Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Changes and Choices

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, 
letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. 
~Pauline R. Kezer ~

I am a little hesitant about continuing to post to this blog.  The One Candle Schoolhouse is no more, the two Bright Lights Community Learning Centers have ceased to be active, and even the Open Door Habilitation project has languished.  Without these projects, what is there to create posts for?  Is it appropriate to continue to use this site, for follow-ups, or should a new blog be created and linked, for those who would like to keep updated?

I really don't know...but events that are linked continue to occur that I would like to share, simple projects that continue to happen in the spirit of One Candle Schoolhouse, so I will randomly post them here and hope to sort it all out later....

To begin, after almost twelve years in the OCS house we'd built on rental property, in April 2014 I moved to a new location.  It is a very large, open building with a gorgeous view, on a huge piece of land facing the entrance to Tambobo Bay.

Plenty of room for the full work shop that Bill had built and all the OCS books, furniture....

....and visitors!
Those slippers belong to the classmates of Hamuel, a high school student who was involved in a serious motorcycle accident just before Christmas and will be recovering in the guest room for the next few months. 

Here are three recent videos of house-related activities:
Building Sweet Houses
Christmas Rice for Bondo Rd & Talukoy
A Swing for George
As for PILAR and Diane activities these past posting!

UPDATE:  This will be the last post at this site, for OCS, BLCLII, and ODH.  It will not, however, be my last post for my continuing interest and involvement with related projects.  Those will be found at a new website I have begun building:'s new website  I look forward to continuing to share the 'adventure' with you...

Thursday, March 6, 2014


"My name is diane and I am so frustrated burt belive good things can halppen if we just do stuff..."

Recently, while using the Open Door Habilitation blog to introduce a potential volunteer to the "bells and whistles" of creating posts, I quickly typed a title for the post ("Teaching") and then, without worrying about typos or what to say, quickly wrote the above sentence to show how fun and easy it was to do these things. Which was both The Truth and A Lie.

Posting, when filled with inspiration and time to focus (as well as decent internet connection!), is truly wonderful...amazingly joyfull, overflowing with great personal satisfaction.  But it is not always easy.

One Candle Schoolhouse was like that.  It was one of the greatest joys of my life, right up there with Bill and I building PILAR and sharing our life together over thirty-four richly rewarding years. 

"Change is the only constant," I've heard said, and it is true.  To this blog I've tried to remain dogged if not constant to updating all that happened in OCS, to all the amazing friends who supported the school and the projects they made possible for the children, but I've finally had to acknowledge to myself--now to this blog and those who may still check in for updates--that things have changed so much that I cannot make full and complete the summation I'd hoped for.

While reading FALLING THROUGH SPACE, The Journals of Ellen Gilchrist, the following passage resonated so deeply with my state of change since Bill died that, though she is speaking for writers, her words easily apply to a wider audience:

" order to be a writer you must experience and learn to recognize and cope with periods of what Freeman Dyson calls stuckness.  In order to do creative work in any of the arts or sciences you must go through long or short spells of not knowing what is going on, of being irritated, and not being able to find the cause, of being willing to work as hard as you can and what happens isn't valuable enough, isn't good enough, isn't what you meant to do, what you meant to say.  Then you have to keep on working.  Then, if you can bear it, if you don't quit and move to Canada or call up Joe and go hiking for two weeks or quit your job or get a divorce or do anything else to relieve the pain, and it is pain, its really irritating, it puts you in a bad mood, you are irritable to children and can't focus on anything and keep changing your mind, if you can put up with it and just go right on sitting down at that desk every day no matter how much it seems to be an absurd and useless and boring thing to do, the good stuff will suddenly happen.  It may be twelve o'clock at night when you are doing something else or are in the bathtub.  It will be when you have given up and least expect it.  There it will be, the radium, the formula, the good short story, the real poem..."  

...or it may be helping a former student help Special students, or it may be planning a voyage to Baja, or Australia or Malysia...or building a houseboat studio if enough like-minded people can't be found to build a Creative Cultural Community...all 'good stuff' that "can halppen if we just do stuff..."

