Posted in Connecting with the spirt world, Inspiration, Life Purpose, Living from the soul, Living with purpose, Local Community Initiatives, Mags Magazine - Soulful Encounters, Motivation, Women

Thanks to everyone who made the Launch of Soulful Encounters Successful and Memorable!

 

There are moments in life which are captured in our memories forever.  As Rosa Parks said:  “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”

Mags Birthday best

The launch of Soulful Encounters, on May 25th, along with my birthday celebration is a memory that will live in my mind forever because I know for sure, that I am contributing to the works of many great souls who have graced the surface of this earth, long before I was born.  I am equally certain, that the memories which are created in the souls who are being touched by our work, will in turn, continue to play their part in creating more soulful encounters in this lifetime, to grace the planet with more love and care, as we all thrive to live with both PASSION and PURPOSE.

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful contributions towards the launching of the Magazine – whether this came through sponsorship, purchasing a magazine, sending messages to wish us a successful launch, sharing or liking on social media, making a telephone call or turning up at the launch. I want to specially thank Wilson for uncovering the box of dreams and giving me the support which I needed to bring life to these long, buried dreams. Our contributors to the Magazine, our graphic designer Mila Gerstentien and photographers Nyamulola Kambanji and Kores Musuni were critical to the Magazine production.  Each adventure has forced us to step out of our comfort zones.  Some moments have not been easy but I would not exchange the experience for anything else.

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When we started on this journey Magsthree years ago, I had no idea where it would lead, who we would meet or what the results would be.  What I knew then, was that I was being placed in a soul space which needed expansion and the voice in my head kept on saying: “Don’t die with your passion inside of you.” Talking about the soul is not something which is an everyday conversation, yet, SOUL is my everyday experience with life and with people.  I have spent many sleepless nights wondering how I could create a simple way to help others understand the journey of the soul and to also make the connection between the every day ordinary, routines and the SOUL.  I have thought long and hard about how I can help others take meaning from their day to day encounters and to be more aware of the blessings that are exchanged – whether it is a positive or negative soul encounter. I believe that as we make these connections and see that our paths are connected to a force which is so much greater than ourselves, then our fears are also released and we are able to commit and embrace our unique path with greater grace, gratitude and acceptance.  As we receive more and more testimonials about Soulful Encounters and the events which we have held, I am convince that we are on the right path.

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Each of our speakers  shared soulful encounters in their lives and I am truly grateful that they allowed us to have a glimpse of how their experiences have shaped their lives today.  It was inspiring to listen to how Laura is using her gifts as a psychic to help others; how Rima got fired from Willis College in one moment and the next moment, she was the owner of the College.

MengsWe were all deeply engaged with Mengis’s story as he walked us through his life journey and how he got freed from prison and walked through a jungle with a total stranger for eight hours. His journey to Canada is a true testimonial  of the journey of the soul across many continents.

Trevor speaking

We were inspired by Trevor’s deep love for Dale and how this translates into their everyday existence and shows up in their coaching others to live great lives.  He recited his poem, CLOUD 9, which is  featured in Soulful Encounters.

Emily speaking

Emily touched all of our hears as she spoke about her relationship with Roger, how they met and the small and big things which he does every day to make her feel loved and safe in their relationship. She surprised him by giving him an AWARD for being the  BEST HUSBAND.

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Very moving and touching was the personal story of  Margeret from Uganda who spoke about putting back the pieces of her life post Idi Amin.  Her desire to LIVE and not be DEAD is a true testimonial to how she LIVES her life and encourages others to do the same.  Her shared experiences of UGANDA is on our list of travelling destinations!

Soophia

 

Thanks to Soophia for bringing greetings from the High Commissioner of Kenya and her own testimonial to the inspiration from Mags Magazine.

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Thanks to  my long standing friend Angela for speaking from her heart about our soulful relationship over the years.  Our encounter from 13 years ago, as two total strangers, have become a beautiful and soulful relationship.

13256334_1608419406153099_1025084674582389575_n[1]Thanks to my friend  Lisa Anna Palmer who never ceases to amaze me for her energy and support towards my work and who best to talk about helping us all to LIVE our PASSIONS! Her donation of a book ‘365 Ways to Connect to your Soul’ was won by the son of Ranjith Mathews who has been extremely supportive of my work and publishing in Social Media.

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I discovered things about each person that I never knew before and it reaffirmed to me, the power of our stories beyond our everyday job titles and responsibilities.  There is something deeper: something is at the core of our being. I went home thinking, “This was such a powerful experience to connect so many experiences and countries in one evening, through stories and soul energy.”  Our voices and experiences matter. Our stories matter.  Understanding the part which we have to play in our life journey matters and being able to share these with the world matter.  I feel really honoured and blessed to have shared that experience with everyone.

