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Differences are meant to be celebrated and shared and highlighted as the beauty that makes the world spin around. Each of us and our cultures are different and unique. Please join Blupela in celebrating the uniqueness of your life and heritage by sharing it as a spotlight on Light of Culture.

Create a Light of Culture Spotlight and show the creativity of your people to the world. It can be a photo or video of anything that represents who you are and who you see yourself to be within your communities and cultural background. Art, music, dance, food, clothing, worship, sports, anything that is unique to YOU!

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Africa

Radio Taboo Sound Bite

Issa Nyaphaga
THE YUMMY SOUND SOUND BITE:
(Community Radio for Social Change)
- Don't miss this podcast Hmmmmm...! It was done in Paris on Radio Taboo last month - Bon Appétit!
http://en.rfi.fr/culture/20171007-Radio-Taboo-voice-voiceless

Votes1 DateNov 15, 2017

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North America

Maine Acadians

Bernard Asper
Maine's Franco-American heritage dates back to early French explorers, Acadian settlers and French missionaries. Today, Franco-Americans are Maine's largest ethnic group.
Maine's Acadian heritage can be traced to 1604 and a scrap of rock and timber in the St. Croix River—right between what is now Maine and New Brunswick. Tiny St. Croix Island held France’s first settlement in l'Acadie—Acadia in English—a colony on America’s North Atlantic coast. The St. Croix Island settlement didn’t last, but Acadia grew until it included much of today’s Atlantic Canada.
War ended the colony and exile scattered the Acadians. In 1785, 16 Acadian families fled Fredericton, New Brunswick—pushed out, ironically, by American Tories (American Loyalists) who’d fled the American Revolution. The Acadian families traveled up the St. John River and resettled in St. David, in northern Aroostook County.
There are a number of Acadian heritage sites throughout the St. John Valley. At The Acadian Village in Van Buren, you'll find 16 reconstructed buildings dating from 1785 to the early 1900s.
Edited from: https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/arts-and-culture/acadian-culture

Votes1 DateNov 9, 2017

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Africa

My Work Is Having Impact Back to Africa

Issa Nyaphaga
MY WORK IS HAVING IMPACT BACK IN AFRICA:
(My Brain Is a Lab for Projects To Impact In Africa.)

Students of Master's 2 at the Institute of Fine Arts in Foumban - Cameroon.
Whether it is the Art, Human Rights or Mediation to free many from prison for demanding Equal Justice, wild ideas I started in my studios or in my wild mind alone are paying off.

Moir Walita the community organizer in Malawi talking to the students of the schools he supervises.
This week, in the small Republic of Malawi, one of the few countries in Africa to have elected a female president, my philosophy and vison is being taught this semester... The documentary films portraying my artistic endeavors and social justice project are the main topic in 7 Girls' Schools and 1400 students in the Rhumpi District in the north of Malawi.

Issa talking to the crowd in his village, Nditam before a football match
Brother Moir Walita, the community leader who supervises the schools, was invited to New Mexico in 2016 to bring awareness and collect funds for his cause - "building girls bathrooms in schools" to avoid early marriages and premature pregnancies. Moir believes girls should have education first.
One of the Issa's projects (Water for Social Peace) won the 2012 Global Rotary Peace Award in Berlin- Germany.

