Monthly Archives: September 2009

Jungle

How much have students really changed?

I went today to our university’s Center for Teaching Excellence for a book group meeting. Part of the conversation turned to the Kindle. The group leader said she had talked to her undergraduate students last night about the Kindle and asked how many had one. None of them owned a Kindle, and a few asked what one was. She was amazed. She said, “Don’t you like to read online?” They told her they really liked to hold books! She said, “What gets in the way of learning when we read?” They answered, “When we don’t know the meaning of a word.” She told them that when you click on a word in the Kindle, it automatically calls up the definition in an online dictionary. They were interested, but not sold. They still preferred to read in books. They said they liked the “feel and touch of books.” Our leader said she thought it was resistance to change. I am not sure she is right. I think maybe the Kindle is just not ready for prime time, and the students are too savvy to be stampeded by glitz.

I wonder. The article in the Boston Globe about the school that emptied its library of books, and bought a handful of Kindles, a flat screen T.V. and an expensive coffee machine garnered 490 comments on the Globe website, boston.com (the link above to the article takes you there). By far the majority of the comments decry the Cushing Academy’s decision to remove books entirely from the library. A group of school library associations had their presidents compose a letter strongly opposing the Cushing Academy model, posted here, at OOTJ. (I can’t help but note a comment saying that the Globe article overstates what happened at Cushing — that they did not actually get rid of all their books, just supplemented them with electronics… hmm it would not be the first time a journalist overstated something to get a more spectacular story). The Globe ran a first person essay just yesterday that keyed off the Cushing story to reflect on the Kindle versus book controversy.

This is by way of introducing my latest quandary. I am experimenting with a Sony Recorder that can upload the recording to a computer for editing and processing. I am using it to comment on student papers rather than writing notes in the margins. I write a number in the margin, instead, and say the number, and then make my comments on the recording. I will load each commentary on a thumbdrive and give it to the student with the paper. Each paper has a short set of final comments and a grade, but the lengthy comments in the text are replaced with numbers and a recorded commentary.

My arthritic hands feel much better. My froggy throat is worn out. But, I am wondering whether the students will be happy with the comments they get. I would be driven to distraction by the set-up. But I am not the same generation. I was happy to believe my colleagues in the 1-L writing program who have been doing this for several years and claim their students love this feed-back. But when I mentioned what I was doing this Sunday to my 19 year old daughter and 24 year old son, they both thought it would make them crazy to get feedback like that. I will have to ask the students after they have time to mull the experience.

Some of the recent experiences that have come my way make me question all the things I have been told about the differences between me and younger folks. Maybe, on some things, our preferences are not so far apart. It probably depends on the issue.

Jungle

Right to Know Day (FOIA and all that jazz)

Monday, Sept. 28 is International Right to Know Day!

International Right to Know Day was established by access to information advocates from around the globe. It was first celebrated on 28 September 2003, and 2009 will see the 7th International Right to Know Day.

The aim of Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of every individual’s right of access to government-held information: the right to know how elected officials are exercising power and how the tax-payers’ money is being spent. (snip)

What You Can Do
if you are an NGO / civil society organization … hold an event, a debate, an award ceremony …. write a press release … hold a discussion with a local community group or in the local school … print up posters and t-shirts and hand them out in the streets … get people involved and, best of all, get them exercising their rights by filing request for information!

if you are an individual … file a request for information, write a letter to your local newspaper, ask your local town hall to put up notices telling people about the right to information, or ask them to put more information on their website … write to your local council or to your member of parliament and ask them what they are doing to promote government transparency!

if you are a teacher or pupil … have a discussion in class about the right to know and why open government is important … think of some requests you can file with your local authority or with a government body such as the Ministry of Education … find a local issue that you would like to know more about such as the quality of the drinking water or the budget for the sports centre and file requests for more information!

if you are a librarian or write an Internet blog … you already understand the value of information, so make sure you inform your members/readers about Right to Know Day!

(from the FOIA Advocates’ International Right to Know Day website… There is lots more there, most especially including a wonderful Resources page with excellent links to organizations, Guides, Toolkits, Papers, and a link to selected cases on access to government information litigation from Bulgaria. I am guessing that this section is growing so it’s worth checking back. Bookmark it!

And, even more useful than the Right To Know Day website, the Journal Governance is giving free online access to an excellent article on the right to know litigation: Cary Coglianese*, The Transparency President? The Obama Administration and Open Government, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions

ABSTRACT

President Obama has trumpeted transparency as a major part of his agenda, promising “unprecedented” openness throughout the federal government. Although Obama benefits politically from the contrast with his predecessor’s reputation for secrecy, in the long run an excessive emphasis on fishbowl governance can raise unrealistic expectations and ultimately backfire. After all, at some point transparency has its costs, such as when disclosure dampens internal deliberation or undermines privacy. The real issue, then, is how much transparency and what type. Despite its rhetoric, the Obama Administration has placed limits on transparency and will likely continue to do so. Yet members of the public and open government activists are unlikely to appreciate the need for such limits, leading to disappointment and charges of hypocrisy. It remains unclear whether Barack Obama will earn the mantle of the “transparency president”—or whether the hopes he has raised will, when unfulfilled, only reinforce public cynicism.

*University of Pennsylvania

Tip of the OOTJ hat to my wonderful Suffolk colleague, Alasdair Roberts, who edits the journal, and passed all this information along to his colleagues.

Jungle

Suivez le guide !

  • Un petit tour et puis s’en vont… Dans la jungle… Et sur les plages de sable fin.

Plageungle.

Ce fut un délice, une expérience aussi enrichissante que frustrante, je vous explique : les aléas d’un parcours très… touristique.

read more »

Jungle

.::. Suivez le guide !

Un pas après l’autre, je parcours.
Un pas sur la piste, l’autre sur le fil ; un pas sur un autre pas, un pas derrière la proue ; d’un air conditionné. J’ai pris mes précautions : orientation solaire, couteau de bain, denrées du quatre-heure et bronzage de survie. Me voilà prêt à m’engager sur les sentiers d’abstraction sinueuse du moutonnisme sauvage.
Je suis théoricien pratiquant, ou thé-pra par contraction (toupra dans la langue sacré des exotico-aborigèno-peuplades locales) : je plonge au plus profond des extérieurs, je longe les barrières enfoncées, je me masturbe sur des fantasmes en haute résolution et biens d’autres joyeusetés contradictoires. Je suis l’oxymore intrépide fouettant les seuils de sa retenue téméraire !

C’est merveilleux.
La beauté sauvage arrache la routine résiduelle de mes pupilles, nettoie au karcher d’eau douce et claire mes iris gris terne de citadin. Une nature extravagante étalant ses richesses avec une prétention insolente (mais peut-on réellement parler d‘insolence entre un tenant sylvestre plein d’une sagesse placide et son visiteur clandestin et insignifiant ?). Bousculée, la mosaïque éclatée de mes sens s’enroule et se love, ses fragments pulsant en orbite autour d’un instinct de raison brute, ou d’une raison d’instinct entravé peut-être… Mais bien loin de moi l’idée de toucher autrement que des yeux ce théâtre parallèle ; on ne monte pas sur la scène, aussi somptueux que soient les décores et séduisants les acteurs, soyons civilisés, naturellement. Et je fais un peu partie du spectacle moi aussi, si bon mime de la cage en verre face à l’interface invisible de la soumission ; invisible et illusoire, partout et nulle part. L’interactivité… Ça me dit quelque chose… Ah oui, je…
« Terminus ! »

On quitte les rails, on reviendra une prochaine fois.
On se réorganisera quelque chose à l’arrache, on improvisera une réservation.
Après tout, je suis un toupra*.

* TOUPRA, substantif, néologisme
A. ? 1. Amateur, personne qui s’intéresse aux choses avec curiosité mais d’une manière superficielle (aussi appelé touriste dans un dialecte séculairement contemporain).

(Suivez le guide !)

Jungle

Taken from the Jungle

There were at least five of us babies in the sack.  Three of the smallest had cried themselves to sleep and were quietly snoring, myself and my bestest friend Cornelius huddled together holding hands.  Outside the sack the screaming had stopped and we feared the worst, all the adults were dead, we were now alone in the world.  Suddenly we heard the screeching of tyres and the sack was slung into what we think was a car boot.  There was the noise of men shouting and then movement.  Cornelius and I knew life was never going to be the same again.

My friend Cornelius

My friend Cornelius

Jungle

Guatemala – Carrying the Cross

Child of Guatemala

Child of Guatemala

*my opinions, views and beliefs are mine alone, i do not wish to push anything upon you, just tell my story. I know some of you have faith in a higher power, and some of you do not, some of you choose to believe there is something in some form that guides you, and others believe life is a series of evolutions. Im not hear to tell you that your way is right or wrong and of course with anything, I would hope you show my path the same respect. xo *

Day 1 – April 30 2009

Morning

Cowboy Church

Cowboy Church

I just woke in my bunk of the church grounds ranch in Amberes outside of Santa Rosa De Lima. We arrived in Guatemala City at around 8pm last night and it started pouring rain the minute we got out to the street. The pastor and his buddies all came to get us and treated us to Pollo Camperos. This place makes any chicken place in the US look like rookies. The food was amazing and the chile sauce was mind blowing. We drove thru rural areas where dogs played or laid in the streets everywhere. The ride was a good hour to get to where we would call it a night for the morning work. It’s breakfast right now and I cannot wait to see what were going to eat. We are ministering to around 150 kids today and I am super excited about that. I’m really excited to carry the cross eventually and gain a little more perspective on what it feels like and what my friend has felt. He has carried the cross all over the world so it should be interesting. More to come…

Afternoon

Carrying the Cross

Carrying the Cross

Just got done carrying the cross. We walked into a village with the PA blaring Spanish music. A huge crowd gathered. Most of them children. I think we had about 150+ kids surrounding us and they followed us back to the church. I took the cross on my back and it def gives new meaning to the weight of the cross. This was thick tree wood weighing over 80lbs and the edges just cut into your shoulders. It made me think alot. Alot about how it’s not an easy thing to bare… and it’s not supposed to be. I think anything that you choose to make apart of your life commitment never is. Whether its faith in something, a marriage, a personal choice, its never easy and it all comes with its ups and downs.

