JoyBinge Podcast Ep. 6: Humanity, Culture, Nature, & Wooing
Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. My name is Kimmy Mauldin and I am not a journalist or a professional of any sort in the news industry. I’m just a Texas girl in need of some happy news and want to share what I find. Let’s binge on some joy!
Over the last several years, we have seen the immigration crisis across the world reach critical levels. Due to wars, genocide, persecutions, and gang violence, just to name a few reasons, many people have been searching for safer places to live. For children caught in these awful situations, the search is especially frightening and traumatic. One man has worked hard to make one refugee camp on Lesbos more welcoming to the children made to live there. Lorenzo Tondo wrote the article we are looking at today for The Guardian’s The Upside, published on October 12th.
At least 3,000 children from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq live in the Moria Camp on Lesbos. The camp has a bad reputation of being possibly the worst refugee camp in the world. A team of dedicated individuals, including Salam Aldeen, are working hard to change the quality of life at this camp and others. Team Humanity recently built a playground for the children to enjoy, filled with, as the article states, “inflatable castles and a small football pitch.”
Aldeen told Tondo, “It was difficult for the children to leave behind what they were experiencing in the camp...They’d watch their Syrian parents quarrel with their Afghan neighbours, and they’d bring the same tensions into the playground. We worked hard to try and convince them that in here, just as in the camp, we’re all the same: no colours, no religions, just human beings. And you know what? They understood it better than the adults.”
Because of Aldeen’s dedication to migrants in the immigration crisis in Europe, people have come to revere him, passing his name town to town in the Middle East. Through his devotion, Team Humanity was created to recruit volunteers and donors throughout Europe and the across the globe. The playground at Moria is just one of the latest projects the team has completed to help people. A doctor who visits the camp on a consistent basis, Ayat Abuznade said, “I saw hope and happiness begin to light up in these children’s eyes. Day to day, I experienced children just being normal children, without any worry or fear showing in their eyes. This centre gives these children suffering hope and somewhat of a temporary normal life.”
The day Team Humanity opened the playground for the children, they wrapped the day up by setting up a big screen to show children’s films and entertainment in Arabic and Farsi. While it was hard for the children to go back to the rough camp, they were able to enjoy a day full of fun and laughter. And this isn’t the only day they will get to go to the playground. The fun center was built just for them so they should be able to go back and enjoy it time and time again. If you want to find out more about Team Humanity and their hard work, visit their website at teamhumanity.eu and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Public restrooms are often something the majority of us take for granted. But for those who have specific requirements, finding a restroom that accommodates what they need can be really difficult. From equipment needs to privacy to space, finding a restroom can be hazardous, especially when an emergency arises. The Fast Company published the article Ben Paynter wrote on October 4th.
Christina Ingoglia and David Nykodym have worked tirelessly to find a solid solution for those who need to plan trips, like errand days or road trips, around what kinds of bathrooms are required for their situation. The bathroom issue came to life for this couple when their daughter, Lilly, now 4 years old, was diagnosed with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome. Lilly needs to wear diapers which, as we know, requires a lot of space and privacy when nature calls. Especially since she is growing up quickly, finding a restroom that can accommodate diaper changing for a 30 lb child is important, but not an easy feat. Paynter quotes Ingoglia as saying, “We just found it brutal to find a place where she had some privacy and we had room to do what we needed to do to help her bathroom. A wide stall in a restroom that’s gender specific is just not going to help us anymore.”
Instead of letting this issue keep them from traveling or taking Lilly anywhere, Ingoglia and Nykodym decided to take action: as Paynter wrote, “Nykodym, who is a GIS analyst for the state of Missouri, agreed and decided to build [the app]. The result is called MoDE’s Restroom Map, a web-based app that that allows people to plot the addresses of gender-neutral or single occupancy public restrooms on a map so that others can plan trips around them. Missouri Disability Empowerment (MoDE), a nonprofit organization that was formalized this June and is classified as a 501c4 so that it can engage in campaign-related advocacy work, has supported the effort. Ingoglia is MoDE’s vice president.” Inspired by the traffic app Waze, the Restroom Map app serves people with a wide variety of reasons to search for adequate bathrooms.
