Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Storytelling” By Mitchell McGowan. Gold Coast, Australia.

When looking at personal growth and development throughout our aging stages, I believe that it is important to have rituals that signify our ascension into a new social level. I think that as countries like America, England, and Australia do not have specific traditions in their culture.

Personally, I cannot think of any ritual that we as Americans do that signify a change in social standings besides the high school and college graduation. While they signify more maturation, they are not necessarily unique to a group or community. Another aspect that I think signifies rituals to me would be religion. While I cannot speak for other religions, I can speak about growing up Catholic. Growing up, we go through rituals that signify how old and mature we are getting. As children, we have Baptism and our First Communion. We then go through Confirmation, which marks us as adults. The events and rituals brings us into the Catholic community, and as we evolve as people we go through more rituals to show how we are becoming more important to our given community. We get the feeling that we belong to the community, and the ritual is the way our friends and family acknowledge us. In Deeply into the Bone by Ronald Grimes, he expresses this sentiment by writing, “The main reason for having rites of passages is to enable mindful attendance to events that may otherwise pass us by.” (Grimes 2000).

I believe that the lack of rituals could be detrimental to the growth of a community. If someone does not go through a ritual, their growth or accomplishments are diminished and go unrecognized. If a collection of people do not recognize another person’s accomplishment, they all act as individuals rather than a unified community. When we acknowledge and support each other, we encourage and grow as a community.

The digital story is an important part in sharing my study abroad experience with members of my community back home. It is a way to explain the experiences I have had here, with the assistance of pictures. Pictures are vital to it all, because it allows the listener to see what is being discussed, and allows them to place themselves there and experience it.

The first element of a rite of passage that I believe is important is to add adversity or a challenge. I personally believe that the best way to grow from a child to an adult is to learn how to handle the challenges in front of us. One does not truly learn how to overcome obstacles and become mature if there is not some kind of problem or force to overcome. The second element is having time to be alone to reflect on newfound values and beliefs. I think that while we are abroad, we will be exposed to multiple beliefs that vary from what we would normally think. While we should have an open mind to the new aspects of our lives, we should also be able to think for ourselves and determine if the belief is beneficial for our growth. Having multiple people force or influence your opinions on things does not make it your own belief, it just makes you a collection of another person’s thoughts. The final and most important element of rite of passages is the celebration of status. It is important for the community to recognize the growth or change in the participant of the rite of passage. If the actions go un-acknowledged, then the participant may revert and the passage may be wasted.

Personally, my favorite digital story that I personally connected with was Caitlin Murphy’s story on the Netherlands. I really liked how she used riding a bike to help explain her growing process while abroad. I really related to it because I planned on making my digital story on surfing. I feel as though I can better communicate the things I have learned abroad by using surfing as my medium, which would help my community feel like they were part of my experience.

 

Works Cited:

Grimes, R. L. (n.d.). Deeply into the bone: re-inventing rites of passage. Berkeley: University of California Press.

 

 

 

 

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Travel Log 12 “Service” by Elizabeth Marino. Alicante, Spain

For my non-profit organization, I chose to visit Medicos Sin Fronteras. Most people in the United States know this organization as Doctors Without Borders. Choosing Medicos Sin Fronteras was an easy choice for me for multiple reasons. I had always admired their work, courage, and ideals. Also, this seemed like a perfect choice after reading Half the Sky. While I could only interview an employee at their office in Barcelona, it was a great way to witness how people get involved in the way the authors of Half the Sky encourage. Medicos Sin Fronteras may not be working solely for females in need, but such females are included amongst the victims that the organization helps.

Medicos Sin Fronteras is a humanitarian organization that strives to aid people in need, typically through medical solutions. They look to help people that are victims or in danger of violence, wars, natural disasters, and disease breakouts. They also help people who don’t have access to medical care or have been neglected. There are so many people that could use their help, but as all organizations are limited to some degree, Medicos Sin Fronteras focuses on populations that they deem to be in the direst need. The policy that all Medicos Sin Fronteras workers must follow states that they must always act with “neutrality, impartiality, non-discrimination, personal commitment and medical ethics”. They say that these ideals as well as their funding allows them to go anywhere in the world where help is needed. Not only do they aid people physically, but also part of their mission is to speak up about the tragedies and issues that they witness while on the job. The organization was actually founded in the 1970s based on this idea. Some doctors working with the Red Cross were displeased with the fact that they could not publically report the conflict they were witnessing in Biafra during the late 19060s.

