Both Good and Bad Can be Crazy

Posted on Friday June 19, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 Crazy Crazy

 South American Trip Confirmation South American Trip Confirmation

In my years working with at-risk youth, I’ve come to have some pretty crazy stories that I was either there for or heard about second hand. Yesterday, was no exception. What I can say is that a man with a machete attacked a teenager outside of my work yesterday. Apparently after the attack he walked calmly up to the Crisis Residential Center, and was attempting to get in. The Spokesman Review article describes the attacker as a possible mental patient.

While I wasn’t at work during this incident, It’s pretty crazy and tops any other stories I’ve head before. It has also made me think about violence that is taking part with our youth. While the attacker was 49 years old, it was still an attack on a teenager. Maybe it’s that I’ve been watching too much GangLand on the history channel (you used to be able to watch videos on NinjaVideo.net), but I think that all of the violence is crazy. In thinking about violence, I think that it is about building up our communities. Although Spokane is not a huge place, it is growing. There is a gang problem, I realized that while working at Spokane Juvenile Detention. There are some pretty bad neighborhoods, check out the Crimemap. I believe it is about staying in some of these more needy neighborhoods. It’s going to be the community to help change the violence. A good book about inner city violence is Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada.

The other crazy thing that is happening right now, is that I just bought tickets to go to South America. We fly into Trinidad and Tobago into Port of Spain. Me and Ami are still attempting to lock down some ideas about exactly what we will be doing, but it is now a for sure thing (tickets purchased).

Five Years Each

Posted on Saturday June 13, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 Five Years. Five Years.

Transitions and ceremony are important aspects of all of our lives. I was talking with a good friend the other day, who was telling me that she is not that interested in a wedding. To me the marriage is not about either the certificate or the ceremony. I do believe that both are important. The certificate is like a legal deceleration stating to everybody that two people are married. The ceremony is also important in that it is a public display of of what is going on in two people’s hearts and a public showing of the certificate. While the most important component of the marriage is the two people and their lives lived together, the other parts are significant.

In the western culture, we don’t truly have a ceremony to depict a young person’s transition into adulthood. Many cultures used to have different ceremonies. Last year, I was hoping to attend one of Fr. Richard Rohr’s Men’s Rites of Passage I will be participating in my own right of passage today. Graduation from college is probably the closest ceremony that we have depicting somebodies transition into adulthood.

Today, I will graduate with my master’s degree in social work. It is a pretty amazing story that while it took five years to earn my high school diploma, I will have earned my master’s degree in the same amount of time. I have had a ton of different challenges, changes, and other stuff happen over the last many years and find myself lucky to be where I’m at.

While I am still not exactly sure what I will be doing next year this time… I do have have some ideas.

Weighing the Balance

Posted on Monday May 4, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 The needs of the many verses the one. I made it in Adobe Illustrator, but I'm attaching the Adobe Photoshop file, because I can't find the original Illustrator file. It's some of my first experiences playing with Illustrator The needs of the many verses the one. I made it in Adobe Illustrator, but I’m attaching the Adobe Photoshop file, because I can’t find the original Illustrator file. It’s some of my first experiences playing with Illustrator

At work recently, I have been thinking about some tough issues. Weighing the balance of the good for the many verses the good for the one is something that seems to come up over and over in residential work. Often at the CRC, our last effort to curb negative behavior of a youth is to “punish” the group. This often means taking away the T.V. or not being able to go on an outing, because one youth is acting out negatively. This is always a tough decision, because it is hard to punish the many because of the behavior of the one.

An even more difficult weight that sometimes must be balanced is in looking towards a youth that really needs a lot of help, support, and love. These youth that need more time spent working with them, sometimes take staff’s time away from the other youth. One particular youth often required one to one staffing (something that was unthinkable from my times at Jubilee). While it is great to pour that much attention into one youth, sometimes I feel like I haven’t had time to come and give to the other youth at the facility. This youth has also displayed behavior that could be harmful to the other clients (bullying and threatening).

It can be very tough to know that one person really has a lot of need, and wanting to help them as much as possible. But to at the same time, understand that there is a need to help as many as possible. Maybe even be able to focus more on youth who are receptive and willing to work on issue. I guess it can be broken down into two ethical fields of thoughts. That of utilitarianism and of Kantian ethics. I believe it is much too early in the morning to spend time getting into the specifics of the arguments.

What do you guy’s believe is the best way to judge if one ought to work with the one at the expense of the many or the many at the expense of the one?

Street Lights

Posted on Sunday April 19, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 Street Lights Street Lights

I spent this weekend seeing old friends in both Pulman and Moscow. It was a really good time, and a trip well spent. The trip really made me spend some time evaluating where I am in my life, especially as I sped home at 2 am on Sunday morning (wanted to be able to go to my home church).

I had two thoughts as I was speeding home. I started thinking about how fast paced my life (and really the majority of the industrialized world) is. First, I was thought about when the road is bumpy that one feels the bumps even more and they can be harder to handle then if somebody is going slowly. Have you ever taken a speed bump at 50 mph? Well, I haven’t, but I would imagine that it would be very hard to take. I think this is true in our lives too. As our life pace moves so quickly, the bumps in our life are harder to handle correctly. It is much more likely that one of the bumps in our life will take us out. Second, I started thinking about how I drive when I am going fast, especially at night. Race cars attempt to turn as little as possible. Sudden changes in direction can be detrimental for somebody going quickly. If there are no cars, I might freely change lanes back and forth to attempt to go as straight as possible. It’s like the lines in our life don’t matter as much. I believe in our fast paced life, it can be easier and easier to have the lines and boundaries blur. Things that did not appear cross-able are easily crossed to keep the speed up. Maybe it’s time to slow our lives down some, keep in our lane and courageously take on all the bumps that come our way.

The Economy and Social Work

Posted on Saturday April 4, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

With the worldwide, national, state, and local economies facing an economic downturn, it is important to examine its effects on social service agencies and social work. The active policy of how economic downturns effect social service agencies is examined though a number of modalities. When looking at these types of policies the affected populations must be described. The historical, worldwide, national, and statewide perspectives provide context and understanding of the problem. A policy analysis matrix is also utilized to give a more concrete description of the crisis.

Continue reading…

Abject Poverty, Orphanages, and Cuban Cigars

Posted on Friday March 27, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 Los Niños de PPA Los Niños de PPA

 A photo overlooking some of Villa El Salvador. It began as a pueblo jóven (shantytown) in the vast, empty sand flats to the south of Lima in 1970 because of the urgent housing needs of immigrant families who had left the sierra of Peru. Villa El Salvador evolved into a huge urban zone, largely self-organizing, for which it won some fame. Largely through the efforts of its inhabitants, the neighborhood was supplied with electricity, water, and sewage. A photo overlooking some of Villa El Salvador. It began as a pueblo jóven (shantytown) in the vast, empty sand flats to the south of Lima in 1970 because of the urgent housing needs of immigrant families who had left the sierra of Peru. Villa El Salvador evolved into a huge urban zone, largely self-organizing, for which it won some fame. Largely through the efforts of its inhabitants, the neighborhood was supplied with electricity, water, and sewage.

Spending only five days working at the PPA is difficult, it really doesn’t feel like it is enough. As I sit here Thursday (actually technically Friday) morning, knowing tomorrow will be the last day that I get the opportunity to work with Los Niños de Puericultorio Perez Aranibar (PPA) it is a very sad thought. You see find pictures of Peru~ PPA & Villa El Salvador Peru~ PPA & Villa El Salvador 1 of 2 and Peru~ PPA & Villa El Salvador 2 of 2 albums on Facebook. Although I will only have been in Peru for 10 days come Saturday, it both feels like an eternity full of activities and thoughts and at the same time merely a touch in the water in regards to getting to know the kids or be of service to them and the PPA.

