A Child’s-Eye View of Favela Life

The video below is a bit long (almost 31 minutes) and is a little silly, but it shows life in a Brazilian favela from the point of view of some of its youngest residents. I’m not sure how the kids were instructed on what type of information to provide, but they go into amusing detail at times describing doors and guitars and so forth. The point is, these are normal kids with hopes and dreams who in a few years will already be adults trying to deal with the world.

//player.vimeo.com/video/10957983 From the children in Nova Holanda to the world! from Global Video Letters on Vimeo.

Book Review: Smallworld

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ignequil-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B004GNFMLO&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrWhen I discovered my new Android phone has a Kindle app, I knew I’d made the right choice in getting away from Blackberry. One of the first books I downloaded (for free, even!) was Dominic Green’s “Smallworld,” and it’s turned out to be the first book I read through completely on my phone.

This book tells the story, in episodic chapters, of Mount Ararat. This is an asteroid circling a red star that, due to its super-dense core, supports an earth-like gravity (about half earth gravity, I believe) and holds an atmosphere. The inhabitants (at the story’s beginning, at least) are the survivors of an attempt at colonization plus an eccentric hermit. A mini-agrarian society, they have odd religious names, “Reborn-in-Jesus” being the predominant surname.

Though I’ve seen some reviews where readers were put off by the format of this book and its apparent lack of a single driving storyline, I thought it made perfect sense. It was like a rather twisted version of Little House On The Prairie set on an astral body smaller than a planetoid. 

Had this not been a free book for the Kindle, it would have been worthwhile in paperback for a few dollars as well.  If you have a Kindle or a Kindle app and enjoy science fiction, download a copy of Smallworld. I think you’ll like it.

See Also:
From a Blackberry Curve to a Samsung Replenish
My Seven “Must Have” Android Apps (So Far!)

My Seven “Must Have” Android Apps (So Far!)

As I mentioned recently here on this blog, I have upgraded from a Blackberry to an Android-powered Samsung Replenish. The difference feels almost as great as when I upgraded from a flip-phone to a Blackberry. Increased functionality, connectivity with wifi (something my old Blackberry lacked) and THE APPS…let’s talk about the apps. Specifically, my seven favorites.

Neither Facebook nor Twitter apps are mentioned here. What I have now works just as well as what I had on my Blackberry, and should go without saying. The seven I’ll now list work better than on my old device, or simply weren’t available for it.

Amazon Kindle – I couldn’t believe it when I saw this in the list of available apps, and it seemed too good to be true when I started downloading books for the app. Some folks might not like the screen size, but I’m good with it. I’m already almost through my first book on this device, a free science fiction book entitled “Smallworld.” So many free books are available through Amazon.com that I’ve stopped carrying my messenger bag with me to work most days. Why lug dead trees around?

Angry Birds – I’d been hearing about this game for quite a while and played it on an iPad at an Apple store, but only on my Android phone did I get a chance to really enjoy it. I’m not a game fanatic and don’t tend to get addicted to games, but this is one that really helps pass the time.

YouVersion – This is an app I had on my Blackberry, but wasn’t able to download and keep local copies of Bible versions with it. This made it useless on my commute underground via train to work in Manhattan. Now I have a few different Bible versions handy at all times, signal or no signal. I’m especially enjoying the new Common English Bible that comes complete with the Old Testament Apocrypha.

Evernote – Another app that I had on my Blackberry, Evernote just works better and faster on my Replenish. I can take notes, create new notebooks and manage information better than before.

NPR News – It used to be that I had to use a little mp3 player to listen to NPR news on the way to the train station. Now I have it on my phone. No more juggling devices.

Pandora – This app was available on my Blackberry but kept locking up all of the time. It wasn’t very useful. Now I have a good assortment of music anywhere I have signal.

YouTube – On my Blackberry it was nearly impossible to watch YouTube videos. On my Android phone with this app I can catch up on my video subscriptions.

If you have an Android device and have a favorite app that isn’t listed above, what is it and why do you like it? Tell me in the comments.

See Also:
From a Blackberry Curve to a Samsung Replenish

Maryknoll: Good News for the Poor

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Luke 4:18-19 CEB

Every year on Vocations Sunday at the Catholic parish I grew up attending a guest priest, almost always a missionary, would give the homily. One year in my early teens a missionary priest to Peru really caught my attention. In recent years I’ve observed a strong, generally new interest among evangelicals in a fuller approach to missions that involves really taking Good News to the poor. Although some of the evangelical organizations involved in this work have been around for a while, “social gospel” work was — for the most part — eschewed and left to the “liberal” mainline Protestants. The evangelicals were too busy saving souls to be bothered with the issues of poverty and inequality. Things are definitely changing (check out my review of The Hole in Our Gospel), but I can’t help feeling that evangelicals in general are a bit “johnny-come-lately” to this area. Better late than never, I guess.

One group (divided in three parts) from within the Roman Catholic Church that really exemplifies an emphasis on holistic mission is Maryknoll. Check out the inspiring video below for more on their work, at least with regard to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

The fellowship of churches of which I am part has HOPE worldwide as an outreach organization seeking to minister to the poor. If you are part of a church family, how does your denomination approach this issue? Anything similar to Maryknoll, HOPE worldwide, Compassion International or World Vision?

See Also:
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
Maryknoll Sisters
Maryknoll Lay Missioners