Thursday, June 21, 2007

..think about it...

I am going back to Cambodia in November and will start some fundraising, in autumn, to pay for three friend's education.

A young man, Nakry 27, who is already spending an hour every day to teach his friends english, which he taught himself. (That is after 12 hour working days, and perhaps a day off every 10 days. He does not get time off every week... After all of this he has not got enough money to eat more than rice and soya sauce on many evenings. He uses whatever money he has to help with his younger siblings, so that they don't have to leave school at the age of 7-9-10, but hopefully have a future)

A young girl, Raksa 17, whose family was too poor to keep her, and she had to be sent to an orphanage in a distant town for several years. At the moment she is earning half of the wage of Nakry. It gives you an idea of her economical situations and current outlook for her future..

And a young boy, aged about 11, who misunderstood me, when I proposed an exchange of postcards, he thought that I wanted to help him to go to school. Now I do. It was heartbreaking to think about not trying to make a difference after he thaught that it is what I offered him.

For each of these I will need about £1000 per year.
With that I can pay for good education, some that is of high quality and helps them learn as much as possible in as short a time as possible. It will also provide some money for healthcare, for healthy food, not much else.

I will post photographs of these three young people soon.

Nakry could improve his earning potential dramatically with an improved command of the english language. However I would propose to help him become a qualified english teacher, with a TEFL or CELTA qualification. This would impact an entire community around him. As currently Tourism is the way to earn a relatively secure living in the aerea where he lives. With a good job and much better wage he could then take care of any further vocational training himself.

Raksa, I would like to help her attend school and university, everything that improves her life can make a drastic positive impact on her family, immediate community and give a tremedous opportunity to more than just this one girl. Raksa is close to my heart. I really hope we can help improve her life and future.

The little boy.
Again, financial help, so that he doesn't need to work full time but can instead go to school, learn a trade, pass on what he learns, improve his future prospects. I would engage with this boy and his family on the understanding that instead of working full time he would go to school, I would cover the loss of income plus enough financial support to cover some important aspects of food and healthcare. On the condition that the boy spends an hour a day passing on what he learns to the girls in his village (literacy and some basic maths primarily).
Girls are extremely disadvantaged and often don't get sent to school if the family is poor, which most are... This illiteracy makes makes them extremely vulnerable to exploitation, not just sexually, but that too of course...

So keep in touch with me, I will be handing around a collection hat in september and october. It is worth remembering that even £2 can help pay towards this plan of mine. If everyone would manage to give from £10 upwards then it would not take much time to start sending one of these young people into a much more secure future..
Any cost that I incure going out there, I pay for in full. Not a penny of this money will go anywhere except towards changing 3 lives and easily a few hundred lives connected to these...

It is really amazing what difference it is possible to make. What an amount of hope just one person can give.. Please help me make the plan a reality. I know Nakry and Raksa especially well, and I know that whatever we give them they will use and share in a way that will affect many other lives, too.

Birgit. xx

Sunday, March 25, 2007

after I returned..

.. the journey has changed life.. more and more.. I think I know how and it becomes clear that more and more is changing. Life is all new and like it's been put in a spin at the launderette. Everything is different.

There was a young boy there. And I just found him on another blog page, by chance, I wasn't looking for him. But it reminded me of how inspiring he is. 8-9 years youger than I am but not struggling with all the burdens I had put on my plate when I was his age. Not selfconscious and panicked. He is a great example of how everyone of us could just approach life. Free from these weights..

With excitement for life, positive outlook and generosity. When did I start to listen to all the cynics.. ?
Life can seriously be beautiful, especially for us who we have such a luxury of this freedom of movement. So much more so than the majority of people around the world.

I see his photographs of his trip and wish I too had had more energy, had chose to be happier rather than so reflective and heavy inside myself all the time.

I spoke to Julian one day, a passing friend - another candian- I asked if he thinks that we have a choice to have so much energy for people, for generosity for happyness. He thinks that we almost always have a choice and that it comes down to choosing love over fear.

Choose Love instead of Fear.
I try and remind myself.
He is right everything that I can think of really can be reduced to just that.
Love and Fear.
It is hard in our cynical, clever world to be so open about these thoughts.
Is the world really so cynical or is that me being afraid of it possibly being so?

So I am now off to get ready for art. Much needs organising for my project.

Yoga. . I love the practice and the disciplin I am beginning to understand.. The secrets that you can only learn by not giving up.

I am just sorry that I didn't take more photographs and that I am not on any at all... next time..

As a next time there will be, not long from now, even. I am returning for some more learning, sweating, maybe crying, definitely laughing and certainly coconut water drinking. India did some magic on me. Life is changed inexplicably. Yoga really did change everything. Life, love, inspiration, perception and understanding has shifted to some place more clam and firm. All the uprooting of leaving friends and home has helped new roots to shoot. So maybe I am like a plant, cut some twiggs and there is more strength for the serious branches to reach out.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

from Mysore... components..

It is sunny here, a bit polluted, but the area that I am in is more a suburb, so it is reasonably clear of fumes..
The yoga shala (studio) is about 200meters from my house. The coconut stand is only a further 50 or so meters. And that's where we congregate when we feel sociable or want to meet up to go places. Waiting times and lingering times are taken up with sipping coconut water through a straw, and sometimes we get the coconut men to crack the nut open completely to scoop out the flesh. Yum.

Then there is Anu's the internet cafe which also serves a lunch and dinner buffet. But it's the exact same food at lunch and dinner time, so going twice a day is not very exciting. But Ganesh, Anu's husband is super friendly and helpfull and organises cars/drivers and helps with getting one's bearings.

Also there is Tina's which is good for breakfast, sitting on mats around a coffee table high table, ordering porridge, roties, omletts... And spirulina drinks. (spirulina looks like a witches brew, it is actually algea..)

And there is Shakti house which has proper tables, but takes an eternity sometimes to actually receive one's dinner.
And Chakra house, again mats on the floor and much debated safety of food served, but I love their pancakes..

So these are the main food haunts near the shala. there is only really the Dashpakash which serves super cheap thali (a plate with several dishes each containing variations of curry, with side dish of rice, chippaty and bits and pieces, but relatively bland). And the Grean Leaf at which one really can only eat twice a week or otherwise it really will be a case of serious waddling and bursting clothes..

And thank heavens for Coffee Day, our Star Bucks equivalent, well, sort of, It's the one place to have coffee and mocha and that sort of western stuff. (Some of the above places try to offer coffe, but only Shakti house comes close to coffee, actually I really like their's too, but the places around the shala area are only open limited hours of the day, whereas Coffee Day is open all day!)

I thought I had made my mind up about staying here until the end of february, but i am not really feeling good, and what's more my joints are not good. the practice is too hard. And the people here aren't necessarily the best to speak to when it comes to concerns like that, I have overheard many speaking about their various injuries and they just carry on..

My shoulders are lightly damaged from the jumps that involve you swinging your legs through. And then the elbows are now done in from trying to compensate and protect my shoulders.. And for some obscure reason my knees are stiff and sore. I have never felt any problems there before. So that is a lot of joint issue for 3 weeks practice.

And it feels bad missing a day.. I missed one already last week because I had such bad sunburn on the back of my legs that I couldn't bend or straighten them.

It all comes down to Ahimsa I think.. (First rule of yoga: the rule of non-harm.. to anybody including one self, in word, deed or thought..)