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Monopoly Board Events

I really enjoyed the activities on the monopoly board. I am not someone who usually goes out of my way to try new things, even though when I do I usually enjoy the new experience.

My Events

1) Mofongo- Mashed plantains and roast beef. – Puerto Rican Food
2) Rice Curry Bowl – Zao Kitchen – Asian Fusion
3) Movie- The Foreigner – Action Movie a Chinese and american joint venture film .
4) Peru – Tesoro Escondido – A documentary in spanish about Peru.
5) Speaking with an ESL Student – He is my parents neighbor and is from Peru.

1) I was lucky enough to go on a seven day cruise to the caribbean this January. I tried many a bunch of different foods while touring the islands. The thing that I liked most was what I ate on the island of Puerto Rico. Mofongo is a dish of baked mashed plantains and roast beef. We ate at a fast food restaurant on the beach of Puerto Rico. To me this dish just tasted like regular mashed potatoes and roast beef, it was just a little more plain of flavoring.

2) Zao Kitchen is my new favorite restaurant. It is super trendy and so good. You walk in and can immediately smell the rice bowls and curry that are being prepared. While zao kitchen is not exclusively catering to one asian type of food it is considered asian fusion. I ordered a curry rice bowl. I got brown rice and added steak, chicken, green beans, corn, relish and carrots. This is all then topped by a medium yellow curry sauce that does not pack too much of a spicy kick. I also enjoyed a mango mint fusion drink.

3) The Foreigner with Jackie Chan was a typical Jackie Chan movie. It was packed with action and explosions. However, I chose to look at from the view of being a foreigner in a different country. After his daughter goes missing, Jackie will do almost anything to get her back. Even though he is a former member of the chinese cia equivalent. I am sure that if this was a real story that he would have had to acclimate to the british culture and would have had plenty of adjusting to do without the disappearance of his daughter.

4) Peru Tesoro Escondido is a documentary about Peru that can be found on Netflix. I started watching it thinking that it was going to be all about the Incas who had lived in Peru before its colonization. The first half of this documentary talked about surfing in Peru. They said that if you have big waves in Hawaii that approximately five days after that you will have the same big waves off the coast of Peru. The documentary focuses on: the Cordillera, the Amazon and the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations. This story focuses on highlighting the best known icons of the country, such as Machu Picchu, and others not so well known and difficult to access.

5) I grew up next to a family from Peru. I never got to know them that well because they didn’t speak good english and I didn’t speak spanish. After going on an LDS mission and learning spanish I felt like a whole new world was opened up to me. I got to know my neighbors. I served in chile and they were from peru. Just like we have racial tensions here, in chile they hate peruvians and colombians. Chile is one of the richer southern american countries because of the mining that happens there. It was interesting to hear from my neighbors about how they feel about chileans. It was a good experience to speak with their son Luis. I had seen him growing up but didn’t realize how much we had in common until I learned a different language.

April 29, 2018   No Comments

Service Learning

My service learning was difficult for me this semester, as many of my plans took something of sharp turn halfway through the semester. A lot of personal circumstances arose unexpectedly, which basically threw my schedule around completely. So, my original plan to apply for and teach english with ESLC kind of back-fired (because of the the long-term commitment) and I struggled to find anything that worked with my schedule, because so much required established commitments during times I couldn’t always be consistent about. I still really wanted to do work with refugees however, and I eventually got a hold of  Leonard with UCRPC who was incredibly helpful in finding me some opportunity that worked more flexibly with my schedule — as he expressed to me a need to find housing for some refugee families.

So I was basically tasked with searching for housing options for these refugee families. I was kind of nervous about this at first, because it honestly didn’t sound very fun or what I wanted to do and also like, ‘yea find a couple apartments… should be too easy’. However, I came find that this process was not nearly as easy as I was expecting it to be. Finding the right kind of housing, at a low price, with the amount of bedrooms needed for these large refugee families (one of whom was a family of eleven), that was close to public transportation and especially the train station was pretty challenging on its own…but because these refugees don’t have things like credit or other documentations needed to secure an apartment easily, it ended up requiring several steps further to seek out and contact management companies for these apartments…in order to negotiate to basically accept and allow these refugee families to live in their residences.