We did games with the local children and I found myself wanting to take them home. They are living in a standard that is below any I have ever seen. There is not a ghetto in the US that could touch what these kids grow up in… Housing wise. They don’t eat much if anything at all. The little girls carry the parents babies or their own children and the boys run around playing soccer which seems to be the #1 sport in all the central and south american countries.

The Church Grounds

The Church Grounds

By The Horns

By The Horns

Kid Bull

Kid Bull

After everything was finished Cesar took us to a water park. Imagine your water park in the USA and then imagine a water park in the jungle that has rusted nails, make shift ladders, stairs to the slides that are rusted through the footing. Then imagine how much fun it all is. It’s actually amazing and I’m having a blast. While we were doing all this, there are peacocks just cruising around from the jungle ha. So odd. Life is good and God is always great. More to come.

Night

We played a bunch of cover songs of Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, Dashboard, Further Seems Forever and a bunch Fat Wreck bands. They had no idea who those bands were but since we hadn’t touched up on La Bamba, It’s all we had. I read a book and passed out. We’ve all been farting our brains out cause you eat beans all day. Its kinda become more of a musical orchestra with everyones butts. We decided to start a butt band called The SLO which is short for South Land Orchestra which refers to our butts haha.

Day 2 – May 1 2009

The Town of Naranjo

The Town of Naranjo

Parade day. We woke up to have some breakfast. Chichitos, beans and hard boils eggs. Super good. Everything here tastes amazing and pure. The salt, the veggies, the fruit. Much better than the states and i think it boils down to very good soil.

Anyhow were in the back of the truck standing as we blaze down the road. (Everyone here dress’ up as cowboys so guess what. I’m a cowboy on this trip out of respect.) It’s kinda like revisiting my childhood dreams. Cowboys and Indians. Ironically the book I’m reading right now is called: The True Diary of a Part Time Indian

Im a Cowboy, On a Steel Horse I ride

Im a Cowboy, On a Steel Horse I ride

Parade

We just finished the parade. I think I met one of the most beautiful Latina woman I have ever seen and it didn’t hurt that she was dressed as a cowgirl riding a horse. She was miss cafe which is like the queen of coffee or something. Phew. Anyhow. We threw out lots of candies to kids who were extremely greatful. They would scramble at the candy like it was gold. Very, very cool experience to be apart of this cowboy parade with all these Guatemalan cowboys.

Miss Cafe

Miss Cafe

We are now sat with all the cowboys to be fed and I was told there was some Narco boss’ there with us. Im pretty fascinated with organized crime, so I was def looking around wondering who it could be.

Late afternoon

Just got back from Santa Rosa.  We walked thru the town and met some of the locals  there was this guy making axes out of tree branches and widdling with a broken piece of glass from a 711 bottle! Really cool stuff and it looked very pro.

Wood Carver with a broken bottle

Wood Carver with a broken bottle

We got back to our hacienda and did some interviews and then we chased the chickens. I got a baby and then Nate caught a momma so in true competetive fashion I went and caught the top chicken. We were both out of breath. The chicken and I. I let him go and as we walked away he let out the longest rooster call. Almost as if to either say “screw you” in chicken talk or “good game!”

Oh. I saw a Jesus lizard! He saw me flared up and ran across the grass. If you don’t know what a Jesus lizard is, google it and click images or check out the videos. These things are cool!

Horn out of a Horn

Horn out of a Horn

Lastly I found a bulls horn and I brought it to the shed where I sawed and drilled at it till it was now a blow horn. On my first blow a huge brown recluse jumped out and I dropped the horn and ran. Scared the living crap out of me. You would have thought that all the drilling, banging, prodding would have been enough to make him leave earlier but I guess my wicked horn skills did the job.

Just got done with an ice cold shower because there is no hot water here. It is a real seperation from everything you know. Water comes from a well that pumps to the house that comes thru a PVC pipe that is the shower head. Above you, are wooden make shift roof slats filled with spider webs indicating that there are just tons of spiders everywhere. The walls are all make shift stucko and the actual roof is steel sheeting so when it rains it just sounds like firecrackers.

Evening

We went to some political party merting out here. When you are invited to something, you just go. There is no “I’ll stay back”. It’s too rude. So we went and it was 2 hours of sitting. Standing. Waving right hands and I had no idea what they were even saying. I thought we were going to a buddies house for enchiladas. It made me feel more like I was in church haha. I played with the chickens… Again.

We left and came home after having some nachos and drinks at the hotel across the street. Rooms are $8. Believe that? There is a beach town called Monterico where your beach front hotel room is $1.50 a night!!!!  I think I may come stay here for a month soon with friends.

