If you haven’t already heard, the Midwest has been torn and mangled by an onslaught of storms and tornadoes; it’s really quite tragic, and driving through the wreckage isn’t exactly the sight-seeing I was expecting on the drive down to Georgia. However, as this week is dedicated to helping others in need, the uprooted trees and homes serve as a reminder of all that I have now and all that I have at home. It reinforces the fact that there are things bigger than my own issues. I hope that as I embark on this week long adventure with a group of people in beginning to know and an organization I’m committed to serve, that I will put the needs of others before my own.
This past week, I watched part of a documentary called, “Have You Heard From Johannesburg?” and covered the apartheid that occurred in South Africa. It was extremely interesting to see the similarities between the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and with South Africa’s own civil rights leaders. It was also a bit disconcerting as well to think that oppression existed (and still exists today) all over the world. I was so angered by the fact that the Dutch (the oppressor) used education as a way to hinder the Africans from gaining freedom. They were taught in a different language to make it difficult for them to communicate. It angers me to write about it now, how someone could justify these actions. The ration between the Dutch and the Africans was 20% (Dutch) to 80% African; the oppressors were the minority.
One positive aspect though, was that America played an influential role in the movement by supporting the Africans from the oppressors.
This film was educational and brought to light a piece of world history I never knew existed. It makes me wonder how many other people were unaware, and how many people, including myself, are unaware of issues that are going on today.
I think it is extremely important to be knowledgeable of what is going on around you. It’s careless to assume you can do nothing or offer no assistance; any effort is a big contribution, especially if everyone is making some effort to better a situation. To say that you are happier or better off ignoring issues rather than working to solve them is selfish; let these issues effect you–it’s the only way they will have a chance to be overcome.
On Saturday, I was able to be apart of a volunteer project for “Rays of Hope for Haiti.” It’s an organization that takes donations of clothes, shoes, food, furniture and medical supplies and ships them to Haiti with other volunteers. The medical supplies is donated by local medical groups who would have thrown away this supplies, (unused and sterile, of course) but was able to find a cause in need.
Basically, my day consisted of organizing and cleaning a massive, abandoned warehouse the organization is using to store all of the supplies. The man that was there to direct us told us that it would cost about $3,000/month to heat the building, and with each shipment of supplies costing around $18,000, they decided to forgo the heat. It was super cold, but completely worth it to spend a few hours getting things prepared for shipment.
I can’t tell you how much stuff was in that place–if the produces of Hoarders had stepped inside, there would be an intervention–but each item was going to be used, which is amazing.
I never knew an organization like this existed, and to see how much has been donated and all of the people who are actively involved supplying people in need with basic amenities they would have had to go without, is really inspiring. I can’t wait for my trip to Georgia!
Because the quantity they have in store, and the huge expense of shipping, money donations would help the most. If you’re able, or would like to make a contribution, you can do so here:http://raysofhopeforhaiti.com/Giving/tabid/56/Default.aspx
This weekend called for baking session with friends. One made this amazing Oreo cookie dough recipe. You crush Oreos and mix with cream cheese, round the mixture into balls, coat with melted chocolate and refrigerate. For this recipe, she used mint-chocolate Oreos. They were delicious. I wish I had taken a picture!
I chose to make a strawberry streussel; something like dessert and also like breakfast! For this recipe, I used flour, butter, sugar, and an egg for the top and bottom layer. I also added shaved almonds to the dough which added crunch and a nutty flavor.
Once you create this mix, you coat a 9x13in pan with 2/3 of the dough. Then, you add about a cup of jelly/jam/preserves of your choosing; for this recipe, I chose Strawberry jam and most of the chunks of strawberry evened out with the heat of the oven. Once the middle layer was set, I added the rest of the dough to the top and the baked in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. After taking it out, I sprinkled powdered sugar over the top.
It’s important to let this dish cool a bit, because the fruit is SUPER hot–I didn’t wait, and suffered a burnt tongue for the next day. Here’s a picture of the final product…with a few pieces missing 🙂
All in all, the dish lasted about a day with people eating pieces throughout.
