Thursday, September 30, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday was Costa Rica's Independence Day and I woke to the sound of drumming. The Independence Day Parade was moving through the center of town, down the street between the church and the soccer field. I threw on some Costa Rican colors (red, white and blue), grabbed my camera and went to see the celebration. I only saw the last 20 minutes or so, which means I can't make too broad a generalization.
The Peace Education Programme is responsible for planning activities for International Day of Peace on Tuesday, September 21st. One of the things we're doing is teaching student how to make paper cranes and helping us make a bunch of them for an activity we'll do on the IDoP itself. Not sure what it says about me that I kind of love these colors- at least to look at. It's been nice to get out of my thinking brain for a bit and using my crafting head instead. Seems like the other students agree because they've been great about learning, helping and teaching newcomers. We've got a ton of other plans still in the works and that's what I'll be spending most of my weekend on. Except when I take a break to make a few more cranes.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Apparently it is THE latest thing in NGO, NFP presentation making. Part of the instructions for our presentation assignment for the Foundation Course was to use Power Point, which I have never used, except when I was taking a test for a temp agency. Most of the other groups got fancier than we did. Not just bullet points but zooming into place bullet points, cross fades, graphics, movies. My section of our group presentation seemed a little My First Presentation in comparison. Just pictures with titles. I think I think of Power Point as the set, and I’m the show, where for others it’s more of a 50/50, PP and presenter are both the show.
I stand by my pictures though. Our conflict was the Tamil/Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and I managed to work in a pretty pair of Mandelbrots and a diagram of quantum truth vs. quantum uncertainty. I got metaphorical on them and had a great time. I suppose I understand why people don’t believe I’m an introvert because I really do love to perform- provided I have confidence in the material. To me, there’s a world of difference between giving a presentation (fun! thrilling! satisfying!) and meeting strangers or asking for directions or going to big party (not fun! I don’t want to! I’ll be the one standing next to the food looking uncomfortable!). It’s probably a control thing. Anyway, score one for team theatre, the presentation went really well, in spite of the bullet point deficit.
It is a measure of my love for you all that after working on a paper for 3 days straight I am once again clicking away at my keyboard to update my dormant blog. Well, my catnapping blog. If I haven’t used up all my organizational brain molecules on structuring my paper (Three Kinds of Violence: Challenges to peace for minority students in Chicago Public Schools), I’ll try to make this several short focused posts, instead of one long rambling one. I’ll start with:
Foundation Course, That’s a Wrap!
Friday was the last day of the Foundation Course. We did our group presentations in the morning and celebrated the end of our first course in the afternoon. Discussions at the party generally fell into one of two categories- What are you doing on the break? and What did you think of the Foundation Course?
Unfortunately my answer to the first question was, “Writing my paper, working on my group presentation for the next course and trying not to fret about International Day of Peace.” My answer to the second question is much longer. There was a certain cadre of people who did not like the Foundation Course. They either found it too basic (people who either studied this stuff in undergrad or have been working extensively in the field) or too far from the work they plan to do (pretty much everyone in the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development program and some of the folks in the Environmental programs). And all of that makes sense. For me, it was great- a combination of learning terms and definitions for concepts I knew without knowing I knew them and discovering totally new ideas and models. We learned a bunch of different conflict models, some theories on conflict persistence and escalation and the beginnings of methods for conflict resolution. We had some really interesting discussions in our seminar group (and to be honest some failures at having any kind of conversation, interesting or otherwise). The best part was hearing from classmates who’d been out in the field (Sudan) or were from a country with recent conflicts: South Korea, Indonesia. The perspective is very different and in some cases much more cynical than mine. It’s too soon to say if that’s coming from who they are or what they’ve seen.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
This is the lake that formed in one of the craters of Poás. The large plants in the foreground are called 'sombrilla de pobre,' poor man's umbrella.