Elephants are far and above my favorite animals on this planet. I had the wonderful experience of doing a 2 day elephant trek into rainforest near Mondul Kiri, Cambodia back in November. The man pictured above with the elephant is the mahout, and a member of the Bunong tribe in northeast Cambodia. A mahout is a person who owns and trains elephants for work. In the past, many elephants worked carrying trees to sell for wood. Now that there is much less logging allowed Continue reading
When I was a young girl, my father used to tell me that even the Queen of England had to sit on the toilet. It wasn’t meant to teach me about the bodily needs of the Queen, but rather to impress upon me that regardless of outer appearances, we are all much more similar than we are different. This thinking has remained with me and been a guiding principle as a traveler, and has in part been the emphasis for a new YouTube video collection Continue reading
While discussing the upcoming ‘Tell Your Own Story‘ workshop with Burmese refugee students at Best Friends School (also known as School 42 Kilometers) near Mae Sot, Thailand, it was suggested that the boys team create a video about Burmese games. We decided to take them through the brainstorming process anyway. And it was these young boys who came up with the idea to make the video “Proud to Be Burmese”. It was a simple, yet beautiful topic. And they moved through the brainstorming and video capturing almost effortlessly. They KNEW their Burmese Pride very well. Watch their video…
While in a minivan taxi to the Malaysian border back in January, I met a fellow traveler from Spain. After sharing my experiences of teaching video production to students in Cambodia, Jose told me about a Spanish organization that collaborates with Burmese refugee schools in northern Thailand. Perhaps they might be interested in having some of their students participate in a similar project, he suggested. Several emails and two months later, I arrived in the border town of Mae Sot, home to an estimated 200,000 refugees, to meet with Mery Viladecas Pascua and Javier Garcia from Colabora Birmania about offering a ‘Tell Your Own Story Project” video workshop to students at School 42KM.
Recently, I wrote about the power of music to bring students together around the globe. I had just visited with Marching Band Students at the St. Xavier Institution in Penang, Malaysia. During my visit, the students treated me to a performance of the traditional Malaysian Angklung. It seems to have started an Angklung Playing Craze during the past few months…
It inspired Sparta Alpine School Band teacher Patricia Curtis to introduce her students to the Angklung.
Recently, Homa Tavangar of ‘Growing up Global’ asked me via Twitter my thought on how parents can raise “happy, informed global citizens”. I’ve had a myriad of answers to this question during the years, but Homa’s recent question has caused me to think about my experiences as I’ve traveled and interacted with global cultures. During my most recent school visit in Penang, Malaysia, an entirely new, and very exciting answer came to me…
During the past 3 months, I have occasionally pulled out the iPad2 that I had purchased with the hopes that students around the world would be able to produce videos entirely on this device. Although I’ve worked with teachers and students during the past 3 months, we haven’t really used the iPad very much. I’ve mostly pulled it out to use Photobooth or Camera apps to spontaneously record the wonderful people I’ve met. But two weeks ago, Ponheary Ly Foundation President Lori Carlson asked if I would conduct a short workshop with fifteen Chey School students. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend a couple of hours a day preparing the students.
When trying to find a hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I found the Diamond Palace. The price was affordable and it was a 20 minute walk away from the center of town which had many of the cities famed sites (Royal Palace, National Museum, Wat Ounalum, and the beautiful riverside.) One of the customer reviews stood out in my mind,”Nice room, breakfast is okay. The problem is the location. You have to pass by a really terrible slum area which clouds your vision. Hard to believe people can live in such squalor. I would not stay here again because of that.” Upon arrival, I passed the building on a few occasions and took note. While it was old and crumbling, it also reminded me of parts of my hometown, Baltimore. Continue reading