Eye opener: A beggar that made me feel proudly South African

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time, to witness something seemingly small, a fleeting moment, but a moment that can be hugely impactful. That happened to me last night at the garage in Claremont.

I had just pulled up to the Quick shop to buy some electricity, I parked next to a big, black 4 X 4 with a posh looking, well dressed lady getting into it. She got into her car with her groceries, quite hastily, as to avoid the bergie (for those non-South Africans a bergie is a beggar) asking for money outside the shop door.

Turning a blind eye and avoiding them always seems to be the easiest, safest option, let’s be honest. As she closed her passenger door, little did she know, her wallet had fallen out of her car and onto the ground. I was about to get out of my car and pick it up, but the bergie beat me to it. The posh lady turned her head away from him as he approached the car window. He picked up the wallet next to the car and knocked on her window. She obviously thought he was going to ask for money so she ignored him. He knocked again. She still didn’t turn to look at him. The bergie took a step back, held the wallet up, and knocked on the window again. Still she avoided him. The bergie just stood there with his hands in the air, not knowing what to do. At that point the husband walked out of the Quick Shop and saw the bergie, standing next to his car, holding his wife’s wallet. He yelled at him as he ran up to him, and grabbed the wallet out of his hand, quite aggressively. He got back into his car and showed his wife the wallet and stared at the bergie shouting something inside the car. The wife turned her head and looked out her passenger window to see the bergie and realise what had happened. The bergie was walking back to his plastic bag of belongings next to the shop door, looking quite stunned at what had happened.

The story has a happy ending; the husband did get out of his car and rewarded the bergie for his kind doings.

Even in his desperate situation, he chose not to wait till the car had gone and steal the wallet, he had the common decency to be honest and do good.

Lights off on the N2? OR Turn off your TV?

Have you ever wondered how much electricity your TV or other appliances are using when on standy? How about how much CO2 it is emitting? Bet you never thought of that one.

In a recently published article on BBC News it is revealed that:

“Britons waste the equivalent of around two power stations’ worth of electricity each year by leaving TV sets and other gadgets on standby.

Last June Environment Minister Elliot Morley, responding to an MP’s question, revealed that electrical equipment in sleep mode used roughly 7TWh of energy and emitted around 800,000 tonnes of carbon.”

That’s alot of electricty and alot of crap we are releasing into our atmosphere.

Let’s not forget that in England there are far more TVs, but you can still get a rough idea of the usage here from these factsIn the newspaper, yesterday (www.news24.com) the City Council were saying that we are going to start conserving electricity here in Cape Town, like we do with the water.

“In certain parts of the city, street lights burn during the day to prevent the lights’ cables from being stolen. The cables are going to be buried in cement so that the lights can be turned off during the day.

Table Mountain’s famous illuminations will also disappear. The 49 light bulbs of 2 W each use about 98 kW of power. This isn’t enough to supply power to a building or suburb but it may help conserve power. (Turn your frigging TV off dude!)

Lights along national main routes such as the N2 highway will also be switched off. For safety reasons, the street lights in the city’s suburbs won’t be switched off,” Kadalie said.”

Why don’t the council just watch BBC News and get some ideas from there. Instead of turning the lights off on the N2, which is already a death trap with lighting, why don’t we just get off our behinds and turn off our appliances, instead of leaving them on standby. We’ll save electricity and save our precious atmosphere at the same time. Just an idea. Use it or lose it.

Stay awake and be violent

I’m hoping the title of this post caught your attention? Now what is it all about? Tik.

In South Africa, “tik” (a.k.a. crystal meth”) is becoming increasingly popular, and is the latest buzz word, amongst teenagers and young adults. “Tik” is a drug, a drug that is known as “the stay awake drug, that makes you violent”. Otherwise known on the street as “tuk-tuk”, “globes”, “straws”, and “crystal”.

What does it do? (taken from Health24.com)

According to users, the drug gives an immediate, extremely pleasurable rush or “flush”. The rush only lasts a few seconds, but is followed by euphoria (a high) which lasts for several hours. Users stay awake for hours, even days, during which they feel extremely active and energetic. They seldom get hungry and go for long periods without any food. Both the rush and the high are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the brain chemical dopamine into areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure.

Oprah has had a show on it, and locally “3talk with Noeleen” has had a show on it, (Please note guys: I do now watch either, well Oprah occasionally, maybe, what I didn’t say that!) Both of which posted startling facts on the uprise in the users of tik in the USA and more importantly in our home country, South Africa. School girls are using it to lose weight, students are using it to stay awake. Your next door neighbour might be using it, it’s a drug that is attracting loads of first-time users.

This news isn’t that new, neither is that interesting to those of you who have heard about it but not been effected by it in some away or another. It has effected my life and my family’s life though. In less than a month, my mother’s best friend was brutally murdered by a young man painting her house, a young man who I had met, a young man that sang in the church choir in his community. He took tik and he became violent.

Then this last weekend a person I know was raped by two men, both of which were on tik. They became violent.

Yesterday, another man living in the same community as the young man who murdered my mother’s friend, became depressed, on a “low”, after the effects of tik had worn off on him. He walked into the bush near his house, found a tree and hung himself.

Does this make the dangers of tik more real to you. Maybe. Maybe not. You might need an event to personally effect you, before you really understand that this drug is dangerous. But I have given my two cents worth, and I’m telling you, don’t do tik.

