Refugees in retrospect and reaching past

I have been with Voices for Refugees for over two years now and I have seen the group mould and transform through different stages, different people and different environments. Having been in the group for this long I have grown an affinity with it. It has influenced me and I hope I have influenced it. I recall my very first sessions with the group. The “Why not?” that brought me there and the lessons I have learned.  I learnt three things being with Voices the first being that the world is not always about ourselves, there are 7 billion other people who also call this rock home. The second is that apathy comes from either a lack of knowledge or an over-accumulation of it without emotional response. Knowledge combats a lot of things: fear, ignorance, the IB, but the interesting thing is that an accumulation of too much information without emotional connection leads to a nihilistic response to the world. The third, however, is that neuroplasticity exists and conventions and mindsets can be changed if put into the right circumstances. I felt that in myself. Before joining the focus group, I could have cared less about refugees. All I did was feel bad and go on apathetically with my life. Things change you, for the better or worse and it is up to us to decide which one it is. I can safely say that the group has changed me for the better.

Carol Ann Duffy and her carefully articulated poems

Carol Ann Duffy is an incredible poet who I have barely read before our English classes. Her meticulous crafting of words breaks through the dispositions of society. She takes stereotypes and twists them to our disgust. Disgust in ourselves and at society for upholding such beliefs. I admire her use of extended metaphors for ideas and how she merges different metaphors to create a solar system of ideas, celestial in nature. The grounding of these distant ideas truly brings her poems to an empyreal level.

Wordsmith, Wole Soyinka and translated poetry

Poetry is an incredibly condensed form of literature. Each word carefully tailor-fitted to make each stanza a whole. Like the saying goes: “God is in the details”. However, when talking about translation, things go awry. The example of the Bible, with over hundreds of different versions and texts emerging from the simple act of translation. The phrase, “lost in translation” truly becomes a reality. The words that may rhyme in one language may distort in another. Rhyme in one language almost becomes useless as it loses its effect in another. One might even extend the same to connotation or internal rhyme. Despite this, I realise that the hardest job is to be the translator, ensuring that the message is still conveyed despite the language barrier.

Poetry lost in translation is however a beautiful thing. It adds a layer of complexity, a layer of misguided truth. The translated version is a version of the poem by another. In a way, the translation of a poem is an analysis of it redrafted into the translation. Therefore, analysing an already analysed poem seems like a feat that is difficult, yet we are able to do it. It brings a deeper sense of meaning to the piece, which condenses the condensed into a careful explanation of the double meanings.

Student Voice: an experience with empowerment

Student Voice has been an eye-opening experience despite my unvoluntary acceptance of the spot. I did not want to be in student voice and a part of me still does not want to be in it, however, for lack of another’s willing self-nomination I had to be the one placed in the job. A part of me does not want to be in Student voice because of the multitude of tasks I am already in. I already feel spread thin and I want to be as committed as I can to my other passions.

My experience with empowerment in student voice has been almost the same as in most things, but I think that is where I realised it. You don’t have to take a position in the student council or student voice to feel empowered, you can do it in so many ways. I felt that in so many other advocacies and I still continue to feel that. Student voice for me is not only something that added more to my plate but experience with tackling organisation skills and that if you prioritise well, you can add quite a lot to your plate

Measurements of Me

Personality tests have always puzzled me, they have always gotten most things right or none at all. According to 16 personalities, I am a Mediator. One who is idealistic, altruistic, creative, imaginative and thoughtful. I can say I am all of those in day to day life. However, I do not perceive myself as entirely idealistic. I am quite pessimistic about the world, but I have seen the beauty it can give. I can say that through personal reflection, I am both. I try to, as much as I can, integrate both realist and idealist views. I am involved in many advocacies and enjoy helping others.

I am also apparently open to creative careers. One of them is writing. I do enjoy writing and the arts in general incredibly. I have jumped through different mediums: Fine Art, Theatre, Music, and more, and I am fascinated in expression. I feel limited by such descriptions because with the segregation and demarcation of what you can and cannot do is quite imprisoning. I also apparently do not work in high-stress environments, which I feel is accurate but I still survive.

One of my favourite movies is Amelie, and I was pleased to share her personality type.

Life in the World Around Us and its Multiple Forms

Green is a colour seen throughout nature. On the leaves of trees, on the grass below, on the crystals underground, and on our minds and wallets. Deforestation has greatly affected the world around us. Species being thrown out of homes in place for ours. We, humans, have kicked out so many animals out of their homes without remorse and when it happens to us, we are lost and incapable. We have kicked nature out and through global warming, nature is kicking us out.

The Rainforest Restoration Project has stimulated the climate change activist within me. Whenever I hear remarks about climate change and its authenticity, I lose hope in the world. People can look but they don’t see. They don’t observe the world around them and make inferences, they don’t believe anything but themselves. Rainforest Restoration has helped give back to the world that has given me so much. It has given me itself to live in, its own being to consume and its life to live. We have been but pawns in the world around us, but the pawns are winning this chess match by murdering their own queen.

Trees have been a fundamental part of our ecosystem and life, without them half of our existence as we know it would not exist. They are intertwined with our being. It was always a joy working with trees. They are such intricate creatures, sturdy and resilient. Our greed for resources has forced these selfless peacefull beings out of existence. The world today begs me to ask a simple question: How many people does it take to destroy a planet? My guess: only one

Memories and Images

Each image we take is a snapshot of a memory. A portrait can tell a life story, one that is filled with seconds of vividity. We can look back to the pictures we have taken and wonder how much we have given away. The Memory Project helped me to understand that.

The Memory Project not only helped me regain my passion for painting but for life as well. The main goal of the project is preserving the children’s stories in paintings of their portraits to hopefully bring about a better world. Reducing one’s life story into brushes of paint is hard. Not only to gain resemblance to the subject but to convey meaning in it as well. Conveying the heartfelt meaning in their memory is a challenge I might never be able to achieve but I hope to retain the same childhood experience everyone has had. The Memory Project is a testament, that through art, through the still frame of a camera, people are remembered and never forgotten.

The Historical Significance of the Washing Machine and History Society

We must always put ourselves in challenging positions to further our education and our own limits. I have done so with an incredible leap. It was with the help of a washing machine. Although I have placed myself in a spot where it may have been incredibly ridiculous, this ridiculous choice has helped me learn that it truly is impactful. In History Society, we debated on the most significant event of the 20th Century and I chose the invention of the electric washing machine. I was to argue how this almost ordinary boxed contraption changed the way the world worked. I sort of did.

The washing machine was incredibly significant. Although I do not want this reflection to turn into a reactionary retelling of what I have presented but it opened my eyes to how we can change the world. The people who invented the electric washing machine did not intend for the world as we know it to change. Their invention contributed to the rise in advanced technology readily available in our homes, women’s rights, and the effects of advertising and consumerism. I could go in-depth on how it did, but I shall save it for another time. My point is, who would have thought of its extreme influence in the world as we know it. We can create change by revolutionising the world around us for the better. The small electrification of an already common appliance helped shift our mind into a state of wonder and mindless convenience. Changing the world isn’t easy, but if we can do simple but meaningful changes to the world around us, there may be incredibly influential changes along the timeline of our lives.