I want to say a special thank you to my colleagues, Gemma, Fouzia, Chinelo, Peggy and Aparna, who are wonderful friends as well and who came out to support and volunteer their time at the event. Thanks to Ross and my children Jelan and Dawn for also volunteering.  Their support was priceless.  Thanks to Ranjith for his work in photographing and social media that evening as well as Zoran for his vidography.

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NabilaA  special thank you to Nabila Islam who volunteered countless hours of work in pulling together the technical aspects of the production.  She did great a great job, especially with the introduction to each of our speakers.

Through this blog, I want to publicly thank everyone and acknowledge their support in helping me to live my life mission… and I hope that by doing so… I am also helping each one to live their life mission as well.

The Magazine is a new product and I also want to ask for your feedback on how we could improve for future events; on how we can continue to market the Magazine so that it reaches the right audiences and how we can continue to build on what we have started.  I am learning to ASK for what I need and this is for my personal growth as I step out to embrace both my soul work and being an entrepreneur at the same time.

The photo below was taken just a couple of minutes after they stopped the show half-way to sing the first round of Happy Birthday to me and Rima made it so special with this huge bouquet of flowers and a gift.  To simply have all three of those great speakers on the stage with me, was the a wonderful gift in itself. Magdalene, Rima, Laura, Mengis, Wilson

From left to right:  Rima Aristocrat, CEO and President of Willis College; Mengistab Tsegaye, Executive Director of World Skills Employment Centre, Emily Cattelan-Legace, one of our featured speakers on love; Laura Traplin, Medium and Psychic in Ottawa; myself and Wilson Jn. Baptiste, CEO of Gems of Saint Lucia.

Friends below:  Lisa and her husband Andrew with Ranjith Mathews; Gemma and Ranjith’s son; my friend Barb with Angela, Rima and Laura; my friends Mussie, Mercy and Josephine with her other friend.

Thanks to my friend Leonetta who travelled from New York to be there for the launch!  This was a very special treat.  with monica

My writing journey to making myself more visible, started in 2011 after my mom’s death.  My motivation for indulging as much as I did was to ensure that when I died, everyone who knew me, could say that I lived my passion to the fullest.  My top passion in life is writing and since I made that decision, many other pieces in my life has fallen in place.  Lao Tzu said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and truly, that is a fundamental truth in life.  Since that decision, we have traveled many miles across countries and cities, written many articles, published two Magazines, held five inspirational events in Ottawa and met people whom I would not have otherwise met on this journey.

So… here’s wishing all of us ALL WONDERFUL BLESSINGS as we embrace our soul journey and LIVE OUR BEST LIVES.

Thanks to our wonderful SPONSORS and Mr. Felix Grande for featuring me on CHUO before the Launch of Soulful Encounters.

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Thanks to Hani Rached from Auto Paradise for being one of our sponsors, Rima Aristocrat, Willis College; Mengistab Tsegaye, World Skills Employment Centre; Myrna Schmitt from  Piton Villa;  Paul and Sherrine Clifford from  Cast Away Tour in Saint Lucia!

Love,

Magdalene

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Posted in Inspiration, Leadership, Living with purpose, Motivation, Women, Work

An awesome networking event – ConnectOtt

20160331_185003 This year I set a goal to have 10 speaking engagements where I could hopefully inspire or motivate or help others to reach their goals.  Within days of setting this goal, I started receiving opportunities to speak.  I am a strong believer that we must put out what we want to achieve to the great universe.  We must be clear about our intentions.  I know that and I try to practice it regularly.
So I got this invitation to participate at the ConnnectOtt event. I had never heard about it before.  As soon as I read more about what the intention was for the event, I said YES.  Why?  Because it matched with my personal goal. (It is important to set goals so that you can see the opportunity when it arrives!)
 I have attended many networking events in Ottawa but I must say that this one which I attended on March 31st, was pretty AMAZING. ConnectOtt deserves a great deal of praise for gathering such a powerful group of industry leaders and young professionals in the same space to have some pretty powerful conversations over dinner. The dinner part, at Chauteau Laurier – well, you can’t beat that! How else to get people to relax and connect effortlessly?  Add a bit of wine to it… everything gets easier!
 So what is ConnnectOtt?  I had never heard about it until I was invited as an industry professional.  It is quite interesting how much we don’t know about what is available in Ottawa- which is why it is important to network!
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ConnectOTT is a dinner and networking event that creates strategic opportunities to meet inspiring people in the city of Ottawa.

The event bridges the gap between emerging professionals looking to progress in their careers and grow their networks and well-established community and industry leaders who have been there and done that and are looking to give back.

Throughout a three-course dinner, participants are matched with leaders in industries of their choice. Each course is spent with 2 leaders and 6 young professionals, a format which maximizes face time and allows for both mentorship and network opportunities to develop in an intimate setting.

