For this round, we read Animal Farm, an allegorical novel written by George Orwell. Our facilitator gives us a list of vocabularies from a certain chapter and together in class, we give them definition. I just wanted to highlight this particular story I wrote by using vocabularies from Chapter 9 & 10 in the book. As you read further you will notice that some of the words are bold, which indicates that that’s the word form the list. Enjoy reading. 

 

Murmurs, sobs and whispers were heard. On this certain day, the dark and morose skies only worsen everyone’s moods. People and citizens accumulated in front of the ancient lake.  The foul stench of a dead body wafted across the area, making people scrunch their noses in disgust. Last night, a kid had taken his own life by jumping off a cliff and drowning himself. The police worked diligently all morning, trying to find the identity of the dead body.  

———————————————————————————————–

Dear Diary,

For the past few years, I have felt like the world’s against me. The constant gossips and whispers in my mind are imperishable and relentless. They keep telling me that I’m not worth what I am given, I am not strong enough to endure this life. I was making my way to class today, when I noticed kids in the hallway contemptuously staring at me. Fortunately, I reached my destination. I went to my usual seat, located at the end of the room. I looked around and heard hushed giggles from my classmates. They were staring at me weirdly. I shrugged and continued down the aisle of chairs and desks. I took a seat and that’s when it happened. The chair let out a painful groan before leaning to its side toppling over, bringing me with it. I landed face first on the floor. The pain was almost unbearable, my left cheek was throbbing. I squeezed my eyes shut as the pain subsisted. The class broke out in spontaneous laughter. I slowly got up, my face flushed and red. I stumbled before running to the school’s bathroom. I ran cold water down my face. The look on the students face had already intimated of what was going to happen, yet being the idiot I am, I ignored it. I came home that day, depressed and mad. The quarrel between my parents didn’t help to relax me. My dog, Clifford, came into my room. He knew that I was sad so he nuzzled his nose against my hand. My body shakes as I finally allow the tears that have long awaited to pour out. 

The boy perspective:

Reality washed over me, I was standing on the edge of a cliff. I have decided that I was just a burden to the world. I was shy and taciturn. I never fit well in social groups. My mom told me that I had a very depressing demeanor and I agree. The bags under my eyes make me look like I haven’t had sufficient sleep in ages. After I die, I wish there would be people to lament my death and that I was given a proper interment and with that being my final thought, I plunged in. The cold water hit me. It captured my body and slowly swayed me back and forth. My lungs constricted. My vision started becoming hazy and cloudy. Dark spots followed my line of vision as I finally gave in and let the darkness consume me.  

 

   

     This particular round, we learned about the Russian Revolution. We got to understand about the many events that happen during that time. Peasants were unsatisfied with how they were treated, and the limited rights they were given. The accumulating unsatisfactions led to many protests and arguments, ultimately overthrowing the Tsar Nicholas II.  Karl Max already predicted that with the many unsatisfied citizens and people, the revolution was inevitable. For the Russian Revolution Unit Assessment, I decided to write and deliver a speech in first person about my actual experiences during the Russian Revolution period. 

Russian Revolution Unit Assessment

     I’m Agnia, born on the land of a very rich nobleman. My life over the past few years has been nothing but a nightmare. My rights along with many others having the same status as me were taken away. Just because I was a peasant, I was disvalued and was considered a nothing by society and I think I’m speaking for all the peasants during that time when I say that our lives were hell. Today, I am finally going to share what my experience was like during the Russian Revolution. 

     I remember waking up very early in the morning everyday, just to check my appearance and see if I was looking a lot healthier than yesterday. But no, the dark patch under my eyes still hasn’t left. I mean I don’t blame it, these days my sleep was consumed by my thoughts. Oh, and if you were wondering what kind of thoughts I was having, it’s the thought of whether tomorrow I would still be able to see the sun or will finally join my family in the sky. My rib cage was still showing and my wrists were no bigger than a thin rope. Every morning for the last few years, I woke up and was always greeted by the sound of my stomach rumbling. 

     As a peasant, I had to work very hard under the scorching sun. I had to make sure I was able to complete my task without slacking off or else I would be beaten by the landlord. He carried a big whip whenever he came to see us. The whip that is stained by many innocent blood.  I remember that time distinctly when a boy fell asleep during work. The landlord came over with the whip and smacked him right across his cheek. The innocent boy was startled, not having enough time to register, another whipped came. This time striking across his other cheek. The boy stood body trembling almost like a wet dog. Blood was streaming down the boy’s face. He was then ordered to follow the landlord and never came back again. My hatred for the landlord grew and grew as each day passed. 

