A new start

How does it feel being back at home?  There are always two sides to a coin. It is nice connecting to your home environment with friends and relatives. However, as I felt deeply involved with the people at Camphill Village there is an inner voice telling me that I am missing out as well. The latest news from Camphill is that they had a very successful workshop on their mission and how to develop further. That makes me very happy!

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Symbol for Strength Confidence and Persistence

I am about to start a new career and this visual is part of it. How can that be?
In a shop at Addo Elephant Park I found this African symbol which is pointing in all four directions to strength, endurance, capability and confidence. Later on I investigated more on African symbols and got an idea for the logo of my newly founded business. As of today I have my own consultancy: The HR Advisor

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It has been an exciting time already preparing this new phase of my life and there is definitely more to come. The project at Camphill has strengthened me and I hope to contribute a lot in my new field of operation.

If you like to explore more about my future endeavors. Here you are:

The HR Advisor

I hope you have liked my adventures and insights from South Africa. I am sure I’ll be back to this exciting country and its wonderful people.

For the time being, all the best.

 

 

 

 

2017 – the year of deepening

Sometimes life feels like a series of coincidences. But it isn’t! At least not always. Why not? Sometimes different bits and pieces come together and they make sense. Here is my personal experience.

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Ubuntu is a philosophy that considers the success of the group above that of the individual.

My “UBUNTU” time in South Africa is drawing to a close and I wondered how to finish off this time in the blog. Then I came across this headline: 2017 – the year of deepening. Where did I read this? In a newsletter from Camphill Village written by the Managing Director where he reflected on my work in Camphill:

“We started 2017 with a deep inward look at ourselves as an organisation. This process was facilitated by Udo Stauber, an HR and organisational development specialist from Germany, who donated a month of his time, and spent time with each member of staff, to gauge where we are as an organisation. This has created a platform from which we can now develop our internal process going forward. ….”
(http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5c9ba9851296499331ca7771f&id=874d4d4211&e=88c0a9d533)

I immediately recognized parallels to my situation:

  1. 2017 started for me with a deep inward look at myself. My time in South Africa has contributed a lot to create my personal platform for the time to come. I had so many thrilling encounters with wonderful strong people and characters from different walks of life, from different cultures and countries which made me quite often aware in which comfortable situation I am. They reemphasized my strong belief that it is up to us to shape our life and to be responsible for what we are doing.
  2. I got deeper involved in topics which I had not been that closely confronted with before. Working and living with intellectually handicapped people is very rewarding and enriches ones life tremendously.

I know South Africa a bit better now. However, there is still a lot to discover for me and to learn.

As of 1 April I start my own consultancy in Germany and my first project seems to be the implementation of a Performance Management System.

My logo includes a symbol from South Africa. In my first blog on1 April I’m gonna explain the story behind the symbol. Stay tuned.

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Goodbye, Auf Wiedersehen

“The lion sleeps tonight.” Don’t believe lyrics!

Imagine. It is 6.30 am and you are surrounded by two beautifully looking male lions. A dream, a nightmare or a wish? Neither of the three!
We were facing reality! At least „kind of“…
Have a look for yourself:

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The lion doesn’t have an interest for us
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He guides is out of his “empire”
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We didn’t offer him any drinks …

This took place in the Addo Elephant Park close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa on a game drive. But back to square one.

Our ranger, a witty, experienced and funny guy, spotted on our route a lion and followed him. We got quite close to him and than he disappeared in the bush. A second ranger with another group who had been informed about the lion’s presence appeared but too late.
We continued our route and suddenly our ranger reversed the vehicle, changed direction and went back as quickly sas the car allowed. Our group felt excited because it was like being on a hunt. Suddenly we saw one lion walking in front of the other car coming towards us and a second one approaching from further away. Five minutes later we were escorted by two lions: one walking in front of us and the other one following closely. At first the group went very silent but the ranger explained the situation and we all became more relaxed and first jokes such as „This one looks still hungry. He likes you“ were exchanged. The lions didn’t seem to have any interest for us. The ranger taught us that they can’t differentiate between the vehicle and the people on it. We shouldn’t try to expose our hands or arms outside of the car. This could lead to a serious accident ….

However, ten lions are in the Addo Elephant Park and approx. 700 elephants and we had the chance to watch two of them at close range for more than half an hour.
The game drive which was scheduled for two hours lasted more than half an hour longer. The lions made our day at 7 am already! How lucky we were!

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Addo Elephant Park – here we are: Just beautiful!

Bungee Jumping, Beaches & Cappuccino

Do you have any idea where this bridge is? Do you know what it is used for – apart from driving across the ravine?

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It is the Bloukrans bridge on the Garden route 10 km after Plettenberg Bay on the N2.
The highest point is 216m and it is the ideal location for people looking for adrenalin pushes – that is the place to be for Bungee jumpers. Honestly, I didn’t dare.
Life begins after the comfort zone, but that was too much for me.

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If you would like to see more details follow this link:

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Plettenberg Bay

We had some wonderful days at Plett Bay with the gorgeous beaches stretching out for kilometers and only a few people around!  And the Indian Ocean is much warmer than the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town.
An insider tip in Plettenberg for cappuccino lovers is the Le Fournil at Plettenberg Main Street. Situated in a back square and covered with trees. Opening times are from 9 am to 5 pm. Either for breakfast or for just having a nice break in between. Enjoy!

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Le Fournil in Plett Bay

From Camphill to Camps Bay

After four fantastic weeks in Camphill Village my second part of my adventure in South Africa starts  – holidays. I fetch my wife from Cape Town International Airport and off we go to Camps Bay which is a well known buzzing seaside resort in Cape Town. We don’t go directly but stop by at our favourite Cafe in Tamboerskloof – The Blue Cafe which is a neighbourhood cafe. Excellent Cappuccino and “lekker” breakfast.

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View on Table Mountain from The Blue Cafe

From there we move on to Camps Bay where we have booked two “Airbnb nights”. The house is breathtaking. However, the reception is quite impersonal. It doesn’t take long and we are at our favorite beach – Clifton 4. It’s not crowded and lots of stones to sit on and enjoy the sun and the waves. Water temperature is between 12-14 degrees!!!!!

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Clifton Beach 4

Saturday morning we went to the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock which is not any more an insider tip but nevertheless a nice place to be. There is a fantastic food market on Saturday besides the nice art stores. If you really want a treat book a table in The Test Kitchen which is a gourmet highlight. You need to book well in advance! Although, we haven’t been there.

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The Old Biscuit Mill on a Saturday morning
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Fresh coconut milk at The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town

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A last view from our balcony onto Lions Head gives you a further impression of Cape Town.
Do you like it?

Do you know Khayelitsha?

Today I went on a tour to Khayelitsha. It is one of the largest townships in South Africa and is situated on the suburbs of Cape Town. Khayelitsha stands in iXhosa for “New Home”.  Around  400.000 people lived there in 2011, thereof approx. 98% black people (I didn’t count yesterday – I googled).

I had a very authentic guide – Matanzima who used to live here and still has a house in this township. So far I had only passed by townships in a car and always thought how can people live there. Today I faced reality and was part of it for two hours. Khayelitsha stretches out enormously and I was happy to have Matanzima with me. Otherwise I would have been lost.

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Khaelitsha from the look-out post

Khayelitsha has got a lot of different faces. There is hope, there is creativity but some pretty desperate areas as well. Have a look for yourself:

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Speaks for itself
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Hub for start-ups
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First B&B in Khayelitsha – run by Those Lekau

I especially like Those’s approach – the first B&B in Khayelitsha. She calls it the “cake philosophy”. Nobody bakes a cake for herself and nobody eats a cake alone. She studied the B&B business very carefully, started her B&B and soon taught others as well how to do it. A German TV station has broadcasted her already and she shared her experiences in Australia. A wonderful example for taking on responsibility and get started!
We went to Matanzima’s house and met his younger brother who lives next door.