This whole process really opened up my eyes to some of these simple things that I take for granted, and how some of these refugees and large refugee families really come here with hardly a leg to stand on. My experience searching for and signing a contract with an apartment or housing is so vastly different, and SO MUCH easier. It really helped me appreciate how much the organization itself has to put in to provide basic shelter and meet fundamental needs of people who come into this country for refuge. I mean I never have to search for housing with the worry or concern that a manager might say no and not allow me to live there. I don’t have to negotiate to establish that kind of stability and security for myself. It really gave me a real glimpse into some of the many many hurdles these individuals, and the organizations that help them, face constantly…and how complex something so simple and basic can become for them (like finding housing) because of their lack of resources. These were the kind if  things that I personally would never guess in a million year would be more difficult than search, find what you like, apply, done…which all of those things I’m able to do for myself independently which of course adds to that ease. For these refugees nothing was really a major guarantee, and a lot of footwork had to be put in…which I don’t even know how much of that actually panned out fully because Leonard took the head on much of the negotiating, but I definitely began to see and appreciate some of the “stressful” or “difficult” things I have to encounter in my own life very differently. Especially for the comfort of being able to work independently for myself.

 

 

One of the other things I helped with was the Refugee Awareness Night hosted at the Marriott Hotel. I was a driver for this event. I escorted several refugees from the train station to the event beforehand, and stayed through the event so I could give them a ride back to the train station on time afterward. This was a little chaotic, because I was asked to drive kind of last minute and wasn’t totally clear on some things that needed to happen. When Leonard first described where I would pick up some of the refugees and bring them he asked if I knew where the ‘Marriott Center’ was. I answered yes, think of the BYU Marriott Center, but it actually turned out to be the hotel. So I carted four somewhat confused refugee individuals all the way to BYU and then finding out it I’d misunderstood the location…had to direct them back to my car and head toward center street. This was difficult to describe to them while it was happening because few of them spoke english well…but when we finally arrived at the correct place I said, “we made it!” which garnered lots of laughs and helped ease the tension I was feeling because I’d was concerned that they may have been anxious or confused. I realized how much they really depended on me to get them where they needed to be, not knowing me or ever having seen me once before in their lives — not knowing if I’m a good driver, or trustworthy person, etc. That really struck me for some reason.

I wanted to interact and talk to the refugees I was able to escort or see at the event much more than I did, but many didn’t speak english at all. In the car, there was a young boy who–as we passed by Two Jack’s Pizza–suddenly perked up and said “Pizza!” so I asked if he liked Pizza which he didn’t hesitate to reply “yes”. And that was pretty much the interaction. There were two older women, and what looked like maybe the father of the young boy. One of the women I realized as we got in the car, had baby tied around her back. Being the safety freak that I am I was really nervous about that on the inside, because the baby didn’t have a car set and just sat in the mother’s lap as we traveled (needless to say I drove like molasses). They were seriously some of the friendliest and kindest people though. They expressed so much gratitude every time we got where we needed to go, and though there was a large language and cultural barrier…it wasn’t hard somehow to feel connected to them. 

I’m sad I didn’t get to work face-to-face more with these refugees, but I really loved every moment of the service I participated in. It’s been a really busy and difficult semester for me personally this term, and I had a lot of things back-to-back, particularly on the day of the awareness event, so I was worried I wouldn’t have enough energy to power through it, because my burnout phase was really coming on strong…but I found the opposite to be true. Somehow being engaged with others, even with something small, to help them just gave me such an incredible energy boost (which never usually happens for me…when I’m tired, that’s pretty much the end of it). I expressed to Leonard my genuine desire to come back in the Fall and really be much more regularly involved. I loved working with and talking to him — he’s so mellow and easy to get into conversation with, and though I didn’t see many of these refugee families first hand, I felt something of an connection and concern toward them the more that I worked for them . I definitely felt some (small, minuscule) appreciation for what they have to face and am amazed and just the happiness and vigor they express despite those obstacles…that they may or may not even full recognize themselves.

I also worked with XCEL Tutoring to fulfill my hour requirement. This I just thoroughly enjoyed. The day was spent playing games together with some of these autistic teenagers and students. I included this picture with the bubbles because they were probably the biggest hit of all the activities. One young boy who didn’t talk much, loved to chase and punch the bubbles with his Rocky-esque moves, as much as possible. I have a cousin who is autistic, very severely so, who I grew up very close to. He’s much younger than I am, but because his autism is extreme…so you really can’t talk or carry a conversation with him at all, because he’s so lost in his own world much of the time, except when you experience those rare windows where he connects. So going in, I was expecting to see a lot more of that because that was basically the extent of my exposure to and experience with special needs. I was surprised to see how talkative and social some of these kids were. I was actually able to talk and have some fun conversations with of them, which I enjoyed. Those were really some of my favorite moments. It took me a bit to warm up to the them because I came alone and wasn’t sure what the protocol was or what to expect. They taught me a lot in that short period because each and every one of these students were just so completely genuine and themselves, which made it pretty easy for me to fall love with them (which I pretty much did immediately). I kept thinking as I went home how I wished my interaction with adults was just as straightforward and genuine, or that I exhibited more of that ability to put down pretenses and be myself totally around others, how much that might simplify things in our lives. They were each graded at the end of the day, on progress with certain goals they had (to participate for example or not be argumentative), which I thought was cool. The UVU volunteers really just provided the fun, and it was a blast — a afternoon full of laughs and good times. Definitely something I would be interested to try again in the near future!!