Sunday, September 29, 2013


"Never mistake a clear view for a short distance"
~Paul Saffo~

I have lost track of the number of Sundays I have met with Ivy, one of my former OCS students (see post, Razzle Dazzle, two down from this one), to help with her Special Needs project, but every week something new and wonderful happens.  It is because Ivy has the (currently overworked but still valid word) PASSION for her work, with an endless stream of inspiration for individual programs to enhance her client's abilities.

Not just her 'clients', either!

Today, at Siit, Ivy enrolled and integrated five local children as students, ages five to fifteen, who were waiting for us at the Siit Bright Lights building when we drove up with Jerome, who is a nineteen-year old, high-functioning Down Syndrome young man.

Jerome, and the other local Children with Disabilities that Ivy has interviewed and included in her program, can be read about in her newly-begun Wordpress blog,  OPEN DOOR HABILITATION.
Today was especially exciting because regular classes at the Siit BLCLI have been suspended for several months while the Board struggles to reorganize their Vision/Mission/Strategy Plans.  While the Bonbonon BLCLI campus has found focus on teaching High School students Computer/Internet literacy, Ivy, on her own initiative proposed and has begun integrating Siit elementary students  into her project for Families with Disabilities.  Here are a few, hasty, photos, plus this link that will take you directly to the page where today's notes of progress are posted:

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Don and Rosalinda
 I recently received an email from a fellow cruiser, whose wedding I attended, thanking me for taking photos and sending them a video slide show of it.  He wrote:
"I think one's art is certainly well-developed when one is able to capture the essence, and then to share this essence--of anything--a boat form, a learning process for young students, the story of one's life, or a wedding.  Thank you for being able to share this with us..."
He then added this quote:
"I think one's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.  I see no reason for painting but that if I have anything to offer it is the emotional contact with the place where I live and the people I love."--Andrew Wyeth
 Wyeth's words about 'emotional contact with the place I live...the people I love..." and Don's observation about one's art being well-developed when essence is captured and able to be shared, resonated within me as to Why, long-after One Candle Schoolhouse's last class ended, I continue to tell the stories.  

It isn't just gratitude for the support that was given.  It is because love this place and these people; I want to show and share that love with others.  

Rosalinda was is/was the mother of Welnar, an OCS deaf student who died tragically in 2007. Don, now 81, provided employment, taught her English, and gave Rosalinda a new life aboard his steel sailboat, SCOTSMAN.  Don is a good man, a Don Quixote, eager to offer help to those who need it most and appreciate the opportunity. 

Thank you, Don, for taking he time to create an email Thank You that went deep into my being.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


 "If someone listens, or stretches out a hand,
 or whispers a kind word or encouragement,
or attempts to understand, 
extraordinary things begin to happen..."
--Loretta Girzartis 
Last month I posted a list of names that belong to friends who were (and still are) founding supporters of One Candle Schoolhouse. For the past thirty days I have been sorting through reams of photographs, stacks of CD's, and wallowing through ancient folders from long-defunct laptops, determined to find one special picture I have of Jim and Jamie Richter. That photo, taken in January 2004, was of them standing amidst the happy hoard of students who'd planned a going-away party for them, in the still-under construction rooms where OCS had seriously begun Saturday school. I have given up on locating that picture, but the two faces above have exactly the same joyful radiance they had then, almost ten years ago. Jim and Jamie truly were with us from the start, arriving in Port Bonbonon aboard their s/y RAZZLE DAZZLE, the same year (2002) that Saturday classes had casually begun as summer school for a few local children. At that time, we didn't even have a name, or a building of our own, or even knew we'd soon be needing one! During the time that the Richters still lived aboard their boat, they participated as teachers to the children while Bill and I were in the States, providing them with their first exposure to professional photography lessons and giving them 'throw-away' cameras afterwards. Their next project was to solicit the donation of TWO Macintosh computers, a printer, and about a hundred educational CD's!
click here to read Jim's Journal

The list of their donations goes on and on--books, tools, art supplies, mounds of dried foodstuffs, household goods, (recently, two MORE cameras, with lenses--professional quality, too!)--but undoubtedly the most significant were the funding of two college scholarships.
Roy, Cornelia (widow), Ivy
Roy, a recent high school graduate, became One Candle Schoolhouse's first recipient of the opportunity to attend College. Roy wasn't able to complete a full course in law enforcement, but does now have a respectable position as a Security Guard, and responsibly supports his young family.

