Friday, 17 July 2009

No hope no reason to be here

View from Table Mountain

I came to Cape Town full of hope that there were things I could do to support teachers here. At times it is easy to be despondent and then others where you know the work you do is relevant. This was demonstrated to me when I went to a meeting of national speakers here in Cape Town. I went along to one of their meetings with my friend Anney. As a member of the National Speakers' Association of New Zealand I wanted to see what they did at their meetings here. I am not going to go into the details of the meeting, except to say there were two interesting speakers who gave us a different perspective on Cape Town! What was special was the conversation we were able to have with people in the breaks and the insight we were able to gain from others.

David Grier was one of these special people. He gave me a copy of his book, which is just about to be launched. "Hope in Thyme" is the story of his journey to run around the coast of South Africa, approx 3500 km in 80 days. The money raised was to provide operations to fix cleft palettes. He is one example of people who care about their country and want to make a difference to others. His book is truly magnificent - amazing photos and journey. I would like to share a quote from the forward of his book:

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

The people I work with stretch my capacities and at the same time are generous in their time and commitment. This afternoon I had a cup of tea in the women teachers' quarters at The Ark. Each teacher has their own small space and has made this into their home. Our welcome was warm and we sat around and chatted as we would do with any other friends. While the environment was very different from our own, the interactions were comfortable and warm. They shared what they had, even giving us sun glasses to wear tomorrow on our visit to Robben Island.

This is a place of hope and the teachers we work with are committed. Otherwise there would be no point in us being here. While the way forward can sometimes be unclear I believe that strong relationships are key. These cross cultures and countries. They are the principles of life that make a difference.

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