My mornings at the PPA have been spent doing physical labor. I have really enjoyed this trip having so many different layers to it. My physical labor layer is really nice in the fact almost nobody was willing to do it, knowing how much it’s needed around the huge campus of the PPA, and getting to see an instant result upon completion. The afternoon’s I spend “teaching” English to eight year old. Doing this I haven’t been able to see the instant results I get in the mornings. I believe it was one of my fellow travelers, Tony, who said it was like organizing chaos. We have a couple of games, often bring toy animals (asking the kids to describe them in Spanish then giving them the English names), and then playing futból and stopping various skirmishes. Even though I don’t believe me and Tony really taught the kids very much English, we got to love on them and give a couple of kids some individual attention they so lack in this institutional setting.

 It can be good to unwind with some wine, cheese, chocolate, Cuban cigars and good fellowship It can be good to unwind with some wine, cheese, chocolate, Cuban cigars and good fellowship

Yesterday, it was very powerful to get the opportunity to visit Villa El Salvador, a district in Lima. The main parts of town are nice, paved, and have many beautiful sections. Once you leave the more central areas, one finds how most Lima residents live. Villa El Salvador has dirt roads, no running water, trash in the streets, stinks, extremely poor families, and yet happy beautiful people. Seeing people’s resilience, regardless of their economic status and living conditions really puts your own life into status. It was a hard day, knowing that many of the kids at the PPA come from homes like the ones we visited in Villa El Salvador is really hard.

We visited one home, with one of PPA’s social workers. This visit was to check in with the family. We found a 12 year old daughter cooking for her younger siblings while her mom was at work. After getting back to Mira Flores (the wealthy district we have been staying in) we went back to the PPA to read bedtime stores to the three year old and tuck them in. It was so hard for many of us to leave these precious children. Feeling the weight of the day, I figured it was important to be able to debrief and relax. The trip has been strenuous.

Me and a friend bought some Peruvian wine, Cuban cigars (just had too, because they are illegal in the states), and Peruvian cheese and chocolate. About six of us stayed up talking until almost one am about all the things we’ve seen and experienced. It was powerful to just sit and get out many of the things we were all thinking about. Anyways, it is getting late and I have to get up very early for my last day at the PPA.

Peru Dias Tres y Cuatro

Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 An artistic photo of The sidewalk in Parque Amor in Peru at Sunset. An artistic photo of The sidewalk in Parque Amor in Peru at Sunset.

Sunday was a free day, which for me, meant sleeping in until late. I woke up and wondered down to the nearest café to order a chorizo enchilada and an Inca Cola for breakfast (maybe lunch). I spent some time on the internet at the local internet café and back to the hostel to just relax and get ready to head out to dinner. I spent some time reading down by the river and watching the sunset. Peruvians seem to flock to the streets and parks to hang out and spend time with each other (check out Peru~ Dias Tres y Cuatro Facebook Album.

 Working hard in El Jardin at the PPA in Lima.    Working hard in El Jardin at the PPA in Lima.

I really enjoy just hanging out with people. I don’t feel like, for me to be happy, I necessarily have to be doing something. I truly just love to spend time with people, maybe talk, maybe sit somewhere cool. I don’t feel like this is always acceptable. I end up not just dropping by or calling friends just because I do not have something in particular to do. I feel like Peruvians do not suffer from this. It seems like they are just happy to go to the park (by the ocean side) and watch the sunset together. Nothing that has to be done, just spending time. I really love that, and wish I had the courage to do live the same.

After watching the sun set, eating dinner we participated in some team building activities and I spent some time reading. The last couple of days I have been reading the first couple of chapters of Proverbs. I have also been reading Einstein: His World and Universe. I was amazed at Proverbs and the number of times, speaking about wisdom, that “she” is out in the streets or at the gates… etc basically that we ought to be looking in our common lives for wisdom. Also, in the Einstein book I have been amazed at the number of his and other’s “scientific revelations” came about as they were doing common daily activities (working, at a stop light… etc).

Today was the first Day at the PPA. It was a amazing experience. We meet with various area leaders, introducing ourselves in Spanish. Three other volunteers and I spent our morning working in the jardin (garden). The afternoon was filled with attempting to teach eight year olds English. This cause was difficult and quickly dissolved into playing futból outside. I was also quickly surrounded by youth wanting me to pick all of them up at the same time and spin them around. It’s hard to know that you can not be there for all 16 boys we were working with.