April 28, 2018   No Comments

Events

1.  I watched The movie One Hundred Foot Journey. This movie is about an Indian family that moves to France in order to open up a restaurant. They end up opening shop 100 feet across the street from a rival restaurant and war between the two erupts. This movie hits on a lot of cultural issues: For instance there is line said in the movie that goes, “The French cannot become Indian, and the Indian cannot become French.” This I think is the basis for all the conflict in the movie. The two sides don’t know how to coincide with each other so they just try to get ride of the other. The other huge cultural thing in the movie is food. Food is the basic premise behind the movie. It is also said in the movie that, “Food is memories” and that is evident from watching the main character Hassan go through out his cooking journey.

2. I attended the Ethics Symposium where empathy was discussed. Some of the main takeaways I got from this presentation was that Democracy needs to be extended beyond politics, people need to be given a say in what affects their daily lives, and people are their own best determiner of their own needs. 

3. I watched the movie Hidden Figures. This movie is about 3 black women that were crucial to the United States success in the space race to the moon. One of the big culture issues in this movie is racism. Each of the 3 women experience it in some way. One wants to go to school to get more education and can’t because of segregation, another wants a job promotion but keeps getting ignored because of her color, and the last one has to run across a NASA site to use the bathroom. (which results in one of my favorite scenes in the movie) 

4. I went to Thai Evergreen and had pad thai for my first time. I didn’t hate it but I am not sure if I would have it again. I liked the use of cilantro in it but in my opinion there was too much of the sauce that was put on it. Overall I am glad I tried it because now I can say that I have. 

April 28, 2018   No Comments

Events

Food: Chinese Hot Pot

This was quite easily my favorite intercultural food experience. Finding a good intercultural food to try was a difficult task for me, as I have a lot of dietary restrictions and my parents are big into trying and cooking any and all intercultural foods. I also have a brother-in-law who is half Indian and whose mother is Russian…and both are incredible cooks. So it was kind of difficult to identify what foods I could try … and be able to eat. I love trying new foods so I was eager to jump into it, and then realized there were a lot of authentic asian dishes that I hadn’t yet explored.

My mom had a close colleague and friend who was Chinese, and he would make Chinese hot pot for her and my dad whenever they visited. This was before I was born so I never got to try it myself, but I grew up hearing about incredible it was…and it certainly delivered.

I found there was a hot pot restaurant in Provo with great reviews…it was snowy Friday night, so I invited my brother and sister-in-law for the ride. First off the restaurant owners were so kind and attentive, they really took the time to keep checking in on us and explain what all of the food items were…it was really helpful because none of us had any real concept of what to do. They asked us what broths we wanted, brought out a burner on the table and started boiling the soup base, then left us to our own devices to choose whatever items we wanted to throw in (tofu, vegetables, potatoes, noodles, meatballs, fish, shrimp…etc).

It kind of took me a minute to wrap my head around how it worked because it was almost more of a buffet-style thing where once everything was cooked, everyone kind of dove in together and took what they want. It was much more communal, and the store owner really emphasized that to us that we’re supposed to share and use the bigger plates to collect what we wanted to put into the soup…and the smaller plates to eat off of. It was really good, and the perfect way to spend a cold, snowy evening. The soup base I chose was spicy too so I was sweating by the end of the experience.

Something else that was kind of interesting is they had a cooler full of ice cream bars and popsicles that were totally complimentary…you didn’t pay an extra fee for it as a dessert. Huge bonus!

Food: Korean Bi-Bimbap

 

Korean food is something I have always wanted to get into and try. My brother is a huge fan of Korean barbecue, but I’ve never been able to try it (again because of my dietary limitations 🙁 ). I became a recent fan of certain Korean variety shows, such as “Running Man”. I often saw some of the characters eating this food called bibimbap, which looked so incredibly yummy…after looking into I found it could fit within my restrictions so I tried it out. 

