Monday, September 01, 2008

My Reflection of the 2008 Summer Regional School ‘Rural Regeneration in Asia’

On August 22–28, 2008 ARENA, Sungkonghoe University, and the May 18 Memorial Foundation organized the 2008 Summer Regional School ‘Rural Regeneration in Asia’’. There were 2 venues, from 22 until 27 August it was held in Kapyeong-gun, Kyonggi-do (‘Future in Us’ village) and from 27 until 28 was held in Bukyiri, Chuncheon City, Kangwon-do (‘Green-Eco touring village, Mul-An Village’).
Participants include: MAINS students (15), Keisen students (1), Korean participants (2), and the May 18 Memorial Foundation (3).
Speakers/lectures were from countries like: Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Bangladesh. From the program, I meet, known, learn, and sharing knowledge, experiences, and culture from speakers/lectures and other participants. Mostly speakers/lectures were sharing their experiences about organic farming.
We were divided into 5 groups. Every groups including the speakers/lecturers, MAINS students, Keisen student, Korean participants, and the May 18 Memorial Foundation were members. Every day each group had different tasks, like: making synthesis, room arrangement, house keeping, group dynamic, etc.
In the first venue (‘Future in Us’ village), there were some environmental concerns. The water was limited, so every person must use it properly. This reminded us about natural resources crisis like water, rice, etc. In here, most of the time were spent in the meeting room and listening to speakers/lecturers. In the second venue (‘Green-Eco touring village, Mul-An Village’), we spent our time doing farming work.
In the second venue (‘Green-Eco touring village, Mul-An Village’), we meet and shared with some citizens who lived in the village. It was really a good opportunity for me to meet them. I learn a lot from them, how their struggle to keep their lives and survival. Participants had other experiences in here like: picking corn and making ‘Tok’ (Korean traditional rice cake). There was one competition also, when participants divided into 3 groups and have to find living things from the river. Most of the activities in second venue were out door. We also had good opportunities to taste good food made by women’s group.
Besides sharing their lives in the farm, citizens also shared about their events like festival. In the festival, they performed some traditional program like traditional puppet. It was also one of their concerns how to keep history and Korean traditional culture. In the discussion time with citizens there were the 3 leaders of the village, elder group, and women group.
Below are some topics that I made reflection:
1. Rice problems crisis is not only farmer’s problems but also the people of the world.
2. Korean women movements were very strong, especially nowadays. How the struggle of them must be a good example for every woman in the world.
3. What is important is doing something with our feeling. A Korean farmer shared about his experiences and his life where he decided to go back to rural area from urban area. In urban area he had power and money, but, it didn’t make him happy and satisfied. He decided to go back to his hometown and became a farmer.
4. From one of citizens I learn how we must to sacrifice our modern life to rural area for our person that we love. The story of his life with his wife when they decided move to rural area because he was retired and his wife was sick.
5. As activists and human rights defenders, we should start everything from our self first. How we can build our self as a good person and always awareness with circles area. What can we do to solve problems related rural area especially farming. As we know that the rice problem is a big concern nowadays. We can help in our own way.
For MAINS students, each group made presentation on August 25, 2008. Their presentation was about their reflection and learning about rural regeneration.
Life in rural area is more collective than urban area is more individualistic. How they help each other is a good example that we must admire. Life is not always about power and money. Back to nature for week made me think of other dreams.
The 2008 Summer Regional School ‘Rural Regeneration in Asia’ was a good event. Joining this event, people became more concerned about rural area including the people and their products.

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