This could be a post about nationalistic pride. It’s not. Pride leaves one open to scorn.
This is a post about the uniqueness of Australia and the good and fair people. This is a post about the great things that are often not shown or glossed over in the main stream media. This is a post about Australian ingenuity, persistence against hardship, mate-ship and triumph. This is a post about valour and determination to succeed against all odds.
Let’s start with the big stuff. The Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. Who would have ever believed that a giant fiber glass banana could do so much for Aussie tourism? Many people must have laughed when a local banana farmer decided to build the Big Banana but now it is an Aussie icon.
How about the natural beauty of this wide brown land Australia? Its not all brown but shades of ochre and amazing greens in the vast variety of vegetation types, coastal heath lands, rainforests, mallee, mulga, so many different kinds of “The Bush”. Let’s not forget Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, the wet tropics and the desert in all its shapes and forms.
However it’s the people that make this place “deadly”. I admire the humble confidence and determination of the indigenous, first nation’s people and that they are still sovereign people, even after 227 years of colonization They still haven’t given up hope of freedom from the rule of Great Britain. Bogans? Love ’em! Down to earth, hard working, like to have a good time on the weekend and support the Australian ute industry. Yeah I admit that we all have the odd “dickhead” mate but the thing about Aussie people is that they forgive their mates and no-one is purposely always a “dickhead.” We’re a pretty laid back and friendly mob.
I could go on forever about the awesome people that I’ve met around the traps but I’ve got to get ready for the bloody long Free Blue Walk from Brisbane to Adelaide. I am raising funds for James’ Blue House Free Schools traveling free school in a double decker bus. I leave next Wednesday the 17th of June 2015 and it’s 40km for 50 days and 50 one hour classes at the end of each day on “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability”
So click on the link below to donate to this campaign.
I am a philanthropic teacherpreneur and son of teachers. For that last 10 years, I have been teaching English as a Second Language to migrants, humanitarian entrants, refugees and asylum seekers. I have taught over 100 different nationalities plus many more ethnic groups, language groups and people from many spiritual traditions.
My passion is promoting lifestyles of health and sustainability through collectivism. Not only physical health, but mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, community health and environmental health.
In 1988, I began to study a Bachelor of Science in Australian Environmental studies with majors in Environmental Policy and Economics, and Environmental Pollution and Health. My first year of university was government funded but in 1989, HECS was introduced and I graduated from uni with a debt which took many years to repay when I finally earned enough to be able to repay it. During my study I had an epiphany that a major paradigm shift in society could be facilitated by individual free will to change when people had free access to knowledge.
I have had over 50 different jobs in my life, starting at the age of 15 during high school washing dishes. I have held many service positions as diverse as, toilet cleaner, bar attendant, service station attendant, chauffeur, warehousing (one time union rep), martial arts and swimming coach, community activist for Greenpeace Australia, koala for the Wilderness Society and waste water treatment.
I also participated in a family business growing forestry seedlings and doing forestry establishment where we produced approximately 1 million trees in 4 years.
In 2003, I took my family to China and taught there for 6 months. When I returned to Australia, I returned to study and completed a Graduate Certificate of Teaching Second Languages and Master of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and once again was burdened with a government HECS debt. This debt is now settled but as a single parent the repayment of this debt made life difficult for my family.
So once again back in debt for an education, I started wondering why some countries offered universal free education and why some didn’t? I saw that making education difficult to attend and costly deters many people from university and from taking charge of their destiny. I believed that in 20 years Australia might be seen as the ignorant, servile country that had no compassion for their themselves, fellow human beings, the planet and the ancestors.
On the surface it seems that this has become true. There are record rates of obesity and degenerative disease caused from addiction to chemical laden manufactured food and drinks, the attitude of the government to those seeking refuge is abhorent, destruction of the environment through excess consumption, pollution and resource extraction and our indigenous population has one of the lowest standards of living in the world and an incarceration rate in some places 6 times greater than apartheid, South Africa.
However these problems can be and have been addressed where people are literate and have access to online social networks that share uplifting information. There are wonderful initiatives that are happening in some places around the world because information flows more freely, such as microfinancing, microsolar, the Thrive movement for free energy and recognition of indigenous law in some communities.
Social media is the evidence that sharing of information and making information more accessible fosters positive social change and development.
I believe that free education empowers people to take control of and design their lives through self mastery.
