Friday, June 27, 2008

Graduation and News

Hey every one, so we were making rapid progress on the book, but this week work basically totally subsided because we had graduation a week early. My friend Lieve, a driving force at the school, is returning to Belgium tomorrow. She has been working at the school for over three and a half years, and did a year and some months another time before this. So, we were having special events for her.

However, this week we did get to work on the Jamaican timeline sewing project in hopes of finishing it in time for graduation. That didn't happen but there was a whole lot of self-expression going on. We were writing speeches to deliver, songs to sing, practicing our walk for the fashion show portion of the event.

One big problem we're facing with the book, is that many of their stories contain information that we can't print. Not because we want to censor them, but because there is a big stigma in Trench Town, and most of Jamaica, about being an "informant." You could include no one's names but describe a specific illegal event, and you may still be labeled an informant. Since that label could mean your life we have to tread very carefully......More to come. Thanks for you support!

Annie Kopena

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I just wanted to let you all know that a fantastic story has come from the rough draft of the journal yesterday, and it will definitely be featured in the book!!!! This is also a great achievement, because the story is translated into standard english, and were the language couldn't be fully switch, it's been explained, giving a richer reading experience I think. Even though we're remaining anonymous, I really want to applaud that young man's efforts today and yesterday to express himself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Guns Out This Morning Rough Draft

The following is the first of our journal series from students at Operation Restoration. While in the future they'll be more final, this is simply a rough draft written today during an exercise. Names of the students will not be mentioned for safety. Questions can be left in comments. Much of it is in patois, or refers to specific local vocabulary, but this is a genuine journal, and I think you'll get the general vibe.
Stay tuned for more in the future too, and make sure you look for more daily details on my blog! (Link on right side).
Annie Kopena

Topic: Guns out this morning

One night, a Wednesday night, we hear some shots start fire in my yard, and we wake up in the morning, and hear that Tunsy dead. Big man come up into the scheme and say the killer is there. Then them start walk and search in people, two girl have gun, and them son them have some baton iron and say they gonna beat killers. However, in the evening again, big shot start fire, because them switch side, side get mixed up.
You have Angola, Brooklyn, Jungle Top, Texas, and Havanna.* Whole of them side there, deh pon one side against Jonestown, Mexico, two more I can’t remember. So the war kick off (2005). Hear gun shot morning noon and night. Then the side of Jungle Top, come in Brooklyn and steal two girls, and a son. Brooklyn and Jungle not friend again, they start war them warring.
Next night again gunshot a fire, a man from Angola start fire shot off at Brooklyn. So the war kick off between Brooklyn and Angola. War broke down Brooklyn a war with Angola now. Hottest war me ever see. Men wrap up them face like ninja, and go down and slap shot. Men walk like police, and slap shot in party. Until a time you hear man a come, they say they run come up in Brooklyn party and start fire big shot. Two men come round one have a 12 gauge and one have a rifle, come from Brooklyn you know. The start wet it. Angola men say they send the heat pon them, and then run out back. Gone back in them scheme. And after two weeks time they call Omar Davis, and Omar Davis and bring real Babylon, the polic. They start make peace. Then Brooklyn men say "Wha ya do make peace, after you start it, come out of we terra terra clot** scheme cause onnu start it." But then, after that peace come. The war cease now. So every body live happier now. A lot of talking me hear go round though, so I don’t know how long the peace will last. Whenever they say peace, within a year time another war start. Some of them wait till school lock, summer time, and start up again.

**stream of (strong) vulgarities

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Whoop Whoop!

Dear friends,
So this is a LONG overdue update. Thank you to those that have supported us. Big shout out to my political science class, who gave a great deal of time and money to help out with this project. Even more shout outs to lots of people from the Circle of Hope community, friends, and family.
We know have six digital cameras, rechargeable batteries and chargers, art supplies, and pray support. Thank you all.

Tomorrow is the big day! The students will be beginning the process of thinking and creating tomorrow morning!!!!!!!! So soon they'll be regular posts from them!!!! Check out my blog if you want more juicy details!

Annie Kopena

Monday, April 21, 2008

Who is, what is Project Book?

The main idea of Project Book is that disenfranchised youth in the Trenchtown area, and other economically stressed areas, have significant intellectual capital to share with the global community, that is denied space and respect by the same ideologies and prejudices that drove colonialism. This denial of the legitimacy of thought is a frequent occurrence for Trenchtown youth, even basic humanity is often denied or forgotten, in their experiences only a ten minute drive away.

The purpose and objective of Project Book is to intentionally create space in which youth at Operation Restoration can develop their thoughts and present them to the global community at large. This will be accomplished through lessons, discussion, practice in the arts, geography and a book summarizing all of this. The publication will include their art work, writings and thoughts about their social situation, and city. Through this book they will meet people around the world that might otherwise never encounter their thoughts or personalities. This book will also serve as a political statement and reminder, that too often people in areas of strife are discussed as statistics and concepts, without recognition of the simple fact that people are people. This happens in more economically developed countries, and even other parts of Jamaica. The other key component of the project is instead of being studied and written about by biased outside observers, students can offer their local input which is often ignored.
So the who, is students in Trenchtown, and hopefully students in other areas as the project gains support and resources down the road. The who is also anyone who cares and offers support, including all of you. The what is a thirst for social justice.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ways to Help that Don't Cost Money

1. Spread the word! Letting people know about Project Book (i.e. emailing the website to others, telling a friend)
2. Sharing ideas. Questions? Suggestions? Let us know!
3. Sharing a space. Got a cool place or church to hold a fundraising event? Let us know!
4. Writing letters Help us by writing a letter to a local business, church, etc. who may have financial resources to share with us. Or newspapers who may give press, etc. Sounds like some thing you'd be good at? Let us know.
5. Plan a fundraiser. Are you really good at fundraising ideas? Let us know!
6. Pricing materials. Finding bargains!
7. Navigating the land of publishing. Finding publishers?
8. Good at editing? Help edit the book while we're compiling!
9. Volunteer with the students! Live in Kingston? In Jamaica? Have a skill to offer? Let us know. Also volunteering with photography, helping to get things printed, driving, chaperoning to the art museum, any thing would be a help.
8. PRAY!!!!!!! [Don't underestimate the power of prayer! By yourself, in a cell, at a Bible Study, before dinner, prayer is one of the biggest ways of supporting possible! Want to host a prayer meeting? Let us know!]

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Supplies Needed

Here are some ways to share material or financial resources with us....

donated digital cameras. Goal: As many as possible, hopefully 4 or 5 Promised: 2 more Given: 2 (Thanks Catie!)(Thanks Courtney and sis!)
2. two foam boards for the base of the city model Goal: 2 Cost: $8 US
3. crayons Already contributed
4. glue Already contributed
5. Pencils Already contributed
6. Colored pencils, packs of 8 or more. It would be helpful if the packs were uniform, as they'll be distributed to the students, but not a huge issue as I could always repack the pencils into bundles. Preferably bought in the U.S., since they are more expensive in Jamaica. Goal: 15 packs or large allotment.
7. Money to print pictures for exhibit Goal: Not even sure yet!!!!
8. Money to print a copy of the book for each student. Right now our best bet is to publish the first batch on Cost: a whole lot, tba depending on how many students are in the program Goal for right now: $200-$300 US
9. Journals for all the students, to be purchased in Jamaica at the rate of roughly to .75 cents US a book. Goal: Depends on the students Estimated cost: approximately $12 US
10. Tri Fold Corrugated Presentation Board, 36" x 48" Goal: at least 2 Cost: $8.95 US EACH!!!! (outrageous, it's too bad these things are so useful when there's no power point)
11. Admittance for all of the students to Jamaica's National Gallery, which is a little under a $1 U.S. and is $50 Jamaican. Transportation to the Art Museum will probably add up to about $100 Jamaica a person, so about $2 U.S. for both ways rounding up. The students live less than 15 minutes away from the art museum, but as of last year none of the students have been. This would be a great experience for them to see other Jamaicans and Caribbean artists expressing themselves through visual art. Estimated Cost: depending on the amount of students about $30 US.