Tag Archives: train station

Community Effort

21 Jun

The Conductores Culturales held their second Estación Abierta (Open Station) at the train station in Paraguari on Saturday, June 8th.  It was a great success, drawing over 150 visitors and lots of national press!

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A musical group from Asuncion, 28 Dias!, found out what the youth were doing and contacted us to play a show and to pay for all of the sound equipment for the event!  My amazing designer friend Amy helped a ton with the promotion, designing great flyers that found their way to a reporter in Asuncion from the national newspaper La Nación.  La Nación sent a journalist and photographer to cover the story of the first live chess game ever played in Paraguay!

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As one would expect, the showdown was between a nine year old and a mime.  Nine year old triumphant.

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Big thanks are in order for Stephanie for facilitating the whole chess game, but most importantly for teaching Juan (the nine year old) how to play chess; Vicky for all of her help painting and prepping; and all of the other volunteers and staff who came out to support the event that day!

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Lots of continued gratitude to all of the people who supported 30 Days of Trains! and donated to the Peace Corps Partnership Grant.  Your dollars have helped fund the training and stipends of the youth leaders, allowing them to put on community events and complete projects like designing and creating all of the live chess pieces (Designed by Conductor Cultural Nestor Melgarejo).  They’ve also funded the purchase of chairs, a bathroom door, paint and bookshelves!

At a meeting the other day my youth were lamenting the fact that people all over the world and in other parts of the country, especially Asuncion, have gotten really excited about their project, but they feel like they’re not getting as much support from their own communities, neighbors and families.

While what they are doing is new, and therefore not entirely understood or accepted by Paraguari, I assured them that they were laying a foundation for the future and slowly, but surely more people would start supporting and showing up to their events.

I knocked on wood when they weren’t looking.

But, when I reflect on what they’ve already accomplished since they finished their training on March 24, 2013, it’s incredible!  Soon we’re going to be looking for local funding for another edition of the project, so we made an infographic to illustrate lots of our successes so far (with the help of the new Peace Corps trainee Miriam, thank you!)

 

Lovely accomplishments infographic designed by my friend Amy.

Lovely accomplishments infographic designed by my friend Amy.

 

Translation:

Achievements of the Cultural Conductors since March 2013-
8 young people received 25 hours of training, 3 community fairs called Open Stations bringing more than 400 visitors and collaboration with 12 community groups, the donation of more than 150 books (and other things) from Darien Book Aid, Paraguay Reads and a high school in Deleware. Stories published in 3 national Paraguayan newspapers about the project. The first game of live chess in Paraguay played. The creation of a Facebook page that now has 344 followers, reaching 4936 with our single most popular post and 7982 unique page visits during the month of June. One youth theater club.  The creation of the historic tour of the train station and collaboration with 4 Peace Corps volunteers.

For a rookie’s attempt it’s not half bad.  I hope that they continue to find support for the project from their community long after I’m gone.

For more pictures from the second Estación Abierta: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.571900619499847.1073741839.543046729051903&type=1&l=ef35d83ce5

Read about us in the news: http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/suplementos/gaceta-del-sur/juegos-y-musica-en-la-antigua-estacion-del-tren-de-paraguari-583629.html

http://www.lanacion.com.py/articulo/129152-realizan-juego-de-ajedrez-viviente.html

http://www.lanacion.com.py/articulo/129358-estacion-de-tren-de-paraguari-se-convierte-en-un-espacio-cultural.html

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Open Station

26 Apr

The Cultural Conductors are chugging right along and they held their first major event on my birthday: Estación Abierta.

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Thanks to all of the people who donated to my Peace Corps partnership grant, my fellow Peace Corps volunteers who came to help out, community groups who collaborated, and the hardwork of the Conductors, the event was a major success.

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We had 150 people move through the train station during the event with 106 people present at one time during our peak hour.  We had musical acts, mimes, a live Zumba demonstration, my Vamos Chicas Vamos girls presented their Rainbow Fish play, rock painting, handicrafts for sale, a bounce house, photo displays, a frisbee workshop and more!

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People who missed our first edition are already pleading that we do it again.  So we said, okay, we’ll do it again on June 8th.

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Check out the rest of our photos and give the Espacio Cultural La Estacion’s Facebook page a “Like” here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.549451738411402.1073741833.543046729051903&type=1&l=85dc7df0d2

Grand Finale of 30 Days of Trains!

22 Feb

Cue fireworks.

Can you believe we finished the 30 Days of Trains! Blogging Challenge?  Me either.

Read a recap about guest bloggers, page visits and money raised here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/day-28/

I plan to keep writing about the Train Station Community Center project on my blog to keep people updated, I just won’t be doing daily entries.