How does Medicos Sin Fronteras help the community? Although this organization does not send its doctors out into the streets of Barcelona to do the work of the organization, the headquarters in Barcelona indirectly help the community. It gives citizens in the community the opportunity to join their cause. The headquarters and other offices like it are essential to the operations of Medicos Sin Fronteras. They coordinate, plan, support, and supervise the projects that are taking place. This gives people in the community the opportunity to get involved.

Volunteering can be very beneficial while living in another country. Even though I wasn’t able to volunteer in the headquarters myself, it was a learning experience just to observe the environment. Regardless of the type of organization, volunteering can help anyone immerse himself or herself in the culture. By getting involved, one can see how the working citizens of the community conduct themselves, outside of tourist areas.

This experience changed how I view my time studying abroad. I’ll admit that I came here with the goal of traveling as much as I could. I was never against service or volunteering, but it wasn’t a high priority of mine to begin with. Now I see that it should have been. Many places want volunteers that can commit for more than just one day. If I had prioritized service more, I could have truly gotten involved in Barcelona. While I can’t turn back the clock, I can make this more of a priority for future trips. For example, I plan to look into the service trips Quinnipiac has during Spring break rather than looking for some resort to enjoy with my friends.

One key point I will take from this service experience is that volunteering for a huge cause can be easier than one thinks. I had always admired Doctors Without Borders from afar, but I never expected to actually work with them. I thought that I couldn’t join thei4319274w-640x640x80.jpgr cause because I don’t plan on being a doctor, and I’m not nearly as courageous as these doctors are. Now I see that if you take the time to look, you can find places like the Barcelona headquarters in which you can get involved in a different way. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” I don’t need to be a doctor to take part in Doctors Without Borders. This is why I chose the picture of the office setting inside the Barcelona Headquarters. It doesn’t include operation tables, syringes, or stethoscopes, but the people that work in that office still play a crucial role in the organization’s mission.

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” Meghan Thorogood Florence, Italy

American society is one like any other. We did not follow the guideline older countries laid out for us. Instead of creating an entirely new identity, we became a melting pot. For food we eat Mexican, Thai, Italian, Japanese and so much more. We identify ourselves as American but when asked where you are from, many Americans will say, “well I am 25% Scottish, 25% Italian, 25% German, and 25% Irish”. I feel this plays a part in the absence of meaningful, community-based rituals within life transitions. By hanging on to the culture of our descendants, we are less likely to form those close communal rituals with other Americans. We continue the rituals of our descendants with other people whose descendants shared the same culture. I believe this directly impacts American’s rite of passage and effects American society. I feel as though we are missing those rites of passages that help share our society and help develop a more structured meaning of American society.  While I have been in Italy, I have learned about and witnessed many rituals and ceremonies. Witnessing this showed me how significant the power of a united community can be. It made me realize the United States does not have many ceremonies like this, one’s that bring joy and meaning to all.

