Playing with Google’s StreetView… funny and somewhat scary!

“La cocinerita de Youan” is becoming a popular photo model it seems… Obviously, Cafe Youan in Nara must be worth a visit.

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Back in Michigan!

from Alternatives to Domestic Aggression – ADA Staff:


Jorge Luna Cruz, is a native of Oaxaca, Mexico. He joined ADA team in 2008, and facilitates the Spanish speaking group NoMás with Bobbie Ebsen. He received his bachelor’s degree in Teaching Foreign Languages from Universidad Benito Juarez de Oaxaca. While studying his bachelor’s Jorge received a one year fellowship in Kalamazoo College in Michigan, in 2001. During this year, Jorge taught Spanish language laboratories at different levels. In the summer of the same year, Jorge participated in a teaching assistant internship in the San Diego Community College District, in California. He was a classroom aide for mildly to moderate mentally disabled Asian adults learning English as a Second Language.

In 2004, Jorge volunteered at a shelter for indigenous girls called Protección a la Joven de Oaxaca A. C. for two years. There he taught a 6 months EFL (English as a Foreign Language) course. With the support of other members of the shelter staff, Jorge also coordinated and carried out socialization activities, like dancing classes, and field trips, as a way of softening the social impact that the girls had from coming from their small communities from different regions of the state into the city of Oaxaca.

Right after college, in 2003, Jorge volunteered as a treasure assistant for the community of Santiago Zoochila, located in the mountains of the Sierra Juárez in Oaxaca, Mexico. During this year, Jorge also formed groups of teenagers and started different activities, such as, teaching them how to use computers, reforestation, talks for gender equity, and English tutoring for the ones attending middle school.

After going back to the city of Oaxaca, in 2004, Jorge became the local director of an exchange program that sends students that want to learn Spanish to Oaxaca. During the same year, Jorge became the manager of foreign affairs for a local publishing company, and also translated children books into Spanish. While having these two positions, in 2005, Jorge was nominated to be the president of his neighborhood’s committee, to deal with the wellbeing of the neighborhood in front of the Oaxaca City government and the State government. With this opportunity, Jorge coordinated activities related to community improvement, including security, health, social development, education, and infrastructure.

At the end of 2007, Jorge moved to the US and has been volunteering in the Ypsilanti Senior Center as a Spanish teacher for adults participating in a prevention of Alzheimer program. Also, he has been volunteering at the First United Methodist Church of Ypsilanti as a teacher in the ESL program of the church. He believes that lack of education in any field will put an individual in an enormous disadvantage within society.

Go Hornets!

That’s what they call ‘old school’, I guess…

On this occasion, an extra edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette was put online.

Happy birthday!

look who’s singing…

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Five years into a national economic recovery, the share of Americans living in poverty finally dropped.

But Kalamazoo and Flint are among the nation’s most impoverished cities.


Kalamazoo’s poverty rate is among the highest in the nation and rising, according to new Census Bureau statistics, though its status as a college town is a factor. One in three Kalamazoo residents was living below the federal poverty line in 2006, according to figures released Tuesday.


from the Odyssey Youth Center newsletter Spring 2007:

Skillful listener makes a good facilitator

by Jill Wagner

Corinna Verdugo Corinna Verdugo is modest about her role as an Odyssey Youth Center facilitator. When asked about the volunteer work she does twice a month on Thursday evenings, she hesitates and suggests perhaps she is a bit too shy for the job compared to other facilitators.

At 27, a bisexual woman originally from Sacramento, Calif., with a degree in philosophy and Chinese language from Kalamazoo College, Verdugo is just the sort of mentor that teenagers can look up to and learn from. She has lived in Michigan and Pennslyvania, California and Washington, and studied for a year in Beijing. Currently an employee at the Department of Social and Health Services, Verdugo has also worked at Spokane Mental Health. She volunteers on Saturdays to answer phones at First Call for Help, a crisis hotline where she often takes calls from regulars who just need to talk, who just need someone to listen.

Supportive listening is one of the greatest gifts a place like Odyssey can offer to youths who may struggle to be heard at home or in school. Verdugo’s skills and desire to listen, no doubt, touch the kids more than she gives herself credit for. Life experiences also help Verdugo identify with Odyssey youth in ways that other volunteers may not be able to relate. Female youth will sometimes start dating a guy, Verdugo explained, and the backlash from other Odyssey kids can be tough to handle. As a bisexual woman, Verdugo understands what the girls may be feeling and can help them accept themselves without focusing on other people’s opinions.

She’s been a facilitator for a year, but was first introduced to Odyssey Youth Center about three years ago by her brother. Verdugo organized Odyssey’s 2006 Valentine’s Dance for LGBT youth and their friends. With her parents, brother and girlfriend in Spokane, Verdugo figures she is here to stay. What she likes about the city is an all new sense of security being here brings to her life. “When I was growing up I never really felt as safe as I do here,” she said.

wedding coupleA Slovak wedding… Blahoprianie, Zuzana! The Kalamatzo marriage countdown continues: number three is gone. See more pictures and funny dresses in the Gazette.

Thanks to Reyes — who was on a tour through Eastern Europe’s two most important cities — for her exclusive report from Komárno!


Gabriel CaplettMeanwhile, back on the farm… Gabriel Caplett surfaced in Northern Michigan. He’s not only busy with naturally grown vegetables, but also engaged in other environmental projects.

Thanks to podcasting, we can still hear him making music… Live from the Upper Peninsula, Marquette, Michigan: Gabriel Caplett!

Raluca PopaEver interested in Contradictory (Feminist?) Locations: Revisiting the “East”/”West” Divide? (Soon to be) Dr. Popa gave one helluva presentation on this topic in Vienna 2005 — and we missed it! Obviously, it made her thirsty

And, damn, we missed her (probably great) talk on “Changing Images and Discourses on Women: Women’s Magazines in Romania, from 1965 to the present” in Graz 2006 as well…

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