This year’s event was attended by over 240 participants including 60 leaders in 13 different industries.

You can learn more about ConnectOtt.

I met new people and reconnected with some others whom I had not seen for a long time. What particularly struck me at that event was the enthusiasm and open-mindedness of everyone I met.  Everyone seemed open to learning, open to meeting new people and open to possibilities.  Imagine the possibilities when a room is full of such great and positive energy.
A great thank you to the ConnectOtt team.  Your work is very important in building community. Count on me for next year if you need me.
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If you don’t know this yet – there is POWER in networking. Sometimes, the events are free and sometimes they cost money… either way, you got to show up for your life… and go out and meet real people who can connect with you in a real way. #ConnectOtt
It was a pleasure getting photos with the two lovely co-chairs of ConnectOtt and to listen to their personal stories with ConnectOtt and their enthusiasm.

Leigh-Ann Redmond – it was nice to meet again after so many years!

Alison Sochasky it was a pleasure to meet you in person after the Facebook interactions.

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 A few things which I have learnt about networking:
– Show up with a positive attitude and show  enthusiasm
– Although you may have some expectations, try to put them aside and enjoy meeting other people  on a human level.
– If someone asks you, “How can I help you?” be prepared to say what you are looking for.
– Share the conversation.  Ask questions to get the other person to talk about themselves.  Don’t be too caught up  with yourself.
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This was the group at our third table.  Michelle, HR Director at Carleton University and I were hosting the group and this group had a blast!  They were about fun and sharing their life experiences and I found out that there is such a job title called a Social Media Director!
Who knows what you will learn about at a networking event!
My final point on this blog – you never know who you will run into!  I met some great people I worked with before, including Michele Kosh, who disappeared for a couple of years!  She went off to study and is now back in the working world, in a different capacity.
So… my point today… go and network.  Meet people. Set networking goals.  Keep working at starting new conversations.  There is a whole new world waiting for you… you just got to make the right connections!
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 Follow me on FB, LinkedIn or on Twitter.  Support my writing and blogging by getting your copy of Mags Magazine – Soulful Encounters!
Tune In and Step Up to live your amazing life.
Love,
Magalene
Posted in Beyond logic!, Great Initiatives, International Initiatives, Living with purpose, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, People who inspire others

Transformation through life’s most difficult challenges – how Marie Claudine, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide is using her tragic experience to help orphans in Rwanda

IMAG3821(Magdalene with Marie Claudine Mukamambana, New York)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privilege to meet with multiple award winner, Marie Claudine Mukamambana who lost her parents, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, loved ones, friends, classmates, and fellow countrymen during the Rwandan Genocide, when she was only a teenager. What touched me the most was that she has used this tragedy to find meaning in life and to give back to the orphans of Rwanda through her non-for profit organization  Whydoiexisit.org.

Her Catholic faith inspired her to seek the answer to the question of KUKI NDIHO? (Why do I exist?-Pourquoi J’existe?). This question now serves as the name of her organization, which has an extensive fundraising program in New York, as well as a presence in Belgium and South Africa. The thousands of dollars raised thus far continue to support hundreds of orphans in Rwanda.  You can read more of Marie Claudine’s work on her website and also download her book – the Power of Social Media. She is also working on her second book, ‘Forgiveness:  A Transformation Power from Pain to a Joyful Lifestyle.’  Please do look up her website to read more of her work.

Over the years I have met several survivors of the Rwandan Genocide and who have shared their heartbreaking stories with me, long before I ever thought of blogging. I remember feeling emotionally paralyzed  by the first man shared his story and told me that he had no blood family left but was so grateful to the Canadian family who had accepted him as a refuge and had treated him with the greatest kindness he could have wished for. Although I knew of the genocide, it was impersonal to me until I met a real human being who was able to share his experience with me. At that particular time in my life, I was going through my own personal challenges but after listening to his story, I had much less sympathy for myself and started being more grateful for the opportunities I had to solve my problems and not lament over them.  This man who had lost everyone in his life,  found a way to accept and to be happy.  In comparison to what he had gone through, my problems were insignificant.

Sometimes the difficulties and challenges we go through in life can leave us broken with a great feeling of despair. When we meet people like Marie, who have risen above such horrific challenges and who still has love and joy in her life, it inspires us to do the little that we can do to uplift humanity and to find a way out of our own pain.

What is your deep sorrow?

  • Feeling that no one is listening to you?
  • Losing your job?
  • No money?
  • Lack of sleep?
  • A divorce?
  • No money to buy this great brand name bag?

How are you supporting life?  What are you grateful for in your life?

From my experience, I know that by helping others in whatever capacity I can, life blesses me bountifully and provides the tools, resources, inspiration and help which I need to heal my pain.  When one person is hurt, we all hurt.  When one person is healed, we are all healed.

