Thought for the Day: Even if It “Isn’t Enough”

“We each have the opportunity to live our lives consciously in spite of all the soporific influences, to act even when we know how complex the prospect of doing so truly is.

Our charge is not to “save the world,” after all; it is to live in it, flawed and fierce, loving and humble. As children of the eighties and nineties [and those of us of earlier generations – and those later], we are uniquely positioned to fail. The bureaucracy we face, the scale of our challenges, the intractable nature of so many of our most unjust international institutions and systems—all these add up to colossal potential for disappointment.

[Recently on Maui:

Anti-corporate and pro-labor and environment organizations demonstrated against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) during trade talks on Maui.

Anti-corporate & pro-labor and environment organizations demonstrating against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks on Maui -July 28, 2015http://mauitime.com/news/politics/protests-planned-for-tpp-trade-talks-at-westin-maui-resort/

TPP protest -at the Westin – Maui – 7/28/2015

<http://mauitime.com/news/politics/protests-planned-for-tpp-trade-talks-at-westin-maui-resort/>

Protests against telescopes being added to Haleakala and Mauna Kea - - cultural disrespect.

Because of disrespect of Hawaiian culture, protests against new telescopes being added to Haleakala and Mauna Kea – 7/31/2015

From: <http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/07/27-arrested-protesting-telescopes-on-mauna-kea-and-haleakala/>

No matter [whether what we do succeeds or not].

We must strive to make the world better anyway. We must struggle to make our friendships, our families, our neighborhoods, our cities, and our nation more dignified, knowing that it might not work and struggling anyway.

Protest on Maui - for a moratorium on GMO experiments  xx

Protest on Maui – for a moratorium on Monsanto’s open-air chemical spraying and GMO experimental plantings

From: <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-hawaii-end-gmo-openair-chemical-experiments#/story>]

We must dedicate ourselves each and every morning to being the most kind, thoughtful, courageous human beings who have ever walked the earth, and know that it still won’t be enough. We must do it anyway” (190).

  • from Courtney E. Martin’s Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, Beacon Press, 2010.

Aloha, Renée

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

11 responses to “Thought for the Day: Even if It “Isn’t Enough””

  1. Rosy says :

    Interesting post 😉 I had dengue fever and chikungunya, as I talked here on blog, and when I caught chikungunya, I only can talk was a pretty strange situation for a teenager. I’ll talk my story with this awful disease to you with more details: I remember that the symptoms initiated 2 of November of 2014. Strange as this date still firmly on my mind. All initiated with a high fever in the midnight (but at this moment I don’t know I was with fever) and a headache. At this moment, I WASN’T feeling joint pains. I was shivering on my bed and I was unconsciously for some minutes. When I recovered my conscience, I go out of bed and ran (!) to my parents room. I awakened mommy and explained that I was feeling bad. So, she touched my head and said I was with fever. After, she took the thermometer. I was with 40° C of fever! Very high, no? Weh, it was only the start of my story with this horrible virus: I talked mommy I was with a terrible pain on my joints and a horrible headache. Detail: the fever of chikungunya was one of the most intenses who I had in all my life until that moment. But the “good” thing was that I only had two days of fever and NONE DAY OF RASH, because some persons talk that chikungunya rash is so much itchful, who I can’t prove, because I don’t had itch 😉 but the joint pains were horrible, and it looked like all my bones were breaking 😦 mommy gave me some water. I drunk avidly. That intense thirst accompanied me during the first week of the disease. I ate a bit of mangosteen accompanied of a delicious coconut water and I think that it made me feel better. I remember dressed a red t-shirt and a white sarong (it’s a specie of skirt) to go to the pediatrician. I was pretty gorgeous and aparently (only apparently) healthy, but I was feeling very bad. When I went to the doctor, I tried to climb the stairs, but the pain was too intense. Conclusion: I only got down TWO STEPS! I wasn’t understanding why my body was bent, I really couldn’t climb the stairs. Instead, I got down these two steps, and I fell on the sofa in the reception. I was feeling very bad. An young woman offerred me a bit of water, and I accepted, because I was with an intense thirst. When I finally entered at the pediatrician office, she said it was probably dengue (it’s epidemic on my country) or chikungunya. Note: at that moment, chikungunya was a “new” disease here on my country, with a few cases, most of them contracted in travels to Bali, who wasn’t my case, because I never knew Bali on this life neither travelled abroad before the symptoms started. But I made the exams in the next day. Negative for dengue neither chikungunya. So, I REMADE these exams 6 days after the start of the symptoms. Negative for dengue, positive for chikungunya. I was using so much Tylenol and Acetaminophen for the pains. I wasn’t going to school during the 3 first weeks of the disease. When I went to school for the first time after chikungunya, I was so happy, with an immense smile on my face… I was thinking the worst ended. Oh, I was so ingenuous! When I went to school, I noted I WASN’T ABLE TO WRITE! This was a nightmare! And I lost 7 (seven) kg ON 7 DAYS AFTER THE START OF THE SYMPTOMS! Really, this was a nightmare! I lost partially my appetite. I was only accepting my favorite foods, but very little quantities. After these first weeks, I recovered my appetite. But the horrible joint pains continued. This was so awful! And I used so much remedies to alleviate my pain, who were horrible. But I faced all it with a strange stoicism, I don’t cried in none moment, but I have to confess that I was almost crying in some moments. I also had wrong diagnoses: one rheumatologist talked I was with JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) and received me a lot of medicaments, for all life. Mommy was crying so much. It was nothing for me, not by insensibility, but I simply wasn’t understanding it! Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, as the proverb says 😉 and I had 5 (five) MONTHS with an excruciating pain in ALL JOINTS OF BODY, specially hands, foots and knees (I also have patellar dislocation since I was a child, who increased knee pains). But these pains alleviating with Tylenol. Now, I’m feeling very better. And it was my story with this virus. I LOVE traveling abroad. I want to know Tahitian beaches! And the whole part was when I went Fortaleza and USA with chikungunya! I went to these places, in a crazy, maybe stupid idea. Weh, I don’t enjoyed so much these trips, because I was feeling bad, but I liked to went to the beach. And I always become inebriated with the beauty of Ceará’s beaches, even if I know the state since I was a child, because here on Pará, the beach isn’t too close to the city 😦 and one fact about me that you could consider interesting: I like sea smell, mango smell and jasmine smell, because these smells remember me of my idyllic childhood, at a colonial style beachfront house 😀 and one my dreams is live on a simply, cozy bungalow at a littoranean city. I’m talking about a disease who I had recently. Weh, it’s a long story, no? 😉 but now, I’m cured and I’ll certain duplicate my caution with mosquitoes, because I know what they can cause. Weh, this was my story with a horrible virus called chikungunya.

  2. Rosita says :

    Interesting post 😉 I had dengue fever and chikungunya, as I talked here on blog, and when I caught chikungunya, I only can talk was a pretty strange situation for a teenager. I’ll talk my story with this awful disease to you with more details: I remember that the symptoms initiated 2 of November of 2014. Strange as this date still firmly on my mind. All initiated with a high fever in the midnight (but at this moment I don’t know I was with fever) and a headache. At this moment, I WASN’T feeling joint pains. I was shivering on my bed and I was unconsciously for some minutes. When I recovered my conscience, I go out of bed and ran (!) to my parents room. I awakened mommy and explained that I was feeling bad. So, she touched my head and said I was with fever. After, she took the thermometer. I was with 40° C of fever! Very high, no? Weh, it was only the start of my story with this horrible virus: I talked mommy I was with a terrible pain on my joints and a horrible headache. Detail: the fever of chikungunya was one of the most intenses who I had in all my life until that moment. But the “good” thing was that I only had two days of fever and NONE DAY OF RASH, because some persons talk that chikungunya rash is so much itchful, who I can’t prove, because I don’t had itch 😉 but the joint pains were horrible, and it looked like all my bones were breaking 😦 mommy gave me some water. I drunk avidly. That intense thirst accompanied me during the first week of the disease. I ate a bit of mangosteen accompanied of a delicious coconut water and I think that it made me feel better. I remember dressed a red t-shirt and a white sarong (it’s a specie of skirt) to go to the pediatrician. I was pretty gorgeous and aparently (only apparently) healthy, but I was feeling very bad. When I went to the doctor, I tried to climb the stairs, but the pain was too intense. Conclusion: I only got down TWO STEPS! I wasn’t understanding why my body was bent, I really couldn’t climb the stairs. Instead, I got down these two steps, and I fell on the sofa in the reception. I was feeling very bad. An young woman offerred me a bit of water, and I accepted, because I was with an intense thirst. When I finally entered at the pediatrician office, she said it was probably dengue (it’s epidemic on my country) or chikungunya. Note: at that moment, chikungunya was a “new” disease here on my country, with a few cases, most of them contracted in travels to Bali, who wasn’t my case, because I never knew Bali on this life neither travelled abroad before the symptoms started. But I made the exams in the next day. Negative for dengue neither chikungunya. So, I REMADE these exams 6 days after the start of the symptoms. Negative for dengue, positive for chikungunya. I was using so much Tylenol and Acetaminophen for the pains. I wasn’t going to school during the 3 first weeks of the disease. When I went to school for the first time after chikungunya, I was so happy, with an immense smile on my face… I was thinking the worst ended. Oh, I was so ingenuous! When I went to school, I noted I WASN’T ABLE TO WRITE! This was a nightmare! And I lost 7 (seven) kg ON 7 DAYS AFTER THE START OF THE SYMPTOMS! Really, this was a nightmare! I lost partially my appetite. I was only accepting my favorite foods, but in very little quantities. After these first weeks, I recovered my normal appetite. But the horrible joint pains continued. This was so awful! And I used so much remedies to alleviate my pain, who were REALLY horrible. It looked like my joints were breaking. But I faced all it with a strange stoicism, I don’t cried in none moment, but I have to confess that I was almost crying in some moments. I also had wrong diagnoses: one rheumatologist talked I was with JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) and received me a lot of medicaments, for all life. Mommy was crying so much. It was nothing for me, not by insensibility, but I simply wasn’t understanding it! Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, as the proverb says 😉 and I had 5 (five) MONTHS with an excruciating pain in ALL JOINTS OF BODY, specially hands, foots and knees (I also have patellar dislocation since I was a child, who increased knee pains). But these pains alleviating with Tylenol. Now, I’m feeling very better. And it was my story with this virus. I LOVE traveling abroad. I want to know Tahiti… And a whole part was when I went Fortaleza and USA with chikungunya! I went to these places, in a crazy, maybe stupid idea. Weh, it was a long story, no? 😉 but now, I’m cured and I’ll certain duplicate my caution with mosquitoes, because I know what they can cause. Weh, this was my story with a horrible virus called chikungunya.

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: What a horrible ordeal you’ve been through. I’m glad you are cured now – and being very careful about keeping mosquitoes from biting you. I hope you never have these diseases again. Perhaps your story will make others take good precautions against mosquito bites. Mangoes and the ocean are two of my favorite smells too. Thanks for your descriptions. Wishing you good health – and lots of healthy dogs too. Aloha, Renee

  3. Rosita says :

    Oh, thank you so much! Do you believe in an earthly paradise? I think that it’s merely an utopia, but we could transform the world in a better place for all of us, but, certain persons as Pedro Alvares Cabral and Cristovao Colombo thunked that Brazil and North America were the earth paradise. And some people sometimes talk that Tahiti is the paradise on earth. I don’t believe in an earthly paradise, but I believe that some places have paradisiacal aspects, so, an earthly paradise isn’t more than utopia, for me. And do you believe that an earthly paradise could exist? 🙂

  4. reneeriley says :

    Hi Rosita, my friend: Tonight, the Maui sunset and getting to be with my husband and friends seem an earthly paradise to me. But many people are suffering all over the world. The Syrian refugees, the 700,000 illegal immigrants in U.S. holding pens, the way too numerous prisoners, those who have lost loved ones . . . You are right that some places have qualities we think of as a paradise (and many people go to those places for vacations). However, much needs to change and hearts opened to take care of others before we can have an earthly paradise. We can work on helping that happen. Even if it’s impossible, we could make life better for the many who do suffer. Aloha, Renee

  5. Rosita says :

    Your answer is most than correct. We can make a better world for the future generations, ok? I will help dogs around the world and it make part of the compromise with a better future 😀 I dream that one day all of us can live on an earthly paradise, without hungry, diseases and wars.