I was not familiar with the concept of rites of passage until I began this course. I think it is a concept that everyone should have a basic knowledge of. It has helped me to make sense of many things that have, had, and will go on in my life. However, between my time abroad and reading, I have found two rites of passage that I connected with. The first one being rites of passage #12: “Time alone for reflection”. Back home, I usually do not have much time alone to reflect. I am always running from place to place, lucky to even get a meal in. However, being abroad I have had a lot of alone time. I have even had times where I was not physically alone, but mentally alone. At first, this drove me crazy but I learned how to use that time wisely for reflection. I reflect on my day, my personal growth, and so much more. I am not exactly sure what the focus of my digital story is going to be yet, but I want it to include the acceptance of being alone. This transitions into rites of passage #15: “Giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors, etc.” Before I always considered being alone as a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am still very much a people person and love to be surrounded by other, but I have learned the importance of “me” time as it plays into the development of a person. Lastly, rites of passage #4: “You can only bring someone as far as you have been yourself”, was one that I strongly connected to. I am not sure how this rite of passage may play into my digital story. However, I know this rite of passage will now have an impact on my everyday life. It reminds me that I have not walked a mile in others shoes and I cannot possible know how they feel or give advice when I have not been in a particular situation. It reminds me that you hurt is not the same as my hurt and one’s happiness is different than that of my own. I hope to be able to somehow incorporate this rites of passage into my digital story, but if not I know it has already impacted me.
After watching all three digital stories, I still felt as though I connected Rachel Cox’s digital Story about her time in Paris, France the most. I really enjoyed how she connected the changing of the seasons with the self growth she experienced while abroad. I felt as though I was going through the process with her. I also like how she incorporated the friendship she made with her neighbor.  Being taken though these two aspects of Rachel’s abroad experience made me feel as though I was on the journey with her. I was left feeling like I was living the story and understanding the unfolding of the lessons she learned.

Travel Log 11 “Holding up Half the Sky” by Elizabeth Marino. Barcelona, Spain

I can’t say that I enjoyed reading Half the Sky due to the monstrosities that filled the pages, but the authors, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, certainly did a good job at getting their message across. The book was a way to call readers to action. The authors shared horrid stories of girls being brutalized as a way to encourage people to help solve an enormous problem that receives too little attention. Although the authors filled the pages with stories of heinous crimes against women, they wanted readers to focus on the transformations of empowerment these women could make if they are given help. Throughout the book Kristof and WuDunn also shared encouraging wisdom that they gained throughout the journey of writing this book. One lesson they shared that stuck out to me was that “even when a social problem is so vast as to be insoluble in its entirety, it’s still worth mitigating” (Kristof & WuDunn, p.45). I thought this shared lesson was significant because I think people often give up and say “what’s the point” when their help seems to barely make a dent in a problem. The authors want to convey that even if one person is helped, it is still a success that is worth it.

Meena Hasina’s story, the second story told in the book, was one that really caught my attention. I think the authors started off with Meena’s story because it comes full circle. It was a good way to show how someone in such an unbelievably terrible position can have a better life with a little help. Before Meena had even turned ten years old, she was whisked away from her family in India and taken to a brothel to become a prostitute. Her story showed how even the strongest of women can be forced into sex slavery by the means that ruthless people use. The authors described Meena as defiant and resilient, but in these situations, even a strong personality such as Meena’s can’t keep you out of prostitution. The brothel owners drugged and beat Meena into being compliant. While all the details of the story disturbed me, the detail about drugging the woman really struck me. The authors described how many of the prostitutes develop drug addictions due to this, and this creates a problem for these women even after they are rescued from sex slavery. It shocked me that some women would voluntarily return to the brothels after being rescued because of the drug addictions. Meena eventually escaped from the brothel, but even this was a bittersweet even for her. Even though her life was at risk, she was torn because she had to leave behind her two children. Meena courageously returned to the brothel time after time, risking her own life, in order to rescue her kids. With help from Apne Aap Women Worldwide, Meena was reunited with her children. Now, Meena herself works to prevent prostitution in Forbesgunge, India.

As a student studying health science, maternal mortality was a topic that really caught my attention. One paragraph in chapter six begins with “Conservatives battle forced abortions in China, and liberals fight passionately for abortion rights in foreign lands. But meeting the challenge of women dying in childbirth has never had much of a constituency” (Kristof & WuDunn, p.98). After reading this I asked myself, is this really still a problem? I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know that so many women were still dying during childbirth. I thought that this rarely ever happened due to the medical advancements we have today. I guess my mind had never wandered far out of the United States concerning this topic. I haven’t thought about how this still occurs frequently in countries that aren’t as fortunate to use all the medical advancements that exist today. The authors discussed maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) to show a contrast. While the MMR for the U.S. is 11 deaths for every 100,000 births, it is 2,100 deaths for every 100,000 in Sierra Leone. One way individuals in my field can lower these statistics is by bringing our knowledge, skills, and technology to hospitals and medical units in these countries. For example, Catherine and Reg Hamlin from Australia established the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. If there were more educated and well-equipped doctors in these countries, I’m sure less women would perish during childbirth or pregnancy.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Ryan Bonitz. Barcelona, Spain

