Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On My Mind

Darcy, a professional photographer, has been following Julie around for about 18 years, taking pics of her from her homes in the backstreets of San Francisco to the backwoods of Alaska. His portfolio of 11 images is called The Julie Project. Get a glimpse into her tragic life here.
(Julie, by the way, will break your heart. Her first memory of her mother is getting drunk with her at 6 and then being sexually abused by her stepfather. She ran away at 14 and became drug addict at 15.)

I looked at this link last week and it's haunting me. 
At what point in Julie's life, realistically, could things have turned around for her? Or was she doomed from the start? How many adults in her life let her down? Is there a Julie in my life? 


A group of grade 12 students from our school went to Nicaragua recently and kept a blog.
Mr. Sawatzky (the teacher that headed up the Europe trip I went on with Max in 2005) was the coordinator for this trip ... and this is what he writes about his motivation for this global ed class trip: 

Twenty years ago give or take (ok, actually 21 years ago) a great man and pioneer in education launched an adventure that would change the 6 students it engaged and in many ways blazed a trail for education across Canada.  That man was Bob Carkner, my high school principal.  In the spring of 1989 Mr. Carkner called me into his office one day, soon after I was elected student council president.   He had an expression on his face that I came to understand as excitement as one of his dreams was about to hatch.  He said, you know, we have relationship with an orphanage in Guatemala through an orphan we sponsor, Juan Mario.  I think we should put together a team of students and go there to work.  As the plan unfolded I became aware that Mr. Carkner had included me in an incredible dream and my life’s watershed moment.   In March 1990 a team of 6 students, a teacher, a television documentary crew and Mr. Carkner set out on a great adventure; a global education trip! That trip was the first ever humanitarian work trip in the developing world to be launched from a public school in Canada.    As I reflect on the Guatemala experience I had as a grade 12 student on the eve of the Nicaragua trip with my students, I am astounded and humbled by the strings of influence and legacy that project out from that dream and experience.   Guatemala….simply…changed my life.   It would be an understatement to call those 12 days transformational, they were far more than that.   They were galvanizing, clarifying and challenging!      It provided me with an overarching ideal that has shaped the rest of my life that is the cause of our global world, for which Mr. Carkner was so passionate.  Now as we prepare to depart, here in 2011, hoping in small ways to touch lives and transform our own, Mr. Carkner’s legacy continues to play out its story.  That is the beautiful nature of the tapestry of our lives; the stories and patterns are eternal in their interconnections. 

Mr. Carkner passed away recently, but his son, a doctor, and his granddaugher joined Ray and the Fundy gang on their adventure. 

Read the blog, written mostly by the students themselves, and see how impactful their trip has been. 

One last thing. 
There's a story in the blog that gave me goosebumps. 
You see, our school has partnered with a school/community in Nicaragua that has been built on a city dump. Imagine the smell and sights and despair and disease and multiply it by 10. The project has been to help get the children of the dump educated so that they have a chance of a better life. 
Last year, two of the teachers asked how many of the school's graduates went on to higher education - to university. The answer was none. 
So the teachers asked about starting a scholarship fund, to provide financial assistance... would that help?
The answer was no. It wasn't a matter of money (university is relatively inexpensive there) ; it was the entrance exam... none of the public schools' students have been able to pass the test. 
I'll let Ray tell the rest of the story: 

 So last year, a group of people in our community began to raise a fund for the tutoring for the entire senior class at Cama.  The students completed their studies with tutoring for all 30 students and in December they wrote the entrance exams.  Twelve….twelve…of them qualified to go on to university.    That in and of itself is amazing and transformational, but there is one last piece….one of those seniors, a young man wrote the entrance exam for engineering, finished 1st among all students who applied for engineering, literally the best in Nicaragua.   This is a young man for whom the road blocks would have otherwise been too great.  His family could not have invested in the tutoring and his life would have likely taken the path towards day labour like most of the rest of this community.  He has an opportunity now to choose his future, not have it defined for him through the context he was born into.

Inspiring, no?

We are so lucky.
Our kids are so fortunate.

How are we responding to the hurting and homeless?

Those Letters from the Gulag have really messed with me. Everywhere I look these days I see struggling and pain. What is my response? What is God asking me to do?

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Friends who don't mind talking about these things with me.
2. Drew's cold is finally getting better. And it looks like I escaped getting it. 
3. The skies were clear in the south west this afternoon, and as I drove north east the trees were lit up stunningly. LOVE that.


No comments: