What’s up in the world Wednesday

After treating Ebola patients in West Africa a New Jersey nurse refuses to obey official’s instructions and seclude herself at home after being quarantined against her will. You can read the full story here. Do you think that people who contract the Ebola virus have the right to refuse seclusion?

Last night the Kansas City Royals defeated the San Francisco Giants in the 6th World Series game 10-0. The winner of the World Series will now be determined tonight during Game 7 in Kansas City. Read more about the decisive Game 7 here. Can the underdog Royals take the Series with a home field advantage?

Corteama Series: Meet Sarah Peraud

I read Madi’s intro Cortina post. Like Madi, I like procrastinating on homework, and I like talking about myself. So here we are.

I’m Sarah. I’m a senior formation group leader/recruitment chair. I’m a JPS major with French and Gender Studies minor from St. Louis. Please don’t ask me what I’m doing after graduation. It will probably involve law school.  (Please don’t ask details.  I will have a panic attack. You will have to hold me while I cry. It might get weird for both of us. )

I love sharing the things I love—that’s why I’m the recruitment chair: I LOVE Cortina. So I figured the easiest way to get to know me is for me to share a list of things I love with you.

I love my family (if you ask me about them I’ll never shut up. They’re seriously so cool.)

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I love my house. I live with some real wackos in a house called Hollywood.

I love feminism.

I love my puppies (just look at that little face).

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I love avocados.

I love pizza.

I love potatoes A LOT.

(I was super hungry when I wrote this.)

I love reading.

I love politics.

I love Restored Hope.

I love riding my bike. (P.S. I have a big car and a big bike rack and extra bikes. If you ever want to ride one, let me know. I promise I’ll want to go with you.)

I love how many places I get to call home and all the people I get to share those places with.

I love disposable cameras. (This is an excuse to show you super cute pictures of my friends.)

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(P.S. Emma used to be blonde.)

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I love getting to go on the Cortina journey for the third year.

I love you all. Hang out with me. Be my friend please.

Fin.

Peace,

Sarah Peraud

Business, Faith and the Common Good Symposium: A Reflection by Loriana Harkey, Part 2

The second presentation I attended at the Business, Faith and the Common Good Symposium was given by a representative from Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank in Omaha opened in 2009. Erika Arguello has a history of dealing with harsh experiences and overcoming obstacles, but she uses this to inspire and help others struggling with similar situations. Grameen Bank is a way for low-income individuals to make a living by taking out loans. This bank also offers financial knowledge to help its customers manage their money. Ms. Arguello spoke little English herself because most of her customers cannot speak English. Though there are multiple locations of Grameen Bank, such as in California, Washington, and Minnesota, the majority of the people from Omaha who use this bank are Latina women. Ms. Arguello talked about how passionate she was about her job and about how much she truly loved to travel to help others outside of Omaha. This presentation was actually one of the few times she had to use her public speaking skills and though she was admitted that she was nervous, I personally thought she did a superb job. I even got to practice my Spanish speaking skills by asking her a question in Spanish during the question and answer session after her presentation.

The focus of the presentation was a video in which a man by the name of Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh spoke eloquently about helping the poor and less fortunate. He talked about social responsibility and how producing something as simple as yogurt can help fix the issue of malnourishment of children in Bangladesh. If two cups of yogurt are given to a child once a week for one year, that is equivalent to giving that child their full health back, because the yogurt contains all the nutrients that a child needs. He also spoke about how charity is when you give money, but it only has “one life” because once you give it away it is gone. But with a business, like Grameen Bank, it recycles that money, and puts it to work to develop a business for the less fortunate and continuously provides for them. He mentioned that first of all, it is important to realize there is nothing wrong with the poor, but there is something wrong with the framework of society because it does not allow the poor to thrive. And to do so, we need to engage in social business, but not to make a profit. We need to do so with the right intentions, to help the less fortunate. His last words of inspiration were as follows, “The world is run by ideas not theories. We made the rules, so we can change them. Don’t be a slave of your own rules.” In other words, he wants us to not restrict ourselves in the methods or ideas we have to help the poor, even if they are not as popular as other ideas like charity or do not seem as good as other ideas. If we start small and are successful with that small business, we can always grow larger. But it is harder to start big and have to downsize because our ideas were too far-fetched and not well thought out or supported.

After the video, Ms. Arguello spoke specifically about the Grameen Bank in Omaha. She gave the following scenario: If I person wants a loan, then Ms. Arguello, searches for at least four other ladies who also want to a loan. Through this process, there are no papers or identification required, a concept most banks would not allow, but rather Ms. Arguello comes to each lady’s house and helps them fill out an application. Grameen Bank has a partnership with Wells Fargo. This means that if the ladies do not have a bank account or are unable to use one, Ms. Arguello personally helps them set one up, even though she admitted this is not a job requirement. She simply does it because she cares so deeply for these ladies and remembers similar struggles from her past life. In her words, “discipline, unity, and hard work is the recipe for success.” Ms. Arguello also gave an example of how she was able to help a woman get a loan without her having a social security number, but the only reason this was possible was because she had good credit. Ms. Arguello not only helps people get loans but offers solutions on how to develop strategies to pay back the loans. Many of the customers do not know how to manage their money, so this is a skill she focuses on teaching to as many people as possible. She also is willing to help them have transportation to get to the bank or, as seen in a previous example, she is willing to go to the home of the customer.  It was evident that Ms. Arguello worked above and beyond her job requirements, and I am so happy I was able to be present for her presentation.

Business, Faith and the Common Good Symposium: A Reflection by Loriana Harkey, Part 1

At the Business, Faith, and the Common Good Symposium, I listened to Dr. Kim Lamberty, the co-founder and president of a company called Just Haiti. Never having been to a Business Symposium, I had no idea what to expect. When I saw many people in business suits, I felt out of place because I had just come from class and had my backpack with me ready to take notes. But upon entering the room in which Dr. Lamberty spoke, I was reassured at the sight of a few children with their parents listening to the presentation. I felt that Dr. Lamberty had a calming aura about her, and it was evident that she had an immense amount of passion for her work. After the presentation, I met a Creighton representative from the Center for Service and Justice and explained to him how much I enjoyed hearing this first speaker. I was highly impressed by the idea that after her speech, students in the audience asked questions as well as the well-dressed adults. It was great to see how much the audience had paid attention to the program and had enough curiosity to inquire about it.

The premise of the Just Haiti company is to allow individuals in Haiti to earn money for a living. So, Just Haiti, a fair trade coffee company, trains Haitians in the coffee making process where they then sell their coffee to others. Most of the consumers are from the U.S. because after the coffee is made, it is imported to the U.S. The reason the coffee is as expensive as it is is because it is the main source of income for the Haitians to make a living. Dr. Lamberty keeps in contact with the coffee growers by talking to them in person and by phone. Unfortunately, most of them do not have email or electricity and are illiterate, which gives us as U.S. consumers all the more reason to buy coffee from them so they can make a better life. She believes this company will allow Haitians to “become a part of God’s abundance” and “artisans of their own destiny” because they make the coffee that provides them with a living.

Dr. Lamberty also talked about how one does not work in the fair trade business to get rich. They do it to include the poor in the global economy. She also talked about the difference between fair trade certification and organic certification. The latter is extremely expensive. Though it gives your company a stellar reputation, most Haitians cannot afford to get this certification that will only last 2 years. So with the limited income they receive, it makes sense why they would not spend it on a 2 year certification, but instead on their kids and family. However, Just Haiti is a fair trade member because of Dr. Lamberty’s membership. It is difficult to become a member of fair trade, and she remembers having to write a 13 page paper. Becoming a member does not give you certification, but it does allow you to have fair trade branding represented by a symbol.

Here is a little background provided about how long it takes to process coffee. First ripe beans must be picked. This process occurs in several waves. The “good ones” (healthy ones) are put in water and the bad ones are disposed of for compost. The healthy beans are put through a machine which removes pulp. They are then left to ferment for a day and over the course of 2 weeks, the beans are washed and dried on a patio. The skin is peeled and the beans are sorted, removing any sticks, rocks, twigs from being washed or dried on the patio and any defective beans. These bags of beans are then brought to Port-au-Prince completing the process. In total, this process takes a minimum of 6 weeks and can be as long as 3 months. This process occurs 3 times a year for a total of 3 shipments. The biggest threat to the coffee making business is climate change. The only solution Just Haiti has for this is to teach the coffee growers how to grow it in hotter environments. The earthquake and hurricane in Haiti caused them to lose their food crops but fortunately not the coffee.

