IJB THINKS #26
What are you GRATEFUL for, right now?
HOT-AIR BALLOONS Editor’s Note
A POSITIVE ISOLATION
WHAT ARE WE GRATEFUL FOR
THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR
Naju Albuquerque CISV Egypt
SOU GRATA Isadora Sumida
THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP Soﬁa Cruz
MARCH 9TH Maya Le
WE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE
FOCUSING ON THE GOOD THINGS
400 WORDS REVELATION
MUSIC, RYTHMS, NOTES, SOUNDS
Said El Kadi
THE TIME I DIDNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T REMEMBER Barbara Betts
THE KEY TO ENJOY
HOT-AIR BALLOONS Luch Pérez MEXICO If someone would’ve told me at the begining of the year, that I wasn’t going to be able to travel, see my friends or play soccer anymore for months, I would’ve never believed them. But it did happen! These past months have been a roller coaster of emotions, I’ve had the time to play video games and paint and remembered how much I love doing it. I had the chance to videochat with many people I haven’t talk in ages, but still it is very sad that I don’t get to hug them, it is frustrating to not be present at my best friend’s birthday or to go to the movies. While all of this was happening I got very inspired by all the online initiatives that local and national Junior Branches were developing. It was amazing to see so many videos of JBers encouraging eachother to stay positive, heartwarming to see them participate in online sessions, but most importantly i loved to see the huge strenght and impact that this community has. That is why I decided to take this project and ask the Junior Branch community What are you grateful for right now?
Gratefulness is defined as: warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful. Although the definition may seem very simple, the question I asked was ver very tricky. It was amazing to see so many diﬀerent perspectives from the same answer and it was so heartwarmening to receive these thoughtfull and beautiful articles you are about to read. I’m sure you will identify with more than one, and find so much joy reading them, just as I did. Coming back to my tricky question, I had no idea what I would answer at first, and I will probably keep on adding things for the rest of the quarantine, or the rest of my life. This quarantine has given me time to spend with my family (that I didn’t have before), amazing chats with my friends, great inspiration from Junior Branch, laughs from YouTube videos and series and great food cooked by my mom and sister. These of course are things I am extra grateful for.
But above all, What I am the most grateful for, is for the memories: Memories from the past: videos from my CISV programmes, souvenirs from my trips, memories and inside jokes from my friends, pictures of my self when I was younger, flashbacks of happy times, etc. It is very heartwarming and I feel so privileged to have so many memories that I would love to relive. Eventhough of course I see them with nostalgia, these are the memories that keep me motivated! But I am not only thankful for the memories that I have created in the past, I am also thankful for the memories that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m creating right now and that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure I will be enjoying to look back at them in the future. For me that is what the hot-air balloons I chose to design this IJB Thinks mean. Airballons are always so pleasant to look at, and even if you are having the bussiest day, if you get to see an airballoon flying in the sky, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure you will take a few seconds to look at that beauty. Happy memories work the same, even if you are having the worst time ever, feeling blue, nostaligic, trapped. If you come across a memory you will take a few seconds, to remember and smile. I hope you enjoy reading this beautiful IJB Thinks Edition.
A POSITIVE ISOLATION Sveinn Ă ki ICELAND Three hundred and thirty six hours, moments and reasons. Most people in this world today are or have been in isolation for at least two weeks. In quarantine with their parents, loved ones, friends and some, alone. This is a pressing time for humanity to bargain for better quality of life, when we have almost everything every second we want it. But when you focus on this short article dear reader, don't focus on all the darkness and pain we are suďŹ&#x20AC;ering as a community and family. Focus on caring, for family, friends and loved ones. Concentrate on being grateful, for all that you have in life right now. At the time of change these past weeks I was travelling as many others, I had to cancel all my plans and go home, set up shop and stay alone in quarantine for two weeks. No possibility of talking to my parents, meeting my little brother or seeing any of my friends. It was weird to arrive in your own country and feel like you were alone, feeling almost like you were abandoned. But that feeling didn't last long, out of nowhere all my friends started calling me, sending me messages and wanted to help in some way. My family constantly dropping of an extra blanket or calling just to check up.vvv
The feeling of union, not just for me but friends and families ready to help each other in time of crisis. Not union because of profit or gain, but because of gratefulness, appreciation of others. I thought being isolated alone for two weeks would be hell, fighting my own demons and battling loneliness by myself, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found that me and I can be appreciative of each other. I found three hundred and thirty six more reasons to be grateful for what I have in life. Use every moment you can to find the positive side of things, because this is the time when we need it most, this is the time we need to be appreciative and grateful of ourselves and of others. Being grateful of your family and friends is something you have to remember that isn't a guaranteed thing for everybody. So stop what you are doing right now, stop reading this and call your parents, call your wife, husband, siblings or best friend, call them and tell them you appreciate what they have done for you, tell them that you are grateful for having them in your life. Take one of your happiest memory and share it with someone, go through an old photo album and appreciate yourself, and always be grateful for who you are. This article is for you, to appreciate what you have and what you are. Have a positive isolation, a quiet quarantine and enjoy the silence. Stay safe and always be grateful for what you have.
