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One Imagination empowers the current and next generation of leaders through written and oral expression. As a collective based in the Long Beach/South Bay area, we believe that through conscious artistic programming, community education and outreach, and leadership development, we can cultivate a world free of hatred, ignorance, injustice, inequality, and oppression.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Flight Delay...

Okay, not really. I am postponing my return date.

'Little Folks' has invited us to go to the beach with them for a two-day retreat. Marissa and I haven't done anything touristy yet besides Angkor Wat, where even there we ended up doing it like the locals. We overslept past our Vietnam tour and changed our bus ticket to come back to Cambodia earlier in order to spend more time with the children. This will be a good end to our trip. So, SEE YOU SUNDAY NIGHT! I genuinely miss you all dearly and as much as I wanted to buy all of Cambodia for you, it is much too priceless. I would rather have you here to experience this with me.

Rudy: The teacher who began this program is starting an Art & Social Action in India next winter. There will be a new art educator taking his place for the Cambodia program, though I will not be going through it. I will still be here but without obligations.

I have learned that when we focus too much on social justice and action or even the term activism we lose sight of the people. Instead, we must do what is right for them and not what we percieve to be right for ourselves, aka what we think is best for them. Names will not be specified, but Little Folks has been dropped from the Art and Social Action program -much of it dealing with our presence being there. However, they do not seem to be reacting to this at all. Instead they look forward to my friends and I returning everyday to play with them. I have been teaching them recreation games and it is a blessing to see the children from both Little Folks and CDCC run up to me singing songs or beginning games I taught them from the previous year.

Last year, as part of the Art and Social Action curriculum, I had them do a painting about family. I thought I really screwed up because I forgot that many of the children were orphans. One child wrote on his painting "I have no mother, father, brother, or sister. I am an orphan." That is when my teacher suggest I teach them the soul song "We are Family". As corny as it was, I gathered all 80 students in a circle and as my friend Teeda translated for me, I explained to them that in America and in many parts of the world the concept of family are not those who are directly blood related to you. Rather they are the people who you hold close to you, especially your friends or those who you grew up with. I started referring to all the children as my brothers and sisters and everytime I walk through the gates they start singing "We are Family, all my brothers sister and me! We are family, get up everybody and sing!" The child who originally wrote he was an orphan changed his painting, or rather he added to it.
"Now I have a mother, father, brother, and sister because I am at CDCC."

Anyways, see you all on Sunday night. And incase I have not let you known already, I am so so SO thankful to have brothers like you. WE ARE FAMILYYYYY.


I am very sad because I updated this blog and it was twice as long. Anyways, I'll just show you the two NGOs I visited that are helping to sponsor Tiny Toones. Please visit their links:

-an NGO consisting of radical feminists striving for revolutionary change for their people of Cambodia and all of SouthEast Asia. It is an organization started by sex workers for sex workers. They also fight for farmer's rights against privatization. (they even do songwriting workshops to empower the workers. I'll share it at the next open mic)

-an NGO distributing out clean needles to drug users as a form of risk reducation. (Many 'returnees' are provided a job here. 'Returnees' is the term preferred over 'deportee'. "We didn't get deported! We're returning to our land!")

both NGOs are providing funding for Tiny Toones as long as they bring in English lessons combined with the elements of hip hop to their students.

Sessioning with the khmer emcees tonight! This will probably be my last blog before I see you all again. Toootles.

However, funding and school supplies is still lacking. I went to buy school supplies yesterday for my friend who is teaching the English because he said he allowed his students to take them home but their parents sold it... now he is making them keep it at the center. I think I am buying sound equipment today too because their speakers blew out. Donations, anyone? haha.


Rudy said...

Listen and you will hear....

India's call gets stronger and stronger.

Last semester I had a conversation with my I/ST 319I [International Development] professor on the needs of communities, she mentioned that many mistakes organizations make when going into community is already having this ideas of what people need WITHOUT asking the people themselves what it is they need. As activist we get filled with ideals, and a way, a sort of universality about the world...how we all have the same needs and desires. In many ways we do, the danger is in putting people into one mass collective and forgetting our specialized HUMAN needs.

You've seen it for yourself though, can't wait 'till you comeback so you can share more of your experiences, and new found wisdom...so that we may take some of it into our own lives, and future travels.

jmk said...

yes yes I remember this conversation. Human rights over politics. Fuck politics! See you Sunday. Love u muahmuah.