Were about have… Guess what. Beans again! And honestly. I’m stoked. Everything here tastes so much better than in the states and it’s so much healthier for you.

We talked about the chupacabra and La Llorona. Told jokes and then watched the fireflies play under the ms go trees. So incredibly beautiful to witness. Now. It’s time for bed

Day 3 – May 2 2009

We woke to eat some more friholes. Breakfast was amazing as usual. Elba, Cesars wife makes the most amazing food. They love my Hawaiian candies and garlic salt so I will leave them with some and send more later.

So today was the day of the cross. We did the parade yesterday but today was the day we did the parade carrying the cross. As I have mentioned before, this cross weighs 80-100 lbs and is no joke. The edges dig and cut into your shoulder and the wood hammers on your bones. Then your feet start to burn from the walk, your neck aches and your spirit flies. I took the cross from the starting point yesterday and carried by myself all the way thru the town. I was complaining to myself earlier this morning because I wanted to be lazy. I wanted to sit in the back of the truck and ride like Macys Day Parade trucks do. Then it hit me that when Jesus carried the cross to Calvary he did not have a truck. He did not have a cowboy hat to help block the sun or shoes and socks to cover his aching feet. I was feeling a lot of pain on my accord walking this cross thru the blazing sun up and down hills, but I felt not even an inkling of the pain Jesus felt emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

My pain was enough to really get me thinking about alot of things. Like how selfish I have been in my own life. How giving and loving these people are in Guatemala and how much alot of them really love Christ and they live it. They lead a very simple life that is organized around love, community and Christ. Noone here cares about things like traffic, email, television, status within the social ladder. They all just have this harmonious system.

During my moment of pain I started to ask for strength because I knew we had a ways to go. This was not a walk in the park parade. This thing was long. I found myself going from weak to super strength. Carrying this cross lifting it above my head. Holding it up with one hand as I waves to kids and parents and grandmothers and grandfathers. I saw people gesturing towards me, talking to one another and some who could afford a camera taking pictures.

I was just praying that whatever I was doing was making them think about Christ. Think about their lives. Think about what they may be holding themselves back from. Lord knows I do not lead a perfect life. Not even close but I will sit here and look anyone in the eyes and have no problem admitting my vices. I will never lie to myself with who I am but I only hope for who I want to become.

I felt alot of pride today and I don’t think I’ve felt pride in alot of things lately and maybe that’s because my life has been a trainwreck and a blessing all in one. Well, it always has been and always will be.

I’m off to read my book. It just keeps getting better.

Day 4 – May 4 2009

I made her a balloon out of a surgical glove to stop her from crying. SHE LOVED IT. I had to make them for all the kids and moms to take home.

I made her a balloon out of a surgical glove to stop her from crying. SHE LOVED IT. I had to make them for all the kids and moms to take home.

We are at a clinic today feeding the nurses and cleaning up the back yard area for them. We noticed a few things while here. The clinic has a brand new enclave to steralize the the equiptment they use. They also have a brand new washer and dryer for their clothing. Everyone hand washes and clothes line dries their laundry here. Well, they have had these items for use but because of the very limited knowledge of what they even are or how to use them, they are just laying around in their boxes. I was told that up to 200 of these type of items are donated to hospitals and clinics all over Guatemala but once again, because of the limited knowledge they just sit here. Very sad really because people are donating these items without realizing they also have to educate the people on how to use them. If you to take a hungry man to water, you must teach him how to fish or else your defeating the purpose of the gift. That’s one of the things I look forward to helping with. It also makes me wonder how many diseases or contagions are being spread by not cleaning the items properly.


Evening

Gallo

Gallo

We had a few Gallo cervesas and now were gonna play some Phase 10.  Never played it so it should be fun. I know our homemade monopoly rules game last night was killer. It kept us up until we said screw this, im going to bed. Never ending monopoly more like it.

Bed Time

So I’m in bed reading Scar Tissue and Nate was going to bed and we talked a bit how he has night terrors or wakes up being joked in his sleep. I had this head light on while I reading. Anyhow. He has mentioned that he believes he has demonic overpowerings on him, like spiritual warfare stuff. As I was reading this book he woke up screaming and writhing and making some insane noises and I shined my light on his face and his eyes were lit up cherry tomatoe red. Not like. I have irritated eyes. Like. Those are not your eyes. They are glowing red and I’m scared crapless right now. You know I would never lie about anything I see and I have NEVER seen anything like this. I immediately prayed for him as well as myself haha. He does not know I’m writing this but this is like the third or fourth time I have awoke to him screaming and tonight his eyes looked absolutely possessed. My god! Haha, its a total WTF moment.

Day 5 – May 5 2009

Morning

Cinco de mayo. We woke and had breakfast. Beans, chichagga which is pig skin, mush which is a soup. All was good. Got packed and headed into Guatemala City. One thing I find trippy is that almost every corner has a guy with a shot gun or Uzi. I wonder if they ever have to use them. I snapped off a couple of good pics but nothing worth posting. I think crime is so high here they need it as a deterrent.

