Feb 23, 2012

Advice to the Young

I was recently asked to share a brief bit of advice, words of wisdom and hope, to a friend's daughter as she graduates from high school. "She will be surprised with notes from friends and family offering best wishes and advice for the future in these challenging times."

Rather than ponder and pontificate, I just shared the first things that blurted onto the screen.

1. Don't wait. Don't wait for someone else to tell you you're ready, or for some "appropriate" age or degree. If you have energy around something, do it. That energy probably won't be there later - new opportunities will have come up by then.

2. Don't hurry. I know that sounds a bit in opposition to #1, but enjoy where and who you are right now, don't spend too much time looking forward to "When I...". You are, right now.

3. Come to Wildside Farm and be a Wwoofer for a week or two.

Feb 10, 2012

Lost: 2 Wwoofers and 24 Africans

Friday night on the town looks a lot different in Duncan than in Vancouver. Took the boys in to see Watoto, a traveling choir from Uganda that peddles Jesus and rescued orphans. I am glad my children got the cultural experience of seeing real African kids on stage, but disappointed at the presentation of the colonialist religious fare instead of the rich traditional music and dance that I experienced there. Yes, Christianity is now a solidly African stream, and it's been there long enough and is distinct enough in its expression from Canadian churches that it is a genuine part of the culture; I just always feel like it's not as "real" as the stuff that's been passed down for centuries, and evolving for centuries, and newly invented out of those roots instead of out of our Western roots. I want Papa Wemba, not Father Ng'ong'o.

The word "Rescue" jumped out at me so many times. Watoto is here to http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif"reschttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifue children", taking them from thehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifir home areas and into beautiful, holistic orphanages called villages. As orphanages go these are really nice, a great model and great aims. I just always question whether orphanages are the best route. Other programs in Africa work to support the children and the people taking care of them (grandmothers, uncles, neighbours) so that the fabric of the society is not further ripped apart. Taking them away from their people, no matter how nice the next home, is a further trauma to a child already in crisis. Plus, the amount of resources required to run an orphanage for 100 children could support many more children in their home environments. It's a well-intentioned program and overall a great blessing for the children lucky enough to be selected, but not the long-term solution for a nation in need of deeper societal change and grass-roots support to address its own challenges. For my buck, I'll stick with Oxfam for the long-term stuff and ACCES for the direct support.

Thankfully my children were fading once the music ended and the sales pitch began (note, as a professional fundraiser I don't begrudge the donations appeal one bit). So we headed back to downtown Duncan to find our two "Wwoofer" farm volunteers who were having a brief night on the town. Failing to find them at the pub, we spent the next 45 minutes hitting everything that was open in town. Two live music venues (folk and reggae tonight), 6 restaurants, 1 pizza joint. Finally found them back at the pub. We live in a town where we can hit everything open in 45 minutes(not including the fast-food boxes on the highway, or the scattered little places outside of town). All that on foot, in a light rain, with 2 children and not an ounce of fear. Just a grand exploration adventure to add to their odd life-experiences quiver.

Feb 8, 2012

I am loved

There's nothing to bring tears to a papa who won't be home for dinner like an email from the family:

We Love yoU.

Zekiah says: i want you to come home. i hope you're having a good time wherever you are right now. and i love you papa. I can't wait til you come home. i hope you get this. bye.

Galen says: i love you papa. you are the best papa in the world. me haven't given you my zamboni hug yet. i wonder what you're doing right now? right now i'm in sarah's office. telling her what to write on the computer on this email. much love, from galen.

Veggie burgers for dinner :)

your family.

Feb 6, 2012

Sapsucker Break

Broke my new rule of maximum 2-hours computer at a time. That's a new year's resolution, to atleast every 2 hours go away (hopefully outside) to chop some wood, walk, play, sing... Then, if necessary, come back refreshed. It's helping keep my mind clear, keep me focussed on getting just one or two good things done in that shorter chunk, keeping me balanced.

But at my new downtown "office", just how many times can I walk around a "city" block and feel refreshed? I did once today and it was good, but the afternoon was the "gotta get it all done before going home" feeling that, predictably, led to a dwindling efficiency then a horrible Excel mistake that took an extra hour to untangle.

When I did get home early enough to play with the boys, they and Sarah were all miraculously not there. I could sneak in for that nap I'd been dreaming about for the last 2 hours. But instead I rounded up the boys and the Woofers, grabbed a drill and old applejuice bottles and some tubing, and finally tapped our maple trees. All fatigue was gone in an instant as we communed with that cold air and drank maple sap straight from the trees, inserting the spiles and surgical tubing into their trunks like straws. I don't know how much we'll get, and suspect that the energy that we put into our inefficient boiling-down will never make environmental sense, but it just felt GOOOOOOD to be out there making our own sugar.

I could have napped. Instead I drilled and sucked, and that energy has carried me much further into this winter night than I would have planned. Even to my first blog posting in almost a month (did you miss me?)