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In front of Matanzima’s house with his brother

I was invited for dinner as well, but I could resist ….

 

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A braai place
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The menu for today

At around sixth o’clock we stood at a very busy corner and I asked Matanzima when the traffic would calm down and Khayelitsha would become a more quiet place. The answer was straightforward: at around 9 o’clock and he looked a bit puzzled. “What’s on your mind?” I continued my search for meaning. “Well”, he added, “it becomes quieter but dangerous as well. There are gangs operating and I wouldn’t advise people to walk around.”
At this point I stopped asking and we went back to Camphill which is the heaven on earth compared to Khayelitsha.

 

Peaceful market on a Sunday morning in Camphill

Sunday morning in Camphill Village. Every first Sunday morning in a month Camphill Village reaches out to attract as many visitors as possible for the market. Local products from the village farm, the bakery and cosmetics are offered. Additionally nearby artists and shops offer their goods.

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Two days before the market the count down in the village starts and everyone is somehow involved in getting “things” done. Baking cakes, harvesting lettuce, packaging articles at the cosmetics. On top of that, the lights in the bakery are not switched  off from Saturday to Sunday. Max and his team are “rocking round the clock” to get as many delicious hand made bread loafs out of the oven as even possible.

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Max proudly presenting his bread

A tractor is touring Camphill Village on the outer lap which is 3,2 km.

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Kids, parents and grandparents besides other visitors are having fun with this tractor ride.

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Janine the fundraiser in Camphill just sold 10 tickets for the upcoming music festival

That’s going to be the “hottest event” at Western Cape this summer. Don’t miss out!

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At the market we had a first taste what live music can be like in Camphill Village

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Tickets for “off the Grid”to win

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What’s that????????

 

At 2 pm I went back to Uli’s place where I am staying with a fully packed rucksack containing a lot  of useful goods, but at least with a few “things” which could be questioned. I am giving away two tickets: Find out what this “thing” on the photo is for: Have a go! 
And tell you what: I spent the last hours of this wonderful Sunday at Melkboos Strand.

Impressions & visions

Today was the big day – Community Meeting.
What have I been doing here the last 2 1/2 weeks? I had the privilege to talk intensively to more than 35 people about Camphill.
It was about their hopes, homes, visions and some of them even unfolded parts of their lives. There were emotional moments in these conversations where I thought where does it lead to? However, these moments will stay with me for a long time. I still have to do some thinking!

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Ballons above Camphill grounded in love
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Ubuntu – Trust, Honesty

The idea from the very beginning was to have a Community Meeting as they call it here where I was expected to  present my perceptions. Presenting here doesn’t mean power point slides!!
I developed the idea to work with images: pictures, paintings, symbols etc.
Some of my conversation partners utilized metaphors and little stories which I took up.
“Lots of different balloons are flying above Camphill and we need to connect them or to create one big balloon”, was one  statement. I connected this metaphor with my feeling that every balloon was grounded in a big heart in the Camphill soil.
At the end I had five images which conveyed the messages I wanted to get across. I asked around for someone who was good at painting and drawing. Esme took on the task and the wonderful paintings are the result of her doings. Thank you very much Esme!
I put all the images up at the meeting hall and presented them to approx. 50 participants.

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Community where the meeting took place

After the presentation the group was divided into 5 subgroups which discussed shortly my perceptions and than each dealt with a specific question. It was a wonderful picture seeing and hearing all these people discussing and arguing.

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Different perspectives 

The results of these sub-groups were reported back in the plenary which created a nice atmosphere as well. They are not used to doing that regularly.

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Woodworker with a blunt saw
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Walking in someone else’s shoes

This meeting has been a good start for Camphill to further work on its way forward: knowing – better to say feeling – that there is a lot of common ground which helps to find the balance between the philosophy of Camphill and the current requirements.
The Managing Director wrapped up the meeting with a challenging task for everyone to think about.

