Going Through Changes

As of March 2, it’s been a whole week since both New Orleans teams (Food and Justice and Building Healthy Communities) landed back in Calgary. I don’t know about everyone else but I was hoping after a week of high 20’s, Calgary would greet us with its blessed chinooks. Yeah, this was not the case; we are currently in the midst of some seriously unimaginable cold spell. This made me wish I was right back in New Orleans with the BHC crew, prepping, priming and painting. Although, we may complain about the weather, most of us are inside safe and sound. Winter is a natural part of living in Calgary just like hurricanes are a natural part of living in Louisiana. The difference with Hurricane Katrina was how ill prepared everyone was the failures in construction and the continual poverty that underscores many of the worst affected citizens of New Orleans.

Except it wasn’t the sadness from this event we felt in New Orleans. It was the genuine gratitude and appreciation of total strangers for what we were doing. On a day we picked up trash from around the Renew Cultural Arts Academy schoolyard, just that mere action was enough to elicit a continuous stream of thank yous from people in the neighbourhood strolling past. As Canadians we’re known around the world as the nice, peacekeeping people.  New Orleanian kindness is next level. Seriously. When we were at Renew, the volunteer organisation who organized our day brought in a three (3!) delicious king cakes for our group as a thank you. We could’ve almost had half a king cake each!

Are you planning on going on a ucalgarycares experience? Here are three things to consider:

  1. What do you want out of this experience? If you make it intentional and really work towards those goals your experience will be that much better.
  2. Am I ready to feel uncomfortable? With every ucalgarycares program you will have to deal with things that you weren’t expecting to. Which leads me to number 3…
  3. Keep an open mind. Everyday brings its own little surprises J

I know I’ll make the time to return to New Orleans: to explore the city, to experience more of that Southern hospitality and to continue giving back. If you still have some time left in your degree, use Reading Week as an opportunity to participate in a ucalgarycares program whether here in Calgary or around the world. I can guarantee it will straight up be life changing.

Wanna make your own king cake? Scroll to the end of this article and you’ll find a recipe
-Neema A.

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