Jonathan Field - Maker of Random Stuff

Author Archives: jfield

South Africa 2012 – Just One Week Left

The last couple weeks are always a pileup. Wnen I arrive, I try to figure out what’s going on, what I hope to do, and then set some plans in motion. There’s usually a lull before those seeds start sprouting, a rusn as things either get done or they don’t all at once.

So we pulled the trigger on the wiring for the internet!

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South Africa 2012 – Week Four – Committed

I don’t know who I am, exactly, but this week I found myself sitting with the principal and the CAT teacher of Thalana High School, promising the head of the school board we could hook the place up with internet. When he asked me how much it would cost, I referred to the chicken-scratch numbers in my notebook: a few network switches and 150 meters of cable measured by pacing from the main office to the lab and priced over the phone five minutes before coming into the meeting. “About $225 in supplies and $40 a month?”

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South Africa 2012 – Week Three – Vacation

I think pesto might function something like vegetarian bacon. By which I mean that nearly everything you add it to ends up tasting better.

It’s Easter Sunday, the biggest holiday over here, and so everyone is off at church. Meanwhile I’m catching up on some programming tasks and making myself a nice solo lunch – entirely leftovers. And not entirely my leftovers, mind you. People come and go from the hostel and leave behind lovely food items. Is it weird that I just add them to my collection? I inherited some nice fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and the aforementioned jar of pesto.

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South Africa 2012 – Week Two – Thalana

First, let me get your attention with a picture of Alan & Donna’s lovely new roommate.

Overall I’d say that such encounters are rare here, but this lovely female did hang out quietly in their kitchen for a couple days. Alan & Donna are the type to name it rather than kill it, so feel free to say “hi” to Pilly the rain spider. Relax, those legs are only about two and a half inches each.

But back to school…

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South Africa 2012 – Week One – Joburg & Pretoria

The flight seems a little shorter every year, I think. I spent my first week as a tourist in Johannesburg and Pretoria, two very different cities that sit right next to each other in the northeast. This is my fourth trip, and I’ll be here for six weeks.

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Thoughts on Making the World a Better Place

After witnessing an online debate over Kony 2012 the past few days, I wanted to put together a list of things I think people should consider about NGOs, nonprofits, and humanitarian efforts in general. Fact checking and debate are good things, but it seemed that a lot of the negativity was coming from some basic misunderstandings, fueled by ignorance and cynicism, and resulting in more of the same. The effects of these misunderstandings go way beyond the Kony 2012 issue. As someone who’s volunteered in rural Africa over the past few years, here’s some food for thought:

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Forward Ho!

Went to a great wedding this past weekend for my cousin Hamo and his wife Tessa. Brought along my great friend Dina. It was a perfectly planned wedding, set outdoors in the lovely rolling fields next to our old family farmhouse, every detail was attended to… except for the one that cannot be controlled.

Yes, Hurricane Irene blasted into town right as things started. The amazing thing is, not only did it not ruin the wedding, it only seemed to make it better.

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Setbacks and Scotland

Right as I was leaving for a 10 day trip to Scotland, the real-estate deal in Rhode Island fell through.

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Real Estate Tycoon!

I got offers accepted on two houses in the past week! One in Rhode Island for my mom and Tim, and one in Nevada for me. Both should close around the end of August, assuming nothing wild and crazy comes up.

Here’s the RI house, and here’s a video tour that my sister and I made for the family. We made videos of five houses in all, but this one ended up the clear winner.

And here’s the place I’m getting. I ended up choosing a condo unit so there’s less to worry about when I’m out of town. Which was nearly 50% of the time last year, and about 60% so far this year.

Both places need a little sprucin’ up, but that’s part of the fun of owning a home! Now I’m off to Scotland for a couple weeks, but after that it’ll be all about sprucin’ and movin’. I’m excited to settle in, and to see my mom and Tim do the same. I think I’m sleeping a bit better, too.

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Florida/Georgia 2011

What an amazing trip. I went to visit my mom and Tim in Florida to celebrate Tim’s birthday as they prepare to move north. They’ve had a seven year adventure on the Gulf of Mexico and are about to start a new adventure in New England near the grandchildren.

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