Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Winnipeg Urban Plunge

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 second day, we were paired up with House Blend ministries. We helped out by landscaping throughout the day, however we learned so much about the importance of community. The house that we worked at is owned by House Blend ministries, and it aims to evangelize through community. They have gardens where all the neighbours share the vegetables and the work load that goes into it. The students living at House Blend ministries pretty much open their arms up to the community. While we were there, a random young man walking down the street asked us what we were doing, and who was in charge of us. We directed him to the pastor doing yard work with us and they sat and had a lengthy conversation about Christianity. He ended up leaving with a bible, which was really cool stuff! 

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Canoe Trip Madness

In the beginning there was a canoe trip, and it was good. The canoe trip was a huge success. We survived everything that was thrown our way. In the Outtatown canoe trip, the people were represented by two separate yet equally important groups: group A, who fought the wind and won; and group B, who started off with a turtles pace. These are their stories.

Group A: we started off our day with a howling exit out of the bay. Our cries of excitement could be heard from all corners. We entered the open waters and found the wind to be in our advantage to set up sails and make the trip easy. Right, that idea was slammed back into our faces. Literally. The sail flapped and smacked people in the faces and it carried our giant floatilla (all canoes joined together) in the wrong direction. We detached and powered our way through the winds and the waves to get to our first portage of the trip. We trekked across the land like pack mules carrying everything from point A to B. Our guides, Liz and Rob, assured us we only have to portage twice the entire trip. In the end we had a couple of unexpected portages due to the low water level. We overcame some challenging times. Our second day we faced a storm that seemed like hurricane Katrina to us. We built a canoe fort around our fireplace to shelter us from the strong, cold wind. Some of the members of the team had to bear the hurricane and try to sleep in the tents and risk being carried off to Oz while others found a safe place in the middle of a windless paradise. Ejidos Judaic rights (that's what I get for typing like a cat). We had wonderful times canoeing on calm waters and playing fun games such as: canoe tag and rock, paper, scissors risk. The times were fun and the company and experiences around the campfire were amazing. Enduring all of the cold and wind made us as a group come together more and more. It was awesome to see everyone go through the tough times with a smile on their face. Oh so many great experiences and I don't think I'll be able to fit them all into this one blog. All you really need to know for Group A is that we went, we fought wind and rain, and we conquered with a smile on our face. Also we all have more muscle than when we first started.

Written by: Hugo Malan

Sam & Tausha looking snazzy

Flotilla up!

Canoe shelter


Group B: We started off the trip trekking through canoe-filling waves but our upbeat leaders, Jamie and Amy, kept our spirits high. The second day we encountered rain, hail, wind and even snow. We stopped at an abandoned mine full of old, rundown, buildings and sand dunes. We enjoyed the break from canoeing and played around there for a bit. The next day we were challenged by heavy winds that made it almost impossible to paddle. We battled against the elements and came to an island with a creepy looking mine. Because of that, the freezing temperatures and the fact that we had run out of toilet paper, we had a kind of scary night. On the last day we went cliff diving. Over the course of the trip we learned about beauty and brokeness in nature and our lives. The beauty part of that lesson was very apparent on the trip. The trip was full of aching muscles, cold mornings, bonfires, tons of food, good conversations and bonding.

Written by: Tobi Goertzen

Tobi showing off her mad paddling skills with our guide Jamie

Watching the storm roll in - this is when it hailed...

lunch time!

Matt, Emily, Tausha & Dan having fun


Friendship.  Laughter.  Community.  Prayer.  Support.  Challenges.  Those are just a few of the words that you can use to describe what exists in Outtatown.  Our blog is here to share our experiences, and when words don't quite seem to do a situation justice, we'll throw up a picture or five.  Please be patient though as we put up posts - as crazy as it may seem, sometimes we don't have internet access!

Things are already picking up speed and there should be a few new posts in the next couple days... get ready!

Thanks in advance for your support and prayers.  It's going to be a crazy ride! 

Site 2 South Africa

Posted by: Sandy