Date : 8th November 2014
I participated in the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Action day where all MCF scholars from the University of British Columbia volunteered in replenishing the gardens of the Strathcona community center. Activities included raking dry leaves and forming compost heaps, mulching gardens and replenishing path ways.
In addition to recalling familiar experiences of garden work back home, being involved in an activity that was going to benefit the community made me particularly nostalgic. And this being my first community involvement in Vancouver, I relished the feeling of contributing to the Vancouver community, beyond my campus community – thereby reinforcing the feelings of being part of a larger whole.
My biggest reward from this day came from speaking to the staff of the community center. They were my first contact with the life and experiences of being living in the downtown east side of Vancouver. I was exposed to the challenges of the underprivileged, and was inspired by the contribution of community centers in alleviating some of these challenges. My eyes were opened to the fact that the concept of community centers is not largely explored in Africa, but could serve to improve the quality of life of the underprivileged. Also, this instigated constructive conversation with my fellow scholars on the matter, and what facts surround the implementation of such ideas in Africa.
Much as the forms of contributions that I personally intend for my community back home are not exactly aligned to this experience, there were very many crucial transferable ideas. And therefore, I believe that I’m better poised to advise similar projects back home and execute community support projects.