Monday, August 17, 2009

20 things i love about vancouver

so, in the event that I possibly might be leaving vancouver coming thursday, I thought that I might write a tribute...

the last 3 weeks have been amazing, and to have this time to savour Vancouver has been well appreciated.... this is in no particular order.

1) Cafe artigiano
2) riding my bike to horseshoe bay
3) the outdoor pool at UBC
5) The foundation
6) waking up to the snowcapped mountains.
7) the commercial drive/main st combo
8) the cinnamon buns at Solly's
9) St James Church
10)Pacific Multisport
11) waking up at 6am to do the grouse grind, and the view from the top

12) the sunset from lorcarno beach
13) the cherry blossoms in the spring
14) fresh seafood
15) being able to wake up at sea level in a city, drive 45 minutes, hike up a mountain and sit at the top of 2,319 m (the black tusk!), hike back, and return to sea level to go to a "siesta party" at swanky mansions in the evening (which is what I did on saturday! 33km round trip hike... which i still feel today!)
16) that little harbour ferry in false creek.

17) that we have beaches that are rocky, sandy, clothed, and clothing optional
18) the new bike lane on burrard st. bridge, especially the north end... well... the freedom that biking allows me in this city. and, all year long. and, riding out to iona beach, and eating at the flying beaver.
19) that there are oceans and mountains. in the same place.
20) my friends. my friends. my friends.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


outward bound quote of the day:
"Change is inevitable, enjoy it. "
- Dr Brian Smith

and, another video for you all... I am progressively uploading onto youtube, so you can look me up "roweramo" Many of them will be linked here, but not all of them. so have fun! i have had fun with them...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

exciting happenings, and the kids...

so, right off the bat, i want to comment on some amazing happenings in my life right now...

When I got back to Canada, I was a little overwhelmed with what I was supposed to be doing. And, i wanted to try and work, and i wanted to "do" stuff. And, it was amazing, 'cause the God just told me: "no, don't do anything. savour your time. savour your relationships. savour your home. relax. and, ps... trust. 'cause I will provide." and, in the short time that I have been home, i have been greatly blessed with all of it. yesterday, I found out that I may have the possibility of a job already in MOntreal, coaching rowing. Also, today, when I woke up, I found an email saying that I am approved for a student loan. amazing. it is amazing when you know that "all things work together for good..." (Rom 8:28).

in other worlds, can I say how wonderful it is to get running and cycling and swimming again?! dang... it feels so good! (the first little while didn't feel good, but it does now!). And, i am currently on a "detox from all the carbs i ate this summer while cooking for 29 kids." diet. pretty much that means: be serious about getting back to a diet filled with fruit and veggies and protein. sigh... heaven!

the team during bible study

So, on my team this summer, we had 29 amazing kids. And, it was unbelieveable. we had 3 canadians, everyone else was from the states: minnesota to texas, california to virginia. they were 13-19 and as diverse as you can imagine. and, it was in these kids that you realize about how each person is so incredibly different from one another, and although you treat them as a team, each person has their own struggles, and victories and stories. For 8 weeks, these kids are your life. and, you carry thier lives: you carry their passports, their spending money, their medication, their food, their plane tickets, their trust, and hopefully, their respect and friendship.
At debrief. me, nick, "spoon"

You have to expect that there might be the chance that at 2am someone will come get you because their tentmate is puking all over the tent. you have to expect that kids will fall, and gash open their legs on rocks and need stiches. you have to expect that there will be times where you want to get angry with them, and times where you want to cry with them, and times which you want to laugh with them, and times where you want to not let them go home to bad situations.

On the way out, in the back of a "taptap"

One of the most amazing things over the course of the summer was the night where I got to wash their feet. For those of you who don't know, during the last supper (in the bible, before Jesus was going to die), he washed the feet of his disciples, as an act of servanthood. following in this example, I wanted to wash the feet of the kids... and, im saying, the feet are not the nicest thing, when you wear 6-8inch workboots all summer long. we are talking jungle rot, calleses, blisters. you name it, they had it. and, with each person, i gave a word of encouragement or wisdom into their lives. and, it was scary. I was shaking. and, it was amazing. I can't tell you how many of them came up to me at later times, and was like "this is exactly what i needed to hear... thank you." and, to me, that is why i went on this trip.Luke having a little shut on, on the worksite, during a foggy afternoon.