It was pretty good…though MUCH spicier than I was expecting. I was told to mix the red paste into the bibimbap if I wanted it to taste good, and it really turned up the heat. I usually like a little bit of spice too so I don’t know why this one kind of overwhelmed me. It kind of had an odd flavor to it that I couldn’t pin-pint. All in all it wasn’t my favorite intercultural food experience, but it really got me into the Korean vibe, because after that I spent the rest of the semester trying out anything else I could find…Kimchi Jjigae (now one of my go-to favorites), tteokbokki, kimchijeon (THE BEST THING), and so on. My sister-in-law and I even made a night of it by trying to cook our own kimchi jjigae and beefo bulgogi for my brother (a major work in progress…haha).

Movie: Meet the Patels

Such a great, funny movie. This had been recommended to me by my brother-in-law and sister a while back. I never actually got around to watching it until this semester, but so glad I did. It’s a documentary — on Netflix — basically it follows Ravi Patel, a first generation American-Indian who kind of takes you on his journey of dating and trying to get married, in a way that will please his parents … which basically equals the traditional Indian custom of arranged marriage. Except this process has become much more modern, and applicable to dating the person more before actually getting married. So Ravi decides, after long fighting the system (and recently breaking up with a secret white, red-headed girlfriend) to give it all its got. 

So what was most interesting to me was the detail that went into this arranged marriage process. When I learned of the Indian custom to have arranged marriages in high school, I always pictured that sort of thing you see in TV or movies where people get placed in arranged marriages to settle political disputes between countries or villages. There was some of that at play, but in a much different way. So much research and input goes into the person’s background … it’s basically like a modern matchmaking system, with resumes for dating. What was really interesting was that the true that it all had to be kept within the Patel name…which in India is more like a way of identifying class by region, via the last name. So he wouldn’t necessarily be marrying a literal family member, but someone within his same class system or district, so to speak. 

In the end he ended up fully pursuing that matchmaking avenue, enjoying it more than he thought he would, as he did meet some nice girls…but ultimately none of those panned out and after some time he came clean to his parents about his previous long-time girlfriend, rekindled that flame…and eventually got married. So it really came down to the dilemma that many first-generation Americans face, which is a divide between these two worlds –their parents and own original, cultural traditions and American cultural traditions and social interactions. It was about both of them learning to meet in the middle and be happy with that mix.

Movie: The Good Lie

The second movie I watched was The Good Lie. I’m an avid Reese Witherspoon fan, so this movie had been on the bucket list. I was seriously crying buckets at the end. It was really moving and eye-opening, inspired by true events. The movie follows three boys from Sudan, who had to run for their lives to escape soldier and walk to a refugee camp…where they wait for year and years to be placed on the list to eventually come to America, and learn to acclimate to American life and meanwhile grow a kind of special tie and relationship with Reese Witherspoon’s character, who works with an agency to help them find employment…and eventually helps them reunite with their sister who remained in Sudan, as she was unable to immigrate alongside her brother.

So I came into this movie really expecting to love Reese Witherspoon, but I absolutely fell in love with the refugee characters an their journey and plight…first in Africa, and then in America.  My favorite quote from the movie was given by the Jeremiah refugee character — who in some of his frustration with American culture and customs (selfishness, social climbing, lack of appreciation toward basic necessities and those in need of such necessities), being a simple Christian-minded man, he eventually expressed to Carrie (Reese Witherspoon) that he missed Sudan, and when she asked why he replied:

“because in Sudan, you know what a lion looks like.”

I thought that this quote really summed up the similarity in what difficulties these refugees face, while still highlighting the face that the challenge of course is different. Though these young men were out of the face of danger from soldiers, famine, war and death…they came to America naive to some of the more subtle or foreign (to them) dangers and hardships.

This a was a really great, and well done film. Funny and incredibly moving (like I said — tears — so many tear). The coolest part about this — which I found later because I was curious if it was based on a true story (especially after that ending!) — was that the Sudanese characters were played by real-life refugees who had experienced some of the very exact things that were displayed in the movie. They talked about in an interview how the film was kind of therapeutic for them, though difficult to see and get through at parts because of how it so paralleled some of their real-life tragedies and pains, but it ultimately helped some of them to make peace…while educating others on some of these situations that are still happening today. This helped to put a real context around some of my service learning hours and work for refugees. 

Event: Native American Pow-Wow

This was kind of an unexpected event…I happened to be on campus and passing by the RL Arena when I saw some tables lined up and several people dressed up in what seemed to be Native American clothing and costume, so I asked one of the women at the booth what was going on. She explained that is was the PowWow for the Native Wolverine Association…with traditional dance and performances. So I bought a ticket and went inside. 

