Posts Tagged ‘community spirit’

Change the World Wednesday – 6th June

My, how fast the week rolls around.

I don’t have many students at the moment, so with few lessons, the week seems so short.

Last week’s video was certainly food for thought. Some of the ideas that were featured have been rolling around in my mind for a long time, particularly the community idea.

It has long been my thoughts that we need to reduce our social interactions back to community size as a matter of survival as this video showed. Although, I tend to be a little more severe in what I forecast the results if we don’t. Some say that I tend to be an alarmist, a conspiracy theorist, but I think I am being more realistic than those who would look at the world through rose coloured glasses.

Change the World Wednesday, what’s on the menu for today?

This week, join Mrs. Green’s Use It Up challenge by going through your cupboards, freezer, refrigerator, etc. and using what you find rather than buying anything new. The idea, here, is to use what you have on hand, hopefully before it’s gone “bad”, and eliminate waste. Of course … we want to hear all about your efforts.

Or …

If you’ve already tackled this task and there’s no food lurking in the dark corners of your kitchen, we’d like to know how you did it … and more importantly, we’d like to know about any strategies you have for keeping everything in order.

Okay, these ideas have appeared before, but always worth a revisit.

Most of you know that I am an impoverished ESL teacher, as demonstrated by my admission above that I don’t have many students at the moment. I don’t get a salary, I get paid for hours taught; my current three hours per week will not pay the rent, let alone enable me to store things in the cupboards.

Eu miojei (I noodled) Yes the joke has a past tense too

This week through necessity, I raided the kitchen cupboard  and found two packs of miojo (instant noodle soup) that got used. I always have a couple of packs for an emergency like famished kids. You parents know… “Dad, I’m hungry!” we have a joke in my house; Vai miojar! (Go noodle) It doesn’t exist, even in Portuguese; as I joke in English, I do so in Portuguese as well and have turned miojo into a verb – eu miojo, você mioja, nós miojamos, etc (I noodle, you noodle, we noodle, etc). The kids think I am loco (crazy), but even they use the conjugations. One time, knowing the kids were up to no good in the kitchen, my inquiry was answered, “Estamos miojando!” (We are noodling), yes, they were cooking noodles.

Yesterday I was preparing chicken breast. I knew that I had some old stock cubes on the shelf; they had been there a while and had gone all glucky and the paper had browned. Waste not, want not, I put one in a small mortar, added some olive oil to make a paste and smeared it over the meat before cooking.

There are plenty of small tricks that you can use to use up those ‘old’ things in the cupboards.

During the week I was walking along the road and someone had dumped the rails of a wooden bed by the canal, hoping that somebody else would eventually tip them over the edge. I had been looking for wood to re-border my little gardens, the original wood is rotting after three years. Waste not, want not, they are now waiting in the yard.


The machinations in my head perturb me sometimes. Last night, about beer o’clock, I was in the botequim (bar) and Raimundo had stacked four cartons ready for the rubbish. This was enough to set me off, “Now what could I use them for?”

My lifestyle is such that I don’t buy excess, can’t afford it. So there is little that remains unused to lie around in corners and cupboards.

But I am my father’s son. My father was a hoarder “That’ll come in useful one day.” I am much the same, I always look at something with the idea of what it could be used for.

One man’s rubbish, is another man’s treasure.

Change the World Wednesday – 30th May


Up early.

Alarm clock suffered…

Need coffee!

I always need coffee. It has been suggested that I may well be addicted to the stuff; a charge that I deny.

I am merely a dedicated coffee drinker.

The aroma of freshly brewed Brazilian coffee wafting through the house can’t be surpassed at this ungodly hour of the morning.

Last week I resolved to fall in line with the challenge as far as possible. My week didn’t quite go as planned, but I did manage two days without cooking for lunch. Yesterday was supposed to be the third day, but I failed. I had a pack of cocktail sausages opened in the fridge and they had to be used. Another day and they could have become ‘food waste.’

However, I compensated for supper. I made a cheese board. I had some scraps of blue vein, Brie and a local cheese that I cut into cubes. That along with paper thin slices of cold roast pork from a scrag end drizzled with lemon juice accompanied by dry crackers. No cooking, and using left overs.