I know, i know, that they had life changing experiences. I know that when they would play with the local kids, or when they would hold/feed orphans at the sister of charity orphanage in port-au-prince, or when they first discovered what a squattie pottie is, or when every day they would have to trek down the mountain, and back up with a 5 gallon bucket of water, or when they would dig/level a never ending basketball court, or when they would have deep conversations with eachother, or when their tents would flood, or when they saw prayers being answered:
their lives were changed...

and, so here is to those kids, who also changed my life. I miss you, and i am praying that you are being encouraged on your transistion home. do not forget what you have learnt this summer while in haiti...

During bootcamp, at the pool, when we won the "clean award"

Monday, August 10, 2009

followup newsletter!

so, I am adding pdf of a newsletter that I have written as a follow-up to my trip. If you were one of my supporters, or were prayer partner for me, you should be receiving a hard copy in the mail soon! (Although it leaves a paper trail, it is always nice to read something on paper...)
I hope you enjoy the newsletter: it is not super long, but it is super fancy ;) Let me know if you would like to have a hard copy of it, or if there is anyone else that you think would enjoy to have a copy. Please keep in touch! I would love to hear from you :)

click on images to enlarge!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The country of Haiti

Following bootcamp, we flew down to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We arrived on about the 20th of June, and prepared for our trip up to the project site. We were met my Lance Ware, the missionary that we would be working with, and others from his ministry. We were lucky that all but two bags showed up... however... the two peices of luggage that were not there were our oven, and a water igloo packed with food, and other kitchen supplies. needless to say, because we didn't have the oven, we did a lot of cooking with oil for that first week and a half...

we piled up into the vans, and it was a typical "developing country ride." squishing too many people, and too much luggage into a small-ish vehicle, driving like mad through the city, all while avoiding potholes, other vehicles, and random people in the streets. My first impression while driving out of the airport was "dang... this is so much like africa." and, although there are a good number of similarities, it was interesting how that thought changed throughout the course of the summer. so, we went through the capital, and I could just imagine how overwhelemed the kids felt at this point. the first time through something like that is sooooo mind blowing. it just breaks your heart. and, then we started up the mountains, and exited the city. we traveled up a "paved" road, and then onto a not-so-paved road, and then were dropped off, and walked the rest of the way to our project site. Needless to say, 33 white people (or "blancs" as they are called in haiti) stir up quite a site, especially when they are attemping to carry two duffel bags filled with 50 pounds of stuff each.

Riding on the back of a Taptap, with Joe (one of our Haitian friend's), and Danny (one of my co-leaders.. head male leader!)
we got to our site, which was situated at about 4000 ft elevation, on the side of this beautiful green, lush mountain. however, we got there, and there was pretty much nothing. the only two structures on the site were the squattie potties, and the foundation for the future site of the orphanage home, with a pile of loose cinder blocks that will eventually be used in the orphanage building. So... question was: where do we put our tents (on the side of the hill!?!), what about our kitchen (on the worksite, using the loose cinderblocks as "walls" with a tarp as a roof, tied to rebar...), what happens when it rains (seek refuge at a local church!), and where the heck to we get water from (down a very steep mountain pass...)!!! so, needless to say, it was remote, and rustic, but it was beautiful, and it was home for the summer.

A sunrise just after rise and shine... 4:30am
Haiti is very westernized. and, you can feel it. it is poor, but where we were in the mountains, it seemed as if you can "forget" the poverty of the city... simply because in rural life, people live rural lives. and, it is definitely not that they are not poor, but it doesn't seem as if it is as awful as it is in the cities. the people are pretty funny, being very systematic, but with the dreams and aspirations that we have as humanity. People frequently ask about the influence of Voodoo on society... and, you know that it is there, but it isn't like there are creepy things happening around every corner. but, you do hear stories from people who have "mambos" for their mothers, and voodoo trees where people do sacrifices, etc. so, it is there, but, apparently the country has found a lot of freedom from it, and you can tell the God is working in the country.

i would have the privilege of being the person who would frequently be able to go to town, because i was the one who could speak french (in haiti, they speak mostly Creole, but a lot of people speak french as well). and, as you know, I love being the person who was able to adventure into town, mostly by myself... the ride would consist of hiring a little motorcycle to get to the main road, and then traveling by "taptap" which is a truck, with a covered back roof, where they squish 20 million people into. "there is always room for one more." mangoes are abundant, and the people are beautiful, and curious about "Blancs." The children are more receptive and outgoing than the adults, but there was never a time when i felt unsafe, or anything.
but one thing is for sure... i didn't feel "home." it was not africa, that is for sure. and, although some things were similar (poor, but not as poor as some of the places i have been; black people, etc...) many things were different. and, it just confirmed my love for africa. my love and my call. I am so excited for the day that I am brought back to africa. 'cause it is there that i truely belong, and where my heart lies.

more pictures to come... but, this computer is being temperamental!