Showing posts from 2017

God is at work in our hearts

As with all mission trips, the days feel as though we’ve hit the fast-forward button on the remote. Each day, we’ve been greeted at breakfast with fresh fruit purchased by one of our volunteers, Jesús. As Wanda remarked “He was complaining that 10 lbs of bananas cost a dollar. Imagine!”

On Thursday, some of the team went to the Kasa Wasa (“House of People” in Quechua) seniors centre to learn about Chalice programming and entrepreneurship. Sound boring? Think again! As Janelle described “Confetti, greetings of hugs, kisses and ‘gracias’, dancing, gifts, being fed traditional food and drink, learning how mothers wrap their babies, and more all proceeded and followed the mothers telling us about the program and what it has done for them. It was beautiful to see the joy in their faces as they told us about the progress and showed us the fruits of their labour, which they learned to do through Chalice’s program. It was so encouraging to see how the [Chalice sponsorship] program does not jus…

Visiting Emaus Sub-Site with the Elders

Tuesday, November 7

Once again we piled into two buses, one for the Dental team (including a few brave volunteers learning to assist with dental suction and sterilization), and other one heading to Kasa Wasa, the Chalice seniors centre in Cochabamba.

Arriving at Kasa Wasa, the street was lined with seniors, with a sign announcing that they had been eagerly anticipating our arrival. We took our time entering, as we had to stop to greet each senior and allow for handfuls of confetti to be showered upon us.

When we got onto the grounds of the centre, we saw a display they had made. November being the month of All Souls, they had constructed a memorial to seniors who had passed away. This follows a tradition held by the Aymara people for centuries. The ladders of bread symbolize “the rise or fall of the sky” (as was explained to us). It serves to cross obstacles.The cross is of course for Jesus who protects the souls of the deceased. The sweets and food are to cheer the angels and represent …

Service Begins!

Monday, November 6

Rested, refreshed (especially those of us who were confounded by how to get the showers to heat up) we piled into two mini-buses and headed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Day Care, a part of Chalice’s Fatima site. Located in the northern region of Cochabamba, water scarcity is a major issue. We could see the landscape turn brown and dry as we wound our way up into the community.

But, needless to say, well-springs of life and joy abound in the daycare. Approximately 60 children, ages 1 to 4, greeted us with their national anthem and a song they had prepared especially for us. And then the teacher announced everyone’s favourite time, “hug time!” It was moving to see the work and care that the children and their teachers had put into preparing our special welcome.
Just like that, it was time for the children to go to their activities and for us volunteers to roll up our sleeves and start working. The dental team moved to a different location to begin their set up, and most …

Bolivia Solidarity Tour 2017

This is the first blog post of our 2017 Solidarity Tour to Bolivia! Bienvenidos!

On this tour, we have 20 Canadian volunteers, 1 deacon who speaks for Chalice, and 3 Chalice staff.We arrived from all across Canada, from BC to Newfoundland, and everywhere in between. We’re especially excited to have a dental component to this mission, with three hygienists and one dentist on the team who will be conducting clinics for children and elders from the community over the next several days. We arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s industrial hub, late Saturday night, after having all gathered in Toronto from our respective homes, and transferred briefly through Panama City. To everyone’s frank surprise, we all made it and so did our luggage. This is no small feat, considering that the majority of us checked ext­­­­ra baggage filled with donations for the sites, or dental equipment (or in the case of the dental chair surrounded by teddy bears, both!)

Bright and early this morning, we were on a domest…

Reminiscing - Chalice Missions from 2013

Guatemala - India - Tanzania Our Chalice Family ❤❤❤

Betty Jane visits St Charles Lwanga too!

The St Charles Lwanga Secondary (Lwanga) School situated in Ruai, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya has a strong connection with Inverness County Cares (ICC) of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. This bond and concern for the 280 children at the school has drawn Inverness County visitors to this little school with big dreams.

An adventurous spirit and desire to help others brought Betty Jane Cameron of Mabou, Nova Scotia, Canada, back to the Lwanga School for her second visit. In 2016 she spent a month with the children. This February and March she returned for six weeks, one of those weeks with Fr. Duncan MacIsaac with whom all were impressed by his wisdom and caring. She taught music, health education and provided love and understanding for children desperately in need of a loving grandmother figure.

Betty Jane had the real Kenyan experience. She lived at the school, slept in a small dorm and ate what the students ate. She experienced firsthand the effects of the devastating famine…

Fr Duncan visits St Charles Lwanga School - Kenya

At about 7am in the morning on Thursday February 16th, 2017 in Ruai, Kenya, 280 plus students were on parade to pray, sing and give words of welcome to Fr. Duncan MacIsaac of Stella Maris Parish, Inverness, NS and St Margaret’s Parish, Broad Cove, NS, Canada. He was representing Inverness County Cares (ICC) in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  He came to St Charles Lwanga Secondary School because he cares and wanted to meet the students and staff at St Charles Lwanga School.  [Chalice, ICC and St Charles Lwanga school serve together.]

Shortly after arrival Fr. Duncan sat down with about 18 students from Form 4 (grade 12) and staff in their newly constructed Chapel. He listened to each student tell of their dreams for their future and how they will build up and enrich society. They spoke of what they learned at St Charles Lwanga Secondary School beyond the academics, of how they learned to share and look out for each other. They spoke of how they grew as persons by taking on leadership roles…

Fresh Cream and the "Mising" People

Ron is volunteering for three months at Chalice's Assam Sponsor Site, located in Guwahati, India. This is his fourth update about his experiences thus far:
March 30, 2017
Hi All,
I hope you and your family are all well. I understand you had a very mild winter. I am well and enjoying the mild weather in north east India. It has been raining a bit more and the big sand bar in the Brahmaputra river is almost under water.
Brahmaputra RiverYou may recall the following description from Ron's first update: Guwahati is located on the southern bank of the mighty Brahmaputra river, which starts in the south eastern side of China and winds its way through all of Assam and then flows into Bangladesh and on into the Bay of Bengal through the Sundarban forest. During the rainy season (April to August) the river is at its highest and widest levels and I understand one cannot see the opposite shore. The picture (above) shows the river with the water at its lowest level and there is a long and wi…

In Search of My First Home

Ron is volunteering for three months at Chalice's Assam Sponsor Site, located in Guwahati, India. This is his third update about his experiences thus far:
March 5, 2017
Hi All,
I hope you are all well and enjoying the mild weather. The weather here in north east India is very pleasant.
I have been making some day trips into the nearby villages with Sr. Betsy, and when at the base in Guwahati I work in the office helping with some of the accounting records. I also attend Chalice Circle Group meetings which are made up of parents of sponsored children. Knowing some bizarre Hindi and Assamese helps in getting a rough understanding of what is being said. On March 10th we will be going on a 6 day trip to the North East corner of the state. It will be an overnight train ride. Sr. Sheeba [Assam Sponsor Site Director] is enduring severe back pain because of slipped discs and will be going to Leonard Hospital, Tamil Nadu for an operation on March 9th. So, Sr. Betsy has taken on some of her res…