Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound
Toy instruments are displayed at a stand in Madagascar.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound
It is an outlandish thing to make your living as a singer/songwriter, and one of the lessons it taught me early was that in order to make it, you have to hustle.
You have to release the notion that just because a morning of coffee and scratching in a notebook renders a song the world is compelled to respond. There’s a brawn to art, the idea that beneath the lustrous promise of a new creation there is muscle and metal driving it. With each release, there is a constant chirping in my brain, beckoning people to pay attention for a moment to what I’m doing. It is a daily battle for a sliver of presence in a world more infinitely layered than we could ever know.
Jane, 17, is sponsored through Unbound in the Philippines.
Jane took this photo after Typhoon Rammasun swept through her community. Drooping power lines were just one of the hazards faced in the wake of the typhoon.
In an average year, 20 or more typhoons enter the Philippines. Half of those make landfall. Jane, who is sponsored through Unbound in the Philippines, shares her experiences from category 4 typhoon Rammasun, known locally as Glenda, which hit the Philippines earlier this year. The 17-year-old attends school in the Bicol region of the Philippines, and stays in a boarding house because of the school’s distance from her home.
It was July 15, 2014, when terrible typhoon Glenda hit our place in Bicol Region. The day before the typhoon made landfall, Albay Governor Joey Salceda suspended classes for all levels at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
I used the remaining hours of the day to prepare my things to go home to my family. But the next morning I wasn’t able to go home because the public transportation to my hometown was canceled due to heavy rains. I decided to go back to the boarding house and stay there with my roommate.
Doña Jesus started raising turkeys about seven years ago to help support her family. It was right around the time her son Diego was sponsored through Unbound. When all of her turkeys got sick and died, she received lots of encouragement from the Unbound staff not to give up. She also got seven turkeys from Unbound to help her restart her business.
To say thank you for all the support and encouragement her family has received, Doña Jesus shared her recipe for turkey stew, which she makes for her family every Christmas.
A Guatemalan cemetery decorated on Day of the Dead.
Guatemalans celebrate Day of the Dead on Nov. 1 and 2, coinciding with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The celebrations are a way to remember loved ones who have passed away.
“We celebrate with a mixture of traditions from the Maya and the Spaniards,” said Norma, whose son, Rodvin, is sponsored through Unbound in Guatemala. “My mother showed me to offer fruits, food, flowers and any other things that our deceased liked when alive. We believe that they visit us on this day to share the offerings that we prepare for them. We also believe in prayers as a way of talking with them and asking God for their eternal rest.”
Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines.
A photo of Tristan’s grandfather placed on his grave during Undás.
By Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines
Tristan John Cabrera is the communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines. Each year, Filipino families spend Nov. 1 and 2 at the gravesites of their family members who have passed away. The two days are referred to as Undás. Tristan shared with us his experiences of the tradition.
Every year for Undás, observed Nov. 1 and 2, my family and I visit the graves of our loved ones who have passed away. On Oct. 31 we start building a tent to serve as our shelter for our two-day stay in the cemetery. We start early because of the large number of people who will also build their tents and visit their deceased loved ones.
This photo of Kathy, her children, Kristen, Alex and Gabriel (front), and her husband, Bob, gave new meaning to the relationship they had with their sponsored friend, Jay.
By Kathy Ackerman, Unbound sponsor
Kathy Ackerman has been an Unbound sponsor for 12 years. She has been sponsoring Jay for half that time. She shares how one family photo changed the relationship between her family and Jay.
For many years my family has sponsored a child through Unbound. Jay is the second child from the Philippines we have been able to help by providing financial support through this organization.
It is very easy to write a check and feel good about making a difference. We frequently received update letters from Jay. I occasionally sent a short note or card back, but honestly, I didn’t fully invest myself in trying to establish a relationship with this child so far away.
Mamisoa receives a scholarship through Unbound in Madagascar. His scholarship is funded by donations to Education.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator
I met Mamisoa at the Unbound-Madagascar central office while he was helping out with an event for aging members of the Unbound community. He’s studying earth sciences and wants to work to improve the water quality for people in Madagascar. He was introduced as one of the scholarship recipients. Unbound scholarships are funded by donations to Education. Luckily, I had a chance to pose some questions to Mamisoa.
Cieleto manning the counter at the computer shop where he works.
Cieleto works from home repairing computers.
Pay it forward. It’s what Cieleto Fernandez does every day.
Cieleto is an alumnus of Unbound’s Quezon program in Agoo, La Union, in the Philippines. He was part of Unbound for 14 years and finished his education in computer technology. Now he works in a computer shop owned by a friend.
For a few years Cieleto had his own shop, which he operated out of his house. He assembled desktop computers from spare parts gathered from his neighborhood and friends. He made enough money to send his sister to school for a two-year hotel and restaurant management course.
The enterprising young man also went back school to earn a teaching certificate so he can teach computer courses and share his knowledge with youth.
For those compelled to think that people who live in poverty have nothing but their need to offer the world, I might begin by offering them the example of the extraordinary group, Migasy. This ensemble of musicians from the Unbound Madagascar community has developed a sophisticated sound with thoughtful messages. Messages that move humanity forward. These are engaged people who, amidst struggle, have committed themselves to creating works of art.
As they played song after song for us, I thought about the instruments that they played — some of them borrowed, some of them held together with rubber bands and plastic. These are the stories that don’t come through the music at first listen. They must be told. So should the very fact that they shared their music with us so others might have opportunity to go to school through Unbound scholarships. They were proud to do it.
As we recorded, the spirit in the room was of generosity. For each of the artists in Migasy, the desire to grow as musicians and offer something of substance moves them forward. For my part, I simply felt lucky to be in the presence of beautiful artists who had managed to do so much with so little.
It is the best of our human spirit set to music. It’s their gift to us.