Votes1 DateOct 4, 2017

[image for Culture Spotlight Sufi1.jpg]
Middle East

The Sufi Way

One World Blue, LLC
What is Sufism?
Sufism is a way of life in which a deeper identity is discovered and lived. This deeper identity, beyond the already known personality, is in harmony with all that exists. This deeper identity, or essential self, has abilities of awareness, action, creativity and love that are far beyond the abilities of the superficial personality. Eventually it is understood that these abilities belong to a greater life and being which we individualize in our own unique way while never being separate from it.
This excerpt from:
https://sufism.org/sufism
Sufism is less a doctrine or a belief system than an experience and way of life. It is a tradition of enlightenment that carries the essential truth forward through time. Tradition, however, must be conceived in a vital and dynamic sense. Its expression must not remain limited to the religious and cultural forms of the past. The truth of Sufism requires reformulation and fresh expression in every age.
Reformulation does not mean that Sufism will compromise its challenge to a stubbornly materialistic society. It is and will remain a critic of “worldliness” — by which it is meant everything that causes us to be forgetful of the Divine reality. It is and must be a way out of the labyrinth of a secular, commercial culture. Most importantly, however, it is an invitation to meaningfulness and well-being.
Sufism, as we know it, developed within the cultural matrix of Islam. The Islamic revelation presented itself as the expression of the essential message brought to humanity by the prophets of all ages. The Qur’an recognizes the validity of 120,000 prophets or messengers who have come to awaken us from our selfish egoism and remind us of our spiritual nature. The Qur’an confirmed the validity of past revelations, while asserting that the original message was often distorted over the course of time.
Sufism’s claim to universality is founded on the broad recognition that there is only one God, the God of all people and all true religions. Sufism understands itself to be the wisdom realized by the great prophets — explicitly including Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon, and Abraham, among others, and implicitly including other unnamed enlightened beings of every culture.
In the Western world today diverse groups exist under the name of Sufism. On the one hand there are those who would say that no true Sufism can exist without appreciation and practice of the principles of Islam. On the other hand some groups exist that more or less ignore the Islamic roots of Sufism and take their teaching from further downstream, from “Sufis” who may or may not have had contact with specifically Islamic teachings.
We could say that there are those who accept Sufism as both form and essence, and there are others who are Sufi in essence but not in form. In my opinion, an appreciation and understanding of the Qur’an, the sayings of Muhammad, and historical Sufism is invaluable to the wayfarer on the Sufi path.
Historically, Sufism was not conceived as separate from the essence of Islam. Its teachers all traced their enlightenment through a chain of transmission going back to Muhammad. While they may have disagreed with certain interpretations of Islam, they never questioned the essential validity of the Qur’anic revelation; nor were they fundamentalists in the sense of rigidly interpreting that revelation or discrediting other faiths. Most often they represented the highest achievements within Islamic culture and were a force of tolerance and moderation.
Over fourteen centuries the broad Sufi tradition has contributed a body of literature second to none on earth. Somehow the guiding principles of the Qur’an and the heroic virtue of Muhammad and his companions provided an impetus that allowed a spirituality of love and consciousness to flourish. Those who follow the Sufi path today are the inheritors of an immense treasure of wisdom literature.
