Roses and Raspberries, Sept. 18

September 17, 2013 

Roses to Chris Keady, the store manager of Home Depot in Wake Forest, for donating plants and tools to Chapel Hill Day Care Center.

When we published a reader’s raspberry in the paper directed at whomever stole 15 squash plants from the day care garden area, the center received a phone call from Keady, first thing that morning, saying he wanted to help.

“He generously donated soil, plants, and tools for the children to use,” writes the day care’s Jordan Rosado. “Thanks a million; it is warming to know there are good-hearted people in the community wanting to help.”

Roses to Church World Service and the nonprofit Uniting NC for organizing a weekend soccer game that showed again how athletics can transcend barriers.

CWS, a resettlement agency, and Uniting NC, which works to build mutual respect between native and foreign-born Americans, held a pickup game on the Duke Central Campus soccer field off Erwin Road in Durham on Saturday. (Roses, too, to Hillsborough’s Soccer.com, which provided free gear for the event including cleats and socks.)

More than 80 people from a dozen countries showed up. Players from about 8 years old to 65 took the field. (The players at the extremes were goalies, by the way, and pretty good from the looks of it.)

But it wasn’t the score that mattered. The real victory came as people escaping dangerous conditions in their home countries found an outlet and maybe a few friends.

They need them. Adam Sadda, 25, of Darfur, has been in North Carolina nine months. The young, thin man fled Darfur when the Janjaweed militia burned his village. From there his family fled to Chad, and he continued on to Libya and Egypt.

“I like Durham; it is very quiet,” he said as he leaned against the chain link fence surrounding the plastic turf field. “For me, it is not allowed back in Sudan; they would take me to prison,” he said.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help refugees like Sadda, see Church World Service at cwsglobal.org/ and United NC at unitingnc.org/

Roses to the Chapel Hill Town Council for delaying a vote on severing ties with Saratov, the town’s sister city in Russia, due to that country’s anti-gay policies and growing anti-LGBT violence.

The move proposed by Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Councilman Lee Storrow, who are gay, was heartfelt. Kleinschmidt had compared Russia under Putin to South Africa under apartheid.

But it’s not clear whether cutting ties would have more impact than using the relationship to apply pressure for change. Of course, first that relationship would have to be re-established, having lapsed into dormancy.

The postponed vote give the town and community time to assess its strategy. There’s little sense in trying to influence your sister if you’re already not on speaking terms.

Roses to Bolton Anthony for organizing a meeting Tuesday night with noted author and architect Sarah Susanka to explore the options for housing as we grow older.

Anthony, who had a guest column in Sunday’s paper about the talk, is the founder of Second Journey, an organization that finds and promotes innovative ways of thinking about aging. This week’s talk kicks off a new monthly series exploring ways seniors are creating communities, with future meetings at the Seymour Center on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

Our culture doesn’t always provide a lot to look forward to as we age, or value people later in life. Folks like Anthony, who also co-hosts “The Heart’s Desire” film series at the Seymour Center, are showing us a new and inspiring vision.

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