Global Journal Project A Shared Voice
Issue II/ Spring 2014
How Chimpanzees Taught Me to Be a Better Human
by Melissa Grajek
10 14 18
On The Theme The Lady of the Dump by Jay Gardenswartz ‘14 Reflections on Leadership Compiled by Olivia Ghosh ‘15 A Sandwich for All
by Sophie Solar ‘14
Reimagining Borders USD Photo Competition Finalists
2 / spring 2014
by Suzanne Gegna Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse by Cornelia Feye
Experiences Interview with Images of the World by Katherine Owens ‘14 The Jewel of Southeast Asia by Audrey Yang ‘14 My Enlightenment by Karla Peñaloza ‘15 Peacemakers: A Story of Iraq by Olivia Ghosh ‘15
30 40 28 31 34 37 mosaic / 3
Staff Finance & Marketing CEO | Thomas Marshall ‘14 COO | Olivia Ghosh ‘15 CFO | Lou Tauber ‘16 Marketing Director | Jacob Gardenswartz ‘14
Arielle Swedback ‘14
Administrator | Jonathan Lemberg ‘16
Editorial & Design Editor in Chief | Katherine Owens ‘14
Design Chief | Kimberly Svatos ‘14 Photo Editor | Bethlehem Desta ‘14 Design Assistant | Sophia Swedback ‘17 Advisors | Michelle Adelman
Marc Thiebach Steven Le
4 / spring 2014
Editor’s Note By Katherine Owens ‘14 | Editor in Chief
When the Global Journal Project (GJP) first came to Francis Parker, one of the first steps in building our chapter was creating a leadership structure. We submitted resumes, formal recommendations, and applications with detailed descriptions of our passions and our visions for the chapter. The applications also asked us to list three characteristics that defined a leader. I stated that a leader was someone who was empathetic, inspirational, and hardworking. Now, after working to create issue two of Mosaic centered on leadership, my list has grown. “Reflections on Leadership” (pg. 16) tells the stories of students brought together to address the role of leaders in improving society for future generations and shows me that a leader must also be open-minded. It becomes clear that a leader is humble when reading “A Sandwich for All” (pg. 22). And after reading about Maria in “The Lady of the Dump” (pg. 10), a Filipino woman who works tirelessly to sustain her community through trash-picking, I realize that a leader must also possess great determination. In short, I have discovered that it is impossible to describe a leader in only three words. Leadership is born from a vast array of qualities and circumstances and can be found in every corner of the globe from the figure of Desmond Tutu, who is speaking at Lead-
ercast 2014 (see back cover), to the girl who must stay strong for her little sister in the face of family separation. I’ve gotten to watch everyone who applied for leadership positions all those months ago become thoughtful and strong leaders of the Global Journal Project at Francis Parker, and with every page of the spring 2014 issue of Mosaic, I’ve gotten to experience the concept of leadership in a new way.
Anyone who wishes to use materials in Mosaic may do so at no cost but with proper citation. All materials can be used for educational purposes; none may be used for profit not benefitting the threeschool collaboration. Global Journal Project’s threeschool model is meant to be replicated. If you would like to form a chapter at your school, please visit thegjp.org/chapters for more information. For more information about Mosaic please visit http://mosaic.thegjp.org.
Left: “Standing Alone” by Margot Mel
Issue One of Mosaic was created using Adobe InDesign CS5 on Apple Macbook Pro computers. The Headers in this issue were set in Helvetica Neue Ultralight (72 pt.), the article body text was set in Avenir (10.5 pt), bylines are set at Letter Gothic Std. (8 pt)., Table of Contents, Staff List, and Colophon were set at Nixie One (15 pt., 10 pt.) The magazine’s 44 pages are printed on 70# paper, gloss finish, saddle stitch, full color. 750-copies have been produced at the cost of 2,800 dollars. The magazine template was designed by Kimberly Svatos and Jacob Gardenswartz. The “GJP News” spread was designed and produced by Steven Le. For all other design and layout credits, please see the Staff List on page 4. If you would like more information or wish to reproduce articles featured in this magazine, please contact the editor-in-chief at email@example.com.
mosaic / 5
How Chimpanzees Taught Me to Be a Better Human By Melissa Grajek
6 / spring 2014
As an intern at Chimp Haven, Grajek learned how chimpanzees are both studied and nut.
n school we are taught Newton’s third law of n school weaction are taught Newton’s law of motion: for every there is an equalthird and oppomotion: for every there that is annotion equalinand site reaction. Mostaction of us leave theoppoclasssite reaction. Most of us leave that notion in the classroom, only revisiting those teachings when watching room, only revisiting those teachings when watching TV quiz shows like Cash Cab or Are You Smarter than TV quizGrader? shows like Cab or Are You Smarter a Fifth WeCash sometimes fail to notice howthan evaeryday Fifth Grader? We sometimes fail to notice how evactions carry a reaction that may have an eferyday actions carry a reaction may haveas anaeffect fect on another’s life. For me,that what began simon another’s life. For me, what began as a simple inple internship soon rippled into an experience that ternship rippled annew experience that opened opened soon my eyes to a into whole world, changing my my eyes to a whole new world, changing my life and life and the lives of those around me, forever. the lives of those around me, forever.
To help fulfill my graduation requirements, I began my search for an internship with the hopes of gaining experience within an industry I had an interest in working with in the future. My exploration brought me to Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee sanctuary located in Keithville, Louisiana. After driving 95 miles across two parishes, countless cities and country roads, my dusty Mustang rolled off the pavement and onto a gravel drive as the gate parted to another world. I felt like Dr. Ellie Sattler seeing Jurassic Park for the first time as the trees began to open up, releasing the excited barks and screams from what could only be chimpanzees. Just feet from where I parked, I could see groups of chimpanzees curiously gazing at me from their hammocks and wooden platforms, possibly pondering the same thought I was: Well, I don’t see this every day! Over the next couple of weeks I was immersed in the world of chimpanzees, learning everything from primate natural history, the journey from their homes in the wild to laboratories across the country, and the role they play in scientific research to various vocalizations, their meanings, and the appropriate behavior I needed to display when around the chimpanzees. Through the first week of “intern training” I was taught how these animals feel emotions such as depression, fear, curiosity, and happiness, but it was in the weeks following that I gained the same love and respect for the chimpanzees as I would hold for my best friend.w Founded in 1995 through the hard work and collaboration of researchers and business associates, Chimp Haven became the hope and new beginning for chimpanzees across the United States. In response to the demand for research subjects, the U.S. government implemented a breeding program in the 1980s that resulted in a surplus of captive chimpanzees for both biomedical and cognitive research. Over the years, research and technology evolved until chimpanzees’ usefulness in human medical research declined in the 1990s, leaving hundreds of chimpanzees in need of a home. In 2000, former President Bill Clinton passed the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection Act (CHIMP Act), initiating the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary System, which retires chimpanzees from federally funded re
mosaic / 7
Chimp Haven provides a home for chimpanzees who have previously lived in unnaturual and sometimes cruel conditions.
search programs. Since then, over 200 chimpanzees have made the transfer from research facility to their final home at Chimp Haven. For some, Chimp Haven is the first place where the chimpanzees have ever walked on grass or pulled leaves from the branches of trees. Others are finally able to interact with fellow chimpanzees without the separation of the metal bars of the cages they spent
“Though I am just one person, and still a college student at that, I am part of something bigger.” their entire life in. Even the couple of them who are unaccustomed to the large open space and natural vegetation beneath their feet resort to pacing the border
8 / spring 2014
of their enclosure, earning them the term “wall walker.” Chimp Haven provides as close to a natural environment as possible. Habitats of up to five acres are filled with trees, simulated termite mounds, hammocks, tires, ropes, and multi-leveled platforms to encourage instinctual behaviors of foraging, nesting, and climbing. Except for the necessary veterinary checkups, Chimp Haven maintains a hands-off policy, allowing staff and the public to view the chimpanzees from afar without any interaction. Chimp Haven strives to give the chimpanzees something they were never allowed in their previous environment—a choice. Chimpanzees are given the choice to be inside their “bedrooms,” outside in the play yards, interacting with one another, or alone to nap in the sun. The staff members work daily to create new enrichment items such as sugar-free gelatin in a water bottle, frozen fruit “Apescicles,” or cardboard boxes filled with surprise treats, providing a daily stimulant and puzzle to encourage the natural problem-solving skills chimpanzees would use on a daily basis in the wild. Chimp Haven is intended to be a retirement home because most of the residents are of the geriatric age of 30 or older, but due to a few failed vasectomies, this retirement home now has three little chimps ranging
commentary from six months to six years old. Most recently, Chimp Haven has welcomed 24 new chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center as a part of the total 111 chimpanzees expected to retire to Chimp Haven over the next year. While the future of current governmentowned chimpanzees is still unknown, through the work of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other organizations, more chimpanzees currently involved in medical research nationwide may soon be arriving to Chimp Haven and other approved sanctuaries for retirement. During my lunch break I often join a coworker on the roof, where we stand and watch some of the chimpanzees interact with one another or warm themselves in the sun. Every time I arrive within sight of them I am greeted in some way or another, as they acknowledge my presence. Often I wonder what they are thinking as they sit peacefully grooming each other or playing tag with the babies, playfully tripping one another by grabbing a leg or two. Even with all the playtime and fun, there is the subtle reminder of where these individuals came from and the unpleasant journey they took to arrive where they are today. Though some chimpanzees were used in less invasive cognitive studies, most have a history of being
injected, tested, infected, and even biopsied. Some chimpanzees are infected with HIV and various strands of hepatitis. I began this internship under the impression that I would explore the world of nonprofit organizations, fundraising, and public relations, but I have learned so much more. I have gained a new understanding of the world and how even the smallest of actions I take have an impact somewhere on the planet. Though I am just one person, and still a college student at that, I am part of something bigger and play a role in making a difference in life. No matter where I am or what I do, I realize that I wonâ€™t be working just to earn a living but to better myself and the world around me. For more information about Chimp Haven, or to learn how you can donate, please visit our Web site at www.chimphaven.org. Melissa Grajek, a senior majoring in Journalism at Louisiana Tech University, interns in development and fundraising at Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana. Over the years, she has volunteered with Rotary International, Boys and Girls Club, Starbucks, and other organizations helping both the local communities and reaching out to communities abroad. After graduation, she plans to continue her work with nonprofit organizations both as a professional and a volunteer.