Beginning from its roots at the time of Muhammad, Sufism has organically grown like a tree with many branches. The cause of the branching has usually been the appearance of an enlightened teacher whose methods and contributions to the teaching have been enough to initiate a new line of growth. These branches generally do not see each other as rivals. A Sufi, in some cases, may be initiated into more than one branch in order to receive the grace (baraka) and knowledge of particular order.
There is little cultishness in the work of Sufis. Sufis of one order may, for instance, visit the gatherings of another order. Even the charisma of a particular teacher is always viewed from the perspective that this gift is owed entirely to God. The charisma is valuable in so far as it may bind the hearts of students to a human being who is the truth of the teaching, but many safeguards exist to remind everyone that personality worship and inordinate pride in one’s affiliation are forms of idolatry, the greatest “sin.”
If Sufism recognizes one central truth, it is the unity of being, that we are not separate from the Divine. The unity of being is a truth which our age is in an excellent position to appreciate — emotionally, because of the shrinking of our world through communications and transportation, and intellectually, because of developments in modern physics. We are One: one people, one ecology, one universe, one being. If there is a single truth, worthy of the name, it is that we are all integral to the Truth, not separate. The realization of this truth has its effects on our sense of who we are, on our relationships to others and to all aspects of life. Sufism is about realizing the current of love that runs through human life, the unity behind forms.
If Sufism has a central method, it is the development of presence and love. Only presence can awaken us from our enslavement to the world and our own psychological processes. And only love, cosmic love, can comprehend the Divine. Love is the highest activation of intelligence, for without love nothing great would be accomplished, whether spiritually, artistically, socially, or scientifically.
Sufism is the attribute of those who love. The lover is someone who is purified by love, free of himself and his own qualities, and fully attentive to the Beloved. This is to say that the Sufi is not held in bondage by any quality of his own because he sees everything he is and has as belonging to the Source. Shebli said: “The Sufi sees nothing except God in the two worlds.”
This book is about one aspect of Sufism — presence — how it can be developed and how it can be used to activate our essential human qualities. Abu Muhammad Muta’ish says: “The Sufi is he whose thought keeps pace with his foot — i.e., he is entirely present: his soul is where his body is, and his body is where his soul is, and his soul where his foot is, and his foot where his soul is. This is the sign of presence without absence. Others say on the contrary: ‘He is absent from himself but present with God.’ It is not so: he is present with himself and present with God.”
We live in a culture that has been described as materialistic, alienating, neurotically individualistic, narcissistic, and yet ridden with anxiety, shame, and guilt. From the Sufi point of view humanity today is suffering under the greatest tyranny, the tyranny of the ego. We “worship” innumerable false idols, but all of them are forms of the ego.
There are so many ways for the human ego to usurp even the purest spiritual values. The true Sufi is the one who makes no claims to virtue or truth but who lives a life of presence and selfless love. More important than what we believe is how we live. If certain beliefs lead to exclusiveness, self-righteousness, fanaticism, it is the vanity of the “believer” that is the problem. If the remedy increases the sickness, an even more basic remedy is called for.
The idea of “presence with love” may be the most basic remedy for the prevailing materialism, selfishness, and unconsciousness of our age. In our obsession with our false selves, in turning our backs on God, we have also lost our essential Self, our own divine spark. In forgetting God, we have forgotten ourselves. Remembering god is the beginning of remembering ourselves.
An excerpt from Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & the Essential Self
Available from Threshold Books
Published by Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.

