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Archive for October, 2009

Grand Finale!!

Today was our last day in South Africa; it has been quite a week. This blog wraps up our trip…we hope you enjoyed sharing in it with us.

Friday

Yesterday was the competition; we drew first and argued in the Court of Appeals at 8:15 am against a team from the local university. We argued again at 11:00, representing the opposing side, against a team from Zululand. It was quite interesting to see the contrasting styles, not only between our team and the others, but between the teams from different provinces. The judges, teams, and audience members were very complementary and a bit humbled that we had come all this way, learned their law, their procedure (which is completely different) and held our own all the while.

The mother of our opponent in the first round found us in the ‘tea room’ and gave us a gift with a note attached. We were quite in awe of this gesture and felt very welcome in the competition.

After our second round we headed downstairs where the teams were announced for the final round. They first announced the teams who competed in Afrikaans, one of the 11 recognized official languages in South Africa. It was now time for the English teams to be announced and sides to be chosen for the argument. To our delight we were selected to compete in the finals at the Supreme Court of Appeals, the highest court in South Africa.

We arrived at the Court and took a few pictures. As we entered the courtroom we were made aware that we would be speaking in front of eight judges. The courtroom was very old and beautiful. With a gallery filled with the other fifteen teams and coaches, as well as a camera crew, we began our argument. We performed our best argument to date and were quite pleased with the result. Six weeks of intense preparation (including 2 briefs….or “heads of arguments”) had come together and it was very rewarding. Exhausted, we returned home for a quick break prior to the awards banquet.

While we did not win first place, we were showered with congratulations from the other teams and the judges who were present for taking second place. They thanked us for travelling so far and taking the time to learn their law and argue it well. The rest of the night was spent saying our good-byes to the many friendly people we met during our time in South Africa. We are very proud of our accomplishment and look forward to sharing more details upon our return.

Saturday

We spent the majority of the day at Kidz Care Trust, a street shelter for boys. Two other shelters also brought their boys….one drove 4 hours (each way) to participate! It was an amazing experience. From the monies we raised we were able to provide them with a full day of fun and many essentials that they struggle to acquire.

Our hosts connected us with an inflatable company and we rented two large inflatables for the teens to play on. The teens must have gone up and down the water slide inflatable 100 times each. Another purchase made with the money was four soccer balls and two 8×6 soccer goals which we constructed with the help of some of the students from the University of the Free State’s Juridical Society (similar to our SBA). Rory purchased a whistle and refereed the first two matches. We also purchased them a net, paddles, and balls for their ping pong table.

We broke for lunch after the second match. We provided the children with KFC, it did not take long for the buckets to be emptied. All throughout the early morning and lunch, the teens took turns thanking us for coming to hang out with them. They were truly a grateful bunch.

After lunch, the games continued. We went to a round robin format with the final match to be decided prior to 3 pm departure time of the other groups. As Rory was walking to the field to resume his ref duties, one of the teams asked for a different ref (apparently, Rory is getting old – he couldn’t keep up with the teens so they wanted someone else who could keep up at all times).

After the matches ended and the other shelters departed, we distributed the other items we were able to secure. T-shirts, wash cloths, toothbrushes, and pens were all a big hit. Underwear was the biggest hit and was received with a round of applause. Our final gift was a set of hair clippers. The teens’ smiles were priceless.

After the items were given out, a few boys came forward and spoke. They thanked us and wished us luck in our journey back to America. It was an uplifting experience, not one we will soon forget.

Thanks for reading….time to prepare for exams

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The fun continues….

Since we last checked in a lot has gone on here in South Africa. We made it to the Cheetah House, where we played with the baby lions and a few cheetahs. Professor Buske, the bravest of the group, received a playful tap on the back by a lion and almost didn’t leave with one of her sneakers. Danielle was right in there with the lion cubs. Her camera bag was quite popular among the cubs and nearly became lunch for one cub in particular. Rory, well he was hiding behind Professor and Danielle for most of the experience. Yesterday, we spent the day in the sun by a pool working on our arguments and studying for mid-terms. It was a great change of environment from the library (or Starbucks). And we got quite a bit of sun. We also went to visit the Kidz Care Trust (a shelter for street teens – boys) where we are hosting a “Sports Day” for them on Saturday. It was great to meet them and hear their stories. They even performed Gumboot Dancing for us – a local tradition. It was awesome! Today, we are going to meet with a professor at the law school – he is going to work with us on South African procedure for the competition on Friday. We are guessing it is quite different! We will write more later…..

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Welcome to Africa

We have finally arrived in South Africa –  Bloemfontein to be exact.  It was a long trip, 17+ hours in the air!!   Now that we are here, we are very excited!  After sleeping much of the day away on Sunday, we are ready to explore what South Africa has to offer. 

We are now at the University of the Free State.  We were amazed to find out that the student body consists of over 25,000 students.  The school is made up of many different “faculties” – the business school, the law school, a medical school, etc…  The computer lab is very modern.  Every computer is filled (there are approximately 400) and a line is formed at the door.  Adrien, our guide, who is a law student and research assistant at the university, informed us that most students do not have laptops.

Our accomdations are great…the hosts have been very hospitable.  This morning we awoke to breakfast in bed: scrambled eggs, bacon (the bacon was a bit questionable), and toast.  The rooms are very modern and filled with Hollywood themes–Danielle wakes every morning to a life size poster of Scarface.  Rory’s room has more of an art theme. 

After finishing up at the computer lab we are off to the Free State Stadium, home of the 2010 World Cup.  This afternoon we will be visiting the Cheetah House, where Rory will be taking photos of Danielle and Professor Buske as they mingle with the lions, tigers, and cheetahs…oh my!!

Check back soon for more updates as the adventure continues…

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CSL’s first foray into African Adventures was this summer when Carol Fletcher and I spent most of the summer in Tanzania & South Africa.  Now, Danielle Gier and Rory Brady have travelled to Bloemfontein, South Africa to compete in the UFS Moot Court Competition.  They’ve spent the last 3 weeks working on briefs and doing practice oral rounds.

We left Charlotte on Friday, October 2, overnighted in NYC and then flew NYC to Johannesburg (15+ hours) to Bloemfontein, arriving Sunday morning.  We were pretty much useless the rest of the day!  But we’re up and about now and have much to do today.  Rory & Danielle will be posting while we’re here — we hope you’ll follow along!

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