The web-based app was launched in August of this year and now, according to their Facebook page, includes 300 markers across the United States. Users can add markers to the map with varying color options: “Unisex (orange dot), Family (blue diamond), Family with Adult Sized Changing Table (green star), and Other (yellow dot) for some spot that might have equally important but non-standard benefits.”
Now that the app is gaining traction, the creators are hoping more people will use it so it can improve. Beyond that, the app has already highlighted areas that need more accessible restrooms and inspire people to advocate for restroom needs. Ingoglia says, “We think we’ve coined the term restroom desert. Because there are whole swathes of the country where people can’t participate civically, or go to a house of worship, or even go shopping with a person who has special needs in the restroom area because there’s nowhere to change them properly.”
Because of these large “restroom deserts,” Ingoglia is approaching various states’ public transportation departments to include their public restroom details on the map. And the vision doesn’t stop there. Ingoglia adds, “So in a way we’re trying to build this thing, prove that there’s a need, advocate, and meanwhile, if we can put ourselves out of business, that will be great. We’re hoping that an app like Waze or Apple Maps will just integrate a button that shows this information, and that could also be potentially crowdsourced.”
Because this app allows us to see what is needed, this can change the way we view bathroom accessibility and help include more stops on our roads that can help families and individuals around the country find what they need, wherever they might be! To follow their progress, check out their website at restroommap.com or follow them on Facebook.
Aloha kākou! Duolingo has some exciting news - they’ve added kaʻōlelo Hawaiʻi or “Hawaiian language” to their app! Agnes Constante brings us this good news through the article she wrote on October 8th on NBC News.
If you want a fun way to learn a new language, check out Duolingo. The program is a website you can visit on your computer and an app you can download on your phone or tablet for language learning on the go! I’ve used this app before and absolutely enjoyed it. While I personally haven’t stuck with it, I’ve brushed up on my Spanish skills, played around with German and French, and now am learning the basics of Hawaiian and Irish Gaelic. There are many languages available now so be sure to check it out!
The Hawaiian language, kaʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, has a long and complicated history. 1893 saw the Hawaiian Kingdom overthrown. In 1896, the Hawaiian language was banned from use in the public education system and was not reinstated until 1978 when “the Hawaii State Constitution was amended to recognize Hawaiian as an official language of the state.” Due to this banning and reinstating, the Hawaiian language is now the “fifth most widely spoken language in Hawaii ...according to a 2016 state report.” So much culture has been lost due to the ban and long wait to bring the language back to schools.
However, since 1978, schools and advocacy groups all across Hawai’i have been working hard to make the language accessible to new learners, particularly native Hawaiians. ʻAha Pūnana Leo is a nonprofit whose mission according to their website, is “to revitalize the Hawaiian language as a living language in Hawai’i and beyond.”
Constante quotes Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier as saying, “It almost seems like people think people love Hawaiian language and support it. The reality is that bigotry still lives today where people think learning Hawaiian is a waste of time. In the same way that English is used in Hawaii, we would like to see Hawaiian used. Truly, if it’s the official language of the state, then it should have equal footing.”
Getting Hawaiian on Duolingo started back in April of this year when alumni of a private school system in Hawai’i called Kamehameha Schools reached out to their vice president of community engagement and resources, Kāʻeo Duarte. They wanted to get Hawaiian on Duolingo as the app is popular for a variety of reasons.
The article states, “While some courses on Duolingo begin by presenting users with words and phrases to learn, the Hawaiian language course begins with a lesson on pronunciation, which the language team agreed was the most important component. The ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi course currently has 10 units, each containing multiple lessons that focus on areas like greetings, polite expressions, personal details and people.”
After the Kamehameha alumni reached out to Duarte, he then worked with them to submit a proposal to Duolingo. After that he reached out to Kanaeokana which is a “network of Hawaiian schools dedicated to developing a Native Hawaiian education system” for further collaboration. Kaniaupio-Crozier put it best when she said, “It’s really to help our people first learn their language so it can come back in the hearts of those who own it, but also to share with everyone else.”
Back in 2014, Duolingo introduced the Irish Gaelic course to help bring back the endangered language. The lead community specialist at Duolingo, Myra Awodey, told Constante, “We realized that we’re in this unique position to be able to not only help people learn languages, but we’re also able to act as a linguistic time capsule for these languages that may be shrinking or precarious. And we not only want to document them, but we want to provide through the Duolingo experience a fun and engaging way to teach these languages, especially to the new generation.”
Keeping culture alive is vital to any society’s existence. When we forget where we came from, we cannot fully appreciate what we have. We must know the “why” to master the “how” in terms of traditions and cultural understanding. When researching how to pronounce the various words, phrases, and names in this story, I went down a long and fascinating rabbit hole about Hawaiian culture and history. I found this great video from Kanaeokana where Kaho’okahi Kanuha gave a great speech to the graduating seniors involved in the Aloha ʻĀina Leaders Award, talking about the importance of “kuleana,” a Hawaiian term loosely translated to mean “responsibility.” Their kuleana is to their ʻāina or “land”, to their lāhui or “people”, and to the ea or “air.” It’s a beautiful speech and video worth checking out.
Shoshana Wodinsky wrote a wonderful article for NBC News published on October 8th, informing us of some beautiful meteor showers destined to grace our skies this fall. Get excited to find out what is happening when and where to see it!
Some tips to get started, be sure to find a spot where there is little light, so somewhere out in the country, away from the city glow is best. But stay safe! Try to go with friends or family you trust. You don’t need telescopes or binoculars as those narrow your line of sight, causing you to miss the majority of the shower. Also try as best as you can not to look at your cellphone too much as the bright light will make it harder to see the meteors as they streak across the sky.
The first shower listed actually already occured on Oct 8th. So while it’s too late to see the Draconid Meteor Shower, there are some stunning videos on YouTube that show how the shower went. Don’t worry though, the shower wasn’t massive, according to Wodinsky, the meteors only flew by once or twice an hour.
The Orionid Meteor Shower apparently has air time from October 2nd through November 7th. The peak is predicted to be October 21st so you have time to plan! According to the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, Bill Cooke, the shower could have as many as 30 meteors per hour. As for all meteor showers, you have to stay up late for this, because the darkest part of the night, 3am is the best time to see them. What’s cool about the Orionids is, according to Wodinsky, “The Orionids are associated with Halley’s Comet. Cooke says these are some of the brightest, fastest meteors - caused by debris that hits our atmosphere at about 150,000 miles per hour, or about three times faster than a typical meteor. ‘They’re coming to us almost head-on, so they burn up fast, high in the atmosphere, and they don’t last very long,’ Cooke says.”
The Taurid Meteor Shower has another late night show for you, with their peak being between 2am and 3am on November 12th. These meteors are believed to be, according to another article written by Joe Rao in 2010, are “attributed to debris left by Comet Encke, or perhaps by a much larger comet that upon disintegrating, left Encke and a lot of other rubble in its wake.”
The Leonid Meteor Shower is set to peak on November 17th and 18th, again at 2am. Wodinsky reports that the Leonids will have about 10 meteors per hour but that they will be faster than the Orionids, “moving at about 161,000 miles per hour. That makes them the fastest of all meteors, according to Cooke.”
So get your hot chocolate, blankets, and eyeballs ready to watch some spectacular shows in the next several weeks! As Cooke says, “Mother Nature doesn’t respect people’s sleep very much.”
This week’s interview from the Texas Optimism Project, created by Texas Monthly and Frost Bank, is focused on Carla Piñeyro Sublett. The Dallas native has many accomplishments under her belt and she spoke with Paul L. Underwood, our Optimism Correspondent, about what all she has done and learned.
When Sublett was just 5 years old, her parents brought her to live in Dallas from Uruguay and become a permanent resident. Her parents made sure they entered the country legally and began several different businesses, some that were successful, some that were not. Their experience shaped her life and understanding of entrepreneurial endeavors.
For her first attempt at being an entrepreneur, 16 year old Sublett was working at a swimming pool in Dallas and saw a need for swimming lessons from the the people who would visit the pool. Unfortunately the pool at the time didn’t offer lessons so she asked if she could start offering them. Her supervisor gave permission and Sublett started teaching. But this was just the start. Sublett says that by the end of the summer, she was holding classes one after another and had others teaching in the program with her. This was her first experience growing a business. But she didn’t stop there.
