Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Right Honourable Paul Boeteng

4 / 11 / 8
The Right Honourable Paul Boeteng, the British High Commissioner met with us today, Election Day in the US, for a brief chat & discussion about the Robben Island Bible project and how he might be able to support it.
A bit of background on him:
The Rt Hon Paul Yaw Boateng is the British High Commissioner to South Africa and also the British High Commissioner to the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland
He was born in 14 June 1951. He was educated in UK – Ghana International School, Accra Academy and in the UK at Apsley Grammar School and Bristol University (LLB Hons). He speaks French. He lists opera, former Board Member of the English National Opera and current President “Opera For All”, art history, swimming and Arsenal Football Club amongst his recreations. He has contributed chapters to books on politics and theology “Reclaiming the ground” and on Jane Austen “Harrap Collins The Complete Works of Jane Austen” and has presented a number of radio and TV series in the United Kingdom including “Looking Forward to the Past” (Radio 4), “Behind the Headlines” (BBC2) and “Nothing But the Truth” (Channel 4). He is a Methodist Lay Preacher. From 2002 to 2005, he was the UK Cabinet Minister (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) under Tony Blair.

David & I went up to Pretoria to meet with him as that is where all of the SA government offices & international embassies are located. We were both very excited at this opportunity, for me it was more just the oddness of meeting him and thinking once again, ‘how in the world did I get up here?’

He gave us some practical advice on possible development ideas and he agreed to write a letter of support for the project. We also talked about dovetailing this project with a project that they are instigating in Durban.

Feeling very chuffed, we went back to our backpackers where we had left our stuff. This backpackers and the regal High Commissioners office could not have been in two more different worlds. We arrived in the morning in Pretoria and dropped our bags off. We were greeted by the friendly staff who immediately warned us not to leave our stuff lying around the room. The place was dank and dirty and just on the wrong side of sketchy….. but we were in a hurry and agreed to stay the night there. We left for our meeting and decided to worry about where we sleep later. Neither David nor I were looking forward to returning to that place. So, after the meeting, we returned & asked for our bags as we decided to find another backpackers. With our tails slightly between our legs, we sheepishly asked them for our money back, which they graciously returned and we hightailed it to a brilliant backpackers in Hatfield I had been gagging for a swimming pool for a while after having been spoiled in Cape Town. This place, the North-South Backpackers fit the bill.

The people there are so friendly – both the staff & the other backpackers. We had an excellent dinner in Hatfield celebrating our successful meeting with the High Commisioner.