POWERLESS POWERFULL Naju Albuquerque BRAZIL I am thankful for my friends, for the roof over my head, the food I have to eat, my dogs, for books and movies that keep me sane right now, for baking many cakes and cookies and for CISV! This situation has both made me feel powerless (how can one stop a virus?) and powerful (just by staying home, we can help slow it down). Social isolation is not an easy task - especially if you don't have a good safety net at home - but it's the best we can do. My appreciation goes to doctors and researchers helping us find a vaccine to stop the spread of the virus, as well as everyone who has the privilege to stay home who is actually doing their duty, to help everyone who can't do it for one reason or another. I have found that by staying home, I have made more art and journaled much more. That is, for sure, one big positive aspect. I have found out that I work much better in the afternoon/night, when it's not so warm anymore and the house is quieter.
WHAT ARE WE GRATEFUL FOR CISV EGYPT
“No matter the situation. Being grateful makes you conscious of all that is good in your life.”Unknown.
About two weeks ago, IJB -International Junior Branch- took the initiative to start a global positive move; What are you grateful for, right now?
“Did you know that the word gratitude comes from the latin word “Gratia”, which means grace, graciousness or gratefulness. In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”- Harvard Health Publishing
CISV JB Egypt, decided to carry out this global movement by asking our CISV-ers “What are you grateful for, right now?” Here are what our CISV-ers had to say:
With the spread of the coronavirus, our lives and daily routines have taken a drastic change. We no longer spend our days out. Our school work, college work, even jobs are now using social platforms to continue what was once normal. It’s hard for some of us to stay at their homes all day long, not being able to meet up with their friends, hangout for a coﬀee, workout together, hold each other, or even just shake hands or high five each other.
“My Family.”- Ali
“Basic needs, My friends and Family.” - Farida ElBatouty “Having a garden and being able to sit outside.” Tamara Mobarak “Getting to talk to my CISV friends from diﬀerent time zones.” - Kenzie Ahmed
“My Cat.” - Shams Wagdy “Family.”- Omar Soliman “Family, shelter and health.”- Jaida El Shim “My family.”- Malak Farid
“I'm thankful I have a house where I can stay safely in quarantine. I'm thankful for my parents and my sister who drive me crazy, but keep me company during these diﬀicult times. I'm thankful for my health and my strength. But most importantly, I'm thankful to all the doctors and nurses putting their own lives at risk in order to save others.”- Yasmine Wagdy “I’m grateful to have a roof on top of my head. I’m grateful to have this time to spend with my family, since I used to spend all day out, working, and coming back home late at night. What I’m really thankful for, is taking some time to reassess and think of myself and what I truly want to do with my life. I have more time to read all the books I wanted to read, spend more time with my family, trying out new recipes I have always wanted to try, start learning a new language, start studying filmmaking -that book I got 4 years ago and never read a page-, taking a break from normal and draining routine that I used to do 6 days a week. I forgot how nice it is to spend some time at home, not needing to worry about going to work the next and pushing myself. In all honesty, I am very much grateful for staying at home for this past month. I’d like to think that this is God's way of telling us “Slow down, There’s more to life than just hustling everyday and running daily errands. Take a step back, relax, and trust the process.” I truly believe that there’s a message behind all this. I don’t mean to be philosophical. I think all I’m trying to say is, have a little faith, look at the bright side. It’s not about being positive, it’s about being optimistic. And with gratefulness, I think we all need a bit of optimism.”- Mostafa Nasser
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes that it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Take this time to ask yourself “What are you grateful for, right now?” You can do this by writing thank you notes, expressing yourself in your daily journal, meditation, praying, basically whatever it is that makes you feel that you appreciate what you truly have, and most importantly, what you truly are. “Be thankful for the diﬀicult times. During those times you grow.”
THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR Nour Merhi LEBANON The struggles we go through in our lives always have positive or negative impacts. Though our struggles may not be daily, they cause great change in our life and form us to become the people we are. My math teacher once told me “working under a good circumstance and having an excellent performance is good. However working under bad circumstances and still doing okay is excellent”. I am grateful for a lot of things in my life. My Family: First my family who has always supported me and been by my side. We all go through times thinking our parents are against us, but looking at the person I’ve become, I am grateful they restricted me from things and had strict rules. They always supported my decisions and empowered me to be more ambitious and aim higher. Additionally, my sisters form my backbone. We go through everything together and make sure none of us slack oﬀ. We motivate and inspire each other every day to become better versions of ourself. My Friends : I am thankful for my friends who stick by me and turn every bad situation into somewhat of a good one in its own unique way. I have diﬀiculties letting people in, thus my friends’ group is pretty small, nonetheless the bond I have with each of them is a source of motivation. I am humbled by all the impact they make on my life, whether good or bad.
My life: I am grateful to be where I am today. I have a roof over my head, an excellent education and food on the table. Some people struggle with finding a piece of bread to eat which is why, something that seems so simple to get, in my case, food, is so diﬀicult and shouldn’t be taken for granted. My opportunities I am grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve been given in life. I work with mainly 4 NGOs and the avenues these have opened for me are incredible and rare. It’s funny to think that a 16 year old can lead and be responsible for an entire group of volunteers; some older than others, and some my age. Nevertheless, the fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to accomplish that, makes me even more appreciative of these NGOs. Working with the latter has made me grow and evolve, allowing me to view things in diﬀerent perspectives. CISV is the NGO I work the most with. As an NJR, a lot of pressure is put on me locally and internationally but that pressure influences me to do more and seek to accomplish something bigger than what I am. CISV made me grow as an individual, gave me stability and built my knowledge and opinions more than anything else. Each time I’ve facilitated an activity or session; I have been very grateful to be doing so as I gain so much experience and seeing the joy of my JBers and their team work, gives me hope and self-accomplishment.
SOU GRATA Isadora BRAZIL Sou grata nesse momento por ter uma casa boa onde cada um tem seu espaĂ§o nesse tempo de dificuldades que todos estamos passando e tambĂŠm sou grata por ter algum tipo de entretenimento e alimentos para a quarentena I am thankfu for having a good home where each one have your own space in this hard time that all we are passing,I am also thankful for having entertetainment and food in the quarentine
THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP Sofía Cruz COLOMBIA When I saw the topic of this year IJB thinks, the first thing that came to my mind are all the people that’s working in the frontlines and the work and eﬀort that they are doing. As they are working and giving their best for all of us. But as the time passed by, and some things got more diﬀicult, I realized that one thing I was really grateful for was my friends. They have been with me no matter what, helping when things got hard, and for me friendship is the anchor that keeps us afloat. They have always been able to cheer me up, just with their presence. And thinking more about the importance that my friends have had in all my life, I also realized that there’s another thing that is really connected and that has been fundamental for me, CISV. For all my life I have tried to make people realize how much I appreciate them and the importance that they had in my life. That’s why last year I decided to write a series of letters to some of the people that have been with me the last few years. And of all the letters there were a few that were more important for me, one of them was to the friend that introduced me to CISV In that moment I wrote it as I believed, and still do, that CISV has completely changed my life. But in these days where everything has changed, I realized that there are many more things that CISV is important to me and everything it has given me.
And one of the most important things is my friends, and how it has taught me to maintain their relationship with them. CISV has taught me, what Einstein tries to, that time and distance are relative, especially in friendship. I have known someone for 3 weeks and they still are a fundamental part of my life after 3 years, and know me better than anyone else. Also that distance doesn’t matter and that even "10,000 miles seem really far", nothing has changed. And right now that friends have been the support that I need. Also in these moments where we need to be at least 6 feet apart for a while, it has been important to remind what CISV has taught me. As the quote says “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know that they are always there”. And for some people social distancing may be really hard, and I can’t deny that for me too, but after 10,000 miles, what are 6 feet apart?. Maybe I haven’t been clear in my words, I have been rambling. But what I’m trying to say is that these days more than ever, I’m grateful for the people that are and have been there for me. For the people that can make me happy with their presence, for the people that have stayed with me, for the advice, for the memories (that we still are creating), for the silly conversations and in a nutshell, for my friends. And also for the organization that has brought me the most amazing people ever, and the notion that distance is not an impediment for friendship.
