We Want Peace

“The worst people on earth are not only those who commit evil, but those who stand by and turn a blind eye.” – Emmanuel Jal.

Friday night, I got to listen to Emmanuel Jal speak at the Laurier Waterloo campus. His message was simple; let there be peace. He spoke about his experience as a war child. He shared his stories from the lowest times of his life. “I looked at my friend thinking….I am going to eat you tomorrow.” Imagine being in a state where hunger takes over any moral thoughts in your mind? When he got rescued from his life, someone offered to give him the gift of education. Till this day, he shows great love for that person. After being educated, he sought a life in music. As a musician he spreads his word of love and peace, also directing many campaigns and causes that allow children in Africa to have opportunities like he was able to have.

I couldn’t recap his story even if I wanted to, I believe his book “War child” explains it all. But there were great thoughts going around that day. It was really inspiring to see his positivity. Sometimes we like hearing horrible stories from others just to appreciate our own story. Weird how that works, right?

He asked the audience one simple question. “What is our biggest struggle in life?

After a few answers, which he mentioned were all right, but were not 110%…..someone said EDUCATION. The purpose of his being right now is so try and educate as many people as possible. As Alex carson interpreted it, “He basically meant, go get educated first, so that you can do whatever you do, that much better.” There is a reason people say, education is power. He said it is a struggle because a LOT of people don’t get the same opportunities. Everyone SHOULD have a right to learn….

A lot of people go through hardships, some worse than others. But at the moment, sadness or negativity takes over our lives. It is important to see the tomorrow, and plan on how you can make it better. Emmanuel never gave up. You can easily stick to a certain mood and feel sorry for yourself. But you really have to think about benefits…will that benefit you? No.

Life is too short to behave like a person you wouldn’t want to be remembered as.

Thank you Emmanuel Jal, for emphasizing positivity in this world. His music may also speak to some of you. 

(Left to right), Me, Emmanuel, Steve, Alex and Dammee
(Left to right), Me, Emmanuel, Steve, Alex and Dammee

Check this out: http://youtu.be/nF_dHdNOgSA

-Mansi Parasher

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Think about it.

Today, in one of my classes, we spoke about “sociological imagination.” Apparently, in simple words, it means “a concept of how we view ourselves”….How we view our society? How we view ourselves in this society? What place do we have in the structure of things? All of these concepts and questions came up.

I tried to answer these complex answers in my head.

But a very important question popped up in my head as I thought about all of this…..

“How do I view myself in society?” What is my role?

I could easily say, Hey, I am a 21 year old student. But really? That is definitely not an acceptable answer for me.

I have been fortunate enough to have all these life experiences that I’ve had. Working for the wellbeing of a developing community brings out things in you that you’d never imagine. I didn’t know I could be a leader, for example. I didn’t know I could impact the learning ability of a house wife. I didn’t know I could create an amazing relationship with a 16 year old teenager. I didn’t know I could handle a 3 year old screaming child. I also didn’t know I could create my own family in Peru.

My role, as a person, as a student, as a friend, as a stranger, as a daughter, as a sister, or as ANYONE, is and always will be… to share my thoughts with others. Seems simple right? Doesn’t even seem like much of a role…

The reason I find this first STEP (as I would like to call it), so important is because, we can do wonders with our thoughts. I can help someone simply by showing them a new perspective. I can make someone smile simply by giving them advice. I can make someone laugh by sharing an experience. I can make someone realize something just by introducing a new idea. I can also… make a change.

This is the first step to making a change. It all starts from inside of you. You really think that smile doesn’t make a difference? Do it more often and just see the feedback you get.

Finding a purpose in life comes after you find your smile. So stick to something that makes you smile, and hold onto it. (For me, those are memories of being in Pacifico de villa)…. What about you?

So, I invite you all to …smile 🙂

Buenas noches!

-Mansi Parasher

A smile that impacted me immensely :)
A smile that impacted me immensely 🙂

Technology!

Technology is the one thing that keeps us so connected. When I woke up yesterday, I looked down at my phone and I had received a voice note from my lovely friend Daniel, who runs Youth in Action in Pacifico de villa. YES.. a voice note… way better than an e-mail or text, (Whatsapp is amazing).

It was amazing to hear the excitement in his voice as he told me that they were all preparing for an event. An event about spring, and the youth in action kids had prepared a lot of things for this event. The event was called “Primavilla – Primavera en Pacifico de villa.”

It was even better to be able to see the pictures on Facebook that they had uploaded from the event which i’ll share here. 579051_10202178465003463_816000002_n 1235975_10202178460483350_860983554_n (1) 1240474_10202178486844009_1368565062_n

We are all so proud of all that our peruvian SIA team is achieving in Pacifico. I know that all of us past participants reading this, wish to be back there….but technology keeps us connected! I am so thankful for that.

“Missing someone gets easier everyday because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will.”

Looking forward to being back, and seeing familiar faces. You can officially apply to be back in Pacifico de villa with SIA next summer, go to http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher

Be a part of something amazing!

In late August, we came across a fellow named Diego who was passionate about photography and video making. I remember sitting down with Mayra (lovely lady from the Peruvian SIA team), and Diego, talking about what we would like to portray in our promotional video. This turned into a very meaningful conversation about what SIA does for people. Do we help people realize something? Do we give them an opportunity to gain personal growth? We had to figure out what it was that gives people amazing memories each time they come to Peru with SIA.

One thing we all came in agreement with was the quote “Sustainability is created by bringing leaders together to inspire change”… hmmmm… what does this mean? Do we automatically attract leaders? Maybe.. but SIA helps with empowering people to become future leaders! I don’t think I was aware of my leadership skills until I emerged myself into an experience that was out of my comfort zone.

Inspiring change…inspiring change… it makes sense! Think about how many different minds,opinions and perspectives come across SIA when so many wonderful people join us. You can go your entire life looking at something one way..and one person can come across your life and make you see it in a whole different way. So we’re waiting for your new ideas!

Be the change you want to see in the world.

There were a few things that happened this summer as a result of fresh ideas in someone’s mind.

English class in July

 

Day care
Day care

 

new monkey bars!
new monkey bars!

Check out our video on http://www.facebook.com/SolidarityinactionInc page! I hope it speaks to you, the same way it does to me.

-Mansi Parasher