Posts Tagged ‘youth’

Ever want to be an adult and child all at the same time?  Then visit Walt Disney’s Downtown Disney!

No, this is not an advertisement.  It’s a testimony.  Downtown Disney has a Marketplace and Pleasure Island and fun than the law should allow.  There is every kind of food you can eat and under conditions that only someplace with the name Disney could provide.  It’s a delight for the heart and the eyes.  But, see just a little of the excitement I tried to capture in these few photos below.  After that, don’t live through my experience, go visit Downtown Disney for yourself!

Who was Eating Who in Jurassic Park

Run!!!! Oh, it's not really alive?

What are those people eating?

Grab your Food and let's make a quick get-away!

I'm a Sea Serpent made of how many Lego pieces?


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On 24 April 2011, MSNBC posted as a file photo from the AP of two young women  of four members of Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps who were working as electoral officials in Daura, Nigeria on day of the presidential elections.  Their job was to check names of individuals presenting themselves to vote.   They are pictured sitting at a table leafing through books and looking serious about their duty with expressions that make parents proud.   It was recently that I found out details about this extraordinary program — Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps — and that it is a mandatory year-long assignment for all Nigerians who graduate from university before the age of 30. Most serve as teachers during their stint, but the April 2011 national elections have brought extra responsibilities and danger to their work.

I don’t know whether these young women were stationed at the polls the day of the violence or if there were four others who were burned alive inside their youth hostel that day.  All I know is that some ‘thing‘ is loose again and that after all of these centuries that we have been on this planet, we have yet to determine how to contain it.  Whatever its name — hate, fear, greed, anger — we need to focus on it as we have on cancer and other deadly diseases or maybe we need to hire some exorcists because personally, I’m tired of the madness and I just got here a couple of decades ago!!  It was already enough 4,000 years ago.  Have we learned nothing?

I realize that  Daura was not the only place in the world that “it” was loose.  It has shown up in small sleepy little towns and big city metropolises, in simple houses and grand mansions, in the workplace and on the playground, in the school house and in the places of worship.  It seems that “it” has no boundaries. Who is letting “it” in?  How can we recognize “it“?  Where does “it” abide?  We must find “it” and arrest, bind, contain, destroy “it“.

It has no shame, no values, no repentance, no ethics, no morals, and appears to have no end.  Will we, can we survive until another great teacher comes? When will enough sacrifices be made?   Can we reach a critical mass of compassion and love before “it” reaches epidemic proportions?

May I begin with this simple gesture of compassion:  To the friends and families of those young people who had such promising lives and whose dreams were stolen on 16 April 2011, I send my deepest condolences.  May 10,000 others take their place in service to their people.  May they rest in peace knowing that their lives touched so many.  These are only words, but they are messengers from my heart a place where “it does not abide.

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In the U.S. we call it “running for office.”  In Haiti, they call it “standing for office.”  So, New York-based (but Haiti born and still citizen) rapper Wyclef Jean, of The Fugees, has announced his intention to stand for president in Haiti’s November 28 election.

What do you think?  Should he run?  Could he win?  It is reported that he has the ability to “mobilise young people and bring worldwide attention to the country.”  Will that be enough to rebuild the country, re-establish the economy and restore the confidence of the people?  

A hurdle that he is said to have to overcome is getting “a waiver of the country’s electoral law that states that a candidate must have spent the previous five years living in the country.”

There are more details and videos on France 24.  Read and let us keep watch as the conversations begin.

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There is an earlier post here about (Sudhamani) Ammachi the little woman from India known as the “Hugging Saint.”  Until you have been in her embrace, you may not know what all the fuss is about.  To have been born a “dark-skinned girl child” in a “small poor fishing village”, and rise to the status of a living Saint whose embrace is sought after by world leaders and every type of royalty in this world is a miraculous feat.

Because of Sudhamani’s dark skin, and her strange, unchildlike behavior, she was viewed by her parents as inferior to the other children. Her schooling ended when she was nine and she had to take care of the domestic work full-time. In addition to the arduous job of looking after her own family, she served the elderly, the poor and sick neighbors with love and care. Her parents were horrified to see her mingle with untouchables and forbade her to give away any more of their food, but she continued to do so despite their punishments… Amma never had a spiritual mentor or guru, nor was she exposed to philosophical books. (from amma.org website)

Even those in Hip-Hop have tasted the Peace which flows from this holy woman.  Below is what one of Hip-Hop’s legends is reported to have said about his experience with Amma just last week (6 July 2010):

 Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Records and founder of the clothing company Phat Farm, came for Amma’s darshan on July 6th, and rapper and “Human Beat Box” Doug E. Fresh performed in the wee hours of July 7th. Speaking with Amrita TV after his darshan, Simmons said, “I’ve been a great fan of Amma for many, many years. I am a practicing yogi. And it’s been my path – the yogic path. And every friend that I have that is part of this movement, the consciousness movement, through yoga, in America, has been to see Amma. So, I’m kind of the last one. Honestly. I’ve been inspired by her for many years… Being around her, it’s like after the most beautiful yoga practice, after the most beautiful meditation; it’s during the most present moments. It is kind of a blissful experience. Being around her is like that. You feel connected. And from her, it just flows. She exudes this kind of consciousness that, most of the day, we just hope for, and every so often a second will come by and we will be awake. Being around her gives you that feeling of being awake. So it was very beautiful.”  (from amma.org website)

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Because you can’t have depths without surfaces.

This post is really about two different topics:  fashion and consciousness.  Or maybe fashion and attitude.  Or maybe culture and dignity.  Or maybe women and worth.   I am sure that I will come back to all of this again.

Several days ago, I was in a local food store and saw a young woman clad in shorts and a top.  Normally, this would not be unusual dress for a hot summer day; but, she was such a spectacle that I am required to write about her.  Because of the size of her stomach, I could not tell if she was pregnant or just obese.  I have learned not to ask the usual question of “When is the baby due.”  As more than once, I have been told “I’m not pregnant.” 

Back to the young woman I saw in the store…her shorts were fastened under her stomach so that it hung out down over the shorts and as she moved in front o me, not just me, but the world could see areas of her behind that should not be public.  I do not know how to write this nicely…but I am trying.  It was disgusting and I thought to myself, does she ever think she will get or hold a man exposing herself out in public this way.  Was she trying to be sexy?  Is this some new fad that I’m just seeing?  Just as that question mark closed my sentence, a man walked up to her and from their conversation, it appeared they were together.  Of course, I did not know his relationship to her, but I was embarrassed for both of them.    I know that there is a difference between a lady and a woman but … my goodness is the distance cavernous today?  If fashion is in place to serve a purpose, what is the purpose of this near nude sometimes vulgar public fashion?

The incident above is by far the worst of the fashion statements that I have seen so far this year, but it is not the only one of this sort.  Thongs came in years ago, but now, we have the low-riders (jeans, etc.)  I have just been shocked by what appears to be the first wave of attempts at simply just going naked in the streets.  Too many of our young women and girls appear really comfortable with this mode of dress and too many mothers are letting it happen.

This all led to my going back and locating this interview of Sonya Rykiel, famous designer of women’s clothes.  It was published in New Woman magazine some years ago and I thought what she said was something good to share with other women who are trying to find ways of rounding up these girls and young women and offering some sound advice.

No form of fashion makes a woman sexy…

What is a thousand times more important than clothes are gestures. The way a woman moves, the way she uses her eyes to look at others, her attitude, the way she arranges her legs when sitting, the way she puts herself in evidence is when she creates sex appeal.

To be sexy must be in the woman’s mind. I don’t own any lingerie at all. I sleep in the nude. A woman can be drenched in black lace and when you take away the veil, if there’s an imbecile, it’s not sexy. The woman must give to her clothes her own dimension, be it mysterious, strange, funny…

Today, any woman must be stronger than the signature she wears.

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(from the UN DAILY NEWS from the NATIONS NEWS SERVICE 24 July,2006…have we moved away from this problem?  Is it solved?  Why not?)

After hearing presentations from United Nations officials about the 250,000 boys currently exploited as child soldiers and tens of thousands of girls subject to sexual violence, the Security Council today called for a “reinvigorated effort” to protect children in areas of armed conflict.
Through a statement read out by its July President, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France, the 15-member body praised the implementation of its landmark 2005 Council resolution that called for the monitoring of violations of children’s rights and well-being in seven conflict zones.

The mechanism has already produced results in the field, but more must be done, including the pursuit of efforts to reintegrate child soldiers into their societies, the Council said, and it called on national governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to contribute to that effort.

In the preceding Council discussion, UN officials and delegations had also called for greater efforts to protect children, including measures to prevent impunity on the part of government forces and rebel groups who persist in exploiting and abusing them.

“The initial phase of the monitoring and reporting mechanisms is now over,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for children and armed conflict, said, “It is now time for the Security Council to take action against repeat offenders.”

Resolution 1612 takes account of recruitment of child soldiers, killing and maiming children, rape and other sexual violence, abduction and forced displacement, denial of humanitarian access to children, attacks against schools and hospitals, as well as trafficking, forced labour and all forms of slavery.

It calls for such crimes to be monitored in the pilot countries of Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

Ms. Coomaraswamy thanked numerous actors at the local, national, regional and international level for their assistance in putting such monitoring mechanisms in place and noted that the first country report, on the DRC, had been submitted in June.

However, recounting the story of a Sierra Leonean boy she called “Abou” who, since being abducted at the age of 11, had fought with rebels in his own country, in Liberia and in Côte d’Ivoire, she said that the monitoring had served to confirm “that there are far too many Abous out there, and we are compelled to protect them.”

Ann Veneman, head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) drew attention to the fact that over the past decade some two million children have died as a result of war, while countless others have had to flee their homes.

“For centuries, children have been victims of conflict and their tragedy has been largely unrecorded and unnoticed,” Ms. Veneman said. “Now, with the support of the Security Council, we are finally able to monitor the true scale of the impact on children so we can act.”
In a report released today, UNICEF said that every day 1,200 people, half of them children, are killed in the DRC because of violence, disease and malnutrition.

Also making a statement to the Council today, Ad Melkert, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said strong policies needed to be put in place that make young people active agents for peace. As an example, he said youth could be trained as election observers or peace monitors.

In the open meeting that followed those presentations, 36 speakers, representing Council members and other nations, affirmed that protecting children from abuse during conflict was a responsibility of each State and the entire international community, with many proposing mechanisms to follow-up on resolution 1612.

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