Tag Archive: make a difference


There is a vicious rumour going around that you can’t meet people on the internet. That is completely true and some of my best friends at the moment are people i have engaged with online and never [or only recently – hi Trevor Black!] met in real life… Sindile, Linde, Felicity and so many more of you can attest to that – while real life is better by far, until you get there, it is possible to have real and meaningful conversations, challenges, shared insights and more.

Which brings me to the place of introducing Mapula Continue reading



An empty wall, except for the occasional message graffiti tag that has drawn attention away from the desperate need for a paint job.

Mandela Day and the creation of opportunities under the 67 minutes banner for the general public to get involved in goodness.

A creative sister-in-law with a vision, a plan and template presenting the basic idea of blocked design she was going for.



A raggedy bunch of volunteers from churches, Improv groups, Facebook friends, children and even strangers and neighbours who happened to walk past and see what was happening and decided to get involved.

wall9This is how a group of us chose to spend out Mandela Day. A little overspent on the 67 minutes [which means we get to take it easier next year?] as most of us were there for the entire morning but jumping in on the opportunity to be a part of painting the outside wall of the uThando leNkosi Place of Safety for children that tbV and i have been involved with since it began many years ago.

In some ways i’m not the biggest fan of the idea of Mandela Day which i wrote a bit about on a 1Africa post over here, with my hesitation being more on the side of needing a day as a reason for us to do good as opposed to just being more doing-good-naturally people. But at the same time, sometimes it can be fun to have ‘an excuse’ to get a bunch of mates together to do a project in the community that is going to help out such a good cause.

It was personally so meaningful for me that some of the members of my Improv team, Improguise, showed up [with family in tow] with carloads of resources and much enthusiasm to get the crowd going and create some of the most stunning designs and we are looking forward to Monday’s Improv show [which you should totally come and watch] as we will be donating the proceeds to uThando leNkosi as well. So we’re really hoping that will be a sold out show so that we can continue the good we were able to get involved in on Saturday.


All in all it was just a fun and vibey day and while there were definitely differing levels of skill and expertise i was pretty happy with my punching-above-the-belt-creations that i managed to produce:


First block pic taken while i was still busy on it: work in progress and second of course had to have my tag snuck in

As long as i didn’t take them in at the same moment as being reminded of the real pros at work:



And of course a behind-the-scenes typical pose for my dad who grabbed a job no-one else wanted to do and quietly went about it:


Excellent day. So easy really. Big thanks to everyone who came out to help and especially those who just saw what was happening and got involved [slightly less thanks to the one lady who grabbed some of our paint when no-one was looking and walked down the road and around the corner and painted ’67 minutes of service for Madeba Day’ [yes, spelling] on someone else’s outside wall]


Did you get up to anything for Mandela Day? i would love to hear the stories and i would love to see you and a bunch of friends or family coming and supporting us on Monday night so that we can sell out our Improv show and give another gift to this house that is doing some great stuff. 


Paul Schneider

his name is Mark.

youngish guy, i’d say mid twenties and kinda looked a little bit like Mark Brendanawicz. but i don’t think it was him.

[i mean it could have been him cos Mark has been out of the show for a season or two although i don’t think his name is actually ‘Mark’ in real life so he might have used that name. it’s not, Uncle Google says it’s ‘Paul Schneider’]

but he was the airport police “move along” guy who came over to me while i was park-and-waiting for my friend Beth at the airport in San Jose last nite and made me move along…

which i’m used to from Philly cos i used to do a fair number of airport runs there and the police/security on manning the drop-and-go strip there were generally a bunch of angry, moody, obnoxious unfriendly types [i once gave a guy my “ah, really?” face when he made me move despite there being no traffic and me being there making no difference and he stopped me and asked for the car papers and almost confiscated my car – chop!] and so very accustomed to that kind of treatment.

when i came around again he came over to my window and i asked him what the time was saying that we didn’t have a watch or a phone and asking if there was a place i could park and he said the best thing would be to just keep doing laps until my person arrived. but he was very friendly-like.

one lap later i pulled up and he came to me and asked if there was any luck and i asked if i had to go round again and he said no but if i could just pull forward and then for the next ten or twenty minutes he kept letting me pull forward a bit but basically stick around and wait for my people [Val had gone inside to find Beth and her sister when they arrived] and so he really did me a huge favour. when they finally did arrive, they came outside but by then i had moved forward and so Val thought i was doing another lap and took them inside again and there was nothing i could do so i called Mark over and asked him if he could grab then from just inside the door. he completely obliged.

and while i was waiting there i saw him assist two elderly women that were struggling and just generally be polite and courteous with everyone he came into contact with [even people in cars who he made move on]

so thank you Mark. [i am also learning to place huge emphasis on trying to know people’s names because otherwise he was just friendly airport guy and now he is Mark and he has a family and dreams and goals and pain and stuff and so it becomes that little bit more real] if we lived closer i would love to find you and take you out for coffee. in a few minutes you undid many minutes of frustration from previous Philly encounters and gave me hope.

and in the midst of all the people-getting-it-wrong noticing we do and mud flinging the power and beauty in taking a moment to celebrate a good deed or action.

any of you have a Mark this week?

an excerpt from this week’s thort for the week that i send out with some ways you can really have a great Christmas…

The bottom line is you can get creative – i will share a few ideas here but it doesn’t take a brain scientist to work this out – look after the poor, needy, lonely, sick in some way this Christmas and share Christ’s love in action…

[1] Present-giving – as our main present-giving this year, tbV and myself will be buying something for the kids at the place of safety (uThando leNkosi) that we have been involved with over the last few years – we may still do something small for family and maybe some friends, but we want the bulk of our giving to go towards that place that is making a huge difference in the lives of children at risk. Pick a person or a family or an organisation that you know is in need and make a difference. It doesn’t have to be all the giving you do but at least let some of your giving this year be to someone needy or alone.

[2] Feasting – i learnt from my parents that Christmas can be a time of including others beyond yourselves and those close to you – every Christmas there are people who are going to be spending it alone – someone who has lost a wife or a husband this year, people in the local old age home, a single parent with her new child, someone you pass every day at the traffic light – and so why not add one person, or a few to whoever you were planning on having your Christmas eve, or Christmas lunch feast with. It might be a little more awkward or uncomfortable for you, but it could transform someone’s night and even life.

[3] Activity – for the last number of years we have had a tradition of making sandwiches on Christmas day or Boxing day and taking them out to homeless people in the area (the hardest part usually being finding any homeless people – when you look for them, they can be hard to find!) and so a bunch of people have donated or brought along bread and fillings and juices and so on and a bunch of people have volunteered their time to make the sandwiches and then drive around and distribute them – great group bonding activity for everyone involved but also an amazing way of keeping Christ-love in the centre of your Christmas celebrations – and it doesn’t have to be on Christmas day – pick a day in the holidays, grab some friends or family members, explain the deal and get going… another idea is taking some flowers and visiting some old people in the local seniors home or the hospital because both of those places have a lot of lonely people at Christmastime and short visit and simple gesture can make all the difference.

And so on. Get creative. And just do something. Don’t let this time be all about you and only those you love or are comfortable with. Ask God intentionally what kingdom stuff you can get up to and then involve others in it and spread the love.

And please let me hear the stories afterwards…

%d bloggers like this: