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Driving tests: a spectator sport

first_imgBridget Hilton-BarberI was driving through Lenyene a few Saturdays ago – it’s a small rural township outside Tzaneen in Limpopo province, where I live – when I noticed a lively crowd of people gathered at the edge of a dusty field.I slowed down, thinking it was a local soccer match, but then I realised the crowd was watching wannabe drivers doing their driver’s licence tests on a makeshift testing ground.In the absence of malls, movie houses and other entertainment in places like this, driving tests have become a spectator sport. I pulled over and watched for a bit.It was better than Isidingo, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful combined. There was wild clapping, cheering and whistling as hopeful drivers, most of them youngsters and mainly women, climbed into the truck. Most people here do a Code 10 licence for a truck, which automatically qualifies you for a Code 08 for a regular car.As the nervous drivers were put through their paces, the crowd either booed or whooped according to their performance. Those who stalled or knocked over the orange road markers were met with guffaws and insults, while those who didn’t got clapping and ululating.The successful emerged to high fives and backslapping; the unsuccessful slunk off with their tails between their legs.On the edges of the crowd, hawkers were doing a brisk trade in roasted mealies and fresh fruit and vegetables, cellphone airtime and cold beers. A group of young guys in a VW Golf with tinted windows and dashboard fur were playing loud oomsta-oomsta music. I left reluctantly as a crowd of young women gathered happily around a mate who had gotten her licence. A little way down the track, a mother comforted her crying daughter who one can only presume failed the grade.Driving back home I noticed for the first time how many driving schools there are in the area – some in official-looking buildings, others in nothing more than a painted hut under a scruffy acacia tree.One, called David’s Driving School, featured smashed windows, a series of wrecked cars parked inauspiciously outside and a lone goat tethered to a post.In Tzaneen alone there are more than six driving schools, including Bongy’s Driving School, Tzaneen Driving School, TJ’s Driving School, the International Driving School, even the interestingly named Surprise Driving School! I’m sure the instructors there have their fair share of surprising tales.Most mornings and afternoons on the outskirts of town you will see crowds of youngsters waiting on the side of the road for their turn behind the wheel of their chosen school’s truck. And drop in anytime to the town’s testing grounds and the place will be packed to capacity with young people waiting to sit their learners’ licences or do their practical driving test.Upward mobility in rural areas has come to mean getting a licence. And it seems the best way to do it is through one of the schools which, although don’t guarantee a licence, have a high pass rate. They are pricey though – a course at your average driving school costs upwards of R3 000 (US$380), excluding the payment of R800 ($100) or so which goes to the traffic department.It’s not surprising that some resort to the help of local sangomas. In the high street in Tzaneen, a blackboard on the pavement outside a herbalist’s shop offers help for “asthma, adultery, sex problems, drivers licence, madness and debt problem (sic)”.Apparently they don’t come too cheap either. And, of course, the chance to actually buy your own car is impossibly out of reach for most people.But nothing, it seems, is stopping the tide of people heading for driving schools. And nothing is stopping the testing grounds becoming popular meeting spots.I noticed while driving through Bolobedu South the other day that many old gogos bring along their own plastic chairs, which they use to sit on while they wait for a lift to the testing ground, and then use them to sit on while they watch the thrill of the show. This is local drama at its best.Bridget Hilton-Barber is a well-known travel writer based in Limpopo province. She has worked as editor of South African Airways’ inflight magazine Sawubona, debut editor of Lowveld Living, travel correspondent for Radio 702 and travel editor of FairLady magazine. She is the author of seven books.last_img read more

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Brand South Africa hosts community dialogue as part of human rights month

first_imgJohannesburg, Monday 7 March 2016 – Brand South Africa, in partnership with Operation Hydrate, will host a dialogue looking at how all citizens can play their part to promote a culture of active citizenship and the respect for human rights with the communities of the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality on Saturday 12 March 2016 at the Swartruggens Combined School in the North West.The Constitution of South Africa not only protects our human rights, but also envisions a prosperous, democratic, non-sexist, non-racist and equitable society. To bring the spirit of the Constitution to life, all citizens must be empowered to play their part. Only when all sectors of South Africa come together will the Constitution become a reality for all citizens. This dialogue will within this context, explore current challenges and solutions towards building a socially cohesive South Africa.Panellists for the dialogue will include, amongst others, Mayor Kim Madupe, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, Operation Hydrate’s Yaseen Theba and social advocate Yusuf Abramjee.Following the discussions, Brand South Africa and Operation Hydrate will hand over water to the communities of Kgetlengriver Local Municipality which is one of those worst affected by the current drought.Media are invited as follows:Date: Saturday 12 March 2016Time: 08h00-14h00Venue: Swaartruggens Combined School, 1 Jasmin Street, Swaartruggens, North WestRSVP: Please confirm your attendance with Kelly Davids on kellyd@brandsouthafrica.comFollow the conversation on #UniteSAlast_img read more

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How (Older) Homes Work

first_imgOpportunities for builders to obtain building science education may seem scant, but opportunities for people who own and operate buildings — particularly homeowners — are even rarer. About two years ago, this lack led to my developing a class for homeowners called “How (Older) Homes Work” (HOHW). My good friend and colleague, Steve Snider, really got got the ball rolling when he suggested that I come to his community (Newton, Massachusetts) to do this training as a two-evening seminar through a group called Historic Newton. The students were members of Historic Newton who owned and (frankly) needed help with their older homes. We intentionally set the two sessions a week apart, giving attendees a chance to digest the basics of building science and building performance, and to come back the next week with key questions and even their own projects for discussion.RELATED ARTICLESDo Homeowners Need to Understand Home Performance?Embarking on the Building Science Learning CurveGreen Building for BeginnersEnergy Upgrades for Beginners Building science basics for homeowners I have now done about a half dozen HOHWs in Vermont and Massachusetts. Most recently, the Western Massachusetts Green Consortium hosted HOHW at the World War II Club in Northampton, drawing over 60 people the first night with about 45 returning the following week. Here’s how the educational sessions were described in a Northampton HOHW press release: “Session 1, February 27, examines how heat and moisture interact in buildings, and looks at some building science ‘puzzles.’ As we make our homes more energy efficient, we shift the energy-moisture balance and potentially damage that building or compromise the health of occupants. Session 2, March 6, is an opportunity to bring your own building science puzzles and questions and will conclude with a survey of the tools and techniques used to diagnose building issues and energy efficiency.” The homeowner interest and demand for building performance knowledge is there. Here are some post-event survey comments from Northampton attendees: “Lots of good in-depth information.” “Very eye-opening; thank you!” “Could have used a third session!” “Excellent delivery of this information – so fundamental – so interesting!” “I understand some things that are going on in my home now.” Rules for this type of educational session Here is what I have learned from the How Older Homes Work events so far: We need to ensure that home inspectors, building performance auditors, and high-performance remodelers are all up-to-date on their building science knowledge so that homeowners can connect the results from the work of each. The internet is a double-edged sword for homeowners; they have access to a tidal wave of information about buildings, but the information generally overwhelms them rather than informing or guiding them. Scheduling a week between the two 2.5-hour sessions is really important. Everyone needs time to chew on so much new information. Start with simple, basic information, but don’t eliminate technical content; attendees will find their own level of understanding, which changes over time and with further study. Start with basic rules and then build to more complex examples. For example: Manage building performance in this order: water leaks, air leaks, drying, heat. Existing building performance is more complicated than new; with existing buildings, you need to assess and understand historical performance and current performance before you can improve building performance. There are three sources of moisture in buildings: the enclosure, the mechanical systems, and the occupants. They interact, so improving building performance almost always involves all three. Avoid building industry jargon and acronyms. (This is one I struggle with.) Homeowners only? Are “How (Older) Homes Work” events for building industry professionals as well as homeowners? I do encourage homeowners who are working with a builder or architect to bring the builder or architect with them. I also encourage building industry professionals to bring clients or prospective clients. But take care: this event is for homeowners, not the industry. On the second night of the Northampton HOHW, I let detailed technical questions from building professionals drive too much of the discussion and ran out of time for covering homeowner questions or an epic case study that one homeowner brought. Homeowners can use a questionnaire when interviewing designers or builders For the GBA community, one element introduced at the HOHW sessions is worth considering: a questionnaire for homeowners to use as they interview prospective building professionals for their project. Here is a link to the questionnaire. This is a draft document, and I am sure we can improve and sharpen this tool. I believe it is a tool for both homeowners and building professionals to use. For both, it is a way to distinguish high performance building in the marketplace. Author’s note: Many thanks to the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network and its staff (Guy Payne and Theresa Spear) for working with Building-Wright to make more of the HOHW events available to New England communities.   Peter Yost is GBA’s technical director. He is also the founder of a consulting company in Brattleboro, Vermont, called  Building-Wright. He routinely consults on the design and construction of both new homes and retrofit projects. He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high-performance homes for more than twenty years, and he’s been recognized as NAHB Educator of the Year. Do you have a building science puzzle? Contact Pete here.last_img read more

