Monday, October 27, 2008

moving to a share economy


I discovered/rediscovered ways to live cheaply or using no money this week.
New discovery, a place on the net called Freecycle where people post things they want to give away or post things that they need. We have been trying to get an old, but still working freezer a useful home, but without success. I signed up for our local freecycle and within a half hour the freezer was picked up by a young father who wants to have a place to put his vegetables from a fall garden and hopefully some venison that he will hunt or have given to him. It was so gratifying to be able to give something away that as the mission of the national organization says"t's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills."
Only down side, once you register you get the postings sent to your email, and that can be several or more a day depending on how busy the local freecycle is, but I just use the delete.
And the picture? Well not connected, really just that feeling of free...floating..recycling?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a person could almost live here






latest pictures, very hopeful....showing the built in bookcases, built in dresser, both in "my" room, the bathroom, and the kitchen with microwave installed, waiting for stove to be installed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

working for social justice, cada dia


Don't have a photo of me, but that is not important. This picture is of the artwork that Nancy Scobles, the art teacher at a local school brought of her children's art. The children were studying Molas an textile art form practiced by indigenous people in Panama;we thought it added a nice touch to the setting.
I was fortunate to have played a small part in a forum that we held last Friday (Oct 17) in the local Episcopal Church. The reverend to quote" I interpret our work with the recently migrated Latino population as a non-negotiable Christian moral value. After all, as a child Jesus himself was an immigrant to the foreign land and culture of Egypt. As an adult, Jesus did the vast majority of his work crossing cultural borders to work with those who were considered to be "outsiders."
As you know I am not a believer in the traditional sense, but I believe with all of my spiritual being that we must live the moral values that the Rev. refers to.

Here is the text of my opening speech, si te interesa....
Soon you will hear from our esteemed panel members who will share with you their extensive research about the realities of our immigrant population, but first I would like to share some personal reflections. My name is Ann Crew and when I retired in 2002 I had a goal of learning to speak Spanish and travel to Latin America. I am still working on the language skills but in the process I have made many trips to parts of Mexico that tourists never see. I have always traveled alone and was initially motivated to attempt to help our Latino population to return the favors of the generosity, kindness and courtesies I was shown in my travels.
I have never been to Cancun but I have been to Ixmilquilpan. Ixmilquilpan is a small town in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. Many of the people living here in Washington are from the rural area around this small town. I feel fortunate to have the experience of seeing some of the culture of the descendents of the original inhabitants of North America; cultures that have struggled to retain their traditions under centuries of oppression and struggle. This centuries’ old way of life is being destroyed by the winds of a global economy that leaves the small villages and farms struggling to exist. This is the human side of globalization which our policies such as NAFTA-facilitated corn exports make it all but impossible for subsistence farmers to make an even a poor living for their families. Many of our latest immigrants come from towns with no future and are lucky to avoid rape, murder, or starvation on the way to our community. When I meet people from this part of Mexico who now live in my community I know how motivated they are to make their lives here a success. These hard working families are trying to live the American dream, and if we do not stand in their way, their children will follow the same general upward movement, the same as other immigrant groups, the same path my immigrant predecessors followed. If we do not stand in their way, by the second generation most will have moved from the fields to the universities and into the professional ranks of the U.S. workforce and by third generation like other immigrants will not be able to understand the language of their grandparents. When I volunteer or substitute in our elementary schools I see the children of these immigrants who come into kindergarten speaking only Spanish and see most enter first grade, comfortably bilingual. These Latino children are often the most serious, hard working children in the room, a reflection of the parents desire to succeed.
I have never been to Acapulco but I have been to San Pablito, high in the remote mountains of Puebla state. Most of the people in town spoke Otomi, but the only fluent English speaker in town learned in Durham, North Carolina. In this isolated place I talked to people who had been to my town and had family living here. The only product this town made was fiber paper made from the bark of a fig tree, the same process and type of paper that Cortez observed being used by the Aztecs. Since the hardening of our borders the people in this tiny village, no longer go back and forth as freely. This means that people living here in Washington are going to settle and stay. The boss of the subcontractors that framed my house was from this town, started work at 11 and worked his way up, now as a success in this country he cannot go back to see his aging parents.
I have met so many hard working Latinos in my community, with the kind of values that I want members of my community to have, the Latino culture places the highest importance on the family with the motivation to work hard to provide and succeed for their family. When I see these vibrant families here in our community I am confident that all they have all they need to succeed and enrich our community, if we simply allow them to.
I want to clarify that I am not courageous, far from it; my life has been a privileged and easy one, compared to the most recent immigrants in my community. We chose the subtitle Beaufort County Testaments of Courage when the steering committee was in the early stages of planning for this forum we thought it would be dramatically effective to have personal testimonies from immigrants living in Beaufort County. We wanted you to hear personal stories of courage, sacrifice and perseverance. But we found out time after time that the climate of fear and intolerance promoted by some in our community had a chilling effect on anyone we asked to tell their stories. We talked to employers of Latinos, we talked to various Latino members of our community, we talked to people who we knew were legal and those whose status was unknown, the answer was always the same, No puedo, I am sorry, I cannot. Sadly, our experience was an education for us in how persuasive is the general climate of fear affects all Latinos, and demonstrates the critical need for forums such as this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

