My Next Journey

Posted: September 23, 2017 in SchoolBox Trip

Back in 2014, I traveled to Nicaragua with SchoolBox to help build a new school in the community of Jardines de Apoyo.

In November, I have the opportunity to travel with this amazing organization again.  I will be helping build a classroom  at the El Porvenir School in Matagalpa.  This is a small community in the coffee growing region of Nicaraugua.  Currently the school has 77 students from kindergarten to grade 6.  Currently the kindergarten students share a classroom with the 4th, 5th and 6th graders, divided only by a piece of plastic. Lack of space and excessive noise make it an extremely challenging learning environment. This build will add an additional classroom so that all students have an optimal learning environment. For information about this project please check out https://schoolbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/El-Porvenir-Matagalpa-Project-Proposal-2017.pdf

During my 2014 trip I witnessed first hand the challenges that student and teachers face in this community.  Children were learning  in classrooms without walls or using tarps as walls.  The metal roofs had holes in them, letting the rain in.  At one point during the trip, I had the opportunity to assist some students with their math.  It was a windy day and the dust from the sandy yard was blowing through the class and blowing the books and papers around.  Despite this, the children were resilient and worked hard, as they realized how important education is to help them out of the cycle of extreme poverty.  Another thing that blew me away during this trip was how the community members, including the students would come to the build site to help build their new school.  To learn more about my last trip you can check out this link. https://canoeheadjay.wordpress.com/category/schoolbox-trip/

I have set a goal of $500 to help build the school.  These funds will go directly to the classroom building project.  Any donations are greatly appreciated.

To donate follow this link:  Making Education Possible – CanadaHelps

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Paris

Posted: September 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

I was able to spend about a day and a half in Paris.  I timed my visit to the Eiffel Tower just  to be up there are dusk and watch the city light up.  It was quite impressive and the tower is quite nice all lit up.

The following day,  I hopped on a hop on hop off bus for a tour of the city.  It took me to all the highlights.  After that I had some time to kill, so I just relaxed in a park, until it was time for me to catch my shuttle to the airport.

Inside of a German bunker

UAFA Memorial of the Christmas Truce football game.

Celtic Cross in Ypres honouring those from Cork County

Menen Gate

An 80 foot deep mine crater. This us one of 19 mines near hill 60 that were exploded within 20 seconds of eachother. Either side would tunnel and mine under each other’s position and then explode the mine.

In a German Trench

German bunker

Bunker in the now wooded hill 60 area

A memorial for the Australian soldiers. The bullet marks are from WW2

A recreated bunker at the UAFA monument.

Rempart cemetery in Ypres

Door in the Rempart arount Ypres.

Monument to the Island of Ireland

Ypres

Posted: September 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

Ypres has been my base for the last couple of days. An amazing town with a lot of great people and food. Even though the town has an old European feel to it with the buildings, basically every building is less than 90 years old. This is a result of the town being almost completely flattened in WW1. 

I took a tour with Salient Tours. It was an excellent tour with very knowledgable and passionate staff.  The first stop of the tour saw us visit Essex Farm, which was the site of a WW1 dressing station.  It is here that John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields. The added emotion came when the guide asked one of the group members to recite the poem as we stood beside the memorial. I am sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the group.  

We then visited two cemeteries, a Commonwealth one and a German one. We also visited the Canadian Memorial of the Brooding Soldier at Vancouver Corner ( the site of the first gas attack. 

We also visited a trench system of the Allies. It was interesting to see just how close the 2 front lines were; less than 25 meters. 

In the British trenches near Ypres.

Top of the Cloth Hall tower in Ypres. This was completely destroyed in the war and then rebuilt

John McCrae Memorial at Essex Farm.

Part of the German cemetery at Langemark. This is a mass grave with thousands of bodies buried here. Over 44 000 in the whole cemetery.

More of the British trench system. The gravel path signifies the network of tunnels and rooms that made up the network. The German front linr was about 20 feet from the right side of the photo.

Cloth Hall in Ypres

Wreaths on the steps at the Menen Gate in Ypres

Menen gate

Memorial inside the dressing station. The one used by John McCrae was on this site but was replaced with concrete later in the war.

Canadian Memorial of the Brooding Soldier at Vancouver Corner. The trees around are Canadian cedar trees and soil from each province and territory in canada make up the ground around the site.