Oh, a can of beer too… (Didn’t cook that either) 🙂

So, I guess yesterday wasn’t such a failure after all.

The planned lunch didn’t eventuate, My students changed hours and it didn’t fit in with the plans. But rest assured, it will happen. I just love eating out.

Let’s see what Change the World Wednesday this week is all about…

This week, watch the following video. Then share it in some way … email it to a friend, share it on a social network, post it to your blog, etc. AND THEN … consider how you might affect change in your community. Of course … we want to hear all about it!

I have watched this before, in fact I think it was SF herself that Stumbled it.

It is poignant in many ways. Not only does it point out problems, it eloquently provides solutions.

The message is ‘community’ rather than the individual effort and while the individual can make small differences, once the community is involved the chances of meaningful changes increase exponentially.

It is this community spirit that we must foster. Once community efforts are spread around then the next step then the communities themselves can combine, and so on.

The message that I get from this is that it is very much directed at the corporations. It recognises that it is this corporatism that is destroying our world. The ideas generated are counter-corporation, returning to the ‘village concept,’ where the results of efforts are spent within the community rather than be sent off to some corporate headquarters where the 1% benefit.

This of course is the main gripe of of Occupy Wall Street, and why the movement should be supported.

If one castes ones mind back to 1970+/- there was a brilliant book written by Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape. One of the precepts of this book was that man is a tribal animal and we’re trying to live in a ‘super-tribal’ scenario. It doesn’t work. We don’t have the capabilities (social, character, disposition, etc) to live in communities beyond the size of the village. I have often harped on this point, because it reflects not only environmental survival, but all the social evils like stressful lifestyle, violence, respect for property, the need for policing, government intervention, etc, too many to cite here.

To demonstrate the point I am making, think of the city in which you live, now think of a small community/town nearby (No more than 2,000 people). Now look at the violence, theft, policing and political interference in each. The smaller community has less police/capita, the small community has no rape (or almost), the small community has no theft (or very little) and the lifestyle is far more relaxed. The biggest difference between the two is the community spirit; the neighbours in the small community know each other, the business people know everybody, people know the people across town, they interact with each other and the local politicians are part of the community. This doesn’t happen in the cities! Need I say more? I think not.

All this is the underlying tone of the video. A return to a social unit that is manageable for our own benefit, not that of the greedy bastards who are syphoning off everything the village produces; remember those holes in the bucket?

Because once the wealth (not just money, but work, energy and vitality all inc) is lost through those holes, it never returns. It’s gone!

The proposal is that we create smaller community divisions within the evils of the corporate sodden cities, to keep our wealth within reach, to return our labour to those around us as those around us return their labour to us.

Brazil, where football is religion, the church is a past-time and carnival is a fever but they still have no idea what real beer is

The ‘doing something about it’ is a little difficult because of my geographical dislocation from my native land. I am an ex-pat living in Brazil. I am not Brazilian and do not think like one; I still think like a first-worlder. So communication is often a problem. Oh, I speak Portuguese effectively, I make a few grammatical mistakes, I can swear effectively and I understand and use many colloquialisms; my grasp of the language surprises many. But, I don’t think like a Brazilian and that hampers communication, especially at a community level.

However, on a personal level, I continue in my own small way. I point out the follies and foibles of the Brazilian psyche, and try to get them to see that there are better ways.

But, I am also very mindful of the fact, that if Brazilians adopted western ways, they wouldn’t be Brazilians any more and that is one of the reasons I am here – they are Brazilians and they are not bad people.

Many communities have sewerage flowing in the street and that includes the marvelous city of Rio

Brazilians are too worried about becoming first-worlders. They haven’t a hope in hades of achieving it. This is a country where 50% of the people don’t have basic sanitation, 50% don’t have access to drinking water, 50% don’t have adequate health care or education. A country where 66% of the federal and local governments are either convicted and appealing, under suspicion or investigation of theft, fraud and corruption.

They want to be first world. But are missing the point. If they are missing the point, then other less important issues are beyond their comprehension.

I have my hands tied. I am, however, not beyond knowing the issues and while Brazilians may be beyond redemption, there are others in the world who read my blogs.

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