MARCH 9TH Maya Le VIETNAM March 10th, 12 pm sharp, my school declared a lockdown. At that time I was so surprised that I couldn’t understand. Lockdown, you mean lockdown? The day passed by with lots of confusion, but I could never imagine that the mark one month being quarantined is just a week away. The past month felt so unreal. Not being able to go outside, not being able to meet my friends, I have nothing else to do besides eating and sleeping. But now that I have so much free time, I realized that I finally have a chance to slow down and look back, What are the things that have always been important to me, and, what am I grateful for? Life has been upside down, and my graduation ceremony has been canceled. I have been dreaming about graduation ever since I began high school, and now the school year got shortened by one month I am required to leave immediately after that, not having a chance to say good-bye to my friends. That’s when I realized how much fun I have had here in this school now that the last day has come so close. I have so many wonderful memories that it hurts. March 9th, just the night before the lockdown, I had a movie night with my friends. All of my friends were there. We were lying down together, and I remember myself thinking, “isn’t it nice?”. Now that I probably not going to have a chance to hang out with them I’m grateful that we have that last memory together, and that I have such great friends during this 3-yearjourney.
I myself am an introvert so I don’t go out too much. I spend most of my time in my residence, so quarantine wasn’t supposed to be that hard. But I soon realized, choosing not to go out, and not having the ability to go out is totally diﬀerent. Only then that I realized I have such privilege before. Now I can only feel the sunlight behind my room’s windows. Nevertheless, every morning now that I wake up, I’m grateful for the sun to rise. Before I usually have to get up really early for school when it’s still dark outside, so I wasn’t able to see the sunrise. Now that I can wake up with the sun, I feel happy and energetic for a new day ahead. It’s true that the world has gone a bit crazy lately, and sometimes it’s too hard to be positive. They told me to feel lucky that I have no worries about daily supplies and food sources, they told me to feel grateful for being healthy; but to tell that I’m fully positive all the time would be a lie. I have been on an emotions roller coaster lately, and there were bad times and good times. But I still try my best to find out small positive things every day, like how the sky is blue and the weather has been warm lately. Being in such a situation also made me realized how fragile we humans are. I have never thought something this crazy would destroy my graduation and all of my perfect plans for 2020, so who can tell what lies ahead? All we can do is to live the moment as fully as possible, and perhaps we can survive this together? Hamilton, April 2, 2020 5:25 pm 23rd day of quarantine Status: Surviving
Note: Just to clarify, I’m an international student and my friends are from all over the world. After graduation, it will be hard (almost impossible) for us to meet again, just like in international camps. We are living in diﬀerent residences now, so we can’t meet either.
WE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE Joaco Monedero MEXICO Friendship is one of the most important things to have in life. Friends are like the family you get to choose, and eventually become part of your actual family. We will always be there for our friends, but most importantly, our friends will always be there for us. A true friend is the one that will celebrate your success, but also, be there for you in the toughest moments. I am grateful for being able to say that I have friends who will do anything for me, even if I can’t see them all the time. One of the most important things that CISV has taught me has to be the true definition of friendship, and I believe that it is something most people reading this can relate with. As time has passed my definition of friendship has constantly changed, but during these times of social distancing, it has reinforced. Before joining CISV in the summer of 2017, it was impossible for me to think about having friends outside Mexico, or even Mexico City. Distance seemed to be the biggest limitant for friendship. The best example for this was my first day of school in 4th grade. To this day, I still remember that first day of school as one of the most devastating moments of my life. Everything started like every other first day of school. Just like every 11 year old kid, the only thing that motivated me to go back to school was spending time with my friends. However, terrible news were waiting for me at school. For the first in my life, not even one of my friends was in my classroom.
My heart broke and tears came down my face. It seemed like the few meters between classrooms and a wall were actually thousands of kilometers. It was hard for me at the beginning, I am not going to lie, but this was a pivot point for me to open my mind. I made more friends and realised that my friends were going to be there for me even if we did not spend all day together. If I could time travel, I would definitely tell the 11 year old me: “Mini Joaco, you won’t believe what will happen in 2020… you will only be able to see your friends through a screen”. Staying at home has made me reflect on the value of friendship and the importance of being there for our friends. Surelly, it has been diﬀicult to adapt to the current situation but as CISVers, we have adapted to similar scenarios before. Even though it might be unreasonable to compare social distancing with friendship after camps due to the seriousness of the matter, we know how it feels to be apart from our closest friends. Just like when leaving a CISV camp, we can keep in contact with our friends, and make an eﬀort to be there for our friends even if we can’t see each other.
