Refugee Narration – Inspired by “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai [English Literacy]

Let’s rewind back to last year during our first round of English literacy class. I was excited as soon as I knew the theme of the round was about Refugees. According to the United Nations, there are over 70.8 million refugees on this planet, and 30 million of them are under the age of 18. Even though it is just a small amount compared to the entire population, if all the refugees were the population of a made-up country, they would be ranked as the 20th most populated country.

“Inside Out and Back Again” Book by Thanhha Lai

Let’s get back to what we did in our class. Have you ever heard or read a novel Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai? The author quoted the novel’s description, “Inspired by the author’s childhood experience as a refugee—fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama—this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child’s-eye view of family and immigration.”. I really enjoyed spending time working on this theme and learning about what happened to the country and the citizens, the hard times of refugees, and the lives of many during the war. 

 

To take the lesson into the perspective, we had been assigned to make our own novel poem. We discovered many stories of the refugees around the world and wrote our own poems inspired by them. I was influenced by a story from Afghanistan, but I won’t spoil the story here, I would love you to read it at the end of this article.

To sum up the lesson I’ve learned from the experience of the refugees, the information, and lives during a really tough time like them made me imagine the perspective of myself (e.g. what would happen if that ever happened to me? What would that change my life? How would the country be like?). I suggest you read the novel if you are interested and below is the poem I composed. I really hope you enjoy reading and explore around in my portfolio, thank you, and have a great day!

INSIDE OUT

(Mimmy = Munny)

My name is Munawar,

I am 18 years old,

And I am from Afghanistan.

 

I fled because of the notorious Taliban,

Dropping bombs,

Making bullets rain,

Is peace possible with the Taliban?

 

I was lucky enough,

To live in a safer place,

But still controlled by the Taliban,

We still can’t live peacefully,

They did not allow me,

And even my friends to work,

So, LIFE is like NOTHING!!

 

After my 18th birthday,

Mimmy told me to go to Paris!!

 

One day before leaving,

I spent all my times,

With my family,

Including my parents,

Grandma,

Grandpa,

And I couldn’t imagine leaving

Every one of them!!

 

The next day has come,

And I had to say goodbye!

 

The personnel carrier came to pick us up!

 

It’s hard to describe my feeling,

Mixed of joy and sadness,

I was so happy and full of joy,

But at the same time,

I felt so sad and sorrowful,

To leave everything behind.

 

While going to the airport,

We faced the people at the office of the organization,

Asking us in English to test us,

I knew if I speak English,

I’ll be in trouble,

I was scared,

My hands are shaking,

But I pretended to not speaking,

And replied,

“No…..Anglis”, which means no English!

 

I was sitting in there for a moment,

I wrote a diary with my extreme feeling,

Here’s what I wrote my mimmy;

 

Sitting here is not easy,

This is making me feel like once again,

I am accused of an offense, a treason,

Dear mum, these guys have the same rough attitude,

As the people who were interrogating me,

At the beginning of my imprisonment,

Do you think I will survive a new life with such a start? 

 

I didn’t know how to describe my feeling!

 

I got out of the military check,

But still a little nervous,

I started to feel more relax and happy,

And, even more, when arriving at the airport,

I was given Coca-Cola,

Salmon,

Eggs,

Steak,

Chicken,

Tomatoes,

Which I haven’t seen and taste for YEARS,

And it was all……YUMMY!!

 

We flew from Saravejo,

To the incredible Paris!

 

In Paris,

There’s electricity,

There’s water,

There’s Gas,

There’s everything,

There’s LIFE,

And once again, it’s INCREDIBLE!!

 

I caught sight of the iconic Eiffel Tower,

Arc de Triomphe,

Cars,

Houses,

Roads,

People,

And….LIFE!!

 

I’ve written a diary to my Mimmy,

Describing the beautiful,

INCREDIBLE,

Paris,

And how Paris welcomed me.

 

But I always wondering,

Can a glimmer of the light in Paris,

Ever illuminates the darkness of Saravejo,

So Saravejo can be my INCREDIBLE life as well?

Cambodian Youth Outdoor Leadership Program – Part II

As you have, or have not read part one of the “Cambodian Youth Outdoor Leadership Program”, we had been planning, doing workshops, and going out on a tryout trip. To understand more of part one, feel free to read on the link attached here. (LINK)

For this part, it was also our new round, the next step of this project. The two main goals for this round were to host a workshop and a trip for our participants and to create a handbook and a few smaller things which I will talk about that more.

At the beginning of this new round, we discussed and started dividing the roles for the purpose of making a small guidebook to outdoor leadership and our program. I was in charge of one of the sections about Medical and Risk Management, and (During) Trip. It was another exciting experience to compose and design the book. The book was planned to be published in Khmer because our target audiences are Cambodian youth. But during the process of composing the book, we had to write in both languages so that our facilitator could understand the context of the book also. Once we had our drafts, we were doing peer checking, presented to the whole group and we were getting feedback and comments for improvement and every section of the book was very interesting, and I couldn’t wait to share the books to the country.

During this round, there was an event in Phnom Penh called the STEM festival under the theme of Green, which focused on the environment and nature. We were pleased to participate in the event as the presenters and the audiences. Pitching a tent near our booth made many people come in to see our team. I was delighted to see the smiling faces of the audience, and how they were interested in our program.