The Fundacion Catalana De Paralisis Cerebral is an organization set in Barcelona that assists people with cerebral palsy. Through this organization, volunteers accompany young people on outings to shop, see a movie, and go to the theatre. This allows for young adults and kids to socialize with peers their age, while doing fun activities. It also allows for parents and caregivers to have some free time, as caring for children with disabilities can be taxing. Additional activities include sports training through Swimming, Slalom and Boccia. Painting workshops allow for additional therapy, and volunteers can also help assist in residence halls. I was really excited about this experience because I have been fortunate enough to work with children with Cerebral Palsy before. UNfortunatley, the boy I was set to do a painting workshop with became sick, just like everyone else in Barcelona right now. I was really bummed out, but am currently communicating with the foundation to set up something for one of the coming weeks.

Due to this last minute change of events, I didn’t have much time to set up something new. So I decided to make my own service project. On Tuesdays I only have class until 10:45, and then I usually go exploring around the city. One of my favorite things to do after a long weekend of travel is go to Barcelonetta beach. Upon my arrival in Barcelona, I was happy to see that the beaches were fairly clean. Unfortunately, as the weather becomes nicer the beaches become more crowded and a great deal of garbage is left behind. I remember my professor Toni, with whom I conducted my interview earlier in the semester, saying that Barcelona does not do enough for the environment. Spain is said to be the most polluted country in Europe. In 2014, the pollution levels exceeded the safe levels by 150 times (thelocal). Many cities are landlocked, and therefore get little wind. As a result polluted air lingers around many major cities like Madrid. In Barcelona, I solely use public transportation, and I separate out all of my garbage. So I wondered, how could I make a difference here?

I spent a warm Tuesday afternoon cleaning up Barcelonetta beach to the best of my ability. The larger garbage items were easy to take care of; the difficult part was taking care of the insane number of cigarette buts in the sand. Having previously traveled to Europe I knew that they smoked a lot here, but living here for 3 months has showed me that this problem is out of control. Back in the States, I received my scuba diving license when I was 14. Throughout my years of diving, I’ve seen more trash polluting the ocean than you can imagine. I worried that fish would eat these cigarette butts, so I tried to collect as many as I could. I actually counted as I went. I found 109. And that was only in one section of the beach.

The most rewarding part of this experience was when a group of locals approached me and thanked me for cleaning up. Volunteering in a foreign country is just as important as volunteering at home. It allows us to not only help the community we are in, but at the same time we learn more about our surroundings. For example, before coming here I did not know that Spain was the largest contributor to pollution in Europe. Learning this made me want to help even more than before. I really liked the quote, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This simple quote means so much, because it is saying that everyone has potential to make a difference in this world. If each and every one of us contributes even just the slightest bit to those in need, we would live in a much different world than we do today.

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Works Cited

https://www.thelocal.es/20150507/spain-has-highest-ozone-pollution-levels-in-europe

 

Travel Log #11 “Holding up Half the Sky” By Nicholas Daniele. Barcelona, Spain

How would I convey the over message of “Half the Sky” to friends? Well that is a great question.

The book talks about the oppression of woman in the modern age. It compares the way woman are treated today to the way African Americans were treated during slavery. It is a comparison that I have not thought of before. Initially, I thought to myself how these two could be related at all…women aren’t enslaved. However, after learning about what is happening to women in modern day… well I was pretty taken back to be honest.

