Thursday, January 29, 2009

Road Trip

I am on a road trip with my daughter Lisa. We loaded up my trusty GS11.50 and headed for Rooi Els, via Gordon's Bay. The menu at the pub said 'bikers breakfast' and we took it. The photograph is of Lisa looking back at the route we have taken from Cape Town. We continued along the coast through Hermanus, turning inland at Stanford. Tonight we sleep at Swellendam. It is a joy to be able to share such amazingly beautiful country with Lisa. It is also a privilege to have time together to talk, remember the past, dream of the future, and fix the world. I treasure our friendship.

A Bike Day

There was a baker, a builder, a bass guitar player and four more of us.

We all come from different backgrounds, different histories, and a variety of perspectives on life. But the one thing we have in common is a love of motorcycles. So we mounted our bikes at 10 this morning for a ride.

Other people play golf on a Wednesday. We ride bikes. In fact we ride bikes on the other days too – but today we rode together......
And headed up the West Coast Road, turning off to Darling for coffee at Evita se Perron. Then on through Malmesbury to Riebeeck Kasteel for a long leisurely lunch. Followed by a quick-ish trip through Wellington, Stellenbosh and back to Cape Town.

A great ride through fantastically beautiful country. And a wonderful opportunity to meet new strangers who very quickly became familiar friends.
All it takes is two wheels and an engine.

Monday, January 26, 2009


If the world were a village of only 100 people:
• 80 would live in substandard housing.
• 67 adults live in the village; and half of them would be illiterate.
• 50 would suffer from malnutrition.
• 33 would not have access to clean, safe drinking water.
• 24 people would not have any electricity.
• Of the 76 that do have electricity, most would use it only for light at night.
• In the village would be 42 radios, 24 televisions, 14 telephones, and 7 computers (some villagers own more than one of each).
• 7 people would own an automobile (some of them more than one).
• 5 people would possess 32% of the entire village’s wealth, and these would all be from the USA.
• The poorest one-third of the people would receive only 3% of the income of the village.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If
you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish,
you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the
world who has that opportunity.

The “State of the Village Report,” originally published by Dartmouth professor Donella Meadows in 1990, was used to calculate the statistics which many of us have seen in the form of an email titled "Village of 100." If the world’s population were reduced to 100 people, what would our global village look like? Since 1990, Ms. Meadows’ research has been circulated through millions of email inboxes and shared in thousands of classrooms, mine included. The updated version published by the Miniature Earth Project includes recent population statistics from the UN and the Population Reference Bureau.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama

Barack Obama has my prayers – and sympathy.

President Obama has been elected by voters who anticipate change.... and lots of it. He also has support from people around the world who long for a different experience of Americans. But the reality is that any change he brings will only be as effective as the myriads of civil servants who have to put it into practice. All governing systems have people within it who benefit from the status quo. These are the people who found ways to profit from the governance of George Bush. And these are the people who will resist President Obama.

Let us pray for President Obama: that he has the wisdom to know how best to move the levers of power. And let us pray for God to soften the hardened hearts of those who have no wish to change. And let us pray for the United States of America – that this nation will choose to be less arrogant and become more sensitive to those who struggle in life.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Are You Going to Finish Strong?

I have seen too much bullshit.
And so I am often a cynical, life-hardened, grizzled old bugger. But I have just seen a video clip that blows me away:

Nick Vujicic has no arms or legs but has come to terms with his life. And he delivers an inspirational speech to school kids that they will probably never forget. Go to

I refuse to complain about my life ever, ever, again.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Marriage in Africa

I am at a wonderful wedding at Spier called Moyo. This is a venue that seeks to bring an African theme to the evening. The afternoon began with drumming and ululating women who escorted the bride to the guests. After the vows we were danced out by the drummers. And later a praise singer opened the feast while our faces were painted in traditional style. I am privileged to live in such a wonderful part of the world.

Monday, January 12, 2009


For those who have been following the terrible pain of the Gaza Strip:
This past week Israel dropped one hundred tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip. They demolished government buildings, mosques, a university, a United Nations School, hundreds of homes. In the process they extinguished many lives — most of them ordinary men, women and children who are penned up inside this ghetto .

Alex Awad, dean of students at Bethlehem Bible College, notes that “There is no doubt that the Qassam rockets launched against the western Negev and Ashkelon by Islamic militants linked to Hamas cause great pain and anxiety for many Israelis. Most people agree that Israel, like any other country, has the right to defend itself from outside attacks. However, when it comes to dealing with its enemies, Israel has a pattern of being extreme. “An eye for an eye” does not satisfy. It has to be more like one hundred eyes for one eye and one hundred teeth for one tooth”.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. This cycle of violence has blinded everyone. And somewhere, someone needs to soften their hearts. I came across Sarit Hadad singing Shema’ Israel — the title recalls the ancient words of the daily foundational prayer, the Shema’ (Dt 6:4) — When the heart shuts up, every breath cries out, make it stop...

When the heart is crying, time stops moving
in an inkling a man sees his whole life pass
to the unknown he does not want to go
to his God he calls, on the edge of the abyss

Hear Israel, my God, you can do all
you gave me my life, you gave me all
in my eyes a tear, silently the heart cries
when the heart shuts up, one’s breath cries out

Thursday, January 01, 2009