     You might be wondering about the whereabouts of my parents. Let’s just say they were too ill and are no longer of use for the landlord. I mean why waste food on peasants who can no longer produce results, right? Hunger murdered my mother. She died of a slow and painful death. She died with her eyes opened. She died regretting. My father on the other hand was tortured. He was beaten daily because he stole food from the farm for my mom and I. His body fell apart. Red turning purple bruises and scars appear on every inch of his body. The landlord whip murdered my father. Both of their bodies were thrown into the river. There are days when I wonder about the number of corpses that lie on the river bed. 

     Throughout my life, there were little moments where I cherish and one of the moments was when I joined in the October Revolution. I was one, amongst many who are not satisfied with how peasants were treated and how many died during the Bloody Sunday. As the name already suggested, it was bloody. The once white snow was dyed red. 100 of my kind died.

     The October revolution for us, peasants, screamed one word, Freedom. I worked tirelessly everyday to prepare weapons for Lenin. At that time, Russia was in chaos. Shops and Stores were shut down. The streets that were once roamed by many Russian were deserted. I did everything I could to support the Bolsheviks party. I was driven by hatred and the need for change in my life. The October revolution was successful and the Bolsheviks took full control of the government. 

     Life has been a lot easier since then. I am still working on the farm regularly but this time I had food to eat, not a lot, but sufficient for my needs. The bags under my eyes were slowly disappearing. The revolution had totally been a pivoting point in my life. I had finally regained my dignity as well as my sanity.

Reference

https://www.britannica.com/event/Bloody-Sunday-Russia-1905

 

The Big Giant Blue

     My passion for the ocean never seems to cease; it had only grown stronger the longer I spend near it. Words can’t describe how amazing the ocean is. Words can’t express the gratitude I feel whenever I am near it. According to science.howstuffworks, “We’ve sent 12 people to the moon since 1969 over a handful of missions; only three people have descended to the deepest part of the ocean in the Marianas Trench”. This means that we know more about the moon, which is not even the place where we are living in, than the big blue ocean. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that as much as 95 percent of the world’s oceans and 99 percent of the ocean floor are unexplored. That’s crazy! For as long as we know, our whole lives revolve around the ocean. We have been using the ocean as a very important source of food and economic growth, yet we know so little about it. I’m afraid that we are running out of time; by 2050, it has been predicted that there would be more plastics than fish in weight, many marine mammals status are now “Endangered”. 

     Let’s look on the bright side; many conservation efforts are involving, many marine protected areas are established and many countries are working together to tackle this major issue. Among the many different countries, Cambodia is one of them. An organization located on Koh Seh, one of the islands in the Kep Archipelago. MCC, also known as Marine Conservation Cambodia is helping Cambodia’s ocean in so many ways. One of them being is the LMRT, Liger Marine Research Team. In this project, we are monitoring the anti-trawling device that has been deployed around the island. Establishing clear data on whether the block is efficient and a very good solution for trawling. Trawling is one of the major problems that are creating a long-lasting impact on our ocean. Vulnerable coral reefs are ravaged, seagrasses are ripped apart and marine mammals and fish are being overfished. The anti-trawling device, not only provides habitat for lives underwater but acts as an anchor or a knife to cut the net from the trawling boat. The block is very easy to make but is very heavy. 

     Since the first cohort is graduating very soon, they will need someone to continue this project and the vision of it. The first cohort explained how it was a very big commitment and this project is what we will be committed to for the next three years. I decided to join the team because I have been to the island before and was very inspired by the work they are doing there. I have already mentioned the love I have for oceans so this was a great opportunity for me to express it. Unlike on land, we can’t actually see the destruction that is happening to this diverse habitat. So, just being one part of a small change for the ocean is very amazing. 

     Before actually going on the trip, LMRT generation 1 taught us everything we need to know before taking the paper test. Fast forward to the first time I started diving; it was scary. We were carrying these very big tanks on our back. As we enter the water though, the tank became a little lighter. The first time descending underwater was nerve-wracking. It felt so peculiar when we had to breathe compressed air. The air was cold as it comes out of the tank. We did some skills practice while underwater like taking off our masks and taking off our regulator and putting it back into our mouth. For me, every time the regulator comes out of my mouth I would always panic. At one point, I didn’t put the regulator in my mouth properly and took three big gulps of salty water; I was literally drowning. When we did our first open water dive, I was so busy finding my neutral buoyancy that I didn’t even have time to notice my surroundings. Something amazing about the dive was that while we were diving a juvenile golden trevally decided to tag along. 

