Inspiration Lives ~ Nelson Mandela Presentation

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

IMPACT: China Presentation

 Through meeting together, sharing and educating ourselves
about many diverse cultures, we are living evidence of the ability to
peacefully co-exist. We aim to bring down the barriers created through
cultural ignorance, misunderstandings, and discrimination.
This can be achieved by finding common ground in our hopes
to see faith in humanity restored.
Our hope is World Peace.

IMPACT: Pakistan Presentation

Through meeting together, sharing and educating ourselves
about many diverse cultures, we are living evidence of the ability to
peacefully co-exist. We aim to bring down the barriers created through
cultural ignorance, misunderstandings, and discrimination.
This can be achieved by finding common ground in our hopes
to see faith in humanity restored.
Our hope is World Peace.

A Japanese kinda love

Writer: Beibei

Nationality: Chinese

 

In general, it’s not really strange to see lovers walking arm in arm, or holding hands as they stroll around the city.

Well, apparently this is not such a norm in other parts of the world, which came as a bit of a shock to me.
I was travelling in Japan last year sometime and I noticed that none of the Japanese citizens would have physical contact while walking around. They wouldn’t hold each other around the waist, link arms, or even hold hands like it’s popular to do with friends or romances in many other cultures. Not even couples would do these things… I couldn’t help but wonder why?

My initial assumption was that they were so formal with everyone. They seemed reserved and almost cold towards each other, and to me, a foreigner in their country for the first time, it felt as if they were missing something important… where was their love and warmth?

I was wrong to jump to this kind of uninformed opinion.

Later I was chatting to my sister, and she told me that in Japan they are extremely cautious and considerate of one another. There is such an incredibly dense population that it’s easy for accidents to occur on the streets and in public places. For this reason everyone tries to walk in rows, instead of next to each other. They go out of their way in order to avoid harming  anyone accidentally, and this is the reason for them seeming a little less affectionate towards each other while on the move.

It isn’t that they are missing anything that other cultures have regarding love and concern, in fact, if anything, they have ten times the amount of consideration and care for one another.

Be careful of your own cynicism… it can damage your impression of an entire nation, if you aren’t careful to understand correctly.

Women rule the world – Musuo tribe in China

Writer: Haewuan

Nationality: Korean

 

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In the summer of 2007, I had the chance to study in Sichuan, China. It is a place where not many Korean people would choose to go, but since I love travelling it sparked my interest and I felt excited for the adventure. I really wanted to experience as many unique and special cultural things as possible during my stay there, so I went with quite an open mind and expectant heart.

With my determined attitude I managed to plan a trip through an agency in China shortly after my arrival. It was a package deal for an area very close to Tibet, and although the travelling seemed kind of rough, with eight hour bus trips and lots of mountainous terrains, we had a chance to experience exactly what I was looking for, the heart of the culture, and beauty of natural China.

We got to see many temples in the mountains,  and because we were the only group of foreigners there – as I said before, not many people choose to travel where I went – the local travel guides taking the tours were incredibly intrigued by us and they asked us to sing Korean songs and show them some of our culture too (usually this happened on the bus, while it was shaking around and throwing everyone off balance mid-song!) It was these small things that made it quite a special trip, where I got to experience many cultures at the same time through the different travelers and local ethnic residents.

The whole trip was four days long, and while I have plenty of brilliant memories there is one place in particular that will remain unforgettable to me, for all the days of my life – the village of the Musuo tribe.

musuoApparently the purpose of visiting this tribes village was to purchase some special indigenous teas from the locals, and I must admit that at first I thought that it was just one of those added things in a package travel deal that forces you to waste your money… but to my delight I actually found something very interesting about the village, a completely uncommon sight.

There was not even one male to be found, anywhere.

When I looked around the village there were only women guiding and explaining their special tea culture to the little huddles travelers. After watching them closely I realized there was something strange about these women, they didn’t look like the other ethnic tribes women and their behavior and manner of speech was also very perplexing. It’s very difficult to describe the kind of confusion I experienced because while I could see that they were clearly female they were also definitely different from the average Chinese female and there was a strong sense of restraint and regiment among them.

After puzzling over all of this on my own for a while I asked the guide why there were no males in this village, and she explained that the Musuo tribe is known as “the Kingdom of the Women”. Every family is led by a capable female who is well respected by other members. All females have the right to make decisions in handling the family and tribe affairs. So in this tribe the women usually work outside and men stay at home and work as a “househusband”, if you would call them that.

To this day I am not really certain when the Musuo tribe started that custom, but it was quite refreshing to witness something of that nature, and see how much harmony they enjoy through their tradition.

