Following Your Dreams
Take a few minutes to watch this video about a young woman who changed the way her village regards education. Her young wisdom allowed for her to change not only her future, but that of others in the village. This is such an inspiring story!
I am so blessed to be following my dreams without significant hardship, and am hoping that the work I do that is allowing children with special needs in Dzaleka Refugee Camp to attend school will result in a similar change in perspective. Parents of the children I work with are realizing the untapped potential of their children - the intelligence and fortitude that these kids have, as they see them grasping concepts and activities that they had never before been given the opportunity to learn.
Cleaning Up After Ourselves
Something that really bothers me about the consumerism rampant in today's world is the unrelenting resulting garbage that ends up strewn across our planet. Malawi does not have a garbage disposal system, so people burn their garbage or dump it in an empty lot near their house. As you walk down the road, you step across piles of broken glass, avoid blowing plastic bags, and sometimes (more often for clutz-extraordinaire moi) slip on plastic food wrappers that end up underfoot. I have read many times about the issues of garbage in developing nations, and living here has given me even more of a passion to fix this ( / maybe an irritation with the needless disorder and negligible recycling... I am German, after all!). Thankfully, there have been some developments in the past few years, by people from my generation, that are giving me hope that there may be a way out of this mess, and the will to get it done. Both approached the problems in profound ways - coming up with simple solutions that 'smarter' people with PhDs and such didn't think of as options.
The first is a teen from the Region of Waterloo (my home region!), who, realizing that if plsatic does decompose, there must be microbes that do the decomposing and could possibly be manipulated, bred a strain of microbe that eats plastic much faster - which reduces the time required for the degradation of plastic from hundreds of years to a few weeks! Read more here if you are interested.
The second is a teen who invented an ocean cleanup array that is solar powered and filters plastic out of the ocean,separating it from organic material, and allows it to be recycled. Again, if you'd like to read more about it, click here.
Today, I want to share an advertisement that I am still puzzling over. It makes me shake my head and think 'Really? That's the best you can come up with?'.
Why an organization would feel the need to mail out funds or goods they could be using to help their target population confuses me every time I see it. I have, on occasion, received quarters, or seed packets in the mail, and it has yet to make me more interested in sending in a donation - instead, as I stated already, it just makes me question the organization's smarts and dedication to their mission.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Some of my INDEVOURS friends came home with me last night to work on a project together, eat dinner, and go for a swim. While we were eating dinner, it was surprising to me how many things were from my dad’s garden – the lettuce, grape juice, salsa, pickles, garlic, peas, pretty flowers, and raspberries were all grown in our backyard! If it had been a little later in the summer, the tomatoes, peppers, and corn would have been from the garden too!
I love eating locally grown food, and sometimes I forget just how local my family sometimes eats! I find innovations for urban agriculture such as multi-tier planters, aquaculture gardens, and guerrilla planting/grafting fascinating, and think that becoming more sustainable and local in food supply is a growing movement. Anyhow, last night’s dinner reminded me of a few articles I read recently, and I thought I’d share them with you.
I am so excited about this first article. It makes me ecstatic! The man featured in the article has set up an urban farm using just a few acres and greenhouses, and is producing huge amounts of food sustainably, is teaching the people in the surrounding low-income neighbourhood how to farm, and also providing them with fresh and organic food. He has made his small space a high-density growing space, using aquaculture and multiple tiers to maximize the potential of his few acres. I would love to see this replicated in other cities around the world, as I think it is a fantastic way to learn about food systems, farming, and get people eating healthier diets. Read the article here. If you have a few minutes, watch this YouTube video of the farmer himself giving you a tour of his business.
The second article is about urban foraging, and a man who has set up a website that maps plants of nutritional value to humans that are in public urban areas. The idea that we should take advantage of and plant such useful trees and other plants in our urban surroundings is an idea that I value and think would be an extremely useful and easy way to reconnect people to their food sources. Read the full article here.
Oh, and here is a link to a small aquaculture garden that was a recent successfully funded Kickstarter project, in case you would like to start growing some greens for yourself on your kitchen counter!
Thank you to everyone who came out to the INDEVOURS Family Festival yesterday - we had a lot of fun and I hope you did too!
I haven't shared advertisements with you in a while, and have found a few really innovative and unique ones to share.
All three of these are 'active' advertisements, in that I feel they are trying to create a change or make a difference in the way we approach life.
First up is a more humorous ad - one produced by Adobe, promoting their computer program Photoshop.
Funny, huh? The reactions of the people being pranked are wonderful, and the advocacy for creativity is great!
Next up is a more serious and similarly technologically advanced advertisement. The Anar Foundation, a foundation combatting child abuse created an ad that looks different to adults than it does to children. They use this medium to provide children with a phone number to call if they need help, and remind adults of the gravity of the situation.
I think this is a powerful use of the technology and an excellent advertisement.
And lastly, a functionally creative series of ads by IBM.
What do you think of these ads? Do you feel that they are effective in building brand recognition and loyalty? Do they achieve the goals that the companies set out to complete? Let me know in the comment section!
I read an interesting news story this past week, about Greek yoghurt and its’ potentially hazardous by-product, acid whey. I thought I’d share the main points here with you.
Greek yoghurt is different from normal yoghurt because it is strained and more acid whey is released from the product. This process makes a thicker and creamier yoghurt, but also requires much more milk to produce the same amount of yoghurt (instead of a 1:1 ratio, it is a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of milk to yoghurt).
The growing popularity of Greek yoghurt (now a 2 billion USD market) over the past few years has meant that there is a significantly larger amount of acid whey being produced. Acid whey is similar in acidity to orange juice, and right now, there are not a lot of uses for it. This is unfortunate, because the acidity means that it cannot simply be dumped (there are laws against it), as the high acidity would mean that as it decomposed, it would use too much oxygen in the waterways and would cause significant die-off of marine organisms.
Currently, there are a few solutions, but they do not seem to be able to serve the supply of acid whey, and yoghurt companies are looking into alternative and more cost-effective ways of utilizing the whey. Some of these solutions include mixing the acid whey into animal feed (though it is essentially a junk food for them), or mixing it into manure and through anaerobic digestion, convert it into biogas and electricity. Proposed solutions include separating the protein from the whey to use in infant formulas, or separating the lactose and using it in food products.
If you’d like to read more about this issue, visit Modern Farmer here.
There are some people who make their own Greek yoghurt that have found ways to use acid whey – in baking, pickling, and other home remedies (see here, here, here, and here). I am glad that there is a way for people to make use of this by-product, though it probably is not to able to scale to the size that the Greek yoghurt companies would require.
I found it so intriguing that a health food that has been touted by media and that I have noticed growing in popularity, has such an unfortunate side to it. What do you think of this? Do you eat Greek yoghurt?
P.S. Rain barrels are still for sale at http://rainbarrel.ca/INDEVOURS/! We'll be selling them at the Kitchener Market on June 22nd, so order yours now and I'll see you there!
Well, I thought I’d share a funny video with you today. Take a few minutes and watch this sarcastic take on two very different, and similarly complicated fields.
This ad is a neat example of how creativity and technology can combine to make something really cool, which can also provide vulnerable people with assistance. Check out the article here, and watch the clip.
Can you see other applications for this that would produce a similar outcome? Let me know in the comments!
As a violinist and individual hoping to work in development, this idea and video makes me so happy! Take a look and then check out their Kickstarter campaign!
This is an interesting campaign I came across on Kickstarter. The concept is to redefine quality, and provide consumers with a product that will last a long time, to prove that customers would rather have quality than the current products whose lifespan is determined through careful calculations and shoddy work, ensuring its’ obsolescence in a few years time.
Personally, I prefer to purchase high quality items that will last. However, is this concept actually going to work? Will you pay nearly $100 for a unisex hoodie available in only a few select colours? One which, if it is torn, you will have to send in to be fixed? I am not sure that in the long run, this item will actually be successful as intended. Big consumer items such as appliances and vehicles are becoming more and more disposable. In a world where the satisfaction of one’s wants is as simple as owning a credit card, regardless of income, I wonder if this will be another trend, or whether the growing environmentally-conscious public will take a look at their habits and decide to make a change.
What do you think? Will today’s average, immediate gratification groomed, trend-following consumer actually wear this sweater for 10 years and send it in to be mended when needed? Or will it simply be another fad, something to tell friends about, an item without much choice for personalization that is soon relegated to the back of the drawer?
Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.