Afternoon / Evening

This is a Guatemalan Transpo Bus... AWESOME!

This is a Guatemalan Transpo Bus… AWESOME!

We just drove a solid 3 hours into the jungle. We have another 3 hours left so I am bumping Jimmy Eat World’s Live Albums and demos, just tripping out on how amazing this band and is thinking way too much about stuff. We went from a very dry hot climate into this moist cold rainforest in just a few hours. On the drive over alot of the hills had random fires around and the stop signs all had bullet holes. It was pretty awesome.

Quetzal Bird

Quetzal Bird

We thought we were gonna do the whole 6 hours however our driver pulled off into this muddy road and we ended up at the most beautiful homemade hotels in the jungle. You hike back to get to them. There is waterfall and trails here leading deep in. They are telling us the most beautiful and endangered bird called the Quetzal lives here and is a rare see. We are hoping to see one. They named their currency after this bird. I’m laying back in my bed waiting on dinner and I think I’ll read deeper into Anthony Keidis Scar Tissue book. So far it’s amazing. I finished reading “The true diary of a part-time Indian”. Deff get that book. It’s a very good read and pretty moving.

Spiders Suck

Spiders Suck

We saw a beautiful yet disgusting massive spider. Got alot of pics and video of it before it freaked everyone out and ran. I dont know how beautiful and disgusting work together but with spiders it sometimes does.

Gonna read more of my book and pass out.

Day 6 – May 6 2008

Morning

We woke bright and early to hopefully catch the Quetzal bird. I woke. Walked outside and saw a beautiful sunrise thru the rainforest.

We then set off on a 2 hour hike up the mountain jungle to seek out the Quetzal. For some reason the food didn’t sit well and I started throwing up. It may have been the altitude mixed with hiking a strenuous hike up hill?  The group was being a lil louder than I was hoping as I really wanted to really immerse myself with the oneness of the jungle so I ran ahead and got far from the group. I felt a little fear at first because I was all by myself and this jungle is full of all kinds of unexpected things. Then I felt peace and calm took over me and I actually thanked god and asked to see a Quetzal Bird. I know that sounds totally laughable or strange to some people, but I have always asked for things I wanted. Some will say its “throwing out your wants into the universe” or what have you but whatever you want to call it, it has worked for me thru-out my entire life. I call those moments blessings. (moving forward) This is one of the most elusive birds in the jungle. I even said when I asked that I’m ok with not getting a picture and wouldn’t you know it. 20 seconds later I turn the corner and a beautiful big male Quetzal was on the branch. We both suprized one another and just stared each other and I was in complete awe and amazement. It was a good 20-30 seconds and he took off and his beuatiful tail feathers trailed behind him. As I made me way down further I could continuously hear the birds calling out and sure enough. I waited patiently and a small female flew from out of a tree covering and I watched her disappear into the jungle. I tried to tell everyone what I had saw, because they all had no luck with it. Of course, NOONE BELIEVED ME. I was kinda bummed. I had no proof I saw it except to myself and then I thought. Well, thats all the proof I need. I’m not going to worry about whether they believe me. I know, God knows, and those Quetzal birds def know I saw them! Hah.

We ended up at this beautiful waterfall which we climes up and under it and I let it rain across my head and face. I then cupped my hands to drink from the water. It’s probably the most pure water I have ever drank. You could just hold your water bottle out and BAM. Fresh water.

Early Morning, looking for the Quetzal Bird

Early Morning, looking for the Quetzal Bird

Plant Life in the Jungle

Plant Life in the Jungle

Mushroom

Mushroom

Look at this Leaf!

Look at this Leaf!

As we made our way further down we saw a bunch of kids who didn’t hesitate to announce that of course, we were gringos haha. We ran down the hill with them and ended up at this beautiful man made freshwater pool that the waterfall flows into. We all jumped in and it was the most invigorating feeling. Fresh. New. Clean. Spiritual even.

As we got up to the end of the trail we were warned that we had to pack and leave fast. Apparently the NARCO drug traffickers and bandits and pulling over vehicles and robbing them at gunpoint. I’m honestly half scared half excited. I mean, Noone wants their life to be at risk however you accept the risks your taking when you come into a country like this. I am honestly looking forward to getting thru this route and getting safely to the next point. Our driver had a very real serious look on his face so I’m not looking forward to messing around, just getting to point B.

Late Afternoon

Trails

Trails

A Fell Tree

A Fell Tree

Just woke from a nap and were still driving. We are in a completely undeveloped part of Guatemala. There is no electricity and water is run thru one long pipe that goes forever. It’s that or river and rain. I have also seen people bathing and washing their clothes and babies in the stream. They are walking around nude or barely clothes so I know were closer to the native Indians. I’m filled with anticipation as we get closer to our mission. Altho today was beautiful I am looking forward to being as close to these Indians as possible. I am even down to wear whatever they are. Even if it’s nothing. I want to show them I’m here to learn their culture, respect who they are and love on them with my soul.