Most chimpanzees living at Chimp Haven are relatively elderly, however this new mother has three babies to look after.
mosaic / 9
The Lady of the Dump: One Cityâ€™s Trash is Her Treasure
on the theme
he recorded minimum wage in the Philippines is 73 cents an hour, but in reality, most workers make far below this number. Some spend their days in the hot and humid fields picking cilli, chili peppers, for 12 to 14 hours at a time; some drive pedicabs through the smoggy dirt roads transporting six or seven or eight passengers on a vehicle that was built for no more than four; some work in sari-sari convenience stores, selling countless bottles of Coca Cola and packs upon packs of cigarettes. But from dawn until dusk every day, Maria, a fiftysomething Dumaguete City resident with wrinkly dimples and kind eyes, sorts trash in â€œthe dumpsite,â€? the largest above ground landfill on the island of Negros Oriental. As is the same for many of the dumpâ€™s residents, Maria was born in this place. Speaking in her native language of Bisayan to a translator, she tells of how she began working at the age of eight, sifting through the 20-plus tons of trash and separating recyclable items. Back then she was one of only a handful of dumpsite residents who came to work in hopes of selling the recyclable goods for their cash value. Now, over 40 years later, the place is 200-strong and constitutes its own Barangay, or Filipino municipality. Being the dumpsite resident who has lived there the longest (though she is certainly not the oldest), Maria is the Barangay Captain. She oversees the recently established government-funded program that Left: Many communities in the Philippines consist of makeshift homes built from scavenged materials with residents struggling to support their families.
mosaic / 11
on the theme
employs hundreds of Filipinos to work on the dump, sorting through the trash and collecting anything of value in large boxes to be given to the government and scrapped. For someone who has spent her entire life living on a heap of garbage, Maria is surprisingly upbeat. Her warm smile is joined by the smiles of many of the dump’s residents who are all fortunate to have paying jobs. Still, she is the first to acknowledge the many problems associated with the dumpsite community. With the government controlling the program, new regulations were supposedly put in place to limit the use of child workers, requiring all children under the age of 16 to go to school. However, rather than paying the workers per hour, the government pays them based on the number of boxes of recyclables they collect. With the wages so low, many families are forced to make their children help collect more items to improve their family’s pay. This problem is compounded by the fact that there is a general lack of infrastructure anywhere near the dumpsite. Families live in crudely constructed huts and often sleep on piles of cardboard or softer trash that they have collected. There is no running water, no sewage system, and little protection other than old sheets and plastic tarps from the frequent tropical rain. Children too young to attend school play with thrown-out toys, while those who should be in school are often unable to find affordable transportation. Most end up walking miles each way or stay to work with their families. Even the few structures that are in place are very broken: the lack of irrigation means that all runoff simply sits and festers as a breeding ground for disease, and the retaining wall holding the trash mounds erect has huge cracks which leak garbage water into
12 / spring 2014
the nearby river. As families bathe and drink there, stomach sickness is common. Many also have lung problems as a result of the noxious garbage fumes. Despite all these issues, Maria speaks of her home and her job with a sense of pride and purpose. She is the leader of this village and she is thus relied upon by many, sometime for physical help but more often than not just for moral support. Maria is a storyteller, and it’s difficult not to become enthralled by her vivid tales. Since she began working, she’s found many an interesting item scouring the dump including gold coins and an expensive watch, Though living surrounded by garbage is often extremely difficult and dangerous, it is inspiring to see how Maria and her village have found a sense of community. Despite their poverty and inhumane living conditions, the people of the dumpsite have found work that reaches beyond themselves and benefits the entire island. Jacob Gardenswartz ‘14 of Francis Parker School is Co-Marketing Director of the Francis Parker Global Journal Project Chapter. He is an experienced actor as well as Managing Editor of the Francis Parker school magazine.
on the theme
The Dump-site community makes its living from sorting through the garbage. Though children are required to attend school, many stay home to help their families earn money gathering trash.
mosaic / 13
on the theme
Reflections on Leadership: A Mosaic Compilation I have been an invitee to multiple leadership conferences, advertising recipes for success with leadership skills. The ADL made a different promise with its National Youth Leadership Mission. It did not promise to instill in the delegates an automatic and easy fix for all of the worlds problems. It did not pretend that the teenagers in the room would be given the magic wand that, with one wave, could end hatred. Instead, NYLM taught us what leadership is truly about. It opened a dialogue between young adults from opposite corners of the country. I come from Southern California, where I personally see very little racial discrimination in my community. Yet I met a girl who was brought to tears when describing the persistence of systematic racial segregation in her small town in Georgia. She confessed that she had not realized until sixth grade that towns could even be integrated. I was invited to be a delegate for San Diego’s chapter of the Anti-Defamation League’s National Youth Leadership Mission (NYLM), whose purpose is to educate young people about ongoing issues of prejudice and bias in the world. The idea is to use the tragedies of the Holocaust as a lens through which to examine our modern world, which is still plagued by hatred. There have been multiple genocides following the arguably most famous, that of the European
14/ spring 2014
Jews, including the Bosnian and Rwandan genocides. The problems are far from solved, and it seemed unlikely to me that they would ever be. The whole idea of the NYLM is to create the leaders of tomorrow, leaders who will fight for equality and human rights. The ADL invests huge amounts of time, money, and resources to create an army of American teenagers determined to eradicate hate from the world. But this weekend of intensive education led me to question what makes a leader. Leadership is neither an easy, nor clear-cut process. Real leadership does not necessarily come naturally to everybody, for we become leaders in our discomfort. The truly heavy topics that came to light in the many hours of discussion we participated in during the conference undoubtedly caused discomfort among the delegates. I know it caused me discomfort. I find it upsetting to hear a girl describe being asked to leave a store simply because of the color of her skin. Or another girl recounting the terror she felt facing her new girlfriend’s father, who blamed her for “corrupting his little girl.” With tears streaming down her face, and hysterics setting in, she confessed to having nightmares of the man chasing her, trying to kill her.
on the theme Yet the goal of the conference was not to garner pity or tears from sympathetic peers. We shared our most intimate experiences and fears with each other with a greater purpose in mind. In exposing ourselves, we taught each other how to be leaders. We inspired each other to take a stance. The ADL brought the promise of a group of 110 teenagers, entirely dedicated to the constant battle against hatred. And despite my prior cynicism, I found myself hopeful. I found myself inspired. And most importantly, I found myself with the overwhelming feeling of confidence. Leadership is only effective when one believes in the cause, and through NYLM, the ADL brought together a group of the most incredible teenagers from across America. With that kind of support, it would be impossible to feel anything but confident. The following are contributions and experiences from other attendees of the National Youth Leadership Mission: Prior to being nominated to represent Francis Parker School in the ADL program, I had heard outstanding things about the organization. Being Jewish, I felt a strong connection to the ADL organization because of its outstanding relief efforts for those persecuted during the Holocaust. Traveling to Washington, D.C., with the San Diego delegation was an amazing experience. One hundred high school students from around the nation gathered to participate in ADLâ€™s Youth Leadership Mission. We had several discussions about discrimination going on in our world today, ranging from the LGBT community to immigrants, and we even discussed some of our own personal experiences. Hearing voices and opinions from around the country was eye opening; I was completely unaware that some regions had not progressed at all towards learning to accept every race, gender and loving relationship. This made me realize, along with every other ADL participant, that there is still much work to be done before our country is truly accepting of everyone and everything. ADL taught every single one of us that we truly can make a difference and that our generation will bring the next great change to not only America, but to the world. Jonah Davis, 11th Grade
NYLM spent time at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial on the Washington D.C. Mall
mosaic / 15
on the theme
Vitality Ideas, Mistakes, Decisions, Change, Love, Vision. All part of our life. We are all on this quest, Not understanding this long test. Confusion is constant in us But it is hard to discuss. Why is it that we are all here? Then one day we disappear? With fear we proceed, Hoping only to succeed. The world is still unknown, But at least weâ€™re not alone. Tori Mullenix, 11th Grade
16/ spring 2014
Flags hang from every country with which the United States has diplomatic relations in the Kennedy Center.
