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Posts Tagged ‘independence’

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My husband and I went to one of our grandchildren’s schools this morning for a delightful event called Grand Friends Day. Suzanne‘s oldest knew the ropes and was fine with letting us look over his shoulder as he worked, but her youngest said not to come because she would be too sad when we left after the designated hour. We knew that might be true. Since pretty much anyone can be a child’s Grand Friend, our granddaughter’s teacher was happy to serve in that capacity and enjoy extra one-on-one time with her.

Before Suzanne’s family joined a Montessori school, we didn’t know a lot about this approach to education, even though one of my own grandmothers actually studied with founder Maria Montessori. Even now we have no idea how one lone teacher sets all these little spinning-top children working independently on different tasks, but each one in the multilevel class (first, second, third grade) seems to know what to do.

Our grandson demonstrated a whole new way of getting ready for multiplication. It took me a while to catch on as he did his work. He didn’t want to explain it. Then he headed off to other tasks, including the one above with compound words. My husband and I helped him match all the words at the left end of the pink strips with words at the right end of other pink strips. We ended up with words like “necklace,” “earthworm,” and “bluebird.” After the teacher checked the work, he began to write it all down — first as two words and then as compound words. He was still writing as we left. (The picture with the teacher was taken by Suzanne on a different day.)

It was fun to see him in operation. He definitely didn’t want much help. I offered a red pencil when his yellow one didn’t show up on a manila card he was using for consonant blends, but he said he was supposed to use yellow for those particular words, and he was right. Also, I always have a really good eraser with me, but he didn’t want it. He preferred the one that was nearly gone on his pencil. I think independence is part of the Montessori deal, but he is probably kind of independent anyway.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! This mother is indulging her interest in photography today (the simple kind: pointing and shooting with a phone). So here are a few recent pictures and explanations for the less obvious.

For example: I went out for a walk one evening and was surprised to encounter Morris Dancers on the steps of the library. They seemed to be practicing, not performing. Where would Morris dancers be performing in late April, after Patriots Day? That was a mystery. Another mystery to me was how young men and boys get drawn into performing Morris Dance. I’m sure it’s good exercise, but …

I include shots of a clay bird’s shadow on my wall and hedge shadows on a sidewalk. The fence with the stage coach and other old timey images painted along the railings is in Providence — easy to overlook when walking past.

Providence plaques and memorials. The one of Martin Luther King Jr. is on a bridge with a view of Water Place. The monument to an event Rhode Island celebrates as the real first engagement of the American Revolution — the colonists’  clash with Brits on the HMS Gaspee — is partly obscured by bushes.

Little old Rhode Island gets no respect. It was also the first colony to sign on for independence, May 4, 1776. Who knew?

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I think it’s safe to say that most adults would rather take care of themselves than rely on charity, but sometimes it’s hard for people living in extreme poverty to figure out how to cut the cord. Beth Alaimo at the Christian Science Monitor‘s People Making a Difference has a story about some Ugandans who are finding a way.

“Iganga, a town conveniently located along the central highway from Kampala to Nairobi, is much more than a popular truck stop. It’s where Musana, a community organization breaking Uganda’s reliance on foreign aid, has made its home. …

“With 67 percent of the population living in poverty, Uganda is no stranger to dependency. Despite being a popular region for development ventures, organizations often lack an approach that prioritizes what locals want and need while leaving the savior mentality behind.

“Originally a children’s home for 80 orphans, Musana Community Development Organization decided to change its model from a system that perpetuated child-rearing dependency to one that encouraged parents to provide what they could. Today, says co-founder Leah Pauline, ‘we are more than a charity. We’re a sustainable solution for the community.’ …

“Its first and largest project, the nursery and primary boarding school, is the closest to being self-sustainable. Roughly 600 students are attending this upcoming semester, an estimated 500 of whom are paying fees, with the rest receiving scholarships.

“Businesses created and run by locals are also moving the Musana community closer to achieving sustainability. A trendy restaurant (the ‘only place in Iganga you can find a burger’ says Pauline), a dairy farm, and handmade women’s crafts are all businesses funding community outreach.

“A bakery is the newest sustainability project at Musana and has quickly become profitable. Proposed and started by the head of child care, the kids often come in and help bake.” More here.

A famed Wharton School professor from South Africa, Ian C. MacMillan, has been known to complain about the dependency cycle he sees in Africa, and has taken steps on his own to boost independent small businesses there. An article here is partly about that work.

Photo: Musana Community Development Organization
The Musana Community Development Organization runs several enterprises, including a nursery and primary boarding school. A bakery, proposed and started by the head of child care, is the newest project and has quickly become profitable. The children often come in and help bake.

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The uncle of my co-worker from Ghana is a very fine photographer who chronicled much of the last days of colonialism and the beginning of independence in his native land.

Another colleague was reading an article about the uncle’s new book in the Washington Post and thought, “Could they be related?” They are.

Nicole Crowder wrote at the Post, “In 1957, after over a century of colonization, Ghana gained independence from Britain. Just 30 years prior, in 1929, photographer James Barnor was born in the country’s capital Accra — then the Gold Coast colony — and over the course of a career that spanned more than six decades would become one of Ghana’s leading and most well-known photographers.

“Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Barnor created a definitive portfolio of street and studio portraiture depicting societies in transition: images of a burgeoning sub-Saharan African nation moving toward independence, and a European capital city becoming a multicultural metropolis.

“Ghana in the 1950s was experiencing a radiance of post-colonization as well as its ‘heyday of Highlife,’ a fusion of traditional African rhythms, Latin calypso and jazz influences that would soon spread across Ghana’s borders to West Africa and beyond. … Barnor captured all of this energy, playing at once artist, director, photographer and technician, by offering a well-rounded portrait of Ghanian life from many walks of life.

“On Oct. 8, Autograph ABP and the gallery Clementine de la Feronniere [released] the book ‘Ever Young‘ showcasing Barnor’s extensive archive, followed by a corresponding photo exhibition in Paris through Nov. 21.”

More at the Washington Post.

Photo: James Barnor/Autograph, ABP
Nigerian Superman, Old Polo Ground, Accra, 1957–58.

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The tail of the hurricane socked us pretty hard on the Glorious Fourth, so the parade, the fire-police-and-rescue steak fry, and the fireworks were put off until the 5th.

Makes me wonder about how people felt on the 5th in 1776, realizing that they were in for it now. That it might not work.

The theme of this year’s parade was children’s books. There were at least two Cat In the Hat floats and two very differently conceived Hungry Caterpillar entries. I managed to to snap the Little Toot float — it’s always good to have a boat in an island parade.

This was Erik’s first Independence Day parade since he became a citizen, and the first that our two-year-old grandson really got into. He will need to brush his teeth especially well tonight. Only very sticky candy like Tootsie Rolls seemed to be tossed to the crowd.

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I was reading about the latest enthusiastic group of LEAF interns in the Block Island Times tonight and decided to look up more information on the program.

The Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program is an initiative started by the Nature Conservancy (TNC) 17 years ago. According to the TNC website, it “provides paid summer internships for high school students and helps educators from environmental high schools share best practices and scientific resources. The long-term goal of LEAF is to support more than 30 environmental high schools across the country, ultimately serving over 20,000 students.”

 

 

The Block Island Times notes that this is the third year of the island’s participation. The three girls who are currently interning have come with their mentor come from Atlanta. Intern Niniola Mark tells the newspaper, “This is my first time in New England, and I also saw the ocean for the very first time.” The article doesn’t say what high school the girls attend, but the only one in Georgia that I see on the TNC site is the Arabia Mountain High School.

What fun to go to an environmental high school!

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