Neyaashiinigmiing

Learning experience

My experience in Neyaashinnigmiing was filled with opportunities to meet Natives and learn about the connection between what we know as sustainability and their common knowledge of protecting the land and water. I think there are a lot of misconceptions, and perhaps I held some of those stereotypes as well, that the traditions of the Native people are lost. What I have learnt is that if anything the traditions are thriving. Considering the system has been set out to make sure inequality, especially among the Natives, remains, it is a wonder that a community could be so resilient. I am a witness to the inequality, by learning about the issue of housing on the reserve, and I sat through a land claims hearing that is only meant to discredit the fact that the Natives of Canada were here before any of us. I have learnt how subtle inequality functions in our society. Inequality now perpetuates through technicalities. Regulations, financing, purchases all require written code and have loopholes due to the nature of our Treaty system. Natives can be swindled out of opportunity simply because the Canadian government does not want to address how to incorporate the Treaty system into our own established paradigm. Before anything can truly be done about inequality, acknowledging the root causes must be done first. I believe the root causes of the inequalities in our society stems very much from denial. Governments deny the history of when the inequalities in society really started to become disparaged. Even when it comes to addictions, mental illness, and homelessness in our society, recognition of individualized histories of how these members of society become vulnerable is ignored. There are a lot of assumptions in society like as long as you have education, health care or employment, that is enough for you to sustain yourself. But it is not enough, humans go through stresses, which I think relates a lot to seeing the devastation in the world. Seeing nature being treated the way it is, feeling helpless to this, and feeling helpless when it comes to seeing wars, or famines in the world as well. Humans are living in an unsustainable world, and the call to action feels weak at times. But speaking on these issues and showing a counter argument to what is seen as the cultural norm, can change minds and hearts when it comes to voting and making sustainable choices.

Staying on the reserve

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Staying in Neyaashinnigmiing, changed my outlook on Native communities from reading so much, to actually meeting the people that I did. When one of the Native fishermen was sharing his story, I was overwhelmed with tears. I had to step outside into the cold, and felt the air like never before. I felt like I was suffocating when the cold air filled my lungs, it quickly stopped my tears. That is the power of storytelling, of sharing experiences. Face to face conversations moves the objective story away from the forefront and the true human emotions come forward. Understanding does not come from books only, it comes from our lived experiences. To truly believe in change, you must value what you know.

What we can do

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The key to sustainability is individuals’ choices. By raising awareness, and questioning people’s core beliefs in what they hold to know to be true about the environment, about themselves, and about the interaction between oneself and nature. The Bagadiwaad-Alliance will continue to educate students, sowing seeds of knowledge throughout communities in Ontario. I have learnt too much now to not try to take that seed and let it grow throughout the Centennial College community. The biggest lesson I took from the global experience program is what pride means to me. Understanding pride, also means understanding shame. I am proud to be Canadian and I am proud of how beautiful the land is here. I am also ashamed that my choices could potentially contribute to a climate and food crisis. Every choice I make can be as small as treading a needle to as large as being a leader in motivating others to make more sustainable choices. We are humans, we can make mistakes, but we can also make the choice to correct them as that is the power of freewill. Every choice we make is an exchange with mother earth. Everything is matter from nature, from the concrete we walk on to the beautiful flowers we see. Mother earth can teach us as well as sustain us. If we listen with our minds, hearts, and intuition, we will protect future generations.

– Oriana Cardarelli-Goddard, GCELE

 

 

FLIP PERU 2019

It was a great honor to be a part of Faculty Led International Program #FLIPPERU organized by #centennialcollege. Group of 10 students from Food science Technology department along with a professor and chair person started the trip. The program involved setting up a pilot plant at IESTP, ILLIMO by applying our technical knowledge in real time and helping them in designing the process flow for dairy and Jam products, developing #SSOPs, #GMPs and providing recommendations for all the #prerequisite programs. We also got the opportunity to meet the Ministry of Education, Lima and Regional Governor of Lambayeque. Apart from this, field tour to Banana plantation, Guinea Pig farm, Apicola Apiculutre, Agro farms were the highlight which gave us practical knowledge about the food industries.

Through this great opportunity I gained technical knowledge and most importantly learnt to work with a team of 10 students from different parts of the Country and achieve common goal.

Apart from all the technical experience it was a fun filled trip visiting museums and understanding their civilization, enjoyed with the group at Lima and Chiclayo beaches, buying souvenirs from local markets and most importantly exploring the local Peruvian food.

