At the end of the school year – all you need is love
A number of years ago I did some work for El Gaucho restaurant and later for Amazonia Churrascaria. Each year, in late June, we created Spula Krijt adz, just in time for that fantastic Friday, at the end of the academic year, offering teachers a discounted lunch price, on that much-awaited day, when they could finally rinse the chalk off.
I noticed this year, the festivities started at the bars occupying Tourism Plaza from as early at 11am and revolved around drinking, and music.
Teachers must have had a monumental hang-over the following day, because according to my sources the late-night clubs on the RCA Road, Blue Moon, Cas Casuela, were packed to the gills until early in the morning.
From the sidelines it seems to me that there is a lot of push & pull in education, and that the level of frustration among educators is high.
My friends explain that many of our teachers, are in education for themselves, lured by the convenient schedule and the stable pay. They are not in it for the kids. They wait for GOA to renovate buildings, systems, and educational materials instead of being proactive and doing it themselves.
The Dutch newspapers reported just recently that in Aruba’s newest school, teaching materials hail from the 60s, and that the most recent materials are at least 20 years old.
Where is the teacher’s personal responsibility in that? Why stick to useless books? Why can’t you create your own road map? As long as you arrive at the desired destination, you surely have the freedom to improvise. But it takes more prep work.
The level of frustration is made even higher because our MinEdu, a highly intelligent/educated man, comes from an autocratic system, having spent his formative years within the church.
He comes from an arbitrary background. God is not a team player. I can see the built-in problematica there. And he gets plenty of push-back from everyone.
The last example was the strike, of super-sized women, determined to protect their SECOND salary, the one they get from afternoon activities, AFTER teaching school all morning, and perhaps compromising both.
(Conserving their energy in the first part of the day, in order to deal with the afternoon, and grading papers in the pm, in order to keep up with the am.)
And today’s kids are challenging, they are 21st century tech-savvy operators, yet the frontal 20th century teaching leaves them indifferent, and disruptive.
It is harder than ever to teach school, and you have to do it for the kids. Gotta love them, not just that convenient schedule and the stable pay.
Quotes from my friends:
“The most love-hungry student will ask YOU for YOUR love in the most unloving ways.”
“Our kids are pure gold, Aruba’s children are resilient, and pure, give them a little, and they give you A LOT.“
Next in Line, with the Popcorn Soldiers
Cas di Cultura was a hub of activity Sunday evening when the Popcorn organization held its annual Next in Line, talent competition.
I did not know what I was getting myself into, but motivated by the desire to see what young people are interested in, I said yes, to a chair on the judge’s jury!
The show presented EIGHTEEN pieces of 6 or 7 minutes each, in succession, including dance, lots of dance, in groups and solo, singing and comedy. Each act was required to have a message, Dream Big, Think Outside the Box, Dare to Achieve, Listen to Your Heart. The word dream came up a lot….
It was a spectacular evening of ARUBA HAS TALENT, and I am full of admiration to these youngsters who came up with complex concepts, music, choreography, costuming, make up, and video editing, all on their own, on a shoestring budget.
I kept pressing the imaginary Golden Buzzer awarding them all top scores, because for amateurs, they were highly professional.
Let me start from the end: POPCORN CLUB & DANCERS ARUBA, since 1989, is a not for profit foundation nurturing young artistic talent. It’s an entire ecosystem of performances and events by an extended family of about 100 teenagers and a handful of adults.
Once you become a Popcorn Soldier you embrace the values of the organization, volunteer, train, rehearse, striving for a better future, with a single mindset to improve your skills and get ahead.
Under the Dream, Dare, Do, slogan everything is possible, and best of all, they are self-supporting.
At about 10pm, winners were announced.
Top honors went to a 9-member dance group, both male and female, by the name of Seshaji. They put a Mad Max meets Janet Jackson production on, by the name of Fury Road. That group is blessed by two very strong choreographs/dancers Joel Recappe, who also won the first place solo trophy, and Dijon Inesia, brimming with creative talent, he was also a soloist, opening the show with an interesting teenage angst overview.
