Mein Vater Horst Kamps kam aus einfachen Verhältnissen. Er wuchs am Stadtrand von Rostock an der Ostseeküste auf und kam später nach Berlin, wo er lange Jahre als Fliesen- und Mosaikleger arbeitete. Er trat mit 29 Jahren dem bekannten Arbeiterkunstverein „Studio Otto Nagel“ in Berlin bei. Dort beschäftigte er sich in seiner Freizeit mit der Malerei, er probierte sich in verschiedenen Maltechniken aus und schuf im Laufe der Jahre eine Reihe von schönen Bildern, Aquarellen, Ölbildern, Pastellen, mit denen er viele Verwandte und Freunde beschenkte. Am liebsten malte er Blumen und Landschaften.
NAZARETH, Israel — The forPEACE mural in the Irwin Green Child Development Center at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Nazareth, Israel, was completed August 21. From start to finish, it was a four-and-a-half month collaborative project involving St. Vincent Hospital management and staff, forPEACE volunteers from Israel and the United States, and a team of dedicated artists from Idaho and Utah.
SANTA FE, USA — The deserts and heat of Santa Fe, New Mexico felt at home to the Bedouin women who traveled over 7,000 miles from the Negev to the International Folk Art Market to showcase their traditional weaving products and techniques.
by Sallie Poet, forPEACE Volunteer
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Riding across the countryside of Cambodia I was refreshed by the patchworks of greens—the yellow greens of new rice shoots against pale shining waters, swaths of palm greens like large brushstrokes, and blue greens growing grayer as the checkerboard fields receded back and back. Our air conditioned Mercedes minibuses shared the road with three wheel carts led by sinewy white cows and uniformed school girls doubled up on bikes riding home for lunch as well as the ubiquitous motor bikes freighted with baskets, pigs, branches and families.
As we turned off to the country roads of Battambang, we began to see small rectangular houses on stilts in villages. Constructed of green corrugated metal siding, each house boasted individualized “home improvements”—a thatched awning here or a brick porch there. Families clung to the posts and stared at us. As we debarked, we were met by a village of mothers, fathers, elders and beautiful children with their hands peaked together bowing and smiling to welcome us.
Ten framed structures waited for us. We went to work right away, first pounding nails to secure the floorboards. “Let’s race to see who can drive the nail in faster,” I said to my daughter. She put in three nails by the time I had finished one. All of us wore plaid krama scarves, the traditional Cambodian cloths used like bandanas, which we drenched with water to keep us cool.
Some of the 6’5 college boys were under the direction of the 5’2 Cambodian master builder, Mr. Luong, who taught them how to drive a nail through metal. A representative from Tabitha Cambodia did quality control, and though we did not speak the same tongue, we knew she insisted that we take off the siding and realign it correctly and straighter. We ate lunch under the palms with French bread, peanut butter, mangosteeens, bananas, salty chips and icy water, and by the end of the day we had completed all 10 structures.
Fathers were nailing the TABITHA plaques on the outside and children were hanging out the square windows before we left. We returned the next day to dedicate the houses, and took pictures in front of the houses we worked on with the family who was to reside there. Then we went to see the wells.
We walked on muddy berms and causeways to see the field wells. Fresh water pumped into partitioned fields and flooded the patties. The skilled farmers could control the flow and location of the water, literally giving them power over life and death as the water gushed out of the wells. The family wells also brought life.
We visited one woman in another village who had received her Tabitha house a couple of years ago. She showed us the thatched shack where she had lived before, and then proudly showed us her new green stilted home and its improvements. Because she had this fine edifice, she was able to start a noodle business, feed her family of 7 and take in 2 kids that would have been orphans. I was so moved that the effects of these houses and wells are so far reaching.
Our accommodations were much nicer—we stayed in old hotels with beautiful dark wooden stairs. We crooned to Karaoke at night and ate omelettes made to order for breakfast. We made new friends from Australia and neighboring communities. We rode the tuk-tuks and ate amazing salads of lemongrass, cilantro, fruits and glazed chicken, fish, noodles, rice—and a few brave ones among us even ate fire-ants, tarantulas and crickets!
We went to the UNESCO World Heritage sight—the giant temple structure of Ankgor Wat. We marveled at the amazing hydrolics, the concentric structures, and a spirit of sacred space pervaded the whole huge complex.
