Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Don Bosco Roga

Don Bosco Roga, Asuncion, Paraguay

This is where I worked in 1993:

Don Bosco Roga is the home that the Salesians founded in 1988 for children of the street. SInce that date, some 800 boys have gone through Don Bosco Roga, mostly from the streets of Asuncion and area, but also from other areas of the Republic.

Only children and adolescents that are literally living in the street, in other words, those that sleep, eat, work and play in the street, are admitted into Don Bosco Roga.

For those who work in the street, but who have a home that welcomes them even it is only to eat and sleep, another program is available which consists of activities of support and reinforcement, professional formation and breakfast.

Don Bosco Roga
Obra Salesiana del Menor
Cedro y Ecuador
C.C. 587 - Tel.: 553061
Lambaré - Paraguay

Fun Questionnaire

  1. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

    Get out of Bed

  2. What was the first pop concert you went to?

    I have yet to make it to a pop concert, although I did see Duran Duran in Paraguay (don't know if that counts as pop) and that was the first concert I'd paid to go to by a popular group. I have also been to a Great Big Sea Concert, definitely not pop.

  3. What was the worst thing that you did as a child?

    Hmmm, I think we will have to ask my parents... getting drunk at age 14? (And not being able to stand the taste of alcohol for a few years afterwards) Throwing dirty stones into clean rainwater reserved for things such as my father's yogourt "factory" also come to mind.

  4. What is your favourite song?

    Oh, I don't have one favourite song... Rivers of Babylon by Boney M, Don't Tell Me by Avril Lavigne, Piano Man by Billy Joel, Lady in Red by Chris de Burgh, Experiencia Religiosa by Enrique Iglesias, Cancion de Otono by Jose Luis Perales, Te Quiero by Jose Luis Perales, This Used to be my Playground by Madonna, Ciao Bella by Nicola Ciccone, Te Conozco by Ricardo Arjona, Hallelujia by Rufus Wainwright, Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

  5. What is your most treasured material possession?

    Good question...

  6. What is the best advice that you've ever received?

    Uhhh, not sure

  7. What do you think of Bob Dylan?

    I enjoy some of his songs

  8. When did you last cry, and why?

    I think that has been recently posted... my children are unwelcome in mass... a place that normally I should be encouraged to bring them...

  9. What characteristics do you think you've inherited from your parents?

    Oh, I have definitely got some of my mother's "things must be done just so..." but only some of it because I also got the artistic tendency to want to let people express themselves... except when it comes to putting pots and pans away for example, and big pots are sliding around over tiny ones (!?!) Not sure where the artistic abilities come from, perhaps both parents as they are artistic but in different ways... but I don't remember either of them doing much in the way of painting or drawing. I think I got a slightly intellectual mind from my father (although he is definitely waaaaay more intellectual than I am) and a more practical and also sensitive mind from my mother.

  10. Are you afraid of failure?

    No, I don't normally fail.

  11. What are you like when you're drunk?

    I have not gotten very drunk very often in my life, but I guess I would have to say that when I have a little too much to drink I tend to talk a lot more and am quite relaxed, if I go overboard, I tend to get up and seek seclusion because I don't feel so good anymore...

  12. Which actor/actress would you have play yourself in a film?

    If I were a guy I would definitely ask Brendan Fraser, I admire him because not only is he a great actor, he also does not attract attention to himself like so many other Hollywood stars, in fact one barely ever hears anything about him. Unfortunately, I'm not a guy... so who would I ask? I have no idea.

  13. Pick five words that describe yourself....

    Artistic, maternal, spiritual, intellectual, alive

  14. Is there one piece of criticism that sticks in your mind?


  15. Do you believe in God?


  16. What is your most unpleasant characteristic?

    I am impatient and I am a procrastinator

  17. What is your greatest fear?

    The safety of my children

  18. What ambitions do you still have to fulfil?

    Visit Scotland, return to university and get an education that will actually land me a job (once I no longer have small children at home), get more involved with social justice,

  19. What do you never leave home without?

    My purse

  20. Who is your best male friend and your best female friend?

    I think Hugo Pelletier would be the first and Danielle Landry the second

  21. Who would you most like to meet?

    Hmm, that is a hard one

  22. What music would you like to have played at your funeral?

    Je Voudrais Voir la Mer just popped into mind

  23. When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?

    Most of the time, yes.

