Walking & Riding for Teaspoons of Change & the Global Goals in 2018

Live Below the Line Lunny

It’s been a while to get on this blog but nice to be back here.

I’m off again ready for another trip! My last proper trip was back in 2014 when I walked 1000km and cycled 1500km in Japan to think about and launch the concept of Teaspoons of Change.

This next trip is going to be very special as I will be sharing with my co-pilot in life and organisation of Teaspoons of Change, Serafina! We won’t be technically living on $2 a day for this trip but we don’t live on much more than that anyway living in our Happy-simply 30m² apartment in Adelaide 🙂

This trip is 1000km, 17 Global Goals, 2 people, 0 emissions and LOTS of Teaspoons of Change!

I will be walking, Serafina riding, and going from Adelaide to Mt Gambier and back again in South Australia in September…

See more details…

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Teaspoons of peace that will last a lifetime

Blog put up on the Rotary Voices website on my recent experiences for my Applied Field Experience around the world looking at Teaspoons of Peace – https://www.facebook.com/teaspoonsofpeace

Rotary Voices

With peace makers from around the world at the International Institute on Peace Education conference in Innsbruck, Austria

By d’Arcy Lunn, 2016-18 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo

Take visiting 15 countries over five months, then add in any number of training events, an internship, research, attending conferences and events, and meeting two Nobel Peace Laureates, and you get an amazing formula for gaining skills in peace building. The final and most important result of this equation, though, will be what I eventually do with it all. I have some ideas about that.

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2018 New Year’s Constitutions!

New Year’s Resolutions and Message – 2018

Hi People of purpose for planet and global society!

A happy Christmas and a very merry New Year from Adelaide, Australia where I will be till the end of March (the longest time in 17 years since I left after university!) 😉

2017 was a mixed bag of all the best things in life and a few simple but persistent challenges (formalised education in a Japanese university being that elephant in the room).

Serafina and I go from strength to strength learning more, sharing, growing and content in the continuous energy and effort to make a relationship be a nourishing and beautiful thing (hopefully less from different corners of the world in the coming year).

I love touching base with all of you to share some thoughts from last year, looking towards next year and filled with stupid, specific and exciting new year constitutions for 2018!

But the biggest point is as always to say a huge thank you to all as I continue to live on the hospitality, generosity and kindness of others and the world…

The world continues to be a wonderful place and I feel very lucky to interact with it in the way I’m allowed to do so each set of 365 🙂

Some dot point to sum up 2017…

  • 6 months in Japan completing the course work for my Master’s in Peace Studies – it was mostly uninspiring, lacking context and relevance and now up to me to turn it into some thing practical and impacting in the world
  • However, I was given the opportunity to go on a 5-month experiential learning / research trip to interact with peace-makers and communities dedicated to peace and that was an absolutely thrilling and a high quality learning experience that will stay with me forever… The trip included research in North America and Western Europe, some peace conferences, an internship with Search for Common Ground in Liberia, West Africa including being an election observer and some wonderful engagement with the International Community School in Amman, Jordan supporting Polio Points and testing a new model for Teaspoons of Change
  • I was also fortunate to give 167 Teaspoons of Change presentations and workshops to 12,383 people in the calendar year across Asia, North America, Africa and Europe

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See below for my scorecard of 2017 New Year Evolutions and some weird and wonderful New Year Constitutions for 2018!

2018 is a very exciting year ahead as Serafina and I drive Teaspoons of Change to become an organisation that will align business, education and personal development with the Global Goals practically and personally through Teaspoons of Change! http://teaspoonsofchange.org I also better finish off my masters in Japan and may squeeze in a 1000km walk somewhere and possibly a marathon for my 40th B’day in May…?

Big hugs and best well wishes to you all for a healthy, happy, purposeful 2018!

Many Thanks, d’Arcy.

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New Year’s Constitutions – 2018 and review of 2017!

For 2018…

  • Try to catch at least 10 leaves falling off a tree throughout the year
  • Give people low-5’s instead of hi-5’s – keep it old skool Bronx 80’s style
  • My favourite colour for 2018 will be black! Not a favourite but will learn to like it
  • A sheep-shaped cloud – carried on from 2017 as no luck so far!
  • Try and do 2-min meditations with Noa on Sunday mornings
  • Try to live with the least amount of hate, ever? (most amount of love…!)
  • Memorise all the countries starting with T (12 – including Tibet)
  • 10 push ups a day, see if I can find a chin-up spot for a few times a week!
  • Continue to not buy a single bottle of plastic bottled water – 6th year in a row
  • Meet someone from Turkmenistan
  • Write postcards to family and friend’s kids for birthdays!!!
  • Buy Nothing New Month once again in October

Kick off Teaspoons of Change as an org and set it up as a beautiful bonsai business!

