Sailing is tough business, one of the last frontiers of human experience in the natural world, in one of the last remaining wild parts of the planet–the ocean. There’s a small group of people who spend as much time as possible there – contriving their work, their relationships, and everything else in their lives to make it possible to be at sea for as long as possible.
In the Kham region of Tibet, there are families who have been nomadic herders for thousands of years. Almost everything they need, they get from a herd of yaks who graze on the wide expanse of grassy hills within sight of the distant peaks of the Himalayas. Last fall, Stephanie Guyer-Stevens went to Kham and met a family of nomads and their yaks. She heard about the spirits that protect the holy mountains, and learned about some yak economics. Families now send their kids away to school, and there is increasing pressure for them to join the modern economy. The nomadic life is gradually fading away.
There I was, an Indian woman on the move in a strange new land – Mongolia – and it didn’t feel so strange. So much resonated – especially the voices of other women – like Monjago, a nomadic herder, Munkhtsetseg, a horse trainer, Onika, a student, Amgalan, a language teacher and Jainaa, a singer. They made faraway feel like home.
Bhutan is a land of prayer flags and happiness. But people are people, and human suffering, including domestic violence, is as prevalent here as it is anywhere. Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk takes her job – creating happiness for the people of her kingdom – seriously – so much so that she treks into the most remote corners of the country to meet the people who she would otherwise never see, to find out about their lives, strategize about health care, and to help end domestic violence.
War decimated the landscape of Vietnam. The drastic economic times that followed drove Vietnam into the globalizing economy at lightning speed — and the country soon became the second largest exporter of rice in the world. After the war, Vietnam catapulted into the global marketplace, fast becoming the second largest producer of rice in the world. But the price of this rice is still being calculated: one out of every seven people in Vietnam goes hungry, for lack of rice, and farmers are spending more on chemical fertilizer than they are earning in profits.
LiveHopeLove looks at the universal problems faced by people with HIV/AIDS, through the specific lens of Jamaica, where almost no one is unaffected by the disease.
What are the unique realities of this small island state that set its HIV/AIDS sufferers apart from those in the rest of the world? Poet and writer Kwame Dawes travels to Jamaica to explore the experience of people living with HIV/AIDS and to examine how the disease has shaped their lives.
The Story of Lata explores the efforts by the people of a remote part of Solomon Islands to preserve their traditional boat building culture and navigation. It explores traditional Polynesian navigation in a region where the technology and knowledge is still intact. We listen to the older women who remember the old days of sailing, and who consider their role were this tradition to be revived. And we also consider the reality of modern life, which they are slowly being required to adapt to. How feasible is it to revive these ancient arts, which take time to learn?
Along the Thai-Burma border, we meet the women peace activists working in the midst of the world’s longest running civil war. In the Karen language, Kawthoolei is the name of a mythical homeland in eastern Burma (Myanmar). The Karen people have been struggling for control of this land for nearly 60 years. This conflict between the Burmese military regime and the Karen National Union is now considered the world’s longest running civil war. There are numerous reports of ethnic cleansing, and hundreds of thousands of Burmese and ethnic refugees have flooded western Thailand, yet this conflict is often overlooked by the western media.
In January of 2005 our team travelled to Cambodia to meet Chanthol Oung, the head of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, a grassroots organization dedicated to preventing violence against women, and working to stop the illegal sale of young women into the sex industry. We talked to a number of young women who told us their stories of having been sold into brothels, and who had managed to escape. They also told us about what they are doing with their lives now.
In “The Hula Lesson” we join Hawaiian Hula teacher Roselle Bailey and her multicultural halau to find out what hula is, what it means to Hawaii, and why so many non-Hawaiians love it. Hula is more than girls dancing with coconut bras and grass skirts, with strains of Don Ho in the background. In fact, hula is a complete expression of a traditional culture, which uses dancing and singing for teaching social lessons, and for recounting history.