on the theme
I could look at the world around me and just see pain. So many people are being hurt emotionally every day because of the hate that encases so many othersâ€™ hearts. Others cause physical pain to themselves or to others because they are different. They donâ€™t like the way that they look, the place they are from or the God that they worship. I could say that the glass is half empty and nothing will ever change. But I know that that is not true. I can make a difference. I see the world around me constantly changing for the better because of the people who ally themselves against hate. I see people standing up to prejudice and making a difference. I see a glass half full with the actions of Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roos-
Above and Below:
evelt and so many others who changed the world. They never backed down from their beliefs and they made a difference. The other half of the glass is filled with the inequalities that make up our world today and what is yet to come. Yet it is also filled with opportunities for the new generation to make a change. It is filled with the positivity that is spread every day when someone says no to bigotry. I am optimistic about our world because I can see the changes that occur when someone stands up for what is right. I see a world that is full of hope. Michaela Boster, 11th Grade
San Diego delegates visit the Wolrd War II and Lincoln memorials in Washington D.C.
mosaic / 17
on the theme Jenna Corbin, ADL Facilitator Whose Voices Have We Not Heard? In the Anti-Defamation League National Youth Leadership Mission (NYLM) San Diego group, we regularly ask the question whose voices have we not heard? This question is purposeful and opens our attention to the ideas, thoughts, and perspectives of those in the group who might not be the first, second or, even, third person to chime in to a discussion. Circling back to this question throughout discussions encourages young leaders to remain conscientious of their peers’ voices and contributions. The question implies there is often more missing from the conversation—perspectives that are valid and important. In addition to asking young leaders to create space for every voice in our group, this central question also broadens our circle of inclusion. By asking for the voices we have not yet heard, we must ask ourselves who is not represented in our group. Our program looks at the escalation of bias and prejudice through the lens of the Holocaust. When I hear this question, I think of the many voices we will never hear because they were victims of a system resolute on exterminating those who were different. In working with NYLM students to create school-based projects that identify and challenge bias, we continuously ask who the students will impact, how they will accomplish this goal, and whether they are actively seeking out the voices of their peers that have not been heard. Finally, seeking out those unheard voices affords us the opportunity to reflect on our thoughts, speech and action. Have we used our voices and actions to be inclusive? Do our values reflect the communities we wish to create? And do our communities reflect these values? Returning to the question whose voices have we not heard keeps youth leadership inclusive and empowering.
The Korean War memorial features a reflecting pool
and “ghost soldiers,” to represent “The Forgotten War.”
18/ spring 2014
on the theme Olivia Miller, 11th Grade Many of us believe that as long as we keep jokes that may come off as “messed up” (in the words of today’s youth) within our circle of close friends, we are not offending anyone or doing anything wrong. But the more people become accustomed to saying certain things, the higher the chances of these things being said when they are not around their friends will rise. Although I personally do not use the term “gay” to describe anything negatively, my friends were practically in love with using the term. They would call things such as long lines in Jamba Juice, unnecessarily high prices for clothes, songs we didn’t like, and anything else we didn’t enjoy, “gay.” It is important to note that every single girl in my group has nothing against gay people and actually supports them, so this made them believe it was okay to use the word to describe something negative. I used to have this same mindset, so even though I never liked using the word “gay,” I never objected to my friends saying it. One day in class my teacher had us working in pairs. The girl I was working with was openly lesbian. One of the girls from my circle of friends was working in front of me, and at one point she said loudly, “Wow, that’s so gay!” to the person she was working with. Immediately after, the girl I was working with shouted, “Hey, watch it!” I was shocked at my partner’s response because she too, was a close friend of the girl who had first spoken, but when I asked her if she was trying to be funny, she replied that she was completely serious. It sounds ignorant, but until that moment, I had never realized that regardless of a person’s intent behind their use of the word “gay,” it could still be very offensive. I began to challenge the six other girls in my group for using “gay” in a negative way. I brought up the incident that happened in class and tried to explain to them that there’s no telling who they could be offending, especially since the girl that got offended was completely aware that my friend has nothing against lesbians and was still hurt by the comment. My friends protested that it was not their fault that this one girl chose to get offended, to which I asked “That girl said something to make it clear that she was offended, but how do you know nobody else in the room wasn’t offended? How do you know exactly who is and isn’t getting offended every other time you say something is ‘gay’?” They had no reply and I dropped the topic for the rest of that day.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks to the attendees of NYLM.
After weeks of questioning my friends in this fashion to try to help them see the issue from different angles (and continuing to grunt every time I heard them use “gay” negatively), they finally conceded that they understood what I was telling them and began to stop using the word. It was a long process, but my friends have now stopped using “gay” to describe things they don’t like. Changing the view of six people may not seem like a big difference, but on the flip side, how much of a difference are you making by only changing your own views? Helping yourself to be a better person is imperative to improving our world, but it is also important to spread the improvement beyond you. No one is asking you to walk around and attempt to completely transform everyone you come across, but regardless of magnitude, anything you do can make a difference.
mosaic / 19
on the theme
Sophie Soalr ‘14 has become a pro at setting up tables and distributing food and other necesities to those without shelter.
A Sandwich for All:
One Teen Takes the Lead on Giving Back
mid the bustle of cars traversing 16th Street in downtown San Diego through the green lights, the big yellow Francis Parker School bus pulled off to the side of the road to unload its contents. Sixteen students, including me, and two faculty members representing the Connect 12 Interim Group of 2013
20 / spring 2014
walked off the bus and onto the sidewalk, waiting to be directed to a certain location. We saw a door that somewhat blended in with the smooth outer surface of the building behind us, which was attached to a ramp supported by a white railing with chipping paint. One student walked up the slope and tugged on the door’s C-shaped handle, only to encounter resistance. “It’s locked,” she yelled to the rest of the group. Then, a woman appeared out of an opening in the building’s exterior adjacent to the door, and asked, “Are you from Francis Parker?” With an affirmative response, she led us through the opening, —which though one would never know from just looking at it from the outside, was actually a parking garage—and we walked through another door and up a flight of stairs that led us to another room, a very industrial-looking one, with hardwood floors and revamped vintage chandeliers. Those cheap-looking flimsy and white plastic circular tables filled the open space, encircled by their matching makeshift folding chairs. We took our seats and the woman who initially found us, Irish Diwa, began to educate us about the homeless, including a discussion of the nonprofit organization, Embrace, that she works for, which serves dinner to the homeless on Wednesday and Thursday nights. After completing some collaborative activities, Irish explained to us that we would be assembling sack lunches—each one containing a sandwich, a granola bar, a water bottle, and a banana— to later distribute to people on the streets. We set up shop by unfolding the circular tables’ rectangular counterpart and then we cleaned it with Lysol wipes. We pieced together 120 paper bag lunches in assemblyline style, stuffed them into rolling coolers and cardboard boxes, and used the buddy system to help each other wheel and carry our load as we set out for the streets of downtown San Diego. We exited through the garage’s opening and turned left, keeping our eyes peeled for any homeless people. We crossed two blocks without encountering anyone to give lunches to, and then I saw it. The chain-linked fence that wrapped around the block, protecting not a construction site or a building, but rather land. Dirt. The kind that kids draw
on the theme on with a thin tree branch: light brown, not hydrated, freely moving. It was a dusty and flat layer of earth that just sat there, manned by sheets of wire weaved together. Where the fence intersected the sidewalk lay used plastic forks, empty granola bar wrappers, and McDonald’s paper take-out bags— not to mention the abundance of humans sitting atop all of this garbage, a dirty sleeping bag being the only intermediary. It seemed as though they had their respective stations along the outskirts of the wire sheets, although these stations overlapped as individuals were visibly forced to invade each other’s privacy through the lack of personal space. The chain-linked fence did not encompass the people; the people bounded the chain-linked fence. I realized that I was no longer in the familiar area I had grown up in; I was in a foreign land, a whole new world. This was not my community, but their community. This was 16th and Island. There were hundreds of people: skinny men with scraggly beards and faded flannel shirts, heavy-set women in oversized sweatshirts with bags under their eyes, a tatted-up guy pushing his girl around in a wheelchair, people without teeth, people without shoes, people without money, people without food. I was in awe. Here was I, an 11th grader enrolled in a private high school, where one of my worries was turning down the fish served for lunch. After a long day at school, I could take a hot shower and later sink into my Tempur-Pedic mattress as I fell asleep. Their worries concern not what they will eat, but rather when and if. They don’t know if they will be able to shower nor where they will sleep. As my group walked along Island Street, Irish pointed out the two port-a-potties that are available for the homeless to use; however, they are located within a neighborhood and due to their natural unpleasantness, the city was considering removing them. In my house, there are more bathrooms than there are people. I was thrown out of my pensive absentmindedness as individuals jay-walked and ran across the street in our direction, eager to know what we were giving away and anxious to see if they could have it. We took turns handing out the lunches, and continued onward, specifically looking for people sitting against the walls of buildings who might be too tired to walk to us to receive a lunch. After a little while, we
decided to go inside a homeless shelter to give sack lunches to its inhabitants. As the people saw us enter with our cargo, their eyes widened in excitement. With the help of the employees, the homeless formed a line in front of a table, which we used to organize the remaining lunches. One by one, each individual came up to the table, and gratefully took the paper bag lunch a student offered. I was one of several students handing out the lunches from behind the table. When I gave one for the first time, something struck me. I was overcome with a multitude of feelings — my panic and fright of his germy hands possibly touching mine intertwining with my rumination of when he would eat it and in what manner. It made me wonder when he last ate, when he last showered, when he last felt loved. The act of handing one person one lunch box gave me that feel-good-inside feeling, but to an extent that I cannot describe. As I handed out more, the smiles I received in gratitude of my service exchanged my panic for reward, and I felt I had reached a peak of happiness. I was inspired. As we ran out of lunches and our event came to a close, we circled back to 16th and Island. We had provided food for numerous people, yet there were
As part of her backpack drive, Sophie also distributed stuffed animals to families with children.
