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Thanks Andrius and Dennis!!/Synnove-Maria-Actwid K-Ibrahim (CFCO)-Eric-Fred/Welcome to HH, Dennis!

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  • Janet Feldman
    Dear Andrius, Dennis, Synnove, Maria Agnese, Eric, and All, Fantastic to hear from everyone, and with such deeply inspiring news! Dennis is not only a superb
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 11 10:19 PM
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      Dear Andrius, Dennis, Synnove, Maria Agnese, Eric, and All,
       
      Fantastic to hear from everyone, and with such deeply inspiring news!   Dennis is not only a superb activist, professional, individual, and change agent, he is also an arts ambassador extraordinaire, including for ActALIVE, whose Kenya chapter he hopes to develop.  A huge welcome to Holistic Helping too, Dennis! You will find a number of simpatico spirits here, and our work will be enriched by your presence.
       
      I'm delighted that this first bridge went so well, as I have often thought that ActALIVE could benefit both from such discussions and also from this format.  We have a number of ICTs-oriented and savvy members, including 'Gbenga Sesan (Nigeria), Ibrahim Halkano (Tanzania), Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima (Nigeria), Mac Bain Mkandawire (Malawi), Lenny Boniface (Tanzania), and Pam McLean (UK and Nigeria/Kenya).  Lenny, Pam, and Ibrahim are all in various MS-related forums, and Pam moderates Learning From Each Other.
       
      Andrew Crummy of the World Community Arts Day movement, and Actwid Kongadzem in Cameroon, are members of both ActALIVE and Holistic Helping.  Joy Tang is an ActALIVE board member in addition to being MS-linked, and in fact she introduced Andrius and myself 3-4 years ago!  I'd be thrilled if Jeff Buderer of OVF would join us too (hint-hint, haha!).
       
      Fred Kayiwa in Uganda has just written to tell me that he has been in touch with Youth With A Vision, an org in Uganda which uses arts to address HIV/AIDS.  Fred, thanks much for your note, and hope you and Youth reps will draft a joint letter about their activities, to post to our forums!  It would be great if you and members of YWAV can join us at ActALIVE and also Holistic Helping.
       
      Maria Agnese, delightful to hear from you as always, and thanks so much for your intro to Godrey, a Tanzanian artist now working and living in Finland. I have cc'd him and hope he can join us, and know how deeply grateful we all are for your own "art of the heart"!
       
      One interesting crossover is ActALIVE member and chapter head in The Gambia, Ibrahim Ceesay, of the Children for Children Organization (CFCO), who wrote to you (Andrius) of their interest in flash drives at the Rising Voices forum. Several members of ActALIVE are now in that forum, as is ActALIVE partner, JUMP (in the person of creator, Robin Worley).  And ActALIVE new co-moderator, Tawando Chisango (ZW) of Patsime Trust and SAfAIDS, applied for a Rising Voices grant.
       
      I'm thrilled that Synnove Mathe, now an ActALIVE member and with links to MS, is interested in this form of communication, and has already been in touch through the forum with Andrius and Dennis.  I hope this is the start of cross-fertilization which includes arts, media, and ICTs, and that will be global in scope.
       
      I'd be eager to have people like Sam Kongere of Udogo Youth Group (Kenya), Ken Owino of Nafsi Acrobats Afrika (Kenya), Tom Ochuka of Deaf Impact Ministry, and international friends interested/working in the fields of art/media/ICTs to address HIV/AIDS and the MDGs join us.
       
      Dennis and Ken Owino, I hope you will meet up too, as you have much in common! Ken has just been to Europe with a fellow member of his troupe--performing with and for refugee children--and he, Synnove (artist and filmmaker), Maria Agnese (educator and humanitarian extraordinaire), and others in both ActALIVE and MS-related forums might provide some invaluable bridge-building of their own between Europe and Africa.
       
      I love the idea of an arts worknet, and will be happy to be more involved in working on that myself, once things with my father have become more stabilized.  I hope that Synnove and/or someone else in ActALIVE will indeed become involved in organizing this project, and that each of us can add something to it along the way, as what an amazing repository and resource that would be!
       
      Andrius, I have a number of other suggestions for future bridge conversations (among ActALIVE members), and will hope to write a mail to that effect soon. I am very interested to find ways of working with others in the arts field generally--especially when this is combined with a social-change perspective--and am sure other members of ActALIVE are too.
       