At this point it might be hard for non-CISVers reading this article to relate with my reflections. But I think it is important for everybody to understand how distance is not existent when talking about friendship. I know it may sound cheesy, but I am convinced that distance makes friendships stronger. The only condition is that you have to be committed to maintain a strong friendship, and be there for your friends. Everybody is having their own experience during the quarantine, some might be having a harder time than others, but the important thing is to be there for the ones we care about. These have been tough times, but I am convinced that my friends have helped to overcome the situation, as much as I have helped them.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone that I told I was crying when I wrote this. You are very special for me and there is no way I can thank you for everything that you have done for me <3
Lastly, I would like everybody to be there for your friends and those who are not necessarily your friends. Social distancing could be the pivot point for the way in which we relate with others. It is the perfect moment to show people how much we appreciate their friendship. Also, it could be the perfect moment to challenge ourselves and seek to increase our friend count, by giving people a chance to become our friends. I am sure that the world is full of amazing people, but we should all make an eďŹ&#x20AC;ort and open circles of friendships. Now more than ever we know that life can have unexpected turns, and even though it might be hard to admit it, some people might not be committed to our friendship and it might die. But if there is something that my friends have taught me, is that true friends will always be there for you, and we should all be the friend we would love to have. I hope that you will be there for whatever that your friends might need. I hope you challenge discomfort and try to create new friendships even if we have to stay at home. I hope that this is the pivot point for the way in which we interact with people. Someone can become a true friend in a surprisingly short amount of time.
QUIZ TIME! THE GOVERNING BOARD Hello IJB Thinks community, It’s lovely to see that we’re all back connecting through words and thoughts. In the Governing Board we’re all very grateful for you! While these are challenging times for everyone, we’re grateful for the CISV community and for being involved in an organization that cares for its volunteers, staﬀ and purpose. Individually, we’re also very grateful for many diﬀerent reasons. But instead of listing all our personal emotions, we challenge you to play along with us a little game. The rules are simple: 1) We’ll state a fact of something one of us is grateful for. 2) You’ll have to select to whom it belongs to (there’s only one correct answer) 3) After answering all facts, check results and for every correct answer add 1 point See where you stand in terms of the Governing Board General Knowledge Competition. Ready? Let’s go!
1. I am grateful for my family a) Karo b) Maggs c) Tuca d) All of the above 2. I am grateful for a moment of mindlessness over mindfulness a)Frank b) Emmanuel c) Gaby d) Einav 3. I am grateful for wine and my less-than-brilliantbut-entertaining pets a) Emmanuel b) Gaby c) Einav d) Karo 4. I am grateful for cheap phone costs so I can call my grandma a) Tommaso b) Cande c) Karo d) Tuca 5) I am grateful for not knowing how to cook so I can learn something new a) Emmanuel b) Frank c) Tuca d) Gaby
6. I am grateful for green spaces to exercise and relax a) Tommaso b) Cande c) Maggs d) None 7. I am grateful for health and Netflix a) Einav b) Karo c) Frank d) Emmanuel 8. I am grateful for the fact that working from home is giving the flexibility to dedicate some extra time to CISV a) Einav b) Tommaso c) Tuca d) Frank 9.I am grateful for technology to make distance and isolation less lonely a) Gaby b) Tommaso c) Cande d) Maggs
Let’s count! 9+ points: You are the champion, my friend! Congratulations. You can consider yourself a GB-knowledgeable. How lucky of you. 5-8 points: When you're not winning, even the water's dry… Second place is not bad. You might want to consider having a cup of (virtual) tea with some members of the Board to get to know them better. 1-4 points: It reminds me that it's not so bad, It's not so bad… Follow us on Instagram (@cisvgoverningboard) and maybe you’ll up your game next time. 0 points: The winner takes it all, the loser standing small! Sorry, pal. At least we hope you had fun! Okay, now serve yourself another point if you were able to guess all songs, and count again.
Answers: 1:d, 2:b, 3:b, 4:c, 5:c, 6:b, 7:a, 8:b, 9:d.
