by Mandy Jiang
About ED Raw
Easington District Respite Activity and Well-Being (ED RAW), the community project that Sasha, Stephanie and I have been working with is a project dedicated to providing support and inclusion for vulnerable and isolated residents of Easington District.
Built around County Durham, Easington Colliery was a former coal mining town that was pretty thriving during the time when mining industry grew rapidly in England. However, since the decline of the mining industry and with the closure of the last pit in 1993, Easington District has been experiencing a significant economic downturn. People lost their jobs and left their families. The once united community gradually turns into a broken one and no longer prides itself in its strong community spirit. ED Raw therefore works to revitalize the physical and mental well-being of the community and tries to promote the area’s education, health and sense of inclusion. It manages to achieve its goal through programs such as Mentoring Programs and Recovery from Addiction Program and through holding free community activities. Though still an extremely young organization, ED Raw has a huge vision and determined faith towards the future. It genuinely believes that with the right support and guidance from the community, individuals can recover and come to be useful and valuable social members again.
For more than three weeks, Sasha, Stephanie and I have been working together on a huge community family picnic planned by Easington District Raw. (Our job about the picnic mostly was to design flyers and invitation letters and contact with companies/shops/clubs/restaurants/hotels around County Durham for free raffle prizes)
The community picnic is designed with the theme of inclusion and mental/physical health. ED Raw hopes that through providing a recreation and fun day for all families living in this area, community spirit can be strengthened.
On Friday, 26th of July, the huge day finally came!
More than 500 folks (Honestly, we didn’t expect this many people to come) joined in this big community picnic and participated in a variety of activities including children’s games, raffles and dance party during the picnic.
—- some random thoughts about our travels to various sites in and around Durham:
If my life is dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dimension of the request as travels, no matter it is the trip to a foreign country or just a simple walk around. They express, though not always applicable, an understanding of what my life might be about, outside of the constraints of my study and of the occasional uncertainty of my identity. I have been to many places, more than 10 countries I dare say. Travel has already been a part of my life.
But every time when I am going on a trip, I keep thinking of one question: what exactly is the art of travel? It is such a cliché to say that everyone has his/her art of travel, although that is often the case. For many travelers I have encountered (including myself sometimes), having a travel only means taking a tour in some places, for the purpose of egoism–or simply put, vanity— rather than the enjoy of the real beauty of the geography or history and culture of the scenery. Nobody cares about that, right? The most important thing is that they want others to know that they have been to the places. A picture is enough to tell everything, isn’t it?
The three weeks’ trip in Durham told me one lesson: I can hardly enjoy my trip unless first, I set up no anticipation because the reality and anticipation is primarily different. Secondly give up my ego. I felt most enjoyable whenever surprises came. Un-expectation, however tragic, comic, heroic or bizarre or surprising it is always gave me the best experiences. On the contrary, on days when I built a too powerful ego or self-consciousness, I always failed to have genuine delight. In essence, egoist. All egoistic travelers share the common: shooting pictures of themselves is more than anything else, or that’s everything, fond of boosting themselves. In effect, how good they are.