Sunday, December 21, 2008

leaving on a jet plane...

I'm off everyone... I arrive into Kisumu on Monday evening and then head off to spend Christmas with my Kenyan brothers and sisters at Rang'i. I'll then return to Kisumu via Katolo to meet Kirstin, Georgia and Harriet - just in time for New Years on the 30th.
Have a lovely Christmas break everyone - stay tuned for reports on the progress of Stage 1 in early January.
xx Amber

Friday, December 19, 2008

katolo open day

The organising commitee and the community of Katolo have invited bricks + cartwheels to be part of Katolo Open Day! It is taking place on the 29th of December starting at 8.00am at Kanyangoro Primary School grounds, Katolo, Kenya.

Amber - one of the bricks + cartwheels team members - will be there with bells on ready to talk to the community, show them our design brief and our current masterplan. Just to be there for this day will be fantastic! It is a great opportunity to showcase to the broader community the plans for the Secondary School for Girls and gain feedback from a wide range of people.

There will be plenty of other activities happening throughout the day such as the provision of HIV-AIDS testing and counselling services, presentation on modern methods of agricultural practices, provision of mobile library services, tree planting and tree/seedling donations, sports, games and many other fun activities!

Thank you to our friend Washington who is organising this wonderful day! We will be sure to give you updates and photos of the festivities.

pretty christmas idea.....

Our friend Felicity has always been so creative, but this I think is especially beautiful.  She has made these "snow flakes" for her front window. They sound so simple to make and look so pretty, only Fliss could come up  with such a great idea. Read more about how she made them here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

we wish you a very...

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year

On behalf of the community of Katolo and the b+c team we would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone for making 2008 a fantastic year!

We are heading off so very soon so make sure you tune in regularly to hear all our news from Kenya!

Thank you for your generosity and your support, we can't wait to share more great things with you all in the new year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

60 years of human rights

We let this momentus occasion accidently slip by last week... i thought we should mention this anniversary even though it has passed.

On 10 December 1948 in Paris, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration was the first international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms and it continues to be a living and relevant document today.

Of particular interest to bricks + cartwheels and our secondary school project is Article 26: Everyone has the right to education.
We agree and so do the community of Katolo, Kenya!
To learn more or read a full history of UDHR visit here. Also this is a great summary of the 30 articles.

Friday, December 12, 2008

this time next week

one of the bricks + cartwheels team will only have one more sleep until they are leaving on a jet plane..... all the way to Kenya! Yes, she's counting down. It's all getting so close and very exciting.  
Here's hoping the rain stops for the weekend. Photo from here.

customs house exhibition

We all attended the opening of the Emergency Architects + Global Studio Exhibition on Wednesday night. If you get a chance pop down to Customs House, Level 2 and take a look. It is a very informative exhibition of the work of Emergency Architects, a foundation that labours alongside people who have lost everything as a result of earthquake, flood and war. The teams work to restore people’s sense of security, find shelter for displaced populations and arrange children’s access to education.

The amazing work of The Global Studio (read more about here) was on display also, well worth a look see to learn more about the latest expeditions.

Both are such amazing organisations that provide not only much needed research and infrastructure to deserved communities but also provide bricks + cartwheels with constant inspiration due to the tireless work they do!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

christmas hampers

To help spread the christmas cheer a couple of us helped out with delivering hampers on Saturday for JCA. We, along with 250 other volunteers grabbed our maps and navigated our way all over Sydney!

The hampers were delivered to refugee families, some who have been here for 3 yrs to those who arrived a week ago. We delivered ours to the most divine Sudanese familes who were all so gracious when accepting the gifts. I was amazed that not one of the children ripped into the hampers but instead sat so patiently!

Today there are a staggering 21 million recognised refugees in the world – a number almost equivalent to the total population of Australia. Almost 9 million of these ‘refugees’ are actively seeking refugee status. Over 6 million are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), forced to flee their homes largely due to internal conflict in countries such as Sudan, Burma, Afghanistan, Columbia and Iraq. Currently more than 70% of the total refugee population seek refuge in the developing world.

Over 40% of the total refugees are from our own neigbourhood of Asia and around one quarter are from Africa. Australia takes in a tiny number – approximately 13000 in total, 6000 who are allocated under the humanitarian category.

There is more information on the above when you visit Refugee Council of Australia.

So although the delivering of hampers is just a small splash in the ocean it definitely is one of the most rewarding things you can do at christmas! I will be making it a yearly event for sure!

Monday, December 8, 2008

sunday afternoon

So the time finally arrived this past weekend to make the long awaited Christmas wreath. My mums house in Avalon turned into the wreath making factory for the afternoon. We scoured the streets and our own garden for all our materials and came back with baskets and arm loads full! We used wire frames as our base and a thinner wire to attach what we wanted to the wreaths.

There were three wreath making teams and we all went for the natural look. All with a slightly different slant. I went for the pretty flowers, eucalyptus leaves, little white flowers and hydrangeas..... this is it in progress.

Mum had a wilder approach, her finished product......

Anna and Kristina were somewhere in between..... they used chilli's too.

This is my finished product ready to hang on my door.

A fun weekend project and we all made pretty beautiful wreaths.... success all round.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Letter to a headmaster

This is a letter written by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States (1861-1865), to the Headmaster of the school where his son was studying.
Just a little piece of educational wisdom for you all out there... imagine if every child was taught these values by their teachers and parents...
He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician, there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend.

Steer him away from envy, if you can,
teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick…
Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books…
But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon…
Teach him to listen to all men…
but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him,
because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order, but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow, my son!

~ Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This is a top website for those of us who love to check out architectural delights when in foreign cities! If you have ever travelled with an architect you will know that we would walk all day to catch sight of a precious gem of the building variety. Website designer/creator and fellow architect, Leigh knows all too well the hours you spend scouring the cities streets. Leigh has cleverly taken the stress out of this process by creating an online database for her three passions in life - architecture, photography and travel.

Checkonsite is an online reference created by a community interested in identifying and locating the sites worth checking out throughout the world. Through this site you can locate buildings or sites worth checking out using google earth, suggest and share your favourite site or building and say what you think of a building by adding comments.

So if you are planning a trip to a new city and wondering what architecture you should be checking out? or you know what you want to see, but don’t know where it’s located, or if you have some photos from previous trips you would like to share, why not checkonsite!

Monday, December 1, 2008

world aids day

Today marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. In 1988, the World Health Organization declared the first World AIDS Day in an effort to raise public awareness about HIV/AIDS issues, including the need for support and understanding for people living with HIV/AIDS. The day is also an opportunity to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and to highlight the need for continued development of education and prevention initiatives.

Funds raised support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, related medical and counselling services, support and peer education groups.
Red ribbons are available from selected retailers so jump up and buy one now in support of this worthy cause.

Tribute to Utzon

Jorn Utzon, who was just 38 years old when he sketched the design for the Sydney Opera House, passed away in Denmark on the weekend, in his sleep. Today the flags on the Harbour Bridge will fly at half-mast.

Utzon entered the "international competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point" expecting to come third. His design was initially flung into the reject pile, but picked out again by US architect Eero Saarinen. Seidler described it as a "piece of poetry" and American Louis Khan said that "light didn't know how beautiful it was, until it was reflected off this building".

Utzon received the prestigious Pritzker architecture prize in 2003 for his design. The jury singled it out as among the most iconic buildings of the 20th century, saying it "proves that the marvellous and seemingly impossible in architecture can be achieved".