Thank you @centennial_sage #SaGEJourneys for providing such a wonderful opportunity. Many thanks to #Professor Xavier Aguirre and #Chair Steve Boloudakis for organizing and helping us, without their support this trip wouldn’t be possible. Special mention to the Illimo, Peruvian partners for their hospitality and kindness. #GlobalExperience

Thank you – Kalaiselvi Vasudevan

A Student in Scotland

I think I can finally safely say I am over most of the Jet lag (Ha!). I woke up with a good nights rest and went to prepare some breakfast and green tea for myself and my roommate, Monica. We were out relatively early today, as Monica and I have a meeting at 9am with our program coordinator, to go over our finalized timetables. We were both excited and nervous on our walk to school this morning (Fun Fact: The sun really doesn’t come up here until around 9am). So, we have both learned to do most things in the dark lol! (Which also saves on electricity, thumbs up for sustainability).
 
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As we walked to the university (about a ten-minute walk from our flat), we shared our excitement and nerves regarding our upcoming semester at the University of the West of Scotland. Upon arrival, we met with our coordinator who happens to be from Greece (so he has both a Greek and Scottish accent mushed into an entirely different fraken-accent). He’s great. He was able to work out and give us our identical timetables and… guess what! We only have three classes (due to credit sizing conversion between Canada and the UK). This meaning, we only have classes on Wednesday mornings and Thursday’s. Giving us five extra days for exploring, study and whatever else we can get ourselves into, Woohoo!
 
After discussing enrolment and some paperwork; Monica and I were free for the rest of the day. I ended up buying a University sweater to show some UWS pride (and it’s a plus because it’s very warm!). We got hungry around 1pm, so we decided to go to “Malatso” (a cafe located near campus,  as they carry a vegan menu and have student discounts!).
 
I had a delicious vegan mini “Scottish breakfast”, it was very tasty! Monica also enjoyed a baked potato, which is a staple food here in Scotland. After eating, we explored the town of Paisley together and finally bought pillows for our flat!! Yay! (no more sleeping on my airplane neck pillow…lol). For the remainder of the afternoon, we took some photos together and explored the old churches in the area. The main attraction here in Paisley (the town we are staying in, near Glasgow), is “The Paisley Abbey”, which is an old church that dates back to the 12th century! It is so beautiful and we are so lucky as it can be seen from our flat window.
 
After finishing our exploring for the day, we visited Morrison’s (a UK grocery store), to do some food shopping and use their wifi. We are loving all the new and exciting products that are offered here. What an adventure it has been. When we got home, I made us some long-grain rice and vegetables for supper (alongside some trustee convenience store bananas! Which are surprisingly very good).
 
I finished packing my school bag for tomorrow and prepared myself for bed. I went to bed around 9pm. I know that seems early, but since it gets dark so early, we feel tired much quicker. Also, we did a ton of walking today.
 
Tomorrow marks the first official day of classes!! We are both so excited!
Love and Greeting from Bonnie Scotland!
 
You can continue to follow Monica and I’s adventures by following us on our Instagrams;
Melanie: @melanie_mueller5
Monica: @milamoniquemara

Prince Edward Island, the birthplace of Canada.

Words cannot describe how amazing and humbling my experience with Habitat for Humanity PEI has been. This past week, I had the opportunity to work alongside some of Centennial College’s most hard-working, respectful and hilarious staff and students whom I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet outside of being selected for the GCELE. Additionally, I had the chance to meet and work with some of Habitat for Humanity’s most dedicated and inspiring employees and volunteers.

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Prior to this GCELE trip, I had attended a HFH volunteer orientation session in Toronto a couple of years ago. I didn’t commit to any builds at the time so I wasn’t sure of what to expect on this trip to PEI. With this trip, I was thrown into close living quarters with 13 strangers. We had little Internet access, very few hours of screen time, communal accommodations and a structured schedule set by Habitat for Humanity.

Here are some things that I learned while on this GCELE:

  • Hearing individuals’ stories of hardship and perseverance make way for personal reflection and feelings of gratitude. One of the restaurants we went to during the week was Sadat’s Cuisine in Charlottetown. The Sadat family of seven came to PEI as refugees in 2007 (article here). And with the help of Habitat for Humanity, the Sadat family was built the biggest home on PEI to date to accommodate their large family. While Said Akbar Sadat was telling his family’s heart wrenching story about coming to Canada and starting over, his voice was filled with love and appreciation for the kindness and gifts they’ve received.
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  • Teamwork, pitching in and cooperation are vital interpersonal skills – especially when drywalling! We were there to help build a house for a family in need – there was no room for people to slack off and not participate in the daily tasks assigned.
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  • You are bound to experience discomfort and inconveniences – you’ve just got to suck it up and stick it out! I can confidentially say that I had the most mosquito bites of our group on this trip. My left eyelid was swollen for the first half of the trip with a bug bite below my brow line and one under my eye making me look like a female Quasimodo without the hunchback. Showers, bathroom and the kitchen were shared spaces so you had to be mindful of others. There may be snorers amongst the people that you’re sharing a room. Your everyday comforts and luxuries are not always readily available, so find better ways to spend your time. Another takeaway from this point? Bring lots of insect repellent and ear plugs.