I’ll be honest and say I kind of went into this event blind and unexpectedly — so I wasn’t really sure what was going on half the time. It was really cool though. From what I could gather with the program I was given and what I saw is that it seemed to be a type of competition…I’m not sure if it was between or among some of the local Native American tribes, but there were different groups of dancers in the tribal dance clothing wearing numbers, and group of men in drum circles who performed. I thought it was just going to be college students, thinking this was a club activity, so I wasn’t expecting to be big…but it was HUGE. And it seemed like entire families and tribes from all over, ranging across many age groups, attended and participated. 

There was an announcer or “master of ceremonies” (according to the program) that kind of hosted the event. He was really energetic…it almost felt like I was at a rodeo or game show at some points, though I couldn’t always understand what he was saying. 

The drum circles were really cool. Everybody in the circle participated and they each had sticks to drum together with, it seemed like the circles had somewhere from 7-9 people or so drumming and chanting together at once. The chanting and drum circles really had to be in sync with each other, and it was intense as well as impressive sometimes with the vocals and chants how much they would range, yet harmonize so well and effortlessly.

The tribal dancers were often accompanied by some of the drum circles as well. Having a dance background myself, this part I enjoyed the most. I love love LOVED the costumes and clothing, everything was so colorful and visual, with tassels and tambourine-type bells that acted as an extra instrument while they danced. The choreography and movements are so visual and always tie to some sort of story. I wasn’t always sure what exactly it meant or what story they were telling throughout (and kind of wished there was some sort of narration to explain because I was genuinely interested to know), but some of the ones I could make out by the title or costuming or just what I’ve seen in the past usually centered around elements such as nature and animals. That for me helped me feel some of the more spiritual kind of tie-in. I had no idea what any of it meant half the time, but it was really neat and a fun experience.

They also had booths outside where they were selling clothing and jewelry. Really beautifully crafted items, and colorful blankets and shawl-jacket things (not sure what the name would be). The event went on for a really long time, and all the next day as well. I only attended some of the Friday evening, but from what I did see it all genuinely felt like a kind of window into that culture and a true tribal experience…it made me want to learn and understand more about it. 

April 27, 2018   No Comments

Service Learning

Service Learning Paper
This semester I was required to give 20 hours of service volunteering for refugees. I enjoyed this experience and am grateful for the lessons I learned and the people I met. It was the perfect opportunity to change my views and broaden the horizon of my understand of people from other beliefs and cultures. I specifically was able to help the Navarro family from Venezuela and Because He First Loved Us.
Victor Navarro is a brave soul. Victor is from the country of Venezuela, at the current times and in the past this country has been a place of corruption and turbulence. Victor decided that he would do anything to keep his family safe. He travelled to the United States illegally and saved money working to bring the rest of his family over legally. While that was many years ago, Victor is still learning what it is to live in the United States. I was able to speak with Victor many times while I helped him to practice up on his English. Victor is more than capable of learning English but it has been easy for him to stick to speaking Spanish because his family all speaks English. During our visits I learned to better appreciate Victor and his situation. I have always drawn a hard line on illegal immigrants entering the country, but this whole situation softened my heart. I looked deeper and tried to have empathy for the Navarro family. If I was stuck somewhere where I didn’t feel safe and that I didn’t have opportunity I would also try to find a way out to something better.
Volunteering with Because He First Loved Us was simply amazing. I was only able to make it to one of their activities. I was able to participate in the Music Day Program. We showed up early to make sure that we could help set up. I was able to speak with four little girls that were all dressed in traditional clothing for Islam. I got assigned to the kitchen crew and I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to be able to work face-to-face with some of the children of the refugees. I did manage to find some time to dip into the activities that were being run. I got to see a little girl make noise on a musical instrument. I was able to experience 10 plus boys dancing around and going crazy. Both of these brought me joy, but the thing that I will always remember about this activity was talking to a little twelve-year-old girl named Dahewo. She was born in the US so she is not technically a refugee, but her parents have raised her in their faith and traditions. I spoke to her for probably ten minutes. We talked about how I love the smell of coffee but I can’t drink it because of my religion and she talked about how good bacon smells, even though she can’t have pork because of her religion. The takeaway from this experience is that we have more in common with people that we don’t know than we realize. We are all just trying to do what makes us feel joy and happiness.
In conclusion my experience in the class has helped to deepen my understanding and to widen my acceptance of others. I have never thought of myself as a racist, sexist or a number of many other “ists”. This class showed me the areas that I lack understanding. It opened my eyes to wonderful people who have just found themselves in a different reality. Privilege is real. Privilege needs to be used to help others.
It is always better to be compassionate and empathetic.