That’s me (Black T-shirt) during the STEM festival, presenting and interacting the project to a few of the audience in our booth.

Another important part of this round was getting our first official participant. They are from a local high school in Kampong Cham called Green Village School. There were eight students. The time has come, our first team of participants! They were staying over at our school dormitory for two nights before going on the trip. During the first day, it was just a chill, relaxing day after arriving on our campus. The second day was the day of the workshop. We had four workshops, nature, wilderness skills, medical and risk, and leadership. My feeling after the workshop was superb. I loved sharing the experiences, doing activities, facilitating, and guiding them through the whole process was a quality experience. The participants themselves were really enthusiastic and engaging in the lessons as well.

The next day, it was time for our outdoor trip. I was one of the three leaders to lead the participants on this trip but we do have two facilitators from my school, and the Green Village School just in case of an emergency. Everyone got smiles on their faces with joys of laughter and excitement on the way to our destiny, Kirirom national park. Arrived, had a quick lunch, some preparations, and we were off on our hike to our campsite, the heaven cliff.

Again, all smiles during the hike, it was the first experience for most of them. As we were passing through the world with no buildings, no city lights, just nature and us, the adventure was really beautiful. We walked, talked, shared experiences, had some breaks, had some water and some small snacks, helped each other when needed, stretched, and continued. And finally, we made it to the heaven cliff. How about a little break to watch the fascinating sunset, the birds (we were lucky enough to see many hornbills), and the whole stunning view. 

There was something unexpected happening in later in that evening, I won’t include it in here, but I got a link for you if you would like to know the story. (Link to the story)

We had pasta with bread as our dinner. And I’ve noticed that the students didn’t really enjoy it because it’s not something that Cambodians eat, it was not an-everyday-food that we eat so it was a bit weird for them. But it was also an experience for them and that showed that when you’re in the jungle or going outdoors, you don’t usually have everything as living a normal life. It’s a skill to try something new, adapt to the change and environment, and we called that “Comfort to uncertainty”

It was a worthy experience to lead a group of students on this outdoor trip. It was a really wonderful two days and one night with everyone. We’ve learned a lot from both the participants and us as leaders. We are looking forward to doing the same and sharing the experience with other schools and spreading the skills and programs around for the Cambodian youth about outdoor leadership.

Here are some trip photos!

I suppose that is all from me. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and leave me a comment if you got any questions or any other information from this piece of writing. I appreciate your time in my portfolio and I hope you are staying safe, and healthy. Have a nice day! Thank you!

Final Round of Multimedia

This is the last round of multimedia and technology essential. Let’s review everything we’ve working on throughout the year. We’ve learned about researching skills, Adobe software such as Premiere Pro; Photoshop; Lightroom; InDesign; Illustrator, algorithm, photography, videography, and python. So, in the past weeks of our essential class, I got to choose anything I’ve learned that interests me and make something out of it. I enjoyed learning all of them but I feel like learning about Adobe Photoshop is more interesting to me. I decided to choose Photoshop and explore more about it.

What I did was designing and trying out more effects. I watched many tutorial videos about Photoshop Effect. I tried the glitch effect, wood burning effect, picturing a wall, and some poster designing. It was a little bit challenging for me to tried new tools in the photoshop because it was the first time. But after trying out, I was glad that I can challenge myself with and explored many new tools in that software. After I finished editing, I had all the pictures together and I thought, “Maybe I could try putting the photo together as a PDF file in Adobe InDesign so at least I could explore a little more in that software. So, I put it all together with description nearby.

This is not just a software learning but there’s something that not everyone has noticed. Not just learning new tools but at the same time, I gained so many skills such as learning independently, challenge yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone; and with hard work and determination, I’ve done my final product. Feel free to check it out by clicking the link below.

PDF

I hope you enjoy reading my portfolio, Thank you!

World Robot Olympiad – Cambodia Round

Several weeks ago, I was in one of the teams represented my school, Liger Leadership Academy, to participate in a robotics competition called “World Robot Olympiad”. That was the first ever robotics competition that was held in Cambodia. That was not an international competition, it was a local competition and needed a team to qualify to the international competition in Thailand.

The competition was in a university called Zaman. During the competition, there were several teams coming from different schools in Cambodia. Those teams were from Liger Leadership Academy, Zaman International School, Neeson Cripps Academy, and Jay Pritzker Academy. The competition was divided into two different levels, senior and junior, and I was in the junior team. There were two junior teams from Liger but there weren’t any senior team from Liger because the seniors are doing VEXrobotics competition, now. (Click on these names to visit my teammates’ portfolios; Ena, Wathna, Bandith, Votey & Chornson )

The competition was from the morning until the evening. Our robot went very well and our team had a wonderful teamwork, too. At 5 o’clock in the evening, the awarding and closing ceremony started. At that time, there were special people that came to the ceremony such as;

Let me tell you about the result. Both of the Liger robotics teams were very successful because we won the second and first place! Isn’t that brilliant? Two teams, two trophies, one the top! Everybody was very excited and my teammates and my families were there and they were really proud. Other teams also did very good jobs, too, and no one loss, it was all about experiences! Thanks for reading and visiting my portfolio, have a wonderful day!