tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
So we went to the Denver Children's Home today - a home for emotionally traumatized kids who went through the system (foster homes, jail, human services, whatever) and didn't quite fit in there. We were there to help fix up the library and the computer room - which involved testing tons of CPUs and monitors to see if they are working. Old computers too...Windows 95, 2000...some were even from the Department of Defence. Weird.

Andrew, the person facilitating the cleanup, was part of the Up With People alumni and worked with WorldSmart for a while. He was quite a nice guy, earnest and sincere. He even bought us drinks at the 7-11, though some of us felt a bit weird about that because we felt the money could have gone elsewhere. (I felt even weirder having lunch at the cafeteria...this was the kids' food, not ours...) We also got to talk about leadership back home, how emotionally traumatised children were treated back home, our plans and careers...interesting stuff.

Most of us felt pretty good about being there and seeing immediate results - we just wished we could do more, to see the faces on those kids' faces when they see the new cool rooms. One person, though, really disappointed me. She felt that because some of the kids there have perpetrated abuse, they should not be having these rooms, and that we were helping the wrong kind of people. They should know right from wrong, they keep coming back to the home, they should not be given priviledges. Some of us tried explaining to her that these people have different mindsets, that they have a very different sense of right and wrong, that there is a system im place so that they can only use it for good behaviour, that it's for educational purposes. But she won't listen.

She was the only one who didn't learn anything - her own admission. I don't want to be judgemental and intolerant, because that only makes me hypocritical. But at times like these...

The other groups worked in two places - The Spot, a center for homeless kids (they cooked, cleaned, and talked to the homeless people there) and back at the facility with the Niver Creek School, doing a curriculla on leadership. We saw the Niver Creek kids before we left for our stations; they looked a little bored. Hopefully they had a little more fun...

More meditation with Laurence. Yay!

We finally found out who's doing what for the Whisks! I'm doing two dances - the Expo Dance (a.k.a Crazy Hippo HipHop Dance) and the African Dance - and I'm one of the Rhythm Leaders, with my own lil shaker. Most surprising though was that I have also been thrown in the Mic Groups as one of the singers. And yet, no speaking role.

Huh. Well, OK then. At least I get to perform, yay!

Still need to practice though. Loads of rehearsals the next few days. And I need to pack!

(We still do not know who won the scavenger hunt though. Damn.)
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
1. If you have any good mainstream or ethnic Malaysian or Bangladeshi music (especially dikir barat vids in WMV since they're so hard to find), please email them to me at divabat@gmail.com - either the files themselves or links to the files uploaded on something like YouSendIt. I've got requests for Sheila Majid & Siti Nurhaliza, and I've found people who are fans of Manbai-ish music and Bollywood-style music, so anything along those lines would be great.

2. If you are in the Denver, Colorado, USA area this month, we are having our first WorldSmart Celebration:

Date: Saturday 20th August 2005
Time: 7 pm onwards
Venue: Northglenn Community Center

More details provided as they come.

Come by and enjoy a great show, learn about all our different cultures, and meet people from as far away as Kenya and Ecuador. And of course Bangladesh and Malaysia, though that would be the same person really.

3. I'm doing a scrapbook page about me for the Crew Bio Scrapbook they're making, and I thought it would be funny if you could give me a one-line description of me for decoration. Kinda like an ultra-condensed testimonial of sorts. So do give your best lines - you can give more than one.

4. Jessica Lan(g)don, a sweet perky girl from South Dakota who's in our crew, is a REALLY GOOD SINGER. Seriously; she's even had the Denver MAYOR ask her to sing for church. Now that's something. So if you go to the celebrations, you'll be able to see (and perhaps hear) her.

5. If you want an information card (and perhaps packet) from WorldSmart, email me your name and address to divabat@gmail.com and we'll mail something over. It's completely confidential and optional.

6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NINA!

Thank you for your attention; in appreciation, here are the Up With People tracks for your listening pleasure. (UWP/WS crew, if you don't want them up here, please let me know and I'll graciously take them down. They probably won't last too long though, since they're in WMA format and on MegaUpload.)

Rhythm Of The World
One To One
Room For Everyone
Unspoken Words
Up With People
Can We Sing A Song Of Peace
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Today was a bit of a tense day.

In the morning we had the Stereotypes activity, where mahjong papers with the names of the countries represented are put up, and people walk around writing their perceptions of the country.

Not many people wrote stuff about Malaysia and Bangladesh - both papers had some "talk fast and loud" comments, which I suspect has more to do with me than anything else. And no, Mahatma Ghandi is NOT Bangladeshi. I was surprised that people thought Malaysia had good governance, after hearing the complaints in the country about the government, and someone wrote "Kjak Rtak", whose meaning I haven't the slightest idea of. Huh. Generally, though, people weren't too surprised at the reaction - they've heard it all before.

What was tense was the discussion at the end of the day about the Capitol visit and guest speaker the day before. Katie had talked about the offensive language the guest speaker was using (e.g. referring to prostitutes as "recycled women") and Marcelle replied that basically we give meaning to words, we should try to understand what their intentions were and whether or not they meant to offend. Katie was upset (she thought she was being lectured - she kinda had a point) and Noelle and Brandi were crying too because Marcelle had mentioned how "nigger" was inoffensive in Brazil but "black" was, and that touched a nerve. It led to a discussion on ethnocentrism (basing things on your own culture) vs. ethnorelativism (basing things on the other culture), and how we should be more conscious of potential triggers.

I personally thought that while everyone had a point, there was still a level of ethnocentrism int he comments. "This is bad because it's bad in my culture therefore it should be bad in yours". It's a definite learning curve and I think all of us will have to learn how to relate to each other without needing to push their buttons. I wonder how they'd survive in a culture which would be offended at their notion of being offended - "You think our culture is WRONG? You think you're BETTER than me?!" - that'd be something.

Thankfully the day wasn't all that stressful. We had our first major Whisk Prep - we were taught the chorus of one of the songs, and also the moves to a few dances. One of them was really complicated - you really need to get the rhythm down right. The other was simpler, but it all depended on your partner and group and if they mess up, you mess up too. There was so much thigh-clapping that my thighs are now bruised...red spots everywhere.

I've handed in my Internship application, and tomorrow there's going to be auditions for singing, dancing, and public speaking (and photography though I'm not too interested in pursuing that fulltime). Let's see how that goes.

Also - I made fried rice for my host family today! It was a bit different; garlic paste, Bombay onions, brown basmati rice, baby carrots, no oyster sauce. I thought it was a bit off, but they loved it, so hey.

Does anyone have any remedies for bruises?

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