1musuo2I learned many things from my short adventure into the unique Chinese culture and I am grateful for how the experience helped me to broaden my perspective on life and the possibilities available to us.
In the world there are many different ways of life and different people who lives these ways. I could see how regardless of our traditions and cultures, one things is a given, and that is that all human beings desire to live in peace. Be it one way, or another, that goal is the same. Perhaps someday there will be an exact criteria for world peace, but until we can all hear it I hope our criteria will be simple…  love! I hope to keep this precious experience and life-changing realization with me forever.

Hurricane Sandy: MANNAM Boston Volunteers

Check out the video from their first trip down to New Jersey to volunteer and deliver the donations that were collected:

In more recent news MANNAM-Boston has been honored and excited to have been supporting an amazing project called “Santa’s Sandy Hands”:

“The purpose of the Santa’s Sandy Hands Project is to collect new unwrapped toys, new household items, new clothing, gift cards, and wrapping needs from November 10, 2012 through December 10, 2012. These items will be distribute as Christmas gifts to children and families displaced because of Superstorm Sandy. Our goal is to deliver, through these gifts, a message of hope to these children and families that have already had to endure so much.”

MANNAM-Boston is busy collecting all the donated gifts and will deliver them on December 8, in time for them to be wrapped and assigned to children and families in need.

Let’s help make a difference in the lives of those who could use a little light, love, and peace this holiday season – to find out more about the project or to get involved please check out the Mannam Boston blog –  MANNAMBoston as well as the Santa’s Sandy Hands facebook site : Santa’s Sandy hands

 

Here are some of the new toys and gifts that had been collected so far (photo taken on November 20, 2012) and remember that with the generous help of PALS  – Patient AirLift Services – MANNAM Boston will be sending these gifts to people who would otherwise not feel the  excitement of receiving gifts this festive season.

Gyun Woo & Jick Nyo – Asian Legend

This story is a particularly special one.
It finds it’s origin in China, but since those ancient days it has been passed down from generation to generation in Korea and Japan. Neighboring countries with a ‘not-so-pleasant’ past, all share in the moral message of this special folk legend.

The story begins like this…

There was once was a great an powerful king in the heavens. He lived in a large palace and ruled over all nations of the heavens. Out of everything this king owned and cared for he had only one true delight, his daughter, Jik Nyo.

Jik Nyo means “woman who weaves cloth” and she was the kings only child. As the years went by she grew in beauty, until one day she became the most beautiful woman in all the kingdom.

The time came when the king knew it was time for Jik Nyo to marry, so he made it his business to find her the most suitable husband, to live, work and inherit the kingdom beside her.

Eventually the king found a young man called Gyun Woo.
Gyun Woo means a man who herds cattle, and like his names sake, he was a hard worker and a dedicated young man. The king knew that he was a good match for his daughter. With her honest sense of responsibility and respect, and his hard work and dedication they would make each other very happy, while leading the kings nations well.

Jik Nyo and Gyun Woo got married in the palace and spent their first few weeks relaxing and settling into their new lives. They were madly in love.
The king grew more and more concerned as the couples short “honeymoon phase” of silly fun and playful, young love,  turned into many months of carelessness, love-struck behavior.
Instead of being responsible, dedicated and hard working the two of them played all day long and did not work at all, often leaving a trail of mess in their wake.

The king became angry. And in his rage decided that the couple needed to be punished and taught a lesson. They had become the worst example and completely careless in their comfort and self-indulgence.

“Everyone else is in the kingdom of heaven is working so hard, but you two are just playing, day in and day out. You have forgotten your duties and grown selfish in your love of one another, forgetting that the rest of the kingdom relies on you.” After saying this, the king announced the Gyun Woo’s punnishment. “You will be seperated from Jik Nyo and live far in the east. Jick Nyo, you must go and live in the west.”

He ordered them to live apart, despite their marriage and love for one another. Perhaps living a life so far from the one you love, would remind them of their respectful duties to their kingdom and their king.

Jick Nyo cried bitterly, she begged her father to reconsider his decision, but the king did not change his mind and they did as they were told, destined to live seperate lives forever.
There was one condition to their punishment, the king’s one small mercy, and that was they were allowed to meet each other only once a year.

“Go to the Milky Way river on the seventh day in July” the king said, “and there you will be able to meet, only one time per year.”

Gyun Woo and Jick Nyo lived in sadness. They loved each other so much and each day apart felt like their hearts were breaking. After what felt like a thousand years, finally the seventh day in July arrived. Both Gyun Woo and Jick Nyo hurried to the Milky Way, they were eager to see each other again and the anticipation was great. They called out from opposite side of the Milky Way, shouting each others names repeatedly, but they could not see one another, the distance was too far from one bank to the other.