And their homemade costumes held up under the pressure of turbo-charged dancing.
The other TEN in my book was a group by the name of Divergent, that works very well as a glitzy Latin Pop & Reggaeton ensemble, blessed by very talented individual stars, among them Steven Mendez, who is tremendous at everything from Salsa to African Tribal dance.
Two classically trained dancers Cristian Bedon and Valeria Guerrero presented a very ambitious program. They morphed from a romantic duet, into a Colombia style salsa, with death-defying spins and throws. I was praying for the performance to end well. These kids are risk takers, and very determined.
I liked the Missy Elliott inspired gangsters of a Different World, though they needed more light to be noticed, and soloist Gabriela Croes, is blessed with great pipes. The robotic Liquid Courage was great fun to watch. They are passionate about dance, and also form part of the Mafia, who presented a full Wild West, bang-bang, saga.
Best of all the kids. A group of very young performers, maybe ten-year-olds, with the irresistibly cute Emmanuel Simon, and his powerful partner Zianne Loepstok, presenting Full of Fiyah; Followed by the adorable Detonators, a bunch of 5-year olds, free-styling as if they were born on stage.
Latin chicas? Sure, the Dancing Divas filled that niche.
A very impactful performance by Joel Recappe, titled the Look of Freedom, proved that while the Popcorn Soldiers are preoccupied by typical teenage issues, they are also citizens of the world. Joel’s choreography focused on refugees, Syria, Venezuela, is was woven with powerful video footage, to the music of Eminem’s Walk on Water. Well thought-out, deep and poetic.
Freddy Tromp & Crew: Your place in heaven is guaranteed.
Fundashon Stimami Sterilisami is up and running
At a press gathering at the Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort, we were given the great news that another round of dog/cat sterilizations has been made possible thanks to the initiative of that resort.
Executives Suzanne van Grinsven and Rik van der Berg welcomed guests, Suzanne made the presentation, then together with Ewald Biemans they joined for an exchange of what’s new / what’s happening, over delicious lunch.
NEW: Stimami Sterilisami is now a foundation, legally accepting donations. As such it partnered with TPEF in order to raise the money needed. I have to remind you readers, that TPEF, is the Tourism Product Enhancement Fund, created 100% with timeshare members’ contributions. So, our visitors help wipe our noses so to speak, by shouldering the expense that should otherwise be carried by local pet owners.
But, Stimami Sterilisami opted to rise above the should. It acknowledges that the spaying/neutering issue is problematic in our community and that the investment in a pet, is a foreign concept. While protesting that public indifference, it is prepared to help out.
Thus, ALL dogs and cats, owned AND stray, pedigree AND mutt, are all eligible for subsidized procedures.
The foundation subsidizes about 50% of operation costs, and owners are charged super reasonable fees:
Female Dog Awg 150
Male Dog Awg 85
Female Cat Awg 80
Male Cat Awg 35
Above pricing includes basic HCT blood test, microchip and placement of chip
HOW IT WORKS
Pet owners must register online, at www.stimamisterilisami.com, he/she will receive a confirmation e-mail with a registration number. Within 7 days of registration, pet owners must personally report at a vet clinic of their choice, pay their share of the operation – see how much above — and make an appointment for surgery, show the e-mail confirmation of registration, including registration number. Don’t forget to actually bring your pet in, on the designated day — no food that morning, please.
Your vet will collect the balance of the subsidized amount from Stimami Sterilisami based on the e-mail confirmation, you handed in.
Much easier than before, no paper work, at all.
Ewald Biemans Chairman; Rik van der Berg Vice Chairman; Suzanne van Grinsven Secretary; Emile de Cuba Jr. Treasurer, Louella Brezovar Director at Large, Yesenia Arends Director at Large
Volunteers registration and invoicing
Rafaella Jones & Miguel Garcia
Stimami Sterilisami Foundation, Fundashon Stimami Sterilisami.
To reduce the population of dogs and cats by means of spay & neutering on Aruba.