mosaic / 21
on the theme many more lined up against that chain-linked fence that I knew were hungry. And it was the worst feeling in the world to have to deny food to the few who asked after we ran out. I couldn’t end on that note; I couldn’t just leave this place, this community, 16th and Island, without having satisfied the stomachs and needs of those who hadn’t had the opportunity to benefit from our service. I had to come back. I had to do something. About five months later, I returned to 16th and Island. In the time that I was MIA, I organized a backpack drive for the people who call that dirt lot their backyard and that chain-linked fence the backbone of their shelter. Through letters to neighbors and companies, donations from grocery stores, my neighbors, my parents, and my piggy bank, and drives through my school, Francis Parker, I acquired 180 bags, 192 bottles of water, 80 granola bars, gallon-sized bags of toiletries, and ample feminine hygiene supplies. My parents and Irish accompanied me on the day I distributed everything, and by the looks of the back of my SUV and the interior of Irish’s Camry, one might have thought we robbed a Walmart. I scheduled my distribution day to coincide with Embrace’s dinner service, and when I arrived around 5pm we set up. The white plastic rectangular folding table reappeared, only this time it had a twin as well: one was for the backpacks and non-edible items I had brought to be displayed on, and the other was for the food. We opened the tables and oriented them parallel to the chain-linked fence with the volunteers sandwiched in between. I chose to hand out the backpacks,
22 / spring 2014
as that was my main endeavor in this project, my parents took the toiletries and feminine supplies, and the granola bars and water found their home with the spaghetti dinner, served by Embrace volunteers. The homeless formed a line that started where I stood and that stretched down 16th Street, along the remainder of the chain-linked fence. They were hungry, they were antsy, and they were ready to go. But I wasn’t ready. I was scared. These were the people I wasn’t supposed to be talking to according to “Stranger Danger;” they weren’t the most friendly looking and they
could hurt me. I was vastly outdone in strength, size, and number. I couldn’t be sure of what their reactions would include during the service and how they would act. I was handed transparent plastic gloves that were supposed to prevent hand-to-hand-contact, although they were so big that I could have fit both of my hands in one. Everyone was looking at me, and I was told, “we’ll start on your call.” All I could do was nod, and hope for the best. When a volunteer allowed the homeless to proceed, suddenly making the line move, I felt a rush of adrenaline, and I began to hand
on the theme out bags. As other volunteers helped to keep things organized, I became more comfortable in my surroundings and I began to have fun. For about 10 minutes, everyone was completely occupied and the distributing actions were nonstop. As the line of recipients grew shorter and shorter, the energy level on 16th and Island diminished, until I was surprised with an intimate interaction from one of the homeless individuals. A transgendered person began to approach me, and when she was at an audible distance, she questioned, “Are you Sophie?” I nodded, assuming that Irish had introduced me, as well as my project, to the people who clung to the chain-linked fence. She extended her hand towards me, as though she wanted to shake it, and asked, “May I pray for you?” I was incredibly taken aback, and I didn’t know how to react, I’m not religious in the least bit so I had no idea what to expect. “Sure,” I said, as I extended my hand to meet hers. She took it, and began to sing words, creating sentences regarding me, my generosity, and requesting that I be watched over. I will never forget this interaction, not only because of the encounter itself but also because it epitomizes the reactions of the other homeless people. Many of them shook my hand to offer their thanks, and as a result, I didn’t want to leave. Again, in the end, I had to tell people that I ran out of bags. And again, I knew I couldn’t end like this. This was proving to be a never-ending cycle. But that’s what donating is. You give as much as you can, and eventually you run out. So then what do you do? You keep giving. I seem to be drawn to 16th and Island, and the people that inhabit it. Whenever I hear of donations being made, I think of them. When my dad wants to buy a new shirt and my mom reminds him of the rule—if you buy a new shirt, you must get rid of an old one— I say, “You can donate the one you are getting rid of.” My parents and I keep bags of granola bars in our cars to give to the panhandlers we come across while driving. We even have what we call the “Irish Bin” in our garage, named after —you guessed it— Irish, in recognition of my first encounter with 16th and Island. It is constantly being filled with old clothes my parents decide they don’t want, old toys and stuffed animals, old shoes, and the toiletries my dad collects from hotels on business trips. When it is full, we go to 16th and Island and distribute its contents. However, we can’t always rely on encountering the Left: The best part of Sophie’s experience was the smiles she recieved in exchange for the backpacks she gave.
same people or having the same experience because every now and then the police clear the fence and force the homeless to leave. When I revisited on Christmas Eve this past year, the streets overflowed with homeless people, especially kids and families. Yet when I went in early January to distribute blankets, the fence was stripped bare and there were very few people to be seen. The different sights I see at each distribution inspire me to keep coming back. I develop new ideas of how I can help these people, which I then put into action. I’ve become an expert at ordering items in bulk, and I’m always looking for new ideas on raising money and promoting awareness for this community. The different components of a sandwich are vital to its overall taste. For example, a roast beef sandwich without the meat would become a salad with two pieces of bread, and it most likely would not be appetizing. Don’t worry— the sandwiches I made with my peers almost a year ago contained every essential element, and I guarantee that the recipients of those sack lunches had a very nutritious meal. Yet the same way a vegetarian sandwich requires vegetables, the homeless require help. This might seem like an obvious statement, but I didn’t fully realize its extent until I handed someone who lives on the street a sandwich. Here was someone who lived in a community made up of strangers, who couldn’t rely on money, who rests in the midst of dirt and trash. I go to a school where students complain about the lack of guacamole provided for their tacos and the weird taste of the zero-calorie water. I myself admit to taking my daily routine for granted, which includes multiple items and actions the homeless may never experience. 16th and Island put my life into perspective. Perhaps handing a homeless person a sandwich is the key to this “aha!” moment, and that if people worldwide gave sandwiches to the 25% of the global population who are homeless, they would be more inclined to put an end to this pandemic. But until the bread, the mustard, the turkey, the cheese, the lettuce, the tomatoes, and the dressing are put together, I will still go to my place, the place that has become ever so familiar to me, every time the Irish bin becomes full, and distribute to my heart’s content. I may start each distribution day with different items, but I always leave with the same realization that I made a positive difference, however small, in the lives of those in need.
mosaic / 23
Title: La Linea Camera: iPhone 4s Name: Kurt Otis Age: 18 School: Imperial Valley College, Calexico, CA Artist Statement: In this photograph is a perfect example of what hard working people have to go through every day. Nobody really sees this very often. Most just see a lot of buses leaving, and not the daily struggle.
across longitudes Title: Love Crosses Borders Camera:Samsung Phone-Dark Name: Yovany Diaz Age: 21 School: Freedom University, Alpharetta, GA Artist Statement: I was once a little kid in San Luis Potosi, Meico, working hard by milking cows, picking up firewood, and shredding the fields with a machete. When I was eight years old, I found myself swimming across the dark and terrifying cold water of El Rio Grande to be reunited with my mother.
Title: Love Recognizes No Boundaries Camera: Pentax K2000 Artist: Sarah Cady Age: 20 School: University of San Diego Artist Statement: “Love recognizes no boundaries, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” -Maya Angelou This is the border fence between Mexico and the US. I took this picture during La Posada, a celebration where the dead zone between the borders is opened up so families and friends can meet face to face after months or years of not seeing each other. Even if it is only through small holes in the mesh between the bars of the fence, it is enough. One can only hope that one day families and friends will be united in this love without a physical obstacle.
usd photo contest Title: Road Camera: Nikon Coolpix P7000 Artist: Victor Garcia Age: 18 School: CETYS Universidad Artist Statement: This is a picture of the street where my home is. I have been living there since I was born and the border always shines at the end of the street every night with a yellow glow. Every night it’s a reminder that I’m in Tijuana.
mosaic / 25
Title: Innate Human Goodness Camera: Digital Camera Artist: Jean Ulysse Age: 21 School: SUNY Plattsburgh, Brooklyn, NY Artist Statement: Poverty and excessive wealth have negative consequences for both individuals and societies, and that disrupts many parts of lives. In the picture these kids are born into povety but they do find happiness. One of the kids is helping the other to cross the river, a sign of trust and friendship.
Title: Nepal Border with India Camera: Sony DSC-W570 Artist: Rishikesh Chaudhary Age: 24 School: ISMT College, Kathmandu Artist Statement: Nepal is a landlocked country between China on the North and India to the South. This photograph was taken on an early winter morning. The cemented rounded wall called â€œKillaâ€? is the representation of the border. This kind of open border allows for smuggling, murder, kidnapping and several other problems in Nepal.
26/ spring 2014
Title: Prayer Time Camera: iPhone 4s Artist: Michelle Zei Age: 21 School:Temple University, Baltimore, MA Artist Statement: Israelis and Palestinians both come to worship at the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron where it is believed that Abraham is buried. Here, a man is walking toward the security entrance for non-Israelis while Jews (back) leave through a different exit.