  24. What is your favourite film, and why?

    The Lord of the Rings, because it follows the themes of the book (search for goodness and beauty, self-sacrifice, doing what is right, the right to life and completion of everyone, even those who are evil (ex. Gollum who's deeds actually helped the good side in the end), because everyone and everything has a purpose... etc, etc,... the book is an enormous source of such pearls of wisdom.

  25. If you had a million pounds (£1,000,000), what would you do with it?

    A million pounds?! Uhhh, if I won a million canadian dollars... I would most likely end up giving a lot to charity, fix up the house a little, and best of all, go on trips...

  26. What first attracts you to a person of the opposite sex?


  27. What was your favourite subject at school?

    English, Art and Gym

  28. If you could spend the night with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?

    Duh, my husband of course

  29. What is the most embarassing thing you've ever done?

    Nothing comes to mind, (perhaps I have blocked out the memory?)

  30. Do you have anything to declare?
Yes, Never take me at face-value, anything I say or do could actually be absolutely metaphorical

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Went shopping with Jean-Alexandre

I had a great time. I love going out and doing things like this with him. We talk and sometimes joke and he is fun to talk with. I had a great time, and all we were doing was shopping. Then we went and bought a couple of slushies. I think I have a great kid. I'm a proud mom.

Rose Prince - Incorruptible

Just thought I'd do some promotion for the cause for Rose Prince, another native woman who perhaps will be made saint one day, after blessed Kateri Tekakwitha?

Check this website out:
(By the way, the PG Diocese or Prince George Diocese, is my old Diocese. I lived in Prince Goerge BC from June 1997 to April 2003 and I SOOOOOOO miss my old parish, with all the young families, and a great community spirit,... boo hoo hoo, wahhhhh!!!)

From the website:

Lejac is situated along the highway, a two-hour drive west of Prince George, between Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake. Every summer on the second weekend of July a three-day pilgrimage is held on the grounds where the Lejac Indian Residential School once stood.

In 1990, responding to the desire of former Lejac Residential School students for a reunion, Father Jules Goulet, OMI, former pastor of St. Andrew's Parish in Fraser Lake, along with a local elder and childhood friend of Rose Prince, initiated the first pilgrimage. After this very humble beginning when 20 people gathered, awareness of the pilgrimage and the life of Rose Prince grew. It gradually gained momentum with greater collaboration between the First Nations people and others who have built on a common vision and worship. (...)

In 1951 it was decided to relocate a few graves that were west of the Lejac Indian Residential School to another larger cemetery nearby. During the transfer the casket of a young woman named Rose Prince broke open. She had been buried two years earlier.

The workers were amazed to find both Rose's body and clothing perfectly preserved. Other bodies were examined. All of them, some buried after Rose, were found to be decaying. When witnesses were called, including some Sisters, they found her body in perfect condition. She seemed transparent and looked as if she were sleeping. There was "just a tiny little smile on her face". A bouquet of withered flowers was on her chest.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Not Welcome

I sit here crying my eyes out, because of some petty little thing some ignorant child-less young woman said to me in mass this evening.

I am so tired of everyone being against me, even those who should be encouraging me. I have no support. Had I any less faith than I have, I would have completely stopped going to mass a long time ago.

I am not welcome in mass. My family is not welcome. Usually I arrive and I take the most isolated bench I can find, minimum one empty bench between the people in front of us and I and the people in back of us and I. Two empty benches is even better. But I don't always get that luxury. And even so, sometimes people still up and leave within the two minutes following my arrival at mass. If they tough it out, they sometimes have comments to make or else they shush my children, as if I weren't already doing it.

