Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘At the Zeitz MOCAA’

Oil on canvas 90cmx60cm.

A random moment. ‘Tell me your story. My name is magic fused with life purpose…” Story telling by Vusumuzi Mpofu amongst the bricks of Kendell Geers’ ‘Hanging Piece’.

Poetry transcending the horror of the hangman’s noose. Red ropes made ordinary by the red of clothing. Bricks, of terror fading into life, with purpose.

One of those evenings when I have managed to break, mess, and destroy. Nothing I can blame on crazy blood sugars. Or even too much wine.

Temperature regulation quite an issue on my Kamado Jan. Once that machine gets hot, it’s kind of impossible to get the temperature down. The monster chicken, while full of flavour was heading towards the charcoal side.

Order placed for the first batch of silk scarves. Time now an issue to finalise designs, sort pricing (exchange rate more erratic than my blood sugars) and get delivery before the holiday season.

Sold. South Sudan. Exhausting.

Stunning cheese cake that is diabetic sensitive. Tasty, and indulgent. A taste sensation amongst the week of amazing food indulgence. Chicken livers (which I don’t eat) at Chef Hirsch. Subtly tangy and perfect with the Newton Johnson Pinot Reserve, as well as the Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend. Beef fillet curry at Chef Coreta with a Delheim Vaaldrei Cab Franc that was better than my favourite Raats Cab Franc.

Remarkably privileged to have my painting of the migration ‘On the Plains’, hanging in its new rebuilt home after the fires. Particularly after an evening visiting a home that proudly shows its scars of the fires that tore through Knysna.

Lemon Cheese Cake

This banting friendly lemon cheesecake from Jump on the Bant Wagon, by Nick Charlie Key, R265, (Human & Rousseau), is the ultimate indulgence, without the guilt

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

1 cup almond flour

2T melted butter

3T xylitol

For the filling

680g cream cheese, at room temperature

310ml xylitol

1t vanilla extract

A pinch salt

4 eggs, at room temperature

60ml lemon juice

1T lemon zest

60ml whipping cream

Topping

250ml sour cream

30ml lemon juice

1T lemon zest

4T xylitol

1/2t vanilla extract

Try this dark chocolate cheesecake recipe

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

2. Prepare a springform cake pan. Put some baking paper over the bottom of the pan

1/3

and snap it into place when you tighten the sides of the pan.

3. Grease the sides and bottom of the pan (and the baking paper) using butter.

4. Mix all the crust ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Once it’s a

doughy, crumbly and moist texture, press it into the bottom of the prepared pan.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C.

7. For the filling, beat the cream cheese until it becomes fluffy, making sure to scrape

the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the xylitol, vanilla, salt and two of the eggs. Beat

well, then scrape the sides of the bowl again.

8. Add the remaining two eggs. Beat well and scrape once again. Add the lemon juice,

zest and cream. Beat well, scrape and pour the filling mixture over the pre-baked

crust.

9. Place the springform pan into a bigger pan that has been pre-filled halfway with

boiling water, and then place into the oven to bake for roughly 1 hour. The

cheesecake should still be a little wobbly in the centre when it comes out.

10. While the cheesecake is in the oven, mix all the topping ingredients together in a

mixing bowl.Get the recipe for the cheesecake topped with frilled honey buttered

peaches

11. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, spread the topping evenly over the

cheesecake and then return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

12. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool. Once at room temperature, pop

it into the fridge for a few hours to chill properly.

Serves 10–12 people

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The clock is reset. Washing machine rumbling. Empty wine bottles. Fire light. A touch of jazz, above the laughter. Smell of paint in the studio. Rain against the windows. Wind searching for gaps.

Home. Breathing life after the week away.

Wet dog smell, combined with a tinge of lagoon mud, and sea salt. The dust of the Karoo, replaced by mud.

Thrilled to receive a Special Merit Award for ‘Art of Outstanding Quality’, at the 2018 LightSpaceTime open art competition for my portrait of the Vietnamese woman in Hoi-An, ‘Crumpled’. This is the second time I have receive an award from LST, the first being in 2016 for my painting of the car-guard, ‘Jazz Man’.

Gouna river flowing strongly after the rain. Startling clear amber waters, an ancient mirror for the delicate water lilies opening in shafts of sunlight. The joys of being out on a bicycle in our paradise.

My painting of the elephants at Addo, a tad somber with the news that 90 elephant carcasses were found in Botswana. Elephants have always moved into the protected areas of Botswana, away from hunting guns of Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe. A haven shattered by the slaughter of poachers. Incredibly sad.