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Mindset Nutrition

first_imgJust like fuel your body with food, giving it the nutrition it needs to provide you with energy, you need to provide your mind with what it needs to perform at the highest level. You also need to avoid the things that are detrimental to the health of your mindset.In no particular order, you can read, watch, or listen to Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Wayne Dyer, and the great Zig Ziglar. You can feed your mind Napoleon Hill, James Allen, Earl Nightingale, or Elbert Hubbard. You can pick up works by Maxwell Maltz or Viktor Frankel.You can also study the work of Martin Seligman to understand positive psychology, Shawn Achor on happiness, and Matthew Ridley on being a rational optimist, or Simon Sinek who is also optimistic and whose work is empowering.You can also read Seth Godin, who is a force for good and always positive.At the same time, you can decide to avoid taking in things that are harmful to your mindset, those things that speak to your fears, provide you with the perception of scarcity, cause you to question yourself and the value you create, or dredges up feelings of anger or unhappiness. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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Cross-border motor rally to reach Agartala

first_imgA cross-border motor rally to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is arriving in Agartala from Bangladesh on Tuesday afternoon. The rally, which got underway at Rajghat in New Delhi on February 4, will culminate on February 24 at Yangon in Myanmar.The Border Security Force (BSF) has made arrangements to support the itinerary of the motorists on the border. The rally entered Bangladesh from Kolkata on Monday, sources in BSF said.“We will facilitate the rally to the Agartala Check Post from Bangladesh. The Ministry of Transport and Highways has organised the rally,” senior BSF official of the Tripura Frontier Arun Kumar Verma told The Hindu.Government officials said the rally would travel 7,250 km before it reaches Yangon. It will cover places historically associated with Mahatma Gandhi, both in India as well as in Bangladesh and Myanmar.Officials said the ultimate aim of the rally is to spread the values of Mahatma Gandhi throughout route of the rally. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is supporting the event.last_img read more

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Pain won’t stop Mark Barroca from helping Magnolia take down San Miguel

first_imgLATEST STORIES View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Petron gets back at F2 Logistics, sends PSL Finals to deciding game 3 PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Barroca hurt his right foot with under a minute left in Game 1 after Beermen forward Arwind Santos landed on it during a scramble for the loose ball.“I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to play,” said Barroca in Filipino after the Hotshots survived with a 99-94 win on Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I’ve been in this situation before but I know they need me on the floor. I just have to show my fighting spirit and be a warrior because you need to be a complete team when you’re up against a team like San Miguel. You need leadership and I’m one of the leaders on this team.”That’s exactly what he did in Game 1 as she shrugged off the pain on his foot and went on to finish the game. MOST READ DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia guard Mark Barroca is uncertain about his status for Friday night’s Game 2 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer.ADVERTISEMENT The 33-year-old Barroca, who is one of the league’s most durable players, wound up with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, three assists and two steals as Magnolia’s guards outplayed their counterparts.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassleslast_img read more

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