Title: El Guanaco Camera: iPhone 4 Artist: Madison Rogas Age: 21 School: Davidson College, Houston, Texas Artist Statement: El Guanaco: a relative to the llama and alpaca. Or, in the case of the Chilean Student Movement, the police vehicle that shoots water at students. Chilean university and college students alike are currently fighting for equal and quality education. During student protests â€œlos pacosâ€? (Chilean slang for police) use the guanacos to break up the manifestations.
Title: Vehicle Access Prohibited Camera:Canon EOS Rebel Name: Jillian Grant Age: 20 School: University of San Diego Artist Statement: This photograph was taken half a mile from the U.S.-Mexico Border in Border Field State Park. The building was unoccupied and seemed to be for visitor information. Vehicles were not allowed to drive through this area or on the road to the beach. The road divides at the building and eventually reconnects.
mosaic / 27
experiences How did you first begin the Images of the World Project? I started traveling right out of high school because I really liked learning about the rest of the world. My wife Tass started traveling in her early twenties. In the mid-eighties we decided to bicycle around the world. When we came back from that trip we were asked to do slide programs at a teacherâ€™s service and after that a bunch of teachers asked if we could do a similar program in their schools. We agreed and thatâ€™s how we started Images of the World. That was in 1987, since then 1.6 million students have seen our shows.
An Interview with Images of the World
Bruce Junek and Tass Thacker are a husband and wife team who have dedicated their lives to going on global adventures and using their photographs and stories to introduce students to a global
28 / spring 2014
perspective. Their project is called Images of the World and their program includes stories from their most recent trip to China and their most daring feat: bicycling around the world.
What is the philosophy behind your travels and your way of life? We think the world is a very interesting place and we just want to learn as much as we can. We are really interested in history, archeology, and natural history. We also love to learn about animals and birds, and culture. We are interested in cities, but we also really enjoy getting out, miles from anywhere, and camping all alone. Traveling puts all of that together, plus adventure. We are both very athletic so we like bicycling because we get a lot of exercise and it makes the journey into a challenge. We learned how to travel super cheap. We would get shortterm jobs that would pay well, like construction jobs. We would work for half a year or a year and save enough money to travel for half a year or a year. The key for us was that we started doing what we loved, and what we were re-
experiences ally interested in. Then, we figured out a way to make money from it. That kind of lifestyle is still appealing to us even though I’m 59 now and Tass is 61. We are still doing adventures and planning our next trip and we still love it. On your website it mentions that you had 42 flat tires when you went on your world bicycle tour. When that happens, what do you do? We had to carry a pretty good little tool kit because there can be obstacles a lot worse than flat tires. I’ve got all the basic tools, like wire, which might not sound like much but you can do amazing things with wire and duct tape. And we carry extra tubes and also extra package kits. Parts of the trip we carried three spare tires. In the eighties we rode from Singapore to Kathmandu in Nepal across Southeast Asia and at that time there weren’t a lot of great bike shops. We had to know how to deal with problems. We also carried water purification filters, and iodine, and we had a stove to cook our food, a tent, camera equipment, and lots of books because that was before anything digital so in the evening we’d read. No one had invented headlamps yet! We had to read by candlelight in our tents.
being super selective. Photography was what helped our program because without the photos nobody is going to sit in a dark room for an hour and listen to you tell stories about your trip. Do you have a favorite adventure or a favorite memory from one of your trips? Our around the world trip was huge for us; it took five years to complete and all our life’s savings. That was our first bicycle trip and we figured that for however long our money would last, that’s how long we could go for. We thought we could travel for 18 months, but we were able to stretch our money for 26 months. We pedaled all the way around the world! That’s hard to top. Bruce Junek and Tass Thacker have been giving Images of the World slide shows as a full-time job since 1990. They now travel six months each year giving slide programs. The rest of the year they work on creating new shows, write books, do office work, and, of course, continue to adventure travel around the world.
What is the goal of the program you present at schools? We want to come in and remind the students that learning is fun and the world is a great and interesting place to have dreams and goals. We also emphasize that it’s good to at least be open to the world, you don’t have to travel like we do, but they need to realize that it’s important to find something that you’re really passionate about in life. It’s worth really thinking about what you want to do, not just what everybody else says you should do. Can you explain the role of photography in your travels? When we started out neither of us had had any formal training in photography, but we both had cameras and we enjoyed taking photos. When we did our around the world trip, we just brought one camera. We shot pictures because it was interesting and artistic, and it was fun to document the trip. We got really good at putting together slideshows, editing and
mosaic / 29
biology Suzanne Gegna
Are you saying, then That when the dinosaurs beheld extinction They turned to birds? Oh wondrous transmutation All at once and of a sudden They bore another form Hatchlings With wings for adaptation And all together They Parents and progenitors Left their bodies for nirvana Left their shells abruptly, Enigmatic To the end and to this day? And that you say Is where the Phoenix Myth comes from? Oh mirthful cosmos Tell me more of your absurdities You see how carefully I listen And take notes You see how hard I practice To be just like you
30 / spring 2014
The Jewel of Southeast Asia:
The Global Studies Trip to Vietnam
By Audrey Yang
The lyrical hum of the motor suddenly halted but no sense of panic arose within me, as waves bearing bundles of seaweed licked the sides of our boat, cresting and falling in a melodious motion. As slants of sunlight climbed gracefully over our wicker covering and cast its warmth onto my face, I felt as if that glowing orb above me was different than the sun I observed back in San Diego. In fact, everything about the moment felt different. I was drifting through a world that existed entirely on its own, extracting any stress when
I passed through its doors. With each breath of contentment I took while gliding through the Mekong River Delta, I recalled fond memories of the past and smiled with excitement when thinking of future endeavors, all the while discovering a newfound appreciation for the present. And while my body took the liberty of reclining in the sun and basking in pure happiness, I thought back on the days leading up to this blissful moment. “Interim” denotes an “intervening period,” a time distinctly different in comparison to the mo-
notonous routine of each passing day. For the months leading up to our two-week-long interim, I could only wonder what my time in Vietnam would be like. I had fond memories of our school’s global studies trip to Beijing, China in 2010 to reference, but other than those eight-grade recollections, I was experiencing something completely foreign to me. I studied the itinerary, waiting in anticipation to fill in the blanks with real experiences and knowing that every moment was going to be unforgettable. Yet all the while, there was the apprehension that I was cultivating unrealistic and far-fetched hopes. Even with half of my ethnicity providing me with the basic knowledge of Vietnamese culture, I was still largely unaware. How would this trip prove to be an “interim,” something truly out of the ordinary that would bring a contrast to life’s boring palette? And more dramatically, would this trip become a permanent fixture in the mind of my future self, altering my view of the world? Those lingering questions were put to rest the moment we Left: The trip included visits to Vietnam’s historical sites and activites with Vietnamese students.
mosaic / 31
experiences boarded our plane enroute for Hanoi after a fourteen-hour flight from Los Angeles to Taipei. In the entire cycle of traveling from one side of the world to the other, I witnessed each of my fellow travelersâ€™ genuine personalities. Despite the hours we spent breathing in airplane air and consuming airplane food, we each rubbed our bloodshot eyes and smiled wordlessly at one another in excitement. I knew that this group of people I was traveling with was a unique collection of individuals who shared the common desire to utilize each opportunity presented to them. The sun was one of the first things we saw in Hanoi; ironically, we did not see much of it once we came off the plane. Although weather conditions predicted a cloudy, grey sky, the overlapping air pollution spewing from newly erected industrial sites enveloped Hanoi in a thick shroud and gave the city a sort of ominous feel. As I looked out of my bus window, I saw the first stages of a political transition apparent in huge factories and western stores constructed in acres of rice paddy fields. I felt I was intruding on something private as I observed half-finished buildings on top of residential homes, glaring with neon signs written in a mixture of Vietnamese and English. All of this incompletion was apparent not only in the physical surroundings, but also in the people living in Hanoi. Our pen pals from Hanoi University were young adults who grew up under the communist structure and were in the process of gradually developing their own opin-
32 / spring 2014
ions. Like the city around them, they were growing, but their growth came in the psychological sense. Within the few days that I spent with my new friend, it was surreal to discover that it was possible to grow so close with her in such a short amount of time. I did not understand why my previous self speculated over the probability of us sharing similar interests or even having the ability to hold a friendly conversation. Any acknowledgment of a language or cultural barrier was discarded as we shared our identities and a plethora of incredible memories. It was when we made our way to the Mekong River Delta that the realization that I was in another country fully hit me. We were drifting through a landscape that appeared to be untouched,
unknowingly free from the strains of the rapid western culture I was used to at home. When I witnessed the Mekong peopleâ€™s way of living without a constant attachment to technology, any desires to consult my electronic devices were diminished. The strength of their relationships and their emotional connections came from their ability to interact on a personal level instead of through digital words on a computer screen. I felt ignorant upon discovering that such a society could function, if not flourish, while the world around it was frantically pursuing ways to reach what they seemed to have already achieved: a place of self-sustaining individuals content with their livelihoods. Political arguments and interests aside, the people of the Mekong River Delta did not
seem like they wanted what us American tourists had. Either they were unaware of what our lives were like, or they lost a desire for it upon seeing it was not the better way of life. I was deeply saddened when our time with our homestay family came to an end, and we departed from our personal fairytale to embark on our travel to the southern region of Vietnam. In April of 1975, my mother and her family ran from their war-torn homeland of Saigon and eventually settled in San Diego. I have always had a strong attachment to the Vietnamese portion of my identity, and I feel as if I shared personal connection with the country itself. My mother used to tell me stories of her childhood, particularly stories of living on the logistic naval base of Saigon, but as I grew older, I was exposed to her political view of the place she left behind as a little girl. As neither my grandparents nor my mother had returned since their escape, I was determined to explore as much as I could during the few days I would spend in her hometown. When our bus entered the bustling city, no words could properly describe the flurry of emotions I experienced. It was a mixture of excitement, awe, bewilderment, and
pride. Yet at the same time, I could not have conjured a more false image of the city in my mind. I imagined something similar to Hanoi, for I pictured an unfinished project in the midst of confusion. But Saigon was different; it looked sophisticated and pristine, hiding its past life well under its massive buildings and bright lights. It felt strange to sleep in a four-star hotel when I remembered my mother’s recollections of running through her farms and playing with her pet chickens. Though the government attempted to shield tourists from Vietnam’s history aesthetically, there was still a constant circulation of political views that were extremely present. Although I was unable to accompany my travel group to the War Remnants Museum, I heard about the life-changing experience they underwent upon viewing the photos and exhibits inside and hearing the words of those on the other side of the Vietnam War. These days were the final stages of our trip, the time made for establishing our perspective and cultivating the memory we would take home with us. Often, I will look back on this experience and nostalgically wish I could do it all again. But at the same time, I know that each moment can never be repeated and that they will only exist in a preserved entity of my mind. Those fourteen days spent in the “jewel of Southeast Asia” continue to influence my life today, and I hope that others will be able to share similar stories with the same sense of gratitude and joy. Audrey Yang ’14 of Francis Parker School traveled to Vietnam as part of the Global Studies Program in February 2014. She is a competitor in National History Day and an active member of the National Charity League, and will be taking her talents to the University of California, Los Angeles. Page 32: In the Mekong River Delta, Audrey was able to travel the way native Vietnamese do. Left:Before the trip all the students were assigned pen pals in Vietnam, who they then got to meet.
mosaic / 33
Karla and her siblings are able to visit their parents on weekends and during school vacations in their house in Tijuana, Mexico.
My Enlightenment By Karla Peñaloza
“Your parents have been arrested”. The look Ms. Patrick, my school counselor, had on her face the moment she told me was probably not as bad as the one I had on mine. I was waiting for her to start laughing, for others to come out and tell me it was a prank so I could go back to class and keep reading To Kill a Mockingbird-I was in 8th grade at the time. I was hoping for a camera to come out, which seems stupid now–who would prank an average student? But when Ms. Patrick dropped the news on me I wanted to believe it wasn’t true. I wanted all of my silly excuses to be real. I wanted it more than I’ve ever wanted anything else. I, of course, broke down and somehow managed to ask through the tears, where my little sister, Carmen, and I were being taken since
34 / spring 2014
we were the only underage members of the family. Ms. Patrick answered and she explained to me some basic information which I only half heard. I felt completely numb. I suddenly remembered a period of time in 5th grade when I became depressed because I noticed my parents were doing something shady. I had accused them of trafficking drugs across the border and lying to me about it. The day I learned they had been arrested was the same day I found out that I had been right: they were now in jail for drug trafficking. That afternoon, a lady from foster services picked me up from school in her van. She drove me to Polinsky Children’s Center, a 24-hour shelter for children
who have been removed from the care of their parents. She made small talk while I tried to hide my face. Right before arriving at the center, the lady turned to me and asked me probably the most difficult request of my life; she asked me to be strong in front of my little sister who was to join me in a few hours. We entered the institution, which looks like a prison with its high, enforced gray gates and buildings painted in pale brown tones. Once inside, I sat
she had asked my mom to let her wear in the morning. She was completely unaware of what was going on. Carmen knelt down beside the coffee table working diligently on some coloring paper and I fervently hoped she would not find out the situation for a while longer. Hours passed and another lady brought us some lunches in paper bags. Carmen ate almost everything, while I struggled to swallow past the knot in my throat. The worst was when a male foster administrator took us inside his office and starting asking me questions that implied my parents were abusive, which they were not at all; they were, and still are amazing parents. I became extremely angry with this man who seemed so cold and gave me a condescending looks. He then proceeded to ask my little sister the same questions. What I did not expect was a call from my big sister and brother telling us that they were trying to get us out. They instructed us to take care of Carmen, saying that everything would be all right, but my sister lost her credibility when she stated the last part sobbing. My little sister figured out what was happening as she heard my older sister on speakerphone. Finally someone took our pictures and we were taken to a large room filled with toys with a television playing an animated movie. After both of us completed some medical exams, we were taken down a
â€œThe day I learned they had been arrested was the same day I found out that I had been right: they were now in jail for drug trafficking.â€?
on one of the sofas surrounding a small coffee table directly in front of the counter and awaited my little sister who was in kindergarten at the time. I looked out the window, which was blurred so as not to show the outside, and shifted between feeling numb and quietly bawling my eyes out. I really did not want to see my sister but I also wanted to know how much she knew. Soon my question was answered; she walked in with another foster youth lady, and my heart broke as I saw her smiling dressed in the pink princess dress
mosaic / 35
corridor by a young girl to another room where we would stay for the night. It was filled with couches, toys, video games, basically a “children’s paradise”. The rest was a blur, taking a shower by the institution’s guidelines and dreading having to go to bed. Night for me had always been melancholic for no reason, but I sensed this night was going to be the worst, and this proved to be true. My little sister and I slept side by side, and she started crying uncontrollably saying she wanted mom. I did not say much, only that it was going to be okay, though I had no idea if it was going to be. To this day I still regret not being able to console my sister that night. I was not sure whether my parents remembered my accusations of three years ago until one day while they were in prison, my dad explained to me the reason he introduced himself into the illegal business. He told me that he had been having a difficult time supporting his family until one of his close friends told him that he could make money through drugs, so he started trafficking. My sister, brother and I were never negatively affected before, and they have always been great parents, but I felt better knowing that my dad had had the courage to be honest with me. When I thought about it, it all made sense, always having expensive clothes growing up, the many cars my dad owned, the trips to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the foul smell coming from downstairs and sound of my parents packaging something as my mom told me to stay upstairs. While my parents waited in prison, my big sister became my guardian but we do not get along at all. The next couple of months were painful but not impossible. It was a blur of visiting my parents at prison during the weekends and receiving calls from them during the week. It was very difficult not being able to see them every day and I especially missed my mom’s food and dad’s terrible jokes. Prison visits were always annoying, having to wait an hour in waiting rooms painted light shades of brown with several
36 / spring 2014
chairs standing against walls and a million 3-year-old magazines, and going through the checking in process. Sometimes visits were okay and sometimes very emotional. Often with my dad my big sister cried a little and I did too, her because she was under pressure going to college and taking care of a thirteen and five-year-old, me because I just missed my dad and only saw him through glass. My mom’s visits were usually funnier because that’s how my mom always was, keeping everyone else going, but I could tell sometimes she was not feeling great. Social worker visits at school and court sessions became normal, though I always sat before the judge with my heart racing, hoping she would not make the decision for Carmen and me to be taken away. My dad got himself into an illegal business to support us, and knowing this has helped solidify my ambitions. I know that I want to complete college, complete my education and acquire a career. All that, to make sure that I will be able to maintain myself or a family, if I ever have one, so that I never have to take the road my dad took to be able to support his family, to not follow his steps, at least not the wrong ones. I learned that if you are not always honest you can hurt someone, like my dad did with me every time he denied my accusations in 5th grade. My parents were deported but are living in Tijuana, Mexico. I still see them, though my big sister is my guardian. We all are more understanding of each other after seeing how it is to be apart from each other. As a result of my parent’s mistakes, our family has become stronger than ever, and so has my determination to achieve my goals with honesty. Karla Peñaloza is currently a junior at the Preuss school of San Diego. She is very active in the Global Journal Project counterpart on the Preuss campus.
Peacemakers: A Story of Iraq By Olivia Ghosh
ina: I left Iraq February 8, 2011. My dad was working with an American company. Some people told us that we had to leave, or else they would kill my father and his whole family, so my dad applied for IOM [International Organization for Migration], the program that got us here. I remember in Iraq my uncle was visiting us once, and I saw a man come in the room that I was watching
Above: Lina still vividly remembers her childhood in Iraq, particularly her elementary school experiences.
cartoons in. I thought, “Who is that man?” Then he started searching through our stuff, and when I came out, I saw a whole group of soldiers inside the place I lived. My mom was screaming at them, “What are you doing in my house?” They were searching for my dad, and luckily my dad was at work so they didn’t find him. They left us alone, but my dad had to go live with an American
mosaic / 37
family. I didn’t see him for five months. After that, no one came back. I don’t know where they went, but still we lived in danger because my dad was still working with Americans, and they could come anytime and kill my whole family. Most of the people that live in Baghdad got used to the fear, because you know every time something bad happens to you or your family, you can’t stop living your life. You need to keep going. If you just stay and hide and are fearful, you’re probably going
“They could come anytime and kill my whole family.”
