Monday, July 29, 2019

Exploring Rodrigues Island

Image result for rodrigues image

Most of the Indian ocean, is you guessed it ocean. but you will find east Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius, a little piece of paradise on the island RodriguesWith a population of 42,000 people, its an autonomous region of Mauritius. On its Rolling hills and winding roads you’ll find cows, chickens and goats roaming freely and corn, red beans, cabbage  and squash growing organically.
Unlike Mauritius which has developed at an unprecedented speed, Rodrigues still maintains it’s natural flavor. You won’t find as many buildings higher then one story. The majority of the land is  owned by the state, and a very small percentage   has been sold privately to hotels or foreigners.
Most vegetables in Mauritius have an excessive usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The government even sent a request to farmers who overuse chemical, will have to pay a fine. Rodrigues still maintains organic farming and is quite environmentally conscious.  They even outlawed the usage of plastic bags, styrofoam carry-away containers and straws from being use on the island.
With more development, of course comes more opportunities. This is one reason why people l’ve the island of Rodrigues to further their studies in Mauritius and have more employment opportunities. But the speed of life is undoubtedly faster in Mauritius then in Rodrigues.

People in Rodrigues pay around 100-150 Rupees a year for their rent. Approximately 4$ or 3 Euros for their yearly tax. The majority of people in Rodrigues own their land and homes.

A little over a year ago, a pirate treasure hidden by Olivier Levasseur aka “La Busee” was discovered.  There’s been quite a bit of discussion regards to who will get the benefits of the discovering the treasure.  There is quite a lot of discussion in regards to whether the discovered treasure will belong to the state of Mauritius, Rodrigues or the people “who discovered it.” Since treasure hunting is not actually legal in Mauritius.

Rodrigues used to have hundreds of thousands of land turtles, many native trees and rivers. But after years of human influence, the local turtle population was completely decimated. Many of the ebony trees were cut for constructing boats and the numerous rivers dried out as the trees were cut. However, Rodrigues has brought land turtles from Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles, and have a turtle nursery for raising and breeding turtles again on the island. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Lessons from the Sun

Image result for sun image

The sun turns in place as the moon and earth does circles every year, day month and moment. Yet we somehow mistakingly think that we are the center of a universe. But life always teaches us through lessons we either learn or continually get burned by. Humans, animals of habits who have the chance to think and feel and choose, but prefer to respond in the same way to the same stimuli, hoping for better results every time.
Somewhere along the way we lost our way looking for the answers in the eyes of other people. We forgot that the center of the universe isn’t the earth, but the sun. Everything circulates around this omnipresent force that is giving all of it’s love and attention continually, without ever asking for anything in return. Just as the earth isn’t the center of this world, neither are you. But because the ego continually says "me, my, I," we get  caught in the details of the mind's eyes, ear, sounds smells & touch. We look for something that will make us feel in control of our universe. Our little verse of this universe will burst the bubble with every trouble we create unconsciously

You came into this world alone with nothing, and you will leave this world alone with nothing. No matter how much you may amass now, at a certain point, all of it will be given back to the earth where we came from. Or maybe give to ancestors or future children, but the point is, there is nothing you can do to stop this reality. 

Many come up with different ways to try to understand this reality, but cannot guarantee true understanding, because we are just a vehicle of a higher sun light love giving power anyway. And if we are just acting for ourselves, then see how long you can act without the sun or food or water or earth. You’ll come back to this truth, in the most hardest of ways. There are bigger powers then you supporting you, and as you open up to this possibility, your colossal need to control every element can be left to rest. No need to push your head against a wall, looking for a door or the light of the window. Face the direction of truth and stare clearly at it .

In a world of technological nonlogical distractions, we can easily loose our inner sense of truth, or love because we’re so pulled into what everyone else wants us to do. And with this speed I run at, I find that this mind is but a non stop trampoline. It bounces from one thought to another, never just staying calmly at the edge of the lake to watch the clouds arising, shaking the earth into its new form of manifesting. Digesting all the sunny and warm days to tornados that leave us with bloody noses. Who knows this existence with resistance will fight all that life gives with persistence. 