Buzzing university town with peaceful spots

I am having my second weekend out of Camphill and staying in Stellenbosch. It is a vibrant town north of Cape Town full of students from South Africa and overseas. There is quite some German speaking tongues around here as well. I am staying with Colleen and Walter who have the gift to make you feel like having known them for hundert years already after entering their house.

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Dorp Street 43 – Sunday 7 am
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Magic scenery in Stellenbosch

Yesterday evening I went to a concert at the Oude Libertas  Amphitheater right outside of Stellenbosch.  I enjoyed it very much even I didn’t know the Belgium singer beforehand.

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Stef Bos at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre

But the world is small. I can tell. During our wonderful breakfast this morning I mentioned  the concert and a Belgium woman  who has been on her honeymoon smiled and replied that she went with him to school in Belgium. We than listened to some nice stories about those times.

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“Slow market” at Oude Libertas on a Saturday morning

Yesterday morning I went to the “slow” market where local artists sell their treasures and food stalls serve delicious meals. I was waiting at this particular store for my meal. I am not revealing what it was!?

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Old Mac – Digging for Happiness

During a walk after breakfast I discovered this wonderful sculpture. It is a reminder of South Africa’s mining legacy. Do you think he is happy? That’s what the discussion is about. Does – in this case – gold make you happy?

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Botanical Garden

A place where you can relax, calm down and take a deep breath is the Botanical Garden where I stayed for a while and had a nice Cappuccino.

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Colleen and Walter

Here we are: Colleen and Walter in her beautiful garden where I am writing this blog and preparing the community session at Camphill coming Wednesday.
I would like to tell you more about this event but my conversation partners have the right to get the feedback first. More about it at the end of the week.

 

Weapons or dolls? Boys or Girls?

Saturday evening, 21 January 2017, one day after the presidential inauguration in Washington and my father’s birthday. 8.30 pm at Bloubergstrand opposite Cape Town. I am  sitting in a nice and fully packed restaurant and have just ordered my dinner. I am looking around. I have somehow the feeling that my senses  have been sharpened after the week in Camphill.
What am I looking at? This machine. What does it say? Boys. Girl. Boys is plural, Girl is singular. Does that carry any meaning? Probably not. But that is not the strange thing.

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Dolls or Weapons?

Some of you might remember these funny machines dating back to the last century where you never knew what you would get out. In this case there are some hints already. If you are a girl you throw your 5 Rands into the right hand slot and if you are a boy you do it otherwise. Is it weapon or dolls? Don’t know. But does that work? What do you think?

You can be assured, it doesn’t. A girl comes along, looks at the two sections of this machine, thinks a moment and puts her money into the boys’ slot.  I can’t see what she gets out because she hides it in her hand. But she didn’t do what she was expected to do!
Are you most of the time or always doing what you are expected to do?

Besides this little story I am having a wonderful weekend in Bloubergstrand. Firstly  it is a paradise for kite surfers who gather in hundreds here. It’s amazing what they do on the Atlantic Ocean.

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The other highlight is  looking onto Cape Town and the Table Mountain. It is a special feeling. During daylight Table Mountain is the eye catcher on the horizon. And after 9 pm it is the silhouette  which is amazing. Fabulous. Enjoy the photos.

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Table Mountain in the back during the day.
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Wedding on the beach with Table Mountain in the far distance
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Table Mountain at night from Bloubergstrand.

And I met Philip, my host at Bloubergstrand. He runs  – besides being engaged in other businesses – a B&B, only two rooms. If you ever go to Cape Town and would like to stay at Bloubergstrand, Richmondstreet 45 is the place to stay!

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Two rooms facing the little pool

Philip is an amazing guy. We even touched Kant, Camus and other likes in our discussions. On the other hand he has his two legs firmly grounded into life. Philip if you happen to read this: Thanks very much for your hospitality.

Now I am back at Camphill and preparing next week. I wish you all a very good start.