The resolution results from 2017…

Go outside within 15 minutes of waking up each morning Mostly but tough in winter but enjoyed it!
Find a sheep-shaped cloud Nup, continued!
Appreciate my shadow more and those of others Not much, didn’t really get into it but Serafina does
10 push ups a day (I continue to like this, not that results show!) Loving my push-up bars!
Friday Funday dance off with Serafina and Noa A few times, difficult being in different time zones
Continue to not buy a single bottle of plastic bottled water All good 5th year in a row!
Listen to at least one song every two days Mostly, loved new music!
Memorise all the countries starting with Q (1), R (3) and S (22) S was a killer but got most
My favourite colour for 2017 – dirty gold! Not the best but good experience to appreciate it
Meet someone from Niger – carried over from 2016 Done! Lovely bloke
Write postcards to family and friend’s kids for birthdays Loved it and will do again this year!
Buy Nothing New Month once again in October Forgot and did in November – love it!

I also run a WhatsApp group called living geography with pics from around the world as I travel so send me a request if you are keen to join: +61 428 416 765

2018 by possible date and place *note all written in pencil and subject to (frequent) change:

Date Place What!
Jan – Mar Adelaide, Australia Writing final thesis for Masters and setting up Teaspoons of Change
Apr / May Tokyo, Japan Graduating for Master’s in Peace Studies
29 May Japan Marathon for my 40th B’day
June ??? See where Teaspoons of Change & legs are at
Jul – Dec ??? Dedicated to Teaspoons of Change somewhere with Serafina and building a movement!!!

See where the crystal ball really sends me!!!

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‘Hey White Man!’ – how I can empathise a little more with women…

‘Hey White Man!’ is something I hear a lot as I walk the streets of Liberia. I’m not unfamiliar with these kinds of calls from living a year in Ethiopia to the calls of ‘Ferenji!’, or Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania ‘Muzungu!’ or in South Sudan ‘Kawaja!’ and I know there are many other versions of ‘foreigner’ in many other countries.

Continuous nomad

Call outs are not limited to when I look like a pregnant turtle and are not exclusive to Africa…

For the first few weeks after arriving in these situations I’m fine with it and often a call out is given with a cheeky smile, but it soon turns into frustration and annoyance for me and I largely ignore it and the people yelling out at me.

I know where this calling out comes from, they are excited to see a foreigner and it is fun and a laugh for them to call out ‘Hey White Man!’, but it is not just that one kid, teenage boy or immature man that says it, it is each one of them in the span of kilometres of walking, as I love to do everyday.

I don’t want to be given attention for the colour of my skin or for simply being different to everyone else on the street. I just want to walk down the street.

Don’t worry folks this isn’t a poor white man story! It is a small reality and one I have to choose to live with when I come to these countries and decide to walk the streets.

What it has taught me, and many times before, is what it might be like for women in any country (except maybe a few?) to walk down the street where males jeer, call out, whistle, make sounds or objectify them in some way.

For me the calling out is temporary when I choose to be in certain parts of the world and decide to walk the streets, but women can’t easily choose to not be a woman and have to live with this their entire lives.

Fellas, enough eh… Surely we can be respectful, mature and honour our women of the world without calling out and do it in a more meaningful, respectful and considerate way or in the least keep it to yourself.

Ladies, on behalf of the males who feel they need to call out, I’m sorry. I have a little window into what it must be like to receive this usually unwanted and certainly unneeded attention in this way!

Lastly it is usually so easy to know when someone is going to call out and the kind of men and boys who will do it. It is almost always when there are groups of around 4 or more males and the big mouth of the group will always something, often just after passing them like a scared dog does and rarely in the moment where there might be eye contact. It is rarely an older man (maybe because he has learnt how stupid it is) and very rarely is it a female because I’m sure in general they have more respect than that.

I’m not going to be stopping any or many of ‘Hey White Man’ calls here in Liberia with this blog but I do hope it is seen as an attempt to feel some of the frustration of women and men they have to put up with who don’t know how to behave with respect. This is why there is a campaign of #metoo and Global Goal #5 for every country to work towards gender equality.

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This should not be seen as a place of possible harassment, but for women, it is.

