Monday, July 27, 2009

Inwangsan, Seoul

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Hike up a pretty little hill in Seoul with my sister, who is visiting from Canada.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Africa



Please watch this video. And after you watch it, you can click on part 2 and 3 as well.

I have fallen in love with the singer K'Naan, who is portrayed in the documentary, as he goes around Kenya, showing life in the slums. I love his music...he is at once poignant, sad, and joyous. Definitely the most positive hip hop I've ever heard, but also, so heart-breaking, because he sings about real problems (he was born and spent his childhood in Somalia). Look him up on Youtube if you're interested, or click here to listen to one of the saddest and most beautiful songs, about his childhood sweetheart, Fatima, who got killed by a gunman. If you click on 'more info' at the top right, you can also see the lyrics to the song.

This blog has sort of fallen to the wayside, as I knew it would. I'm not going to give up on it, but posting will be scarce, as it has been. I simply can't be bothered spending an hour on a post anymore. But when I feel like it, I will, so don't give up.

I recently made friends with a Senegalese drummer who lives in Korea teaching music. His English is ... not so great to say the least ... but his French is 100%! So we've made friends and since we don't live in the same city, we talk on the phone several times a week in French. Which is fabulous! (thank you Canadian French Immersion program!) Him and his friends are continually telling people to go to Senegal, and how wonderful it is there. They are so chilled out and happy and positive. I really like talking with them.

And so, between him, listening to K'Naan these days, and reading the most heart-breaking book ever, A Long Way Gone (Memoirs of a Boy Soldier) by Ishamael Beah (who lived in Sierra Leone until his late teens), I have been feeling the weight of Africa pressing on me. And I have no idea what to do about it, but there has to be an answer, and I don't believe in extremes. I don't think pouring millions of dollars into the continent will solve the problem, but I don't think doing nothing will solve it either. I don't know if I will ever know the answer, or what this white, middle-class Canadian is supposed to do.

That's what I'm thinking about these days.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saving Africa's Witch Children



I wish things like this did not exist in today's world. These videos are hard to watch...beautiful, lovely, tiny children abandoned (if they're lucky), or more likely abused and/or killed because some religious nut brands them as witches. There are something like 7 parts total, and they are all worth watching. Go to www.youtube.com and search for "Saving Africa's Witch Children Part 2" to watch the second part. And also go to Stepping Stones Nigera's website to see how you can help the saint that started saving these children...a man who went there on business, found out what was happening, and opened a refuge for them.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rest in peace

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As you likely heard, former South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, committed suicide last weekend. His funeral was held today. On Sunday night, I was walking past Jogye-sa, the main Buddhist temple here in Seoul, and found hundreds of people queueing with flowers in hand, waiting to bow before his photo to show their respects. The windows of the temple were open, and a monk was chanting, as you can hear. Unfortunately the amplified chanting overpowers the saddest music ever, which was playing near his effigy. You can sort of hear it if you listen well. It was touching to see all these people bowing and crying and laying flowers. I walked past other, similar, memorials later this week. It seems they were set up all over Korea in temples and palaces.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yufo Temple (Jade Buddha Temple)

By now you should know how much I adore temples. Seeing as my 12 travelmates weren't particularly interested in temple-visiting, I woke up early one day and taxied myself to Yufo Temple, which was heavily into preparations for Lunar New Year:







A morning trip I'm glad I made!