Poetry Corner – Time

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Time

Time
has no purpose
no start, no end
perpetually repeating itself
at an ever faster rate
so fast it makes clocks spin
knocking atoms along
rushing into the future
forgetting the past
rendering the future
obsolete

Poetry Corner – Finding a Way To Love Everyone

Finding a Way
to love everyone

*Inspired by a homeless man's cardboard box sign with the quote, "Finding a way to love everyone" written on it

 Finding a Way to Love Everyone

 Finding a way to love Everyone, but alas I'm here on the street
 Finding a way to love Everyone, and I'm feeling exhausted and beat
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but I'm starving and in need of food
 Finding a way to love Everyone, acknowledge me no need to be rude 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but I have no shoes on my feet
 Finding a way to love Everyone, man I really need something to eat
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but it's cold and it's starting to rain
 Finding a way to love Everyone, my heart beats and shivers in pain 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but everyone just disappoints
 Finding a way to love Everyone, I'm trying but think what's the point?
 Finding a way to love everyone, but I'm tired and hungry as fuck
 Finding a way to love Everyone, could you spare some change, just a buck
 Finding a way to love Everyone, would you put something in my hat? 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, it'd be great if you'd stop to chat
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but not sure if I'll be here or how 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, there is no tomorrow, only now
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but I'm coughing and constantly sick 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, homeless or dead, take your pick
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but soon I'll be dead and gone 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, sadly realize life will go on

 ....

 I'm still trying to love Everyone.


Cameron is a writer living in Toronto and a volunteer with a local homeless outreach program. He is still "finding a way to love everyone."

Poetry Corner – Normal

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Normal

He had the quintessential face; I didn't like it. It fit in too much. I could already picture his voice - friendly and a little too high - and picture his life: hard working, dull, not extraordinary. This man represented everything I hated, everything I never wanted to become.. I won't fit into this eternally recycled and worn-out mold. I felt violent all of a sudden. I'm normally peaceful, calm - but right now I could just flail out at him and whack him right in the face. 
To teach him a lesson: stop being so normal.

His normal wife. His normal hair. His normal job. His normal... Normal. I needed drugs to hit his normal. He probably used to be a cool guy, or hip back in his day, and he too never thought he'd become Normal. His life is over. His kids will continue on the tradition of Normal, and so on. But if you don't become normal, you're ostracized, alienated, abandoned, forgotten, to be dealt with the hands of the law. But I'd still rather not be normal. I'd rather be dead; I'd rather be me.

Poetry Corner – Drifter

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Drifter

A Drifter, I've lost all direction
A nomad, I've lost all purpose 
A piece of trash, I've lost all worth 
A skeleton, I've shed all flesh 
Inhuman, I've lost all shame
Alone, I've pushed away my closest companions
Selfish, I’m able only to look out for myself 
I feel like I may drift forever, never returning home…

Reel Vietnam – “A Little Goes A Long Way”

Reel Vietnam – “A Little Goes A Long Way”

By Cameron Brtnik


      On May 27, 2017 I jumped in a van – joined by my fellow teachers Peter from America and Marty from Australia, both living and teaching in Vietnam, and Toby, a winemaker from California and one of the sponsors, – and rode the hour long trip to Tien Hiep Secondary School in Ha Nam. This was my second excursion to a rural school in the countryside with BLV – Better Life Vietnam – a non-profit organization that promotes learning and reading to students who attend schools that don’t receive enough funding for school materials or resources or even programs like a library. BLV does this by visiting these schools, often located in rural areas of Vietnam, and providing English classes and activities taught by foreigners, an opportunity that students in these villages would not normally get. BLV also does this by donating books to those children who don’t normally have access to an abundance of learning resources.

