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"A thousand mile journey begins with one step"

Archive for May 2011

Tending Sheep, Part Deux

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Trying to look good before the day starts (click for the rest of the pictures)

Organization: The Good Shepherd

Date: April 21, 2011

Location:412 Queen Street East,Toronto

Facilitator: Rebecca Ferguson, Fundraising, Events and Resources Coordinator

About the Organization: “The Good Shepherd Ministries was founded by “Br. Mathias Barrett, an Irish-born Catholic with a passion for serving the poor” in 1955 in New Mexico. The Good Shepherd is named after the stories of the good shepherd, Jesus Christ and His compassionate stature. The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd operates based upon Jesus’ love and care. The ministry grew and found missions in England,Ireland,Haiti and of course,Canada. In 1963,Toronto’s Archbishop Pocock invited the Little Brothers to open a refuge for the poor and needy. The Good Shepherd Centre opened at Queen Street East, “a historically poor area inToronto”. Today, the Good Shepherd besides providing food, clothes and shelter, also aid deprived people get back to their lives through several programs. Some of these programs include, drug rehabilitation programs (DARE) and house resettlement plans. The Good Shepherd is guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ and is “a leading provider of comprehensive services to homeless, disadvantaged and marginalized people”. The Ministry operates thanks to its staff and many volunteers.”

Tasks: Work in the kitchen, cut vegetables and serve lunch

This is our second time back at the Good Shepherd; last time, I had prepared food too but this time around I also served food. Nothing changed in our objective, but this time we have greater understanding while we serve the people that are in need with the dignity and respect they deserve and help them get back on their feet to live their lives fully.

It is truly remarkable to keep giving your time to help other people out. It is a different feeling; it is I think what true happiness is all about. We can never really be happy until we share our fortunes with others. To see other people happy as I serve them, it makes me happy too. It gives me hope that organizations like the Good Shepherd do what they do, we rebuild other people’s lives and I think that is just simply amazing.


Written by Elvin Madamba

May 15, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Posted in Events, Social Justice

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Putting the Tree in Forestry

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That's me doing work! (click for the rest of the pictures)

Organization:Mississauga Urban Forestry

Date: April 15, 2011

Location:Tom Chater Park (3195 The Collegeway, Mississauga)

Facilitator: Hazel McColl, Parks and Forestry Coordinator; John MacKinnon, Urban Forestry Coordinator

About the Organization: The Mississauga Urban Forestry department plays a huge role in maintaining “climate moderation, air and water quality, erosion control, wildlife habitat, and air temperature control”. It is responsible for planting and protecting trees in the parks of Mississauga City.

Tasks: We planted several trees (white oak, pagoda dogwood, witchhazel, sambucus pubens, sugar maple, and chokecherry) and picked up litter at Tom Chater Park.

This was our first time planting trees as a group, so Mr. Neil took us there so we can experience first hand planting trees (we always say, it’s a good thing to do it, so how about we go out and do that, while learning why it is important). So, at Tom Chater Park, we planted trees in the interest of naturalizing the area (meaning, make it be like a forest as it should be but in an urban setting). We also picked up litter to promote cleanliness and the beauty of the park while maintaining a sustainable ecosystem (trash disrupts it through attracting unwanted wildlife or chemicals from trash seeping into soil or trash not decomposing).

By planting trees, we improve the biodiversity of the ecosystem, provide habitat for wildlife, and basically plant a carbon sink; with this, we hope to reverse the trend of climate change in our community. Furthermore, we gain the knowledge and skill set that will help us with our upcoming project of a community orchard. And by cleaning up the park, we make it more inviting and pleasant for people to appreciate its beauty and purpose.

Written by Elvin Madamba

May 15, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Mississauga is the Eco Source

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Mississauga is the Eco Source

We're trying to work that soil (click for the rest of the pictures)

Organization: Ecosource

Date: April 14, 2011

Location: 2nd Floor, Clarke Hall,161 Lakeshore Road West, Mississauga

Facilitator: Carolyn Bailey, Urban Agriculture Program Manager

About the Organization: Ecosource is an organization that focuses on educating the people about environmental responsibility through hands-on involvements. Ecosource started out in Mississauga but has expanded throughout Region of Peel and Ontario. They have green schools, workshops and various other programs.

Carolyn and her colleagues educated us on what agriculture is. They also went on to elaborate on urban agriculture (yes, it is possible to grow our own crops in the city) and its potential for food source, business and whatnot. We also played “crop rotation bingo”! Then, we trimmed some plants and transferred tomatoes to pots.

Ecosource is a great organization that focuses on empowering youth environmentally. Our eyes were opened to the alternatives in our lifestyle that lead to healthy well-being and environment. By growing food and eating locally, we learn that we can greatly reduce our carbon footprint and have a lesser impact on climate change. Some of the stuff Ecosource do is to ‘save’ seeds and make a compost.

In my life, I am a more conscious consumer now, I want to know where my food is coming from and try to find ways that are cost-effective but also reduce my influence on climate change and environmental degradation. Ecosource also reinforced our mission of a community orchard. We take what they are preaching and act on it. With our orchard, we plan on making fruits locally accessible. This greatly reduces carbon emissions on transportation. It also fosters knowledge that shifts public attitude on environmental issues to personal responsibility.

Written by Elvin Madamba

May 15, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Posted in Environmental, Events

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It’s a Treat Patrol!

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It’s a Treat Patrol!