While 30 Days of Trains! is complete, my fund raising goal is not.  We still need to raise $765 more dollars in order to close out the grant, get to work on the train station, and for me to have access to the list of all the kind souls who donated.

What does this mean?  I can only assume that every single person I’ve ever met between my birth and age 24 has already made a donation to the project because of all of the requests I made. So, most likely the remaining donations will need to come from people I don’t know.

Can you help me out?  Spread the word to people who you think would be interested in the project!

And to really go out with style and a bang tell them that if they make donations today or tomorrow (February 22 or 23, 2013):

-With a donation of $30 dollars or more to the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay you will receive a personalized Thank You video from the Conductors of Culture team that your donation is supporting

-With a donation of $130 dollars or more to the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay we will send you a LIMITED EDITION Conductors of Culture t-shirt to the United States.  The very t-shirt that the team will wear while inspiring Paraguayan youth and working at the train station.  We’ll even send you a picture of us in our t-shirts so that you can Photoshop yourself into the picture.

As always, don’t forget that donations are tax-deductible!

To be eligible for these promotions you MUST donate today or tomorrow.  Please also forward me your “donation received” confirmation email from Peace Corps to mollymreddy [at] gmail.com

Now, go tell your friends and everyone else you know!

Thanks for following along. Oh, and HAPPY 30 DAYS OF TRAINS!

 

 

 

The Importance of Public Spaces

17 Feb

“That’s why we’re still here, because we found the common.”

Soul Pancake has certainly been tugging on my heart strings and making me smile lately.

And they did it again with this video about a public adult ball pit– Take a Seat, Make a Friend:

Why are public spaces [ball pits] important?

Because I think we over think actions for peace.

On Sunday, when you’re planning your week, if someone asked you, “Do you have time to dedicate this week to a significant action for peace?” How would you respond?

You scan your agenda.  Your list of activities on Monday is already so long they’ve outgrown their box and overflowed into Tuesday.  I’ll never check my way through that entire list, you think.

“Hmmm, this week’s going to be tight…and I can’t say that next week will be much better.”

What if they had pitched the question, “Could you squeeze in five minutes to sit in a ball pit with someone you don’t know this week?”

Now remember, I didn’t say do you have significant time?  I said do you have time for a significant action?

After cutting through a number of responses that sound something like this, “No way! You do know that ball pits are a cesspool of germs, right?  It’s basically the equivalent of a hot tub at Arby’s that’s never been cleaned once and was filled the first time with garbage water siphoned out of the local sewer.”

You might eventually get a, “Yeah, you know, I loved ball pits as a kid.  I think I could squeeze that in, but I don’t know about this whole actions for peace thing, Molly.”

And that’s where I’d have to say, “Just trust me. But, also watch the video.”

Something magical happens when we’re forced to bump into people that we wouldn’t normally bump into– we find common ground.  There’s often a lack of peace and a lack of understanding when we stop bumping into people who are different than us, when we don’t have places like playgrounds and plazas and parks and ball pits and museums and community centers to bump into each other at.

So, in my book, an action for peace can be many things large or small, but it is certainly one that makes someone else smile, finds the common, or makes someone think, “Hey, you’re not so bad after all.”

There are lots of things we can do: open the door for someone with a smile, sit in a ball pit with a stranger, or sit in a train station community center with neighbors you’ve never taken the time to talk to before.

So, what is your agenda looking like this week? My agenda has a meeting with an awesome public spaces initiative in Asuncion called Puerto Abierto (Open Port), who would like to support bringing their concept to Paraguari and the train station!

Why not start today?

Lots of actions for peace are free, but sometimes they need monetary support, too.  Donate today! https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009

 

Give the Best Valentine’s Day Gift!

12 Feb

Are you shakin’ in your boots while frantically searching for the best Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other? Friend? Parent? Child? Sibling? Godparent? Neighbor? Pet?

Well, quit worrying!  Make a donation to the Train Station Community Center project in honor of someone you love.  Or even someone you just like.  Or even someone you don’t like, but are obligated to buy a Valentine’s Day present for.

Follow the prompts for donation on the right hand side of the above link and it will give you the option to donate in someone’s honor.  Selecting this option will notify them that you made the donation in their honor through email.

In order to have something physical to also give them, my great friend Evelyn designed this card which you can download as a .pdf here.

Front of card:

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Inside of card:

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Don’t delay!  Put a smile on the face of your Valentine today!

Card download didn’t work?  Try following this link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/1DOJqkADDxrh4_uEISJRiI8mEhtJWH_bFDYqqhwzEHpdY3xtbrFKUY-tbgv9o/edit?usp=sharing
Once you can view the card click File, Download.  Print to your heart’s content!

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