Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Desha Show Episode 6: La Maya Riviera

Watch the 1st international episode of The Desha Show!  Join Desha, daughter Iyla and friend Craig as we escape the cold New England weather and travel through the Riviera Maya, the Southern tip of the Yucatan in Mexico. We'll visit Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Xcaret and more! You'll also meet artist and designer Macu of El Jaguar Dorado, love her sweet shop!

Thanks for watching~ Desha

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Women. Peace. CONTACT.

In honor of National Women's Month, CONTACT salutes the beauty of peace and the powerful women who work towards it. 
Caridad Martinez, MA candidate at the SIT Graduate Institute,
passionate and active in the field of social justice and social change.
Today's post may be a bit different from what you've seen here, but I would like to share an organization and program that is dear to my heart. In my last post, I described a powerful lesson that my daughter learned while we were travelling in Mexico producing the first international episode of The Desha Show (coming soon!) 

Beautiful Sudanese Women: Suad, Amira, Ayom and Samia
Contact Students
At five years old, my daughter learned the lesson that I wish the world could abide by, 

"even though you are from a different country and speak a different language, you can still be friends"

As she shared this concept, it hit me- this is why I am passionate about travel. I love seeing how other people live, I love learning about their cultures, I love the idea that if we knew more about one another, we'd see each other as friends. This is what prompted me to obtain my masters at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT, part of World Learning. This is what led me to my FAMILY of friends who mean so much to me today.

Susie Belleci, CONTACT Facilitator
and one of those friends I call FAMILY
A couple of those friends work for a program I'd like to highlight today. CONTACT, also part of  World Learning, is a summer peacebuilding program held in Brattleboro and South Asia offering development training in conflict transformation.

The program gathers participants (both men and women) from over 60 countries worldwide who want to further their skills and knowledge in peacebuilding, as well as those who plan to pursue a graduate degree in conflict transformation. The program explores ways to confront the past, intervene in the present, and create a shared vision for a secure and sustainable future. Through experiential and participatory education, participants develop a full range of peacebuilding skills and techniques. See below for more information. 
                                                            Founder and Director of CONTACT

The Founder and Director of CONTACT, Paula Green has decades of experience in peacebuilding in many regions of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and in the US. 
Paula is a winner of the Unsung Heroes of Compassion award, which was presented to her by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2009.
CONTACT student: Jane Mandina
founder of MPANZI

Wow! Aren't we lucky to have CONTACT right here in Brattleboro! 

Join me in giving thanks for the women who stand for peace and make it their business to make the world a better place by teaching the lessons we inherently know as children, but have somehow forgotten.  
Mariana Syrotiak, CONTACT Program Manager in Rwanda (I lOVE this pic!)
                                                  CONTACT students: Nadia Bourova from Algeria 
                                                     with Shikha Prasai from Nepal

Dora Urujeni, former woman parliamentarian from Rwanda 

Conflict Transformation Across Cultures

May 28-June 20, 2012 at SIT and Sept. 2012-May 2013 on-line

TOPICS OF STUDY: Conflict analysis and interventions, inter-communal dialogue, negotiation and mediation, peacebuilding and development, healing and reconciliation, peace education, training skills, issues of global relations, and more. 

PARTICIPANTS: Human rights workers, non-profit and NGO middle- and senior-level managers, government employees, mental health professionals, educators, and graduate students from around the globe. View profiles of previous participants and their testimonials. 

FACULTY: A diverse team of international experts and active practitioners, including:Dr. Paula Green, EdD (USA); Dr. Tatsushi Arai, PhD (Japan); Dr. Kevin Clements, PhD  (New Zealand); Baht Latumbo, MA (Philippines); Dr. Joseph Sebarenzi, PhD (Rwanda);  Susie Belleci, MA (USA); Paddy Moore, MA (USA); Dr. George Lakey, PhD (USA; Olivia DreierMA (USA); Adin Thayer, MA (USA);Dr. Ken Williams, EdD (Barbados)Diana Gonzalez, MA (USA)

The Summer Peacebuilding Program is a three-credit graduate course that can be taken independently or applied toward the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation.

Application Deadline:  April 15, 2012 For more information visit: or write to Visit us on Facebook or Twitter

Friday, March 9, 2012

Life Lessons and Inspiration

I'm so excited, the first international episode of The Desha Show is edited and ready to go. I'm spending the next couple of weeks seeking sponsors for the show and once I get their names in the credits, it will be shown on BCTV and online.

Watching Street Performers in Mexico while filming The Desha Show
Do you mind if I share a little something? I am feeling so good, so inspired, and so happy. A few weeks ago I found myself watching back to back episodes of Ugly Betty on Netlfix, eating cookie after cookie and feeling the effects of not moving from the coach for hours. Sure, we all do this every once in awhile, but it was happening a little too often. I decided to take action. I needed to turn things around. SO, I asked for focus, clarity and DISCIPLINE. My goal for the next 60 days- to stop watching Netflix and to walk everyday, no matter what, for 20 minutes. I'm on day 22 and things are already getting more clear. Better.

Meanwhile, I've been working with my editor on this last episode and it really hit me, "this is not work, this is fun".  If I could make more episodes like this one in Mexico, travelling around with my daughter, finding fun stuff to share, learning about the culture, and interviewing someone who loves what they do... it would be the perfect job.

And the bonus is, that I don't have to sacrifice being a mom. I can still spend time with my daughter, in fact, she'll be exploring and learning right along with me.

Have you heard the popular saying, "you learn all you need to know in Kindergarten"? Well, what if you could do it travelling the world with your mom at age 5? What kind of lessons would you learn? How would your life change?

The other day, Iyla was taking a bath, playing with her dolls and she turns to me, out of the blue, and says "Mom, it doesn't matter if you are DIFFERENT, or that you speak another language, you can still be friends".  She was thinking about a little French girl that she met on the beach while we were in Mexico. She was thinking about the fact that they could still run into the ocean and squeal as the water touched their toes, only to run hysterically back to the shore and do it all over again one thousand times.

It's true, it didn't matter that this girl was French, Iyla was American and we were in Mexico. What mattered was they felt a connection, shared laughter, and had fun together. This is the type of life lesson I want my daughter to learn: You can be different, wear different kinds of clothes, speak a different language, even have a different religion- and you can still be friends.

Imagine if everyone could live by this mantra. This is worth exploring.

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