A toilet for the school in poopoh

Building a school toilet for a tiny village in North Sulawesi

October is that month in my life that brings me on the cusp of melancholy. Somehow I find myself cautiously tapping through the days, paying great attention not to be involved with conflicts, quarrels and debacles; for all such interferences tends to afflict me more during the late summer period. The richest harvest time of the year, when mind and body is required to concentrate on canning, preserving and taking in a rich array of the fruit of the year.

Psychologically this is a time to clear postponed dilemmas, solve delayed burdens and free the mind for a peaceful hibernating season ahead. Being, that I am a gregarious character, often surrounded by souls in need of help – I tend to have a heap of unsolved battles and a mind full of unshackled ideas that easily spook my mind. I’m not a procrastinator; rather consider myself too kind to reject taking on more duties than I can process. I do fall asleep content that my actions are from a core of good intentions.

I stride through the fall season with a sense of clearing postponed duties, solving old dilemmas and solution finding for ideas that bounce back as unchallenged. The New Years Solution – angst is never a January 1st point for me to activate digressive burdens from yesteryear; I start my springtime with a clear pallet for creative ideas and love new challenges that await me. But first, I’m cleaning out:

The old TCM TV show has been on the burner for too long. I will give it a forceful push and wish someone would pick up this brilliant idea for a cooking show; full of information, ideas and suggestions to sustain in a polluted world. How come nobody picks up this fantastic concept? I will post my TV shows from Asia on youtube in my home page: www.youtube.com/chefraphael

I managed with a few exceptions to keep my humble home to myself, but currently host a friend to support his efforts in building a sustainable business. It baffles me how many young kids take life for granted, lazy slackers, unmotivated peeps with an overly inflated attitude and the courtesy of pigeon clinging to a gutter… The world owes you nothing – but kindness is always rewarded. The ALC bike ride to raise money for the CA and SF AIDS foundation is lurking, training should start soon.

My mom’s reflections – after her second husband shed from earthly living – are odd: I experience her different from before; she probably has not changed much; I simply start “seeing” her. During the odd and sad dying scenario, her curious grieving – I established contact with my stepsister, a very pleasant connection which twists the uncomfortable spectacle of the last few weeks into a surprising embracement with a new soul. Turns out my Nanny frm childhood is in better standing with mom than myself… (this looks even to me like a jealous remark…) It does teach me, that as humans we tend to be most gullible when having to bow to etiquette of society rather than being free to react truthfully from within: I don’t think my mom is foremost sad about her partner passing – I think she is sincerely angered for being left alone, without having someone to care for that merely co-exist while silently accepting her egocentric nature. Now, a sub-renter in her house seemingly is taking advantage of this situation, causing conflict and obscurity – I stay distant; My logic and simple perspectives would only cause ruckus. It does hurt having to bite my tongue!

My TCM schoolbook is ready for printing and I experience writer-fears: What if I want to change something after I sign off the proof-of-print? I could daily sit down and change and change the manuscript… The graphic designer, though still unpaid, is moving from town – I’m coursed with half-invested entities; a sign that quality work is hard to come by, even when the economy screams for humbly adjusting ones attitude and giving more than just average American service. As it is late summer – I need to let go and accept that the current version is good and clearly could never satisfy me in the future: That’s what editions are for! All I need now is a sponsor to publish the darn thing: HELLO! (I could ask mom… joke)

I raised money for strangers with HIV, financed a new roof for my God children’s house and bought a motorbike for their dad. We are now building a most needed, first toilet for the school in PooPoh where 86 children have no access to a latrine! If anyone wants to donate a few bucks for this project, PLEASE: I will need to build a website www.PooPoh.com and create a fanclub for this jungle village on the ocean front in Indonesia. One dollar is equal ten through my hands…

I paid all my bills and ponder about a dive vacation. A time spent for myself. No responsibilities to care for another, not having to compromise ideas; a week for myself, with myself. I will not bring my computer, will not watch CNN and restrain from wondering if anyone out there can cope without me. I will let the last week of October slip passed me, quietly, undisturbed and sheepishly cheat myself a week of living on the brink of obsessing that October is the month that could trouble me…

The thought of this comforts me greatly. I will rejoin society with newfound energy, open arms to help others and energized to fatten-up mind and body for the next winter.

Chef Raphael

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