Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I've tried contacting my host family but cannot find them. I pray they're in a shelter somewhere.
It hurts when I think of all the nice people I met in Minamisoma. I wonder what their lives are like now. I often wonder, "what happened to ________?" It breaks my heart.
The pictures are almost too much to bear......
My heart grew during the trip
I will not forget
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I am also getting very clear that I am among the very wealthy of the world since I don't have to walk for water, I'm educated, own a home, a car, and am safe within my own world. I married of my own choosing and had no children of my own choosing--which also sets me apart. I am simply at a loss as to how we got to this level of dehumanizing each other. Greg Mortenson says that lately, the Taliban has resorted to using mentally challenged individuals as suicide bombers and they sew the explosives to them so there is no escape. The degradation, debasement, and dehumanizing is stunning, to say the least. Where is the love? Where is the basic acknowledgment of someone else's humanity? of their spirituality? We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Where is that celebrated? How?
I pray for more love in this world. I ask that we begin to acknowledge the spirituality of one another and learn to live together in love, acceptance, and peace. I am going to look and each face today and think of the potential of each person and try to remind myself that they are spiritual beings.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Well, I'm not doing that anymore!!
Over Spring Break, I read Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools, both by Greg Mortenson. They are the story of his mission to promote peace by establishing over 130 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools offer a secular education--and they're open to girls. In fact, he has a heart for girls' education and says educating girls is the key to lasting peace and development in these countries. These books are amazing. They have opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart. His non-profit, the Central Asia Institute, is now my charity of choice. There is a way to help his mission and get kids involved--Pennies for Peace. It teaches every child that they can become philanthropists through collecting pennies. Even the most challenged kids can find and contribute a penny--one that will buy a pencil in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I'm so excited about teaching my kids about helping out and hope to have a P4P campaign when we return to school in September. But the ultimate was getting to meet Greg Mortenson Monday night. I went to UT Tyler to hear him lecture and I attended a small reception where he was gracious enough to sign TCoT and the children's version, Listen to the Wind. I had to concentrate on not being star-struck!! I don't think I did a very good job of that though... :)
Reading this story has awakened in me a desire to become aware of world issues and help when I can. I participated in "One Day Without Shoes" on April 8th to raise awareness of the dangers of living barefoot in developing countries. My kids again surprised me. After I had answered the obvious question of why I was barefoot, they kids wanted to know what they needed to do. I hope to co-ordinate a shoe donation with being barefoot next year. My kids rock!!! I also follow Mr. Mortenson and his son, Khyber, on Twitter. Khyber is leading a campaign to end the use of landmines. I sent an email to the president asking him to sign an accord that up to this point, the US hasn't signed. That doesn't make any sense since we spend the most money on getting rid of landmines and we haven't used or made or exported them in years and years. I also am looking for some student leaders to help with the P4P campaign.
I definitely feel re-energized by these activities. I know have a new desire to show my kids that they really can make a difference even if they think they're doing "small" things. Sometimes, my students are written off because of their low socio-economic status. I'm excited to show them they can help out and can change their world!!!
So, connecting the events over the last few years that brings me to this point--the peace workshop in Tokyo, reading Greg Mortenson's books, learning about world issues--I see that I have an opportunity to join in the global conversations of peace, education, and human rights. I'm very excited about what the months to come will bring.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I have kept in touch with several of my travelling companions and I am glad we've developed our long distance relationships. I'm extra lucky that 2 of my friends live here in the D/FW area and we've gotten together several times over dinner to talk and laugh and catch up.
I've got a huge picture display up in my classroom and students ask questions and I love telling them about where I went and what I did.
I often think about
Tokyo lights, sounds, and smells
I long to be there again.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I also desperately want to convey the message of how there is more than the American view of this world. Now, don't misunderstand me--I love the USA, I believe it's still the best place on Earth to live and I am grateful for the blessings I have here. We are the wealthiest nation in so many ways in my opinion. I'm not knocking anything about this country but the US isn't the only place on Earth. Sometimes I feel everyday folks forget that there are billions of others who have their stories to tell, their truths, their wisdom and culture to share, and I long for more exposure to that. This trip has created in me a hunger for seeing more of the world.
It has also created a longing to foster the conversation of acceptance and tolerance for people of other cultures and faiths. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. I think that's a quote but I don't know who said it but it has come to have deep meaning and value to me as I met Japanese people and even other Americans and made connections and formed relationships. We are connected.
So this is just some of what rattles on in my head on a daily basis but I'm not complaining. They are great questions and interesting topics and I had hoped that some of this would happen as a result of the trip. I am open to possibilities........
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
We had our Sayonara Buffet tonight and it was bittersweet. I have come to like so many people I've met and I can't believe how much has happened in the days I spent in Japan. We were led by one of the staff members in a closing ceremony. You clap a certain way to end something. It was a sweet, solemn moment.
So of course, we went out after the party!!! I wasn't about to spend most of the night in the hotel!! We played virtual golf, I tried a "Tsunami" beer (a reddish lager), and ended the night by singing at a karoke bar. I like how it's done here--you rent your own room for karaoke so you sing in front of a friendly crowd. I didn't sing out loud but the guys did a great job with Barry White, Snoop Dogg, and Guns and Roses.
My heart ached all through the night when I thought about leaving. I was treated so well everywhere I went and had such an incredible experience. I wanted very much to see Scooter and E and be with all my family/friends again, but I have to be honest; I didn't want this to end. Thursday morning came way too quickly.