Deja Vu All Over Again

When we were denied bus service from Honduras for this coming Sunday, I decided to do some looking into it.  The “fijese” the kindly bus lady gave was that it was election Sunday.  Curious.  My Google search revealed that general elections in Honduras are held at the end of November (this year specifically on the 29th).  Curiously frustrating.  We really needed to get back on Sunday.  After a day of searching from here in Guatemala,  a country that shares a border with Honduras, these have been the first and only articles I have been able to find that explain what the big ruckus is about:

Thousands March Against…

Does Honduras Need…

Still curious.  Still frustrating.  And concerning…obviously enough so to cause Hedman Alas to cancel bus services for that day.  And even more so, begging this question in my mind…does a country have to possess either oil or nuclear capabilities to have its crisis noticed?


How Surreal was Your Day?

Mine couldn’t have been more so:

At 8:20 as the church service started, so did the earthquake; like all good Central American dwellers, we waited for the shaking to stop and then moved on.

At 9:00, I listened to a message given to English-speaking Christian church-goers about how not to be gripped with fear while living in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, which incorporated the Islamic proverb:  Trust God, but tie up your camel.

At 9:45, I left church to see someone’s private security guard in the parking lot making sure that that someone could be inside listening to a message about not being afraid without being afraid.

At 10:00 I boarded a city bus to sit behind the military personnel posted there so that gang members might not attempt to kill the driver.

At 11:00, I participated in a protest for justice and listened to people around me chant:  “no tenemos miedo…no tenemos miedo”  (we are not afraid…we are not afraid) as a number of them were flanked by personal security.

Once I digest all that, I’ll have more to say about the protest itself…

The List List Part Deux (Just in Time for Vacation)

A second edition of lists that have flittered through my twitter (which isn’t really as racy as it sounds!).  And, again, I haven’t had a chance to work my way through all of these, but I  have high hopes to do so now that it’s “vacation” and I have all kinds of “time on my hands”…

Please peruse and use!!

How to Effectively Listen on Twitter:  Ok, this one isn’t so much a list of different things as it is tips presented in list form…still good enough to make The List List Part Deux!

80+ Videos for Tech & Media Literacy:  Any type of list by Alec Couros automatically makes my List List…Part Any!

PurposeGames:  Another disclaimer here…technically this is a whole site where you can both play and create educational games, but the games are then kept in lists… ;).  Either way…looks good!!

7 Habits of Highly Effective Twitterers:  7 Habits of Highly Effective Twitterers written by a “Social Media Strategist” … (I didn’t even know that was a job!)

9 Free Tools for E-Learning:  Like above…pretty much what it says…9 Free Tools for E-Learning 😉

50+ Google and Yahoo Search Shortcuts:  Again…self-explanatory yet quite helpful!

Word Play: A huge list of sites that feature fun with words.  It’s a monster…but at least they’re all in one place!!

10 Awesome Flash-Animated Interactive Websites:  There are 1o…topics ranging from science, social studies, health, music, writing, and more!

8 Habits of Highly-Effective 21st Century Teachers:  Thank goodness for these descriptive and straight-forward titles!  This one from Interface Magazine

30 Twitter Tips for Teachers: You got it…30 tips…for teachers…in regard to the use of Twitter

Teacher Clicks: Twitter in the Classroom:  Now stick with me here…this is a list of lists and article about how and why to use Twitter (in the classroom ;).

100 Awesome, Free Web Tools for Elementary Teachers

Keyboarding Games:  This is a gi-nor-mous list of games just for practicing keyboarding skills!

ICT Mindtools:  ICT tools that engage users in higher order thinking

8 Tips for Super Searching: How to search and get what you want when you want it!

Amazon’s 25 Software Bestsellers and Their Free Equivalents:  Haven’t looked through all yet, but am totally psyched about this one!!  (Just Say “No!” … to Microsoft that is)

100 Terrific Productivity Tools:  This one claims to be for the “bored or unemployed,” but I feel fairly certain there’s gotta be something there for everyone!

(Most of the above came courtesy of Diana Dell, one of my favorite follows on Twitter!  Thanks, Diana!!)

