Sunday, May 22, 2011

where to start.

for those of you who have been asking, my room is pretty sweet. i managed to snag a comfy mattress for my bed, fit all of my clothes on the shelves provided, and make it feel like home by decorating it in true paula style. i won't be spending too much time in there seeing as how my days are packed to the rim, but it's nice to have something to call my own in the midst of the chaos.

training has been intense, but really good. thankfully, my leaders have been sensitive to the fact that i am in no ways an audible learner, and have been extremely supportive and gracious towards me during this long and challenging process. i am loving this journey i am on and all of the great things i get to learn, and be a part of.

take yesterday for example.

my alarm clock went off at 5:10 a.m. at which i went downstairs to help the team [a small team of 11 from a chinese church in the GTA] make egg mcmuffins for the what we call 'breakfast patrol' [handing out hot breakfast to those sleeping on the streets]. when finished, the team and their leaders went downtown toronto to hand out breakfast as the rest of us got ready for our third day of training. later that day, we had the honor of handing out bagged lunches, too.

it's fascinating to me to watch a group of youth come in on friday night all shy and scared about interacting with people they wouldn't normally interact with, and listen to them talk about how nice 'these people' are and how great their experience has been by the time they leave on sunday.

today we got introduced to the 'street walk'. basically, we heard the heart wrenching story of a 13 year old street kid and had to assume their role and act as if this was our own story. we were given a twonie and one bus token and had to walk around the streets of toronto [in a group for safety purposes but we weren't allowed to talk to anyone or pool our money together etc] trying to find the answer to these five questions: what would we eat? where would we sleep? what would we do for money? hygiene? entertainment? the sad reality is, as i have learned this week, a huge percentage [low 80's] of both male and female street youth subject themselves to some form of prostitution just to 'get by' and have their above needs met.

i don't know about you, but i can't wrap my mind around this. i don't know about you, but i can't stand around and pretend like it's not happening right here in my backyard.

“while women weep, as they do now, i'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now, i'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, i'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, i'll fight, i'll fight to the very end!” [william booth]

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

yesterday proved to be exactly what i needed; i was able to grieve the loss i felt from leaving ottawa and then focus all of that energy on being excited for the journey that lays ahead for me in toronto.

so here i am, five hours away from boarding my train, and six hours away from making my way to my new room, and 'home'.

it fascinates me to think that just two months a go i left second cup to pursue my dreams of working with youth and here i am a day away from starting a job that not only allows me to work with youth, but with those on the margins of society as well. one job, but two of my greatest passions. [speaking of passions, let it be said that even though i won't have much time to catch any games, i am in fact, within walking distance of the rogers center]. =)

so here i go again, pumped and ready to educate youth about issues such as homelessness and sex trafficking ... ready to walk them through some eye opening experiences as they serve at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, refugee camps and the like ... ready to help them process all they're seeing/feeling/doing ... and ready to see their lives impacted so deeply that they return home to the cities they came from and put what they learned into practice.

so here i go, friends. my next adventure awaits, and i plan on giving it my all ... in true paula style of course ;)

for those of who want to write to me, i've included my address below [for the rest of you, i will be checking and updating facebook, twitter [@apaulagetic] and this blog as much as i can]. thanks for journeying with me!

paula castrucci
c/o josh and holly mcClement
715-72 gamble ave
toronto, on
M4K 2H1

Monday, May 16, 2011

the rain reflects how i feel today.

i love ottawa as a city; i love the parliament buildings and the canal, and my favourite view on the bridge near the mall that overlooks both, but these aren't the things i'm going to think of when i look back on this leg of the journey. i'm going to think of the people i got to spend it with. people like my siblings and my adorable nephews. people like those i met at oasis youth ministry, and second cup; people i reconnected with while i was here.

i look at my stuff sitting across from me, and though i am incredibly grateful that all of my belongings fit into it one - yes one - hockey bag [i live like this purposely], i secretly wish i had a bag big enough to bring all my loved ones with me.

so to my friends and family here, i love you and am grateful for all the memories you helped me build in the last eight months. i won't forget you. thank you for being part of my adventure; my journey; my life!