Try as hard as you may, try to make sense and then you find you loose your head in the process of course. The mind and words is not the only way to make sense of this unfolding truth. The source of this all, calls and falls and daunts the existence with it along your path. Laugh a million times and write a million rhymes to design. I mean really can you or can’t you feel this?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Teaching in Mauritius: Hopes and Expectations

Image result for image mauritius on map

Image result for image mauritius

A prime chance to jump back on this blogging, as I embark on a teaching adventure in East Africa. It's bene a couple of years since I've posted on this site. Not because I didn't want to, I just have been putting a bit less energy into my writing, and more into just traveling, teaching and rapping.

But I've received a position teaching with George Town University and State Department sponsored Fellowship, on a small island in the Indian Ocean, called Mauritius. As an adventurous spirit, I know for a fact that I can make it a powerful experience, the key is to stay as conscious and focused on my primary goal: to teach and learn. Of course I have various aspirations, and we'll see what the situation will allow me to accomplish.

I'd like to get into Kite Surfing more seriously, as well as study Hindi. It's only country in Africa that is predominantly Hindu. I'd like meet individuals Deaf individuals and potentially start an English for the Deaf program, similar to how I've done in Brazil: English for Deaf Brazilians.

I intend to continue infusing Mindfulness and Breathing practicing into my work, as I know this makes me a better teacher and more focused. It also gives kids and other teachers the skills to feel more empowered about their future destiny. I'd also like to infuse music in my teacher in a more substantial way, be it rapping or singing or using my Kora. We must see how to use our skills in the different environments we find ourselves.

I leave in a little less than 10 days, so there is still much to plan and ponder about of course. But one thing for sure that I know, that it'll be warmer then a winter in New York:-)

Image result for image mauritius

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Enter the silence of the river

Enter the silence
 Enter the silence
 And disappear in it,
 Peer into, and have no
 Need for all my I’ss and me’ss,
 Just let go of mind and body,
relaxed with ease,
to the natural rhythms of thoughts please,
appeased by their flows,
letting go of any need to control
the universe and me is the same wave,
one is deep within and the other filled with distraction
every thought is an abstraction,
but beyond thought is transformation
sending us to transcendence,
heart beating in us,
blood streams and rivers seem to wine together,
the sound of silence sent from the universe Down river,
till you and I disappear, and all there is… is the river

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Strategies for Integrating Immigrant Children into the European School System

Strategies for Integrating Immigrant Children into the European School System
With the immense influx of immigrants to Europe, European society has
become increasingly multicultural. How do these various cultural
elements affect the education system in each Western European nation?
Immigrants move to Europe for a greater economic opportunity, seeking
asylum or to escape political and social unrest in their countries.

But how do the children of immigrants, either first or second
generation, adjust to the education system, in order to contribute the
society once they become adults? How are families integrated in the
educational experience of their children, when they do not speak the
dominant language of the European Nation? Finally, how can European
and non-European children be taught the values of tolerance and
compassion towards cultural diversity, rather than develop and believe
more radical non-acceptance attitudes?

It is important to create a strong bond between the families of
immigrant children and schools. In order to do this, hiring assistants
who speak the same language of children, enables families to be more
involved. Also, creating more multi-lingual websites and resources for
immigrant parents, enables them to be more informed about their
child’s educational process. The reality is that children of
immigrants are often living bi-cultural and bi-linguistic lives: their
lives at home and their lives at school. The question becomes, how can
the daily movement between home and school be a gradual and positive
transition? The systematic incorporation of Resource Person, who
serves as a cultural and linguistic mediator for the reception and
orientation of pupils and children may be one option.

Both the children of immigrant families as well as the children of
European families must be taught how to understand, tolerate, and have
compassion for each other’s cultural differences. Rather than
diversity being seen as a hindrance and weakness, children can be
taught that linguistic and cultural diversity is a strength. But in a
reality in which social and political extremism is increasingly
present in Europe and Globally, both amongst those born in Europe and
those who immigrate to Europe, children must be inculcated and
educated in a more empathetic educational system. An educational
system that teaches both local European history and languages, as well
as the non-European languages and perspectives of history.

