Monday, August 19, 2013

Up Tunari Mountain

Every BuildaBridge local or international service experience is filled with excitement, tension, learning, frustration, rewards and challenges.  Very early on in 1997 when we began, we realized how important taking the time to relax and debrief would be a part of every experience.  This experience was no exception.

The Tunari Mountain Range is a National Park.  With peaks well above 13,000 ft. it is filled with birds and wildlife to fill the expansive sky and mountain peaks.  The following images speak for themselves.

On top of the Mountain range near the reservoir

Children's Songs in Spanish

Very quickly we learned that children love to sing fun songs about animals in their own language--we know this.  A great site for learning Spanish is 123 Teach Me.  Totally free, this site provides all kinds of children's experiences for learning Spanish.  The song database is especially strong.  Below I have embedded three songs used in the children's class.  The 123 Teach me site has English translations.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of Mud and Creativity

Play is the work of children.  Without encouragement children will take almost any material and with their hands and imagination begin to create and have fun.  Such was the case at the Good Samaritan during a community Cob building experience.  While the adults seriously measured, prepared and dialogued about "where this and where that", the children and youth performed their job perfectly and without debate--play, create and enjoy the experience.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A day in the life of kids and dogs in the Village of the Future

Cochabamba, Bolivia from the Cristo de la Concordia
Cochambamba is like most cities in the world, it attracts the poor. People migrating from crisis and poverty have hopes of finding a better life in the city--cities full of promise—rewarding them for hard work, bravery and courage. Cities also give out a fair share of risk and danger. Around the world in lesser developed countries, migrants often settle along rivers and railroads where they can tap into free water and electrical supplies, living in makeshift houses from cardboard and tin. Or, as the case with the Quechua and Aymara of Bolivia, they put an illegal stake in the less desirable and rocky land on the outskirts of the city. Such is the case in the growing community of Villa por Venir (The Village of the Future).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Fish Poop Song

Hydroponics Demonstration System at the House of Hope

Who would write a song about fish poop (excrement)?  Callie Dean would as part of our service with Mario Morales and the House of Hope in his demonstration training for Hydroponics.  Morales is introducing a number of technologies for sustainable development in Bolivia.  Part of effective teaching is utilizing creative approaches to learning.  Singing about the process is one such way based on Mulitple Intelligences by Gardner, and more importantly used by many cultures as part of indigenous knowledge systems and guided construction of meaning through song.  View the video of the song's premiere at the training (August 6 at the House of Hope in Cochabamba, Bolivia) and read the English and Spanish texts below.  Can you remember the process of hydroponics (growing food with water and fish).

Callie Dean, composer (left) and Liezbeth Salvatirra, translator (right) practice violin in Cochabamba

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

People, Place and Art: From Permaculture to Mural

Kelly Finlaw
NOTE:  I have included this blog entry by Kelly Finlaw as an example of what happens when artists show up as part of sustainable development projects.  JNC
As an educator in the public school system, I am afforded extended vacation in the summer months. The New York City school calendar allows me to have all of July and August to spend however I so desire. In recent years, I have chosen to volunteer as an Artist-on-Call during July with BuildaBridge International. I have had the opportunity of teaching art in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic, painting murals in the mountains of Colombia, and most recently, facilitating a permaculture course in the Negev Desert in Israel.

Permaculture aligns with an arts-relief and development organization like BuildaBridge, it embodies the values of Asset Based Community Development and Place-making that are so vital to creative sustainable development. The concept of Permaculture is an all-encompassing ideal that focuses directly on the land and the people inhabiting it.