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Monday, Oct. 3, 2016: Bringing my worlds together

The cycle of the seasons has come around again to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Sunday evening’s dinner was a unique opportunity to bring together friends from many of the communities in my life – Vancouver Cohousing, where I live; my spiritual community, Or Shalom; the world of Chanting & Chocolate and my monthly Shabbat dinners, as well as family members.

The dinner in our beautiful common house began with blessings to mark the New Year. Practically all Jewish holidays fit the template of “They tried to wipe us out, we survived, let’s eat!” While there are no historical calamities associated with Rosh Hashanah that I know of, we feast anyway.

The potluck vegetarian and dairy dinner yielded many wonderful taste treats. I contributed Sweet and Spicy Moroccan Eggplant from the bounty I grew in our garden.

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Sweet and Spicy Moroccan Eggplant from our garden.

It was my first meal of solid food after 13 days of juice fasting. I woke up this morning feeling a little groggy and kind of hung over, and not from wine. I’m considering going back to full-tilt juicing to add another 14 pounds to the 11.5 I’ve lost already. I began at 200.5 and the goal is 175. I really loved my energy on juicing. Eating normally, I usually nap every day, but on juice I had three in 13 days. Today, I’ve already had two naps.

But back to the dinner. Avril pointed out that a lot of people didn’t know each other, so we introduced ourselves. Many mentioned how they knew me and their gratitude that I created the dinner. I don’t often get invited to people’s homes for these occasions, so I was very grateful that friends and family joined me at my home.

After introducing myself, I introduced Miriam Nankwanga, displaying her photo on my laptop. Miriam is one of the five orphans in Uganda where I lived 2009-10 whose education we support through donations at my events.

She has two more years of high school and has dreams of becoming a teacher. To achieve her dream, this year Miriam switched from the under-resourced village school to a better school in the nearby town, Mbale. I’m not collecting enough donations to cover her needs, which amount to $455 (US$345) for each of three terms a year.

At the dinner, I said I would pledge $50 per term and my cohousing neighbour Brenda said she would match it. Would anyone reading this blog want to be part of this effort to help an African orphan get through high school? Any amount would help. Please be in touch in the comments or at lorne.mallin@gmail.com.

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Ugandan orphan Miriam Nankwanga needs your help.