FOCUSING ON THE GOOD THINGS Adriana HONDURAS In times like these, we are focused on what we would have liked to do and what we would like to have. However, our focus should be on those things that we are lucky enough to have, things we can experience right now. At this time, I am extremely thankful for my family and home. Having some more time with them has reminded me how fun they can be. I think many of us are extremely lucky due to the many things we have at reach right now. Online school, food to eat everyday, a house to be isolated in, or being able to talk to our friends are simple things that we might not give a second thought to, yet many people all over the world donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have these. We should remember to be thankful for everything, even for the small things that seem unimportant. The whole quarantine situation makes me feel a little uneasy. I don't like how this situation is very ambiguous, and the fact that the ending is not scheduled. For this time, I just hope hospitals have enough resources to help everyone in need. It amazes me how so many people in Honduras have had enough initiative to organise huge donations to the public hospitals that are in need. It warms my heart to see so many people helping each other out.
On the other hand, staying home is not at all that bad. There are many positive sides that we can get out of it. The first, is some more time for ourselves. In our busy everyday lives, we rarely find the time for ourselves. The time that is needed to finish that project, to exercise, to learn something new, to develop your hobbies, but right now, we do have that time. It is also an enjoyable time we have with family. During this quarantine, we get to be creative about everything! Overall, this is a challenge we will all overcome, together. It is a time we must lean on each other to help us stand up again. It is easy to let fear and hopelessness flood our hearts and minds, but this is a time we have to use to our favor! I have learned that we must control ourselves, always look at the bright side of events, and stay strong in the face of adversity. To all of you out there: Stay safe!
400 WORDS REVELATION Said El Kadi LEBANON I have been in CISV since the age of 10, and have always been grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met because of this organization. Yet, though currently amidst a period where my physical involvement with the organization has, for the first time since my village years, halted, I feel that it is only now that I am grasping the true impact the organization has had on me, and how active and profound of a role it has played in making me the person I am today.
CISV is no longer constricted by the 4 words that had originally made up the organization’s acronym, or by its shallow three-word slogan; CISV is anything but constricted. CISV is an idea, a mindset, a movement. It is the place where thousands of children, youth, and adults feel accepted, can voice their concerns, and be heard. As mushy and soppy as it may sound, I discovered that CISV is my home. It is where my happiest memories reside. It is my beacon of hope in a world where I had felt lost.
With all the summer programmes being canceled this year and with the notion of the organization possibly going bankrupt being essentially tossed into the air, I was almost dumbstruck by how intensely emotional that email was to me.
Now, making a grandiose arrival back to our subject; what am I grateful for? I am eternally grateful to have been exposed to this organization at such a young age. I am grateful for everything it has taught me, and the global perspective it has given me. As a child, feeling so tiny, so insignificant in this big world, rattling around emptily, I am grateful that CISV made me even more humbled by how vast our world is, yet, somehow making me feel connected to it. This community keeps me grounded, compassionate, and kind. This is what I am grateful for. I am grateful that such a large part of my identity is taken up by such a meaningful organization: an organization that transcends its generational and physical boundaries. I am grateful for CISV.
I was devastated, yet simultaneously comforted by the sheer number of others that I shared this outcry with; a discovery I made after seeing all my social media eﬀectively trampled and suﬀocated by what I could only describe as an army of volunteers. An army of people I had never spoken to, never met, but whom I shared this core part of my identity with. This is what CISV was.
MUSIC, RYTHMS NOTES, SOUNDS Emma Raggot FRANCE As I wake up at a usually late hour during this lockdown period, I see the sun at its peak, bright light. I dress up quickly, boil some water. Smelling the pleasant smell of just-made coﬀee, I grab my sunglasses, phone and headphones to enjoy a welldeserved sun bathing time. As I lay down and wonder which song I’m gonna listen to, I let the warm feeling of summer invade my body. Here it goes, first guitar sounds, then drums, and here it comes : David Bowie’s voice, deep and comforting I know when to gout, and when to stay in, get things done’, then high-pitched and groovy. Without knowing it, I’m moving my toes, balancing my head, shaking my shoulders. I couldn’t feel more alive than right now, my body is fully energetic and the music is feeling so good. The song Modern Love makes you jump, scream, dance. I believe there is music for every situation in our lives. Every person on this planet can find a musical style that will suit them perfectly. When I feel a little bit of melancholia, I like listening to Soul grooves : Sam Cooke, Ann Peebles, Charles Bradley and on. Sometimes the melancholy turns to Nostalgia and I bring Johnny Nash in, groovy sounds, but you can still notice all the drama and the pain in this voice. I find music truly personal, intimate, but I love to share it with loved ones. Lullabies will always be some of my best memories in camps. The sweet feeling of comfort, tenderness, love all in our room, people caring for one another, singing all together.