Back in Phnom Phen we marveled at the Buddhist temples a and the Royal Palace and bought beautiful silk souvenirs at the night markets. We toured silk farms and breakfasted every morning under a shaded green canopy courtyard. Our final activity was one last morning with the amazing children at the CIFO Orphanage. Sharing music, Red Rover, dancing, games and sports made us love the kids even more.
Returning to the hotel we planned our reunion, made pledges to Facebook and each set off for different adventures. Several stayed to research microlending in Cambodia, some went off to shop the silk tailors of Vietnam, some planned to stay longer and work at the CIFO orphange, some went back to schools, families and jobs. All of us were changed by the profound exchange of love and service: we had given them new houses to live in, they had given us a new way to understand living.
He felt their deep goodness and he understood that they blessed him far more than he could ever hope to be able to bless them. But he wanted to try.
During the year before he died, Gavin worked to help provide home care for a young mentally and physically handicapped boy. The little boy lived with his mom and grandma, and because there was no dad or grandpa in the picture, they’d sometimes ask Gav to help out with various ‘guy jobs’ around the place. He was always happy to be able to pitch in, and as the boy's mom told me in a note she sent after she learned that Gavin had passed away, he’d never let them pay him for this extra work. This didn’t surprise me. It was just Gavin. Whether it was scooping up the homeless guys on the beach and helping them get a meal or to a church service, or racing home through the pouring rain to grab someone else an umbrella, or simply taking the time to stop and sit with someone who needed an ear, he was always searching for a chance to serve in whatever way he could find. So, when this little boy's mom asked Gav if he’d clean some junk out of a corner of their garage, I’m sure he was happy to be able to do it. Only this time, after he finished up, he wondered if they might be willing to ‘pay’ him. He’d found something he hoped they’d let him keep. It was a dog-eared, smudged little card that held the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive . . .
And it is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life.
From that day on, Gavin carried that little card with him everywhere. Other than his Scriptures, I think it was his most loved possession.
One afternoon in the heat and bustle of the chaotic streets of Seam Reap (Angkor Wat), he and I got separated while searching for a place to eat lunch. I tried not to get too frantic and traced my way back through the string of restaurants we’d walked past. I laughed with relief when I finally spotted him. There he sat at a linen covered restaurant table, with a ragged little tuk-tuk driver he’d found and brought in from the street. The two of them were laughing and talking as easily as if they’d been friends for a hundred years. He’d bought the man lunch and was sitting with him while he ate (he’d only had enough to pay for one meal), trying to give the driver ideas for how he might be able to attract more tourists than the other tuk-tuk drivers. I still smile when I think of that beautiful sight. Gav’s face was literally shining with joy.
Gavin loved Cambodia. He loved the Khmer people from every corner of his beautiful heart. He felt their deep goodness and he understood that they blessed him far more than he could ever hope to be able to bless them. But he wanted to try. He worked and saved and the following summer, returned to Phnom Penn to build homes with Margret and the Tabitha team. He dreamed of going back to serve again and again, but by the time the next building team left for Cambodia, he was already gone.
Every time a new ‘Tabitha’ home rises up in one of those Khmer villages, I’m sure Gavin watches and helps—in whatever ways angels can. I can only imagine he weeps to think that we would even consider doing such loving service in his memory.
And I am certain, with each donation, each new home raised, each Khmer life touched for good, he gratefully whispers, “Thank you, my friends.” And so do I.
(by Annie Link, Gavin's Mother)
by Kamie Robinson
EVEN YEHUDA, Israel — In October 2010, WBAIS Superintendent John Gates was invited to attend the closing banquet of the Peace Through Teacher Dialogue (PTTD) held at Na’amat Nazareth. While there, forPEACE Director Margret Ellwanger introduced Gates to Na'amat Nazareth Director Nadera Tannous. Their conversation led to an invitation from Gates to host a graduation pool party at WBAIS honoring the 2011 Na’amat Nazareth graduates.
Students that attend Na’amat come from low socio-economic backgrounds with little exposure to the world beyond their hometown. forPEACE, WBAIS and Na’amat leadership organized this event to reward those students who persevered to finish high school despite pressure to drop out, and to honor their achievements and let them know that their efforts are valued beyond their local community.