      One other project I will mention now, about which Dennis probably spoke on Sunday, is the International Peace Tiles Project (www.peacetiles.net). The project's creator, Lars Hasselblad Torres, is an ActALIVE member, and Dennis has been an avid participant in the World AIDS Day events ActALIVE has organized around the Peace Tiles.  If anyone is interested in getting involved in Peace Tiles activities for WAD 2007, please let us know, and contact Dennis (in Kenya), myself, or Lars directly (peacetiles@...).   This project would be a great one to discuss at the "Fighting Peacefully" forum (another MS-related).
       
      One last thought for now:   Andrius, you may recall our discussion a few years back of a virtual (and physical too, perhaps) "caravan" which would be a showcase for arts.  I would still love to pursue that idea, and to translate that "visually" at the ActALIVE website and elsewhere.  I don't have much in the way of funds, but would be interested in the idea of our Lab helping to develop the website and other ICTs components of ActALIVE.
       
      On a related note, I'd also love to do a global festival of arts activities and work related to HIV/AIDS, development, and linked topics, on the order of One World Beat, where people and orgs perform in their own countries--all on the same weekend or week--and are linked via virtual means, so that a feeling of unity and oneness emerge.
       
      Will close on that note with immense appreciation and bravos to Dennis, Andrius, and all, and artistic affections always, Janet
       
       
       
       
       
      Synnove,

      Thank you for your reply! Yes, I was hoping you might participate, but I
      imagine you are busy.

      If you are interested, then one idea is that you might lead a "worknet"
      at our Minciu Sodas laboratory. That would include a discussion group
      and wiki pages. We would organize this around your deepest value in life
      and hold you accountable to keep clarifying that and openly investigate
      questions that you want to answer (such as "What is more important,
      essence or existence?" which you raised earlier.) Also, activity would
      take place openly in the Public Domain except where content explicitly
      notes otherwise. I would work as an organizer to assemble people, to
      support your endeavors - what you want to achieve, and to look for
      business opportunities that we might pursue. I would hope for your
      interest in the long term but otherwise you would participate as you are
      able.

      I am happy to set up this arrangement with others who might be
      interested and are active at our Minciu Sodas lab's groups
      http://www.ms. lt It would be great to have a "worknet" related to art,
      but especially led by someone active at ActALIVE. I share also with our
      lab's Holistic Helping group which Janet leads.

      Aside from a "worknet", if that is too much commitment, we could set up
      some wiki pages for information that you would like to share.

      It's great to hear from you!

      Andrius


      Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...> wrote:
      I am very grateful to Dennis Kimambo for engaging us today by Skype. We
      had gathered at the Europos Parkas sculpture garden to pursue sculptor
      Algirdas Zokaitis's question, How can Lithuanian artists without money
      show their work in other countries? Dennis rose to the challenge and
      talked about his own experiences as an actor, writer, director,
      organizer and activist. We were interested to learn how he integrated
      his community work, as a volunteer, and his professional work. Dennis
      talked about the immediate impact that community theater had for the
      audience to discuss real life situations regarding HIV/AIDS and reflect
      publicly, what to do? how might we behave? how do we think? I have not
      seen it but I imagine it is quite impactful. We managed to speak by
      Skype and also see some pictures. Maybe someday we can engage each
      other by video and see such community theater and perhaps learn and
      share and do likewise. I was myself intrigued to realize that although
      Dennis support himself through his professional theater work, but his
      travels are possible through his community theater work. We discussed
      amongst ourselves in Lithuanian, and I noted that when a person is
      invited for their community work, then it is like inviting the people in
      their community as well, so it is very good for networking. And that
      Algirdas's activity with the children in the neighborhood, the ceramics
      classes he leads free-of-charge, might lead to his travel. Algirdas
      sang two songs that he wrote and was very encouraged by Dennis's
      reaction. We were also provoked by the idea that we, too, might travel
      some day to Kenya and participate in community theater. I also noted
      that when we share energy with Dennis and give energy then surely that
      energy helps him give energy to those around him and that is a great joy
      for us. Dennis, thank you for reaching us and I appreciate your
      efforts! Is there a group in the European Union who we could send a
      small honorarium to in thanks for your work? Please let me know, we
      will gladly do so. Thank you!

      Dennis also spoke about the great importance of ActALIVE in sharing
      knowledge of opportunities and making international connections that
      open up the possibility of travel. I am also learning that such a voice
      from far away can have a great impact on our thinking twice about what
      is possible.

      Janet, Dennis agreed to sign up for your Holistic Helping working group
      at our Minciu Sodas laboratory. Please sign him up, or Dennis please
      send a blank message to holistichelping- subscribe@ yahoogroups. com and
      all are welcome to join us. Or send me your email to ms@...

      Andrius

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