Now What! Is what my brain keeps asking myself. I spent June 26 through July 5, in China with 500 American Educators. The trip was both fast paced and a good and valuable experience. Then I spent July24-31, on a concert tour, with 60 junior high and high school age teenagers, from Beijing Fengtai Number 2 High School’s Band. This was both a positive experience, as well as a “relearning” experience. But now that these two events are behind me, I am feeling isolated, and not certain what the future will bring.
I need to explain some things, before going on. In February 2002, I was laid off from my job at Dun & Bradstreet, as an Analyst/business Information Consultant. That was the happiest day of my life. I disliked the job, but I enjoyed the people I worked with. I planned on leaving that year, and my being laid-off, was the best thing that could have happened. That day, I went to the attorneys’ office and filed the paperwork to incorporate, Chinese American Music And Cultural Exchange Inc, (CAMACE) as a non profit organization. This was a yearlong dream, come true. Over the next several days, I sent a letter to a school in China, inviting them to come to the United States, and do a concert tour, while living with host families. The school accepted my invitation, and in August 2002, 108 students and faculty members from Beijing Fengtai Number 2 High School stepped off a plane in LA, and became the first band from China to do a concert tour in the United States. They did concerts and stayed with host families in Flagstaff, Tucson and Glendale, and gave a concert at Disneyland. It was the greatest experience of my life.
I ended up using all of my savings, and inheritance, to pull this dream off. Moreover, I would do it again.
But when I came back to Tucson, from the concert tour, I went into a deep and dark depression, that would last until 2006. My dream seamed to be over, I no longer had the money that was intended to start-up CAMACE, until funding could be found. I had a board of directors that, while they were and are my friends, had no concern or interest in the organization. Everyplace I turned, rejection, was my only support. Tucson loves the arts, and they love youth programs, but government funding is mandatory, otherwise you are not doing it properly. CAMACE was founded on the principal that it operates without support from the government, and therefore benefits the community and society at a higher level, and in more substantive ways.
I ended up working as a cab driver, so that I could continue working on my dream of CAMACE, and dreaming of the day I could save the meager $500 filling fee to the IRS, so that CAMACE could obtain its 501(c)(3) status. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months and then years. During this period, I lost everything, except the dream (fantasy) of CAMACE, and depression. I held on to those for (fools)comfort.
In 2004, the fantasy gave me a short wink, to keep my attention on it. In February 2004, 30 students and faculty members from Beijing Fengtai Experimental School did a concert tour to the United States. The Chinese Ambassador to the United States, and the Minister of Education came to a school in the LA area, to listen to the Traditional Chinese Music Band perform, but also specifically to meet me, and to thank me for what I was doing. Back in Tucson, I was a cab driver, living a depressed life, in its fullest glory. Shortly after coming back to Tucson, I lost my apartment, and possessions. So I continued the struggle, and the depression, held on to me, as I clung to my dream. SWISH!
Towards the later part of 2005, the Village, had enough of my disobedience to God, and Eric, Rod, & Jeff met with me to confront me. I went to Cope to see what they could do, and Rod went with me when I met with the psychiatrist, and I was placed on anti-depressive medication. I still believe that public social service agencies are evil, but I know that the medication helps, and with Rod’s meetings, I am getting better. I also know that the Village Community is important to me. As I uncover my fears of intimacy, this will become more evident to you.
I am currently working as an in-home care aid, which is giving me the opportunity to pay my bills, and work on my dream of CAMACE. I am supplementing my income, writing letters for Hope Education Foundation and PTS Travel. They like the fact that I can use “Business English” and make the letters sound both more professional and readable to the English-speaking world. Hope Education Foundation is the American educational and Cultural organization in the US, for the Chinese Government. I am also working on special project for HEF.
I have no idea, what will happen, in the next moment, or year. I have no idea if CAMACE will ever get off the ground. I am not going to worry about that. I need to get things accomplished today, that need to be done, and attended to, before tomorrow comes.
I need to pray more…often, and at a better or higher quality of prayer…the way God wants me to pray. I need to read the Bible more, and restart a daily bible study. I need to become more involved with others in the community. That is the hard one for me.
As far as CAMACE is concerned, there are things that I need to do to make it a reality. I need to file the paperwork with the IRS, by the middle of September. I need to find others that are interested in what we do, to be on the board, and take an active role as a director. I need to start writing grant applications for our programs, and gaining financial support, as well as people support. I want to bring a group of American Indians to China in 2007, and I want to bring a Chinese group to do a concert tour in the US. I need to work on getting band from the US to China, during the Olympics in Beijing during the summer 2008, and obtain sponsorships for these bands.
I am asking you, my community, to help me with my dream, and make it a reality. I need your prayers and support. Can you assist me in getting a board together that will take an active role in the organization? Maybe someone you know. Six degrees of separation.