One of the stories the book talks about is about a girl named Meera. This is one of the many stories that really convinced me that slavery is a real issue among women today. Merra is an Indian sex slave who got sold to a buyer when she was twelve. When I was twelve I was outside playing with my friends in a cozy suburban neighborhood in Massachusetts. Oh how fortunate I am. Meera faced the potential dangers such as HIV and STDs…. At age twelve. Even writing this post makes me a little sick to my stomach. The author mentions that around three million people “work” as prostitutes. Essentially, three million people work as slaves. That is what the author is hinting at. While prostitution is legal in some areas of the world, that does not mean that it is everyone’s choice to become a prostitute. To add on, the book talks about another girl named Prudence. Prudence was from Cameroon. She too was involved in sex slavery, and eventually became pregnant. This happens more frequently than one would like to think. To make things worse she did not have enough money to have a C-section. The authors covered it, but she ended up dying days later because the facility was not up to date and the conditions terrible. Even during her pregnancy, it is likely that Prudence would have been abused and also had to work. These are just two examples of the millions of people that suffer through being a sex slave.

Before reading this, I always thought of women’s issues as that – women’s issues, but it’s not. What is happening to these women across the glove is not a women’s issue, but a civil rights issue. It is time that the issue is treated as such. I feel as though some countries have it backwards…making prostitution legal. It just makes it harder to track down who is being forced and who is actually doing it by choice. I have to say I do not agree with that. Overall, I actually did not enjoy this topic. It found the material difficult to go through, and found it hard to grasp the reasoning behind the connection to globalization.

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Story Telling” by Alexandra Holmes – Broadbeach, Australia

It is seem time and time again American’s going through “mid life crisis”. This is usually around when a person turns fifty. This mid life crisis usually revolves around the loss of identity with oneself. I believe that this mid life crisis is directly related to the lack of meaningful rites of passage. American’s do not have the typical set stages of their lives that are marked with a right of passage. Sure, we turn twenty-one or we get our first car. But those things do not make us into a man or woman. I believe the mid life crisis is the tipping point for our lack of rites of passage. We are almost thrown into the world and this is realized during the life crisis.

This lack of rite of passage presents a problem to not only America but globally as a whole. This lack of passage is leading to the unhealthy development of Americans. America does not have any rituals that hold them together. When in Bali, I saw multiple ceremonies, which demonstrated to me, the lack of ceremonies in America. I think that the ceremonies brought the Balinese people together. It seemed as if every one had something to celebrate as a community.

One rites of passage that really spoke to me was number 4: “You can only bring someone as far as you have been yourself”. I think that this is extremely important because it is easy to give someone advice when you have never been in their shoes. I personally love to help others but tend to never help myself. I always preach of being happy with you but never tend to truly be happy with me. My experience abroad has taught me the value of myself. I learned to be alone and enjoy that alone time, something that I have never experienced before. Another rites of passage that go along with number 4 is number 8: “Adversity or personal challenge”. In my digital story I plan to find a way to tell a story that addresses my fear of being alone. This fear has overcome my life since before I could remember. Coming abroad has forced me to overcome and embrace this fear. I learned how to be okay with myself and to not need someone at my side at all times. The last rite of passage that also spoke to me was number 12: “Time alone for reflection”. This goes along with my theme of learning to be alone. The ability to take time by myself and look at how far I’ve come has been something that I try to do weekly. The steps that I have been taking to better myself may seem small to others, but they are huge to me. I plan to use my digital story to describe to my family and friends, the changes that I have seen in myself. These changes, which I am extremely proud of. I am still working on myself each and every day. I still struggle at times with being alone. But, “It is a journey, not a destination” and I am immensely proud of myself for the journey that I have embarked on.

The digital story that connected with me the most would be Dan Raza’s digital story about his trip to Thailand and Cambodia. I loved how he talked about getting outside of him comfort zone and making the best of every situation. My favorite part was how he said, that “this was what I signed up for”. He knew his living style would be drastically different but he embraced it with open arms. I like how he did not describe his adventures or his specific challenges into detail. Instead, he spoke generally to encompass his entire study abroad experience. I like how he used his abroad experience to step out of his comfort zone, in order to truly find himself.