Subsidy of surgery for Rescue Foundations
Subsidy of surgery for individual pet owners
Continue awareness campaign
Aim to subsidize 5,000 to 6,000 surgeries between July 2019 – June 30, 2020
Commitment to contribution from TPEF for Awg 125,000
Commitment of anonymous sponsor of Awg 100,000
Bucuti & Tara matches up to Awg 300,000 of contributed funds
Participating Veterinarian Clinics
Animal Care Clinic; Animal Health Veterinary Hospital; Contreras Veterinary Services; Veterinary Clinics Aruba.
Like & share: facebook.com/stimamisterilisami
Stimami Sterilisami Foundation – J.E Irausquin Boulevard 55B – P.O. Box 1347 – Oranjestad, Aruba
1989 to 2019, #30yearsofstyle
Facebook told me that local designer Ronchie de Cuba is hosting an open casting on Monday, calling all Knockout later Koma Agency models, past and present, to present at Cas Di Cultura and try out for the upcoming 30th anniversary show, unfolding at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, Morris Lapidus Ballroom, September 14th.
This will sell out fast, with just 500 seats, so get your tickets early, at Trash boutique.
The Facebook invitation looked interesting. I personally know many of these models from almost 20- years of fashion editorials in Island Temptations Magazine. But my exercise schedule got in the way, #Fitnessfirst, and I called Ronchi instead. We go back a very long time.
We met for coffee and Panini at the Aruba Experience Café.
What should we expect at the show?
Titled Back to Life, it will be a retrospect of 30 years in fashion, gleaning the best of more than 150 big past productions with about 100 models, two dizzying hours of runway and theatrical presentations, featuring three distinct collections Solo by Ronchi, So Very Me and a Tribal, Women Empowerment line, a total of 400 looks, including décor, hair, makeup, music, the works. “I grew up among powerful women, so expect that to reflect in the show,” Ronchi adds. The show will also have a contemporary No Waste aspect with fashion made from left-overs and recycled fabric.
With your regular crew?
Yes, Julio, Andrew, Gareth, Bruce, Jairo, Nicole and Sharine, each in charge of one aspect of the show. We created some big production for the International Male & Female Model Searches, six seasons, the Aruba Male & Female Model Searches and the Aruba Fashion Week, in past years, with guests such as RuPaul & Mario Lopez, with E-Entertainment, HBO, and Showtime on island, in Guatemala and in Curacao. We have been practicing for that upcoming show for 30 years.
Looking back do you love all past shows?
We have some clippings and footage. It’s a large body of work. Some I admire, and some I ask myself what was I thinking.
How big is Koma agency today
We keep it relatively small, 35 female models 25 male models, and we enjoy a list of regular local clients
Trash, did you ever regret calling your fashion store TRASH?
Yes. No. Those were my rebellious days, a bit nihilistic, and I wanted to state that fashion is fluff and what’s INSIDE is important. I might still change the name one day.
Congratulation Ronchi, I am an appreciative fan and I admire the fact that for over 30 years you have been recruiting young people into your organization, for the purpose of polishing their personalities and refining their presentations. You show many success stories along the way, females and males who graduated your ‘finishing school,’ and went on to enjoy flourishing careers. All of Aruba fashion boutiques are owned by former models who got their fashion start at Koma.
30 years, what is the difference between today’s, and yesterday’s recruits?
When we started, our models wanted to compete and fought for the spotlight. They were fearless and determined to leave a mark. Today, with all the scrutiny of social media, our recruits shy away from the limelight, while they crave it, they fear it, and the criticism it brings.
While on the surface people are more willing to go on display, they are in fact hiding. Especially women, and we encourage them to show their feathers, and overcome the pull-down effect of their social circle. I try to get them away from labels and judgements, focus on the here & now, and pursue their passions. Basically, become shamelessly optimistic.
Italian Desserts, delicious summer treats
What do you know about that particular branch of deliciousness?
I know Italian confectioners go easy on sugar, so desserts are not too sweet, not too heavy, and that the world adopted that genre of after-dinner treats as his.