This weekend was great because I spent some much needed catch up time with friends. It began with lunch at Fazolis, then a late night baking sesh (which I will post later), and ended with a big group of friends laughing and throwing paper balls into water glasses at Steak n’ Shake 🙂 I think with all the stress of school, relationships, and work, getting together was needed by all involved just to relax and be reminded the great support group we have.
What did you do this weekend? Do you have friends that immediately relieve you of stress just by being around them?
I have not posted in a while, and here’s why:
But all that is going to change.
I’m a pretty blessed girl in the most important ways; I have an AMAZING parents and family. They’ve supported me through everything and encourage me to pursue every ounce of my dreams. Although I may desire to move out and be on my own, living with them sometimes is like living with a bunch of my best friends. They are just so much fun!
Lately, I’ve been feeling like I just don’t match up in that area: fun. I’m too serious, too grounded. I’m focused on my school, my work, and my future and sometimes I forget that life is RIGHT NOW, not when I’ve finished school, not when I study abroad, not when I go to law school. Life began the moment I was conceived and every day I’m living is a moment of my life. I realize that not everything I do is going to make a significant difference. I’m not going to do something momentous or something I will remember every day of my life, but I don’t want to look back and wish I had done more.
It’s been difficult for me to let go of this mindset that I have to give myself a time limit on when to finish college. I’ve been manipulating my schedule in ways where I can graduate a semester or a year before the rest of my age group because I’ve just had this feeling that once I finish school, everything will come together. I’ll travel, I’ll marry, and I’ll have this great life. The truth is, I have a great life now and I need to take advantage of it!
So I’ve made a decision. It’s not a huge change, but it’s one that I think will get me doing the things I’m passionate about and one that will allow me to relax a bit. I dropped one of my classes. This way, I’ll have a long break between two of my classes where I can study instead of cramming my school work in between my free time and work schedule. I’ve also decided to drop my minor, philosophy. Instead, I’m going to take classes I’m interested in, like history, political science, english…maybe even an exercise class!
There’s just so much I want to do! I want to volunteer and get involved in church and update my blog on a regular basis and work on scholarships and take pictures and bake and just have fun while I’m in school. Let’s face it; I’m going to be here for a long time.
As Black History month nears, and with Martin Luther King Day this past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way white people (Caucasian for you “politically correct” people) treat minorities. It’s challenging writing this because I don’t want to offend anyone, but at the same time, this is coming from my historical knowledge, observation, and conversation; please, correct me if I am wrong.
Throughout my day, I interact with a diverse group of people–African Americans, Asians, Middle Eastern, etc. There’s diversity in my classrooms (though still, mostly white). there’s diversity on the buses, at work, at stores, everywhere. But it wasn’t always like this. Fifty years ago, we (the United States) were just beginning to overcome absurd prejudices against minorities. Can you believe that black people were spit on, beaten, verbally assaulted, threatened, and considered to be the lowest of the low, because of the color of skin?
I can’t express in words the confusion and disbelief I feel when I think about this way of life, and how much more confusing it must have been, and still is, for those who were/are treated that way. To feel human, is to be human– no matter where you’re from, no matter what you look like, no matter how you speak or what you believe–and in each of us is an innate sense to be accepted and to be respected and loved.
I can’t say that we have overcome this prejudice, even though it’s 2012 and we’re fully integrated, and our President is African American–the truth is, it still exists. Racial jokes and stereotypes are fluent throughout our nation. Discrimination exists whether it is legal or not; it’s in our attitudes and the back of our minds–I myself struggle with stereotypes and judgments, but I’m working to eliminate them. My goal is to see every person the way God sees each person–with love and with respect to the feelings, gifts, and dreams within each individual.
I hope that this note, although long, will encourage you all to appreciate what we as a nation have overcome, and what we have left to complete in order to treat every human being humanely.
Thanks for reading 🙂