into the back of this one guys pick up and along with no less than 20 other locals, making for an extremely tight and chaotic ride. The recent downpours had made the road nearly impassible in some sections and severely tested the resolve of our beat up little half ton. We got stuck on numerous occasions prompting all of the passengers to disembark, stand in the mud and lend their hand in pushing the vehicle out of the sticky situation. It took us over an hour to get through a five kilometer stretch of road under the oppressive mid day sun. Certainly an experience one can only find here in Africa.

When we finally got to Macaneta Beach we were astonished to discover it almost entirely deserted. The hordes of tourists that had crowded the beach on my last visit had all returned to Maputo or South Africa and we practically had the place to ourselves. We asked the manager how much he would charge us to camp and he quoted us a ridiculously inflated number of 70 Rands ($15). Being the cheap Canadian interns that we are, we decided to head up the beach and search out a place to pitch the tents away from the watchful eye of the manager. We spent the whole day exploring the beach, attacking the waves, playing frisbee and trying to catch some of the slower varieties among the hordes of craps that were scattered along the shore. We kept our fluids and our spirits high with Caitlin’s special ice cold sangria and electric lemonaid. Good good times!!

That evening we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the clear sky and a brilliant full moon that illuminated the long stretches of beach and danced upon the rolling tide of the Indian Ocean. We were convinced that we had lost ourselves in paradise until our revelry was cut short by the image of two dark figures approaching our camp. They told us that we were camped illegally and that we would have to speak to the manager immediately. We were initially scared that we would be handed big fines or ordered to leave the park that night but Wes and I summoned up the courage to embark on a sort of diplomatic journey to the manager’s office.

When we got there we were completely surprised to see the manager in a jovial mood, drinking beer and watching music videos. He explained that this was private property and we could not camp without permission. He said if money was a problem we should of just told him and he would have let us stay for free. He saw that we had eaten dinner at the restaurant and he considered that be a sufficient “payment”. He even started asking us about our work and wanted to know if he could apply for a microfinance loan to build a bakery on his property. He wished us a good night and told us to come again. As Wes and I were walking back to our site we figured that the only way in which the situation could have been better would have been if the guy had bought us a beer while he spoke with us. The rest of the evening was full of songs, games and late night dips in the ocean. Truly an unforgettable experience.

The next morning we were all awake by 7:00 AM as the heat from the sun was already unforgiving, making our tents feel like tiny convection ovens. I wish you all could see the tent I bought out here. It’s a cheap little Chinese tent that I picked up for $40. It has a single wire frame that folds into a circle about two and a half feet across. All you do is take it out of the bag, shake it around a bit and “pop” your tent is completely set up. It’s gimmicky, and it keeps the bugs off, but I would be in some trouble I think if it had to stand up to a rain storm. By noon, after another five hours in the sun, we were completely cooked and decided to head back to Maputo. We avoided the shenanigans along the main road and took a boat back to Maraquene, passing lazy little fishing communities and dilapadated colonial villas along the banks of the river. We had an amazing time and we look forward to more chances to explore the natural wonders of this beautiful country. Here are a few more pictures.

Sunset over the Lagoon

Two dogs that followed us around all night and quickly became our companions. We named them Che Guevera (the one on the left) and Samora Machal (the one on the right).

Crabs on the Beach

Friday, January 13, 2006

Running back to Swaziland

I just got back yesterday from three days in Swaziland with my boss Pierre Martin. Our excursion involved a nice combination of work and pleasure, despite the fact that it was rainy and dreary the whole time we were in the country. The purpose of our trip was to establish a greater relationship between MMF and the Swaziland Microfinance Enterprise (SMFE). We wanted to investigate what actions SMFE were currently taking towards HIV/AIDS and how the institution was integrated into the HIV/AIDS programming of World Vision Swaziland (WVS). We also wanted to investigate the potential for providing future technical assistance to SMFE, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS, as well as funding partnerships between MEDA and World Vision for future work in Swaziland.

We spent our three days interviewing staff members from SMFE as well as WVS. There was a general consensus among the staff that SMFE could be doing more when it came to HIV/AIDS programming for their clients. Of course, with any type of development project, funding is always the big question but there seems to be enthusiasm on both the part of MEDA and World Vision for further investment in this area. Hopefully we can see some more dollars being sent this way to help these plans take off. One of the good connections I made while on the trip was with SMFE’s operations manager George, an extremely talented guy with a strong passion for development and HIV/AIDS relief. He also seems to fancy himself as the “Jimi Hendrix of Swaziland.”

One of things that impressed me the most about SMFE was their transitional loan communities that they have established for clients either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. These special community banks, of anywhere from 8-20 clients, operate in the same manner as regular community banks except that interest rates are 20% and the required savings component is only 10% of the requested loan amount. This is an intriguing lending strategy and one that is not currently being pursued by any Mozambican MFIs. SMFE believes that the transitional loan communities will provide social support and financial relief to clients that are struggling under the impacts of HIV/AIDS in their households.