to die, so I didn’t stop going to school, and my dad didn’t stop working with American people. My school was a private school and all of the Iraqi actors’ sons and daughters went to this school, so it’s famous, and the programs we had there were good. I left the good school because things got bad during the war. I remember one day when my big sister was in 2nd or 3rd grade, the roads were blocked and there was shooting, so they locked down the school. My sister stayed there until 8 o’clock at night, which is very dangerous. After that, my mom and dad decided to change our school, so we went to the community school that was close to our home. It was different because of the way we were treated. The education was bad, the teachers there only cared
38 / spring 2014
about their paychecks. They didn’t care about their students. I used to ask my first grade teacher, “I am a little girl, what did I do to you for you to hate me that much?” She would say, “ I don’t like you, I don’t like your uncle or your family, so I am going to hit you every day.” I didn’t like to go to school that much. It took us almost two a half days to go from Baghdad to the US and we eventually picked San Diego because we had some friends [there]. We stayed in Maryland for two or three days, and then we moved to San Diego. We applied in 2009 [to get to the United States], but we fled from Baghdad in 2011, because my mom was pregnant and they were afraid that something would happen to her. [I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to Americanize] because, in our school, we had a lot of Arabic students. Then I realized, when people started to talk to me in English, I couldn’t understand them! And I felt shy and embarrassed because I couldn’t talk back to them or figure out what they were saying. I taught myself to leave them alone, and I started teaching myself English. [Coming to America] changed my whole life. I didn’t have a future in Iraq because of the government there and the terrorism. I didn’t have a future there, so one of the reasons we came here was to find a better future where we can build ourselves and become better people. I never dreamed about living outside Iraq. Or
coming to huge country like the United States. Waled: At the last school that I went to before I left Iraq, I was a junior in high school. Education in Iraq was not really the best. It’s not the worst, but the problem was with the teachers and the principals. The principals didn’t really give attention to the school and what the students needed. With the teachers, the main goal wasn’t to actually educate the students. The main goal was to get a salary every month. We left Iraq because my dad was threatened by a terrorist organization. They sent him a letter, which said he must stop working with the American base or they would kill him and kill his family. Once we got that letter, my dad told us to pack our stuff and we
left the same day. We stayed in Turkey for one year and 10 months, and the process of actually getting us from Turkey to USA was really long, but the main thing is that we got here. When I first came to America I told myself that it was my new country, so I needed to change in order to fit this kind of lifestyle. Even though the high school we went to had a lot of Arabic people, I tried to speak English as much as possible. They Arabic students started calling me names, saying, “You’re trying to Americanize, you’re trying to be better than us by speaking English,” but that wasn’t my reason. English is the main language this country speaks, so I wanted to learn it. A barrier started to build between me and the other Arabic students, and eventually I stopped walking with them because they were holding me back from what I was trying to be. A couple of months later, I started to befriend American students and things started getting better. Sometimes, I wake up and think, “Hey, I’m in America!” We visualize America as the land of dreams, and that everything comes true once you get here. You can get whatever you want here, but you need to work for it, and you need to work hard. It does not mean that it’s impossible to do, but you need to work, you need time, and you need a lot of determination to do it. Lina Al Wakaa is a sophomore at El Cajon Valley High School. She immigrated to the United States from Iraq in 2011. Al Waled Altaay is a freshman at Grossmont College, and he lived in Turkey for a year after leaving Iraq and before coming to the United States. Top Left: Waled did his best to learn English and accimilate to his new school, he is now attending Grossmont College.
mosaic / 39
By Cornelia Feye
In summer 1983 the Wall still stood solidly between East and West Berlin. The Western side was covered with graffiti proclaiming “The World is too small for Walls!” or “Auf die Dauer fällt die Mauer” (In the long run the wall will fall) and other slogans. Spraypainted images of Trabis, the tiny East-German cars, broke through the barrier into freedom. The Eastern side the Wall consisted of a sandy, empty death strip, closely spaced watchtowers manned by snipers, two barbed wire fences, and a patrol road running along the 12 foot-high concrete barrier. Vega wanted to travel to Berlin from Southern Germany to visit her brother, who went to University there, and to see the Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum. West Berlin was a small, colorful island embedded in the giant gray block of Eastern Germany. After a few days of reveling in the various forms of visual and musical entertainment West Berlin had to offer, Vega decided to take a trip to the other side of the Wall to see the Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum. She was an aspiring art historian, and the Ishtar gate in all its blue-glazed glory, as well as the majestic Pergamon altar in the adjoining gallery, were awe-inspiring reconstructed architectural wonders from Babylon and Asia Minor. As a Wessie, Vega could visit East Berlin, but not vice versa. Going to the other side was not an easy operation, however. She had to take the subway to the station Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse and go through a lengthy checkpoint. Vega got a visa, a time stamp and was finally released onto Unter den Linden, formerly (and now again) the glamorous
40/ spring 2014
Main Street of Berlin, flanked by shade-giving lime trees, as the name proclaims. The old city center, including its famous museum island, had landed on the East side of the Wall. The former showpiece of the German capital was now crumbling. Understaffed, without climate control, the museums and had few visitors, which made the experience of climbing the steps of the Pergamon altar even more memorable. As Vega gazed at the cobalt blue tiles of the 47 feet high Babylonian Gate, she had the ceremonial structure dedicated the goddess Ishtar almost to herself and could imagine the processions approaching from the temple 500 years before the birth of Christ. The museum visit was also cheap. 1 Mark 71 Pfennige for two of the greatest architectural monuments of antiquity was a bargain. But what to do with the rest of the 22 Marks and 29 Pfennige she had been forced to exchange? It was worthless in the West. A cup of coffee and a huge piece of cream pie on Alexanderplatz only used up another 2 Marks and 13 Pfennige, and the generous tip Vega tried to leave was rejected sourly by the elderly waitress. “Tips are undesirable here.” Vega wandered around Alexanderplatz with its tall TV tower balancing a giant sphere 100s of Meters in the air. She wanted to be back in the West for dinner with her brother, so she walked into a music store that sold records and music cassettes. Of course no rock or pop music was available. Recordings by Punk bands like Dead Kennedys or Fine Young Cannibals were the single most desirable items of young East Berliners, because they were almost impossible to obtain. Therefore Vega had to settle for three classical cassettes: a recording of the Goldberg Variations
creative by Bach, the Brandenburg Concertos, and excerpts from Wagner Ring der Nibelungen recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert van Karajan. Relieved to have used up at least some of her exchange currency, she returned to Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse to cross back into the West. The crossing procedure was busy, tedious and ugly. Vega wondered whether the drabness of the Eastern aesthetics was deliberate or by default. The uniforms, the shabby furniture, the color of the walls, the squeaking turnstiles and the smell in the station combined to dull her senses and made her wish to be somewhere else. She had to hand over her passport again, so her visa could be verified and her purse and pockets were searched. It was normal procedure, but then the guard looked at her over his old-fashioned spectacles and ordered in broad accent: “Move over this way.” He still held her passport and purse with money and possessions. “Why? What is the matter?” Vega asked with some alarm, only to be met by icy stares. “Step to the side.” The guard repeated. Vega was escorted by two bulky female guards in green uniforms on each side to a door, down two flights of stairs and finally into a small cell. “Where are you taking me? What have I done?” Vega protested, but she was only met by stony silence, as her guards pushed her into the cell with iron grips and deposited her there. The door fell into its lock behind them with a sound that echoed in
realized that was probably not going to happen. Nobody would look for her for quite a while, or risk a diplomatic incident because of her. So she sat down on the wooden bench along the wall and looked around. The walls were painted with green washable to around eye level. There were air ducts high on the wall, but no windows. She was too far underground. A naked light bulb hung from the ceiling in the middle of the room dangling slightly. A wooden table with a chair and a typewriter stood in one corner. That was about it. Why the green paint? Vega remembered vaguely that it was easier to wash blood off green walls. She shuddered. There was something she should be doing, Vega thought. But what? She assessed her situation. She was locked up, three stories underneath Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse. She did not know why. She had no idea for how long. She was not aware of any way she could make contact with the outside and she had to go to the bathroom. The cup of coffee from Alexanderplatz sat on her bladder. Vega was also quite claustrophobic about closed spaces, and this was as closed as she had ever been. All her possessions, including her passport had been confiscated, and she could easily imagine that she would simply fall into the cracks between East and West and rot in this cell. It was not exactly comforting; in fact it was outright panic inducing. But the more she thought about it, at this moment there was nothing she could do about it, short of banging her head against the wall, and that did not seem very productive. Vega began to calm down a bit. The wooden bench was uncomfortable, but she could move it in front of the green wall and lean against it. That way it was not so bad. There was also air coming in through the two air vents along the ceiling. It was probably not very fresh, but it was breathable, and the temperature was pleasant. Not too hot and not too cold. Even though she was locked up, she still had enough space to move.
“She was locked up, three stories underneath Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse.” her mind, and Vega was alone. Her first impulse was to bang on the door and scream to be let out, asking why she was being detained. But she realized it would not have any effect. She wanted to tell them that she was a West German citizen, that they could not do this to her, that her government would find her and get her out. But she
mosaic / 41
creative At least she was not confined in a cramped cage. She also had light, even if it was just a naked bulb dangling from the ceiling. Funny, Vega thought, how we suddenly appreciate the basic necessities we normally take completely for granted.