I love listening to music on public transportation, but I’m often also reading stuﬀ on my phone, being distracted by someone’s conversation, waiting for my bus stop. I’m never fully concentrated on how my body reacts to music. Whereas now, I finally have time to just listen to music, without doing anything else, and it feels so good. I’m definitely grateful for having some free time, for getting bored, and saying to myself, “let’s listen to The Beatles”. As I hear the first notes of Yellow Submarine, I instantly remind myself of an incredible night in Bangkok during IJBC 2019 After-party, thanks to this amazing band Lexi got us to discover The Bangkok Beatles. Music can bring back such marvelous memories, some forgotten times, some passed relationships, and I’m so grateful for that. Take some alone time, put a song you love, that you haven’t listened to in a while, put it loud, enjoy ! (and take some time afterwards to listen to a bunch of others as we used to do as teenagers when we didn’t have much else to do). Here is a very CISVy quote from our beloved John Denver that sums up everything : “Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.” Take care of you, stay healthy, and shake your booty !
THE TIME I DIDN’T REMEMBER Barbara Betts BRAZIL It is kind of unusual having time. Time is a very relative notion of how life goes by and as we’ve seen now this notion can change from one day to the other. I was not used to having time. I was always going from one city to another, even traveling long distances to work on what I love the most. I was not used to spending time with my family or my friends back home and yet I still live in the same place as them.
I feel like we are going to come out of this quarantine with a very diﬀerent mindset and giving value to the small things that we have put into thought. I really miss all my friends and everything I got the chance to know in person. But I’m certainly connected to them and to all these places somehow. I think I am now just grateful to be living this big change is about to happen in the world.
This topic “What are you grateful for?” made me reflect a lot about my life. All the frustration quarantine brought all of a sudden began to turn into joy. I realized that I actually could stay home and spend some time with my family and still do everything that I did before. I also realized life is all about connecting with people and cultivating friendship. I think that in the last 4 weeks I’ve talked to the biggest amount of friends, done the most that I’ve ever done on house work, played with my cat for as many hours as possible, chatted with my parents and my brother about numerous things and became Netflix master. I even got time to clean up my bedroom on the smallest details! And all that without having to stop working or being a volunteer. I guess I actually reframed all my home environments. It’s like if the kitchen now had a diﬀerent meaning. The living room became a place not only to get together with my family but also to exercise. My bedroom became my oﬀice and my leisure spot. Everything has changed.
THE SAKURA TREE Scarlett POLAND The current situation of the pandemic has given us the time we all always lack. By cancelling our ‘Doings’ it has given us the space to be ‘Beings’. It gives us the time to seek the beings within ourselves. To realize what matters, what we’re passionate about. Helps us think about what’s, who’s important & where’s our ‘important’. Before the quarantine has started, I would leave the house at 7 a.m. and straight after school have a trilliard of additional classes, trainings, courses, meetings, plus, of course, working till late night at a coﬀee place couple days a week. My brother is currently two months old and there where times when i didn’t even see him for three days in a row, living of a gallon of caﬀeine and not more than 4h of sleep every day. It’s a funny thing how when we have the closest people to us close, we think of what’s far away, distant. We want to travel, sometimes run away. We view all our random friends, influencer’s, celebs from all around the world IG stories etc. But when we’re, in a way forced to stay distant from the people who are important to us, we get to actually see who is close to us on an everyday basis. It’s this very people who we have the need to call, see or even wave to from the house gate now.
So.. I’m probably not the only one who has thought that this is the apocalypse and so on. I guess we’ll never know when it actually comes and knocks us dead. However still, everytime there’s like a weird loud noise coming from the outside (made by an ultrasonic airplane, which I always realize way to late…) I get all panikicky, and think: „Okayy… this is it. Here it comes, was nice being here, ciao”. But the most weird is experiencing that subconcious reflex of seeing the highlights of your whole life, what & who mattered, what I’m grateful for, what I’d do diﬀerrently, was I kind enough etc. And all those questions in my head in a matter of seconds. When it comes to CISV, I’m very grateful for every experience I’ve had. Us, CISVERS, usually know distance way too well– hello ocean! But when another form of distance – “social distancing” - was put on top of the physical distance we need to deal with everyday, it paradoxically has made everything seem much closer. Many of us have called people from the camps we’ve been on, and not only the latest ones. Couple years ago I was on a CISV programme in Japan and I’ve been in love with sakura- the cherry blossom- ever since. But because I’ve always been so busy back here at home, I’ve never realized, each April, I have my own sakura in my garden. So many trees blossom, but I’ve never paid attention to what was happening just outside my window.