Organization: Office of the Catholic Youth

Date: April 8, 2011

Location: Streets of DowntownToronto

Facilitator: Dean Penafiel, Assisstant Program Coordinator

About the Organization: The Office of Catholic Youth (OCY) serves youth in the Archdiocese of Toronto. They have developed the “3 C’s” that serve as guiding principles for the work they do. The “3 C’s” stand for Celebrating “life, faith and the many diverse gifts of young”, Connecting “them more deeply to God and to one another, becoming the Church of tomorrow while being the Church of today” and Commissioning “them to go make a difference by putting their faith into action and making Jesus Christ’s mission their own”.

We prepared 80 plus lunches (chicken, tuna, cheese and ham sandwiches with drinks and cookies) and the following day we went on a patrol on the homeless/poverty heavy streets of Toronto and handed out the lunch bags.

The Good Shepherd, the Scott Mission and the Daily Bread Foodbank provide food for the less fortunate people. Similarly, we handed out lunches to the homeless, poor and hungry people of downtown Toronto in collaboration with the Office of Catholic Youth. We took a different approach this time around; we were on the streets, we came to the people. We really got to see how tough living on the streets is. It added another dimension to what we know about homelessness and poverty (You’d be surprised how ‘normal’ these people looked, you could’ve sworn they were middle class). We continue to learn about the difficulties of such circumstances and how it is needed for people, for youth especially, to continue to be empathetic and active on these issues.

We have a house to live in, food to eat, and clothes to wear, let us not be selfish and share our blessings. We gave a meal’s worth of food, it may not be a lot, but to the people we gave them to, it could very well be a matter of life and death. These are small acts of kindness but let us look at the big picture. As I have previously mentioned, these small acts, well, they pile up and they can be of significant change. Working with youth oriented groups give me a sense of security, I know that there are youth out there that are interested in making a difference. When we all collaborate, we can definitely tackle the world’s greatest issues but we have to start small and locally. By doing what we did, we pave a way to a future that is interested in eradicating poverty, homelessness and hunger. Four different organizations now, all interested in eliminating these issues. Despite how our future is portrayed, how we are all ‘screwed’, I believe, I put faith that there is a rainbow after the storm.

Written by Elvin Madamba

May 15, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Posted in Events, Social Justice

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HELP: Working with Region of Peel

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(by the way, the Region of Peel’s slogan is “working for you”, that’s where my title comes from, ha!)

Peel Waste Water Facility (click for the album)

Organization: Peel Region Public Works

Date: April 6, 2011 (at Wastewater Facility), April 28, 2011 (at Integrated Waste Management Facility)

Location: Clarkson Wastewater Treatment Facility (near Lake Ontario in Mississauga, west side of Peel) and Integrated Waste Management Facility (7795 Torbram Road,Brampton,Ontario).

Facilitator: Angela Watts, Technical Analyst for Environmental Education

About the Organization: The Region of Peel Public Works “does a lot of things for you and the community [of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon]”. Public Works is everywhere in Peel, it may be at work on our tap water, road improvements, or waste management. The Region of Peel “provides residents with infrastructure and services that we depend on every day”. It focuses on “safe, reliable service that respects the environment as well”.

At the Clarkson Wastewater Treatment Facility, we took a tour of the compound and learned about the cycle of water in the region and how wastewater from homes and industries is processed, treated and brought back to the environment. Furthermore, we learned about some shocking (or not so surprising) statistics regarding water and how much we use. We took a tour as well at the Integrated Waste Management Facility while learning about how the region’s waste is managed through recycling, transporting to landfills or incineration. We were also taught about the recycling program in Peel, differentiating what is recyclable and what is not (it’s quite surprising actually, not all plastics are recyclable, unfortunately). The Region of Peel also makes money from selling recycled materials to various businesses that are interested in such materials.

Prior to our trip to these Region of Peel facilities, I had barely any idea how the regional water makes its way through Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon or how our waste gets managed. After visiting theses facilities, I have now a good understanding of it and almost forces me (in a good way, of course) to be an active citizen and participant in our region. It even makes me appreciate the services we have much more.

Many countries in the world do not have what we have; we are very fortunate. People from Third World countries have to go for miles just to fetch water, dirty or clean. While we have them flowing in our taps. We have to do our part, we must respect the system we have, conserve as much water as we have through different initiatives in our homes (ie. change shower heads to low flow ones, replace toilets with two-flush system) and in our lifestyles (ie. drink from the tap, not from plastic water bottles). Also, continuing from the Third World point, they also generally do not have proper waste management. They are usually forced to live with their waste, therefore, compromising personal and environmental health. Now that I am an aware citizen, I do my best to conserve water and reduce, reuse and recycle; these, all while educating other people too. We should not take the services we have for granted because these are blessings that help us live a more wholesome life that we are very lucky to have. Our environment gives us life; let us not bite the hand that feeds us.

Written by Elvin Madamba

May 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM

“The Legacy of Bin Laden” by Immortal Technique

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Okay, I haven’t posted anything in a while. It’s coming though. I’ve been busy the last April and I will reflect on those soon enough. So, stay tuned!

Anyways, here’s an essay by rapper Immortal Technique that I found a lengthy but worthwhile read. It pitches a background on the Osama issues. Please take your time to read it, as I did.

Here’s the link to the article –

Written by Elvin Madamba

May 2, 2011 at 11:13 PM

Posted in Reposts

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