Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Foreign IT Experts Lecture at Xijen"

I was in Sagada last night for a quick trip to use the village bank machine. As so often happens the universe had quite other plans. As I remarked in a previous post, living vivaciously is all about following your intuition every single moment on the twists and turns of the luminous path.

I was in my buddy Jed's restaurant in Sagada about to order dinner when another foreigner, an intriguing-looking young woman, walked in. As we both stood at the counter I insisted she must try Jed's amazing Peanut Veggie Stir Fry.

One thing led to another and before we knew it, we were in the middle of a lively discussion over our great meal. We were talking excitedly about our web development work with the latest Facebook App technology, java script and more. Turns out, Milena was a bright young Israelie programmer. We had lots in common to talk about.

An idea hit me.

The night before, I'd met a bunch of young women who were all first year Xijen college students beginning their studies in IT. It struck me that these young women would immensely benefit from a role model who was successfully navigating the front lines of the computer world in one of the top countries (Israel) for information technology.

I texted my friend Joel, director of Xijen, to see if his college would be interested. He texted back right away.

The next day, scheduled exams were postponed and Milena and I (mainly Milena) did a lecture on "Global Opportunities in the Future of IT" to about 100 rapt students. They were shy as can be, but they were attentive to Milena's every word. In the evening twenty students joined us again for a workshop on Java script. I learned lots too!

Oh... And about my original bank machine plan? There was a electricity failure in all the villages that day and I never did get to that bank machine (sorry Alvin!).

Life is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you're gonna get.

Milena helps a Xijen student with her Java script attempt.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Burning Trash... Or...

Yesterday I was walking down the hill in the village. I saw my friend Esther, who runs a local restaurant on the side of the road. She was stoking a burning pile of trash. Noxious tendrils of plastic smoke swirled about her like grasping ghouls from a hellish dimension. Her pile is right beside the river. When it rains all those toxic ashes just wash right down.

I had just finished visiting my friend Gloria. Gloria and I have been working for the last month and a half on a Trash Painting. Rather than burn our garbage, she's been collecting it and diligently cutting and weaving weaving it. My love Bianca helped me to design this dazzling beautiful pattern with Gloria's weaving. The final oeuvre is beautiful in two ways: aesthetically and symbolically.

I waved to Esther and I asked if I could snap her photo (she laughed at the crazy Americano). I then called her over. Under my arm I had the painting, I proudly showed it to her. She loved it.

And so did half a dozen other ladies at the nearby store when they saw us. It was a poignant moment of contrasts. With a little perseverance and creativity we can transform problems to beautiful solutions.

I didn't know what to title this painting. The last one was 'Perserverance'. So, we'll call this one 'Transformation No.1"

Title: 'Transformation No.1'
Creators: Gloria, Bianca, Russell
Creation: Dec-Feb 2012, Sabagan Village
Medium: recycled wrappers
Size: 29.5 x 21 inches
Price: 600$ (available)
Framed: Pine shadow-box back frame