I should share a story about one of the clients in this community named Msesi Sibeko. She struggles to support her family through her dress making shop that she shares with two other women. Her husband passed away a few years ago, likely due to HIV/AIDS, leaving her to raise her two children as well as three orphaned children from her cousin, who also succumbed to the disease. The child on the left is named Nhiakanipho, which in English means “braveness.” She is thankful for SMFE for providing her with a loan of 500 Elangeni ($100 USD) to help pay for materials and rental fees. With future loans from SMFE she would like to purchase an embroidery machine so she could make fancier outfits and school uniforms. In addition to credit and savings through SMFE, Msesi has also received training in simple accounting, business management and HIV/AIDS treatment from WVS. However, supplying enough nutritional food for her children is still difficult and Msesi would like to see SMFE establish an emergency loan fund for households affected by HIV/AIDS to continue to provide their families with healthy food options during slow business periods.

After three days of Swazi hospitality we returned to the familiar stomping grounds of Maputo city. As my internship is coming to a close I’m beginning to find myself inevitably looking at what lies ahead beyond the end of February, not only for myself but also for the MMF project here in Mozambique. MMF is itself in a bit of a transitional period right now as its five year funding term with CIDA comes to an end towards the end of 2006. As a result, there is a lot of discussion going on right now about what the next phase of the project may look like. MMF and MEDA are in a good position to be a regional center for technical assistance in HIV/AIDS and microfinance in this part of Africa and it is exciting to be a part of this visionary process for “Phase Two” of MMF. The success of this Swaziland trip has convinced me that there is potential for partnerships for MEDA in other countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe. Time will manifest something here sooner then later I believe and it is a good feeling for me to have some sense of ownership in what is happening here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy 2006 Everyone!!

I hope you all were able to usher in the New Year with excitement and joy. It’s January 3rd so many of you should have by now shaken off your hangovers or already given up on that bold New Year’s resolution you announced on December 31st. As is often the case with me, I create these elaborate lists of resolutions that I vow to keep in order to improve my life in the New Year. However, backing up my talk with some serious results…well that’s another matter entirely. Usually by mid February I’ve forsaken my buoyant commitments or thrown them into the great heap of “things I’ll get around to later.” This year was no different, as I compiled another long “to do” list for 2006.

Coming out of the gate strong, I started off with the classic: getting more exercise. Yesterday morning I woke up early for a jog along the Ocean side marginal. The morning sky was clear, the streets were quiet, the Indian Ocean was like a crystal sheet stretching out to the horizon and the weather was a ridiculous 32 degrees…at 7:45 AM!! By the time I got to the bottom of the Marginal I was utterly exhausted and my shirt was completely drenched with sweat. On numerous occasions, I seriously considered jumping into the Maputo Bay but the thought of garbage and industrial waste for breakfast allowed me to maintain my senses. I arrived back at my apartment an hour and a half later, cursing the African sun and my pathetic physical conditioning. I have a ways to go before I will be running in any African marathons I’ll tell you that!!

In between Christmas and New Years, I got the chance to visit some family friends in Pretoria. Going to South Africa is such an escape from Mozambique I can’t even begin to describe it. For four days I received the royal treatment and I almost forgot I was in Africa. I drove along pothole-less asphalted streets, I ate at gourmet restaurants, I drank expensive wines, I went golfing at a pristine country club and I wondered the shops at the largest mall on the continent. This is South Africa though, a country with first world luxuries in the midst of third world suffering. The political and social dynamics of the country are fascinating with the Afrikaner, British and numerous African cultures all culminating into one political society. I’ve always been intrigued by South African politics and I enjoyed the chance to witness the country firsthand, albeit from a heavily Afrikaner perspective. Perhaps I’ll write more on that at a later time. The family I stayed with undeniably showed me some true Afrikaner hospitality, introducing me to the finer points of biltong, brais and beer for breakfast. Buy a donkey you guys!!

I spent New Years here in Maputo at a party on a mashamba (farm) just outside the city. It was a great time but a full day of “merry making” left me rather tired by the wee hours of the morning and I ended up wondering off into the field for a little nap. Twice, actually. Many of you out there will know my history of taking such walks when I am in such a state of mind (although I don’t think anything will ever top my 23rd birthday party!!) I then spent my final day of holidays up at Macaneta Beach about 45 minutes north of Maputo. Huge crashing waves, long stretches of deserted coastline and a chilled out beach bum community made for quite an enjoyable day!!

I would love to hear about all of your New Years escapades so if any of you have a good story to share please post it up. Also, if any of you would like to share new year’s resolution, which are not nearly as cliché as mine, please feel free to do so as well. I’ll leave you with some random pictures from the past week. Peace and love everyone!! Here’s hoping all your wildest dreams come true in 2006!!

Danicing it up on Christmas Day

Some Cute Kids

Christmas Dinner at our Apartment (left to right: Alex our security guard, Paulo Cathy's "namorado," Cathy the wonder cook and our friend Josie)

Mike Weir and Retief Goosen at the 7th hole of the Pretoria Open

A cute girl on Macaneca Beach