After college, Sublett worked in the tech industry. Underwood asked about her experience as a female in a heavily male-dominated field. She answered in honest ways saying she was never really worried about gender norms or restrictions, but saw that women were clearly not rising to executive positions as quickly or often as men. Sublett said, “But as I rose up through the ranks and became an executive, it became more apparent. And as the role models began to thin out, it certainly became more apparent.” She goes on to talk about how the feedback she received was often aimed at her wardrobe or behavior during conflict. At one point, she was even told she was “too ambitious.” After talking with other friends in her field that she could rely on, they confirmed the feedback was sexist in nature. Sublett told Underwood, “I called a couple peers that are what I refer to as my tell-you-how-it-is friends. People that would be brutally honest with me...Both of them were men. The first one said to me, ‘You know what, Carla, they would never say that to a dude.’ And the second one said to me, ‘You know what Carla, no one has ever said that to me, and I’m the most ambitious person I know.’ So it just kind of validated the fact that that was not appropriate feedback.”
After thinking over the feedback and her experience at her job at the time, Sublett decided the job wasn’t right for her anymore. While working her full time job and now after that job is done, Sublett works as the President of the Texas Conference for Women. According to the website, “The mission of the Conference for Women is to promote, communicate and amplify the influence of women in the workplace and beyond.” If the conference wasn’t already sold out, I’d be looking to attend. It takes place on Nov 9th.
When Sublett left her job in the tech field, she and her family went on a trip all over the world. She says, “Late in my career, what I realized was that while I definitely had the wellness part covered, what was completely, totally absent from my life was the spiritual. Late last year, I actually left Rackspace and made the conscious decision to take a year off to reconnect with my family and the things that matter most to me. Because what I realized is that in almost 20 years in tech, during the connected era, I was ironically becoming disconnected. I’ve been taking my kids around the world...And in a totally unplanned way, we ended up hitting all these different cultures during their holy weeks...I want to be careful to say that it’s actually not religion that we are seeking - it’s spirituality, it’s connection. I’ve called this period of our lives Finding Ubuntu...Ubuntu is a philosophy that Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela adhere to. It basically means humanity, and that we are all connected and compassioned.” You can read about their adventures in the blog she kept called, Finding Ubuntu.
Underwood asked Sublett what she learned from her travels and she answered beautifully saying, “That you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to find connection. You could do it in your very own backyard. And it doesn’t cost a dime.”
Last week, we talked about being involved by rekindling old friendships and being more involved with the community you’ve chosen to be part of. This week, let’s talk about how to choose the community you want to be part of through making friends - as adults.
Making friends is hard. For some, it was easy as kids, for others, it wasn’t. I was pretty good at it until about 4th grade when there was a lot of change in my life and cliqués were forming in my class. I started to get really scared of rejection. Fortunately, I was able to continue making friends all the way until present day but the pace of incoming new friendships slowed way down. Honestly, I was fine with that for the most part until I realized that the majority of my friends lived out of state and that became really hard.
Being afraid of rejection is something we all face as we age. Sometimes the fear starts early depending on our experiences and personal make up; other times it doesn’t seem to evolve at all. People are so different with this but typically the need is the same: having friends, real friends, is important to leading a healthy life.
Vanessa Van Edwards is a behavioral investigator and author who wrote this great blog post I want to share with you today. In it, she talks about dating your friends. Friendships are basically just romantic relationships with the romance taken out. The pattern is the same to get to know them and form the friendship. Let’s take a look at what she is talking about.
Step 1: Courtship
Think about what kind of friend you want. Do you have a specific activity you want to enjoy with a friend like attending a class or going to the gym? Do you remember a special childhood friendship that you want another friendship to mirror? Edwards suggests making a list of locations, networks, classes, groups, etc that you might meet this person at. Or if you already know someone who does these things that you would like to get to know, write them down!
Step 2: Flirting
Edwards says this step is the most important in making lasting friendships. She says we tend to either go too fast in developing the friendship or we simply just don’t pursue them. Flirting is what helps us gauge the speed at which to pursue the relationship and what kinds of things you can do together. She suggests three ways to “flirt” with a new friend:
Fun Tease - Try doing fun activities with your new potential friends. Go to a festival, concert, shopping, take a class with them. Try suggesting fun things to do and see how they respond.
Value Tease - Talk about the different or similar values you have. Go on a coffee date or grab a lunch and find out what’s going on in their life. As they talk, ask questions as to why they did or said something, dig a little deeper into what they are saying to draw out this kind of conversation. Be careful not to dig too deep and be sure to pull back if your new friend seems uncomfortable in any way. When you ask a question, be sure to answer it yourself so they don’t feel like they are being grilled. This is important, you don’t want your new friend to feel like they are in an interview!
Feeling Tease - This is really more introspective: how do they make you feel? Are you bored out of your mind or are you looking forward to seeing them again? Do you laugh together? Do you notice any other positive body language from them? You don’t want to pursue a friendship with someone you don’t feel comfortable with. Remember, you don’t owe your friendship to anyone so it’s ok to be picky!
Step 3: Wooing
Now you are ready to woo your new friend! This feels so funny talking about friendship this way. Edwards picked a really funny way to suggest asking friends “out” by using the traditional good luck adage for brides at weddings: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Something old - Do you have a favorite restaurant or café you like to visit? Does your friend talk about a favorite movie or band they enjoy? Take advantage of these old favorites to use as methods to hang out with your new friend. When one of you is comfortable, it will help ease the other to relax and enjoy the activity!
Something new - Is there something you have been wanting to try? A new food, book, store, movie, class? Invite your friend to join you! Or if your friend has a new thing they want to try, be adventurous and join them! This will for sure give you fun memories to call back to and opens up a whole new avenue of inside jokes that are fuel to a fun growing relationship.
Something borrowed - Offer something you love to your new friend. If they have been talking about trying a new recipe and you have a cookbook with it, loan it to them! Or if you talk about a band you want to listen to and they have the cd, if they offer it, borrow it! This will definitely help you learn more about each other and test the waters to see how responsible you both are. I have had friends who were awful with returning borrowed items but were so generous to loan items to me. Sometimes this doesn’t work but it certainly is worth a try!
Something blue - Here Edwards got a bit creative. She uses this to talk about being sad together. New friendships are often sealed when hard times happen. Talk with them about things going on in your life and listen when they express hardships of their own. Vulnerability is essential to any relationship so this will certainly help see if this is the right friend for you!
Step 4: Dating
If you’ve gone through any or all of the previous steps, you are at the part of seeing if this is simply a temporary or a lasting friend. She highlights that this is when you figure out if you are both good for each other. It’s possible for friendships to serve only one side and you certainly don’t want that. She suggests asking yourself three questions:
“Could you be locked in an elevator with this person?”
“Are they genuinely happy for you when something good happens to you?”
“Do you truly want the best for them, even if it isn’t convenient for you both?”
Keep your eyes and ears open for any toxic behaviors: lies, judgy comments, controlling attitudes, basically anything that raises a red flag for you. If this starts happening, this no longer needs your time. You don’t need that kind of negative thing in your life!
Step 5: Love
It’s happened. The friendship is real! Keep investing in your friendship through time, chats, encouragement, healthy challenges, and care. It’s amazing how long it can feel to develop a good friendship but they are certainly worth it. I wouldn’t be making this podcast for you without the support of several good friends who give me advice, encouragement, articles, and love!
Now that we’ve talked about making friends, I’ve got yet another list of how to build professional relationships to help further your career. Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone,” grew up as “a poor kid in Pittsburg” and learned how to pull himself out of poverty - through the power of connections and relationships. I personally find networking a trying experience as I feel like I’m only talking to people for personal gain, and that feels just awful to me. If I can follow Ferrazzi’s advice and learn to approach people from both a personal and professional stance, not just one or the other, I bet I can grow in this area much more too. NBC’s Better has a great short video showcasing the 4 steps Ferrazzi talks through which he calls the “Relationship Action Plan.” Now on to the four steps:
Step 1: Define your purpose with focus and clarity
Figuring out what you want to accomplish or do is often the hardest piece of this puzzle. Take the time to find your motivations, figure out what will help you feel satisfied and fulfilled. You can even begin your connecting with others here by talking with those who do things that interest you. Find out what drives them, what reason they have for getting into what they do and see if there are similarities to your own motivations or if you learn anything that might turn you off to this goal. This will help you form the clarity you need.