Evening

It wasn’t safe to drive the thru the night in Coban because of the Narco Traffickers so they found an awesome village in the middle of these sharp mountains called Raxrujah. It hasn’t caves everywhere from the ainciwnt Mayan ruins. What’s even more insane is that this place a shack Internet cafe from a satelite service. How they got this all to work I will never know. This place doesn’t even have fresh water so I don’t know how they got Internet. Also, they had this little Parrot that couldnt fly but he would keep hopping up to me and chewing on my pants. I ended up chilling with him for a bit. Dinner is taking place so more to come …

My Homie

My Homie

Nice Flowers

Nice Flowers

Day 7 – May 7 2009

Woke up super early. Had a dream I played a national product show by myself for alot of kids and Garth Brookes joined me.

Breakfast was terrible this morning. This place had chickens tied up for slaughter. Kinda made me really not hungry. I didn’t eat much at all, however the soup was amazing.

Chicken Soup in the Jungle... very very good

Chicken Soup in the Jungle… very very good

We then took off down the road where the streets were no longer paved. We are entering straight jungle and volcanic area. We road on the top of one of the vans and that was interesting. Especially when our van took off and the guy driving us on top stopped and said “this is as far as I go”. We at first laughed but then were like… Ummmm I hope he’s joking. We got dropped off and made it to our hotel

Afternoon

We arrived into the small native village with the radio. I was amazed as we pulled up at the amount of children and adults that were out celebrating the reception of the transmitter. This would allow this small obscure village to recieve radio programming of the word from as far away as Belize and get any information they needed on immunizations and much more. They had a live band brought in performing worship songs. It was awesome. The entire town was out. We prayed on the item to be blessed and recieved and they prayed for excepting it. I had this overwhelming feeling of happiness knowing I was helping out something so much bigger then myself.

Village Elder who had Blue Eyes

Village Elder who had Blue Eyes

This kid made a toy out of an old computer keyboard. Simplicity

This kid made a toy out of an old computer keyboard. Simplicity

Baby Pig in the Mud

Baby Pig in the Mud

I also met the adoptive mother of Julio. Julio is a pigmy who was adopted along with 20 other children. She sold all her property to buy the first radio transmitter along time ago and Julio ended up moving to the city, got married, got a job and worked withthe church so that one day he could help with us, bringing back a very expensive modern transmitting system. I could see how proud he was. I was honored to meet this woman who has dedicated her whole life to loving on the children who have been left behind. Even to this day altho most of the other children have moved on and gotten married, she remains in this small village with an entirely new set of little kids that are her new children. She made us the most spectacular meal full of soul and love and I forgot to even take a picture of this woman because I was so in awe of her aura that I just stared and welled up inside at the thought that this is what I feel is Christ like. I have never been one for organized church unless it felt like a true community. Not all churches feel that way but some do. I have also never been a fan of bible thumping or telling someone they are going to Hell. In my crazy life I have learned that loving is the biggest example of who you are and what I know Christ was and is like. I have lived my life by this. I have made close friends with a satanic priest, strippers, porn stars, prostitutes and more. Not one have I EVER judged or told ” you are going to hell”. I have only ever loved these people because I am not in a position to judge another. That’s an evil and ego driven reaction because whenever you choose to judge someone, your putting a microscope over one particular area of their life and basing the person off of one area, one chapter, one slice of who they are. You don’t allow yourself to find out what made them that way, why they chose this lifestyle, where they are going and who they may become years down the road. You aren’t using pure love when you look at people thru a microscope and in the end, when you judge people who are already judging themselves., you alienate them when all they want is love. If you choose to do this, you will miss out on alot of very colorful amazing people who will impact you in so many special ways and surprise you… If you let them.

Anyhow

This woman is exactly the text book example. She loved on all these beautiful children who were left on the street or abandoned because their parents couldn’t afford to feed them. I asked Steve if children die in other villages and he confirmed. I was broken hearted at the thought that the truth is, not every town has a woman like this who just takes these children in an loves on them and teaches them the values of life so they can go on and enrich other peoples life. Folks. That is why I believe I was put on this earth. I am dedicating my legacy to it.

Day 8 – May 8 2009

We woke to an early breakfast. Omelets and pancakes. So good!

We took off to a very small village to spread some of the word. We met a local guy who welcomed us into his home and he had fresh coconuts prepared for us. It was amazing and very refreshing to drink the fresh coconut juice. Like Gatorade on a super hot day.

We prayed on him and went and hung out with the mothers and kids at a mothers day type deal. It was so awesome and there was music, dancing and more. I fell in love with these kids.

They chased after us when we left and shortly after we were brought to a families house where they made food for us. Sooooo good. Fresh fruits, pineapples, banannas… The works. There is nothing more refreshing then eating something from a place that is so nutrient rich in soil. You will know the difference in what you eat at a grocery store compared to the true fresh mineral and vitamin filled fruits of the jungle.