One question from the audience really resonated with me. Someone asked about how Just Haiti would help Haiti move toward more of a first world country way-of-life and away from the third world country lifestyle. Dr. Lamberty answered honestly. Their goal is not to make Haiti a first world country, but to give them what they want. And what they want is not to become members of the middle class of U.S. citizens. What they want is their “traditional way of life with dignity” as Dr. Lamberty said. They want to be able to live in their country and do it with pride. And this is something Just Haiti can help with. During the discussion, Dr. Lamberty discussed how charity is not a long-term solution to poverty. It will always be there, but the poor cannot have successfully lives while being dependent on others to obtain resources to live. After 70 years of extensive charity in Haiti, the country is still struggling. It is Dr. Lamberty’s mission to help them be able to support their own destinies, and Just Haiti, is just a start.

Formation Time – Business Ethics and CST

Friends,

I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed our conversation during Formation Time on Sunday. A vocation in the business sector can be for the common good and create positive change in the world. I would be remiss in this statement if I did not admit that the society in which we live poses many challenges to maintaining such a posture toward the world. However, in and through collaboration—community—and an understanding of the human person as one who is integrally connected to others, change is possible.

Let’s add some feet to the challenge Madi posed at the end of our time together: What practices on campus and in your life as a consumer frustrate you? What makes you angry? What can we work to change? Let’s start the dialogue and do something about it!

Here’s the link to the document that guided Dr. Kelly’s presentation.

If you want to do some further research, I suggest these articles:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/03/04/for-catholics-the-vocation-of-business-is-the-main-hope-for-the-worlds-poor/

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/economic-justice-economy/upload/catholic-framework-economic-life.pdf

Peace and all good,

Kate

Love thy self

Friends,

Here are a few resources that will help you as you continue to consider what we talked about during Formation Time on Sunday:

23 and a half hours: http://ed.ted.com/featured/Mot8KdLT

http://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-practice/starting-your-mindfulness-meditation-practice

http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-be-more-mindful-just-breathing-and-walking

Our society tells us that service is an outward facing activity, meaning that it involves others, especially distant others. What if we turn this idea on its head? Shouldn’t service also take place in our own backyard—on campus? In our dorm? With our neighbors? With our very person? How can learn to be kind, gentle, loving and giving, if we do not treat our person in a loving, kind way? Media outlets tell us that we never have enough, we’re not pretty enough, smart enough, likable enough. Is not loving ourselves and valuing the life we have been gifted one of the greatest acts of service we can do?

As we approach this hectic time of the semester, with tests, papers and group projects, love yourself. Take time for yourself—go for a walk, enjoy a cup of tea because you can, sit underneath the shade of the trees in the Jesuit gardens, heck, sleep-in. In order to live for others, you must live for the self too. In a round-about way, I think this is what the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh hints at in the following passage:

“We talk about social service, service to the people, service to humanity, service to others who are far away, helping to bring peace to the world – but often we forget that it is the very people around us that we must live for first of all. If you cannot serve your wife or husband or child or parent – how are you going to serve society? If you cannot make your own child happy, how do you expect to be able to make anyone else happy? If all our friends in the peace movement or of service communities of any kind do not love and help each other, whom can we love and help?” (The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation).  If we do not love ourselves, whom can we love and help?

Be well and love well,

Kate

Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Director’s Notes

This week, our External Communications Chair Emma Rasmussen is making her directorial debut with Creighton Theatre’s production of the one-act play “Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” which will be performed with another one-act “Gladys” this week, Oct 9-11 at 7:30 pm and Oct. 12 at 2 pm at the Lied Center. Here are Emma’s director’s notes on the play:

“This bear, exit, whatever… show you’re directing… what’s it about?”

I so love getting asked this question, because, one, I am actually (pinch myself) directing a show, and two, my answer tends to catch people off guard. I begin, “Well you see, its a smart, funny revenge comedy…” The person I’m talking to smiles and nods. We’re doing well! Smartness! Revenge! Comedy! “…that deals with the issue of domestic abuse.” Yeah, that’s a plot twist. Some people are fascinated, but many are uncomfortable, confused, or even take offense. Our conversation ends as soon as it began. I get it. Domestic violence is by not exactly good passing conversation. The bear in the room, if you will. Not something anyone wants to talk about. However, that silence is a significant part of the problem.