Travel log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Story” by Kirsten Fraser. Perth, Australia

It is quite true that American culture lacks tradition, while many other cultures find tradition to be an extremely important element. However, if a tradition is not meaningful to you then I do not see the benefit in participating. For example, as long as I can remember I have been an atheist. Yet I completed my conformation, as it was a tradition that is important to my mother. However, I received nothing from the experience. I went through the motions feeling like a phony and an outsider. At one class my pastor asked who here was completing their journey solely at the discretion of their parents; I was the only one to raise my hand that day. I would like to say I was enlightened and had seen the error of my ways in not believing in religion but I did not. However, tradition can be quite powerful when it has meaning to you. I come from a small family where much of our extended family lives in England or has since moved to a different state. Therefore, for many holidays it is just my immediate family that we celebrate with and we struggle to make the day feel different than just an ordinary day. We have seen created many traditions in order to combat this. For example, on Christmas Eve we always have our family friends over and play games before attending midnight mass. Then when we get home, each member of the family opens one gift before going to bed. This gift is always pajamas and each person always wears their gift to open presents in the morning. These traditions mean more to me than those forced upon me. Therefore, if Cailleah’s father had forced the tradition of the ear piercing with menstruation, Cailleah still may not value the point her father was trying to make. If the tradition meant nothing to her then it is often ineffective. Sometimes I do wish our culture had more tradition; however, I have found that it is fun to make your own traditions and this brings you closer to those in your everyday life. It would be nice to have a tradition that brings to global community together but this community is so large this may be ineffective. I think it may be more effective to learn other culture’s traditions, to be invited to explore even while being an outsider. In Bali, we watched a traditional dance where they also taught us the meaning behind their motions. It was amazing to be able to witness their culture and traditions; it was a way of bringing two cultures together.

When reading “20 Elements of Rites of Passage” I found I connected most with numbers 14, 15, and 19: play, giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors, etc., and opportunities. I am still marveling that I was able to take this opportunity to study abroad and the many fun things I have done while I’ve been here. I have also learned to be more “go with the flow” and laid back. I am one to always worry about things I cannot control and I have found that worrying will not change what is going to happen, it will on thwart your current happiness. I hope to bring this quality home with me as it has caused me to be much less stressed over things I cannot control.

Digital story can be used to bring people together, to share the experience one has undergone. I was struck by Daniel Raza’s story the most as I found it quite interesting that he studied in Thailand for a few months and then moved to Cambodia for the duration of his study abroad experience. I really liked how he used pictures of the people he met rather than the places he saw. To me, this elicited a much more personal response and allowed me to connect more with his story.

Works Cited

Blumenkrantz, D. G., Goldstein, M. B. (2010). Rites of Passage as Framework for Community Interventions with Youth. Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice. 1 (2), 41-50.

Grimes, Ronald L. “Chapter 2: Coming of Age, Joining Up.” Deeply Into the Bones. N.p.: U of California, 2000. Print.

Digital Story Presentation Slides

Travel Log #11 “Holding up Half the Sky” By Andrew Rivera Barcelona, Spain

When reading “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn many concepts and ideas stuck out to me, but one in particular was above all of the rest. The one idea that really stuck with me was any help can make a huge difference. Especially when you read about all of the struggling women in the world. The book tells a story of the struggling women in Africa and Asia, that go through many hardships and experiences. With just a small amount of help they are able to make a huge difference. If I were to explain the message that the book was trying to reveal to their audience it would be that anything helps, and you can make a difference. Even the slightest bit of help makes a difference. One quote that I really enjoyed about making a difference was said by Sheryl WuDunn. She stated, “Our focus is on changing reality, not changing laws.” This was a great quote because laws sometimes take years to become a law and then are sometimes not even enforced. She doesn’t want to wait for something to come along, the time to help is now. People will always need help from today, to the end of time. She really wants to help under all circumstances, which is a great trait to have.

The one story that impacted me more than the rest was the Cambodian girl. This was awesome to ready about because she really started with absolutely nothing. The was a sex slave that was sold on the market, and had no idea how to get out of it. But eventually she was able to sneak away and received help. That help came from and aid group that was able to get her back to normal. Some of the emotions that were portrayed was scared, disgust, all negative words. But when she was able to find help and get back on her feet the emotions took a turn for the better. It was a beautiful site to see that she was able to start her own business. Some of the actions that was taken I would say are risks. Many of the decisions she made were risky but with big risk comes massive rewards and in the end she made the right decisions. Her thoughts were all over the place, not knowing if she will ever leave the brothel, and live a normal life. A scary story for many but a truly inspiring one when she was able to make something out of nothing.