The following year, when Ivy graduated from high school, the Richters again offered to sponsor a college education, but this time for Ivy. And, because they "stretched out their hands,"extraordinary things have happened...
Jamie congratulates Cornelia

2009 Graduation
Ivy elected to major in Secretarial Science, finalizing her last year's requirement of On The Job Training (OJT) at Great Physician Rehabilitation Foundation, for Children with Disabilities, in Dumaguete. Immediately hired to work full time as a bookkeeper and librarian after graduating, she soon began assisting the physical, occupational, and educational therapists. 

Ivy with Gabrielle

 As GP Rehab's funding began to wind down last year, Analou Suan, Founder/Director, arranged for continuity of services for their client families through local municipalities while Ivy secured for herself another place of employment.  Her dream, however, was to bring those same services back to her own rural community...

 (from a recent email: )
     "...I've just spent the morning talking with one of my former students, IVY, who is so dedicated to helping the Special Needs families in our area that I am continually re-inspired to hang in there with the community work. She has asthma, which is aggravated by not only working in an air-conditioned environment, but living in Dumaguete, too. Bad air. She works at a call center, rotating her shifts weekly, 6am-2pm/2pm-10pm/10pm-6am, and then on her one day off, Sundays, she comes back here to tromp around the back-bush finding families of Children with Disability. 

     Today she told me she's asked her mother to donate some of their land so she can build a Center where livelihood skills can be taught to those capable of it, train locals to be Physical Therapists to teach parents how to give proper exercises, as well as be a resource for education/diagnosis for the locals who are in need of help with their children. I had visited her in order to get a photo of of Jim and Jamie Richter, who'd funded her college education, because I had planned to FINALLY give them their long-overdue Thank You blog posting...but in checking emails quickly, I looked at a Grants Newsletter I subscribe to, I was thrilled to find something I think we can apply for, for her! It's a thousand dollars, not as much as she is going to need but that goes such a very long way here it could possibly be enough to begin the basic building ...certainly it would be enough to begin getting medical help for some of the kids..."
 Since last December, Ivy has steadily pursued her project,
methodically using the skills she gained at GP Rehab to interview and assess families, 
while listening carefully to the dreams the parents want for their children's future.

 Her project has a name:  
Last Sunday, May 12, 2013, Ivy's first classes were held in Siit and Bonbonon, at the two Bright Lights Community Learning Centers.

...and there is much more to come!

Jim and Jamie, daghang salamat for all that you helped make possible.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Moving Forward Looking Back

      In 1991, as Bill and I threw off dock lines in Santa Cruz to begin our cruising life, a very special teacher—Mary Duffield—presented us with a packet of quotes she’d gathered over the years. 
     She apologized for the cut-and-pasted assortment of photocopied pages,  “I'm on a pension,” she said, “can’t afford more in the way of gifts to friends.”   Mary has passed on now, but the values she held dear are a legacy of comfort and inspiration that, as in e e cummings' poem,“I carry…in my heart.

     Not knowing how to resume posting to this blog without another apology for lengthy silences, one of Mary’s quotes came to mind.  Her annotation to George Bernard Shaw’s words put shape to my reasons why updates have continued to be so few and far between. She wrote:

Ecstasy comes from devoting your life to a purpose larger than all the little things in it.”   

     Showing appreciation to those who are supportive is not something I consider one of the ‘little things’ of life, but committing to a purpose very large has tended to quickly sweep me past events and people I want to remain connected to.

