Following Jordan’s trip to teach music at Unity Primary School in November/December 2015, the core PRCPTION team returned to the Trelawny parish of Jamaica this fall. In an effort to keep the energy alive after all that was accomplished last year, we gathered more information and continued researched for our Children’s Technology, Gardening & Creativity Summer Camp proposal that is currently in development for fundraising.
Take a gander at our proposal for our greater vision to return to Jamaica with a crew to have a fun and educational summer camp with Unity Primary School full of gadgets & social media, permaculture organic farming, music & video, and a whole lot of smiles.
This summer, we had the lovely opportunity to spend time in rural Bulgaria with Julie and an amazing group of people, young and old, from all around the world. Summer Skill-share for all ages in Voditsa, Bulgaria is a week-long project to bring people together for arts, crafts, music, dancing, meals, and a whole lot of fun.
Skillsharing Workshop in Bulgaria
In this 15-minute short documentary, learn the origins of the community skillshare in Bulgaria, how the participants and core team have come together over the years, and see the various activities that the group of children and adults get themselves into over the week.
Be in Contact for the next Voditsa Summer Skillshare
We spent a lovely week with the Grow Paradise winter session crew this January. On the big island of Hawaii, Anthony Anderson leads a group of like-minded reality creators to inspire paradise creation, right here on earth.
Paradise Creation with Anthony Anderson
This video is a taste of what the permaculture-themed, “grow paradise” gathering is all about–follow along with Anthony if you’re interested in attending the next session!
Our first evening at the Anna Purna community house and donation-based restaurant in Sanur, Bali was ripe with an all-night jam session, an open buffet of organic, MSG-free vegetarian Indonesian cuisine, fresh jamu (turmeric, lime, tamarind and brown sugar), and a whole establishment worth of smiles and strangers sitting together.
Speaking with Ben, its founder, he told us a bit about his philosophy of love, community, and respect for the earth, the embodiment of these values acting as Anna Purna’s intention to help spread awareness of the issues afflicting Bali in the present day.
Destructive Tourism in Bali
Bali, Indonesia currently suffers from destructive tourism, seen from many angles and experienced in many ways. as one way to put it. When once it may have been a beautiful island paradise, rich in culture, cuisine and heritage, now what most visitors see is a polluted hotel, bar and shopping land littered with little slopes of sand leading into the Australian surfer-infested waters. Still a nice place, but blatantly clear that if nothing changes, this place may as well sink into the ocean before its contemporary, Western-influenced culture implodes on itself.
Organizations like Anna Purna pour their souls into helping remedy this impending doom surrounding the destructive tourism in Bali. Helping spread awareness about compost and responsible dispose of waste, how a healthy diet leads to a healthy life, and spreading good vibes through the arts.
Community Gathering in Sanur
In the comfy space of Sanur, Bali, we spent a lot more time with the Anna Purna gang over the weeks. We learned a lot by getting to know its organic garden, its staff and the various events happening through the week. From fresh meals available for tourists and locals alike, to communal music improv over visual artistic expression, it always vibes like a festive party in there. And from Balinese dancing to the highest speed free WiFi in town, this place has a knack for bringing you in and making you welcome–and not in a pseudo, “we say we’re about love but we still just want your money” way, either. No, the folks will stop and talk with you, genuinely curious about your life, and friends will be made so naturally you won’t even realize it.
It was a blast working with them on this video to spread for their future online crowdfunding project.
They call it the Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath Temple. Just outside of Kathmandu, Nepal, it’s full of monkeys, tourists and holy men. Guided once again by Chaitanyashree (whom we have met as a sound healer & orphanage/school sponsor), this visit offers us insights into spiritual wholeness the Monkey Temple Baba way.
When asked what the motif or message of his life is, _____ responded, as translated by Chaitanyashree: “Human body, the human life, is the most powerful and beautiful life. All human beings can use this beautiful opportunity of being human to be conscious and aware of everything that is happening, especially from the heart.”
When the 3 energies–body, mind, heart–are all healthy, then life is more conscious, and life is more aware.
Then ____ offers us a prescription for consciousness and awareness. When we are healthy in our three energies–body, mind, and heart–then life offers us more consciousness and awareness. It is only then that we can offer pure feelings and pure heart.
The Monkey Temple Baba group plays music, with meaning
“The meaning of this song is really beautiful. It is saying that. So unpure, so unpure. The physical body that I have is so unpure. The heart that I have is so unpure. How can I come to you? How can I come to your door? What can I offer to you? The lyrics are about devotion, purity, love. About, what can I give to you? You have given me so many things.”
Good stuff. Learn more about the resonant frequencies that can contribute to this open awareness of body, mind and heart.
In the last chronicle of the Great Singing Bowl Investigation, our curious heroes embarked into the tourist lands of Lakeside Trail, Nepal. It was here that they gained information from Jono the shopkeep about the spiritual value of Tibetan singing bowls (AKA, why tourists should buy them). Yet, perhaps Nepali folks and Lama Gurus are not the informants we seek; perhaps Cigar, @pleinedevie, and @jayurbzz should head to the true local Tibetan populace, in a Tibetan refugee camp… which is exactly what they did.