“She saw herself as a small speck in the bowels of Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse.” Vega did not know how long she was going to be in this cell. It was possible that her worst nightmare could come true and that they would forget about her down here. Nobody from her family could find her, and the East and West German bureaucracy could simply fail to communicate. She would become a non-entity lost in the shuffle. Vega felt panic rising , her heart rate accelerated and her blood roared in her ears. Yes, it was possible, but unlikely. At this moment it did not matter, whether she panicked or not. She might as well surrender to the situation she found herself in for the first time in her life: sitting in a cell with nothing she could do about it. As Vega took a deep breath and let this thought sink in, the situation suddenly turned itself into a great opportunity. It opened up a space she never knew existed: nothing to do but succumb to this moment. Just this moment without thinking ahead to the next one. The moment expanded and became spacious, just as her cell seemed more spacious and her mind stretched and encompassed the entire city. She saw herself as a small speck in the bowels of Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse. She saw subway trains and racks criss-crossing above her, and she thought she heard their faint rumble in the night. She saw people in the train wagons moving across the city. People got out at stations, moved through turnstiles, walked down dark streets under streetlights and blinking
42 / spring 2014
neon signs. It had turned dark since she sat in the cell, for how long now? Vega checked her watch. Only one hour had passed. Better not check the time, or else she would get trapped in the panic again, worrying about how long she had been here and how long she still had to stay. Better to focus back onto the tracks. She zoomed down to the station, and with her mind’s eye traveled down the corridors until she arrived back at her cell, exactly where she had started. As if on cue a key turned in the lock and a uniformed sturdy middle-aged East German policewoman strode in. She threaded a form into the typewriter and sat down in front of it on the wooden chair without ever looking at Vega. “Why am I here? When can I get out? My family will be worried. I need to send a message!” Vega called to her. The woman did not answer. Did not even look around. “Name? Date of birth? Address?” she asked curtly. “You have my passport. It’s all in there,” Vega an swered. “Name? Date of birth? Address?” the woman repeated, a little louder now. Vega answered. “Why am I here?” Vega tried again. “What were you doing in East Berlin? Recount each of your actions and purchases,” the police woman asked. Vega began with the museum, the cup of coffee at Alexanderplatz, the purchase of the music cassettes. She failed to mention the conversation she had with a young East German family in the Café. The mother with her little baby in an old fashioned stroller implored Vega to give her some West German Marks so she could buy baby powder, which was not available with Eastern currency. Vega had relented and given her a few Marks. The Stasi could not know about that, could they? Of course it was strictly forbidden to interact with the population. The police woman finished typing, pulled her form from the typewriter and got up to leave. “Wait, I need to get out of here. I have to go to the bathroom!” Vega pleaded.
The woman ignored her, opened the door and left. Vega heard it fall into the lock and the keys turned again. Vega fell back onto her bench. This was bad, very bad. What had she done to land her in a prison cell? Was it a crime to admire classical music? Panic started to rise again. Vega felt her heartbeat accelerating. She observed her own fear and how her thoughts started to become muddled and her breathing got shallow and short. As she became aware of these physical reactions and observed them non-judgmentally, she distanced herself from them, and they subsided slowly.
“Time had become meaningless. She had entered its stream, like entering a stream of water in an inner tube. Floating along.” Vega felt she was moving with time, inside time and therefore did not feel its passage. Time had become meaningless. She had entered its stream, like entering a stream of water in an inner tube. Floating along she was relaxed but not sleepy at all. Her surrounding also became meaningless, because she had entered an inner space. She had stopped wondering what to do next or what would happen to her. She had arrived. For the first time in her life, she was really truly here. It felt very real and Vega was almost grateful for the hard wooden bench she sat on. It grounded her and confirmed the reality of her situation. “I have arrived,” she thought. An idea shot through her mind. “This is how Nelson Mandela must have felt.” As Vega sat suspended in her moment, the door opened and the police woman returned. She looked at
Vega with mild surprise. “You can go,” she announced. “What? Okay,” Vega scrambled to her feet. “Here is your passport and purse.” “Thank you.” Vega took her belongings. “We had to confiscate your cassettes.” “Oh?” “They could have contained espionage information,” the woman declared without any expression or intonation. “It is forbidden to take cassettes in or out of East Berlin,” she added for emphasis. “I did not know.” The woman looked straight ahead, standing in the open door. Vega could have hugged her. With as much dignity as she could manage, she took hold of her belongings and walked out the door. As she ascended floor after floor, stairs after stairs and finally emerged into a mild night on the Western side of Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, she looked at her watch. The timeless moment was over. She was back on a schedule. She had spent three hours in the cell. Three hours, three cassettes. While she had sat on her wooden bench, listening to the ventilation system, the Stasi officers had listened to her Bach Goldberg Variations, and Brandenburg concertos, expecting to hear some hidden information. This thought made her smile. She hoped they had enjoyed the music. Cornelia Feye is an art historian and anthropologist trained at the University of Tübingen, Germany. After moving to California via New York City, she taught Eastern and Western Art History at several colleges in San Diego, and is currently the School of the Arts and Arts Education Director at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla. Her publications include art historical essays and reviews in English and German.
mosaic / 43
ou stare at us with your eternal mouth, kissing and breathing on a bed of crushed love and permutated ice. You are the Dead God. Your clamped gills are spaceâ€™s endlines. We lift your tail, measure you on silver scales, us blasphemers. All the while small insects with shiny wings halo you, like fallen angels of evolution. It is the fly that makes The Fish repulsive, the humans who make The Sea dangerous; not the wet eyes, the fat bones, the womb smelling of sea.
arkness is a riddle and light is the answer. In the middle of a burning bridge, a man waits for you with open arms. His eyes are green, and his embrace is the colour of snow. He is your grandfatherâ€™s shadow, the feverish dream of dying trees. He is not the master of death, he is not the giver of life. He is the bridge of fire, he is the riddle and the light.
Ameerah Arjanee is a college student from Mauritius. Her poetry has previously been published in magazines like The Cadaverine, Magma, Bolts of Silk, Nyne Magazine, Sparkbright, as well as in a few anthologies. She was a Foyle Young Poet 2010, Commended Foyle Young Poet 2011, runner-up to the Elizabeth Bishop Prize in Verse 2011, and one of the winners of the Inspired by Tagore contest in 2012. She is a poetry editor at The Adroit Journal and the e-zine The Crocodile. Her favorite fruits are oranges.
44/ spring 2014
To the World, We
f wind will swallow every page Then it is safe to write the stories That tune its throat to howl with fear or joy Like something lost in a prairie. Then it is safe to write the stories I hear in the wind, race them back Under stars that pound like hooves The sky is blank and ready to be outrun. I hear them in wind, racing back To the city where they’re landing To wither in alleys and fire escapes Adventures wearing out my welcome mat. To the sitting, we’re still standing Just short of wild while we cage words I’m ready to drive for miles of grass Just to set them free. Just short of wild I would cage worlds and Forget to clip their wings Stories need the sun to melt their wax And ground them in earth and hoof prints. Forget who’s listening Lost in every possible translation Words are embedded in my soles I will learn where they’re from and follow. Lost in every possible translation That tunes our throats to howl with fear or joy Words are safe embedded in my soul If the wind will swallow every page.
mosaic / 45
46/ spring 2014
mosaic / 47
Global Journal Project & Mosaic Global Journal Project is a non-profit organization that enables school communities to form relationships across international and cultural boundaries by raising awareness of global issues through the perspectives of member communities. Independent, public, and international schools collaborate in a student run business to produce a magazine with contents from partner school communities. The profits earned by Chapters are reinvested in the community through service-based educational events and member-selected philanthropic projects. Working from within the network of schools, GJP seeks to shed light on the range of experiences of its member communities, raise awareness and understanding of global issues, and encourage discussion concerning these issues. Each GJP member collects articles from any member of the partner-school communities, including students, faculty, and alumni. These articles cover a broad range of topics and promote open and culturally respectful dialogue. This Chapter of GJP, Mosaic, is comprised of Francis Parker School and The Preuss School, UCSD. Visit us online at mosaic.thegjp.org. Like us on Facebook for updates and more. Anyone who wishes to use material in Mosaic may
do so at no cost, but with proper citation. All materials can be used for educational purposes, and none may be used for profit not benefitting the three-school collaboration. To help us bring this student-run business and powerful learning tool to schools worldwide, please donate to Global Journal Project. All proceeds, minus the potential costs of online transactions and bank transfers, will go towards specific initiatives determined by the donor. Donors may choose from a predetermined list of initiatives and will receive updates on project progress and impact through our site. Global Journal Project’s three-school model is meant to be replicated. If you would like to form a Chapter at your school, please visit thegjp.org/chapters for more information. Each Chapter of GJP relies on donations from our readers to produce the magazine and to fund projects, and GJP relies on donations to bring the model to schools worldwide. All donors can specify where their funds go. If you would like to donate, please visit secure.thegjp.org. All donations are tax-deductible in the United States.
Support Mosaic Mosaic would like to thank all of our donors who made this issue possible. We rely on readers like you. With your help, we are able to bring you stories from various generations, perspectives, and parts of the world. As you enjoy the stories on the preceding pages, please consider donating in one of the following ways: Donate: To donate, please visit secure.thegjp.org and designate “Mosaic” in the space provided. You will have the option to specify the amount.
48/ spring 2014
Submit your work: We accept any work from people of all ages and backgrounds to enhance our magazine’s diversity. To learn more, or to submit your work, please visit mosaic. thegjp.org.
Advertisements and Corporate Sponsorships: If your company is interested in sponsoring an issue of Mosaic or placing an ad in the magazine, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Francis Parker Mosaic Presents
Sponsored by Merrill Lynch
Francis Parker Mosaic Magazine