April 25, 2018   No Comments

Service Learning

I have done a lot of service learning over my college career. I always feel excited knowing that I get to do something outside of class and outside the normal standard of a homework assignment. I truly believe when you ask me 5-10 years from now what am I going to remember more; A five page paper? Or a number of hours of service? I think the latter wins every time. That is what I love about engaged learning, there is more than just the classroom. 

For my service hours this semester I had a hard time getting things going. I was signed up for one event with Because He First Loved Us and ended up not being able to make it. Some time passed before I was finally able to get started on my hours. But I eventually got them all in.  

The first place I started going was helping out with the Habitat for Humanity, both at their store and at the hazardous waste drive. What I learned about the store was that it is actually a place where a lot of people go for service hours. I wish I would have known that earlier because I would have used it for other classes. But why finding this out about the store matters is because there were also people from corrections facilities there getting community service hours. I thought this was great because it provides a way for people to get outside themselves and to try to do somethings that are good. I think this speaks to what we value as a culture. It shows that we can try to give trust back to people that may have lost it, by giving them opportunities to be responsible and show they are worthy of being trusted again. 

The second place that I got my service learning hours was eventually with Because He First Loved Us. These service hours were with I presume actual refugees, or maybe children of refugees.  

The first activities that I did with the Because He First Loved Us was helping out with the Junior Jazz basketball league that they have going. I was signed up to help as an assistant coach. I was supposed to help the kids with their homework of they were struggling, but during the time that I was helping out I did not end up tutoring anyone. But I still learned things. What I noticed is that it seemed like a lot of these kids liked coming to basketball to just have some friends to spend time with. Not every kid wanted to play basketball, and on my last night I ended up playing some indoor soccer with a few of them. I think this shows that these kids just wanted to feel like they had a place to go with people that wanted to be with them. 

The second thing I did with Because He First Loved Us was the music day activity. This was where the kids would go around to different stations and would get to learn and experience music in different forms, such as instruments and dance. I was with the boys group and they were rather rowdy and weren’t paying much attention or respect to the teachers, so I think saying that they had a successful experience would be a bit of a stretch. But I think in the end what still sticks out to me about this event was that people believe in helping one another. Whether that be the people that put on the event or the volunteers that showed up to help, they were doing it for the kids, even though not everyone may have enjoyed it as much as we would have hoped. 

In conclusion, as I said before, this was not my first rodeo with service learning hours, nor do I expect it to be my last service experience. I am grateful for these opportunities because they give me a chance to take my focus off myself a little and give it to someone or something else. I think being able to serve people is a great way to break down barriers, whether they be of a different culture or your own. 

April 25, 2018   No Comments

WE ARE ALL PEOPLE (Service Learning)

My service learning experience was incredible. From working with a group of Refugee youth as a Jr. Jazz basketball Coach to serving with the Habitat for Humanity I have had a wonderful experience getting out of my comfort zone and growing. Honestly the service learning assignment made me a little nervous initially because it was something new and it was going to be with people from other countries who had different backgrounds then me. I didn’t want to be the stereotypical American who was arrogant, I really wanted to connect with the people. I feel like through coaching the Jr. Jazz Basketball team I was given a small chance to do that. It was so much fun to see the boys and realize they are just PEOPLE! We are all apart of the human family and despite our skin color being different, and our upbringing being different they reminded me a lot of myself when I was their age. The bottom line is we are all human and by that I mean that we have far more in common then we do different. We need to look for similarities and build trust and friendship and welcome people who are different with open arms. 

I also had the opportunity to work with the Habitat for Humanity. I had an awesome experience working in their Orem location several times, as well I was able to take part in the service project at the Provo Town Centre Mall helping to get rid of Hazardous waste. It was so much fun to see people from all over Utah come and work together to provide a sustainable future for generations to come. I was also able to have a slight impromptu meeting with the person in charge and brainstorm some ideas I had about the Habitat for Humanity and how they could improve as a non-profit and reach more people and have a larger influence. It was fun seeing that not only was my physical labor welcomed and appreciated but I was able to be a useful resource in helping come up with new ideas to push the organization forward. 

Overall it will be an experience I’ll never forget. 

We are all just PEOPLE!

 

April 25, 2018   No Comments

Service Learning Paper

        Service learning was not what I thought it was going to be. I think I went in with rose-colored glasses thinking how nice it would be to help and love on these people who are just coming to the United States. Service Learning with Refugees was nothing like that at all, it was hard, challenging and a growing experience for me. I will focus on the two main volunteer events I was apart of.  

