The SASC Mission Statement is as follows:
"To unite the Southeast Asian communities, particularly those bounded by the historical context of the Viet Nam War and to address the economic inequalities, social injustices, and political under-representation that they face."
I hold SASC very dearly to my heart. Myself being of Southeast Asian heritage, I had never had the opportunity or the space to explore or question what my family was doing here in the United States. Yes, I knew that they came here for better lives, but they we were not immigrants. We are refugees. My family didn't come to California willingly seeking these opportunites, rather they fled from Laos because of war, famine, bombings, and other atrocities.
It stirs something inside of me when some people do not know that the Vietnam War didn't just take place in Vietnam. It involved Laos and Cambodia as well. The feelings that stir are a mixture of apathy, oblivion, and sadness. And with so little written about this in American history books, I'm glad that I proactively sought to find the answers of my identity within the American context myself. Part of this I owe to SASC and my degree in Southeast Asian Studies.
This past summer I took it upon myself to apply to be a mentor for the SASC Summer Institute (SI) program. It's a 5-day all expense paid educational program to help empower Southeast Asian American students. It's catered to the youth who are tied to the Southeast Asian refugee experience. I became a mentor and participated in the 5 sleepless days of workshops, lectures, peer-bonding activities, and cultural experiences. And it was absolutely amazing.
During SASC SI 2008, I'm on the very left and
these ladies are my fellow coordinators and mentees!
these ladies are my fellow coordinators and mentees!
Obviously, bringing up 36 students from all across California (and sometimes the country) and housing them costs a lot of money, especially much more with recent educational price cuts. Every year SASC applies for tons of grants and we are very lucky if we receive half of them!
To help cover some of the costs, SASC also puts on an annual Benefit Concert. This year's theme was "Break the Chain" to raise awareness of the growing population of Southeast Asian youth being incarcerated. Rather than placing blame, it is about the wider picture and exploring the root of the problem. Why do some youth turn to gangs? Violence? Theft? And the answers could be anywhere from no familial support, no educational support, or no role models.
For this year's concert, I decided to make some amigurumi green papayas to be part of our silent auction. Green papayas are the ingredient in the popular Southeast Asian dish papaya salad. Every country and region makes it differently. I even added different faces and personality to each papaya.
After only a couple of minutes that the papayas were sitting on the table, they were greeted with crowds of people! They were such a hit! I will admit that I was a little sad to know that they were all going to different homes, it was like giving them up for adoption. At least I knew they were going to good homes. When the end of the auction was approaching, it was getting really heated and exciting!
The rush before the time deadline:
I'm glad to say that I helped raise more than $180 by auctioning the papayas. Maybe they'll even become a SASC tradition!
Green Papaya Amigurumi
- Lion Brand Vanna's Choice 100% acrylic yarn in Kelly Green
- Crochet hook in J-10 (6mm)
- Paton's Classic Wool in Color 00205, it's a dark green brown
- Crochet hook in H-8 (5mm)
- Felt in various colors to make faces! I used colors: black, white, and pink. Or you could use whatever crafty things you have lying around.
sc = single crochet
sc2tog = single crochet 2 together
sc2tog: Insert your hook into the stitch and draw up a loop. With the loop still on your needle, insert your hook into the next stitch and then draw up another loop. Yarn over, and then draw up all 3 loops on your hook.
Part 1: The Papaya Body
Using Kelly Green yarn and J-10 Crochet Needle
Rnd 1: 8 sc into circle
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around (16)
Rnd 3: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc* (24)
Rnd 4: 1 sc in each sc around (24)
Rnd 5: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc* (32)
Rnd 6: 1 sc in each sc around (32)
Rnd 7: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc* (40)
Rnd 8: 1 sc in each sc around (40)
Rnd 9: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc* (48)
Rnd 10-15: 1 sc in each sc around (48) - can add more rounds here
Rnd 16: *2tog, sc in next 4 sc* (40)
Rnd 17-27: 1 sc in each sc around (40) - can add more rounds here
*begin to stuff*
Rnd 28: *2tog, sc in next 3 sc* (32)
Rnd 29: *2tog, sc in next 2 sc* (24)
Rnd 30: *2tog, sc in next 1 sc* (16)
Rnd 31: *2tog* (8)
- Finish stuffing firmly and evenly.
- Bind off leaving short end.
Part 2: Papaya Stem
Using green-brown wool with H-8 needle
Rnd 1: 6 sc into circle
Rnd 2-8: 1 sc all around (6)
Rnd 9: 2sc into each sc (12)
Rnd 10: 2sc into each sc (24)
- No need to stuff.
- Cut yarn leaving 7in/18cm end.
- Bind off.
1: Make sure that papaya body is well stuffed and evenly stuffed.
2. Sew papaya stem to stop of papaya body.
3. Design face with felt pieces.
4. Sew onto papaya.
- Use different fabrics to design faces or accessories.
- Use bigger yarn and needles for a full size design.