Anne Parris, here: your Global Glimpse co-leader for the July 27th trip to Bonao!
Many apologies for my tardiness in writing this blog entry—a writer should set a better example! This picture shows me with Renicia, my BFF from junior high–I’m the one on the left.
Before I get into my enthusiastic daydreams about the trip, I’ll give you some some helpful information about me:
• I live in Oakland but hail from New York City (the East Village before it became gentrified)
• I have taught English, along with other subjects such as Film, at Castro Valley High for the past thirty-one years.
• I am a longtime human rights activist/ educator with various organizations, but most closely with Amnesty International USA.
• I’ll be your Health Leader on the trip, asking you potentially awkward questions about your digestion and other topics. I am also a volunteer crisis counselor, so feel free to ask me potentially awkward questions. If it’s important to you, it commands my respect and attention.
• I have done a reasonable amount of travel to places as far-flung as South Africa, Argentina and Malta, but this will be my first time on a Caribbean island (I did spend time on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica some years ago.)
• I am also a perpetual student, whether I’m working on a degree [I have a few!] or just listening to smart, well-informed people.
Of course, all of these personal attributes inform why I want to be a GG leader. GG’s focus on thoughtful engagement really impresses me. Too many times, First Worlders, such as ourselves, impose our vision of culture or political action or personal success on others. Global Glimpse has established itself as a real partner in the countries it works. Your opportunities—really responsibilities–for genuine leadership also convinced me that this program was worth so much of my time. I have never been interested in creating minions!
My personal motto—“Be the bubble on the wave.”
Think of a wave crashing on the shore, churning up sand and sea foam. If you watch those liquid punches for a few minutes you might notice delicate air bubbles riding the crest to land gently on the sand at the edge of the wave’s reach. I aspire to be one of those bubbles surfing the universe’s chaotic power to arrive unscathed on the shore. If we allow the world to batter us too much, we can feel defeated. We need to manage the challenges and transform them so that we can create positive change.
I am approaching our trip to Bonao with the same spirit. Wonder, Joy, Learning, Challenge, Creativity and, hopefully, Humility are in my future. Are they in yours?
I could write so much more, but I will close here with one of my poems, not necessarily my most accomplished, but certainly suitable for all audiences. I look forward to what Bonao will stir:
He eddies through my dreams after the sixth
Day of rain. This time, I place him in the water and dive in after,
Back to the worn marble steps a handful of miles
From the Hudson. Back home, most days arrived like winter
With dirty snow, so my dad would take me to the pier
Where we’d count barnacles and sails. I met Pete Seeger
At the end of one pier, container ship at his back
Singing about his Golden River to the gulls and film crew.
He nodded, beckoning me with his guitar to stare down
At the soda cans and cigarettes floating in the filthy water.
I remember books, Stuart Little and Paddle-to-the-Sea,
More vividly than any childhood moment. A gallant mouse,
Welcome throughout the human world, a wooden Indian
Following the current to find the sea. Paddle taught me
To see water as alive, force and form
Greater than any reckoning. Once I visited
A coastal park, shared between Mexico and the US—
Half in Baja, half in California—called Friendship
On its best days before a triple-fence barred visitors’ reunions.
Other activists boiled when they saw the fence cut the surf, but
I thought of Paddle stalled awhile in freshwater shoals
And watched the Pacific poke holes in the steel.
The whittled Indian transformed Lake Erie into a battered
Chunk of coal to fuel the mills along its shores, outlined
Lake Michigan as a leafy squash before Ontario’s calm,
Carroty lengths. Huron, a trapper laden with furs, bends
Upward to the Soo, and Superior, so vast it was thought a sea,
Contains its atavistic waves inside a wolf’s head.
When I was a girl, I learned the Great Lakes’ mnemonic
HOMES and how to paddle to the sea.