  6. Rosita says :

    How is life in Hawaii? ❤️ it’s idyllic and have beautiful beaches as the travel agencies make us think? Or it is harsh, with so much violence? How you define live in Hawaii?

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: You ask great questions. Life on Maui for me is wonderful. I’ve lived here since 1985 when I was hired to teach English at Maui College. I came from Chicago, a city I love but where the winters are very harsh. I didn’t know anyone here; I thought it would take me about a year to make friends and not be miserable. I thought Maui was beautiful beaches and palm trees; it is, but it also has a rain forest, two volcanoes, a rich native culture, a melting pot of ethnicities. It is expensive here, so many people have to work two jobs just to survive. But I was lucky. I had a job I loved, met wonderful people right away, and was never homesick. I met my great husband here; we have a wonderful 25-year old son. We live in a very beautiful place and have excellent friends. I am blessed. I know that it helps that I am “haole” (white) and have an education.

      However, living here is hard for many people. Guns and germs, as Jared Diamond says, killed off 90% of the native Hawaiians. Survivors weren’t allowed to speak their language or practice their culture. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the Hawaiian culture began being recognized for its many values. Then, Hawaiian immersion for preschoolers was started; the parents of the children got to learn too. Now, some children go to school using Hawaiian as their first language through university!

      The ancient Hawaiians had a population of 150,000 or more on Maui. Their lifestyle was completely sustainable. Now in 2015, we have a similar population, but we import over 90% of our food and energy. That is ridiculous!! Hawaiians and farmers are having to fight for water rights controlled by huge companies (A&B, Monsanto). Land is very expensive, so many of those who would like to be farmers can’t own land.

      Our sugar cane fields are subsidized by our U.S. government; the companies that make huge profits for their shareholders say they can’t afford to use modern ways to harvest the cane – so they burn it and in doing so, release toxic waste (of fertilizers, pesticides, plastic irrigation tubes) into our air and water. Many of our children suffer from asthma. The air quality is hard on older people too. Our reefs are being destroyed by global warming (the government officials say), but also by development runoff of fertilizers. Hawaiians suffer disproportionally from diabetics, heart disease, and obesity. Also disproportionally, Hawaiians are in our prisons. There are drug, alcohol, and homeless problems. Teen pregnancy is an issue too.

      So I’d say the violence is not the murders on the streets as in Detroit, but the violence of colonization that still remains in many ways. Where we live, we don’t usually lock our doors. Mainly, I can walk on the beach at night without being scared. Most people in Hawaii don’t have guns thankfully. The Hawaiian culture is spiritual; they practice “aloha” and kindness and unity. One of the reasons I’ve loved living on Maui is because of the loving actions of people here. The tourists are happy because they are on vacation in a most beautiful place. The people who were born and raised here have close family and friends; they have respect for each other and the land.

      We have the benefits of being American but also the rich cultural diversity of those who live here: Hawaiians, of course, Japanese, Filipinos, Samoans, South Pacific Islanders, Mexicans, Korean . . .. Whites tend to be a minority (but many with money and second homes). We get Brazilian windsurfers, European vacationers, Alaskans fleeing from the cold.

      Maui is a really wonderful, beautiful place – but it has serious problems too!

      What about Brazil? What do you say about your country and where you live there?

