By Megan Wong
Through the Agency of Volunteer Service of Hong Kong, I delivered hot meals and necessities to impoverished families around Tsuen Wan, a market town on the outskirts. As I entered each of the homes, I was stunned. On each floor of the buildings where the families lived was a conventional flat; however, the original flat was divided into five more units, each no more than a hundred square feet in area. In front of me, I saw families living an overcrowded yet isolated existence, sparking within me disbelief and outrage. It was difficult to believe I was still in Hong Kong; how could Asia’s “World City” blatantly ignore the vital needs of its citizens.
In a prominent international finance hub, 25% of the city’s population still lives below the poverty line. Hong Kong’s tug of war game between wealth and poverty is insidious and is symbolic of my hometown in its truest form. While walking around the city, constant reminders of poverty bombarded me wherever I wandered, be it a woman digging through the garbage for a meal, or a man kneeling on the sidewalk, begging for money.
Continue reading Volunteering Abroad
By Minah Ha
On March 12, 2017, everyone will be turning their clock one hour forward. For those living on the east coast, daylight savings or “spring forward” is announcing the coming of spring. But for Californians, daylight savings is dreaded and people often report feeling more groggy than usual. From coast to coast, the thoughts on daylight savings is pretty divided!
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By Layla Zomorod
The Airbnb was booked and my friends and I were set to spend two days in Joshua Tree National Park. I was mistakenly under the impression that Joshua Tree equated to a smaller-scale Yosemite, and prepared for hiking trails that met cascading waterfalls to the backdrop of evergreen trees and whiffs of pine needles. I hoped to take a nap on a bed of moss or dip my toes in a flowing river; a sweet ending to my summer. Little did I know, I was heading to the extreme opposite. In actuality, I was walking into an endless desert, littered with sparse shrubs and various types of cacti. Despite an underwhelming sense of disappointment that this was not the picturesque nature I had envisioned, I was on this trip with ten of my favorite people, so I gave Joshua Tree a chance. The house itself was an architectural labyrinth, built by a rock climber in the 2000’s. Slate walls and strategically placed geometric windows filtered natural light and balanced the Mojave themed furniture. Shoes in the house were recommended by our Airbnb hosts because cactus pricks tend to trail in and fire ants posed painful surprises. A shower with a sliding door to a balcony, a newly fastened ring of hammocks in the front yard, a working record player, and spiraling staircases; turns out, exploring the house was half the fun and certainly a modern oasis in this dust bowl of a national park.
Naturally, we began to cook a truly continental breakfast to the blaring tunes of our favorite 90’s hip hop jams. A platter of avocado toast sprinkled with radishes and sunny side up eggs hit the table alongside roasted Potatoes O’Brien and turkey bacon. We feasted and exchanged antics, I would safely say we made King Arthur’s round table jealous.
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