SOLD

Water Carriers

Oil on linen 40cmx30cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The world is quiet on a late summer evening. Sky full of stars. Glass of excellent red (La Vierge ‘Nymphomane’). Hint of jazz. Lights along the lagoon. Owl hooting somewhere amongst the roof tops.

Legs weary after their cycle through the forest. The ride along the ‘Coffee Pot’ trail beautiful through the indigenous Forest, full of life after a couple of days of rain. Which made the ride, with the strong men, demanding. My bum a tad bruised. Glad for the extra control afforded by the wider handle bars and new grips that kept me from being thrown from my bucking bicycle. Nothing elegant about my wrestling over branches, stones and through the mud.

The trail follows the route of the old 2-Ft. narrow gauge railway line that transported timber (mostly Yellowwood) from Diepwalle to Knysna for milling and shipment. Affectionately known by the people of Knysna as the ‘Coffee-Pot’, for the engine that was fitted with bulbous spark suppressors to prevent forest fires from the steam engine.

Thrilled to see my art used to illustrate stories in the Kalahari Review. The studio quiet after the craziness of the past few months. My heads sorting the ‘monochromatic’ parameters on Fabriano paper.

Stunning crisped chicken skin, with cauliflower mash, chicken breast and a Venetian duck ragu at the J9 kitchen. Don’t think the Master Chef judges had anything that tasty, and the Graceland 3Graces was delectable.

Diary of an Adventure

An aid official’s New Year’s resolution in South Sudan

Jan Raats, country director of the United Nations Office for Project Services’s South Sudan Operations Center shares what it’s like working in South Sudan.

South Sudan isn’t just the youngest nation on the planet, it also remains plagued by conflict and a lack of infrastructure and basic resources. Aid organizations have been rushing in over the past year to fill the void, only to find harsh working conditions and, often, bleak prospects for success.

The country “remains a complex place to work,” Jan Raats told Devex this week, just days after leaders from Juba and Khartoum reaffirmed their – some would say questionable – committment to a demilitarized zone near the border of South Sudan with Sudan. Raats serves as country director of the United Nations Office for Project Services’s South Sudan Operations Center.

The international community has a lot to learn about South Sudan, Raats acknowledged, especially if it is to push for sustainable development.

The biggest impediments to aid delivery relate to logistics, he suggested – perhaps not surprising since that is UNOPS’s focus.

“There are health risks as well as a population that is still heavily armed in an economic climate where pay to security forces is poor,” he added. “There are internal and external political issues that will continue to be risk factors.”

Here’s an email Raats shared with Devex, republished with his permission:

South Sudan remains a complex place to work. We have the expected post-conflict, limited resource environment that has minimal capacity and is beset by natural, and man-made, disasters. Within this context, and given that the country is one of the most underdeveloped in the world, I expected that upholding our core U.N. value of “do no harm,” would be the easiest aspect in sustainable development within both the humanitarian and nation-building space.

It was during a conversation with a Cabinet minister of the South Sudan government, about the years of war, adjusting to a post-conflict environment, and governing, as well as meeting the never-ending priority list of nation building that I came across a key element of sustainable development. We don’t know the country — particularly when it comes to sustainable infrastructure.

In building a road, an environmental impact assessment may tell us where we cross the migratory route for elephants. Or in setting up a refugee camp, where the winter floodwaters need to be directed so as not to flood the local market. Or where material for construction activities can be excavated in a way that creates a water hafir to mitigate against intertribal conflict. All of which are activities that increase sustainable development and “do no harm.”

A factor I have not integrated into my thinking, and planning, is the huge resource of knowledge many of those in government have, after spending two decades walking across the country during the years of conflict.

In opening a road, to increase food security through market access, enhancing peace building by allowing security forces to rapidly respond to cattle raiding, reducing child mortality by enabling women to easily access clinical services, and positively impacting on the lives of girls by creating safe routes free from violence, are we creating long-term problems by not knowing that this same road is now opening areas for loggers to exploit a previously inaccessible resource? Or that the road will link two communities, rekindling a decades old conflict?

My task for the New Year is to access this pool of knowledge and as such achieve sustainable development that also does no harm.

Source: An aid official’s Newyear’s resolution in South Sudan

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Anticipated craziness as South Sudan moves towards the first year anniversary of its crisis forcing travel changes. Fortunately I could get flights!