For this reason, I have started James’ Blue House Free Schools Charitable Foundation.
James’ Blue House Free Schools Charitable Foundation,” facilitates community free education between people who have something to teach and people who want to learn.
“James’ Blue House Free School Charitable Foundation” is a non-profit foundation dedicated the free sharing of knowledge so each one can facilitate their own self-mastery and each person can discover their inner genius.
“James’ Blue House Free Schools Charitable Foundation” values the knowledge of all beings regardless of age, gender or economic status.
The philosophy of “James’ Blue House Free Schools Charitable Foundation.” is that anyone can teach; each one can teach one and each one must teach one. We are all students at the same time as being teachers.
James’ Blue House Free School, honours models of collective community education of all indigenous ancestors by empowering communities to establish and maintain ongoing collective and collaborative learning education models through face to face and online social learning networks.
James Blue House Free Schools educational programs aims to provide technological literacy tools to educationally disadvantaged and remote communities to assist them to achieve collective education in the tradition of the indigenous ancestors in a modern connected world.
“James’ Blue House Free School Charitable Foundation.” provides self-empowering programs focused around lifestyles of health and sustainability through, language and communication arts, music, environmental sustainability and organic permaculture health models.
“James’ Blue House Free School Charitable Foundation. aims for communities to foster sharing and the free flow of knowledge to raise the consciousness of the human beings.
James’ Blue House Free Schools Charitable Foundation is a benevolent institution working for the collective good.
I’m asking you to donate money to help me buy a double decker school bus, fit it out as a school and fund this project so that I can travel through Australia offering free education and empowering communities to adopt a collaborative and collective model of education where the knowledge of all is valued and shared.
There are pockets of people all around Australia that suffer due to the lack of access to knowledge either because of their low literacy and numeracy or because they live in remote areas with little access to the information via technology, the internet and social media. When people have access to tools of self mastery they are empowered to make choices that improve their lives.
Topics will include art, music, language arts , literacy and numeracy, preventative biodynamic health and exercise, environmental pollution and health, organic living and creative co-evolution. The eventual goal is to empower communities to take responsibility for their own education and set up their own Blue House Free School Collectives where the collective knowledge of society is shared and everyone is respected as having knowledge to share.
I have put a $2000 down payment on a double decker bus which is currently in Adelaide and I require $16,000 to bring it back to Brisbane. Plus approximately $29,000 to equip with mobile IT learning technology and for annual operating costs.
The bus needs to be equipped with a classroom downstairs which will also have mobile e-learning technology to allow access to the World Wide Web of Information using mobile devices operating in an open source software environment.
What else for the future?
As well as James Blue House Free School Bus.
My plan for the first year with the bus is to take free environmental health and wellness classes around Australia. During this time I intend to raise the profile of James Blue House Free Schools through multimedia online while raising funds for the ongoing operative costs of James’ Blue House Free Schools. I also intend to support communities in setting up their own free learning circles. In two years I hope to see collective community Blue House Free Schools operating in hundreds of Australian suburbs and towns
The five year plan would see a fleet of buses working with sponsorship in not just Australia but on other countries too. These buses would continue to spread the latest life changing information.
The future is unlimited and in 2022 I have plans for large multi-dwelling collective learning communities with lifestyles of health and sustainability.
This is a collective and I would love your input and assistance.
How can you help?
Help me get the word out on social media by liking, sharing, commenting, following.
There are as many different ways to get an education as there are ways to get to and from school.
Learning from your family: Back in the 1980’s my father was a teacher at my Maroochydore State High School where I was a student. So the safe way to get my education was seated next to my father in his car. It was easy, comfortable, safe and got me to school on time, and dry when it was raining. It cost me nothing. It was free but it was my dad’s way.
Learning from your school: There was also a double decker bus. It was blue and it stopped opposite my home and picked up the neighbours and my two sisters. Sometimes I would take the double decker bus to school. It was easy, organised and safe if you weren’t being bullied. The blue double decker school bus got me to school on time (it took 20 minutes) and it cost us nothing because we lived just far enough from the school to get our transport paid for by the government. It was free but it was the government’s standard way.
