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Greetings from Pachaysana!  In this newsletter, we share what we mean by Rehearsing Change

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Pachaysana: Arts fos Social Change in the Ecuadorian Amazon

What is Rehearsing Change?

A Philosophy, a Methodology and what we hope to become a Movement. 

Our world faces tremendous challenges: poverty, hunger, climate change, disease, corruption… the list goes on and on. Such injustices infuriate most of us, but not simply because they exist. We are so frustrated because we feel helpless, not to mention separated from the most intense suffering, which occurs in the “developing world.”  We read about, or watch these terrible tragedies in the news and become desensitized to statistics like “20 thousand children die every day to treatable illness.” It is simply too much to overcome. Yet, when people take the smallest amount of time to learn the story of a suffering young girl and are then asked if they would make a small financial sacrifice to save her life, the answer is overwhelmingly positive.

Rehearsing Change is not about saving 20,000 children a day, or even saving that one girl; rather, it is an exercise in preparation, practice and dialogue. At Pachaysana, we believe it is time to step back and engage the simple dialogue that finds, tells and transforms the stories. As we stated in our last newsletter, the problems are both local and global, meaning the solutions must come from linking the local and the global in meaningful ways.  If we see ourselves as part of the local-global story, we can create new models for change. Thus, our dialogue is Rehearsing Change

Rehearsing Change: Finding, Telling and Transforming the Development Story

Our philosophy
 


At some point today you have told a story, imagined a story, heard a story and been part of a story.  It can easily be argued that stories (and storytelling) are what make us truly human. There is a power in storytelling, and it is being utilized in every aspect of life: from inspirational speakers to ruthless businessmen, from renowned politicians to small-town teachers, from marketing companies to your grandmother… the power of stories can bring us together, tear us apart, define who we are, and manipulate our very identity. The Rehearsing Change philosophy is about empowering communities, both local and international, to create and express their stories as a way of transforming their lives.  Related to the challenges mentioned above, if we can convert the local and international stories into one human story, the distant problems of hunger, poverty, etc become part of who we are and we realize that change is within our power. Thus, creating the story is how we Rehearse the Change we want to create. We share relevant information in English and Spanish on our Pachaysana Facebook page.  Please follow us.

Rehearsing Change: Empowering Locally, Educating Globally

Our methodology
 



How can we start creating and telling these new kinds of stories?  We believe that the only authentic way to make such stories is bringing the local and international communities together and create them over time.  But how do we find the time to do this?  In response to this last question, we have put together a ground-breaking study abroad program that establishes a community-based Safe Space where international students live and work with local community counterparts over an extended period of time to create and tell their stories. This is the beginning. We have already engaged in short-term versions of this methodology with excellent results, and the semester-long version begins in January, 2015 (spring 2015 semester).  If this appeals to you, we ask that you help us get the word out. Please share this newsletter, our program webpage and Facebook pages with college students, university professors, college administrators or anyone who you think might be interested. We believe that our program/methodology is the beginning of a new movement that applies study abroad to real change, which is why it is also called, Rehearsing Change.  
Rehearsing Change in local communities.

Our short-term programs have already revealed powerful results. We have engaged the creative dialogue through theatre, dance, graffiti, hip-hop, spoken word, visiting contaminated sites in the rainforest, sharing and hearing stories with indigenous communities throughout the rainforest, and participating in multi-cultural workshops. Our next project links international students from our partner institution, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and two Amazon communities. Fray Rivera, from the community of Mariscal Sucre (pictured in the white t-shirt during an image theatre exercise) and international students share comments from an earlier experience on our Testimonials page. 

 
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Rehearsing Change in the United States.

Our Executive Director, Daniel Bryan, just concluded numerous workshops and presentations to begin Rehearsing Change at numerous universities across the United States.  Special thanks to our partners and workshop organizers at Brown U, American U, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tulane U, U of Texas at Austin, Tufts U and Goucher College.  Before we begin our first semester of Rehearsing Change in January 2015, you can arrange for Daniel or other Pachaysana team members to lead a workshop at your college.  Read Jazzy Brown's (Soka University of America) reflection from one of Daniel's workshops (at Soka in October 2013).
 
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