deep immersion


From the latest nature newsletter, Jim Conrad, now in the Yucatan, Mexico

When one moves through various cultures, eventually
the question arises as to what keeps people behaving
one way and not another. Why do the Maya keep acting
like Maya, but never even for a moment assume the
habits and outlooks of Arabs or Polynesians? When I'm
back in Mississippi or rural Kentucky, why are most
but not all people socially conservative Republicans
with high cholesterol levels believing that global
warming is mostly bleeding-heart-liberal propaganda?

A liberating feature of experiencing deep immersion in
very different cultures is that at some point during
the process you begin seeing how the vast majority of
people dedicate their lives to living like people
around them, unthinkingly, even when it may not be in
their own best personal interest, or that of the
community. Since all cultures I've ever experienced
proved to have at least one unsustainable feature,
over the years I've developed the notion that the herd
instinct and the momentum of tradition and often-
repeated routines are lethally powerful agencies.

Yet, each human, I've also decided, has a kind of
"switch" in the brain that can be flicked whenever the
person wants. It's the abandon-this-culture switch.
Having reached a certain threshold or saturation point
in something, just flick that switch, start thinking
of yourself as belonging to another sphere of
influence, or maybe no sphere of influence at all, and
it's done, you're out of it.

Recognizing the presence of this switch is important
because herd instinct, tradition and habits aren't
going to save Life on Earth. Only people with their
abandon-this-culture switch flicked, thinking
rationally and behaving decisively -- always at some
point working in conflict with some elements of the
surrounding culture -- can save Life on Earth.

However, reality is strung together so that you never
get by with just abandoning something. Something else
must always take its place -- fill the vacuum. What
should take the place of an abandoned culture?

Intimacy with Nature is the most appropriate
substitution. Nature experienced firsthand, Nature
reflected upon, Nature interpreted the way you
personally interpret it. Nature provides the paradigms
needed upon which ethical, sustainable, loving lives
can be built. Nature fills the human spirit's vacuum
when old, unsustainable, dead-headed manners of being
are flicked OFF.

Monday, October 13, 2008

perspective

What if the candidates lives were reversed?

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said "I do" to?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his crippled first wife after she no
longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If the above questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up,
rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities
in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities
in another when there is a color difference.
You are The Boss.. which team would you hire?
With America facing historic debt, 2 wars,
stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time
high prison population, mortgage crises, bank
foreclosures..............

Educational Background:
Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political
Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
Biden: University of Delaware - B.A in
History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law -
Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Versus:

McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters -B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire?

PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter...?