Teaching yourself: Being the eldest child and wanting my freedom I instead chose to ride my bicycle to school. I didn’t want to sit on a boring bus wasting my time when I could be free to go as fast or slow as I wanted, I could weave, jump and stop to smoke a sneaky ciggie on the way. It was only 3km to school, I got there on time. There was a bicycle path which made it relatively safe. One day I had to jump my bike over a red bellied black snake on the path but that was the most dangerous thing that ever happened. Riding my bike cost nothing, I made a few mistakes on the way, like stopping for those ciggies but I learned from them. It was free and it was my standard way.
Exploring new possibilities: One time I discovered a new way. What I did was dangerous and I don’t condone it. I came out of school with my bicycle one afternoon just as the blue double decker school buses were leaving. The road from school had a good downhill slope and the big old double decker school buses took a while to gain speed. As I mounted my bike, a bus pulled along side me. I pedaled fast to keep up with the bus, students inside were yelling at me with excitement to go faster. I pedaled hard and then saw I could grab hold of a grate on the side. I reached out and held the bus with one hand and started to be towed by the bus. We reached about 55km/h, stopped for the traffic lights and then continued. All the while I was being cheered on by student’s inside. I got halfway home before letting go and using my own power. That day I got home very quickly, safely too. My parents got a call from the school because the bus driver had reported me and I got in trouble. It was free but by using the best of the old standard ways I created a new way.
Catching the double decker bus with my bicycle was my new way. It shows there are many ways to learn and they don’t have to be the standard way of the crowd. Sometimes you have to take a risk, combine the best of your knowledge to achieve a better outcome. The result will be a better way.
James’ Blue House Free School is exploring a new way
On 27 of November 2014 a supercell storm blew the roof off my home of 8 years and left myself and 3 sons displaced. I am an Environmental Scientist and English as a Second Language teacher. I have taught thousands of refugees and migrant to read and write English and settle in Australia. I understand the importance of reading and writing to having access to information so that you can improve your life and the lives of those around you.
So I am selling everything I don’t need to fund James’ Blue House Free School Bus so that I can take a travelling school into areas where access to education is limited. All the money raised will go to purchasing a 1972 Leyland Atlantean double decker bus and equipping it with computers and solar energy generation.
What is the metaphor of the Blue House Free School?
In January 2005, I got separated from my first wife, began teaching English as a Second Language and moved into the first home that came to be called James Blue House. My ‘new’ home was a very old dirty small workers cottage in South Brisbane. The deserting junkies had trashed the place so I offered to clean and paint the interior and the owner gave me cheap rent in return.
I was alone and broke so I filled my home with international students and travelers who eased my loneliness and helped me pay the rent. My landlord told me how he had come to this home when he arrived from Greece in 1969 and how it had been a halfway house for many migrants. I resolved that I would continue to show the same hospitality to all people that came to my door.
At the end of the first year my landlord’s adjoining property came for rent and he offered it to me to manage for him. This second house, also blue, was to become my second James Blue House. There were dinners and parties at the James Blue Houses, big loud parties with fires blazing, reggae music booming, BBQ s burning and happy people all meeting to chat and share their experience as migrants or travelers.
After 2 years, I married again and didn’t want the hassle of sub letting rooms all the time so we passed on the lease to some friends so that they could also benefit.
Living in the second James Blue House, I started teaching migrants and refugees at TAFE so I separated my work and social life, no more organizing student parties. I would go to work and come home but the dream of opening my own school was building. How could I possibly have the time or energy to make a school with two boys and a third on the way? The couch in my home was much too comfortable.
Suddenly in 2011, I was again a single dad but now with 3 sons shared 50:50. I was working hard but my pay wasn’t increasing. I still wanted to have my own free school and often wondered how I would do it and what I would teach. I told my partner I wanted to make a free school and she laughed it off as a ridiculous notion. Our relationship ended soon after and I had time for myself to do what I wanted. I started planning free classes.
I held my first free classes on the beach at Stradbroke Island during a holiday with my sons. I taught the five Tibetan Rites of rejuvenation and Quantum Pause Breathing because they have both changed my life and I know many people can benefit from them.
On the 8th of November I held another class in a basement in South Brisbane 3 for local residents. One afternoon I arrived home from work and met an Iranian couple, a taxi driver and teacher, who were speaking with my neighbour. I invited them in for tea. They came here for freedom from an oppressive regime in Iran, so their children could grow up free. I discovered they are in community detention, get no income support, aren’t allowed to work and only get a few hours of English classes. They are in Australia but not free. These are the kind of people that need free school.
