well i certainly hadn't meant to leave the blog unattended for so long, but things have just been too incredibly hectic. aside from the fasting, i've been having something on almost every night & the weekends have been jam-packed as well. when i get chunks of time that are free, i totally need them for rest and recuperation.
this past week went like this:
- had people for dinner on monday night. since i'm not a great cook, i need to prepare in advance, and i had less than two hours from the time i left work til the time that the first part of the meal is ready. so i use as many shortcuts as i can (pre-cut salad, pre-grated cheese, pizza bases from the supermarket etc). and of course i have my darling mum to help out with cooking a couple of things, which takes some of the pressure off, and a darling daughter to do all the cleaning and vacuuming.
- tuesday night i had a 3 hour meeting straight after work. it was a pretty stressful one, and i broke my fast while driving to dinner, having made sure i had some dates in the car (it's traditional for dates to be the first thing we eat after sunset). luckily we were invited for dinner, so i didn't have to cook. after dinner, i had another meeting for the interfaith council, so was pretty exhausted when i got home.
- wednesday morning before work, i had a dummy run of our diversity forum workshop, with the good people from anglican action. it went really well, and i think the people there engaged so well with the issues. but then these are people who are working with those who have some significant struggles on a daily basis and so have a very good understanding of the issues. the stories that a couple of them shared were pretty amazing. after work i had to rush around shopping for another dinner on friday & homework stuff for my daughter. we go to the mosque for prayers every night in ramadan, and after i got back around 9pm, i spent about an hour and half in the kitchen doing some preparatory work.
- thursday was relatively quieter - didn't have to cook as we were invited for dinner, but still put in another hour and a half in the kitchen after prayers to organise for friday.
- saturday morning i had to be at the mosque at 8am, to be part of the muslim group driving to turangawaewae marae, to be officially welcomed on to the marae as part of the coronation celebrations. it was a lovely event, but so freezing cold! i was pretty well dressed with two layers of thermals, two pairs of socks, two gloves & still managed to have numb toes. the powhiri was lovely, and then we got to sit and watch the next group be welcomed. these were members of royal families from the pacific, and they got the full-on formal welcome, which was great to watch. i have to mention that the muslim communities were given a special welcome because it was difficult for us to be part of the ethnic communities welcome on friday - friday being our congregational day & also because we were fasting, the serving of food wouldn't have been appropriate. so they gave us another more suitable time, agreed to adjust protocol for our specific requirements (especially around the hongi), and were very welcoming. it was such a lovely example of hospitality and flexibility; really a model for all. didn't have to cook on saturday night as we were invited for dinner.
- sunday was the diversity forum, and our poverty workshop. it was at the new claudlands conference centre, which was pretty nice. we were a bit worried, because when we started our session, there were only about 6 people in the room. but they kept coming in, and about 20 minutes into it, there were around 50 people in attendance. i think it went quite well, though i can see where we could have improved things a little. still, we had a lot of positive feedback. i had to rush off before the end of our session, to speak briefly at the interfaith council's session about the interfaith forum in february next year. in the next session, i also had to speak briefly following rosslyn noonan's talk on the human rights action plan. my job was to give a community perspective on human rights in nz today, and i might post what i said in the next day or two, if i can find the energy. didn't have to cook again, because we were invited (any day i don't have to cook is a pretty good day!)
- today i was at the diversity forum again after work. i attended the media session around the paul henry/hone harawira comments, covered in this article. i stayed on for the diversity awards, which were lovely. i can't remember the names of all the 12 organisations recognised, and i'm sure they'll be on the HRC website soon, but it was lovely to see the work of philip yeung at the hamilton city council recognised, and the brilliant to see tainui holdings ltd get the special award. it'll be interesting to see how that goes down with the CBD, who are suffering from the loss of business that is now going tainui's way.
and here it is, monday night. i've got a pretty stressful board meeting after work tomorrow. by the end of august, i have to get a GST return done for a community organisation, review accounts and have a meeting with one of my NGO financial people so that the accounts are ready for audit, get a funding application in to WEL energy trust, write an article for a journal, and get a tricky tax return done for another organisation. at the same time, we are into the last 10 days of ramadan, which are supposed to be spent in extra prayer and acts of worship. i'm just hoping that this list of stuff i have to get done will count as acts of worship - they are in a sense, because in my mind, i do it for the greater good and for no pay. just hoping to make a difference in my little corner of the world.