Thursday June 19 – Day 7
Today is our last work session with our client, iNesi, before they return to their HQ operations office in Pretoria. We will be meeting with them in July to present our final project deliverables. For lunch we enjoyed local Mafeking cuisine arranged by our University host Professor Modise at SABC (South Africa Broadcasting Corporation).
After lunch we were given a tour of the Radio station and our very own Valentina Salapura was interviewed airing live. Can’t forget the food….it was the best hot lunch ever!
Friday, June 20 – Day 8
Happy Friday! Its been a very busy first week and our project work is progressing quickly. We met with the Minister of Communications and a Collaborative Laboratory. As the team ramped up for the weekend we decided to spend some time at Madikwe Game Reserve. We checked into the Tau Lodge with 30 huts and Katy & I were assigned to Room 25. Over the 2 days we sighted 4 of Africa’s “Big 5” . This weekend was a great way to unwind while giving the team an opportunity to get to know each and enjoy each others company.
Saturday, June 21 – Day 9
Our day began at 8:00 am sharp as we prepared for our first game drive with Dylan, our Game Reserve Ranger. Over the course of a few days we followed Cheetahs hunting Zebras, a brown Hyena, Wildebeest, Springbok, Impalas, Lions enjoying their catch of the day (wildebeest), Eland, Kudu and Zebra.
Another guest at the Lodge was celebrating her birthday & a traditional South African birthday song and dance was performed by the Tau lodge staff. (Tau = Lion in Tswana a language spoken in South Africa). Lunch was superb and the Chef kindly shared the recipe.
Sunday, June 22nd – Day 10
Time to return to base camp in Mafikeng. A great weekend was had by all.
Monday, June 23 – Day 11
On Monday evening we worked all day at North West University and on the way home we stopped in to grocery shop. We also purchased a few birthday cakes as we had 3 birthday celebrations that week.
Tuesday, June 24 – Day 12
Daniel’s Birthday Party! It was Daniels birthday dinner celebration on Tuesday evening, Chandra’s birthday on Wednesday evening and John’s birthday on Friday.
Wednesday, June 25 – Day 13
Today we worked with children at the Bophelong Special School which opened on March 18, 2010. The IBM team split up in teams of 2 and we spent time with our kids. My team mate was Leigh and we played a game of soccer with older boys. Later we retreated into the classroom for some fun language lessons & art.
Later in the evening we celebrated Our “Aussie” good friend Chandra’s birthday & the team hosted a surprise vegetarian birthday dinner at the hotel. Good times were had by all and Chandra most enjoyed wearing the princess birthday hat we purchased for him!
After dinner we engaged in a heads down work session for our 1/2 day North West University student IBM Briefing day. Valentina, Sanjay & I were the keynote speakers and then we held breakout sessions where the entire IBM team conducted topic specific discussions and where students had the opportunity to ask top of mind questions regarding their Careers, Women in Technology, Research & Science.
Thursday, June 26 – Day 14
3 team members were selected to present a ½ day IBM seminar for North West University students briefing them specifically on IBM key strategic technologies, Research and Careers. We had over 120 students attend the seminar which was then followed by breakout workshops where the entire 14 member IBM team conducted discussions on key topic areas. 3 students from North West University were nominated to assist us on our project over the 4 week period—Mmathapelo (aka Thaphi), Bokang and Kebiditswe (aka Adelaide). Kebiditswe was the student assigned to my team and has strong academics and local knowledge to help us progress with the project. Kebiditswe was instrumental in helping with the final distribution of the key presentation materials to all student attendees to complete the session. Here are our students and future leaders:
The team wrapped up the day with a quiet dinner at the hotel.
Friday, June 27 – Day 15
On Friday morning, the entire team was invited to have a Breakfast Meeting with Charles a key local Mafikeng Tourism Representative along with local provincial officials & an Entrepreneur leader who are all supporting a key Entrepreneurial Learning program that is being launched in South Africa. Much of the discussion was centered around helping South African youth build their own businesses and becoming successful Entrepreneurs. Friday afternoon my team huddled in a work session to prepare for the following week ahead. At that time some decided to stay at the hotel to relax and others decided to venture out to see more of what South Africa had to offer in the wild.
Due to the distance away from our home base we decided to stay the night at the Bakubung Bush Lodge. where we enjoyed further star gazing & viewing the Milky Way Galaxy at its best! We spent time at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, the 4th largest park in South Africa and spotted much wildlife, including the Big Five. Pilanesberg is a melting pot of topographies–which include syenite koppies, forested ravines, bush veld and rolling grasslands and lightly wooded areas–all contained in the crater of an extinct volcano that covers 55,0000 hectares. The Mankwe Dam is the central water feature here where much of wildlife drink.
Saturday, June 28 – Day 16
We spent time at the Pilanesburg Game Reserve and we also visited Sun City—Africa’s Las Vegas. It was fun and picked up some new friends along the way!
I bumped into the Canada National Gymnastics team and they were competing in the world nationals. The Canada team had trampoline & tumbling floor athletes competing at Sun City.
We spent more time at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and saw many more animals.
Sunday, June 29 – Day 17
On Sunday morning we spent some more time tracking more animals and then ventured back to our home base in Mafikeng. The team huddled on Sunday evening to prepare for a key client meeting at North West University for Monday morning.
Monday, June 30 – Day 18
Rise & shine to the T25 workout! By 6:30 am each day 5 team members including myself start our day with Shaun and his T25 workout program! Its tough stuff & I hope to have something to show for it in by program completion! If anything, it helps us get a jump start to our day filled with much energy. No pictures here….sorry. ‘;-D
Our day in the office was spent in Client meetings & preparing for more meetings with stakeholders. We are beginning to document our final paper and presentation material for our final Client presentation to be held in Pretoria, South Africa week of July 7th.