Poem and Reflection by Jazzy Brown, Graduate of Soka University of America


We sit beneath the Ceibo tree
where stories are born between each breath
each inhale and exhale the beginning of a tale
It is the first stroke of the brush painting an image
put into motion threaded together by the strings of time
drawing lines of cultures and peoples and histories
and their stories into the land where
we sit beneath the ceibo tree

Whether I’m sitting across the table from Daniel at a small Café in Quito or on the floor of a university café in Southern California, I know I can expect one thing: stories. However, Daniels most recent visit to Soka University of America went above and beyond that expectation. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was an evening of transcendence as Daniel’s presence brought the spirit of Ecuador, his stories carried within them the stories of Amazonian communities, and his voice expressed his passion for storytelling and the work he and Pachaysana are performing in the Amazon. The handful of SUA students that attended the lecture not only got to hear about the issues regarding development in the Amazon rainforest and the work of Pachaysana, but we also had the opportunity to actively experience the collaboration between theater, storytelling, and social issues by participating in the same activities that Daniel facilitates in the communities that he works with. Many of the exercises could not have been done unless we silenced our voices, yet by silencing the voice I was able to consciously listen to the lessons, messages and perspectives behind words like ‘tree’ to words such as ‘globalization.’ Words that once seemed so simple became complex and the words that we view as complex became even more complex. After each activity, we were able to reflect, break down, and express our thoughts in an open dialogue and connect this experience to our daily lives as students and members of a global community. The evening began and ended with about 30 students and faculty members of Soka University of America sitting in the university café feeling the spirit of Ecuador in our hearts and with the passion to be a part of change. 

© 2014 by The Pachaysana Institute. 

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