Domestic abuse is perpetuated by a culture of silence and suppression: suppression of victims’ voices, and of the female story as a whole. One in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives. One in four. Y’all, that is unacceptable. That is something that we need to be talking about.

This show is the beginning of Nan’s conversation with all of us. And it ain’t your average bear of a conversation either. It comes with a side of expository theatre, your friendly neighborhood stripper, and maybe even a laugh or twenty. My hope is, this is a conversation you’ll be glad you stuck around for.

In the words of Simon, my favorite male cheerleader, BRING ON THE BEAR.

All the best,

Emma Rasmussen

Corteama Series: Introducing Madi Felipe

Hi friends! It’s Madi Felipe here, your Formation Time Chair extraordinaire. Hayley asked at our last Corteama meeting that everyone on the Core Team write something about themselves for the blog. I decided I like procrastinating and talking about myself, so here I am writing this blog post instead of studying.

A few very important things you should know about me are that first I am from Southern California, and I love it a lot. My mom is always saying I should bring my friends home to visit, so if any of you reading this don’t have anything to do for Christmas, you have a place at my home…in Southern California…where there are beaches…and you can tan on Christmas…and my mom makes really good food…and we have a cookie party before New Years where we literally invite people over and don’t let them in the house unless they have brought homemade cookies to share….so maybe you should come over. Second, I really love my dog and my friend’s dog. Their names are Napoleon and Judy and they are beautiful and perfect in every way.

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Nappy and Judy ready for the cookie party!

Then there is my cat Veronica. She is fat, but she takes better photos than me. That is all.

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I am a senior psychology major with a Spanish minor. I love to exercise and have most recently been into crossfit, power lifting and yoga! I’m a building supervisor and Group Fitness Instructor at the KFC and Rasmussen Center. If you want to talk to me about any of these things please let me know. I won’t shut up about them. Seriously. Ask my roommates. Speaking of roommates: FUN FACT – I LIVE WITH SARAH PERAUD AND EMMA RASMUSSEN. Both of those ladies I got to know through Cortina. Cherish these friendships, my ducklings, cherish them. P.S. we take a lot of selfies…

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I have a sister and three half-brothers who live all over the states. They are cool. I like my parents. They are cool, too. I have three tattoos that I like a lot. And before anyone asks, no, I did not get the tree on my back because of Cortina, but rumor has it I did. Who can say?

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Okay, I think you know enough about me now. If you wanna chat, I really like coffee. What I like more than coffee are people who buy me coffee. If you don’t want to buy me coffee, we can go to a coffee shop and you can watch me drink coffee that I bought all on my own. Or we can get food. I like that. Basically I want to hang out with you, but like not in a creepy way. Okay, I think I’ve been creepy enough as it is, I’m just going to end this here. Bye.

What’s Up in the World Wednesday: Ignored Protests, Ebola Outbreaks and Resignations

Hong Kong Media are providing wall-to-wall coverage of the protests calling for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, as compared to mainland China where there has been little to no mention of the unrest. This contrast in news coverage clearly displays the “one country, two systems” policy that has been in place since the former British colony reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. You can read more about the cause of the protests here and reporting by the Associated Press about the protests here. What do you think about a nation denying media coverage about a political protest?

Last night the first Ebola diagnosis was made in the US. This comes months the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history began ravaging West African countries, including over 3,000 deaths according to a World Health Organization report. Read why the Center for Disease Control says Americans shouldn’t worry here.

This afternoon Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, has resigned following a series of embarrassing incidents. These security gaffs include a man scaling a White House fence and allegedly running through the buildings main level before being apprehended, and the Service allowing an armed contractor with a criminal record to ride on an elevator with the president. You can read more about the White House intrusion here and more about the resignation of Pierson here. What lengths do you think the Secret Service should go to to protect the president? Read more food for thought here.

Cortina Field Trips!

This weekend, the Cortina Community began a new tradition: Cortina Field Trips! Cortinians had the opportunity to explore different sites in the Omaha area. Formation Group Leaders led small groups of students to their favorite places around the community, from restaurants to parks to churches. Students had the chance to see parts of Omaha they may not have ventured to before and experience the diversity and liveliness of this city. Here are a few pictures from the day. We hope to continue this activity throughout the year!

What did you discover about Omaha? What are some of your places in the city?