They longed to speak, and tell one another how much they loved, missed and cherrished each other, but nothing could be done… there was no way to reach across the vast expanse between them.

 

Their tears fell in the Milky Way and poured down on the earth like a flood. The more their saddness grew and their tears fell, the stormier the weather became on the earth. Soon the birds of the air saw that they were in grave danger. If something didn’t happen to sooth the couples sorrow the earth would be washed away in their tears.
All of the birds worrying lead them to conjure up a solution for the two lovers to meet.

“We need to make a bridge that will stretch across the Milky Way”, they said.

“But it is so high up…” a little Sparrow said.

“Then we need the help of the Crows and the Jays, they have strong sturdy wings and can fly higher than the clouds, up to the Milky Way”, said the wise old Pigeon.

The Crows and Jays agreed to help, and all that was left to do now was to wait, for the seventh day in July, and hope that it came before JKik Nyo and Gyun Woo’s hearts grew more weary.

One year passed again, and it became July seventh. All the Crows and the Jays in the world gathered and together, they flew high up to the Milky Way where they lined up across the river, creating a soft bridge that floated across the great divide. 

At last Gyun Woo and Jick Nyo walked to meet each other, and their tears ceased as they professed their undying love.

From that day forth, every year, on the seventh day of July, Crows and Jays all over the world built a bridge across the Milky Way, and the earth was safe from floods.
This bridge was called Ojack-kyo – a bridge built by Crows and Jays.

MANNAM South Africa – Cape Town

CALLING ALL NATIONS!! Mannam is an association of about 54 volunteer organizations, focusing on art, culture, and volunteer services of any and every kind.
Originating in Korea, but fast expanding internationally, Mannam is making a positive impact in many different countries across the globe, with the goal of eventually reaching out to and uniting all nations through embracing our cultural differences, celebrating our diversity, and respecting our fellow human.
408051_10151183212905711_1772545319_nWe , as Mannam Volunteers all over the world, believe that regardless of your gender, social or political status, race, religion, culture, language or nationality, LIFE is the most valuable gift that all of us have been given… We may be vastly different people, but we share the commonality of life, and we all possess the ability to share that life with others.

Volunteering is truly the most humbling way to enrich others lives while realizing the gratitude you have for of our own… money is replaceable, but your time, is priceless. That makes the time (life) you spend serving others an incredible experience, and probably one of the few gifts that you can give away, while receive one hundred times what you have given through the experience of gratitude, humility and joy in your own life.  As volunteers, this is our great honor and payment… the feeling of unity and peace across boundaries that would usually segregate people. 576011_3958131884199_647449038_n

375418_10151126899150711_1455548960_aWith their 1 year anniversary coming up, we want to say a huge thank you tothe Mannam South Africa – Cape Town branch! They have been planning, managing and hosting some incredible volunteer opportunities as well as social events, allowing everyone and anyone to get involved in celebrating the reality of the “Rainbow Nation”.

With visits to homeless shelters, orphanages, animal shelters, community centers and schools, volunteers have been devoted to sharing their little lights with everyone around them. 417364_10150553550237407_241133679_nCleaning, sorting, painting, chopping trees, burning rubble, planting vegetables, walking dogs, washing dogs, playing games, chatting to kids off the street… the list is endless, and the impact of what Mannam South Africa is achieving is great!When you bring your light (your background, culture, religion, race – the essence of who you are as a person), and share that with the next person, also prepared to share their light, there can only ever be victory! When lights unite, our homes, cities, countries and our world will find peace.
Through this Mannam International Volunteer Association – South Africa, you will have ample opportunity to experience new cultures, meet a bunch of awesome people and play an active role in changing the lives of individuals at a number of unforgettable occasions.
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WORLD PEACE – it within our reach, when light meets light.
For any inquiries, ideas or comments, please get posting, or contact this branch directly.
Email:  mannamvolunteer.sa@gmail.com

IMPACT: Uzbekistan Presentation

Through meeting together, sharing and educating ourselves
about many diverse cultures, we are living evidence of the ability to
peacefully co-exist. We aim to bring down the barriers created through
cultural ignorance, misunderstandings, and discrimination.
This can be achieved by finding common ground in our hopes
to see faith in humanity restored.
Our hope is World Peace.

Dangun & The birth of Korea – Korean Legend

This story begins roughly 4, 400year ago in the kingdom of the heavens. There lived a man by the name of Hwanin (환인 –  桓因), the “Lord of Heaven”.

Hwanin had a son and his sons name was Hwanung.
As Hwanung grew older he yearned to live between all the valleys and numerous mountain peaks on the earth. This was his greatest desire, and it became increasingly difficult for Lord Hwanin to watch his son longing so desperately for a life in the mortal world.