Mothers Day

Mothers Day

Johnny & Chuchito

Johnny & Chuchito

After that the sun was beating down so hard we were told to follow to a river. About a 20 minute walk in we found the most pristine beautiful flowing river. All set with little waterfalls and shells everywhere. I swam in the same water I drank from. Collected shells and just immersed myself in everything that Guatemala is. This little kid Johnny has quickly became my child out here. He holds my hand when we walk. I love him for sure.

Leaving Civilization

Leaving Civilization

The River

The River

Walking In

Walking In

Volcanic Hill Tops

Volcanic Hill Tops

Along the walk, I took notice to some really cool scenery, plant life and the coolest of all, the Bulls and Cows. This experience I had was one of such intensity. We walked thru a field, the one you see above, and it had over 50 bulls and cows and the local indians went first to make sure we were ok. I tailed in the back watching the Bulls do bluff charges. Everyone got thru and we ended up at this beautiful river. I looked back and all the bulls were staring at me. I grabbed the video camera and walked back into the field by myself and walked towards them. The ones that were sitting quickly stood up and the males moved closer to me in an attack mode. I wasn’t afraid or anything. I knew they could impale me and def out run me but I was at this insane peace with everything around me. I reached out my hand palm down and looked at the biggest male in the eyes. We stared at one another for a good 3 minutes or so and he bluff charged me. I didnt move a muscle. I stayed firm. He kept looking at me like he wasnt sure about me and in the distance I could see the indians yelling at me to get out of there as fast as I could. I of course, didnt pay any attention to them. I turned on my camera and started to video. (i have to upload this)

I then got onto my knees and held my hand back out and the most amazing thing happened. The biggest male bull walked up to me very cautiously, smelled my hand, and started to lick my fingers. I then reached out of for his head and rubbed the spot between his eyes and he bowed his head. He then walked closer to me and began licking my face! I was tripping out, his horns were right near me and at any moment that guy could have just took my head off.

Shortly after, all the males began to walk up to me and smell me and I pet a few showing I was of no harm to them. The females stayed back with their calfs. The last cool thing to happen was when I started to walk back to the river I wasnt looking back but I could hear the indians cheering and laughing. I turned around and ALL of the Bulls, Cows and Calves were following me to the river to drink. I felt so in touch with life and god at that moment. I knew this was something more than just a random occurrence.

These were a few of the smaller ones who were walking around

These were a few of the smaller ones who were walking around

Thought this looked cool

Thought this looked cool

Homemade Spear Gun to get Fish in the Rivers

Homemade Spear Gun to get Fish in the Rivers

Baby in the village

Baby in the village

Lots of kids here dont smile often

Lots of kids here dont smile often

Cutie

Cutie

Crazy Kids

Crazy Kids

Handing out sugar water and food

Handing out sugar water and food

These shells are in a river in the middle of the jungle which used to have an ocean covering the soil. As hundreds of years passed, they adapted to living in fresh water and I was able to bring home ALOT of these shells in which I hope to make jewelry from. They are absolutely beautiful to see

These shells are in a river in the middle of the jungle which used to have an ocean covering the soil. As hundreds of years passed, they adapted to living in fresh water and I was able to bring home ALOT of these shells in which I hope to make jewelry from. They are absolutely beautiful to see

Lil man rocking some NP on the iPod. They could not believe that music could come out of a machine like this ha

Lil man rocking some NP on the iPod. They could not believe that music could come out of a machine like this ha

Oh Snap

Oh Snap

You know it son!

You know it son!

We are heading back to our hotel. The pastors reached out to the villagers and had a live band with a movie about Jesus. The response was rad. I cannot wait to crawl into bed.

Day 9 – May 9 2009

Woke up and had pancakes. Was the first time we didn’t eat beans… Thank god. I’m honestly so sick of beans and tortillas at this point. There is nothing more dull than wondering what’s for breakfast and finding out it’s … Beans and tortillas. Oh yeah, what about lunch… Beans. Dinner?  Beans! Haha, after me saying how wonderful they were earlier i have realized its “too much of a good thing”

Barf city when it’s everyday. That’s why there is a saying that too much of anything is a bad thing.

Today were packing thru the jungle to Cepok. Meeting with another village.

Afternoon

We had a 1.5 hour drive in the back of a truck to Cepok. On the way we noticed a large gathering and found out a person died by crashing their bike off a river bank.

On our way we pulled off and they showed us a natural spring that sends crystal clear water out of the mountain. There were villages bathing nude and washing clothing. We found catfish and other fish swimming around. I grabbed a baby turkey and held it then let it run. It didn’t run from me like i was expecting.

Baby Chickie

Baby Chickie

We then took the pretty aggressive hike a ways into this deep vast jungle where we arrived to Cepok. The villagers all came running to us. It was awesome to be greated that way and then they fed us. The food was amazing. This area is in the bowl of a beautiful mountanous jungle pocket. You can scream and it echos, which is really cool.

Coming into Cepoc

Coming into Cepoc

Walking in

Walking in

Cepoc

Cepoc

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

The long 3-4 hour hike back into the Village

The long 3-4 hour hike back into the Village

We went to cool off in the spring as the guys went deeper to give an offering of a lamp. The villagers have been doing church by candle light so we brought lamps and fuel.

