viernes, 28 de enero de 2011

Learning English through blog writing

This semester in my English class we decided to create blogs to develop our writing skills and practice the theory on producing texts.

I’ve learned that blogging it’s a very good way to publish texts and getting feedback from other students and users throughout the world.

Blogger is simple to use and allows you to put a variety of media into every post and add gadgets that make the experience more interesting.

Blogs are an amazing tool for publishing different types of contents, are free, easy to use, and a space where you can express yourself to as many people as possible. 

Writing in English comes fairly easy to me, and I enjoy the structure of the language and the way that texts tend to organize. Besides in the world of today English comes very handy and useful, it allows you to get to bigger audiences, make your ideas and opinions available to an impressive number of users all over the world. So I can say it has been a great experience and I’ve learned lots of techniques and writing skills. 

We also created this Glog where we share our pictures and links in a very fun and colorful way.

Below you can listen to one of my favorite Arcade Fire songs: Sprawl II (Mountains beyond mountains) from their latest album The Suburbs, this is a live version. Enjoy!

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jueves, 27 de enero de 2011

Merry Happy

This is the story about the happiest woman in the world. She looks at the bright side of every misfortune, even if there is none.

If her purse is stolen she says it was probably time to get a new one. Merry teaches little children math and shows them how to write and read, patient as always. Her friends always tell her that it’s absurd to be so optimistic and unbearably happy.

Merry notices that there is a new neighbor in her apartment building. He lives just across the hall. She, welcoming as always, is anxious to get to introduce herself and give him some presents. To her surprise the new neighbor is a very bitter, grumpy middle aged man who refuses to deal with her overwhelming happiness.

Merry, desperate to make a happier world tries to be nice to the neighbor with little details and surprises, despite his rude manners and abusive behaviors. Every day they have confrontations about the trash, the parking spaces, and every issue that they have in common.
She decides to start walking to work because of her continuous fighting about the park space, always blocked by the neighbor. An unfortunate event leads her to doubt about her extreme happy way of viewing life.

miércoles, 26 de enero de 2011

How to make your own clothes!

Knowing how to sew and make garments is not only useful, it can be very fun. It’s all about developing clothes that you like, and are not able to find elsewhere or it’s too expensive for your pocket.

First thing to do is to decide what kind of piece you want to put together, depending on that you’ll know how much fabric and what kind you need to buy.

If you are thinking about a dress you’ll need 3mt to be sure you will not be running short of fabric in the middle of the making.

Now you need to create a pattern. Not everyone has the skills to crate them but you’ll probably find very interesting patterns on the web, that you’ll be able to adjust to your likings and measures. Place the pattern on the fabric, pin it down carefully, and try to seize the fabric you bought. It may come handy later.

With the pattern you can proceed to cut the fabric, always leaving about 2 inches from the pattern so that you can make the stitches later.

Now is time to sew it up. You have to figure out which peaces have to be sawn first, so you can make the whole garment.

 It’s time to put on our new, just to your taste and very cheap piece of clothes. Good luck on your way out tonight, you’ll feel great and proud.

jueves, 13 de enero de 2011

Water Struggle in Latin America

Eventhough, Latin America is one of the regions with most abundance of fresh water resources it has one of the lowest accesses to water per capita in the world. This is due to several motives. First, the developing countries haven’t been able to provide consumable water for their habitants and have not been able to prevent the pollution of open water. In addition, since the mid-nineties the World Bank implemented a privatization policy for the water supply services, demanding it in exchange of debt relief and loans for development projects.

According to the World Health Organization, over 80% of the diseases in the developing world are caused by the lack of clean water, and subsequently cause the death of many, especially children. Therefore, it becomes primary that the transnational water companies promoted by the World Bank fulfill their obligations with the communities that contracted their services, which they have not. Instead, companies like Suez have denied the access to water to those who cannot pay and excluded small communities from the service.

On the other hand, the countries have begun to fight for their rights to supply water to all their citizens, whether or not they are able to pay. Countries like Uruguay, Mexico and Paraguay have made the access to water a constitutional right. Since Evo Morales arrived to the presidency of Bolivia it has made the water struggle one of his fights. Morales is planning to nationalize the water services in his country, to stop economic discrimination. However, this will be a complicated duty because a huge investment is needed.

viernes, 7 de enero de 2011

Latin American Revolution: the fight for water justice

Maude Barlow, an activist working on the rights of access to water throughout the world, explains the delicate elements that take place in the struggle for this indispensable resource in Latin America.

Even though there is an abundance of fresh water resources in the region, Latin America has one of the lowest accesses per capita to water in the world. This is due to the massive pollution of surface water, the deep class divisions that give access to the water needed to the wealthy as the poor majority goes without, and the privatization of the water services forced by the World Bank in exchange for the nations debts relief loans and development funds given.

The political change across the continent, in terms of fight for basic rights, has taken the subject of water rights and rejected the transnational companies forced by the World Bank and their performance in the region, to the point where in of the most important, Suez, is threatening to leave. These companies make profits from the communities in need of water.

Suez has failed to provide service to the Bolivian population while breaking their promises to bring water to small villages, using them instead to dump the raw sewage. These communities cannot function in these conditions.

In Colombia, there’s a complicated struggle because of political tensions between left and right movements. 

There are plans to correct these mistakes through the United Nations and in every of the countries individually. Uruguay, México and Brazil have made through referendums a constitutional right to provide water to the people regarding their ability to pay.

jueves, 6 de enero de 2011

Christmas Holidays in Caracas

Around November Caracas begins to be decorated for the holidays. The streets and squares a filled with colorful lightsand ornaments related to Christmas. Venezuela is mostly a Christian country, so this particular celebration becomes important in our lives and the Venezuelan people make efforts to sustain their traditions.

Traditional music and food are fundamental to the Christmas enviroment. We have inherited from our indigenous background the ritual of preparing hallacas in family. Similar to tamales, hallacas are filled with meat, pork, and chicken stew, placed in corn dough and enveloped in plantain leaves. Christmas without hallacas, isn’t Christmas in Caracas.

Gaitas are the music that traditionally go along with our Christmas. Several voices construct harmonies joined by drums and furrucos (a folkoric instrument). They’ve been around for many years and everyone knows their lyrics, it’s fun to dance to them too.