Harvest Party

       This was my first real event with BHFLU. I really didn’t know what to expect especially since I was going to pick up 4 of the kids from their homes. Going up to the door I was really nervous because first, it was in West Valley, not the nicest part of town and second I wasn’t even sure I was at the right place and didn’t know who was going to be at the door. It was odd, I have never felt like that here in Utah before, this was something new. At the even I enjoyed spending time helping facepaint the younger kids faces. I was really surprised at how well this kids new English and the kinds of things they wanted on their face like; a basketball, a skeleton, and batman. For some reason I didn’t think these kids were going to have exposure to these kinds of things from American culture. I was excited though because for me this meant that maybe there wouldn’t be as many language and cultural barriers when trying to create a connection with some of the kids. With the younger kids it did not take very much to connect, all it took was a snack and some smiles. I had one little girl who wanted to sit in my lap which extremely sweet. I found it interesting that I was able to connect better with the younger kids than the older kids. I have always done well chatting with older kids, I think it’s because I’ve lost some of my fun side and don’t know how to keep younger kids interested in me but this was not the case. In the car ride back taking the group of kids I tried really hard to talk to them about what they did at the Harvest Party and what they enjoyed. I was able to get the little boy and girl to talk to me but the other two older ones did not say a word. I wondered it that was because they were more aware of what was going on. That I was there to volunteer and that they figured they wouldn’t see me again and that made me said. I wondered how many people they have met like me trying to “help” only just to leave after a little bit and never come back? I wonder if they had been hurt by this before or if they just got tired of dealing with new Americans all the time?

Basketball Camp

      This event was something I had never done before, I’m not much of a sports person. I was able to go with two of our basketball players from UVU as well as one of our volleyball players to help take photos of the basketball camp they were leading event. I enjoyed this event because I was able to be more of an observer and watch how the kids and how they interacted with each other and our players. I was surprised to see the age gaps in some of these kids. There were some really young ones but also high schoolers. There were kids who just wore regular everyday clothes and then some of the boy wore really nice basketball attire which I wasn’t expecting. It made me wonder how long some of these kids had been here and from what kinds of homes they came from, maybe some came from more well off homes. I realized I just assumed that if they are a refugee then they must not have any money and come from poor areas. I know this isn’t true for everyone, even my own family went coming over to escape war, while not rich, were well off. I think its so interesting how we think of people, or at least how I think of people from Africa as what we see on TV, the poor, tribal people or the starving child with no clothes. One thing that I really enjoyed while watching the boy play was how excited they were to talk and play with the basketball players. Their eyes lit up and it was as if they were talking to celebrities or something. It was like a childhood dream for some of these boys was being lived out and I was excited for them. I wondered how many of them would go on to play in school or if anyone of them would get to play in college like Andrew and Ivory. At the end of the drills and games Andrew and Ivory had all the boy sit down and talked to them about the importance of school and how that allows them to play basketball. They talked about how they had to keep going and keep their grades up and work hard on and off court. I think it was great for these boys to hear this and end the night with some encouragement.

           This semester I think it finally clicked with me that Africa is more than just these kind of people. I made friends with ESL students as well as working with Refugee in Service Learning and it broadened my view of that content more than it had been before. I did not expect these people to be Muslim, I did not expect some of them to them to come from money, I did not expect to them to be used to getting help and not wanting to start a friendship with me. I did not expect it to be so hard to build relationships because that has always been my strong suit. I really tried to come into events asking myself “what can I learn from this and how can I challenge what I think about this?”.  This semester taught me a lot about how I look at people and also fall into that “savior” mentality. It taught me that I still get really nervous meeting new people especially from other cultures. It taught me that not everyone is going to like be just because I’m here to “help them”. It also showed me a place that I could start getting more involved in. I discovered this semester that I want to continue helping out and becoming a more regular volunteer with refugees.

April 24, 2018   No Comments

Monopoly Board Activities Continued (4-5)

Chinese New Year

 

For the past few years I have had an opportunity to attend a few different Chinese New Year celebrations. On February 16, 2018 I was able to attend the celebration of this cultural event on UVU. There were a lot fun little games that helped us learn more about the games and traditions in the Chinese culture. As a reward there were a few different kinds of treats. There were also a lot of neat performances as part of the celebration. I loved seeing the different dances and enthusiasm for this party. I have gained a special love for the Chinese culture and love being more familiar with the culture.