My business studies would help me to try and donate money to causes that can help out the women that need it the most. Money is a huge part of any situation. From people on the street begging for money, people that are struggling living paycheck to paycheck, and rich people having money to spend on whatever they desire. Money is part of our everyday lives no matter who you are. Any money is what these struggling women need to survive. Without money you can’t do anything, and maybe one day when I am financially stable enough I can donate money to organizations that can really impact the struggling people all across the world.

Overall this book was really moving. Just like previous readings and films that we had to watch it was eye opening to see the struggling women, and all that they have went through. It really makes me want to make a difference, even if it means just taking a few hours a week to volunteer or try and make a difference. I think that everyone can make a difference to these hurting women that really need help.

Travelogue 12: “services,” by Breanna Hegarty. Galway, Ireland

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 1.00.42 PM            Back home, on occasion, I like to volunteer at the local food banks, and soup kitchens. Originally, I wanted to do something similar while in Galway, specifically with a homeless shelter. I find the most satisfaction and worth when directly helping those in need, as opposed to simply doing outside work. Unfortunately, Galway city doesn’t have too many homeless shelters or soup kitchens, probably due to the fact that there aren’t too many homeless people in this part of Ireland, due to the constant rain. And the homeless organizations that do exist, require some volunteers to have background clearance as well as make a six-month volunteering commitment. As a result of this, I decided to branch out and work with the Galway Conservation volunteer organization, to help clean up Galway beach.

The Galway Conservation volunteer organization’s motto is, “People working for a better environment.” Their goal is to enhance and protect some of the most beautiful green places in Galway City, by carrying out a wide range of activities, such as: planting native trees, hedgerows and wildflowers, and removal of invasive plants. Each month they choose a different part of Galway to clean and restore, this month focused on the restoration and cleaning of the local beaches. Typically, Galway is extremely good at recycling and trash removal, which makes the city as a whole extremely clean. Unfortunately, all of the trash eventually is placed on a giant boat in the bay. The mountain of trash becomes so high that when it is finally time for them to dispose of it, a lot of it falls off in transit, inevitably washing up on shore.

trash

Before this volunteering experience, I used to consider outside conservation as almost a futile effort. There was little reward or change that you could see, because as soon as you clean up one area, it almost immediately would get ruined again. Yet, while working on the beach today, I saw first-hand the affect that kind of thinking has on the environment. Today I saw two versions of the Galway beach. There is the populated side, in which everyone goes to play and relax, and then there is the neglected side. At first I was a little confused why they even needed volunteers to clean the beach, because there was such little trash. But then I realized, that’s because they were only concerned with cleaning the part of the beach that people actually stayed on. I decided to wander off a bit on my own in search of trash, only to find myself on the other half of the beach, hidden from people, that was completely covered in trash that has fallen off of the boats. I was extremely confused and angry as to why no one else bothered to clean this side of the beach. Then I realized, it’s because they all had the same mindset I originally had, that it would be pointless, especially since it doesn’t get any traffic.  I found myself becoming super protective and feeling responsible for what that beach has become. I realized that just because something seems hard and is going to need a lot of attention, doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the attention and work. We have the fate of the world in our hands, and with effort, we can make it better. For-instance in Galway, if we focused more on cleaning the neglected side of the beach, then more people will be willing to go on that side and more people will be willing to take care of it. More traffic by people doesn’t necessarily mean more destruction, especially in the global community sense. If we all work together with the same common goal and values, then we can all make a difference and actually make change and progress in our community, and in our world.  I am truly glad I ended up doing this volunteering experience, because it has reminded me how lethal ignorance and neglect is, and how powerful one person can actually be to make change.

wash up

bottles

 

Affirmation of the world — that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me — is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life”. -Albert Schweitzer: 

 

I chose this quote with the picture above, because it reminds me that the world is filled with all types of life, and that not only human-life needs saving.