Both schools expectations were exceeded through this pilot joint event. The Na’amat girls as well as their teachers were touched by AIS’s warm welcome from faculty, staff, student volunteers, and members of the general public who support outreach initiatives within Israel.
AIS administration and volunteers were surprised by how easily they made new friends. WBAIS science teacher Nili Sadovnik already made plans to involve her honor society students in joint science activities with Na’amat Nazareth next school year.
by Nicole Hod, Sidreh's Resource Development Manager, and Kamie Robinson
LAKIYA, Israel — This July Sidreh is participating in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, an annual event in its eighth year that showcases handmade goods inspired by the culture and traditions of various communities around the world. The Festival is the largest of its kind. Last year, over 22,000 people attended in addition to 132 artists from 50 countries. Visitors, artists, locals, dignitaries, and representatives from various organizations and foundations mingle, shop, and learn from and about each other during this three-day event.
Sidreh’s leadership first heard about the festival about two years ago. At the time, participating in such a prestigious gathering so far away seemed like a distant reality. Last year, the Santa Fe Museum contacted Sidreh and urged them to apply because they were impressed with Sidreh’s community work and high quality handmade products.
Out of nearly 400 applicants this year, Sidreh was one of the 150 participants selected to participate. In addition to the cultural tradition that Sidreh’s goods help keep alive in the Bedouin community, the Fair’s committee selected Sidreh because of its high quality standards and community impact. Sidreh provides women in one of the most underprivileged communities in Israel with sustainable employment opportunities and takes an active role in the improvement of the community as a whole.
Women’s literacy education coupled with social entrepreneurship creates the perfect combination for Sidreh’s products to be showcased in a festival where the communities behind the goods are as much the stars as the products themselves. Stories of women in developing communities who can overcome the numerous challenges of desert life in a very grassroots manner is the message that Sidreh hopes to share.
Sidreh is grateful that they will be able to send six delegates--all of whom are weavers and employees who have deeply benefited from Sidreh’s entrepreneurship and educational programs. For many of the women, this is not only their first visit to the United States, but their first trip on an airplane. Many Bedouin women in the Negev find that leaving home and their village is an achievement to be proud of! Needless to say, the participation of weavers in such an event is monumental for the organization and speaks to Sidreh’s increasing success in affecting change in their community. Equally significant is the gesture of Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer and Israeli high tech company Tower Semiconductor, among other Sidreh supporters that have enabled sending the delegation to Santa Fe by sponsoring their travel expenses.
By participating in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Festival, Sidreh hopes to share the message of hope and empowerment with women and artisans around the world. An outlet such as this festival allows Sidreh to reach a whole new audience that can help further their goals of empowering women in a smart, socially responsible way.
The opportunity to network with similar organizations from around the globe is a privilege and a potential watershed moment for global inter-community cooperation to achieve shared goals in various parts of the world affected by similar problems. Sidreh hopes to use this festival to raise awareness of their programs (Women’s employment, literacy programs, health education, and the first feminist Arabic newspaper in a Bedouin community).
Following the festival in Santa Fe, Sidreh’s delegation of weavers and managers will travel to New York City and Washington D.C. to meet with women’s organization leaders and network with community leaders to increase mutual benefit and to promote Sidreh.
For more information on Sidreh and the trip to the US, please contact Hala Abu-Shareb, Sidreh’s Marketing Director. She can be reached at email@example.com and by phone at 011-972-8-651-9883 from the US, or 08-651-9883 within Israel. More information can be found on the web at www.lakiya.org or on Sidreh's Twitter feed @SidrehWeave.
You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will be providing press coverage and other volunteer services for Sidreh in Santa Fe.
For more information about the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market July 8–10, 2011, visit www.folkartmarket.org.
by Kamie Robinson
SALT LAKE CITY, USA — With the help of forPEACE and Global Outreach Foundation (GOF), bracelet making at CICFO has grown into a little business that helps support CICFO's group home.
GOF Director Steven Dee Wrigley visited CICFO in June of 2010. During his visit his talked with CICFO management and spent time getting the know the 26 children living there. Seeing their love for crafts and desire to learn, Wrigley asked if he could purchase a few bracelets for GOF to test the market in and around Salt Lake City.