Then on the 27th of November 2014, the roof blew off the second James Blue House in a freak supercell storm. My two oldest sons were home at the time but fortunately were not injured. What were we to do with 10 years of accumulated stuff and nowhere to put it? I need a new Blue House, I have to make a free school. A travelling free school? A double decker bus became my focus, I could live in it and teach from it. I could take free education where it is most needed. How could I get it now I was homeless?
In my parents’ house, we found refuge. My parents offered me a place to put my family. On New Years Day 2015, I awoke sober as I didn’t drink the night before but I still had a huge headache. I started cleaning my parents’ house, vacuuming, mopping, wiping window sills and cleaning the grime from the oven. I nurtured the garden, planted lawn seed, weeded, pruned and planted flower seeds. I set myself to doing these tasks as if I were Da Vinci painting a masterpiece. It was the least I could do to thank my parents for giving me life and at 44 years old, refuge, when I most needed it. While I was cleaning, I was thinking through what would be my next step to get my free school happening.
Today, while cleaning in my parents’ house I got a phone call. Confirmation to purchase a double decker bus. Now I have to find the money. You can help by donating to James Blue House Free School Bus at Gofundme
What is the metaphor? Inside my parents house is a Blue House. My parents, both teachers created me in their house.Their house is the universe and in my parents house is a Free Blue House we call Earth or Gaia. The Universe supports Gaia, who provides everything we need for free. Gaia doesn’t charge a fee or interest rate and Gaia loves it when you nurture her. Like our planet Earth, Gaia, James Blue House Free School doesn’t charge any fees and operates on good will and your donations.
I want to tell you about Marietta my neighbour, she’s twice my age, I’m 44. We met ten years ago when I discovered her in my garden picking grape vine leaves to make dolmades. She told me her name was Maria but her real name is Marietta, which I always use. I said my name’s James but she’s called me Davi ever since! She came back later and gave me a bowl of her delicious homemade dolmades and that mutual giving between the two of us has continued for 10 years.
Marietta came to Australia as a 19 year old from Greece, post WW2 after it had been occupied by the Italians. She’d learnt Italian during the war. She arrived in Australia, married had a daughter and then was widowed when her daughter was young.
Marietta found herself work while her daughter was cared for by another woman because there was no child care around at the time. Marietta learnt to speak English but never learnt to read or write it.
There were no free classes she could go to. She had no time as she worked hard to survive.
Marietta got married a second time and had a son and now has great-grandchildren too. Her family visit most weekends and during the week Marietta can be seen tending her beautiful garden with roses, hippeastrums, lilies but also beans, okra and spinach to name a few.
We call out good morning across the road, often at 5.30am as we’re both early risers, watering our gardens or when I’m going to do some sport. But the most important thing about our relationship is that is about giving to, supporting and loving your neighbour. I give her pawpaw and she returns with beans, I give her bananas, she gives me pasta for dinner for my family, I give her eggs from my chickens and she gives me biscuits for my coffee, I jump start her car and call the RACQ for her, she keeps an eye on my kids and home when I’m away. I read letters for her.
Marietta tells people I’m like a son and I tell people about how amazing she is.
Yesterday I mowed her lawn, its growing so fast now it’s summer. After I finished we were having an orange juice and Marietta said for the first time ever, “do you want money?”
Of course I said, “No, it’s not about money it’s about helping each other and working together and loving your neighbour”.
Marietta replied “ Davi, in my country we have a saying, one hand washes the other hand and together they wash the face”
I went away with a plate of Marietta’s biscuits to dip in my coffee. The truth is that I do want money and help. I am just just one hand that wants another hand to wash a face.
I know that if Marietta had had the opportunity she would have loved to learn to read and write English but like so many people who live in Australia the opportunity wasn’t there. That’s why I have started, James’ Blue House Free School, to take technological literacy to people and so people can find information that allows them to shape their destiny. Marietta doesn’t know what the internet is, she doesn’t have email, and facebook is outside her comprehension.
That’s why I am asking for volunteer teachers for local English classes. That’s also why I am asking for money so that I can buy and equip a double decker bus with learning technology to take the concept of free school to remote areas where people don’t have easy access to education.
I just went to the first Blue House, the place where I met Marietta, to feed the chickens, collect some eggs. While I was there. I picked some grape vine leaves and took the eggs and leaves over to Marietta, She was making dolmades and showed me how and told me the recipe.