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The True Superheroes of the World are Their Guardians

Think about Superman, Batman and maybe others (that is about my knowledge of superheroes) and how they were raised and how they got their values, behaviours and attitudes for doing good in the world.

Admittedly some of it comes from an unfortunate incident in their childhood and them wanting to seek revenge, but Superman and Batman were both raised by foster parents and guardians who aspired them to be and do good in the world.

Imagine if Superman and Batman had crappy guardians and used their powers for evil? Lex Luther, The Joker and all the other villains would dominate with evil in the world.

So, for those of us who don’t wear our superhero masks and capes to the shops anymore (except for my partner, Serafina and her son), we can aspire to be like the guardians of the superheros, to bring up our children to aspire to good and protect and support those who are vulnerable and facing challenges in their life!

Sorry to limit my superheros to the two obvious ones, I didn’t make it past the old superhero movies from the 80s…

If you want to be a superhero guardian or parent then check out Teaspoons of Change with a bunch of small but significant ideas and actions that contribute to positive impacts on people and the planet! Then who knows what good your daughter or son might do for the world!!!

http://teaspoonsofchange.org & https://www.facebook.com/teaspoonsofchange

Sarah McSorley Impact Illustrator ToCh

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That special kind of feeling… (travel & Africa)

There are actually a couple special kinds of feelings I want to look at in this one. They are both related to travel however.

The first is the feeling I get of being in a new country.

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My first time in Liberia and West Africa. I love how different a street can look and feel from one country to the next…

The pattern is remarkably similar for each new country where I am a kiddy in a candy store for the first three days with sensory overload but a continuous beaming smile on my face. After the first few days, and usually some long walks creating my own motion animation or documentary of the new people and place that I am a part of, I settle into the details. It is then a fun discovery of listening, learning, observing, guessing and trying to tap into the beats of daily life (sometimes easier in some places like Liberia where the beats are loud and very public through huge speakers!). The next phase after a week or two is taking ownership on the experience and being able to predict some of the ways of thinking and doing and most importantly prices so the fear of being ripped off dissipates. Then for those of us (actually rarely me) who can stay beyond a couple of weeks a new life and lifestyle emerges and opens up of walking in step with the locals but always being slightly out of step at the same time – sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse.

20170910_215137 (779x1024)Depending on how different the culture, way of life and environment is from your own brought up set of lenses it is a continuous journey of loving the good parts of that place and complaining about the parts that you know could be different from either your own culture or another you might have seen in the past.

I’ve now had this special feeling in 90 different countries as my Liberian passport marks the 90th country I’ve been extremely privileged to experience and also pursued myself, to have that feeling of being in a new place with new people.

The second special feeling is the feeling of being back in Africa. It is my first time to be in Liberia and West Africa but there are some feelings and realities of being in West Africa that remind me of my fortunate years and experiences in east Africa: a year in rural Ethiopia, 6 months in Uganda, 5 months in South Sudan and shorter visits to numerous countries in eastern and southern Africa.

Before I talk about the wonderful ways of Africa and in admiration of the noble savages (I won’t be doing that) there are some very harsh realities faced in this continent that can be seen easier and more en masse than in most other continents. Life is tough in Africa for most Africans. There is a huge variety in the 54 countries that make up the continent of Africa but there are many similarities for many of those countries that I’ve been fortunate to learn from so allow me to generalise on those countries and call it an African experience, or at least my African experience…

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  • Africa is loud. I’m writing this blog being powered by a generator that sounds like I am either riding on a tractor or have one inches away from my ears, and the generator is not always the loudest sound in the room which may be outdone by the blaring TV in the room next door, pumping speakers from a church / political party / electronics shop near or far away, teaming rain on the tin roof or people generally shouting just to communicate.
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Loud in clothing as well – hot pink running clothes with hot white shoes!

  • The smells of Africa range from raw sewerage, dead animals, fragrant markets and most commonly heavy perfumes of petrol and vehicle emissions from crappy quality petrol.
  • People take care of themselves but love taking care of you. I admire the resiliency of so many people on this continent. The complaints I have and know in the west are SO trivial in comparison to people in Africa and even then the people of Africa rarely complain because complaining won’t do anything anyway. Then taking care of you, the people of Africa are so quick to adopt a stranger and not with reverence or pampering but in a seamless matter-of-fact way making you feel like you were born into their family.

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  • Time is fluid and not a social contract. This can be a point of massive frustration (if you are someone organising trainings, logistics and the like) but settling into that way of conceiving time is a skill the whole world could do with a little dose of (I know the Latin Americans and other places have this pretty fluid sense of time too).