     Lastly, I would like to thank all the LMRT generation one who taught us what we had to know in order to pass the SSI test. Tim, our very amazing dive instructor and MCC who was very welcoming.

Five Feet Apart — Alternative Blurb and Cover

     

     Stella Grant has had cystic fibrosis for as long as she can remember; She spends most of her time in the hospital, swallowing pills, undergoing treatments that might not even be effective and waiting for new lungs to replace her old defected one. Stella likes to be in control of her life. She thoroughly arrange her med cart everyday, even inventing an app that help patients like her know when to take their medicine. She sticks to her plan and routine, creating videos about her and CF hoping that it will encourage people who are going through what she is going through. For once, she feels like she is in control of life itself, for this is what she has been doing her whole life. But what happens when she meets Will Newmen? Surely, falling in love wasn’t on the list, especially to someone who needs to be five feet apart from her at all times. 

     Join Stella in her journey, to discover that maybe there’s more to life than waiting and wondering what life has installed for her; new hopes, new lungs, new chapters or an ending. A roller coaster filled with tragedies, tears and miracles. And a handsome, carefree guy who somehow made Stella readjust a few things in her already planned list. Will fate tear them apart, or will they finally discover what it means to be alive?

Inside Out and Back Again Narrative Poem

Here’s a glimpse of the poem that I wrote in Literacy class while we were learning about refugee:

 

I started high school just one week ago, 

When my education had to come to a halt.

 

Any 13 year old girl,

should be in school,

Aiming high for their dreams.

Unfortunately, I am not any 13 year old girl.

 

I am an muslim Afgan teen,

Home is the place where I belong,

In fact, home is the place where most teenage girls like me belong. 

 

**************************************************************************************

 

If you are very intrigued with this piece of writing, feel free to click on the link below to read more. 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S0rLJLDDGutQ9oyRRLtKc_ypp_VxDmceOTfjo2Ss7yg/edit?usp=sharing

Leading youth toward CHANGE

     Often times we, as a people, don’t appreciate things that are given to us. Take a minute to go outside and look around. What do you see? Well, in my case if I look outside right now I could see the tall clusters of trees packed together. I have already been on an Outdoor Leadership trip where I went to Kirirom and Mondulkiri with my friends and teachers. The experience had been very eye opening. There is just a sense of peace and calmness in the wild. I live in a bustling city where technologies are found almost everywhere. It’s time like being in nature that made me appreciate silence. I was very lucky to be able to experience this phenomenon. As a change agent, I wanted to share my experience to youth in Cambodia too.

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, sky, child, outdoor and nature
In honour of Woman International  Day

In this exploration, we are trying to empower Cambodian youth to be outdoor leaders and environmental stewards by introducing them to natural spaces, raising awareness of conservation threats, and nurturing the passion and skills needed to positively impact their communities. On the other hand, we are also trying to empower women and go against the mindset of “Woman should be staying at home and doing housework”. Opening more opportunities for girls to show the world that they can hike, build fires and set up tents. 

Before embarking on this journey, we will be teaching them four important skills: Nature Appreciation, Wilderness, Medical & Risk Managements and Leadership.

By working on this project, I have learned many things. Mostly, how to be a good leader for other people. It strengthens my leadership skills and critical thinking skills. I have met many problems during the way like an “idea-block”, where as you can probably already tell by the word, no idea comes to my head. 

In conclusion, I believe that this project is very important and that it should keep going. I am also thrilled to be able to share my knowledge with other people and hopefully, make them realize the significant gift we are given.

Passionate students and A play — Setting out to spread awareness

     Earth, the planet we are living in, consist of large bodies of water. 70% of Earth is covered in water. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that as much as 95 percent of the world’s oceans and 99 percent of the ocean floor are unexplored. What wonder could lie out there. In the never ending deep, where no light can reach.  The breathtaking view, stretching further out into the horizon. It’s endless food sources for us are now perishing day by day. At the bottom of the ocean, the colorful animals that looks like rock providing habitat to millions of species are demolishing, taken out of the water or losing their color. The seagrass bed ripped apart, releasing sediments, fogging the visibility of the once clear ocean.  According to plastic-pollution.org, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. Human creates different impact to the ocean. Some are more serious than the other. The important thing is that most of us, is still clueless, having no clue that we are destroying our home and the future of our generations. Actions such as: illegal fishing, coastal development, waste pollution and many more that have an immense impact to the under-water environment. It made me feel sad to know that we are basically, destroying our own food resources. 

