Humans of Peace Boat US, Panyin Conduah

Peace Boat is dynamic in that it boasts a broad array of partners and participants working on projects in various corners of the world. Both on deck and on shore, members exchange ideas and knowledge, and quickly create bonds of friendship through common interests and motivation to engage in projects that promote a culture of peace and sustainability. On Peace Boat’s 88th Global Voyage held in the autumn of 2015, one such person included Panyin Conduah.

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Conduah is a recent graduate of DePauw University in New York, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and Communication. She is a freelance writer, as well as a videographer, and has interned at various production houses. Currently she participates in the Downtown Community Television (DCTV)  Apprenticeship program in Pro-TV under the instruction of Johnny Ramos.

DCTV has been partners with Peace Boat US since 2003, and provided Conduah with the opportunity to film her experience on the 88th Global Voyage. DCTV is a media arts center offering a cooperative workspace used for professional training. Dedicated to using media to promote social justice, this program highlights economic as well as social divides in an effort to advance tolerance. Conduah’s latest project, for example, examines the effect of tuition costs and student loans on people’s lifestyles by illustrating their struggle. As a part of Pro-TV, the largest free media arts training program for youth in New York City, Conduah has honed her videography skills by taking lessons on cinematography and learning how to use video editing software, including Final Cut Pro.

Upon hearing about Peace Boat, Conduah was not sure what to expect. However, having thoroughly enjoyed her travels through Europe, she was eager to experience Central America on a three-day study program that would start in Mexico, continue on to Belize, and end in Panama. Conduah was also enthusiastic about having the creative freedom to film as she wished while maintaining a focus on sustainability issues.

Conduah’s first experience with Peace Boat’s sustainability project took place in Mexico. She helped communities become more aware of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by helping to paint a mural depicting the seventeen goals. Goal fourteen, which promotes the sustainability of oceans, features prominently in the mural. Catching to the eye and mind alike, the painting successfully emphasizes the importance of conservation for future generations.
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In Belize, Conduah, along with her fellow adventurers, stopped to enjoy a few hours of snorkeling in the renowned coral reefs of the country. Conduah was keen to let me know that Belize has the second largest coral reef system in the world after Australia. Despite her initial alarm at the presence of nurse sharks, she later enjoyed a swim and embraced the sea life in the ocean. She now remarks upon the beauty of the nature she had the opportunity to be so close to.

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The trip ended with final projects being carried out in the Kuna indigenous community in Panama that Peace Boat has worked with for the past decade. On this particular voyage, Peace Boat US aided the community in three ways:

(1) Supporting local Kuna women with their fair trade project making mola handicrafts. Mola are part of the traditional dress of women in the Kuna community and are worn on the back and front side of blouses.

(2) Constructing an improved sanitary system.

(3) Building safe pathways within the community of approximately 900 people.

Peace Boat US helped to raise funds to support these activities as part of the Music and Arts Peace Academy (MAPA) project in 2015. A total of $5,000 was raised. Peace Boat visits this Kuna community twice a year and is the only regular supporter of the village.

Conduah describes her involvement onboard Peace Boat just as positively as her experience on land, likening the ship to an incubator for sharing ideas. Cultural exchange through workshops and lectures en route allowed for knowledge sharing between a broad demographic of participants.

Piquing her interest in sustainability, Conduah says her experience onboard Peace Boat opened her eyes to future possibilities in terms of what she can give back to society to make the world more accessible to others. Her participation in Peace Boat’s projects has made her even more determined to travel and share the stories of underrepresented people. Conduah hopes her positive experience during the 88th Peace Boat Global Voyage will inspire others, especially youth, to partake in sustainability projects that support grassroots initiatives on future Peace Boat voyages.

In the near future, Conduah looks forward to screening her footage from Central America at the DCTV studio in New York, as well as the United Nations Headquarters. For now, she often relives her time in Central America with Peace Boat through watching her footage from the trip, some of which can be viewed here.

This post was created and published by Tara Richards (Intern from Peace Boat US).

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