Wednesday, April 28, 2010


     Today I have heard something said a few times in a few different ways: take care of yourself first before you take care of other people. I can understand why people in Canada would think this, but at the same time it can make me so frustrated that people can take this way of living to an extreme. I can understand wanting to make sure that we all have everything that we need to survive but at the same time we should remember that our community and what our collective needs to survive. Maybe it is because of our lack of community that is easy to not find in Canada (or parts of it at least). We seem to forget that we need our community as much as it needs us in order to survive. As humans we need companionship to be able to function. This is why we have punishments which involve solitary confinement. This is also why we have a common fear at some point that we are going to end up alone. We need our fellow human beings and we need a sense of belonging in a community. Why is it then, that we Canadians have become so skilled at pushing away those people and that community that we need?

     Since I have volunteered at St. John's Kitchen I can already feel the difference and the impact that this experience has had on my life. I feel like I am making small changes in my daily behaviours. They are tiny baby steps but at least they are in a good direction. I have previously described how homeless people sometimes made me nervous when I passed them in the streets of Toronto. I would not even acknowledge them! Think about that for a few moments, I would not acknowledge a fellow human being just as I would an object that I was passing by. Now I understand and have grown for my experiences that I have had at St. John's. I recognize how important it is to embrace our community with open arms. I was stunned with how the community does not try to shun you but they open their arms right back and accept you. Being in that community was a different way of being. Everyone was friendly and was willing to have company as they ate their meal. There was no sense of people who were better looking down on those who were not. It was an amazing environment to be present in, even if I was not able to be there as much as I would like to have been now that I look back on this past term.

     Now taking this thought pattern and bringing it back a little bit more. We should not be thinking solely of our needs with no regard to our community. Our community has so much that it is able to offer us. I, personally, have grown up for a large part of my life without a sense of community where I was living. When I moved away from my childhood home I was torn away from my original community where the neighbours were friendly and everyone knew everyone's name. I have moved several times and have seen a difference from my first home. There is no sense of community where I move and people keep to their own homes. Many times I have heard that we should take care of ourselves before we try to reach out to others but I do not believe that this is true! We always have something that we can offer our community and there will always be something that our community has to offer us back. I understand that communities cannot be created overnight but there are some baby steps that we all need to start to make. We should stop judging people because of what stereotype that they fall under, a person from a developing nation, a person who is homeless or our neighbour. We need to open our arms to everyone in our community because we are all humans and we all need that community to help support us. Everyone needs something and we can grow as a community if we all start thinking of each other and working towards bettering our community. We all have so much that we are able to share with each other.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Havoc in Europe?

Article Link

The article which is linked above is about the volcano which has erupted and has disturbed many flights. For the past few days I have been watching TV with an intensity, focusing on the news. There seems to be a volcano which has been creating havoc in Europe. Passengers have not been able to go to Europe and passengers have not been able to leave Europe. It is said that volcanoes erupt for one to two months at a time. This creates a bit of an issue for all of us who have a connecting flight in England and most importantly for my classmate who is going to Eastern Europe. I hope that everything clears up for us to leave this summer! We can only wait and see what happens.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

Here is a nice update for everyone or an exam break for some. Finding everything that I am going to need for Africa in my true thrifty manner has proved to be interesting. I am trying to find out what needs to be bought high end and what can be bought at the dollar store. I never thought that these expenses would tally up the way that they have been! Luckily the bracelet sales have given a little extra money after the expenses of fundraising. A tip to future BBers: keep fundraising well after the $2 000, you will find ways to make it useful in travelling supplies which need to be bought! One of the most expensive things that I have purchased so far is my backpack. It cost $100 for a 65L pack. I bought this one second hand. There are other things such as water purification which needs to be bought still. I need three or four of them! I have been spending my last month walking around my house and noticing things that I fully take for granted. Exhibit A: Running clean tap water. I am not going to have the luxury of clean running tap water for four months! I keep wondering what that is going to be like. For those of you who may not know me very well there is one thing that you should know: I drink a lot of water. When I say a lot I don’t mean like two glasses at dinner, I mean 5-6 glasses of water at dinner sometimes. It’s hard to believe that so many people are not entitled to the same luxury that we take for granted every day. I know right now that it will be the hardest obstacle for me to face, to be responsible for continuously purifying my own water.
Other things I take for granted: laundry. I get to put all of my clothes into a laundry machine and add a little soap, leave and when I return all of my clothes are clean. It’s amazing isn’t it? That is another luxury that I am going to have to learn to live without. I keep thinking about how I need to start imagining new ways that I am going to have to do everything. I have been camping before but it was for three days at the most and by the time we got back we were happy. I know this isn’t going to be like living in the bush with no luxuries at all, but there are going to be changes which are going to need to be made. I am interested to see what changes are going to have to be made.
I was on youtube looking up the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community. This is an amazing video that I found. The video focuses on the HIV/AIDS program but it made me excited for working in the community:

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Am Done!

I am done my fundraising! It is such a relief to be able to say that! I would just like to say thank-you to everyone who helped, everyone who joined a facebook group, everyone who gave an extra dollar, everyone who helped to carry boxes and everyone who just came by when we were holding a fundraising event. For everything that everyone has done, thank-you.

Since I'm such a blogging nerd you will probably hear from me before I leave again. Thank-you for all of you who follow this blog!