The urban plunge was an exhilarating, eye-opening experience for site 2 Outtatowners. I speak for myself, and perhaps many of us, when I say that we have grown up and exist in a bubble where we are comfortable, warm, feel safe, and have needs and desires that are continuously met. We live in a bubble where we lock our door when driving through the North End of Winnipeg and where issues of prostitution and homelessness become classified as newspaper stories and statistics instead of real people with a name and a story. Throughout urban plunge, many bubbles popped. We became exposed to the "why" behind issues like high rates of aboriginal suicide, prostitution, and why people might live without a home.
|Megan, Jessica & Dan learning about poverty from Harvey at the Vineyard|
On the first day we participated in a learning tour. We were placed in groups of three and given clues that sent us all around urban Winnipeg. We started off at Siloam, a shelter that supplies food, clothes, medical care, job assistance, art programs, a gym, and a place to sleep to those in need. Here we experimented with charity and were challenged to take the shirt of our back (literally, we traded one of our shirts, jackets, sweaters, etcetera and traded it in for one donated to Siloam). As we walked the streets of Winnipeg we were introduced to various ministries and learned lots about issues surrounding immigration, gangs, homelessness and prostitution. We were encouraged to take time to talk to people we encountered on the street and to take someone out for coffee.
On the second and third days we were given the opportunity to connect with a specific ministry for a whole day. The first day my group helped out at the clothing drop at Siloam. We opened bags upon bags of donated clothes, which we subsequently folded, hung and positioned in their proper places.
|Megan & Emily at the Multi-Cultural Family centre|
|Emily, Matt & Tobi working at House Blend laying sod|
The Urban plunge was unreal, an epic adventure. It was a fantastic learning experience for us Outtatowners and has forever changed our perspective of inner city issues!
Written by: Alisha Attema
Video by: Carol McNaughton