In Aruba, Tiramisu appears on every restaurant menu, but often with short-cuts, made with some ready-made whip instead of snowy egg-whites folded into mascarpone!
Recently my friend Gabriel Donadi told me about his mom, Ines Donadi, and her passion for baking and pastries. Then we both decided I should meet her. #dolcissimobyines
Next. I visited Ines in her doll-house kitchen at Palm Aruba Condo. There, over Illy coffee and a generous piece of her Torta di Nutella, Ines conducted a Show & Tell, a Tiramisu for Beginners class, in my honor.
She did the prep work in advance, laying all nicely measured ingredients out, and I watched her make two tray of Tiramisu, layering coffee-soaked lady finger biscuits, with the rich cream she just made – always in a glass bowl, please – mixing the cheese, with stiffly beaten egg-whites, and spiking the coffee with Amaretto, her secret ingredient – could be any liqueur, especially Limoncello.
The way she makes it, it looks easy.
I knew the origin of Tiramisu, as reported by Wikipedia: Historical records state that Tiramisu has an aphrodisiac effect and was served in brothels in Treviso.
What they mean is that between clients, the prostitutes working in Northern Italy, had a favorite pick-me-up, Tiramisu, so that sugar, coffee and liqueur would restore their energy between jobs.
I am not making it up.
Ines, a biology teacher, turned fashion-designer reports she has been living in Aruba for a number of years, and in order to please her family members and her friends, she often found herself in the kitchen making desserts, following recipes she inherited from her late mother.
She remembers herself in the kitchen, at ten years of age, watching her mom make magic.
#dolcissimobyines is today a small online business, you may order your favorite from a menu of about FIFTY different varieties. Ines is especially busy around the holidays and her top seller include #tortadinutella, #ZuppaInglese any fruit #Crostata, and #Tartufo which she makes with any leftover cake.
Cake for two, or fifty, it is cutely packaged and gorgeous to present.
Bikini Day in Aruba, With a Twist
Last week on July 5th, members of the media were invited at sunset to White Modern Cuisine, to take part in Bikini Day Celebrations on the anniversary of the invention of the bikini in 1946 by a Parisian fashion designer, Louis Reard – with a silent d.
International bikini day featured a fashion of itsy-bitsy things, showcasing the talents of local and international, Latin American designers.
Most notable Gigiola Gomez, who has been active within her own brand since 2010, participating around the globe in fashion weeks, promoting Aruba as a vacation destination. This time Gigiola showed off a bikini and caftan, Biento, inspired by the island’s spectacular sunset. The bikini was royally worn by Arnalda Lampe with make up by Andy Mendez, simply spectacular.
Gigiola also introduced a young designer Daniella Carrion, promoting her own brand with a clever name Vitamin Sea.
The show at White Modern Cuisine included a twist, a literal fabric twist on many of the bikinis representing the fight against breast cancer. All designers twisted their bikini tops, artistically, to help promote October, Pink Month, as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Among designers included in the show:
From Argentina, Cipitria, with designer Maylen Irigoitia
From Brazil, Aqua de Sal, with designer Fabiola de Oliveira Machado.
From Chile, Sebastián Del Real Ossa
From Colombia, MolaMola, with designer Adriana Dangond
From Peru, Capittana, with designer María Daniela Núñez Dodero
Most designers used Aruba as a point of departure for their bikinis, inspired by the island’s color-scheme, our palm trees, ocean, sun, flowers, flamingos, sunsets, beaches, the Faro Blanco and the Fofoti trees.
During the week, under the umbrella of ‘One Fashion Island,’ the designers conducted fashion photoshoot targeting the Argentinian, Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian, and Peruvian markets.
The Aruba Tourism Authority in collaboration with the ATA Latin America also invited a number of social media influencers, reporting live from the front with Argentine actress Emily Lucius, 411K followers; Brazilian model Priscila Uchoa, 50.9K followers; Chilean socialite Valeria Ortega, with 145K followers; Colombian actress María José Martínez, with 190K followers and finally actress Daniela Núñez (The Velvet Secret), with 116K followers.
Bati Bleki was there too.