GOF's endeavor has been a success. Over the last year, GOF volunteers have sold over 200 bracelets raising over $1,000 for CICFO. GOF donates 100% of the proceeds back to CICFO.
CICFO uses the money to purchase rice, noodles, and other food, help pay utilities, replenish bracelet making materials, and provide children with money to spend or save.
GOF's approach to helping CICFO has been well received. "I want to teach the children at CICFO how to earn money," says CICFO Director Botevy. "I don't want to give them money without doing anything. I want them to learn and gain skills and experience that will prepare them for life."
With permission of CICFO, GOF created individualized tags for the children to attach to the bracelets they make. Each tag has a photo and a few lines about the child's goals and ambitions.
GOF sells CICFO bracelets for $5. If you are interested in purchasing CICFO handmade bracelets, email email@example.com.
by Dr. Stuart Fleischer – GAIA Israel Director
EVEN YEHUDA, Israel — The Global Awareness Investigation and Action (GAIA) program sponsored and directed by WBAIS Students received its first Corporate Donation last week. Russell Ellwanger, CEO of TowerJazz Semiconductor, presented Dr. Stuart Fleischer with a check for $5,000 for their commitment to the GAIA ‐ Israel Project. The funding will sponsor the Kfar Galim Foster Care School near Haifa on the Carmel Coast. Kfar Galim is one of the six participating GAIA Schools in Israel.
Students from Kfar Galim are jointly researching Biological Pest Controls with our students at WBAIS. TowerJazz has committed another $5,000 for 2012‐13. They will also send their top engineers and other personnel to Kfar Galim to set up a mentor program with students.
Russell Ellwanger’s approach is not to just send funding but to establish a relationship with the Kfar Galim’s teachers and students and provide opportunities for growth and integration into the high tech work force here in Israel.
So if the funding is going directly to Kfar Galim, how do WBAIS students benefit? Our GAIA team benefits because we have a sharing partnership with each of the GAIA schools. At Kfar Galim, they have some top facilities that our students can visit and participate; such as the student’s GOFt dairy farm, aquaculture, agriculture, food and biotechnology center, robotics, astronomy and more.
The WBAIS Board and Administration have been very supportive of the GAIA Project. WBAIS has enabled GAIA to flourish and become a serious project among grass root, environmental initiatives.
If your company would like to become a GAIA Corporate Donor and sponsor a GAIA local school, support the purchase of equipment or joint field trips, please contact Dr. Stuart Fleischer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GAIA – Israel continues to open avenues of opportunity for our students through our unique partnerships with universities, environmental agencies, technology and engineering companies.
by Cathy Persson
Rick grew up with the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound as his backyard, spending his childhood “messing about in boats” along the back creeks and shoreline. A third generation shipwright, he learned the craft of wooden boat building from his father, Seth Persson, who was internationally known for his building of legendary boats. Rick spent many years playing and working in his father’s boatyard learning from the best craftsmen in the industry.
Rick life’s work was as a shipwright, restoring wooden yachts and manufacturing small boats. With his brother Jon, he designed and built traditional boats whose designs are as functional as they are beautiful. Rick’s craftsmanship was highly respected in the world of wooden yachts. Workboats, kayaks, rowboats, powerboats and sailboats -- Rick built them all.
Rick’s wife Cathy had the opportunity to visit and work with Tabitha Cambodia, a non-profit organization whose GOFl is to assist residents of small villages throughout Cambodia to reach economic self-sufficiency. Rick understood the economic potential of boats for those who live on a river.
Contributions through forPEACE to Tabitha in Rick’s name will be directed to villages where houses, wells, small boats, and fishing nets are needed to help local families improve their economic situations.
by Kamie Robinson
EVEN YEHUDA, Israel — GAIA Gala is an annual Global Awareness Investigation and Action (GAIA) Israel event that brings together students, parents, community leaders, and representatives from supporting organizations.
This year's event was hosted by Walworth Barbour American International School (WBAIS). Keynote speakers were world renowned bird researcher Dr. Yossi Leshem, and Israel's Czech Ambassador Tomas Pojar. Following their speaches, students from each GAIA school presented project summaries of their previous year's research and outlined their newly formulated research projects.