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Positive Change One Step at a Time

“We live in a place about which all you hear is killing, so we as Syrian youth have to think of something, albeit small, to change this sadness around us,” explains a member of the Jood Team from Deir Atieh, a town north of Damascus. Out of their collective brainstorm came the idea to transform a long drab staircase into an ascent through vibrant colors.

“We wanted it to be a place of joy in a land of sadness,” the team member says. “So when we found pictures of street art from around the world on the net, we wanted to apply the idea in our town.”

The transformation took twenty people three days: cleaning, sketching and finally painting on the colors. Local reaction was immediate. As painting was being completed, an old woman approached to say she wished the team could paint houses’ interiors in the same style. Another neighbor recently reported that people have been flocking to the site to photograph it. As a first step, the team declares, “we want this to be a stairway of peace.”

For more info – Jood’s Facebook page

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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