Saturday, December 4, 2010
the African book launch party
Last night we held the book launch and fund raiser here in Windhoek--the official reason I'm in Namibia for this trip. It was fabulous--held at a newly renovated warehouse type building that used to be a brewery. It was very cool.
We started the evening with a "meet and greet" in an outdoor patio area with champagne and hugs. I was surprised at how many people came-over 200!
Then we moved into the main area where we were highly entertained by a man who is well known here in Namibia--Kevin Leo--who is an opera star but also sings contemporary songs. He has an amazing voice and is so funny, too. Lots of the evening's activities were in Afrikaans, but Marieta sat by me and translated when I asked.
We had a four-course meal, and in between courses, Kevin would sing, Jo spoke, and then I spoke. Scary--speaking in front of 200 people I didn't know who were expected an author-type. I was a great evening. I even quoted Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" because Marieta has definitely "the road less traveled by--making all the difference, not just for her and the animals, but for all the people she's touch (like me!) with her inspirational life and work.
Then we had an auction and--you won't believe this--someone bid for a signed copy of my book and paid--are you ready for this?--500 American dollars. I know the person just wanted to donate the money to Harnas, but to do it in the name of the book was astounding to me. Marieta and I just looked at each other while our eyes got bigger and bigger with each bid. And the money will go to the animals--which makes it all the sweeter.
Kevin sang some more--appropriately "I did it my way." Then we moved into the next room where people could bid on a few more items, nibble on some sweets, and buy a book and get it signed by Marieta and me. What a night!
But today we go to Harnas where my wonderful animals await me. I cannot wait to see all my "babies." I've had to prioritize which ones I'll see first. And Marieta says there are two new baboon babies that need my love! Yippee!