      Aloha, Renée

  7. reneeriley says :

    Hi Rosita: You ask excellent questions. Life on Maui for me is wonderful. I’ve lived here since 1985 when I was hired to teach English at Maui College. I came from Chicago, a city I love but where the winters are very harsh. I didn’t know anyone here; I thought it would take me about a year to make friends and not be miserable. I thought Maui was beautiful beaches and palm trees; it is, but it also has a rain forest, two volcanoes, a rich native culture, a melting pot of ethnicities. It is expensive here, so many people have to work two jobs just to survive. But I was lucky. I had a job I loved, met wonderful people right away, and was never homesick. I met my great husband here; we have a wonderful 25-year old son. We live in a very beautiful place and have excellent friends. I am blessed. I know that it helps that I am “haole” (white) and have an education.

    However, living here is hard for many people. Guns and germs, as Jared Diamond says, killed off 90% of the native Hawaiians. Survivors weren’t allowed to speak their language or practice their culture. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the Hawaiian culture began being recognized for its many values. Then, Hawaiian immersion for preschoolers was started; the parents of the children got to learn too. Now, some children go to school using Hawaiian as their first language through university!

    The ancient Hawaiians had a population of 150,000 or more on Maui. Their lifestyle was completely sustainable. Now in 2015, we have a similar population, but we import over 90% of our food and energy. That is ridiculous!! Hawaiians and farmers are having to fight for water rights controlled by huge companies (A&B, Monsanto). Land is very expensive, so many of those who would like to be farmers can’t own land.

    Our sugar cane fields are subsidized by our U.S. government; the companies that make huge profits for their shareholders say they can’t afford to use modern ways to harvest the cane – so they burn it and in doing so, release toxic waste (of fertilizers, pesticides, plastic irrigation tubes) into our air and water. Many of our children suffer from asthma. The air quality is hard on older people too. Our reefs are being destroyed by global warming (the government officials say), but also by development runoff of fertilizers. Hawaiians suffer disproportionally from diabetics, heart disease, and obesity. Also disproportionally, Hawaiians are in our prisons. There are drug, alcohol, and homeless problems. Teen pregnancy is an issue too.

    So I’d say the violence is not the murders on the streets as in Detroit, but the violence of colonization that still remains in many ways. Where we live, we don’t usually lock our doors. Mainly, I can walk on the beach at night without being scared. Most people in Hawaii don’t have guns thankfully. The Hawaiian culture is spiritual; they practice “aloha” and kindness and unity. One of the reasons I’ve loved living on Maui is because of the loving actions of people here. The tourists are happy because they are on vacation in a most beautiful place. The people who were born and raised here have close family and friends; they have respect for each other and the land.

    We have the benefits of being American but also the rich cultural diversity of those who live here: Hawaiians, of course, Japanese, Filipinos, Samoans, South Pacific Islanders, Mexicans, Korean . . .. Whites tend to be a minority (but many with money and second homes). We get Brazilian windsurfers, European vacationers, Alaskans fleeing from the cold.

    Maui is a really wonderful, beautiful place – but it has serious problems too!
    What about Brazil? What do you say about your country and where you live there?

    Aloha, Renée

  8. Rosita says :

    Great answer! So, I conclude that live in Hawaii can be a paradise for ones, but a hell for others. And about life in Brasil, it can be very great for ones, specially for those who’re rich, and we have a big social difference, like an invisible caste system, with some persons living in big apartments or beachfront mansions, and other persons living at the streets, like animals, being ignored by the politicians and even population in general, who make me sad 😦 and our jail is replete of criminals, because the education isn’t good and the public health is also bad, with a frustrated, but hopeful population, but live in Brazil, as well for me, is relatively good, and I’m a dreamer. I dream with a better Brazil and I hope that I can move me to a city who have sea. The sea isn’t essential on my life, but it can relive my idyllic childhood memories 🙂 and my city don’t have a sea, but we have a river that looks like a sea and so much islands, so, I also call it as “Brazilian Bali”, because we have so much similarities with the Indonesian island of Bali. And I think it’s great 😀 but living here can be a paradise for ones, and a hell for others. It can depend of the form that you see all the thing and if you have money, because Brazil is passing by an economic crisis, but we have so much natural beauties, as Maragogi in Alagoas, who look like a mix between Caribe and French Polynesia, Marajo islands, here on Pará and so much other beauties who can make you inebriated. And Brazilian culture is also unique and beautiful, with so much happiness 🙂

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