To me it feels a more raw and slightly more pure form of life where there are less distractions, less social norms of individualism and where you have to interact with humans at their most human with less built up, and I would call artificial, surroundings. I’m not here to put this way of life on a pedestal or glorify the abject poverty and lack of infrastructure and services that almost every African would dearly appreciate but as a visitor (who can easily leave and have access to that infrastructure and services) what I do love about being in Africa is the way the place ticks. Not a better tick but a different one and one that I appreciate of being louder, smellier, timeless and with a huge amount of resilience and few expectations.

90 countries doesn’t even get me to half of the 193 countries in the world and only around 10 of the 54 African countries so I’m sure there will be more opportunities to experience new places with new people in the future!

Continuous nomad

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Is Formal Education Really Education?

For the first time in 10 months I have the opportunity to write as a normal native natural human! I can write as I wish with the primary focus of connecting to people, feelings, understanding and discovery without an academic straightjacket on telling me what is and isn’t acceptable (just like using isn’t instead of is not!).

Before complaining too much about my academic experience I want to say that I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to put my life on hold, dedicate my time and effort to academic studies and learning, and to be able to have this observation, especially when it is on scholarship.

BUT…

Looking back on the past 10 months it resoundingly shows me is that I am just as uninspired by formal education as I have always been since grade 1, when I was 5 years old.

Why isn’t school from day one about walking in the bush, the forest, the beach, or anywhere, learning about the things we discover around us, as humans have done for millennia? By the time we get to secondary school we either love or hate abstract mathematics, literature or physical education – doing them mostly without choice. I would have loved to learn first-aid, how to fix bicycles, how to grow food, had meaningful interaction with my community and coming of age with my peers as our hormones changed at adolescence.

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My friend’s daughter’s classroom everyday (rain, snow, sunshine) in Victoria, Canada. Learning about their environment and each other – what an education!

It wasn’t until my third year at university in my undergrad to become a teacher that I saw the inside of a school classroom and got to learn and develop my ‘trade’, as is done if you are a carpenter, hairdresser or farmer from day one. Now, 16 years after my undergraduate, I was back in the mainstream education system, or better put, institution, and the experience is still the same – overly theoretical, lacking context and relevance.

Initially I was very excited and eager for postgrad, to learn about peace and enthralled to be doing it with people from around the world learning from them and their experiences. This was not the case. I was institutionalised into classes, sitting at traditional tables and chairs within 4 walls, with endless readings that didn’t encourage group learning, deep discussions or motivation to learn and contribute to society. How can you not have a long discussion on Syria in a year of course work in a Master’s of Peace Studies?

There were some wonderful exceptions, such as a course on sustainable development and peace using a flipped classroom approach of discovery and topic-based learning, but if I was to learn about peace for 10 months on my own, I would have done a much better job myself, speaking with practitioners, finding interesting research and most of all putting it into context.

I used to always say my education started the day I finished university (my undergrad) because that is when I started travelling and learning from the world that was relevant, had context, was exciting and made me feel lucky to be alive.

Fortunately, I have that opportunity again now as I go out into the world to do field research to contribute to a thesis that is self-created, directed and curated, to learn more about something that I really want to know…

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In the two-weeks since starting my field work my eyes and ears have been tuned into anything to do with peace and my topic of a culture of peace. This has included chats with academics to find out the information I want to know, not have to know; meeting with inspiring peace practitioners and programs; and being super observant of anything to do with peace from a cheap Chinese restaurant called the Peace Restaurant to the women I saw today on the streets of Chicago looking pretty unhappy with the world and drawing hard on her cigarette, yet wearing an amazing hat with PEACE embroidered on it and flowers surrounding it (sorry no pic due to her observed mood).

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This is what a study of peace means to me, conversations, relevant reading, interviews, surveys, assumptions, reassumptions, being dedicated to questioning, learning more and to find new ways of thinking and doing – none of which has been a part of the classwork or course component of my studies.

I do believe there is a place and space for academic learning, research and rigor but to make it confined to strict protocols and mostly irrelevant parameters seems redundant.

I look forward to the next 5 months of field work and learning as I travel around the world to ask, question, listen, debate and discover a culture of peace and then it will be back to write a final thesis where semi-colons matter and the widths of my margins… but at least I will have had the chance to listen and learn from the world once again and that is daily skin pinching stuff 😊 (putting in a smiley face as I haven’t done that in my academic writing for 10-months!).

 

 

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