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Monthly Archives: April 2005

Dave’s Kid’s!
Originally uploaded by phritz.

Dave, Cheryl, Lukie, and Rachel and Laurel (not a Sullivan) came over to our home for dinner last Friday. We had a blast and enjoyed a nice warm night in Vancouver. We have been getting some great weather over the past week. Gotta love it!

We spent the day on the beach with the kids from the Treasures Program.
You can see more pictures here

Originally uploaded by julio and Lisa.

This weekend Lisa and I went on a retreat with the Spouses of Students group. We went up to Hamilton Lake area. It was beautiful weather. We had lots of fun, but it was also sad because we were saying goodbye to the McFarlands and the Wimberlies. These two couples graduated today and they move back to their home countries. It is so sad to loose them, but we are happy that they get to return home.

I am on my way to turn in my last paper for the Winter 2005 term!!!!!

End of the Semester

My first full school year back in school is coming to a close. I have one more paper. I shouldn’t be blogging, but it is not fun to write a paper when you are not procrastinating! Well I better get to work. After this paper I got lots more work to do to get ready for Spring School classes!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

I see the end! I finished two finals today. I got two more papers to go!!!!!
When will it end?

Click this link aboutCochabamba’s Water Problem.

The spark was privatization. A private consortium, dominated by the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, had taken over Cochabamba’s water system and raised water rates. Protestors blamed Bechtel for trying to “lease the rain.”

New Yorker writer William Finnegan traveled to Cochabamba to learn about the water war and to see what lessons could be drawn about privatization, globalization and the growing anger in Latin America over economic inequality.

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. 70% of its people live below the poverty line. Nearly one child in ten dies before the age of five. The Bolivian economy, never strong, was wrecked by hyperinflation in the 1980s.

Over lunch, I was talking to so friends about free market economy with some friends this week. I was telling them that in Latin America, the effects of neoliberal economics are more immediate than in the Western or more wealthy country. Here you can see video about the effects of privatization of water. I have been thinking a lot about this stuff being that we have been studying about the ecological footprint of cities in one of my classes. Bill Rees came in to speak to us from UBC. All I can think about is what Wendel Berry wrote in the book Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community:

Global thinking can only be statistical. Its shallowness is exposed by the least intention to do something. Unless one is willing to be destructive on a very large scale, one cannot do something except locally, in a small place. Global thinking can only do to the globe what a space satellite does to it: reduce it, make a bauble of it. Look at one of those photographs of half the earth take from outer space, and see if you recognize your neighborhood. If you want to see where you are, you will have to get out of your spaceship, out of your car, off your horse, and walk over the ground. On foot you will find that the earth is still satisfyingly large and full of beguiling nooks and crannies.

I like Berry’s ideas on thinking locally, but here in the Aguas del Tunari protest we have the example of people who both protested locally and thought globally. There was enough public pressure from the US to force Aguas del Tunari out of Cochabamba, but now they are taking Bolivia to court. There are no easy answers. Any one got some ideas?

Rudy wrote on his blog about the struggles of his nephew at a Christian College. I think it is a good entry to read. Here is a taste of what he wrote :

AND ANOTHER THING: My nephew said something illuminating about “urban plunge” mission trips. For some students, he said, going on an urban ministry plunge is THE WRONG thing to do. Often, at ministries like Harambee, volunteers tend to see the worst in the urban / black / latino communities. For someone with no experience with minorities, this type of experience just reinforces the stereotypes that are already out there: that minorities are broke, busted, uneducated, down and out, need someone’s help, addicted, jacked, tweaked, and “other.” The crazy part is that a person like me, in a ministry like Harambee, can unwittingly perpetuate this whole stereotype.

I’ve thought about this for years. It’s the reason why we emphasize positive images and hope. Take a look at our Harambee web site, at the photos therein, and the stories. We work hard not to misrepresent ourselves. What this discussion made me think is that I need to keep investing in showing positive role models, in showing ordinary people doing well, and I need to make a concerted effort to do this. It’s hard, because there is still great need all around us; it’s a mixed bag. Yes, some fit the description above, but most don’t.

My friend Sergio is on a road trip to the Tri-Cities, WA
from Pasadena, CA with kids from his bible study.
You can read all about it on his blog.
This is an important trip for him and the kids traveling.
Please pray for their safety as they travel and for the young kids as they are being discipled by Sergio.

Luis Rodriguez wrote an op-ed piece in the NY Times (found this post on David David Holiday’s Blog).
Look at this:

MS-13 is a result of our policy in Central America, specifically the policy that fueled the civil wars that sent more than two million refugees to the United States in the 1980’s. Some of their children confronted well-entrenched Mexican-American gangs in the barrios where they landed. For their protection, they created their own groups, emulating the style of older Chicano gangs like 18th Street. MS-13, for instance, was born in the crowded, crack-ridden Mexican and Central-American community of Pico-Union, just west of the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles.

After the Los Angeles riots of 1992, government officials declared the main culprits to be young African-American and Latino gang members. In the mid-90’s as many as 40,000 youths accused of being members of MS-13, 18th Street and other gangs were deported every year to Mexico and Central America. Sophisticated, tattooed, English-speaking young men raised and acculturated in the United States were sent to countries with no resources, no jobs and no history with these types of gangs.

Soon the deported members of MS-13 and 18th Street began recruiting among homeless and glue-sniffing youth who had never been to the United States. In a few years, these new members were making their way to the United States, ending up in far-flung corners of the country and recruiting a new generation. When the Department of Homeland Security deports the men it arrested last week, the cycle will start again.

When I was growing up in East L.A. in the 1960’s, I was a member of a Chicano street gang. I was shot at a half-dozen times and arrested on several occasions. I understand why a teenager finds joining a gang necessary. But thanks to a few teachers, youth workers and community leaders, I eventually left the gang life.

What would have happened to me if I had been deported to a homeland I barely knew? The gang members at the 1996 meeting I attended were trying to find alternatives to violence and drugs. They wanted to be incorporated into the country, to be allowed to rebuild, to learn skills, to make decisions about bettering their communities and to stop being harassed or beaten by the police and attacked by death squads.

While the meeting ended on a high note, with people applauding and promising changes, in the end little happened. A group of former MS-13 and 18th Street gang youth formed a peace and justice organization called Homies Unidos, but their efforts over the years to obtain jobs, training, tattoo removal and counseling were largely ignored.

Instead, El Salvador instituted a “mano dura,” or “firm hand,” policy. It became illegal to be a member of a gang, whether a crime was committed or not. Jails became filled with gang youth from Los Angeles. The same policy was instituted in Honduras. According to news reports, these governments were getting advice from American law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department.

Today we’re confronted with the same choice: we can continue the repression, arrests and firm-hand policies that only guarantee more violence and more lost youth. Or we can bring gang youth to the table and work to create jobs and training, providing real options for meaningful work and healthy families. In other words, we can help sow the seeds of transformation, eliminating the reasons young people join gangs in the first place.

We have the means to do both. Both have great costs. But one choice will worsen the violence and terror; the other will help bring peace, both in the streets of the United States and in the barrios of America’s neighbors.