THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
AFTER THE STORM
Tracing the history of Haiti, we want to reach out to you and show you that beauty can exist after destruction
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Viktor Ene
26 November 2019
There is a saying that goes like this - flowers grow stronger the more you 'water' them with your words. This applies to many things in life and it is a beautiful metaphor. It is something that came to mind when thinking about Haiti and what it has survived. It is a reminder that things can evolve to be stronger, more positive and there is a lot to be learned from that. Haiti is a country with a lot of potential. We have written about it before, exploring what makes it so unique - from its rebellious past, to the nation's bravery and their modern creativity that sculptures the outlook of the Caribbean pearl.
But beneath the surface, there is a lot more to be seen.
As much as mother nature has given to the land, it has also taken a lot. The natural disasters that have occurred marked the territory of the land and Haiti cannot quite recover yet. The earthquake from 2010 is still a fresh portray of how tender things can be. The monstrous catastrophe had traumatic consequences. With 7.0 Mw, the calamity affected 3 million people and the earthquake left a mark that can still be traced. The tsunami, one of the biggest ones happened in 2004, and other natural cataclysms have changed the demographically scene majorly. Humanity and nature co-exist, although not always in harmony and Haiti is sadly an example of this.
Beyond doubt, beautiful Haiti suits its name's origin a lot. In translation from Taíno language, 'Haiti' literally means 'mountainous country'. It is an aboriginal word that seems to collect all that the country is. The landscapes are as much breath taking as they are challenging. Some views are worth climbing for, but there are areas that cannot be reached by vehicles, some places can only be reached on foot. And although buses are the best way of transport and we can guarantee that it is the best way to see a lot in shorter amount of time, there is rawness to the land that seems to be very Caribbean. Even the nature disasters contribute to this. But when we put the beaches and sacred temples aside, not much else seems to attract people's interest.
NOMADSofORIGIN inspires travellers to explore places through the charm of them as a homeland. Our philosophy is to turn the perceptions of travelling and make all our nomads be culturally aware and curious about places. This article, however, is different, because as much as we want to make you see Haiti for what it really represents, we also want to invite you to participate in something that can have a positive global impact. This time, we speak to you in a sense of tempting you to be tourists in the purest way possible.
Because of the difficulties that the Caribbean has faced and how heavily involved Haiti was in all of it, the country can use all the help it can get. Tourism can benefit the land majorly and although there have been a lot of concerns raised about the safety of it, many experienced travellers and writers document through their journeys that Haiti is not what it seems at first and safety is not a big issue. Poverty, on the other hand, is.
About 58.6% of the people are living in poverty. Haiti is estimated to be the third largest Caribbean country, yet the complex of the current economic situation hides in the simple things. Poverty can be helped and eventually prevented, but the government struggles to supply enough resources. Attracting people, who are interested in the landscape and the impressive history of the land can build the future of the country.
There is a lot wonder that can be explored. The beached are an obvious choice, but it has not been called the 'land of mountains' without a reason. The raw conditions are perfect for adventurers, who are eager to explore. Hiking in Haiti can be an unforgettable experience, but make sure to stay safe if you do it as a lot of the paths have not been traced before. We recommend visiting Saut-d'Eau, one of the most famous waterfalls. If you want to experience the best of it, plan going there in July as it is the best month to see this nature phenomenon. The pools of Bassins Bleu are for the water lovers. Peaceful and very visually pleasing, they have a piece of Haiti that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. The caves of Grotte Marie-Jeanne are magnificent and a must-see destination.
Visitors can make traditional kasav flatbread or paint papier-mâché with kids, who are at risk and are being taken care for by the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which currently works with about a hundred children to provide creative education for them. Those activities are included in some of the city-tours and the money that the tourist spend are being directly invested into supporting and strengthening the local economies.
Haitians are the largest creole-speaking community and are known for their kindness. They are welcoming visitors with open arms and are proud to share their history, the same way they were proud to create it and free themselves from the French control. Their colourful culture traces each sidewalk, each street. Outside of the Cap-Haïtien city there are barrels full of sugar syrup sat by the side of the road, reflecting the traditions, kept through generations. Rum is still made and distilled the same way that people have done it for centuries. It is a land of cultural development and warmth that can't be easily compared to anything else. It is a country so strong; it survives every storm and people manage to stand back on their feet. Just like flowers, they keep developing and growing. The more the nature tries to teach them complicated lessons, the more they learn from them and try to exist with it in more harmony than before.
You can read more about what makes Haiti unique from our previous articles, or you can simply see it for yourself. Pack your bags, plan your next adventure and hopefully it will take you the peak of the Caribbean mountain treasure - Haiti is waiting for you.