A movie worth watching: Crash

My boet watched this movie on the aeroplane the other week and said it was worth watching. So I took it out and watched it on the weekend. And its every bit as good as he and Roger Ebert, the famous movie critic, says it is. One of those movies that gives you the occassional goosebump (even us hardcore men).

CrashEbert describes the movie as follows: “Crash” tells interlocking stories of whites, blacks, Latinos, Koreans, Iranians, cops and criminals, the rich and the poor, the powerful and powerless, all defined in one way or another by racism. All are victims of it, and all are guilty it. Sometimes, yes, they rise above it, although it is never that simple. Their negative impulses may be instinctive, their positive impulses may be dangerous, and who knows what the other person is thinking? The result is a movie of intense fascination; we understand quickly enough who the characters are and what their lives are like, but we have no idea how they will behave, because so much depends on accident. (read Ebert’s full review here).

So take it out and review it for yourself. My star rating: **** and an eigth.
🙂

5500km roadtrip and I’m back home!

I’m home! Can’t believe how the holidays flew by, but they always do. I can now admit I have seen most of the different landscapes South Africa has to offer. I have driven through the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, the Free State and Kwazulu Natal. Our journey took us to Bethlehem in the Free State, Selati Game Farm near Phalaborwa, the Kruger Park, Richards Bay in Natal, Cintsa Mouth on the Transkei coast and Jeffrey’s Bay on the Wild coast.

A lot of places to visit in 10 days, but we packed in all we possibly could. I won’t babble on too much about my holidays, but just let you know some of the highlights:

  • Kruger Park – seeing Lion’s mating! Can you believe it was the lioness instigated the whole thing. The alphamale just sat there as the lioness approached him and gently brushed herself against him. Then he got up, wham bam, thank you mam! All over in about 10 seconds. Then the lioness rolled over and lay there very satisfied.

    The foreplay
    Lion porn
    Bliss

  • Badplaas (the smallest dorpie imaginable outside Nelspruit) – “misplacing” my wallet at Badplaas garage and only discovering it was gone 6 hours later in Richards Bay, Natal! Bleakness!
    WalletNever fear though, a kind man picked it up and handed it in. Not at the garage, where it would have probably disappeared, but at the hotel next door, where he handed it over to the security manager of the complex. The security manager, Mr. Linde, phoned me on my cellphone, after tracking me through my business card in the wallet, and offered to have the wallet DRIVEN to me in Richards Bay by his sister. We were leaving the following morning so instead he couriered it to me in Cape Town, with every cent still inside, 252 bucks!I am amazed as to the honesty and goodness still found in some South African people. What a start to 2006!
  • Cintsa Mouth – staying in the most scenic area in a wonderful, friendly backpackers. Soaking up the sun and drinking too much beer with foreigners.
  • Jeffreys Bay – searching for accommodation for 2 hours in the late evening, not to find anything. Eventually, we tried our luck at what looked like a beach mansion offering accommodation, but looking very closed. We phoned the number on the door, and were told to wait for someone to come show us the place. We waited, and someone came. Screeching around the corner with a beer in his hand, “Gavin” threw us the keys and said cheers. No paperwork, no checks to see if we were dodgy Capetonians. We were given the whole mansion to ourselves for a night, for only 140 bucks each. 4 people in a 7 bedroom mansion. A most bizarre scenario, but a quality find.Check more of my road trip pictures at Flickr

Hello Holidays!

So the time has finally come where I can happily say, “I’m off!” It’s been a long year, but a good year, our company has grown from a massive 2 employees to a whopping 4, that means we’ve doubled in size! Our services are becoming more and more specific and we can focus on what we enjoy and what makes us the money. Visit our company website early next year, www.gravit8.co.za, to find out more.

I’m off on a roadtrip with my lady, Xenia, and mates Mike and Cailey. We will be visiting Bethlehem, Nelspruit, a private game farm, Kruger and a bit of Kwazulu Natal. Can’t wait! Boerewors and braais, game drives and dirt roads, sun cream and swimming pools, and of course Castle and Windhoek.

So to all of you have a Merry Christmas and a huge New Year’s bash! Unfortunately, no more posts till the 9th of January most probably. But don’t miss me to much, catch you all in 2006!

Ten Four – over and out

Mark

Hand of Hope

Its quite a picture, definitely blog worthy. But there is another motive behind this post. I went to SA Top Sites and looked for the sites getting the most hits.

Liverpool FC: Official Site for South African Fans and Supporters of Liverpool FC was on top with an average of 3023.75 unique visitors a day. I get that one, sport, blokes, English Football Premier League, theres a lot of interest. What surprised me though was the website with the second most daily visitors, 2285.75 unique visitors a day, So Close: Life after infertility. With twins. In South Africa. That’s a lot of visitors, viewing a website on life with twins!

So getting to the point I hope this photo appeals to you, it’s to do with babies, miracles, and pregnancy. So enjoy it, I hope it brings me some traffic 🙂

Hand Of Hope

It should be “The Picture of the Year,” or perhaps, Picture of the Decade.” It won’t be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which published it, you probably will never see it.

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb. Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr.Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb. During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via a C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby.

As Dr.Bruner completed the surgery on little Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed, hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger. In a Time Europe article high-lighting new pregnancy imagery that shows the formation of major organs and other significant evidence of the formation of human life Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, “Hand of Hope.” The text explaining the picture begins, “The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother’s uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.” Little Samuel’s mother said, “they wept for days when they saw the picture”. She said, “The photo reminds us my pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person.”

Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 per cent
successful.