I arrive stressed out in mass and I leave stressed out. I cannot relax because I have to try to make my children as quiet as possible. I cannot listen to the homily because I am too busy shushing my children, especially Gabriel who STILL has not understood the concept of whispering and who no matter what I do or say, will NOT shut up. My kids do not run all over the place, they sit still most of the time, the three oldest whisper most of the time, only the two middle ones forget once in awhile to whisper. Even Gabriel does not run all over the place. He doesn't scream and yell either, or cry. He just talks, a little too loudly. But he is just over two and a half years old. He is still a BABY.

But people here in this crappy province of Quebec are just not used to having children around. No matter how good they are being, it's never good enough.

I went to mass at 8:00 pm today at the Oratory because I couldn't go earlier. As usual it was jam packed, there are no other evening masses anywhere else, the parishes don't have enough priests or even enough parishioners to keep them up anymore. There was an usher ready to find a place for me, although I almost said I would just stand in the back (that way my kids and I can't bother anyone right?) As usual, at least two of the people I sat beside got up within a minute and didn't come back. My kids decided they all had to go to the bathroom, and kept passing in front of the lady who was next to the aisle, so I was afraid she would up and leave too. I went to change Gabriel's diaper because he was smelling, and when I came back there were a couple of black people sitting where the two previous people had been sitting before. I was kind of relieved, I figured they're black, they're used to kids. (Must specify that here in Québec, most blacks are fairly recent immigrants from countries in Africa and not descendants of slaves like in the States, so they not only have a different culture from most black Americans, they don't even have the same style - clothing, hair, etc... And in Africa, in general, children are considered a wealth, and people have a lot of them.)

I was uselessly spending most of my breath trying to get Gabriel to lower his tone of voice, when suddenly I hear "Excuse me, excuse me!" So I turn towards my black neighbours and the young lady (who has obviously been in Québec too long and needs to go and visit Africa and get used to kids again) says rather irritably "Could we have bit more concentration here please?"

Lady, what on earth do you suggest I do to shut the kid up short of taping his mouth with duct tape or knocking him unconscious?

I do NOT need this kind of discouragement. I try to understand that this lady doesn't have kids, and probably doesn't understand what it is like to deal with them, but I have a whole province of churches full of people who either do not have kids or have forgotten what it was like to have them. I so understand those parents of young children who no longer go to mass anymore. Young children are NOT welcome in mass. We are constantly discouraged from bringing them. I am an exception to those who have given up. I wonder why I even bother being an exception. Why should I keep going to some place where I am not even welcome? Only because I have the RIGHT to be there and so do my children. Only because I know that God is better than that.

I have enough of hearing comments at home like I should just tape record the mass and re-watch it at home, it'll be the same thing, or that I don't have to go everyday, it won't change anything, I won't be missing anything, it's always the same thing anyway, or even when mass doesn't fit into certain plans, a rolling of the eyes and a "Do you HAVE to go?" I go anyway, only to be reminded that I am not welcome there. Why do I fight so to go to a place I am not welcome? It is so stupid and illogical.

Are people not capable of ignoring or tolerating children anymore? Even when I was single, if I ended up near children who were making noise, I usually just smiled at them and went on listening to mass. They weren't my children, I could easily ignore them and concentrate on what the priest was saying instead. It isn't so hard to ignore children as long as they are not being extremely disruptive, and most aren't. Besides, even if you do have problems concentrating, it's only ONE mass out of how many in the year? When was the last time I had the leisure of actually listening uninterrupted to mass? I don't even remember. I sit with my kids EVERY Sunday. I have to deal with them EVERY Sunday. The rest of you don't have to sit with or near my kids again, and you NEVER have to deal with them. So the next time you find yourself next to young children, please do not expect them to be as quiet as adults, because if you do, they will get on your nerves. Instead, smile indulgently at them, and offer up the distraction for their souls. The beauty of it is that next Sunday you can make sure you are sitting as far away as possible from them if you so desire.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Here they are... my soccer stars...



