Day 3 of the workshop

I had a lovely post about day three of the workshop (the final day) all typed out and “published” …or so I thought.  Apparently it was eaten by the internet, so now I’m going to do my best to recreate it.

First thing to note is the energy of all the participants.  It was amazing.  All of them had ideas to go forward.  All of them wanted to talk about things that are important in regards to health of their communities and the national health goals (and how libraries can help meet them!).  They are library advocates and strive to do as much as they can for the profession.

The day started with presentations by each of the attendees.  Overall, everything went well.  Everyone had a chance to practice public speaking in a safe environment for less than 10 minutes.  After lunch we did more talking about opportunities for travel to the United States through organizations like MLA and through the Embassy.  Finally, each group (grouped by location) talked through action plans for the classes they will be teaching in the next six months.  We took notes and brainstormed with them.  It was such a great day!

I plan to have Martha write a guest post at some point when she has a chance, if she wants.  This trip meant so much to both of us.  It’s proof that much of what happens in our lives is due to relationships that we build along the way through our lives and careers. 

I tell everyone that if you have a chance to speak at a conference in your profession, do it.  You never know who is in the audience.  After all, that is how Martha and I have now been to South Africa twice.  🙂




Cradle of Humankind (March 8, 2013)

Today was our only free day that didn’t involve air travel!  Before leaving home, we booked a full day tour of the Cradle of Humankind with Palaeo Tours.  We had such a great day seeing the sites at Drimolen and Sterkfontein. 

The best part of this tour, besides the fact that it was private, is that we had a lot of time to talk with a paleontologist about the work she’s done at Drimolen, as well as the overall history of the finding of human remains in South Africa.  Just before getting to Drimolen, we drove through the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, where we saw rhinos!  Finally, now we have seen all of the Big Five.  🙂







Workshop day 2

This was another great day!  I am looking forward to hearing presentations from the participants tomorrow morning, followed by focused brainstorming and planning in the afternoon.  It is exciting to see their energy and passion about consumer health information.  🙂

There will be much more of a follow-up tomorrow after the workshop is over.  We have some play time on Friday and on Saturday before heading home that evening.  This trip is flying by!

(note to self: get Martha to email me some pics, as she has been better at taking them than me during class!)


so far, so good!

Yesterday was day one of our three-day workshop in Johannesburg.  We have a total of 18 participants from all over the country. 

Once again, we were struck by how similar librarian issues are no matter where in the world we are.  There are collection development issues with donated books (especially unwanted ones).  There are problems with funding and advocacy to communicate the value of libraries.  We are sharing our experiences and they are sharing theirs in hopes to learn from each other.  In addition, many of the South African librarians are interested in forming local library consortia, and I imagine that everyone (public, medical, and academic librarians) will benefit from such agreements.

In other news, the food is still wonderful here.  I am not drinking as much of the wonderful Coke this time around, but it is still one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.  The chicken is still better than most of our chicken.  And the portions are perfect (not too big!) most of the time. 

As we are walking to the Consulate for this workshop, I haven’t heard as much radio this time.  However, I did hear The Civil Wars on the radio in Botswana, which was quite awesome.  (If you haven’t heard The Civil Wars, listen to them.  Now.)

A friend of mine in San Diego has described driving in Los Angeles as a perpetual game of chicken.  I find that description also fits being a pedestrian in Jo’burg.  Most of the walk from the hotel is through a shopping mall, but the little bit of crossing the streets does remind me of that quote.

Another observation…the city of Johannesburg reminds me a lot of Atlanta.  There are safer areas and very high crime areas.  It is sprawling with a lot of car traffic.  There are several major neighborhoods throughout the city (we’re staying in the Sandton neighborhood).  However, you can’t get (at least not easily get) peri-peri chicken in Atlanta.

I plan to write a recap of day 2 later today sometime before bed.  It’s only 10:00a right now.  Martha is wrapping up her section before we break for tea.  I love tea breaks…so very civilized.  

Monday, March 4

I think I’m starting to adjust to the new time zone, as for the past couple of nights I’ve been so very ready for bed at 10:00p.  Yes, it is now 10:30p, but I promised myself I would write so as to not getting to far behind.

Today was the first teaching day for us.  Martha and I taught a variety of abbreviated classes at the University of Botswana.  They have a new medical school, and it was great meeting everyone, especially their medical librarian.  It’s a lovely campus, and everyone was warm and welcoming.

Speaking of warm…it’s definitely summer here!  Love it!

We are now back in Johannesburg, and will start the three-day workshop tomorrow morning at the Consulate.  We have 18 students enrolled, which is a nice sized class. 

I do need some sleep, but below are a few pics I took today in Botswana.


We’ve Arrived!

Good evening from Johannesburg!  After a long long flight, we have arrived safe and sound in South Africa (luggage made it as well!).

I am not at all adjusted to this new time.  I want to go to bed, which is good, as it’s after 10:00p (7 hours time different from Eastern time).  However, I definitely feel like a missed an entire day!

Tomorrow we are off to Gabarone, Botswana, for the workshop we’re doing on Monday morning.  Then back to Jo’burg for the rest of the trip.

I almost forgot my camera, but didn’t, so there will be pics in the next few days.

Side note: this room has enough tea for me to have two cups in the morning before going down for breakfast.  I love this about South Africa.  🙂

Getting ready

We are now about 24 hours away from getting on a plane in Knoxville to eventually end up in Johannesburg!  I just completed my last item on my work to-do list (trust me, there is much more to do at home!), and am not quite stressed about the trip.  I know the long flight is coming.  I’m getting everything done and prepared and I’m ready to get started!

On Monday, March 4, Martha and I are teaching a half-day consumer health information workshop in Gabarone, Botswana.  I’ve heard good things about Gabarone, and am looking forward to seeing it for myself.  From there, we are going back to Jo’burg for a 3-day train-the-trainer workshop for 16 librarians.  After that, we have one day free before heading back to Tennessee. 

Stay tuned!!