Involvements

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You’re My Girl

These are some of my girls. Girls that I’ve come to love oh so much in such a short amount of time. Girls that make me laugh, and help me  especially to love. Girls that also make me cry, but I’ll hold their hands nevertheless when come to me in confidence and share their aching hearts with me with things like:

“I’ve never felt like I was pretty enough” or “I get bullied every day at school and sometimes wish I wasn’t alive,” or even “starving myself for days to lose weight because people tell me I’m overweight.”

WHAT?! Words like these actually come from other ELEVEN year olds?! This just does not make any sense to me!


Conversations like these reaffirm the responsibility we all share and have for one another; to comfort, support and encourage each other when it feels like you’re fighting a battle with a team of one, or because we simply can’t do so for ourselves.

These are the faces of our future women – our future leaders, mothers, activists, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs and the list goes on! But, you see, we must teach them well. We must teach them to not entertain even the idea of hatred, neglect, ignorance, jealousy, envy nor greed, but to be consumed by and operate out of humility, generosity, respect and love. That is not the responsibility of just one person, or that of a few people, but one that we ALL have to each other.

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Seemingly Insignificant, Yet Precious!

        Change rarely comes in like a tidal wave or earthquake. Real, lasting change comes along slowly: one person at a time, the ‘pay it forward’ kind of change, the one drop in the bucket until it becomes an ocean change. Investing in change is an act of faith. You do the right thing for another because you believe in their value and worth, and as you do, you trust that something contagious might be kicked  off,  and yet, if it doesn’t you do it anyway, simply because it is right. And ‘right’ doesn’t need to be perceived or recognized, for right is just right because it is.

“You do the right thing for another because you believe in their value and worth…”

The students of our little high school in Kibombomene, Zambia surprised the group of teachers and volunteers the other day. After drawing them all to a room under false pretences, they commenced to tell each how much they meant to them. With song, words of encouragement, poems and skits they communicated  with sincerity just what these adults meant to them. Their uneven and young efforts of acknowledgment were met with tears of laughter and appreciation, and smiles of satisfaction. Little things. Small expressions. These are the things that people the world over hunger for. These are the things, one by one that change the world.

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Another Journey, Another Adventure!

Every relationship an extraordinary adventure, every person a universe of dreams and ideas. Eight years ago I met a young woman named Marissa who from that first encounter impressed me with her passion for life and people. I often say; “If you have a dream that involves making a better world or changing the world for another, talk with me. Maybe together we can achieve reality.” When Marissa first told me about her dream I was stunned. Now, years later her dream has transformed into a place where young girls are becoming women, where quality education is being delivered to those who otherwise would never have access to it, and where a village(s) is being transformed by hope.

I am at this moment on my way to visit Marissa in Kibombomene, Zambia. Together we will be working with the girls, appointing a Board of Directors, seeking greater Zambian partnership and clarifying the staff team.  It will be a busy few days.  At many places in the world little lighthouses or beacons of light are popping up.  Places where people are working hard to bring about change and growth and to make sure that life is vibrant.

Marissa is a dear ‎friend and a great inspiration, it is a great honour to journey with her.

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A slice of heaven?

My pal Dave and his good wife Anna bought the farm. No, they actually bought a farm! Really!

And in doing so made it abundantly clear to me that this property with its rolling hills, old barn, fields, sheds and house was to be used in the service of people. “ Bring your students, friends and families!” I clearly remember him telling me.

So I did!

The occasion was the 2014 Canadian Thanksgiving. I invited friends and they came from all over; Chinese MBA students, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Sudanese, South Sudanese,  Kenyans… and together this hotchpotch  of colours and cultures gathered to swap stories, eat food, admire the vivid almost florescent maple leaves, and eat… almost forgot the eat piece!  Many have a concept of heaven… floating on clouds, eternal bliss of some kind, golden streets, gardens and rivers, but for me, as I walked around that old, largely restored farm house I could not help but think of heaven.

“This is what it has be like”, I told someone. “laughter, community, engagements, beauty, peace, some eating, others chattering, some preparing, others kicking a soccer ball… people from each continent together celebrating“… a diverse,  flowing throng of colour, language, heritage, experience, life philosophies.  There we were just people together… how rich, how very rich… we were just people being together. And if that isn’t a slice of heaven, well I really cannot begin to imagine what it might be like!

 

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Future of Africa

Future of Africa was founded to transform lives and villages.

Many world communities are broken and hungry for change yet our behaviours are founded on beliefs that limit our human potential. Community development requires a change in the consciousness of new leadership, and a renewed sense of culture for a good quality of life. The change we seek calls for a generational transformation in our values, beliefs and attitudes, through small acts of great love and service. We have a heart for the world, but our context is Africa.

Africa will develop through the hands of children and youth, who take leadership responsibilities for change in their communities. As such, we believe the time is now for young Africans to become invested in the lives of people, to serve and lead the change.

Follow Future of Africa’s current adventure on the streets of Accra, where they engage their street family and together discover how they too can be the future of Africa

futureofafrica.org

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Onzole River Project

The Onzole River Project is one of the projects that the people of Life Change have had the priviledge to kickstart. There have been years of involvement among the long forgotten AfroEcuaodrian communities of northern Ecuador and recently even more remote indigenous people. During this time we have assisted the communities to come to the place where they have a renewed hope and confidence in the future. And they have opened our eyes to so many of life’s realities.

After many generations characterized by neglect, abuse, and maltreatment, and with little hope for change, LCA was invited by local leaders to become involved in making a difference in the Onzole River communities.  Partnering with Canadians already resident in the country, we helped form the Onzole River Team. Since 2007, LCA teams have been working diligently with the community to restore a school, build a vocational workshop, and construct the Community Learning Center. Our commitment to resource local leadership, providing them with the help they desire, sees us always aware of the need to transition leadership into their capable hands.

www.onzole.org

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Lighthouse of Hope Camp

A gem of a camp facility on the shores of the Pacific Ocean provides a context for many children and youth to come out of the chaos, and often danger, of the city to the peace and safety of the beach. It is far easier in this context for people to discover their real value and what really matters in life.

 

The camp is located outside the community of Bastion Popular, on the edge of the city of Guayaquil. It lies on the Pacific coastline and is called, Faro de Esparanza” (Lighthouse of Hope). Established in 2003 to serve the youth and families of Guayaquil, this facility has become a safe and welcoming place for many, providing opportunity to reflect on and consider some of the very important and valuable lessons of life. Yearly, during the Ecuador summer season (January – March), we join the camp leadership team and help create an affordable and lively experience for hundreds of youth who otherwise would spend their summers with few if any alternative activities.

 

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Hope of Bastion

Over the years this little school has become a source of life and enlightenment for an entire community and thousands of children.

Bastion Popular has been an important destination for LCA teams for many years.  This urban slum area is located in the northern tip of the port city of Guayaquil, Ecuadorand is home to a quickly growing population that exceeds 200,000 people.  Our involvement in the community has taken place among families with a particular focus on a school called “Hope of Bastion School(Grades K-6).   Started in 1997, this special place is a safe haven in what is often a sea of bewildering choices providing little reason for confidence in the future.  Life can be very hard for the poor, so in this place called “Hope” the children and their parents have an opportunity to discover something about unconditional love.  This place exists as an undeniable testimony to the faithful support and encouragement of many.