Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Freedom Day!

It is "Freedom Day" in South Africa today. It commemorates the day we voted in our first free elections in 1994. It was also the first time I voted as I wasn't old enough before then to vote. So, along with the majority Black South Africans, I became a "first-time voter" on that day 16 years ago. That was the day millions queued up for literally miles and waited all day, just to be able to vote!
It has been 20 years since Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison on the 11th of February 1990. I found this great slideshow which the BBC made with photos and voice-overs from that time to commemorate the 20 years anniversary of his release. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

BEST Business Training in Sanski Most

 On Friday night and Saturday morning, I was presenting the BEST Business Training Modules 1 and 2 (3 and 4 come in two weeks time) in Sanski Most (a town about an hour and a half away from Banja Luka) for one of their projects there. We had a great time learning through the Business Simulation (which looks like a game, but it is so much more!): So far we have covered without them even realising: planning, budgeting, cash-flow analysis, supply and demand, teamwork, negotiation skills, amongst other things! Here are some pictures from the training:

Now, funny story: I am teaching in the local language and so in the beginning I tell them that if there is something that I don't say right please tell me, as sometimes I misuse a word or can't think of it (there is a lot of the business vocabulary that is still trying to get stuck in my brain: I mean I struggle to remember the English!!). Anyway luckily they did because when I was explaining about the "raw materials" that they have to buy I was using the word "sirov" instead of "sirovina": the first is just 'crude' or 'raw' or could mean "of cheese", so they were wondering why they had to buy a whole lot of cheese!!

Now they each received a loan of 10KM (about R50/$8) and have a couple of weeks to  make as much from that as they can. They each have to repay 11KM and all the 1KM "interest" will be given to the one who makes the most money! So in two weeks I will go back and see how they did!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Easter at the Orphanage!

Yes, it is a little late, but when we went in the Easter week they had forgotten we were coming and sent all the kids on an outing! We told them to hand out the Easter parcels we had prepared and said we would come back when I got back from Romania to do the presentation and workshop... so we went last night.

Lea did a fantastic job of going through the Easter story using the colours from the "wordless book". First we had to open the gift box: Here are Mladen and Dragana helping Lea and Ivana open it up:
 To reveal: that the cross is the greatest gift of all:
 Then using pictures, Lea continued to explain the Easter story (and Ivana did a great job translating!)
While Lea was explaining we were making bracelets using beads with the colours from the story: See Teta Duska (one of the teachers) helping us out in the foreground:

 And Tanja with Dejana, Dijana (behind), Jelena, Ceca and Dragana in the front:

 And each child ended up with a bracelet that reminds them of the Easter story: black for sin, red for God's love, white for pure heart, yellow for the hope of heaven, green for new life in Jesus and the blue band for the Holy Spirit:

And of course at the end we handed out sweeties because they had been so good! The kids had a great time and so did we!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

50th Celebrations

After the Equip finished on the Friday morning it was all systems go to get things ready for the YWAM Central European 50th celebrations which began in the evening. By the time registration happened at 3pm the hall looked really festive and we were ready to go (despite me only getting the hotel room list at 2.30pm to figure out the housing!).

The first night and Saturday morning, we had Al Akimoff, from YWAM Slavic Ministries speaking:
On Saturday afternoon we had a tour of the sites of the "revolution" which took place in Romania, starting in Timisoara in December 1989 and leading to the overthrow of Ceau┼čescu. This plaque says "Here started the revolution that deposed a dictator":
Here is the Orthodox Church (soooo pretty) and the apparently ubiquitous 'Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf' statue which can be found in many Romanian towns (according to my guide anyway!):
We also had workshops and teachings via skype from Australia as our keynote speaker got stuck there due to the Iceland Ash Cloud crisis! But generally we had a time just to PARTY and celebrate our 50th in style. Here the Romanians show us how to do it the traditional way: (we did do a Bosnian/Former Yugoslavia dance as well, but I didn't get pics!)
Even though I ended up doing a LOT of work for the conference, I did enjoy it all and enjoyed being able to serve the 150 people (including 24 children) who came along to the event. And it was amazing how everything all worked out: we had exactly the right amount of beds in the hotel, the food was great and people helped with everything. Even with the Ash crisis meaning some people couldn't get back, everyone found somewhere to go (including my friend, Doreen, who came back with me to Banja Luka!). So, despite the hard work, I had a great time and look forward to our next regional conference in 2 years time!!

Equip workshop Timisoara, Romania

I arrived in Timisoara, Romania on Thursday the 8th of April to help set up for the Equip Workshop there. And more importantly to setup for the Central European YWAM 50th Celebrations that took place there this past weekend (more on that in another blog!). At Equip we had about 80 people from all over the region and the world.

The Equip started on Sunday 11th of April: Here is a pic of the main hall with one of the speakers, Al Akimoff (and his Romanian translator):

Besides the main sessions, we also broke up into smaller groups during the day to do different topics. Rebecca, Rodney and I ran a 6-hour workshop on communications. We started off with a game called "noise" and we made so much of it that the other workshops nearby had to take a break while we were doing it :-). Here is a great pic of Doug being the noise in the middle (he is jumping up and down, not over the chairs!). The aim is for one group to send the message, another to try and receive it and the third to be the "noise" in the middle and distract them. It was great fun, but also got the message across that communication is hampered by a lot of noise and distractions!!

Here I am teaching on 3D communications:

Our workshop was definitely one of the more fun workshops, and more importantly people came away with skills they can use and a different outlook on communications!

A surprise at the Equip is the fact that Grace from Korea loooooves Marmite! (and I was gracious enough to share mine with her) Here she is eating it with (yuck) kiwi fruit!
Ok, more later on the 50th...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Easter!!

I can't believe that Easter has come and gone... I really enjoy being able to think about the real reason for the holiday: the amazing truth that Jesus came and died and not only that rose again blows me away every year: we need to think about this not just at this time of year, but all the time!

For Easter here the tradition is to colour eggs using natural colours (onion skins) and wax, or some not so natural colouring and stickers...

Now, because I forgot to take photos of my eggs, I have used (with permission) some pictures from the egg colouring that my friend Tanja and her kids did. Here are all the props (including the two wooden eggs - more about them later)And the finished products: The brown ones with designs are the ones that are made from the onions and wax:
So what does one do with all these eggs? You compete to see whose egg is the hardest by hitting one onto another: and the person whose egg doesn't crack gets to keep the one which does...

Here I am competing with Tanja's kids: Bojan and Snjezana:
Now, about those wooden eggs: I was invited to lunch at Tanja and Damjan's and I took the eggs that I had made over to "compete" with Bojan and Snjeza. Now, I thought I was just having bad luck, but they were cheating with the wooden eggs!!!!

Here I am before they told me, just thinking it was my "weak" eggs:
But the looks on their faces when they told me made up for it!! They are too cute!
It has been a lovely Easter: hanging with friends and family (via Skype!) and just reflecting on what it is all about:
The tomb is empty, He is Risen: Hristos Vaskrse!!!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Spring cleaning to the extreme...

I have been waiting for Spring to be able to repaint my room (here they use a cheaper paint and repaint every or at least every other year) as it has been 3 years since we did our bedrooms and I wanted a change!

Here is Damjan (who did the painting, gotto love that!) in my cleared out room before we started:
And here is where all my stuff went: into Ljilja's room (she is away, which is why I decided to do it now!)

End result (after I spent two days putting the stuff back!! - I took longer as I was going through it!). In case you can't tell on the photos, the new colour is "lilac" or light purple. I wanted to do yellow, but as we already have yellow in two rooms in our house, I was voted down, so my second choice was lilac...

And now with the new layout, I actually have 3 rooms in one: Here is my bedroom: I love the butterfly and flower detail - Damjan's idea, my handiwork!
 My lounge/guest room:
 And my office:
Here is a pic from my bed of the whole room:
So now I am all ready for the year - completely spring cleaned (well in my room at least!).
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