     Being part of the One Candle Schoolhouse, first, then the evolution of it into the two Bright Lights Community Learning Centers, has been an involvement much larger than my abilities—it has been a project larger than any of us who have been involved—thus the learning curve has been arduously time-consuming.  But the evolving, often elusive ‘ecstasy’ of seeing what we have brought to fruition, that of being part of a “mighty purpose…being a force of nature” through the support of others, has kept us moving forward. 

     Giving individual recognition to everyone who has helped make so much possible is paramount to me because, by those individual acts of generosity, all of you have demonstrated a belief in belonging to a world community. You deserve to see the results of your participation and to experience the resulting joy therein.  Upcoming posts will feature:
  • Jim and Jamie Richter, s/y RAZZLE DAZZLE—Pioneer Supporters, they provided Mac computers, scholarships, books, materials, cameras and so MUCH, MUCH MORE
  • Danah and Jong Fortunato gave school materials, books, invaluable organizational advice, introductions to influential people and events, donated financial aid for college uniforms and shared home-cooked meals for a former OCS student, to name only a few examples of their support.
  •  Michael and Stephanie Radunsky, s/y WILD GOOSEfrequent care packages of school supplies, including a year of monthly financial help, and a continuing, treasured friendship.
  • The Pool/Stuckey family, who sent annual financial donations in lieu of birthday/Christmas gifts in addition to numerous gifts of school materials, educational resources, plus stateside networking on the school’s behalf.  Kathy divided her father’s legacy towards a college scholarship and personal bequeath to Renato, who had assisted Bill in building his last small boat.
  • Phil and Ann Gagnon and their family sponsored our first livelihood skills projects, and more recently a two-day Gender Sensitivity Training.
  • The N.Z. family of SILLHOUETTE (see Maya’s letter of condolence) taught music, art, and brought Saturday dinners for Bill and I when class was over.  AMAZING friends.
  • Trish and Fitz, s/y COLUMBUS –financial support, quilting techniques, management skills; extraordinary summer school guest teacher.
  • Sue James--introduced by Trish—came twice from N.Z. as a guest teacher for several months, directing numerous innovative art projects, raised funds and has continued to support independent projects in the community
  • Kenji Imura, s/y PAPALAGI,  music teacher and provider of  quality recorders to OCS students.
  • Fraser and Karin Petrie, s/y LUNA—loyal sponsors of consecutive scholarships for two student’s college living expenses.
  • Hadley and Junko Dykes’ generous donation made possible not only a long-term feeding program for both Learning Centers, but also a three-day Team Building Ropes Course Camp for twenty students.
  • Gena Dayon, with Martin at DIVE HUB Resort, hosted over sixty children for a day of snorkeling, a spaghetti lunch and Marine Conservation slide show, as well as tirelessly introducing new sponsors to us from their visiting guests.
  • A host of Bay Area friends—Maura and Michael, Larry and Theresa, Ingo and Espie, Al Wasserman, his son, Harvey, my sisters Denise and Donalie, to name only a few who donated funds or materials towards livelihood trainings, high school and college scholarships, school supplies, workshops and field trips, computers, even hearing aids.
  • Lei Parker, Australian Business Volunteer Extraordinaire who, in six weeks last year, not only did a massive job of creating an organizational structure for the two Learning Centers, but then organized a donation of four months budget from his community of Tuross, in Australia to add to his own financial contributions. 
…these are just some of the names  of friends who, along with pictures of how their donations were used, will soon have their own pages within this blog.  I am eager to assemble each one as there are so many wonderful memories to document, so much joy to share.  G.B. Shaw's conclusion, “Life is no mere ‘brief candle’ is a sort of bright torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations” expresses well the ‘Why' of continually making this effort.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"This is the true joy..."

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailment and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can...I rejoice in life for its own sake.  Life is no mere "brief candle" to me.  It is a sort of bright torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

-George Bernard Shaw-