Sunday 9 September 2007
Leah took Social Justiced in summer 2007.
â€œto savor the present moment, instead of getting fixated on one of my colossal mistakes in the past or being allured by some fantasy in the future.â€ (p21)
And â€œwhat Iâ€™ve done today was significantâ€¦I most want to be present to the moment. The most important time is now.â€ (p95)
One of the reasons I love the Latin American Culture is because they are so focused on the present time. I feel that our culture in America is focused on the future, how we are going to be successful. As I think it is sometimes important to keep the future in mind, I feel it is ease to forget what is going on around us. What is happening right now?
Interview with Gustavo (p31-34)
This entire interview puts my thoughts into words. Gustavo explains â€˜innocent sufferingâ€™ as one who suffers a situation that she doesnâ€™t deserve. There are many cases of innocent suffering in the world and that is what I want to help change. I want to abolish innocent suffering. As that may be an idealistic view, I think it is still important to get rid of some of the innocent suffering. He talks about consumerism and how we are a country constantly trying to get skinnier while other countries are trying to fatter. Itâ€™s ironic that people can live their lives with exact opposite intentions. Itâ€™s not fair. I like how Gustavo want the solidarity of the people in America. With solidarity, we can all help change the world together. Itâ€™s a high expectation, but we need to start small and grow.
â€œSo few North American professors and programs seemed to have any awareness of the plight of worldâ€™s majority of poor people.â€ (p54)
This lines sticks with me because it is complete bull shit that we are the richest country and we live rich. We make people poorer so we can get richer. Honestly, I have been unaware to many of the injustices and the amount of poor people in the world until I went to El Salvador and then took this class. I always knew there was poor, but I never knew to what extent. As a culture, most North Americans are ignorant to the poor in the world. It is important for our teachers to tell us. We shouldnâ€™t have to take a social justice class to learn about the suffering in the world. Our media should tell us, our teachers should tell us, it should be known by all. We are lucky that we have the opportunity to change the world without worrying about our lives. We need to use this opportunity and help those who are less fortunate than us.
â€œUltimately, I believe we are most daunted by the mystery, the question, the possibility: â€œIt could be us.â€ Through my own photography I strive to bridge the distant worlds of our small globe. I contemplate the mystery: It is us.â€
It is easy to forget about the poor and the people who are constantly suffering, but when I realize that these people are equal to me, it makes me wonder why I am not in their situation. It is so unfair. It sometimes makes me angry. Thatâ€™s why I think we, as a country, need to do something to fix this. Everyone should get an equal chance. How is it that some people struggle to survive and other people have everything given to them? I feel that if it was blood family that was suffering, people would be more willing to help them out, but to me, these people are our family. I donâ€™t understand why more people donâ€™t want to help these people.
â€œMev had once emphasized the heroism of these nobodies struggling to build the Kingdom of God against great odds.â€ (p96)
This is how I felt in El Salvador. I met people in Ellacuria trying to fight the government to not mine next to their town. I felt the people in Ellacuria had no chance to change the minds of the government, but they still tried their hardest. Itâ€™s people like that who I can see the heroism in. They have so little but they are still so hopeful and struggle to build up their Kingdom.
â€œThere is a word in Buddhism that means â€˜wishlessnessâ€™ or â€˜aimlessness.â€™ The idea is that you do not put something in front of you and run after it, because everything is already here, in yourself. While we practice walking meditation, we do not try to arrive anywhere. We only make peaceful, happy steps. If we keep thinking of the future, of what we want to realize, we will lose our stepsâ€¦Donâ€™t just do something, sit thereâ€ (p99)
As talked about in class, it is easy to pass by the beauty. It is important to recognize what is around us whether it is the trees and sun or it is the people around us. It kind of goes along with living in the present. We should enjoy what we have around us. This can help keep a positive attitude and build energy to change the world.
â€œThereâ€™s a poverty in every human life.
When weâ€™re aware of our limits, weâ€™re more open to change and conversion.
If our limits are at the individual level, like alcoholism or alienation, our awareness can provoke a change so that we can grow beyond this.
Here in Brazil, our limits are very much at the social levelâ€”hunger, homelessness. We struggle to become aware and change these things, but sometimes after engaging in a long social struggle, we realize that nothing grew inside of us. Maybe in the US your limits are more at the personal level. But sometimes when you are struggling individually, you realize that you have to address the social dimension to arrive at the personal dimension.
Without integration of the personal and the social, we wonâ€™t be full persons.
We may start at different points, but we arrive together.
The struggle is one.â€ (p139)
I donâ€™t really know what to say about this. It has so much meaning, but also confuses me. I have never heard anyone consider the different kinds of poverty. If we all have poverty, than we can all struggle abolish our poverties together. I love the last line, the struggle is one. We need to work together as a human race to get rid of our poverties.
â€œPeople were saying that it was a sin to wear make-up and short skirts, yet so many people around us were illiterate, dying without medical care, dying of hunger! No one said this was a sin!â€”Toinha Lima Barrosâ€ (p141)
What kind of world to we live in where the length of a skirt is more important than the dying. I remember when we had rules for length of skirts in high school and in grade school we could not wear make-up. I am not saying we should get rid of these rules in my grade school or high school, I just donâ€™t understand why we arenâ€™t worrying about the people who donâ€™t even have a choice to wear make-up or decided what length skirt they wear. Many people are dying everyday because they are malnourished and we are worrying about the make-up our children wear. It makes no sense to me.
When Mev asks Ann Manganaro â€œHaving worked among the poor and homeless in St. Louis, what differences do you see in the work in the U.S. and El Salvador?â€
When reading this, I felt Ann took my the words from my mouth. I experienced the exact same feelings in El Salvador. My two words I use to describe the people in El Salvador are the hopefulness and their sense of community. She also uses both. The people want a change. They are currently trying to change their lives for the better while helping out those around them. I was uplifted when I felt this. I never wanted to help them more. I sometimes wish my mom could understand this because if she could, maybe she would be OK with me working with the poor in El Salvador.
â€œWith her help, I finally decided that stacking up the pillows from our couch and whacking them with a big long piece of wood would help me express my anger. Kit made a great soundâ€”SMACK!â€(p260-261)
I smiled when I read this line. When I was young, my mom taught my brother and I to do this exact same thing. It is a nonviolent way to be violent and it feels so good.
The Book of Mev was definitely my favorite book we read in this class. However, when writing this paper, I realized how pissed off I became when I wrote. I just donâ€™t understand how people are suffering all around us but most people donâ€™t even care even when they do hear the stories. How can we live like this being so greedy? All we want is more wealth. I even feel greedy. I have everything I could ever want. The way I deal with it is that I am getting a great education so I can help change the lives of others and furthermore change the world. This class has deepened my inspirations for El Salvador.
Before I went to El Salvador, I wanted to be a nurse in oncology. I have been on the Relay For Life committee the past 3 years and I feel that cancer is cruel and unfair. Reading the last part of this book really touched me. It is so hard to see what Mev and Mark had to go through. This is another case of â€˜innocent suffering.â€™ No one deserves cancer. As I have become more passionate about a different type of â€˜innocent suffering,â€™ I am still very zealous of cancer patients and what they have to go through.