Eventually, Lord Hwanin granted Hwanung’s wish, and chose a life for him on Mount Taebaek (태백산 – 太伯山) on earth.  He told him to rule the lands and provide all humans with great happiness. The King did not send his son alone, but made sure he had 3000 helpers, as well as the rain, the clouds and the wind to assist him in ruling the city Hwanung would establish. After settling on earth Hwanung founded  Sinsi  (신시; 神市), or “City of God.”

Slowly Hwanung began teaching the mortals about laws, moral conduct and various skills like agriculture, arts and medicine. At this time even the animals desired to be human as they saw the great happiness that Hwanung was sharing with all human-beings. Everyone welcomed his leadership and lived enriched lives under his rule.

Meanwhile there was a bear and a tiger who lived in one of the caves in Hwanung’s kingdom. They prayed day and night to be able to become people instead of animals. Hwanung heard their plea and felt sorry for the bear and tiger, he wanted to grant them their wish, but decided to give them instructions to follow, instead of transforming them to people himself. If they followed his  instructions, if they were diligent, obedient and could overcome themselves then they would indeed become human.

“Eat only garlic and mugwort for 100 days, and be sure to stay out of the sunlight. If you can keep these rules then you will be transformed into people”, said Hwanung.

Both animals eagerly accepted the challenge and thanked their great leader, vowing to only eat the sacred food and remain in the shelter of their cave for 100days. Shortly afterwards the tiger gave up and left the cave, but the bear was determined to become human.

After carefully following Hwanungs instructions the bear became a woman and got the name Ungnyeo (웅녀 –  熊女). She was so very grateful for everything Hwanung had done for her, yet still there was something she desired. Ungnyeo felt lonely. She prayed again daily beneath a Sandalwood tree that she might find someone to love her, and tha she would be blessed with a husband.  Hwanung, once again was moved by her prayers and took her for his wife.

Ungnyeo gave birth to a son, and she named him Dangun Wanggeom (단군 왕검 –  檀君王儉).
In fiftieth year of the reign of Emperor Yao, a legendary Chinese sage, Dangun took to the throne to take over form his fathers rule.  He built the  walled city of Pyŏngyang, and named his kingdom Joseon.

Thousands of years later, this kingdom that was established by Dangun and his ancestry, has expanded, developed and flourished to what is now known as Korea
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Serenity in the Sky

Writer: Chorong

Nationality: Korean

 

I love nature, especially the sky and the sunshine.
I found this photo last night, and I felt compelled to share my thoughts and gratitude after I saw it…

This past January I went to JungDongJin to see the first sunrise of 2012.  My life was some what of a rat-race at that stage, and my days felt so busy that it was as if I hardly ever saw the sky… I know that might sound a little strange, but I literally never even noticed the changes in my surroundings. Whether it was sunny, rainy, cloudy or a breathtakingly beautiful sunset… it made no difference to me, because I was blind to it.

My experience on New Years day changed my attitude completely and made me realise how much of my life was passing me by. When I saw that first sunrise it suddenly dawned on me that that sunrise, that  exact sky and the beauty of that moment, would never happen the same way twice. I thought to myself, “How many things were happening daily that I missed, and will never be able to acknowledge again?”
I decided that everyday I would make an effort to see the beautiful sky and sunshine, and in that moment, gazing at the “new sun”, so much stress and anxiety melted away.

The feeling of freedom I received when I followed through on that decision has given me, what feels like, a broader mind, and a greater perspective on all aspects of life. I learnt that the bigger picture is what is truly important, and the same way the sun shares it’s enormous light with us, we have the capacity to share our light with others too.

Let’s always take just a second or two to actually notice our lives, and the source of our air, rain and sunshine, that gives us life in abundance.
My you find peace in those moments when you see the sky.

IMPACT: Boston Presentation

Through meeting together, sharing and educating ourselves
about many diverse cultures, we are living evidence of the ability to
peacefully co-exist. We aim to bring down the barriers created through
cultural ignorance, misunderstandings, and discrimination.
This can be achieved by finding common ground in our hopes
to see faith in humanity restored.
Our hope is World Peace.

This presentation was unique in that we got to hear first hand accounts of amazing volunteer projects from our international branch of Mannam, in Boston, USA.

Impact Cultural Presentation, in Seoul, South Korea

Two Mannam Volunteers, after a day with the elderly at Goddard house

Mannam Boston hosted a donation drive for the victims in the most recent super-storm
“Hurricane Sandy”. They arranged drop off sites and collection points at volunteers houses
and after only a few days they drove their first delivery down to New York and New Jersey
on November 10, 2012. The drive will continue for as long as assistance is needed.

An article in the local Boston newspapers – Hull Times, and the Patriot Ledger