Tibetan Refugee Camps in Nepal
Tibetan refugee camps are all over Nepal. Tibet is a region of China. Whether it’s because of the region’s natural resources, or merely because of a conflict of interest in culture, regardless of the reason Tibet believes that it should be independent. Because of persecution in China, many flee Tibet, including the Dalai Lama (currently in Northern India). Oftentimes, these refugees set up camp in good old Nepal.
Visiting a Tibetan Refugee Camp
The crew visits the Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan refugee settlement in Hemji, Nepal. Welcomed by hungry goats and smiling faces, Cigar leads the way and translates wonderfully as the team asks numerous inhabitants questions regarding singing bowls, Lamas, and the Buddha. One woman interrupts the serene interrogation in hopes of selling the kids a beautiful rainbow belt. It works, and now @jayurbzz is travelin’ in style–once again caught in the web of tourist propagandizing.
“Why do you want to know about the singing bowls? It’s unnecessary. Don’t waste your time.”
This condemnation, straight from the mouth of a Nepali man translating for a Tibetan woman (speaking Nepali, of course), further convinces the group of the value of singing bowls lying only in their ability to appeal to tourists for profit.
To confirm this lingering suspicion, they visit another shop at the Tibetan refugee camp, where they learn that as far as modern Tibetans know, people use the bowls in order to… well, to eat. And that they are “never used in a monastery, no no.” If there is a deeper spiritual purpose, us curious travelers are not being told.
So the plot thickens. What will the adventure offer us next?
Stay tuned, PRCPTION Travelers… we’ll soon find out in the next installment of #GoingToNepalWithACameraOnMyForehead.
Wednesday morning, four days after the Earthquake in Nepal, and I am sitting in Pokhara’s Himalayan Java coffeeshop. A Western Starbucks mock-up, it’s got the best internet in town (quite possibly the country) so I’m up to the usual digital activities: some client’s website, some footage sifting, some Facebook, some YouTube comment moderation. I get up to use the toilet, opting to walk through the coffeeshop instead of across the balcony (in order to catch the eye of the cute barista, of course). I notice an unprofessional looking flyer-letter sitting on the coffee condiments table as I pass. I catch a glimpse and the overall vibe of the text looks interesting—but really have to urinate, so I hustle down to the toilets.
I stop and grab a flyer on the way back to my seat: there’s this guy, Simon, from Nova Scotia who is enlisting people to come join him on a grassroots relief effort to bring supplies to some rural villages close to the earthquake epicenter. The coffee is kicking in so I’m feeling the excited encouragement to give him a call and see if I can join him to document some goings-on after this natural disaster.
Let’s keep in mind that at this point I’m just in it for the footage. Donation and volunteer signs were all over town and groups were popping up all over Facebook. If the world knew just how many hundreds of ex-pats, backpackers and vacationing tourists ended up being denied the opportunity to help out after that earthquake, it would get a sense of just how slow and inefficient a lot of the global relief efforts turned out to be. (to be written about in part 3: basically the Nepali government wouldn’t allow any official help in until the Prime Minister and cronies had filled their pockets as best he could). I’m in it for the footage because I know my dollars and my manpower aren’t unique in this situation: but my filmmaking is.
“Can you be ready to go in five minutes?” Simon asks me over the phone.
“Uh, I guess?”
“OK, give the phone to the driver as soon as you’re in a taxi.”
Next thing I know I’m meeting the gang—a bunch of regulars (other digital nomads) of Himalayan Java that I had never spoken with but always saw around—and learning the situation. The group of them had raised almost $8000USD in three nights, collaborated in renting three jeeps, and maxed out on tarps, tents, rice, dal, medicines, and anything else they could think of to bring to the rural villagers that had, as of this point, not received any relief of any sort in the last five days since the quake.
I would come to learn that because of a fear of aftershocks that no one had begun to venture into the affected territories to help out—insubstantial rumors were circulating and no one knew if another big one was going to hit. Pseudoscientists were suddenly everywhere.
Halfway there we stop in Chitwan, where locals ask us which organization we’re with.
“None,” we respond.
“Thank you for helping Nepal.”
Paved road ends soon after the city of Gorkha. The main center for nearby affected villages, the whole city doesn’t seem to be too active (this would change intensely in a few days). Three hours into the hills, there’s some drama with the drivers who didn’t think it would be an eight hour trip.
“Be the hero!” Baba Jay insists. “Help your brethren!”
Night has fallen by the time we’ve reached what appears to be our destination region. The first village we stop at is alive and bustling with people who’d caught wind we were on our way. We offer up our tarps and tents but save the food and water since they say they’re fine at that front. I make some friends with the kids as I film the whole scene.
The next village, however, is quiet. As the predom, the district leader, leads us to where the townsfolk are sleeping, he explains how 90% of Ghyampesol’s infrastructure has been destroyed. We shine our flashlights on the destruction as we approach the clearing where the villagers are outside, sleeping.
“They’re homes have been destroyed. This is the only place they are safe to sleep.”
Our tears aren’t held back as we see the mass amounts of people laid out amongst each other—almost on top of one another. A woman had just given birth and was cold. Many didn’t have blankets, even more didn’t have sleeping mattresses.