Step 2: Write down the names of people who can help you
Make sure you think through where you need to look for people who can help you. Maybe it’s a teacher, a mentor, a past coworker, or a friend of a friend. But as Ferrazzi says, you may not even know these people yet! Keep an open mind and a continuous growing list of people you would like to connect with. As you meet people, write their names down! I need to be better about cataloging who I meet, where we met, and what we discussed.
Step 3: Connect with connectors
Go to networking events in the field you are interested in. Attend conferences, make coffee dates with people who have succeeded where you want to grow or know people you need to meet. Ferrazzi even suggests talking to people you wouldn’t normally consider like a neighbor or someone you meet in everyday activities.
Step 4: Reach out to be of service
The biggest piece of advice I found important here was making sure you reach out to people with the mindset of service, not gain. People can always tell if someone is talking to them for a “transaction” as Ferrazzi puts it, they think the person will give them something, rather than looking for a partnership to move forward. Don’t expect handouts, don’t expect instant success. Offer to help on projects or think of ways you can benefit the person you are trying to connect with. This is a gradual and constant area of growth, you will be working on this everyday and that’s exciting!
Another thing Ferrazzi says is you need to build the relationships before you need them. If you are only looking to be friends with someone because they are successful, then you probably won’t be able to work with them as much. But if you look around you and build strong relationships with people who are at the same starting or growing point as you, then you can work together to grow more! It’s a fun networking world at there, go ahead and jump in!
If you want to watch some videos of Ferrazzi talking about the Relationship Action Plan, check out these two videos:
Keith Ferrazzi on How to become a #1 New York Times Best Selling Author with Lewis Holmes
TED University - Building Critical Relationships || Keith Ferrazzi through TED Talks
Space has been in the news a lot lately and for really cool reasons! On Oct 3rd of this year, the Mascot Lander landed on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu for research. The Mascot Lander is the German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout made to land on asteroid surfaces . Now, the Mascot Lander has already passed on, the lithium-ion battery was only made to last 16 hours, but the little guy trucked on for 17 hours! It sent back some really cool pictures of this asteroid that they tweeted out on the Twitter account @MASCOT2018. Go check out those pictures, they are really beautiful.
I love that the scientists working on cool projects like this are creating Twitter accounts for their machines to show us what they are doing in real time. I hope we get see more of these space characters on Twitter in the future!
In episode 2 of this podcast, Medicine and the Environment, I told you about John & Hank Green, creators of Crash Course, vlogbrothers, VidCon, and the podcast Dear Hank and John. Earlier last week on Oct 7th, John Green was interviewed on 60 Minutes discussing his books, life with OCD, and Nerdfighteria. Listening to John on the program felt so similar to listening to the podcast in that he is very real the whole time.
I encourage you to watch the videos they have on the 60 Minutes website of his interview. The love John has for his audience and the people in his life is so apparent throughout the interview. What I found particularly interesting was the interviewer being interviewed by someone else from 60 Minutes because you could tell he was quite struck by Green and the way he conducted himself. Watching someone I’ve admired and appreciated for so long be honored in such a way was quite special. John’s newest book, Turtles All the Way Down, discusses his own struggles with OCD and anxiety through a character named Aza. Now I haven’t read this yet but plan to do so. I’ve loved so much of what John and Hank have done that I can’t not read the book.
The biggest thing that John and Hank have done for young adults, and frankly for adults as well, is spread their famous catchphrase, “Don’t Forget to be Awesome.” The only thing we can truly do best in our lives is be ourselves, so take this phrase to heart. Being you is being awesome. So Don’t Forget to be Awesome.
Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to me! I’ve got an email, firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me @joybingepodcast. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!
The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!