With an increasingly globalized world in which people are increasingly
mobile, children must be taught how to think for themselves, rather
than blindly believe what they are taught by their parents. They must
learn how to speak more languages, as well as deal with the
uncomfortable realities of discrimination and racism at a young age.

By teaching children how to speak about and celebrate cultural
difference, all children benefit from forming a more tolerant society.
All children must be taught about each other’s cultures, so that they
can more comfortably interact with someone who is different than them
religiously, culturally and linguistically. By better integrating
immigrant children into the European education system, both European
and non-European children begin to gain a deeper understanding of

In order to help children adjust to the European education system,
they can also teach them their native language. Some nations in
Europe, offer course work in schools to those immigrant children who
live in densely populated immigrant communities, the opportunity to
learn in their Heritage Language. This is based in the fact that if
children learn how to write, read and spell in their native language,
than they are more capable to learn the local European language as
well, because they are more educated. By teaching children their
heritage language, this gradually helps bridge the gap between their
linguistic and cultural reality at home and the reality of living in a
foreign society. In such communities that have great cultural
diversity, the European children can also be taught these non-European
languages as well.

However, children must all be taught the local European language, in
order to be more integrated in European society in the future.
Otherwise, they run the risk of developing the complex of being an
“outsider” in the society in which they live. This is a sensitive
issue, because the European education system must celebrate the
diversity of their students as well as teach the local language and
culture. Otherwise, many nations may run the risk of loosing their
European identity, in the process of integrating many immigrants into
their society and becoming over culturally sensitive.

To conclude, if the children of immigrant children are to be successfully integrated
in the European Education system, they must feel that they are able to
maintain their personal cultural and linguistic identity, as well as
become part of the European society where they are living.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Gift of ADD

The Gift of ADD

I went from being in a Special Education program with children with Autism and severe behavioral issues, to being on the honors list in high school, and graduating from college. I was expelled out of high school for a month for an impulsive decision, but utilized this time to develop and hyper focus on my urban gardening and poetry skills. I was encouraged to not take a second language in school, because it may be “too much” for me, even though I’m now conversationally affluent in Armenian, French and Spanish. I am very energetic and prefer to be moving rather than sitting, so I’ve done teaching jobs that involved working with children. These examples reflect how I used the traits of ADD/ ADHD as skills, in order to build up my self-esteem.

At Clark University, I created a major about teaching Focusing, Mindfulness and Self-Regulation skills to students through utilizing Tai Chi, stretching and breathing techniques. Mindfulness has had an immensely positive impact on my concentration, impulsivity and emotional stability. I began to realize that my ADD/ADHD ailments, once debilitating, were directly soothed by my mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is learning to sit with your experiences, accept them and work constructively with them rather than fight with them. It’s about training your mind to be present in the moment, rather than being swept away by fantasies or impulsive behaviors.

I’ve taught Tai Chi at a Charter elementary school in the Bronx, and yoga to elementary students in Manhattan and to middle school students in Massachusetts. I’ve written an article on Education and Stress Reduction skills that were published in a book in Vietnam and an article on ADHD and alternatives to medication that was published in Tikkun Magazine.

How many times do we consider Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity Disorder as a gift verses a curse? Traits of hyperactivity, an inability to sit for extended periods of time, lack of concentration on traditional academic tasks and a wandering mind, are the most common descriptions. Yet the true question is: in what kinds of environments can people transform these traits into gifts that allow them to excel in learning, working and building their self-esteem.

ADD/ADHD has enabled me to develop a creative perspective in regards to school, work and life. I’m willing to experience my creative energy because my creativity heals myself and others. This may be scattered mental energy or hyperactive energy at other times. But learning how to use sports, writing, singing, mindfulness, supportive friends or healthy eating habits as alternatives to substances to “chill out,” has enabled me to celebrate and accept my ADD/ADHD traits. It’s about how I use this label to work for me, rather than against me.

