Showing posts from March, 2010

Senegal 2010 - day 1

Well, we made it here in one piece, though a few things got lost along the way (a wallet - not much in it, a scarf + a roll mat). But no hassles getting through baggage check-in in Gatwick despite our extra bags and we enjoyed a nice walk around Madrid + the outside of Real Madrid's rather ugly Bernabeu stadium, passing the time whilst awaiting our onward flight to Dakar.

First impressions of the group on arrival in Dakar? Very hot (but a dry heat), local people swarm to help you with your luggage at the airport and are very friendly until the moment when you give them less money than they feel they earned by helping you! As one of the group said, "A reality check on life in Africa." I assured him most people here weren't so pushy. The roads are also much better than in Togo or Uganda on the whole.

A Feanch Brother, Frère Jacques, met us at 11.30pm at the airport with a Ford Transit minibus for the 1h30 to his community at Thiès where we will now be till Friday. The…

Senegal departure imminent

At 5.30a.m. tomorrow morning, we, the intrepid "Team Win!" (12 people, aged between 15 [5 year 11 pupils] + 72 [Bro. Francis]) set off for Senegal. Adventures await...

I pray that we may be open to God's gracious Spirit working in us during the trip, so that we may always do his will, that we may bear the face of Christ to those we meet and that we might recognise him in them, that it may be a time of sharing, of self-discovery, of fraternity, that we may go as brothers + sisters of those we meet, not as "saviours", and that we may come back with hearts full of love for all God's children.


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Southampton vs. Carlisle - final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, at Wembley.

I'm all excited about going to Wembley tomorrow to see the Saints in a cup final! Scarf? Check. Team kit? Of course! Bundles of optimism? Check. Voice ready to give its all for the cause? Goes without saying.

Yr. 11s sponsored cycle for Senegal

Kristian "carbo loading"
A few weeks ago 4 of our Yr. 11s (15-16 years old) who are going with us to Senegal on Tues. (and a friend of theirs) did a sponsored 75-mile cycle around the Isle Of Wight, all organised by the lads themselves. The tale of there adventure can be found here.

I myself will be doing an 8-day, 840 mile cycle to Berlin in May for our schools in Haiti. More about that when we get back from Senegal.

 Kristian "carbo loading", again!

Senegal departure day approaches

Well, just 7 days now till we leave for Senegal. There's still so much to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel:

- purchase the rest of the equipment we'll be taking out (inc. data projector + sports gear)
- get my malaria tablets and water filtration tablets
- sort out + pack the donated sports clothing + gear 
- organise a bank transfer of funds to Senegal which one of our Brothers there will then withdraw in the local currency and give to us (CFA francs) + sort out our finances in general
- continue liaising with our Brothers in Senegal in planning our activities, transport, lodging, etc...
- a charity Music Dept. concert this Thurs. which I am organising for both Haiti + Senegal


Well, as long as I can get some good nights sleep between now and Tues. then I'll be alright. There are a few distractions, however, such as going to Wembley on Sunday to see the Saints (Southampton F.C.) play in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. I…

"Shutter Island" - M. Scorcese

I went to see Scorcese's "Shutter Island" the other night. Whilst I am not a paid-up member of the S.A.S. (Scorcese Adoration Society), I do find his films interesting even when flawed and he is undoubtedly one of the most influential directors of his generation.

Before going to see it i wrote on my Facebook page, "going to see Shutter Island tonight. L. DiCaprio's character loses the plot. I hope Scorcese hasn't! :-)"

Well, I must admit, until the last half hour I thought Scorcese HAD lost the plot... over-wrought, clichéd B-movie fodder with DiCaprio trying too hard... But then it started to dawn on me what was really going on and then when the twist came, it made complete sense of everything that I thought was wrong with the film and I came out thinking, "Yeah, you really had me going there. Fair play." Liked it lots, but will have to see it again to better appreciate the first 2 thirds. And in hindsight, DiCaprio is actually very good.


Oh the beauty of such a thing

Over on one of of my favourite web sites Universe Today you can find this article containing truly wonderful new satellite photos of our very own fragile, cosmologically insignificant little planet. It is still my ambition to be the first "monk" in space, but for now I will make do by contemplating the ravishing beauty of these and other such images that speak to me of creation's grandeur

Best "Blue Marble" Images Yet | Universe Today
Written by Nancy Atkinson

The Goddard Space Flight Center has a Flickr account showcasing a series of images of our own home planet. Called "Blue Marble," these spectacular images are the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations in 2001 of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. Your tax…

Just A Utilitarian Thought - a good point!

A fellow blogger Ttony makes a good point over on Muniment Room:
Just A Utilitarian Thought The Muniment Room .
If the father of a child is allowed no say in whether or not the child's mother aborts it or not, how can a mother who chooses not to abort demand that the father support the child financially?

It can't be "his" in any meaningful way if the primary question - life or death - is one in which he has no say and no vote.

Or am I missing something?
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Conspiracy theorists rejoice! - French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

This is simply stunning!! One would struggle to believe it's true but for the fact that it seems ex-CIA operatives have corroborated the accusations.

French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment - Telegraph
French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

A 50-year mystery over the 'cursed bread' of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment.

Henry Samuel in Paris


An American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD

In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted.

For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, a…

A visit to Winchester Cathedral

When friends come to stay, whether it be here in Southampton or when I lived in Liverpool, it is always an excuse to go and visit places of interest (with my guest(s)) that I would otherwise not make the effort to go and see. In this way I went to Winchester Cathedral last weekend, taking a visiting friend.

It is a very interesting cathedral, though perhaps not amongst my absolute favourites (near neighbour Salisbury Cathedral would, however, fit into that category most comfortably). This time though, there was the added bonus of a striking late afternoon sun that bathed the west door in early spring sunlight....

... and a visit to a flooded Crypt (I can't remember it being flooded on my previous visits, though apparently it is a common occurrence) where Antony Gormley's 1986 statue "Sound II" took on a whole new and quite magical character due to being surrounded by water a few inches deep and perfectly still, reflecting the rounded arches above.

I could have stayed…