Tomorrow should be some more of the same… yet different.

The First Glimpse of Lima

Posted on Sunday March 22, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

Photo of the Plaza Mayor en Lima The Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas of Lima, is the birthplace of the city of Lima, as well as the core of the city. Located in the Historic Center of Lima, it is surrounded by the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, the Municipal Palace, and the Palace of the Union. This a photo of our group of social workers.

Since leaving Europe this summer, I have been wanting to to travel again. I signed up for this class, International Social Work, that would give me just such an opportunity. It’s traveling over spring break to Lima Peru to work in an Orphanage. The Orphanage is Puericultorio Perez Aranibar (PPA). It is for 10 days, and should be an amazing experience. We met at the airport about 03:45 am in Spokane on the 20th. Meeting so early for a flight meant that I didn’t sleep. Four airports, 16 hours of flight time, and a grand total of almost 24 hours of travel time we finally made it to Peru.

 A statue commemorating Abusto E. Perez Aranibar, Creator of the PPA    A statue commemorating Abusto E. Perez Aranibar, Creator of the PPA   [/caption]

You can check out the pictures so far at Peru~ Travel Day & Tours 1 of 2 and Peru~ Travel Day & Tours 2 of 2 Facebook Albums. You can read about Global Volunteers in Peru for more information.

We arrived in Peru and finally got to the hostel at about 12:30. Me and a couple of the other’s decided that we wanted to go to the beach for a bit, and maybe have a drink. We took a Taxi to LaComer, an upscale “mall.” It was beautiful to just relax and sit outside. Long travel days always mean the need to take a break. The next morning, 9am we were meeting to to to the PPA for the first time. We got an in-depth tour of the PPA. It was a hard revolution to know that the PPA takes care of at least 450 children from all over Lima. These kids come from all different ages (several months till 18). Some are orphans, and don’t have anywhere else to go. The others, their parents aren’t able to take care of them, so they come to the PPA. It was hard to walk into this giant room for the toddlers and hear a couple of them just screaming. Edith, our local team leader told us that the child just come in a couple of days ago. Many of the workers don’t always have time to give individual care to each of the children, only to take care of them. That is hopefully what we are here to accomplish.

Abusto E. Perez Aranibar, the creator of the PPA once said that he was hoping to create a Palace for the Children. The PPA has such a great vision and inspires a lot of hope. Regardless of the hope, it is still hard to see the lives these children live.

After touring the PPA, we went with LimaVision on a tour of the City. We saw centuries old ruins, beautiful houses in the wealthier district, olive trees, the Cathedral of Lima, Catacombs (and lots of bones), Plazza Mayor, and many other areas. The tour was great to get a quick view all around Lima, although it was the most touristy areas and not exactly the real Lima.

After dinning on meat and cheese filled empanadas and pizza, singing happy 21st birthday to Emily for the third time (plus getting her second dessert), some of the group decided they wanted to hit the town. We were first directed to this bar, with almost no name on the top and on the second story. It was a pretty cool place to chill out for a bit (well, actually it was really hot with no air flow), but the group decided that they wanted to go and dance. We wound though the maze of the bar (they put us back in our own room and played English music… not sure how I feel about that yet) and set out to find a club were people where dancing. The first one we found, was ok. It was kind of small, and they played mostly reggaeton. Right before we left, they had some African Drummers come out and preform… having the different guy’s and girls get up and dance. One of the girls (well, older ladies) pulled Gabe up and had him dance with her. It was hilarious. We went to one other place. This place had people both dancing to reggaeton and to Salsa. It was a lot of fun, and we didn’t leave until after 2am. Went back to the hostel and ended up just sitting outside for almost an hour just talking to Kellie. Before going to bed, spent some time sitting and reading / praying / thinking sitting overlooking some of the noisy Lima streets.

I am really looking forward to spending time at the orphanage tomorrow, I really can’t wait. I hope I can at least just make one of the kids smile and feel loved and accepted.