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Posts tagged "Rainier Valley"

Article in Nepali newspapers ‘Republica’ & Kathmandu Post about our Emmy Nominated video

Posted by Leonard on May, 18, 2010

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KBCS’s Voices of Diversity Program this Wed. to focus on Seattle’s Bhutanese Refugee Community

Posted by Leonard on April, 5, 2010

This week I’ll be a guest together with the Rizal family on KBCS’s program Voices of Diversity. The Rizal’s are the Bhutanese Refugee family featured in the story I did last year for the Seattle Channel that told the story of their journey from a refugee camp in SE Nepal to Seattle’s Rainier Valley. Living in the camp for 18 years after being forced out of Bhutan, the UN and various countries recently moved to resettle the community of 110,000 to new countries, the vast majority coming to areas scattered across the United States. Khem is one of 4 brothers that I originally met when driving down Rainier Avenue one afternoon in the late summer of 2008, recognizing them by their Nepali hats (I speak somewhat fluent Nepali after having lived there for a year and a half spread out over 15 years). A year and half later we have become friends and I’ve remained connected to their community, helping to connect them with resources and jobs, and taking groups on occasional walks to Seward Park. Khem and his brother Krishna celebrated election night 2008 at our house with friends, and I was fortunate enough to witness he and his brother Mani’s wedding celebration to 2 sisters recently. Right now the thing their steadily growing community needs are jobs. They are lovely people who need opportunities. If you have any work or leads, please get in touch with me. Listen to the archived radio program here.

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New Youth & Families Initiative video linked to on NYT

Posted by Leonard on April, 2, 2010

On Friday, the New York Times ran this article about the city of Seattle and what kind of place it is for raising children.  In the article was a link to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s new Youth & Families Initiative, which I just happened to have finished the video for earlier in the week. Our initial plan was to wait til next week to roll it out, but with the link and increased attention to the initiative, they decided to make the video live that day. It was an exciting synchronicity for me.  I was pleased with the way the piece turned out and felt like it really captured the energy in the room, and the broad spectrum of Seattleites who were participating in the conversation.  I felt like NYT readers or visitors to the Youth and Families website could get a real sense of what the actually took place at initiative events , and that ideally they’d be moved to get involved in helping to make Seattle a healthier, more equitable community.

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Filming a Goat Giving Birth & Appreciating the Beauty of Life

Posted by Leonard on March, 26, 2010

Every once in a while you experience something that makes you really appreciate the beauty of life. I try to produce media that brings that richness to the world with my videos as much as possible. Not just the beauty though, also the pain, truth, wonder, freakyness, and joy. Based on the feedback I get from people around the world on my YouTube channel, I’m doing a pretty good job. This video is no exception.

Earlier this week I had the blessing to be present and able to film my friend’s goat giving birth. I’ve been working on a longer documentary about them and their adventures raising farm animals in the middle of Seattle, and we were building toward this moment for months. A while back they’d taken their 2 female goats to a farm for “buck service”, where they leave them there for a few days with a horny male goat, and when they come back, they are supposed to be pregnant. So my friend’s kept a small rag with the male goat’s scent on it in a plastic zip lock bag to take out when they thought the girls were in heat. If they reacted a certain way, they were definitely in heat and it was time to head for the farm and get busy.

As time passed their bodies grew and they were clearly pregnant. The golden 145-155 days of gestation approached and I was on alert for a phone call that could come at any time, to race down to their place about 1.5 miles from my house to try and catch the moment on film. There were certain signs that were supposed to tip one off to entering into a 12 hour window when they could expect the birth; a stiff upright tail, a certain mucous that would appear, licking patterns, and adjustments in the shape of their bloated bellies. And one afternoon while I was filming some interviews about their emotions approaching the birth, what they’d learned from the vet, other goat owners, and online resources about what to expect, in the middle of talking my friend Catherine realizes that Fern was showing all of the signs that she was in the middle of talking about. And at that moment, we assumed we were within the 12 hour window. The only problem was, that despite months of waiting and planning, I was supposed to be leaving town the next morning and might be unable to be present to film. The hope was that it would happen in the middle of the night, with time to film and still get out on time.

The morning came and went and no goat babies. I left town disappointed with the assumption that I’d be gone for the big day. Half way through the week, Sukie, Fern’s sister gave birth to 3 “kids” and the fear and expectation was that Fern would also go into labor while I was gone. Well good old Fernie held out for me and waited til I was back in town. I got back 6 days later at 11 PM. That night Catherine called to say she thought she was on the verge and to expect the call. The next morning at 7, I got the call to come now. It was a rainy and gray and cold morning. By the time I got there, one kid had already been born. Moments later 2 more arrived.

I was so impressed and in awe of how beautifully and smoothly she and Justin handled the whole thing. While Fern did all the work, as soon as the babies emerged Justin and Catherine were right in there with the receiving, preliminary support and desliming. By watching this vid, you’d never know that the first goat had given birth at night when the farmers were asleep and that this was their first time ever doing this. They handled it like pros. An amazing morning, totally incredible and powerful in a way few things can be. Stay tuned for the longer piece coming soon. Enjoy. For more info about urban goat raising, check out the Goat Justice League.

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