The goal of this exploration, Marine Theater is to expand the understanding about our ocean to people who are living in coastal areas. We want to convey a message to our audience about just how important our ocean is and what we should do to protect it. In order to do that, we ourselves have to learn more about our ocean. So we went on a trip to the MCC, Marine Conservation Cambodia, an organization that help conserve our ocean. When we got there, I was able to go snorkeling around the coral reef that was there. It was my second time going snorkeling but it never failed to wow me. As I dived deeper I could see the different colored fish dancing around it’s home, the long spiked sea animal. As stated from the guardian, coral reefs are so gloriously beautiful and complex – and so vulnerable. I felt so blessed to be able to expose myself to this huge world underwater that I never knew about. I also felt sad and upset to learn that not many people know about this dying ecosystem. In Cambodia, almost all the time you have to respect an adult, whatever they say is always right. In the play we wanted to create a character that is confidence to voice her opinion. A kid who is going to be a hero in her own story without depending on an adult.  A kid who has a voice, an ambition for saving the place she loves. I felt like after creating a character that was a girl and was able to confidently take action on what she believes; Inspires me. We chose to target the issue of plastics in the ocean since it’s active all around Cambodia. We took the play to coastal area in Cambodia, since the community live closest to our ocean. We had costumes and props ready to go. We went to Kep and did three shows there. It was rewarding to see the reaction of the kids when they saw the different variety of sea creatures that is in our ocean. After the play, we did a quick discussion with them about 4 main problems that are happening in our oceans which is plastic and trash, coral bleaching, illegal fishing, and coastal development. I think the problems that our oceans are facing is not easily solved. Everyone has a story behind what they are doing. We can’t just say that it’s the trawler fault. Every problem is interconnected; We have to start with smaller problems and building a new fundamental thinking of our oceans. I truly believe that the play had raise more awareness to people about our ocean. One highlight from the whole journey was when I talked to a grade 11 and 12 students about the problem of plastic in our oceans and to see them discussed the topic with so much confidence. It made me realise that there are more people out there that cares about our oceans. I think we need to change the complex mindset of people about plastic, the mindset of saying that plastic is not a threat to our ocean. People are so used to using them that they don’t realize the consequences it will cause. Say no to plastic, avoid using any single used plastic because if you and I start doing that, then the ocean will be a much better place. 

 

How to be happy when you are discouraged

How to be happy when you are discouraged?

     In life, there will be times when you feel like you’re not good enough or you’re not appreciated and that’s normal. Feeling down when you are going through a hard time and no one is there for you? Or when you created something and showed it to other people and they say that it’s not good enough or it doesn’t matter. According to dictionary.com discouraged is having lost confidence or enthusiasm; disheartened. “Oh, do you like to paint? I hate to break the news but it doesn’t look like you know what you’re doing.” How would you feel if people say that to you? Now you will not be confident in drawing or doing what you love anymore because you are afraid that people will judge you again. Feeling discouraged can lead a person to stop doing what he or she relishes. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at something as long as it’s something that makes you feel happy and special, then do it. Someone who is discouraged will always have doubt on themselves, what if it’s not good enough, what if no one like it, what if it’s not something they want. But what if they like it, what if it was good enough, what if they want it, you’ll never know will you, unless you show them. Think of being discouraged as a time in your life where you are knocked back on the path of pursuing your dream. You have to try different ways to get past and of course, like all journey there will be obstacles and hurdles on the way; There will be bruises and scars.

Love Yourself

Have you ever heard of the phrase “Love yourself”. I’m sure you are all aware of that. Self love is really important, understand that you are the one that is in control of your own life, choice or destiny. Being able to first encourage yourself, telling yourself you can do it is a very powerful thing that most people can’t do. Don’t have doubt in yourself, believe in your potential and the things that you can do. Know that nothing is more empowering than leaning for your own comfort and enjoying it. When you give yourself more love, you will be a person that is not easily discouraged. It’s not called “selfish” to once in a while make yourself a priority. 

Learn from your mistakes 

Imagine that you worked all night writing an essay for your professor and when you finally turned it in she said that your work was not enough and you need to be better than this. So what do you do next? You improve, learn what your mistake was and encourage yourself to do better. You can do better. Get stronger and never give in. 

Don’t Give Up

Often times when people feel discouraged they would want to give up on what they are doing. But remember this quote: “Before you give up think about the reason why you held on for so long.” If you give up, don’t you think that all the time that you use to work on that thing will be wasted. Don’t give up halfway, at least finish it and see how it turns out before deciding to quit. Know that giving up is not an option. 

It’s alright to not be fine

Remember that it’s ok to break, it’s ok to feel vulnerable, it’s ok to not be ok. Give yourself time, let yourself break but remember to get back up and heal. Spending more time with the people you love and supports you will enhance your mood. They will help you go through tough time by being alongside you. Consider going out with your family or start sharing your problems with friends you know you can trust. It will make you feel better to just let it out, you won’t have to worry about them judging you.

