Responding to the Massive Lay-offs in Calgary. . .

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you the journey of my student Bianca Sinclair, a former Distress Center Volunteer, yoga teacher and student of psychology at Athabasca University. Bianca also has been working as a business analyst for an oil & gas company to support herself and her two daughters.

Don't Give Up

Like so many others Calgarians in oil-driven Alberta, Bianca received notice that she would be laid-off.  She told me that she went to HR and asked if they had a support groups for people being laid off, to which they said, “No, but that is a good idea.”  Bianca thought “Yeah, it is a good idea”. . . given that she has to do 50 hours of practicum to complete her Embodied Awareness Facilitator Certification, part of the year long training program requirement of my program.  Embodied Awareness trains people to connect with inner and outer healing resources and engage embodied awareness as a form of self-reflection that provides guidance and empowers Self-care during times of trauma or transition.

Bianca now offers Laid Off? groups on Tuesdays at her local public library free of charge. These groups are for people who are wrestling with the trauma of being laid-off and in sudden career transitions.

After her first group she wrote to me:

“I held my first group this week. Three courageous men showed up, all different yet so similar. I followed the agenda that you and I spoke of. It was a really powerful experience for everyone, they all shared and all reported feeling validated, relieved, hopeful and grateful by the end. The biggest thing they said they realized is “I’m not alone”. Now I just hope they come back next week! lol.”

She added, “One of the participants bravely took the initiative to teach us the breathing technique I taught them at the beginning. I’m so glad you suggested this as a tool for empowerment. This person–who up to this point in his life had worked solely as an electrical tradesman–surprised even himself.”

Contact Bianca for details at:

Please share this information and the attached flyer with anyone who might benefit.

Laid Off- Bianca 2 23 16

Kim and Meaghan have returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

As pictures often speak so much louder than words, I am sharing with you photos that represent the resilience of the human spirit.

Sunday Morning Ind Garden

Singing, dancing and prayer are three universal forms of healing that the Congolese practice every Sunday. . .the result is pure joy, and a return to the spirit of resilience amidst the turmoil of DRC politics, poverty and war.

Sound of 1000 singing dancing souls

In Kim’s own words, “sound of 1000 singing and dancing souls”

Kim with workshop particpants

From the Peace and Conflict Resolution website

If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to learn more about Kim and Meaghan’s undertaking via gofundme page. And, please consider making a donation.

More from An Indigenous Garden in DRC

I am sharing with you the latest and the last post of Kim Haxton while in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Great things can be accomplished in a short time – Kim and Meaghan have proven this during their few weeks in the DRC.

If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to learn more about their undertaking via gofundme page. And please consider making a donation.


Last week we had a great training with 19 women. We shared teachings around plant medicines. At first the women with each other, and then knowledge that I learned a number of years ago while in Latin America and Haiti. It’s pretty inspiring to see the seeds of these training’s take root, especially with having access to land.


When we arrived in Kalegane to meet the local Doctor (Dr. Mukwege), he was busy with a patient who was having a miscarriage. After when we went for a walk, I pointed to a Hibiscus tree and said that the Mayans used this for hemorrhaging and miscarriages. He looked around and said, “How many other plants could we be using?”

He also attended the training and is now committed to help create a traditional medicinal center for learning.

Our adventure of the week (among many) was driving into Kalegane. It was actually on the way out of there, as it had poured with rain. The road in the best of times is full of ruts, and made of clay. With the rain, you can imagine. We had to go up hill all the way out (perhaps 2-3 kms.) At first, we had about 30 young children running and pushing us in exchange for soccer balls, Meaghan and I got out and pushed with all the children and were totally covered in red mud. On the final stretch, we heard the engine go boom. The driver got out and opened the hood only to find the radiator smoking and cracked wide open. I said, “If only we had duck tape we may have a chance”. Thank God for Meaghan’s guiding background because she pulled out her water bottle and had a decent amount of duct tape wrapped around it. We fixed the radiator enough to get back to town. The replacement cost 42$. Everyone was so apologetic, but in truth, it was so much fun!

The plant medicinal path seems to be the most desired information. A couple of the women have said they realize the importance of learning this knowledge. They had believed that traditional medicine was negative (associated with witches). Pastor Samuel assured them that there are passages in the Bible that support the use of traditional medicines.

We went to church again (last Sunday). I’ve been recognized officially as a member of the Pentecostal congregation, and they have invited me to be here for a year….

The military neighbour from Belgian described his security training for Dr. Mukwege… It is like having a group from the Bad News Bears. Oh Congo!!

I think we know where the land will be, it has access to water, it is close to the Hospital, and seems like a healthy piece of land.

There is so much more to write about. My Swahili needs a lot of work. It seems to make people laugh a lot, I just need to persevere!