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{BLV’s wonderful team of supporters and volunteers from USA, Canada, NewZealand, Australia and Vietnam}

      On my first trip to Hà Nam, I had such a great experience bringing joy to these underprivileged children I had to do it again! When you arrive at the school, the students’ eager looks, the excitement in their voices, their enthusiasm to speak and learn English – If you’re an English teacher in Vietnam, you understand that these are all the reasons we teach in the first place. This is an experience you may not find teaching at schools in the larger cities. It was no different this time around. When we arrived at Tien Hiep Secondary School, we were greeted by bright, smiling faces excited at our arrival. The students were very shy to speak to us at first; keep in mind their speaking level is at the “Hello, what’s your name?” level. We split up into various classrooms and each volunteer teacher taught the students a 30 minute class. They were so well behaved, they made us forget all about the naughty kids we had back in Hanoi!

See here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qUsEgl0qHg&feature=youtu.be

      We then hit up our second school for the day, Trinh Xa, where we played activities and handed out books to nearly 300 students! The organizers, Thinh Nguyen and Nhung Nguyen, hosted the school’s event and introduced each of the volunteers. One at time, we took to the stage to talk with the students, play games, perform magic tricks, teach English and give them advice – namely sharing with them the importance of reading – all this to 300 students!

Watch here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPnYx9Ws2ew&feature=youtu.be

     Then the best part: Handing out the books. It was like a hundred Christmas gift-openings at once! The children tore open boxes, reached inside and hurled out books, choosing a book that perhaps caught their eye or had a familiar title. Lots of photographs and video were taken throughout the day to document the day’s events. After all the fun and games, the organizers again took time to talk about the importance of reading, and encouraged students to keep learning no matter what their education or family’s situation is.

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After a full morning, we joined the school principal and teachers for a lovely locally-prepared  lunch, enjoyed with a toast with their local rice wine. What a splendid way to end an already awesome day!

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     Started by Thinh Nguyen in 2017, Better Life Vietnam was established as a way to reach underprivileged areas of Vietnam, and to help less fortunate children and families in Vietnam: “Better Life Vietnam was founded with the belief that access to education, food, healthcare, clean water and a decent quality of life are basic human rights.” BLV is an outstanding organization that develops programs to sponsor schools, provide educational material, donate books, and organize events – all geared toward underprivileged schools in rural areas of Vietnam. They also initiated a superb program that interviews students’ families about their family and financial situation, choosing one of those families (based on various factors) to sponsor by providing livestock so that they, typically farmers, can earn money. Visit their website www.betterlifevietnam.org for more information.

VOLUNTEERS WANTED!

BLV is currently looking for volunteers to help with teaching classes, hosting activities, taking photographs/video of the event and video editing, as well as other jobs. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to donate your talents and time to a worthy and fun cause: providing better living for students in Vietnam! Note: Some organizations in Vietnam make the volunteer pay for their time. This opportunity is free for all volunteers!

If you would like to get involved please contact Better Life Vietnam at
Email: betterlifevietnam@gmail.com

Cameron is a freelance writer, English teacher, and volunteer living in Hanoi, Vietnam

Poetry Corner – Like a Rock

Like a Rock

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Like a Rock


I want to be strong like a rock


My life has fallen accidentally into place
Like the rocks that make up this mountain
Satisfied with the cards they were dealt
Each working together to hold up an entire mountain
No one imposing on the others
Rather keeping each other in check


I want to be sturdy like a rock


Each completing the other; no grandstanding
Sturdy yet fallible
Ancient yet new each day
Always set with their faces toward the sun
Together balancing out the whole


I want to be intelligent like a rock


We can learn a lot from these rocks
We who compete for space
For a chance to leave our mark on this earth
To find meaning for ourselves
Rather than the whole


I want to be humble like a rock


We who step over each other to succeed
Rather than link together to form an alliance
Rocks do not feel jealousy, envy, or pain
They accept their place
And fend together, as one

Poetry Corner – A New Hope

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A New Hope

A new feeling...

A feeling of contentedness...

Of wanting to leave what's familiar...

Of wanting to shed all things external, unimportant in the scheme of things, useless for

survival...

Of being open to learn again...

Of knowing that I don't know anything...

Of wanting to be close to the people I love...

And not pushing them away...

Of not wanting to live in solitude...

An evasive feeling...

A feeling of hopefulness...
 
Of wanting to finally LIVE


-Bali, Nov 1, 2016