We came back to the homemade church and played the marimba. I was jamming a rendition of Coldplays “Lost”. I’m gonna try and make a cool video of it. They have a guitar. Marimba and a stand up bass. Pretty cool stuff since it’s all suuuuuper old. Now were laying waiting on the guys to get back.

Marimba

Marimba

Evening

We had dinner. Beans, rice and pig skin and fat. Very weird. Very tasty. The afternoon we played soccer be threw the football for a few hours. I cannot stop sweating here. It’s just soooo hot in this little valley. I got some good footage of a father loving on his baby after a long days work. It’s very loving and pure. Made me smile. Being out here makes me excited to have children. I honestly can’t wait. I know that I can see myself having children with Catherine. I can see myself spending my life with her. Being out here makes me appreciate thought and feelings like that. (since writing this, ironically, we no longer talk… sad but tis life)

Were sitting in the pews of the church waiting for it to start. I’m excited for them to start jamming the marimba.

The band was shredding. I recorded some sound for you all to enjoy. We sang a bunch of songs to the villagers and prayed over this guy Jose and his family. He was moved to tears. It’s amazing how powerful live is even when the language barrier presents no way to verbally understand someone, LOVE speaks all languages. I think that’s amazing.

Day 10 – May 10 2009

We spent the evening last night battling the largest spiders I have EVER seen. We went to the water spring well where this village gets it water from. The well was nearly dry and a week ago it was bone dry and the elders have discussed abandoning the village which is a very sad thought. That evening before dinner I prayed foe it to rain and fill their well so that they would be able to continue raising their children there.

Water Source

Water Source

Well… It rained, and to be honest that’s an understatement. It flooded! I have never heard rain like this before and because of the rain, the biggest spiders came running… Yes, RUNNING into the church we were sleeping in. They were the size of my hand and absolutely disgusting haha. I could not sleep between Nates night terrors and thoughts of spiders crawling on us. Lame!

I spent most of the day playing soccer with the kids who had make shift goal posts out of sticks. I handed them a football and they didnt even know what it was or how to use it. Pretty amusing but by the end of the day they were throwing perfect spirals. Here are some pics of them with livestock and just posing.

Get The Bird

We spent alot of the afternoon chasing some of the live stock since it was one of the fun things the kids like to do. We caught a pig and some turkeys.

Village Girl

Village Girl

One of the Boys

One of the Boys

He jumped right onto my shoulder and just stared at me for a few minutes. Trippy!

He jumped right onto my shoulder and just stared at me for a few minutes. Trippy!

Morning

We left the camp that morning to head to a new camp called Por Venir. This is a village you have to get to by canoe. We walked thru another few miles of pasture before finding the guy with the canoe waiting for us. It’s surreal how no one has cell phones but everyone is on time waiting for you. I can’t get that in the US. Anyhow we docked and headed to the village where we were greeted with more meals and kids. We baptized two teenagers today and it was incredibly moving for me. To see people dedicate their life is a powerful thing and even more powerful when your apart of it.

Por Venir

Por Venir

Bebe

Bebe

Baptism

Baptism

Little girl from the village

Little girl from the village

After that we headed to Felipe’s Oasis. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing this place is so I will just show you the video i took once i can upload it (im in the caribbean right now on dial up cause the island im on just got internet ha)…

Day 11 – May 11 2009

Our last day. We took off from Felipe’s and set off to Rio Dulce. We had been dying to eat some “pescado” aka fish in spanish. So we went to a hidden resort with bungalows that has a good restaurant. We had our whole fried fish battered in garlic and then took off to town to buy some souveneirs.

After about 7 hours of driving we made it to Cesars where we played Monopoly and waiting till sunrise for our flights

Day 12 – May 12 2009

I am sitting in first class drinking my bloody Mary and I’m gonna pass out. I am worn in a good way from this trip. Blessed as well.

After a nice deep sleep at Felipe’s with the cat in my lap I woke to go for a morning swim. I net this rad dude Aaron from Montana and we bro’d down. He travels alot so I’m sure we will meet up again next time we travel to Guatemala.

A Gift of Love

A Gift of Love

I leave you with this. Love is a blessing and a gift that transcends all boundaries and language barriers. It much like music, because it can be felt by anyone without truly understanding exactly what it means. Love in my opinion is one of the elements that ALL humans need just as much as we need Oxygen and Water. Without those things we would surely die and I feel like that without love, we would slowly wither away, lose purpose and eventually succumb to a broken heart. I have made it my purpose to love on as many people as possible. Sometimes I realize that in doing so I have neglected the ones that are closest to me, but I also know that in time, the ones who are closest to me know how sincerely I love them, and they will understand that loving others who need it a little more is the more immediate response. I encourage you all to go out and love the people that make you angry, the ones that make you feel loved and show much more compassion, than your probably used to. The road less travelled is never the easy road but its the road that has made all the difference in my life.

- Danny

Jungle

Caprica Mix

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