Hawaiian Food

   

For my last monopoly board activity I had an opportunity to try some Hawaiian food that I had not ever eaten before and oh gosh it was so delicious! I brought my brother with me and we both shared our meals! We ordered Chicken Katsu and pork with cabbage. Trying these different types of food was one of my favorite activities that I did in this class. Even though I didn’t always like what Janet brought in to class for us to try (dried squid for example) I thought it was a neat way to continue getting exposed to different cultures. 

 

 

April 24, 2018   No Comments

Service Learning

As part of this intercultural communication class we learn how to communicate with people of a different culture, race, ethnicity, and religion.  We learn how to gain relationships with different people even if we do not speak the same language.  The dictionary states that intercultural means something that occurs between people of different cultures including different religious groups or people of different national origins.  When we learn different cultural, we are intriguing to get to know the culture, tradition and how to better provide service to these individuals.  I was able to perform service for these refugees at these places. 

The first place I was able to do service was at because he first loved us organization.  It is a relational ministry to refugee families to meet spiritual, educational and, practical needs through child and family mentoring and resource networking.  One of these things that because he first loves us do is help Co-ed basketball.  Since these refugees come from different country and some may not know English, so we provide the kids to come and play basketball and even be on a team.  In the meeting it was explained that if the kids want to be on the team for competition then they must get good grades.  Also, what a great idea for the kids to come and learn what basketball is all about and to teach them a few different things.  About two years ago I used to coach soccer for a competition league and the ages were 12 years old.  The main reason on why I wanted to be a soccer coach was because I loved the game soccer.  This was because I had a great soccer coach who was kind, firm and wanted his players to succeed at the highest. When the opportunities came up to play basketball with these refugees, I wanted to also to show my love for the sport of basketball and show the kids that you can have fun in basketball and who knows maybe you are really good at it.  As I went up there in Salt Lake for the first time with the organization I met the guy who put it all together for these kids.  This man was willing to sacrifice his Wednesday night to make some other kids who were less fortunate happy and have a good time here.  For the first time we were able to come together and meet the people and plan on witch jobs we would take as the basketball season sets in.  During the whole meeting they were all talking about the kids, not one word was about me, but rather them how can we make these kids happy.  I was grateful that I got to go up there and help participate, plan the activities for these refugee’s kids so they can have a more positive experience.

My mom teaches 2 Grade at an elementary school and sometime throughout the year she will get a new student that just moved into the area.  In the beginning of the year my mom received a new student who was recently a refugee and my mom gave me the opportunity to help her with her English, help her with basic math skills and more.  These kids have gone through so much and when moved into the new country I think they are already scared, because one it’s a new place, new faces, they don’t know how to make new friends maybe they are already scared, and just understanding the geographic area of where they at.  As I was helping this little girl practice her English, I could sense a dedication in her that she wanted to get better.  Some words she knew, and there were some that were tricky that requires the silent of the letter.  It was great to help a refugee have a better experience here in America.  As I was helping her I can sense that she was nervous because a new individual is helping her.  I let her know that the teacher is just right there, and she will have nothing to worry about.  Soon she began to trust me as we learn to say the words together.  It was a great experience to use my service to help others become better and I can tell she will not give up but reach for the stars.   

My last service opportunity is where he went and helped the Habitat restore.  This is a company that helps with people who have low income.  It is a lower version of home depot.  All the items that are received in the store are by donations.  So, the stuff that gets sold in the store, goes directly to help build the homes.  They explain that they help build homes for families who need a place to live, so the stuff they get sold in stores goes into the new foundation, drywall and electric for the house everything else is by donations.  The first day we got to the store and just helped organize everything from sweeping to mopping and organizing the shelves, couches and more.  Just recently a bunch of us from class got to help do a big service for habitat community where people in the community can drop of paint, oil, any household chemicals that they don’t want they can come drop it by where will take it off your hands and dispose them properly.  It is not safe to toss all the in the trashcan where they will be in the land fields that is not good for the soil and can harm the environment.  It was great to be able to take that stuff out of people cars as they drove off.  One thing that I thought was cool at the place was they had these two-big shred it trucks, so if people of a bunch of paper or documentations that they want to shred they can shred them for free and all that recycle paper helps save the tree.  It was great to see that it was a big go green service project and lets the communities know that not everything should go be going into the trashcan.  A simple task can let people know that this is not hard, but quite easy.  While for this project we did not work with refugees, but we got to work with all walks of life, to the individual who had the dirtiest car to the cleanest car.  I am glad that I got to help serve the community in any way I can even if it us dressing up in suits and getting dirty when you know its for a bigger cause.  

April 24, 2018   No Comments