I had a wonderful time in PEI and I am so grateful to have experienced it through Centennial’s amazing GCELE program. From my experience, Islanders are very friendly and gracious people. The lifestyle there is very relaxed compared to Toronto and there’s very little traffic on the roads. There’s a strong sense of community and pride in PEI… I mean it is the birthplace of Canada after all.

PEI-bridge

Fiona Lui
Children’s Media post-graduate program
PEI TEAM #2

Habitat for Humanity and the Learning

The last blog I wrote I talked about specific experiences that were very valuable in my learning throughout my trip in PEI. This one is more about what Habitat is all about and the learning that I experienced personally. First off Habitat for Humanity is a not for profit organization that helps families that are in need of affordable housing. To qualify you must make a certain amount of money a year, put in 500 hours of volunteer work for Habitat and the family also pays a mortgage back to Habitat for Humanity and that money goes to making another Habitat house for another family. That is pretty incredible in my mind because the families put in the time and buy paying the mortgage of there house Habitat is able to provide other families with the same opportunities to fit their needs.

Personally I did not know what to expect going on a GCELE for Habitat for Humanity within Canada. There are differences in culture even in the same country! Their highways are different, their traffic lights are different, the air is different and the people are different. They are so relaxed, calm and friendly. You hardly ever go out without seeing someone you know. I personally like this small tight community because I am a very friendly and social person who loves to talk. There was a lot more physical work than I expected! Our team and myself personally pushed ourselves above and beyond what I thought I and our team was capable of. I never envisioned myself shingling a roof. That was an incredible and confidence boosting experience. It was also an emotional and mental roller coaster. We had to learn how to work with others who come from all different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. We also lived in very close proximity to each other for 8 days which can be tough having little privacy. Being able to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself to get out of bed even when I was exhausted and sore was hard. But something I always said throughout this trip was that this trip was not about me. Every time I said that I was able to move forward. I became mentally and emotionally stronger because I was tired, sore and still worked. If you got hurt we would stop pull ourselves together and keep going. That’s just how our team worked. We worked so well as a team and their is no other group of people I would of rather built this house with than them.

Thank you to Centennial College, Habitat for Humanity PEI and all the people that made this trip possible. I truly learned a lot and can proudly and confidently say I am a stronger person physically, mentally and emotionally.

This is just a little video I put together about my team and I on our trip and the experiences we had the opportunity to have!

Rebecca Harber

Habitat for Humanity PEI

GCELE PEI Team 1

Early Childhood Education Program

The Changing Experience

Being chosen to go on a GCELE within Canada – PEI I did not really understand why in Canada as I did not see absolute poverty in Canada which was my idea of poverty. Although Canada has a lot of relative poverty such as living pay check to pay check. After meeting the family at the welcome dinner I started to understand why I was here. Erika (the mother) also wrote us the letter below which was so nice to read after meeting her.

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I realized that this trip was not about me but to serve others. I still had not seen the awe factor of what my hard work was going to do for a family to its full extent until Day 4.

Journal entry Day 4,

Erika and Alyannah (the family we were building a house for) showed up this afternoon to see the progress on the house and they were so happy. When I asked Alyannah (the child) where her room was she would run to her window inside and say look this is my room banging on the window with such a big smile on her face. That was worth it all, to see her face was incredible. Aly asked me if we could go out back to see the work we had done on her house so I went with her. I brought her back inside and Erika came up to me and said thank you so much. She was like I am just going to give you a hug. That was absolutely amazing to be apart of.

This encounter/entry made me realize what we were doing was giving a family such joy, hope, safety and love. They were so thankful by the end of the week of what our team had accomplished. We built the entire foundation of her two bed room, one bathroom home. At the end of the week the family and Habitat for Humanity PEI thanked us with a thank you dinner. Erika and Alyannah were so thankful! Alyannah gave us each one of these unique frames below with a map of PEI on it. Alyannah had drew a heart on it where we built her house. It was absolutely precious to see her face and for such a shy little girl at the beginning of the week to come out of her shell and love us so much!

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Myself and Erika top left, Myself and Alyannah top right, and the thank you gift from Alyannah on the bottom.

Rebecca Harber

Habitat for Humanity PEI

GCELE PEI Team 1

Early Childhood Education Program