World InfoZone - WIZ Around The World
Tuesday 18th June
Hi from the USA

Hi from the USA

Email from FLORIDA (September 16 2004)

It has been very rough here. We were hit by a category 3 hurricane that took our power for 10 days and there are still several thousand people without electricity and the hurricane was on the 3rd. Our home was damaged but not unlivable by the grace of God. We are just trying to clean up the aftermath and resume our lives as normal as possible. My daughter's school just opened up again yesterday after almost two weeks of closing due to the hurricane. It was definitely a force to be reckoned with. I have never experienced anything like it in my whole life. It was very fearful to watch the wind rip trees that are 30 or 40 years old out of the ground like they were toys. But we are fine.

Email from CHICAGO

We have no school on the 11th (October) for Columbus Day. It will be good to get a long weekend. Sometimes I think these are needed during the year as much as the longer week or two week breaks.

Spanish in US schools - TEXAS

Here in America, English is important but many of us speak Spanish. Our parents and grandparents came from Central and South America and Spanish is still spoken in our homes. If you want a good job - the best job - here in America, whether it is as a school principal or secretary, you have to speak Spanish. ... So even though English is the main language in America now, in 20 years we expect that English and Spanish will have equal importance.

Email from City Youth Project, Brooklyn, NEW YORK

... We are receiving quite an education from you and some clarity on holidays that we did not understand previously. In New York, we are aware of some of the Jewish holidays and many of us live in neighborhoods where there is a heavy population of Jewish families. We would see some of the customs that you spoke of demonstrated, but never understood why they were doing what they did.

... Extract from Holidays in USA (New Year's Eve): In New York City, there is a tradition at Times Square where literally thousands of people come to watch the ball drop. There is a large glass, lighted ball that is positioned at the top of the tower. At 11:59pm - the 50th second, the ball begins to descend the tower. It takes 10 seconds. At the 10th second, it is now 12:00am - New Year's Day! Everyone screams "Happy New Year" and they sing a song called Auld Lang Syne (a traditional Scottish song).

Newspaper interview with Pam from TEXAS: Internment in Arkansas

When Pam Eason closes her eyes and remembers her childhood playground, this is what she sees: a cracked airstrip, abandoned army jeeps, dilapidated Quonset huts and a brick watchtower.

From October 1942 to June 1944, part of the farm where Eason and her family lived was a Japanese internment camp. The U.S. government held captive 8,497 Japanese-American men, women and children there, claiming their Japanese heritage posed a threat to national security.

After the war, Eason's family purchased the Jerome camp and turned part of it into farmland. On a few occasions, camp survivors would knock on their door and ask to wander through the grounds. Her family would invite them in for dinner and listen to their stories.

"It shocked me that this part of history was missing," says Eason, now a fifth-grade teacher in Irving, Texas. "I want the spotlight on it, and I want the spotlight to keep growing, so that no American has their rights taken away without a voice."

"I encourage students to vote and pay attention to current events, because if we don't pay attention, bad stuff can happen," she says.

"I talk with them about tolerance and what it means. I want them to know that for everything we do to other people, there is a reaction." (Carrie Kilman, Dallas Morning News)

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