On the Way Home, a painting from a photo by Elke taken on the sand road that leads to UN House. Taxi, at speed, against an orange, dust filled sky. The multistory building, incomplete and open to the sky, a glimmer of what might be in this new nation.

Coughing and spluttering easing, allowing me to get out onto the road again. If only for a walk.

The Juba fashion police have decreed that I need to ditch the blue and wear wine red colour shirts, based on a shirt I have from World AiDS day. Red wine is never a bad option!

Fuel queues, blocking the roads with the black market price now 15 times the normal price. Increasingly agitated drivers a new security hazard, compounding the increased presence of soldiers in speeding vehicles. A worry.

A Study in Purple. Painting of a women in the market that has sprung up next to the road we have built. The access provided by the road allowing women to run market stalls for travelers heading between South Sudan and the DRC. Tangible results of our food security program.

Maasai objects of prestige given to me by the staff of our Kenyans catering company. The cowhide cowboy hat and beautifully crafted walking stick aging me a gazillion years.

Christmas party at the office, with dancing and year end festive relief after a traumatic year.

Paints sorted. Draws cleaned. Clothing tossed. Last week in Juba Town.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Red skies at first light, with the call of a coucal on my jog. An extra loop tagged onto my long route, to take me back past the pond where water lilies are flowering.

Singing and drumming from the PoC. The background thump of a donkey generator. Very special. Even after another twenty hour day.

At the traffics lights, which continue to cause traffic mayhem, we now have street kids selling boxes of tissues and withered old crones clutching sticks for support, ruthlessly exploiting the vehicle jams. Petrol queues forming again, with some enterprising soul running a car wash service.

On the easel, a painting of rural South Sudan, Eastern Equitoria countryside, reminiscent of a Thomas Baines landscape.

Using the amazing skies over Juba to create the movement his paintings are known for, as well as colours that mimic his palette to communicate the harshness of the light over Africa. Prussian blue, Venetian red, crimson, emerald green and chrome yellow. “I only wish I could deem myself able to paint nature as bright as she is,” he wrote.

A touch of Cezanne in the sky and lightness of the trees.

‘Thought-storm’ mayhem getting me up in the early hours as I contemplate the next phase of adventures. The morning cool for my, almost, run. Troops from the contingent in a formation run at a pace that was manageable, enabling me to tag along. My legs hurting as they charged over the undulations. Drumming and singing from the PoC, an unrelenting cadence.

In Juba Town, police are removing the license plates from vehicles that are illegally parked. Not sure what the process is to get them back!

Woke to an emphysema type cough, without the TB style rattle that isn’t, thankfully, simultaneous with cracked ribs! My head a tad more vacant than it normally is, and my reaction times are almost at Knysna pace.

Tea, rather than wine. Tragic state.

Messing About with Paint

Ekko

Oil on Canvas 60cmx50cm

A painting of rural South Sudan, Eastern Equitoria countryside, reminiscent of a Thomas Baines landscape.

Using the amazing skies over Juba to create the movement his paintings are known for, as well as colours that mimic his palette to communicate the harshness of the light over Africa. Prussian blue, Venetian red, crimson, emerald green and chrome yellow. “I only wish I could deem myself able to paint nature as bright as she is,” he wrote.

A touch of Cezanne in the sky and lightness of the trees.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

The sounds of the call to prayer floating on the breeze.

A bunch of missions from HQ in Juba Town, and my house looks like a refugee camp again, with the washing machine and bathroom coordination the biggest challenge. Good to have their energy and expertise available at this time of change.

My body is shedding water as it tries to cool down after my jog. First time in ages I have managed the long route. My ribs only a twinge. They have cut back the summer growth alongside the road, so the sweltering canyons through which I had to jog are gone. However, it’s overcast and muggy, even if the temperatures aren’t crazy yet, and my body is radiating heat.

Lots of singing from the PoC. Managed to get the answers out to the Auditors queries after hours of deliberation.

Cold pizza slices for dinner, a spot of wine, and lots of talk. Made me realize how special the hours we spend with each other talking, joking and working as a collective group are. Rather than being alone with thoughts, ideas and worries. We share all of that, every minute, all the time and, more importantly with honesty.

Riots at UN House. Friday mischief.

Messing About with Paint

Frangipani and Impala Lilies

Oil on Canvas 40cmx30cm

A commission piece of Frangipani flowers.

There is a tree outside the house I pass each morning when I go out for my jog, and after the rain has cleaned the dust from the air, it gives off a slight perfume.

The Impala lilies are also flowering again, which I included in the composition to locate the painting in South Sudan.