Today, I’m teaching English in an elementary school in Martinique, and perfecting my French. It’s my gift of ADD/ADHD, that has enabled me to take the risks in doing things differently than others, and that has made all the difference.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pre-departure Poems

I've gotten a job to teach english in Martinique, a small French Islanad in the Carribean. I will start a new blog on this... and add a few pictures and poems to this site as well. Got stuck on lay over in Porto Rico for 24 hours. Not a big problem, though!

You are located at:
Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza
999 Ashford
San Juan, PR, 00907

Poem blood and Breeze
Rolling down da highway
My way or your way,
Display derail sails to
Da cheaper gas station in
Jersey Burst freely to da source of creative heavens
Where bread is leaven and
Christ is reborn through
Da thrown of Blood and Breeze.
Poem Pre-departure
Stepping into the unknown of da wind blowing,
It blows da bows of a sale boat forwards
As the purring Liat Turbines of a 744 Barbados
Plane heads towards a a sunny island destiny
With equatorial monsoon, a sleeping Pele Volcano
Below da moon, pristine light blue ocean
Swarms of fishes reborn, warm 10 am sand rubs in
between my pale toes, borne motions zoul dancing mellow
palm trees coconut sating “sak am fete?”
to friends foods of Potatoes, Fish, shrimp, and yucca
dressed in Caribbean curries saying “Nap Boule!”

I sit on an orange and yellow hammock starring into da abyss of
The ocean, my soul, and mind and find many expectations,
But for what? For better or worse, may appear now or later,
last or first, every verse Of a seagull long wings busts
as it divers head first for fish thirst immersed in Caribbean
Antillian French Creole, perched on warmly rattling tongues
to ears to souls appear, the water warm but cooler than the moist air,
almost difficult to breathe in, all burning under callused toes
on hot plate sand, without a seagulls care, I bear to dear to say,
today is just another day along the shores of Riviere Sale.

Moods swerve hydroplaning
on Grand Central Parkway
From LaGuardia to JFK,
Breath hard on chest rain
drizzling through window
Breeze wind shield wipers
waving to passing
Cars on 495 East to Long Island,
bullets of rain spraying the air everywhere

Poem Lift off
Waiting patience sentence by tense sentence
Immense relentless rain droplets drop on this
Plane, drop by drop thunder rumbles atop
da clouds so loud and proud to show off its power to
our tiny plane as it drives from left to right, held up
in a huge taxi of planes waiting to leave tonight,
runway smoothly slicked pavements hydroplane
tires before turbines fires desires flight attendants
legs crossed tells me “you need a wife or at least
a girl friend to remind you to put on your belt and
put your back on the overhead bins!”

Rainbow mirror reflects on clearer streaming though cloud
beaming down, Rumble rubble motor bubble joom boom
Exhaust hear it fear it feel it exhilarate to top notch
speed till da nose spins up the sounds of a broken blender is
coming out from under the wings a bit of turbulence as
the whiteness of the cloud moisture reverberates as we go
higher the pitch turns higher and lighter the sun beam stronger
as we go longer up above the cloud storms that make seeing
clearer, you hear me, easier, the shadows of the clouds dancing
in the Caribbean, African, European, Indigenous spirit on the bathroom
door, soars onto the rainbow sun window floating downwards to the floor,
rumble and roar and purring to still the loud but not stabbing eardrums
with tacks sound in the recycles air we share with each in the plane.

We make it over the clear eyed ocean Atlantic,
no need to panic above the glaring sun pointing southwards
Towards warm sunny beaches of San Juan, Porto Rico,
Where the mountain lizards Speak Spanglish, “Como esta brodder,”
And the security guards sing “Waaayhpah” to each other and travelers,
Guidos are playing in el Campo fried empanads con pollo Sizzling drizzling
and Guapa sun sand tanned mamacitas y mujeres with belly showing
Con grande chicharonnes with bikinis showing more than hiding anything
Strolling, the sun beaming, warm, nurturing, with sazon,
Carribean flavor, spiced with Adobo, McDonalds and Chillis.