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UWC-USA

3/17/2016

IN THIS ISSUE

Latin America and the des t r u c t ive e f fe c t s o f t h e Wa r O n D r u g s

AVITAL BALWIT ‘17

A re s u b s i d i z e d p ro j e c t we e k t r i p s to d i s t a n t locations misguided?

A n ove r v i e w o f t h e S a n te Fe S e r v i c e P ro j e c t We e k Tr i p


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VICTOR DELGADO TORRES ‘16


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SHIRLEY TAN ‘17 I, along with six other people, spent Project Week on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Our trip was planned very last minute; in fact, the idea did not even arise until about 2 weeks before our departure. Due to this, most of our trip consisted of free time at Carmen’s house. We went with hesitancy and, frankly, pretty negative atat titudes. After all, we had all been looking forward to a week in Boulder, Colorado. Having that change to a week in a town only about an hour away did not exactly inspire enthusiasm. Despite this, our group was pretty nice; it consisted of myself, Jada, Adam, Dewey, Alex, Jani, and Daria. We spent a lot of time cooking, sleeping, and exploring Santa Fe. As much fun as we had enjoying the city, the most rewarding parts were actually the times we spent volunteering at local organizations. In fact, the most eye-opening part of this trip was seeing the meaningful organizations that exist just a few hours from our school. The first place we volunteered at was an organization called Kitchen Angels. It is situated in Santa Fe and is sort of like Meals on Wheels. For those who do not know what that is, it is basically an organization that cooks and delivers meals to those unable to cook their own meals. Meals on Wheels, however, sometimes denies applicants. Kitchen Angels tries to deliver meals to those denied by Meals on Wheels. Since opening in 1992, they have delivered over one million meals to people around Santa Fe. On Monday and

Tuesday during the week, we helped to prepare, cook, package and deliver meals to see how the organization worked. There, we met Teresa, who has been there for 15 years, and many other volunteers. I felt that the work was hard but finishing at the end of the day felt rewarding, knowing that we were cooking food for people who would be so thankful for it. I really wish we, as a school, could volunteer there more often. However, since Santa Fe is quite a commute, there are other ways for us to support Kitchen Angels, like spreading the word and donating to help them expand and keep going. The other place we volunteered was Young Women United in Albuquerque. This was on our last night. We drove to Albuquerque that morning and spent the day at the organization. We listened to their history (which you can read about on their website: http://www.youngwomenunited.org), hung up campaign pictures around the office, and then did a workshop with some impressive women regarding gender. For me, this was my favorite part of the trip. This feminist organization stands out from others because they focus not on white feminism but feminism for women of color. They focus on in tersectionality and bring up issues that women of color face that white women may not. The hours we spent speaking with these women taught me so much. Our whole group was so impressed that we spoke to Carmen about perhaps bringing the organization to school; both to share our school with them and to allow them to educate us further. All in all, I may not have had the most exciting Project Week, but I do think it was nice learning about local organizations doing such big things. It makes me think that our school should reach out and work with these organizations more often. If you have time, be sure to check out their websites! Young Women United: http://www.youngwomenunited.org/ Kitchen Angels: http://kitchenangels.org/


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DAIWEI ZHANG ‘17 Project week is a unique experience almost completely exclusive to students attending a United World College. With a focus on community service, students from different walks of life in each of the different UWC’s pursue a one of a kind experience fostering personal and emotional growth. The fast paced, communal, and pastoral experiences that are intended to be embodied by each project has become an integral part of the unique education offered at all UWC institutions. That being said, since its inception the grandeur of different project week experiences has grown immensely. Such growth in popularity and scope for projects begs the question: “Are current project week’s ideas conducive to the service component which these trips are intended to be focused on?” With an increasing funding for project week, the possibilities for projects that span beyond even national borders are more common than ever. However, if the original intent of project week is service, what is the need to travel to a far off location in order to explore service opportunities? This is especially true for UWC-USA which is based in Montezuma, New Mexico, a location that has extremely high levels of poverty and incarceration. There is a compelling argument to be made that these “service orientated projects” would be most effective if focused locally.

Currently the school provides $150 per person for project week endeavors. While the financial support from the school has inspired ambitious projects, it has also reallocated resources that the school could have been used for improvements in the facilities at our own school. (One advent for these funds could be the investment in ways to make UWC-USA and the community more appealing to teachers, providing incentive for teachers to maintain their positions for longer periods of time.) Additionally, by focusing project week into more local endeavors we promote the relationship between the school and the community that has the most direct influence on it. By strengthening these local relations we open up more opportunities for regular volunteering, performance opportunities, and advertising possibilities for UWC-USA’s own events. I am by no means absolved from blame. Like many other people on this campus I benefited greatly from a subsidised project week and I was able to spend a week in Washington D.C. with incredible company and unique experiences. However, I think it is important to consider that perhaps the romance that has developed around project week has blinded people from the service component from which project week was developed.


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should be banned instead of regulated. In a better world, drugs are legal, junkies are allowed to do what pleases them with their own bodies and these drugs come from places that are being safely monitored. In places where drugs like marijuana or heroin are legal, the laboratories are clean, the users receive help and they don’t leave a bloody pile of bodies in their wake. It’s naive, ludicrous, and utterly stupid to think that people will not drink, smoke, or inject when their lives are miserable. So the question remains: should we legalize drugs ? They are dangerous after all and they can cause addiction. Let me tell you my personal opinion: I couldn't care less that marijuana causes addiction or whether or not it cures cancer. I think that if someone wants to do it, it would be stupid to say “no” because the person will probably do it anyways and he or she will get arrested, particularly for minority groups. A few extra hundred people getting addicted to drugs cannot compare to massacres that are happening to produce the product illegally. Illegal drug production ruins far more lives in than the legal consumption does. Latin American governments spend millions of dollars on fighting organized crime, but these millions cannot compare to the billions of dollars in revenues that these organizations make from drug trafficking. The fight is nonsense, and it saddens me to think that people use the argument “drugs are bad” in order to oppose legalization. We all know some drugs can be bad! But the people arguing in favor of legalization are not stupid.

If you ever find yourself thinking about how dangerous it can be for a teenager to use drugs, do me a favor. Realize that monitored consumption is much safer than illegal consumption. Drugs cause addiction, but so does your phone and that has arguably greater cognitive side effects. Although substances like alcohol and marijuana affect our consciousness, these are not the reasons why doped, drunk, or high people are abusive, stupid or reckless. Abusive people will always be abusive, and they will use alcohol as an excuse. We will see the drug as the true culprit, but drugged or not, an idiot will always be an idiot. As drugs are kept illegal, Latin America is going to war with itself, leaving real issues like poverty, lack of education, and corruption as a result.

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