Saint Sara, protecting of the nomads

Saintes Maries de la Mer, a nice town in the Camargue (southern France), colors of nomadic music and dances every May in honor of the saint of the travelers, Saint Sara. Rom, Sinti, Gitanos and Manouches arrive from all Europe, with their guitars and violins in order to render homage to their protecting, acting a ceremony always in balance between sacred and profane. The 24 of May, the statue of Saint Sara is advanced towards the sea, by the nomadic people. The statue of the saint is preceded by horsemen, musicians and a car with loudspeaker that diffuses the history of the persecutions against the Rom people, from nazism to social neglection. As soon as it arrives on the beach, a crowd of persons follows it in the water, singing “Vive Saint Sara!”. The ceremony that follows the religious celebration continues until latest night and involves anyone.

An unforgettable occasion in order to enter in contact with an extraordinary culture, often ignored because of the mutual distrust.

Chomolungma, travel towards the sky

Chomolungma means “mother goddess of the earth”, in Tibetan. It is the original name of the highest and most spectacular mountain of the world: the Everest (as it is known in the western world).

An article on the review montagnard documents the recently started travel of Lorenzo Gariano, a mountain climber who has chosen an alternative way to approach the roof of the world. A nomadic travel will carry him to tightened contact with people of the Tibetan and Nepalese valleys that develop around the Chomolungma, chasing the rhythm of the encounters and the sharing: catching up the summit of the giant will become therefore a deep travel in the spirit of the Himalayas and its caretakers.

Antimalarials: bioengineering for everyone

Artemisinin, today considered the main antimalarial drug, could be produced at low cost by creating genetically modified yeast. Numerous research chasing the dream of making such microorganisms capable of producing acid artemisinic, precursor of the active ingredient of the drug. The greatest successes have been achieved during experiments conducted bioengineering at the University of California (source: Nature).

Malaria kills more than a million people a year, mostly children; the most affected areas are in Africa, regions such as sub-Saharan Africa that have limited availability of resources for prevention and cure. The drug now considered more effective especially against strains resistant to other therapies is that artemisinin is extracted from Artemisia annua, a plant known since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Being a rare plant, the drug which it is produced is very expensive. The solution could come from bioengineering: Researchers have genetically modified the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, inserting its DNA two genes of Artemisia annua. This makes the yeast capable of producing acid artemisinic, precursor of the active ingredient of the drug, obtainable at this point chemically synthesized by the acid. We will be able to make available this progress of bioengineering to all who need it in the world?

Bolivia, the rebel (and indigenous)

Thinking about the last week’s news coming from Bolivia (nationalization of the energetic resources), I was placing in doubt the ability of the Bolivians (and in general of Latin Americans) to positively take advantage of this opportunity, in order to involve in this process the indigenous movements. An article published on Selvas.org highlights this same issue, indicating the active participation of the movements as the fundamental step to assure that the political decisions could be built on sustainable and environmental friendly basis.

Latin america and child labour

Child labour, especially in its worst forms, is in decline for the first time across the globe, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said, in a new, cautiously optimistic report.

According to the report, Latin America and the Caribbean have seen the most rapid decline in child labour over the four-year period. The number of children at work in the region has fallen by two-thirds during that time, with just 5 per cent of children now engaged in work. The report presents Brazil as an example to illustrate how countries can move forward in tackling child labour. Another country with significant decline in child labour is Mexico. As half of the children in Latin America live in either Mexico or Brazil, these reductions are very important in order to show this way is the right one for all the other countries in Latin America and all over the world.

Time bank in Santiago de Chile

In Santiago de Chile operates a time bank. Unlike a traditional bank, here is not worth the moneyand, what customers have in their accounts are favors and services. Plumbing, electrical, fashion, makeup, food, guitar lessons, animation or nursing are some of the services that can be exchanged by the residents of the neighborhoods in which the bank operates. According to the proponents of this initiative, the goal is to promote solidarity and citizens’ participation. Six times a month Flora cuts the hair of some of his neighbors. Doing so builds up the time that is repaid off ​​with other favors from his neighbors, experts in other activities. People are paid with a check of the time bank as soon as they perform a favor. The time bank operates within the dynamics of the neighborhood and neighbors are those who administer it. The community participates because it understands that the bank of time is an effective way to improve the quality of life of the community in which the bank grows. In the time bank are fully applied the principles of equality and all work performed by residents of the neighborhood are considered as the same.
The Bank seeks to replace the individualism with cooperation in which what counts is the ability of people, not the time itself or money.

Santiago is named after St. James the Apostle, patron of the city. Born in Bethsaida, was the brother of John the Evangelist and son of Zebedee and Salome. He was with Jesus in the Garden of Olives, and distinguished himself, along with John, for his animosity.