Votes2 DateSep 6, 2017

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Central America

Panama Today: Living, Housing and Enjoyment

Mike Browne
Panama has long been recognized as one of the world’s top retirement havens. While this is still true, today’s Panama is very different from the Panama of even a half-decade ago. Here are eight things you need to know about retiring in Panama today.
Panama City is no longer a cheap retirement choice. The cost of living in Panama’s capital city has appreciated steadily over the past decade. As a result, today, Panama City no longer qualifies as a “cheap” place to call home. You can live modestly in this city on a budget of $1,500 per month, but a more realistic monthly budget for an average couple of retirees would be $2000 per month.
The cost of living elsewhere in Panama, however, can be much more affordable. A couple could retire to Santa Fe, for example, in the highlands of Panama, on as little as $1,000 per month.
Panama City rents aren’t cheap, either. The lion’s share of any retiree’s budget is typically given over to rent. This is an important part of the reason why the cost of living in Panama City can be considerably greater than the cost of living many other places in this country. A retired couple will spend $1,000 or more per month to rent a comfortable apartment in an appealing Panama City neighborhood. In the meantime, you could rent a small house at the beach on the Azuero coast, for example, for $600 per month or less, or a house in the mountains around Santa Fe for $500 per month or less.
Health care in Panama is international standard and costs a fraction the cost of comparable care in the United States. However, both the standard and the cost of care can vary dramatically, not only from one part of the country to another, but also depending where you seek care in Panama City. The Johns Hopkins-affiliated Hospital Punta Pacifica in downtown Panama City offers facilities and services like those at available at any metropolitan-based U.S. hospital for perhaps half the cost. However, Clinica Einstein, located in Panama City’s El Cangrejo neighborhood, offers many of the same services in a small, friendly, clean clinic environment where doctors and nurses speak English, lab tests can be processed on site, and prices are half as much or less than those at Hospital Punta Pacifica ... meaning they’re one-fourth as much as U.S. costs.
Panama offers many options for establishing legal residency. However, the great numbers of foreigners, especially foreign retirees, migrating to this country over the past several years has resulted in a backlog at the Department of Immigration that can mean months of delays getting your visa processed and approved.
A new visa option, however, created by Executive Decree in 2012, offers a shortcut. This “Friends of Panama” visa, as it’s referred to, can be processed in weeks instead of months and can even result in a work permit.
Panama is not the banking haven it once was. When current President Ricardo Martinelli signed an exchange-of-information tax agreement with the United States in 2010, he ended the country’s position as a banking haven. Still, though, Panama, home to more than 80 banks, remains an international banking center.
Panama has used the U.S. dollar as its currency since 1904. This is an important advantage for American retirees today who don’t have to worry about exchange risk.
Panama is known as the “Hub of the Americas” for a reason. This is an ideal base from which to explore Central and South America. Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport is currently being expanded from 34 gates to more than 50 gates, and Panama’s airline Copa offers regular flights to every Latin American country and is adding more routes all the time.
Panama City is hot and humid year-round. However, elsewhere in the country the climate can be very different and much more appealing. On the coast outside the capital, the hot temperatures are tempered by ocean breezes, and in the mountains around Boquete, for example, the climate is cool and crisp year-round ... even chilly.
Housing in urban areas has been a permanent problem since US construction in the Canal Zone brought a great influx of migrant laborers into Colón and Panama City. The government-established Bank of Urbanization and Rehabilitation began to build low-cost housing in 1944, and by 1950, it had built more than 1,500 units to house 8,000 people near Panama City. The Panamanian Institute of Housing estimated in 1970 that the national housing deficit of 76,000 units would increase by 7,700 units annually unless corrective measures were taken.
A 1973 housing law, designed to encourage low-income housing construction banned evictions, froze all rents for three years, and required banks to commit half their domestic reserves to loans in support of housing construction projects. By the early 1980s, however, the shortage of low-income housing remained acute, particularly in Colón. A construction boom in the early 1980s was mainly confined to infrastructural projects and office space.
In 2000, there were 793,732 dwellings units nationwide with an average of 3.6 people per dwelling. Though most homes are made of brick, stone, or concrete blocks, about 4% of the total housing stock was made of straw and thatch.
credit:Kathleen Peddicord, Wikipedia

Votes5 DateJul 30, 2017

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North America

Votes3 DateJul 10, 2017

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North America

Cherokee Amazing Grace

Angela Horne
Such Peace
Thank you

Votes1 DateJun 4, 2017

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Africa

Happy Mother's Day

Issa Nyaphaga
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
I'm that little worm she carried in her belly, then on he back.
For me, the relationship to a Mother is Sacred. I grew up in this rural village in Africa with no birthday celebration. Even though my mother Adjimi had my birth certificate, she can't read and writ - so I missed this kind of fun a child can have. .. That's okay.
We're currently building a community radio station in the village, so that the next generation of women and girls can access Knowledge and Education.
***THIS SUNDAY, DONATE TO http://www.hitip.org/ ON THE NAME OF YOUR LOVED MAMA! Usoko/Thank You ;-)

Votes3 DateMay 14, 2017

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North America

Artist Manifesto - Santa Fe Street Performance

Issa Nyaphaga
- Artist Manifesto -
Santa Fe Street Art Performance:
Artist Performance "The Walk of the Water Carrier", Issa Nyaphaga an artist from Cameroon (West Africa) in Residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute for the Water Rights Residency, will perform in Santa Fe on Friday, May 5th, 2017. Issa grew up in the rural African village of Nditam, Cameroon where he carried water twice a day before and after school. The artist will reprise the walk carrying a bucket of water on his head from his studio at SFAI to the Mill Contemporary Gallery on Canyon road where the opening of his exhibition, the Sanctuary Show, will be taking place.
Issa Nyaphaga alias ‘Artoonist’ was imprisoned and persecuted in Cameroon for his political cartoons. Issa paints his body as a way to find resilience. Issa will build a costume out of recycled plastic bottles for his Friday performance. Issa Nyaphaga was selected by SFAI for his award winning project “Water for Social Peace”.
Open to the public - for a fun Friday Art Walk.

Votes4 DateApr 29, 2017

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