Soccer Festival

We just spent the whole day at a soccer festival here. Our three oldest each had a game, Dominic at 10:30, Maryssa at 12:30 and Jean-Alexandre at 1:30. We left home in a rush (as usual, we were running late) and I forgot the sunscreen at home (aaackk!!!). So most of us burnt at least a little bit because there is NO shade there. I had brought along a couple of umbrellas to sit under, but we couldn't all fit under them and we weren't under them enough. I am the one who burnt the most, on my face of course, the rest of me is not too bad. Maryssa got burnt too on her face quite a bit but not as bad, and Gabriel and Dominic each got a lot more colour. Even Jean-ALexandre under his dark skin got rosy cheeks. Tommorrow we will be outside all day again as we are going on a family outing with Ceridian, the group Marc works with. We will be apple-picking. I definitely plan on NOT forgetting the sunscreen this time. This is the first time I have burned all summer... I've always been pretty careful to put sunscreen on, especially in the middle of the day.

Soccer was fun, Maryssa scored a few goals in the five-year old division, and Dominic scored a very nice goal in the 7-year old division and also had an "assist". Jean-Alexandre's team won 5-1. They played extremely well. Great defense Jean-Alexandre!!! It was fun to watch but it sure takes a lot of effort to get to everyone's game on time and find time to eat in between games sometime, especially with long line-ups in front of the food... We missed out on the cake, just didn't have time when there was still lots and then there wasn't any left after our last game... We also missed out on the inflated games (to the chagrin of the three youngest) because they started deflating the games just after we arrived, which was after Jean-Alexandre had received his medal and we had no more soccer games.

We took (Marc took) lots of photos which I will post here once we get them developed. I also have photos I took during some of the regular season games.

In the meantime, I will scan the professional photos and put those up.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Life of Pi

I received this (Canadian) novel, Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, winner of the MAN BOOKER PRIZE, from my brother Cecil and his wife Jane for my birthday this year. I loved it. It is the story of a very religious Indian boy who takes a ship to Canada with his family. The ship is wrecked and he is left alone in a lifeboat with... a Bengal tiger as a companion. That is an extremely short description as there is more to the story than that but I want to quote something here from the book that I really liked:

This is out of Chapter Four of the book:

I have heard nearly as much nonsense about zoos as I have about God and religion. Well-meaning but misinformed people think animals in the wild are "happy" because they are "free". These people usually have a large, handsome predator in mind, a lion or a cheetah (the life of a gnu or of an aardvark is rarely exalted). They imagine this wild animal roaming about the savannah on digestive walks after eating a prey that accepted its lot piously, or going for callisthenic runs to stay slim after overindulging. (...) The life of the wild animal is simple, noble and meaningful, they imagine. Then it is captured by wicked men and thrown into tiny jails. Its "happiness" is dashed. It yearns mightily for "freedom" and does all it can to escape. Being denied its "freedom" for too long, the animal becomes a shadow of itself, its spirit broken. So some people imagine.

This is not the way it is.

Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where the supply of fear is high and the supply of food low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites endured. What is the meaning of freedom in such a context? (...)

But let me pursue for a moment only one aspect of the question.
If you went to a home, kicked down the front door, chased the people there out into the street and said, "Go! You are free! Free as a bird! Go! Go!" - do you think they would shout and dance for joy? (...)