I also remember a meditation activity on my step-up couple years back. 60 people laying next to each other on the grass, facing the sky – many of whom were going through a guided meditation for the first time. But what I remember most from it, is observing the clouds – they were moving so fast from the wind. Every time I’d open my eyes, it was as if, I was watching a whole other sky. It was really moving for many of us but sadly I’ve never done anything similar to it again. But since the quarantine’s started, I’ve already seen five sunrises. Damn, what a beautiful piece we have hanging over our heads. A natural beauty! All that matters is so much closer to us than we think. I am grateful to quarantine for the time: to see my brother grow and see his first laughs, to figure out what my real passions are and what was driven just by pressure and expectations, to experience Japan’s sakura in my own garden, to see who really matters to me and call them all, well… apparently CISV friends make up the majority of those people, to learn to bake and make meals from diﬀerent countries on FaceTime with other JBers, to see people stand in unity, fighting for the same cause together, to watch the sky. I am grateful for the time to think about the things I am grateful for.
THE KEY TO ENJOY Lyna ALGERIA Let me tell you the story, Of an incredible virus that touched of us many, The situation was really diﬀicult unfortunately, But in the end we all became stronger and happy. How could you? You will ask me, The answer I’ll give, you know, is so easy, The children stayed at home with mommy and daddy, The newlywed & old married realized they were in love truly, And some had a new hobby. Days were passing by fastly And this experience even if heavy, Shown us it was hard without our bestie ! Too magical and not representative of reality right? I think we are all suﬀering a bit (a lot) more of the situation we are all living, but the amazing lesson we learned is to be grateful. Why? For what? Simply by understanding that having a shelter, some food on our tables and someone we love to share all these things was making us richer than a big majority.
“Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received” is gratefulness’ meaning found in the dictionary... But I think we all agree to say that sometimes, we need more than just a simple and clear definition to truly understand and feel what is the REAL meaning of the word we’re talking about.
I think that the most incredible thing in someone’s life, is to be conscious of the smallest, simplest but so important moments of happiness we can live. And, obviously, being conscious and so, being grateful of these moments IS the key to enjoy and appreciate it completely. We, sometimes, unfortunately may take some things for granted, when they aren’t at all, and the biggest issue of gratefulness is to understand the value of something once we lose it. What am I most thankful for? Walking freely on a sunny day, visiting my beloved ones, going to the cinema, dining with the family... These little pleasures, yet so simple, are essential to build my happiness and I believe that the pandemic helped me realize more than ever that my family and my friends are so important to me. Beside that, being healthy is something I’m really thankful for, because in some situations, some serious diseases can be diﬀicult to handle.
To whom would I show my appreciation? Without doubt, I would say Simon and Eva! They are French CISVers that I am so glad to know. In the quarantine start, they inspired me: They wrote on a paper an announcement in which they were proposing to their neighbours some help (especially for old people that are the most vulnerable during this situation) and when I saw that I was just amazed by the idea, so I decided to follow them and to do the same where I live. I want to thank them because I’ve been able to meet, communicate with some of my neighbours and it was really heart-warming to see how much unity and mutual aid are important, and that we, most of the time, have the same fears and insecurities. The fact that Simon & Eva inspired me, made me think about the CISV impact itself! Even if we were not in the same place, nor the same town, they transmitted their way to be active global citizens and motivated others to do so, and I guess this is the best manner to understand that our organization is clearly having an impact, first on CISVers, but also on all the people that are around us. That’s why I’m also showing my appreciation to all the CISV volunteers that are doing their best in their everyday’s lives to make other feel better, understood by being kind and benevolent! I want to quote the philosopher Seneca who once said: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” I really think we should apply this quote and always try to get the best from the worst circumstances. That way, we’ll be able to grow and learn from the experience we had, be grateful for that knowledge we acquired and at last realize that the smallest things or the simplest moments are the ones which makes us happy.
POSITIVITY VIRUS Austin USA Hi, my name is Austin! I am an American student who was living in Berlin for an internship, but I have since returned to my home in Florida to be with my family during the COVID-19 crisis. During this time of uncertainty and isolation, I created the #PositivityVirus crowd-sourcing project because I wanted to use my global network of friends to help spread some positivity online. The project is simple, people send in a quick 4-10 second video communicating something they are grateful for and I edit all the clips together to make a small montage to post on YouTube. Since I know a lot of people through CISV and study abroad programs, I knew it would be easy to quickly reach out people from all around the world to get the ball rolling. I am still taking videos, which can be sent to email@example.com.