Back to Courage

Pam Stucky, author of several books including mystery stated “Just learn to be courageous,  If “discouraged” means having moved away from courage, then is the antidote as “simple” as “re-couraging” ourselves? Moving back toward courage? If courage is bravery, then maybe when we are discouraged, what we’re really feeling is fear. The further away we are from courage, the closer we are to our fear.” Don’t run away from your fear learn to face it and deal with it head on. Fear are only there to make you stronger. You can’t fear the same things for the rest of your life. To not be discourage also means for you to be encouraging yourself, learn to motivate other people if they are down, comfort them and make them feel better.

Discouragement is a common problem yet it can be dangerous. Remember that there are people in the world who like to point out the negative of people. Don’t be those kind of person, if you see something beautiful in someone, speak it. If you have learned how to do all the things above then before you even know it, you are back on the path to pursuing your dream. So next time when people tell you that you are not good enough, Kim Quindlen, a writer for thought co, wrote “Acknowledge it. Allow it to sting you. Address the wound, but do not allow it to seep into your soul. Instead, remember that no person can define you. Nothing can define you. Even you can’t define you in the moments where you’re feeling worthless or helpless or judgmental of yourself. You are figuring yourself out everyday, so try new things and stay committed to what you love to do. This doesn’t mean to not take other people comment into your work but to know which comments to keep and which to ignore. So keep your head held high and never give in to all those words that hurt you instead use it as a motivation to push you harder, for one day you will prove them wrong. 

 

Make the Most of your Learning

     For this round in Literacy, our theme was making the most of our learning. Unlike last round, we had a very specific theme but making the most of your learning is a very vague topic. We got to learn about managing our time and actually making our own schedule of what to do in class. The challenge for me this round is keeping tab with my work and getting things done. The first time when I was planning my own schedule, it was a little overwhelming, I didn’t know what I should put into my schedule and how I will complete it. Later on, when I had gotten used to managing my self, I found this strategy really effective because everyone have their own learning still and by not requiring task to be done in a certain order or in a certain way, students can explore lesson and find ways to understand the topic effectively. For me personally, I feel proud and the sense of relief whenever I saw a check mark in the box next to my task.

     This round we were also required to pick out a novel, and try to finish it by the end of the round. The book that I chose to read was “The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak. I found this book to be really interesting, specifically in the way how the writer wrote. He wrote it in a very poetic way that might be a hustle for readers to try to understand what he wanted to convey. The book is also written in the perspective of death, which is a little strange because till now we don’t understand what death is, but when he wrote about how death comes and take people life, you are imagining death as a person or a character. One of thing that was in the book that help explained death was:

A Reassuring Announcement

Please, be calm, despite that previous threat.

I am all bluster- I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result.

 Page 7, The Book Thief.

     Overall, this round had been very successful for me, I got to discover my own learning styles and gotten to manage my own studies.

Keep up with the storm to see the rainbow

     The storm made it way through the clear sky, approaching fast. People quickly rise up on their feet as small droplet showered upon them. The rambunctious sounds of thunder echoes through the now empty beach filling each and every corner. As darkness fills the once clear cloud like a contagious disease lashing on any innocence it can find, bird silenced their song and flee to a safer place away from the colossal storm. Sand castles were now filled with seawater and seaweed, at least you can still tell that it’s a sand castle but not for long until a huge wave crashing onto the shore taking every little piece of sediments that holds the structure of the castle. The wind picked up trash that had been left on the sandy shore and scattered it all over the land. People sheltered in their car, hoping for the dark cloud to pass by; Their windscreen wiping furiously against the heavy droplet that fired rapidly down the sky. Wave raged upon the sand, hitting it violently, sending it back and forth. Boat rocked left to right, trying to keep up with the waves that was hitting it, afraid that it can over turn at any moment. The sound of kids crying, intimidated by the storm, made it way around the lifeless landscape as no one dared to leave their home. As time went by, the storm became mild and soothing almost rocking the once crying baby to sleep. People lifted their head to the sky dumbfounded. There was lines of different vibrant colors, stretched across the sky without an ending point who knows what lies at the end of the colors. Showing even a bad day can end beautifully. People were pleased and satisfied with what they saw, the once hatred that they felt for the storm was washed away. A terrible day can have a beautiful ending, remember that if you want to see the rainbow than you have keep up with the storm. “Don’t wait for the storms of your life to pass. Learn to dance in the rain.” Steve Rizzo.