“Calm Down, Alvarez”

…this is what a dear friend of mine always says in a convicting voice whenever I’m getting all riled up about something.  She wasn’t here last night, though, when I got all up in arms about a post on Facebook.  Someone updated his/her status to say something like: “I just bought 1,000 grains of rice for the hungry” which was followed by the Facebook tag line: “Play free games to save the planet.” This upset me for a couple of reasons.   First of all,  the game was free…so you didn’t really buy anything.  Second of all,  1,000 grains of rice is about 1/8 C. dry (so 1/4 C. cooked or half a serving).  Great job.    In reading the pride (which I assumed through the excessive number of exclamation points used) in the post, I just couldn’t help but think…if you really want to help people, help them!  Buy an actual bag of rice (which would cost…what?…$3 for 5 lbs. and yield…what?…45 or 50 servings?) and donate it to a food kitchen.  Or better yet, take that time you spent playing the online game and go volunteer somewhere.    It is somehow offensive to me that someone would choose to use the free time that life in the “developed world” affords him/her to be entertained by playing games with food for the hungry and then brag about all the “good” he/she is doing for the world.

Now, it would have been at about this point that my friend would have stepped in and said, “Calm down, Alvarez.”  But, as I mentioned, she wasn’t here.  So to get my mind off the topic, I decided to check out other news and came across an article that not only said “calm down” even better than she could have, but has caused me to consider the amount of good I’m doing for the world…

Merciful Long Island Storekeeper

I hope you’ll read it and consider the same.

Where do I put this?

As if I hadn’t been struggling enough today with what justice means, what this whole movement is about, if I’m doing the right thing or being led by radical idealists, trying to look for direction through God’s word…along comes this article in today’s Latin American Herald, entitled…

Murders Up 15 Percent in Guatemala

Read the article or just check these stats it relates:

  • 2008 was the most violent year in Guatemala’s history
  • so far this year (Jan. – April), the number of murders has exceeded the number of 2008 (Jan. – April) by 15%
  • 2009 will likely see 1,000 more murders than last year’s total of 6,292
  • the first four months of this year have seen nearly 2,000 murders already
  • Guatemala (with 13 million inhabitants) has nearly the same murder rate as Mexico (which has more than 100 million  inhabitants)

Is something wrong here?  Obviously, yes.  But what do we do about it?  Does it matter?  Will God bring His justice?  Or is He already doing so?  How much blame can we hold against those who take the law into their own hands when they don’t see anything being done to help?  Is it wrong to even ask that?  How does justice get done?  Who should handle it?  Will we like the answers?  Where does forgiveness fit in?  Where do I put this?

The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it:

God, how long do I have to cry out for help
before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, “Help! Murder! Police!”
before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
and stand justice on its head.

Habakkuk 1:1-4 (The Message)

Will God’s answer here and now be the same as it was then and there?

Peace and Justice for ALL

Last night, around dusk, a crowd began to gather at the Obelisco, a well-trafficked area of Guatemala City ; the main hub leading to zones 9,10,13, and 14.  The event:  a candlelight march for peace and justice.  Prior to beginning, the organizers were approached by the press, but also by the police wanting to know what was going on and how long it would last.  It was a well-considered place for such an event.  The Obelisco is the home of Guatemala’s Monument to Independence, the base of which displays Guatemala’s Declaration of Independence as well as this statement:

“Guatemalan: This flame symbolizes our supreme desire for liberty and justice. Venerate it, respect, and never permit it to be extinguished.”

The flame, however, has long ago been allowed to burn out.

Prior to marching, the crowd sang the National Anthem.  Independently.  A capella.

As the darkness of the evening settled, everyone lit their candles and began walking the heavily-traveled circle around the Obelisco. The crowd, though not large, was able to completely encircle the area with light and continued marching around and around.  I was reminded of the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho.

I don’t remember how many times we circled, but everyone: parents, kids, grandparents…all were content to do so peacefully as many times as we were allowed.

At one point during the march, the President’s motorcade rushed past, presumably taking him to meet with the president of Thailand who is in country right now. We were only blocks from the hotel where he is staying, and as a precaution, the police continuously circled us circling the Obelisco.  Interestingly, at one point, from one of the police trucks parked along our route, came a horn blast of support. The numerous killings of police that happen here go just as unpunished as the killings of “regular” people do.

When the marching was over, people were asked to leave their candles in front of where Guatemala’s eternal flame should be burning.

Justice makes no sense to the evilminded; those who seek God know it inside and out.   Proverbs 28:5

Peace and Justice for ALL

Dream Big!

Just one of the many reasons to love dogs: