Lessons From The Omelet

Part 1 of 2 Lessons From The Omelet

“Thinking Global Acting Local” is the theme of the Spring 2011 Semester at Sea voyage around the world. The Term “Glocal” is a hybrid word coming from the combination of taking global ideas to a local level.

We are 30 days into the voyage now and I am starting to connect the dots around the world without emotions. Saying there is an adjustment to traveling on a ship with 700 other people is an understatement. The diverse group of learners from all over the world has been an interesting study of human nature. Each day I am learning more from the individuals and from the ports so it’s all part of life and the lessons it has to give.

The lessons are still the lessons and I was so happy to learn the Lesson of the rainforest in Dominica and the 18 Mile Rule™ in Brazil. Could it be we have about completed 9 of the 18 miles in the last 30 days and a balance is starting to appear? I am thinking we are about half way there and the dots are starting to connect.

The lesson of the Omelets are ready to be shared.

The ship, MV Explorer, embarked from Nassau, Bahamas on January 12, 2011. My husband Tom and I arrived in Nassau a day early to be sure we were rested and ready to embrace all the “glocal” lessons we could absorb. Being in a receptive state of mind heightens the consciousness for the lessons that are right there. Without a conscious state of awareness the lessons can just slip by and the feeling of the experience is just going through the motions to get through an event. By putting on the receptivity hat, the trip continues to be stimulating as the awareness heightens on a daily basis. The ability to listen more intently, picking up on trends, actually feeling the moods of the people and the surroundings becomes a new world with intense opportunities to learn. The hotel we were staying at provided us two free breakfast buffets because of some room issues whichOmlete will be another post involving the bar of expectations and quality.

While standing in the line to have an omelet prepared I heard the cook ask a man in line if he was having a good time. The man answered “yes I am.” The cook then inquired “when will you be coming back to Nassau?” to which the man responded “well I need to get home first then think about it.” The cook then suggested “why don’t you come back for the super bowl, we are going to have many fun events and it will be a great time.” The thoughts came rushing in with wonder how an individual preparing an omelet would be such a great public relations person for the hotel in talking with the guests and closing n another stay.

The global lesson started to crystallize as I reflected on conversations with the taxi drivers, the door men, the restaurant host and wait staff. Everyone we had come in contact with had a smile and was asking how our stay was going. It became clear that Nassau, as a country or community, was dedicated to encourage tourism and help make the guest feel welcome and appreciated. Taking this concept to the local level it became evident that to create an environment where visitors want to come back and tell their friends about their stay in a particular location the entire community needs to be on board to make the visit pleasant no matter what facet of the town they encounter.

Taking the global message from Nassau right back to our local communities made the experience of the omelet a “glocal” lesson that expanded as we encountered engagement with the locals. Ambassadors of tourism Downtown we encountered tourism help from women in neon vests eager to help make our time in Nassau enjoyable. The question arises “Is the local government involved with this dedication to creating a memorable experience for the visitors or is it just “free trade” at work?” I had the distinct feeling of “big brother watching” as we navigated the area and thinking that would be great content for some investigative reporting.

The experience in Nassau has stimulated a desire for me to research how local communities can come together economically and from the heart for the common cause of sharing the love of their land with others coming to visit, work or live. Let’s ponder together, how do we take this global concept local? Is there any way possible our local Chamber of Commerce can work with the community to support one another in expressing joy to visitors and sharing the love of the individual cities and towns? Can we encourage local citizens to smile and engage with visitors to share the hometown feeling of a group of people living and working together with a common goal of survivalin changing economic times? Is it possible in our individual communities that even the person making omelets is concerned about the experience a visitor is having?

Williams, Arizona is the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” and the community where my husband and I reside. We are going to take this lesson of the omelets to embrace each and every visitor we encounter on the street to be an ambassador of good will for the community we share.

Glocal lesson #5 think global and act local, going “glocal” with omelets.

Check back later for part 2.

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Connecting The Dots Around The World With Coffee

Confronting The Coffee Crises:

On our way to Brazil, the largest coffee exporter in the world, we had the opportunity to listen to Lee Gross explain his Masters research on small scale coffee production in the Dominican Republic. We are traveling down the Amazon River on the ML Explorer with the Spring 2011 Semester At Sea voyage learning new concepts from the theme: Thinking Globally to Acting Locally on a daily basis.

Lee Gross sharing research on Spring 2011 Semester At Sea

The information Lee shared was really an awakening for me to really embrace the concept of supporting  “Certified Fair Trade” products.

I must admit I have been on the outside looking in with really understanding the importance of using my consumer dollar to support the environment and small scale farming families. Lee’s presentation “connected the dots” for me in understanding why we should buy “Certified Fair Trade” products.
Interesting facts about coffee production:
• 25 million families are “sustained” by coffee and its connected production products
• Shade grown coffee helps with soil conservation, provides habitat for bird life and consumptive fruits to families
• Brazil produces 1/3 of the world’s coffee
• Small production farms would be the size of a backyard in an American subdivision.
• Coffee is handpicked by millions of laborers and grows in remote mountainous areas. The largest cost to bring the coffee to market is the transportation by mule to the cooperative and export overseas
• Coffee is harvested only one time a year which creates a cash flow problem for small farmers
• Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world behind OIL
• Most small coffee growers receive $1 to $1.40 per pound
• President John F. Kennedy started the ICA International Coffee Agreement regulating coffee prices
• In 1989 the ICA was terminated which has resulted in an extremely volatile coffee market
• It takes 5-7 years from planting a coffee tree to harvest
• Farmers have all the risk with weather, disease and pests
• 63% of the coffee market is controlled by 5 big corporations: ie. Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Nestles, Tchibo. who in 2001 at the heart of the coffee crisis experienced significant earnings
• Coffee can be differentiated through specialty coffee organizations, which purchase the highest quality coffee i.e. Starbucks, Green Mountain, Cooperative Coffees, Peats Coffee. Coffee can also be differentiated by purchasing single origin coffees
• Fair Trade is a certification, which ensures that farmers are paid a minimum price ($1.38-$1.50) plus a social premium for good practices, democracy in organization and additional premiums for organic production. Coffee by any roaster can be Fair Trade certified
• Certified Fair Trades growers have to produce products under specific condition to obtain the certification
• Many developing countries spend more in military expenses than in the education of their people
• There is no incentive to grow organic so only the consumer can help the farmers by paying more for certified products
• Organic certifications certify the productions method
• Fair Trade certifications certify the process of trade (i.e. labor practices, minimum price, transparency, etc.
• Many farmers do not have title to their land and cannot obtain loans
How can you help make a difference in supporting small farmers?  Follow the links below for a cliff note lesson!

1. Read about the Certified Fair Trade products, Specialty Coffees and Relationship Coffees. Don’t buy coffee in a can. Know where it comes from and that workers were paid a fair price. Buy certified and single origin coffees. Be a conscious consumer, your dollar speaks!

2. Be willing to pay more to help the environment and sustainability of the world. Support companies who can ensure transparency in process, social and environmental best practices.
3. Learn more about injustice happening everywhere and share with your friends.

Coffee bean sorting

When I posted information about the class and helping small coffee growers on facebook the first person to comment was my friend Sadie Harris from France. She has been buying Certified Fair Trade products for years and makes a conscious effort to support the movement. Many Europeans are acutely aware of how this impacts the world. Traveling around the world, learning from educators in all fields of sustainability is certainly helping me connect more dots!  We are taking the global lessons and applying them to our local practices!

One person DOES make a difference and if that person shares with one other person who becomes aware of the environment and injustice then modifies their buying behavior the world can change. Remember to Buy Certified Fair Trade Products!

I am excited to hear back from you!  Read all the links and then let us know how it touched your life and what you are doing to share?

This post took days to finish with the bad Internet connection so thank you for your patience!  More to come Connecting The Dots Around The World!  Be sure to check out the contest to visit one of the seven wonders of the world!

Global Realities Shared On The Ship!

The transformational trip of a lifetime is starting to set in as a “reality” after being at sea for 6 days on the round the world voyage with Semester At Sea.  Global “realities” are being shared on the ship that have already started to stimulate the consciousness of individuals in our local ship community.

Dominica, was the first port of call and there were some special lessons in the rainforest from a guide who loves and listens to the land.  His bonding with the land made him keenly aware of what “was possible” to those looking on the outside in.

Organic farming and herbology were two other aspects of sustainability we investigated in this emerging Island.  My “take away” from Dominica was to implement a composting plan in my back yard to do my part in making a difference and to ALWAYS remember the lesson of the guide in believing that something is possible when it appears to be impossible. Follow us for daily insight as we learn together how to navigate different situations and “connect the dots around the world. ”

Traveling around the world with a group of 605 college students, 66 lifelong learners and 70 TOP EDUCATORS has built up HIGH expectations of a “transformational” voyage. Speaking with new people every day at meal time creates opportunities to learn and share with one another like none other we have ever experienced.  Taking classes, observing in the Field  Programs, listening to speakers who are on the ship to share how they are making a difference in the world one  person at at time and explaining how they accomplished it leaves little time to post on my blog and process all that is going on. Today we had a message that moved me to tears at least three times.

JEFFREY A. KOTTLER, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology was our speaker in Global Studies class today.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Kottler

He  has written over 80 books including a recent New York Times best seller  “The Last Victim: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers”  which is now a movie produced by Clark Peterson who also produced the film, Monster. The film “Dear Mr. Gacy” earned an Academy Award for best actress.

The thought provoking question of the day for me was:

“Would you sell your daughter to avoid starving?”

Most people reading this post will never have to answer that question but there are millions around the world that have to make the decision on a daily basis.

  • The average family in Nepal makes only $210 per year.
  • The cost to buy uniforms and eat at school is $50.00 per year.
  • A family with 4 or 5 children has to decide who can go to school and survive and who will have to be “taken by an employer” to survive on their own.
  • The parent does not know what will become of the girls “taken by an employer” they are simply hoping they can eat.
  • The life span of a girl taken into “sex slavery” by an “employer”  is about 3 years before they die from aids.
  • Many of the girls are raped 10 to 12 times on their first day in service.
  • Men with aids in the culture think that having sex with a virgin could possibly cure them of aids.

Dr. Kottler spoke on “Promoting Social Justice.” His accounts of helping save the lives of two specific girls are an inspiration to all.  Now through his program he is helping over 150 Nepali girls and keeping them from disappearing into sex slavery.  $50.00 initially saved Inu Pavivar from being sold into sex slavery and allowed her to attend school in her village. Her story stimulated a movement called “Empower Nepali Girls Foundation.”  Dr. Kottler ultimately had to go back each year to check on her to make sure the $50.00 was being spent on her education and NOT lining the pockets of some other entity.  This is a true success story and now….

Inu Pariyar, our first student to receive a university scholarship, working in the media and radio studio at Rangsit University in Thailand. She is studying communication and media, fields that are especially impoverished in her own country of Nepal.”

The life of another young girl with a deadly infection on her face was saved for $14.00. Dr. Kottler’s message helped us see how important small donations can be when they are given to the right organizations.   Read more details at Empower Nepali Girls Foundation.

More important facts:

* Facebook group is open to join: Empower Nepali Girls Foundation

* Empower Nepali Girls Foundation is a grassroots in that we have no paid staff and no office.  Everyone pays           their own expenses; that means that 90% of money donated goes DIRECTLY to keep a lower caste girl in               school and prevents her being sold into sex slavery.

* There are 12,000 Nepali girls each year sold into slavery.

*  The foundation visits every girl’s home, every year to make sure she’s okay, has enough to eat, and that her        family supports the education.

*  The group is currently supporting over 150 girls

*  $125 keeps a girl in primary or secondary school for a year!

*  As the girls get older and begin university and technical and medical school, the cost jumps to about $3,000  per girl per year.

*  The group operates in 9 different villages in the most remote, neglected parts of the country of Nepal.

Jeffery Kottler Ph.D. asks introspective questions that when answered might help change the world:

“What is it that leads people to help others, even when they do so at great personal sacrifice?

What is it that motivates you to reach out to others in need?

How are those involved in social justice and altruistic projects transformed by their experiences?”

PLEASE, access all the links in this post and discover how rewarding it is to serve others. and think about how you can make a difference in your own community or around the world.

  • When you give your time and energy you are sharing an integral part of yourself.
  • You are helping people not part of a tribe.
  • It is hard work and a selfless act taking your time and energy to give to others.

Thank you, JEFFREY A. KOTTLER, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Spring 2011Semester at Sea for showing us the way that one person can make a huge difference.

Dominica On Domingo!

Dominica On Domingo!

We are in the Caribbean at an island called Dominica at the port of Rouseau. Frankly speaking, I had never heard of the island of Dominica prior to this trip around the world on Semester At Sea so everything we learned was new to us!

Dominica named a, “Best Trip of 2011”

20 Best Trips of 2011 — National Geographic.

Looking for an out-of-the oridinary destination for your next vacation? Check out these 20 top trips, hand-picked by National Geographic Traveler editors as the best of 2011.

The name Dominica came from Christopher Columbus when he re-discovered this Island on Domingo. It was Sunday so the name stayed with a minor twist from the original Spanish word for Sunday.  We are here on Domingo or Sunday and absolutely everything is closed except the ship tour programs. The guide explained that the town center shuts down on all Holidays and every Sunday.
This is an untouched island with tin roof homes of Caribbean colors and people who love their community and island. The smile of the island inhabitants is contagious as they are just happy inside and out. I took some video which I will upload on Monday when the cyber café opens and I can have enough bandwidth. The ship has limited Internet access so uploading videos is strictly prohibited.
Facts about Dominica:
• The island is 29 miles long and 16 miles wide.
• The major business is agriculture with 11 varieties of bananas.
• There are no monkeys on the island. There are 4 types of snakes none of which are poisonous
• Population 72,000.
• They have the worlds 2nd largest boiling lake.
• There are 11 dormant volcanoes with the likelihood of an eruption as very possible.
• Sperm whales live in the area year round
• China is assisting with funding the construction of roads to the rain forest and built a new soccer field.
• One of the oldest inhabitants of Dominica was 128 before she passed in 2007 and is in the Guinness Book of world    records. There are five octogenarians in Dominica so the life is good on the island.
• The currency exchange is the Eastern Caribbean dollar with the current rate at US $1 = ED $2.67. I paid $7.00 for   4 cookies at a coffee house. Cookies were my only purchase. My photos will be my memory of this quaint island.
• The average temperature is 81
• The water is a deep turquoise blue which is crystal clear!

The rainforest is recovering from hurricane David which devastated the island in 1979.
Today we took an Aerial Tram over a 47 acre rainforest in the Trafalgar Valley to Laudat, a village nestled more than 3,000 feet in the mountains.  Most of the flora was destroyed so the guide called it a “secondary rainforest “ as the vegetation was not old. We entered an aerial tram to go up and over the forest floor. At one point we were 300 feet above the riverbed and falls below.
The most amazing story of the day was that of our tour guide. He knew the scientific name of all the flora and fauna along with describing all of the animals that inhabit the island. He had the history of the economy and information on the direction of his island in easy to follow stories. One of the women on the tour dropped something when we were about 100 feet above the rainforest floor.

rainforest floor

She didn’t know what it was that she dropped but we all heard it hit the floor of the gondola then out the side of the car. The guide immediately assured her he would have someone find whatever it was that she dropped. I looked over the edge, saw the dense rainforest below and only had a “mustard seed of faith” that anyone could find the object which was not even identified at that point. Another passenger said she thought she saw something black and round fall to the ground. My question was: how in the world could he send someone to look for something which was yet to be identified? The guide called to the base operator and told a co-worker to go look for “something” black on the ground between pole 8 and 9. In my wildest dreams I questioned how some unknown object could be found on the floor of the rainforest. The guide was so confident they would find it, the feeling was electrifying. It seemed like he had a connection and KNEW where the object was, even though we had not identified what had actually fallen.

After five minutes of looking the woman who dropped the object saw in her back pack that it was her flip video cam. The guide called the ground operator and let him know what he was looking for. The group continued to climb to the top of the Tram area, took a walk over a hanging bridge and got back on the Tram. When we came to pole 8 the guide yelled down to the person on the ground and told him to look closer to the pole. In less than 15 seconds from telling the man where to look the co-worked yelled he found the video camera.

What was the message to me today or in other words…. What did I learn today?

Beauty on the rainforest floor!

The power of conviction in KNOWING and believing in what you are doing. The guide never doubted that the lost object would be found and he was right. The video camera was right where the guide thought it dropped. He directed his co-worker to find it from 100 feet above the rainforest floor. The woman who dropped the flip cam had two daughters, age 7 and 9 with her today. She was fearful of heights and was doing this just to give the kids an experience of a lifetime. What a great sense of community we all felt going through this lesson together.

The guide shared a very important gift with us today: The lesson from Dominica with one who loves his land.

Be sure to sign up to play “Where in the world is Carra Riley?” Lot’s of fun just posting and following the journey around the world!

Great Day In The MV Explorer Neighborhood!

The second day of school was smooth as silk.   We got to sleep in because there was not 8:00 a.m. class to go to.  Just made coffee time by 8:30 and had time to sit out and enjoy some sunshine before going to class.

Tom and I both had 12:15 classes so ate a quick lunch at 11:30 and were off to class again.  Tom is taking a WWII history class and really enjoyed it.  I am taking an advanced Anthropology class where we will be writing “ethnographies.”  We were assigned a research project to study groups of people that represented the ports we would visit or our on ship community.  I will be studying the children on the ship along with the lifelong learners. This was research I was going to be doing on my own and now I have a class structure to help define the work for a specific purpose.

Later in the day there was a great  “Cosmic Connection” with the children as one of the parents came to the lifelong learner meeting at 4:30 and was looking for speakers to come in and talk with the children.  All the dots connected…. the perfect opportunity to share the 14 principles in Cosmic Cow Pie…Connecting The Elementary School Dots.  So I will be going in for 14 weeks talking about each of the chapters and working with the children about learning the concepts.

We started to see birds so we knew we were getting close to land.  The black bird you see in the slide show is called a masked boobie, yes, that is the name and it looks like it has a mask on it’s eyes.  The island in the slide show is called Saba Island.  it is about 8 hours outside of Dominica.  Look at how high the town is up above the water level. You can see the docks and then the steep road up to the middle of the Island before development starts.  There are even homes at the TOP of the island.  Interesting enough to make me want to do more research on the development of the island.

January 16, 2011 we will be in Dominica and are going on an aerial tour of the rain forest! I will be able to upload videos at a cyber cafe and share more of the beauty!