Don't we say, "There's no place like home"? That's certainly what animals feel. Animals are territorial That is the key to their minds. Only a familiar territory will allow them to fulfuill the two relentless imperatives of the wild: the avoidance of enemies and the getting of food and water. A biologically sound zoo enclosure - whether cage, pit, moated island, corral, terrarium, aviary or aquarium - is just another territory, peculiar only in its size and in its proximity to human territory. That it is so much smaller than what it would be in nature stands to reason. Territories in the wild are large not as a matter of taste but of necessity. In a zoo we do for animals what we have done for ourselves with houses: we bring together in a small space what in the wild is spread out. Wheras before us the cave was here, the river over there, the hunting grounds a mile that way, the lookout next to it, the berries somewhere else - all of them infested with lions, snakes, ants, leeches and poison ivy - now the river flows through taps at hand's reach and we can wash next to where we sleep, we can eat where we have cooked, and we can surround the whole with a protective wall and keep it clean and warm. (...) Finding within (an enclosure) all the places it needs - a lookout, a place for resting, for eating and drinking, for bathing, for grooming, etc. - and finding there is no need to go hunting, food appearing six days a week, an animal will take possesion of its zoo space in the same way it would lay claim to a new space in the wild, exploring it and marking it out in the normal ways of its speicies, with sprays of urine perhaps. Once this moving-in ritual is done and the animal has settled, it will not feel like a nervous tenant, and even less like a prisoner, but rather like a landholder, and it will behave in the same way within its enclosure as it would in its territory in the wild, including defending it tooth and nail should it be invaded. (...)

In the literature can be found legions of examples of animals that could escape but did not, or did and returned. (...)

But I don't insist. I don't mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.

Slight ocular impairment...

I have this spot in my left eye, have had it for a week now. Tuesday I went to see the optometrist, who sent me to the opthamologist who is sending me to the retinologist. I wonder how far down the lane of specialized ocular medecine I will have to go? hee hee.

Apparently it is an accumulation of liquid from a vessel in the eye, and so far it is not dangerous, as it has not moved, or gotten bigger and has not affected my vision. It is just a strain on the eye as everything behind the spot is discoloured and just slightly difform. It is not in my direct vision but just slightly to the left, so that what I am looking at directly is not affected, only what is directly to the left of it. For example, if I look at the letter "n" at the end of the word "accumulation" here on the screen, "accumula" is behind the spot and "tion" is not. So it is still close enough to the center of my vision to be a royal pain in the oculus.

The opthamologist thought the retinologist might want to take a laser to it to get rid of it, to make sure it never moves, because if it did move, then it would affect my vision, but she wasn't sure if he would do that right away depending on how he thought that might affect my pregnancy.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Some more pics

Jean-Alexandre and Gabriel, by Uncle Cecil, July 30, 2005 Posted by Picasa

Maryssa, by Uncle Cecil, July 30, 2005 Posted by Picasa

Rainy Season (from Juana la Cubana)

It is just grey and rainy here on the lost isle of Juana la Cubana, if this is a taste of the rainy season, it is pretty depressing...I wonder if I do the right things, make the right decisions, should I have put more grass on the roof of the hut? Or more mud? Would it make a difference? Maybe I should not have built the shelter here, maybe I should have built it in a better spot? I am undecided, unsure.

I am a prisoner of this damp dreary hut while it pours outside. I can think of only one thing, my FREEDOM! I ache to get outside and run around, but the rain keeps me inside, cold and miserable. I think the parrots must be equally cold and miserable, I do not hear their usual squawking. I hope the rain will let up soon, so I can go fishing again. Coconuts and bananas, as good as they are, are just lacking in protein.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pregnancy update

Well, I am 21 weeks pregnant, I have gained about 12 pounds or so, and my belly is starting to take shape... For a couple of hours there, I thought I had actually LOST five pounds (!!!) instead of gaining anything, but that was because someone had fooled around the scale and set it to 285 lbs or so, about 15 pounds off of zero... hee hee

Baby is moving around a lot too, I can feel him/her a lot more...

I am seriously considering having this one unassisted at home... have been reading up a lot about this, the idea just seems more and more appealing as the pregancy advances. I may at least try to spend most of the labour period at home in the bathtub, and if everything is going well, I might just "accidentally" not make it to the hospital on time!!!