One Corner Compassion Projects compassion projects

Archive for July, 2009


July 20th, 2009

I have thought much recently, about the concept that for some reason, those of us born into privilege in a Western 1st world environment receive that privilege as a birthright. We didn’t earn it……we didn’t choose it……we just had the fortune or destiny to be born into a context that allows us a better shot at succeeding.

And there is nothing wrong with that having happened to us. It’s not a bad thing that I was born into privilege instead of on the streets of Mumbai. I need feel no guilt over that, even in light of the tremendous disparity of our planet, and the overwhelming needs that exist.

My question is however, if privilege is a birthright, then what about responsibility? Is that equally a birthright on par with privilege and the advantages that came with my birth address? Do those born into a context of advantage bear an equal weight of responsibility? Of a responsibility to wear the mantle of privilege lightly and humbly? To consciously understand the ramifications that if I, through no choice of my own, have access to more, than I, through conscious choice now, must share my birthright with those whose birth lottery looks vastly different?

And if that is the case……then what does/can that look like for me……for you?

Trip update July 10/09

July 10th, 2009

Finally winding down…..last night in Mexico City, staying at a friend´s home before taking the 3am taxi to the airport. But will be phoning for a different kind of ride this time :)

It´s been a packed but productive trip. Too many details, so will just hit some highlights:

- met with some young Mexican professionals, who are raising money among their friends, to send the teens who will be at our camp, to a water park in Cuernavaca for a day.

- met with another couple, who just lost their business so are unable to help financially. However, they both sing in a well-known choir in Mexico City. They came up with the idea to hold a benefit concert in the new year, with all proceeds going to One Corner projects. They arranged a meeting with the director, who agreed and looks like they will be performing a concert in February in one of many beautiful churches in Mexico City.

- spent a lot of time with the couple who are hosting the teens who are coming to their camp, and am just impressed with their desire to help, to disrupt their lives and property for a week, giving us free rein :) to their horses, quads, living space…

They will be doing much of the purchasing and organizing before we get there.

- Have spoken to a few other individuals from different parts of the country, who are willing to come and give some motivational and encouraging talks to these teens who are battling cancer.

- The buy-in by people from here who want to help both now and in the future with this and other projects has just been incredible.

- Spent 3 days visiting Aguascalientes, and more importantly a municipality called El Llano, to assess the needs of the 150 communities represented. Through some fortuitous events, managed to have a meeting with the Municipal President, who laid out for us what he sees are the priorities for his community, and where the official budget he has to work with falls drastically short.

- He was very humble and in a bit of shock that we would find his community and extend the willingness and desire to help where we can. We have some incredible opportunities to help bring about some long-term change to this community, in the areas of employment, medical services and education.

I really couldn´t be more pleased and just continue to extend the opportunity for you to jump in and join us! We still need to raise money for this camp for these teens, so please contact me if you want to contribute. Thanks!

One-eyed rabbits and Super Mario

July 7th, 2009

(I must first note for the purposes of contextual colour, that I am writing this outside a cafe in Aguascalientes, Mexico, drinking a cajeta cappuccino and smoking a cigar. Paradiso)

My latest Mexican adventure started out, as is so often the case, with a taxi ride. There are taxis you should definitely grab from the airport in Mexico City, and ones that you should instinctively ignore – aka the ones I usually end up in. The chariot of choice this time turned out to be a one-eyed VW rabbit, circa 1985, conveniently also missing the driver’s side mirror – both apparantly unnecessary options on this model. Besides, who really needs to see what’s behind them or illuminate what’s coming up anyway? Pshaw!

Anyway, the whole adrenaline-manufacturing experience started out inauspiciously with a whispered conversation between the two drivers who seemed to share this choice cab, deciding? voting? arguing? over who got to/had to drive me. Once that decision was finalized, the next whispered convo was about where in the santa maria my hotel was – a discussion you ideally want to observe ending rapidly, conclusively, and with both men smiling confidently, not shaking their heads in defeated but game despair.

Nonetheless, with a spastic jolt, we set off to my final destination (morbidity intentional)! I jump in the back, selfishly thinking that if something untoward were to happen, like us careening headfirst into another vehicle, outfitted with the same options as we sported, I would have at least a few layers of metal and other more…..uh… organic materials, to maybe shield me from the worst (look, I’m only human and my compassion only runs so deep:). But, Fransisco, in an attempt to perhaps persuade me that he really is a good guy and not at all interested in kidnapping me; and that his self-confessed somewhat dubious driving and navigational skills, were still sufficient to get us where we need to go, invited me to join him in the front – so we could talk better!!!! (Turns out, that was code for, “come up here whitey so I can better look at that half-&*^% map you printed off of Google with your hotel thumbtacked blindly somewhere in the vicinity of Mexico City’s ……..tail.” I paraphrase).

Let me remind you here, that we are, at the time of his friendly request, in a dead heat in the Super Mario Kart World that is driving in Mexico City. And Paco is as oblivious to lanes, other players, and the threat of real injury should we happen to ‘fall off Mario world’ as if this were virtual not reality. Now, I’m 6’2″, and already somewhat cramped in the back with whatever luggage didn’t fit in the copious trunk of the Rabbit. But, not wishing to offend (really, at this point I’m still worried?), I manage to climb and wedge myself – cledging is the official term I believe – over Paco, and both front seats, into what is now a front row seat to my own mortality. Somewhere in that transition, I think Fransisco and I bonded for a moment, but I’m not really willing to explore that.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but invite you to imagine it with me if you’re so inclined. Really – next time you watch or play Super Mario Kart – picture a one-eyed, beat-up black rabbit, with a may-as-well-be-blindfolded Paco driving, me as an even whiter-than-normal whitey alternating between scrunching into a foetal position, and thinking jumping out the window might be safer – all to the soundtrack of Tourrete’s style screaming and swearing replacing the tinny tunes of Nintendo.

Suffice it to say, that besides stopping in the middle of a traffic circle, so that Fransisco could flag down remarkably unwilling drivers at nearly midnight – IN MEXICO CITY !!! – and ask directions, it was just another taxi ride in Mexico.

Ok, I’m exhausted just reliving that. I will add more appropriate updates on some cool things happening tomorrow.

The Prophet speaks…..

July 7th, 2009

Some thoughts on giving by The Prophet – Khalil Gibran (Lebanese artist, writer and poet):

“You often say, ‘I would give, but only to the deserving!’.
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in the pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.”

“Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.”

Kind of puts giving into a larger perspective, doesn’t it. We give/serve/help as much to increase the quality of our life (and I’ve watered down Khalil’s intent) as to increase the quality of life of those we serve.

And it also keeps me from donning the Judge’s robes to determine who is worthy of my kindness, when their worth has already been decided by another.

more from the Prophet later.

of rhinos and compassion

July 2nd, 2009

I read once that rhinos can only see 30 feet in front of them. But they don’t care what’s at 31 feet – it just better get out of the way! 31 Feet! That has been somewhat of a motto for me as we get One Corner off the ground. I don’t know yet all that’s out there – obstacles, opportunities……We don’t have all the answers. But we do know this – whatever is at 31 feet, better move – because this is happening! Compassion is always a right response and at least one significant answer to much of what troubles this world.