TuneIn to those whispers of your heart and StepUp to do something which will truly add value to your earthly home.

Ref: http://www.whydoiexist.org/

Ref: http://www.borgenmagazine.com/10-facts-rwandan-genocide/

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in Dreams come true, Inspiration, Kenya, Life Purpose, Living with purpose, Overcoming fear, People who inspire others, Travel Inspiration, Women, Work

Mags Magazine – Soulful Encounters

After many months of work, we are pleased to announce that you can now pre-order your copy of Soulful Encounters.

Mags“I am delighted to register my Congratulations to Magdalene Cooman on the 2nd Edition of Mags E-Magazine titled ‘Soulful Encounters.’

This edition of Mags Magazine presents bold, deep, engaging content which covers the inner personal dimensions of life with which most if not every person can identify.  The motivational content is written in a manner that is candid

This publication “Soulful Encounters” by Magdalene Cooman makes delightful and thought-provoking reading from which everyone can benefit. I recommend Mags Magazine as a good investment not for the shelf but as a motivator for achieving self- fulfilment.”
Celene A. Gyles (Dr)

Former Dean – Graduate School of Education, Mico University College Adjunct Faculty

ORDER YOUR COPY

“I’ve enjoyed reading your articles thoroughly and have been transported to a different place for the last few hours! Thank you for that experience. I’m not sure which article I enjoyed reading the most as they are all so full and expansive for me, but possibly the one on your mother. I hold my own mother dearly and often reflect on her journey to Canada years ago. Mags Magazine is fantastic! I was engrossed in the content and your story telling.  Thank you for sharing with me and sharing your soul and stories with others.”

Laura Traplin

Medium and Psychic, Ottawa

Mags Cover Page

“It is an inspiring and motivational publication with down-to-earth practical words of wisdom for the young and not so young. It is written in a style which can capture the minds and hearts of its readers with meaningful examples of real life situations which we can all relate to, for it encompasses life’s many experiences related to our different environments and circumstances. “Live Your Future Now” is a wakeup call for all of us, for life is short and we must take full advantage of the many avenues available to us to master our surroundings and take advantage of our inner powers to succeed regardless of our place of birth, circumstances of the environment in which we are nurtured and our past and present challenges. The author takes us through her many vicissitudes and challenges in her life and points out that through determination, hard work, discipline, belief in self, and setting goals she was able to overcome many obstacles. She also calls on us to reach out and offer help to others, not the selfish and self-centered living so typical in our world of today.
I recommend this publication to readers all over our globe for we are all faced with the challenges espoused by Magdalene Cooman form different perspectives but fundamentally rooted in living a life in full now for a future tomorrow.”

Ambassador (Ret.) Dr. Joseph Edsel Edmunds, OBE, The Edmunds Group International (TEG),CRPC Senior Associate

“You have such variety, which supports the entertainment factor. Your reader can start at the top and just keep going for hours in the world you have created. Perfect!”

Dominique Dennery, Career Potential Coach. Group Potential Facilitator. Ottawa

“I read through your magazine and Wow!! Pure talent!! From your write-ups to your graphics and lay-out and most of all the sharing of your life experiences and your beautiful message about soul mission” Lisa Anna Palmer, Principal & Owner, Cattelan Palmer Consulting, Ottawa

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Posted in Health and Wellness, Life Purpose, Living from the soul, Living with purpose, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, Motivation, Overcoming fear, People who inspire others, Work

Why don’t we live our life purpose?

On January 21st, I attended the CANNEXUS 14 Conference in Ottawa which brings together  professionals in Career Counselling.  My colleague Dragana and I presented the some of the leading edge work we do with our organization, World Skills, which is dedicated to integrating newcomers into Canadian Labour Market. I also participated in on the seminars by Ken Keis, an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant─ in the past 24 years, Ken has conducted more than 2500 presentations and 10,000 hours of consulting and coaching.

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Ken’s work is very interesting to me as it is similar in many ways to the work with I do with myself and others – an approach which is driven towards helping people live their soul mission or purpose.  His presentation reinforced that there is a high percentage of people who are unhappy with their jobs, which anecdotally is true from my experience. At the end of Ken’s presentation, I did a quick two-minute interview with him.

My question to him was, “Why do you think that we don’t live our life purpose?”

Listen to this quick  video to hear his answer and what got him motivated to living his purpose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygzXwlwS8GI&list=HL1390479352&feature=mh_lolz

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Above, my colleague Dragana and I.

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Above, my colleagues Livia and Ledianis.

Why do we not invest in ourselves?

TuneIn to the clues which life wisely nudges you towards.  StepUp  and  invest in yourself to grow and live your soul mission.

Love,

Magdalene

More about Ken Keis:

His first book My Source Experience Journal – A Personal Discovery Process for Those Who Want to Lead a Passionate and Fulfilling Life assists others to discover their purpose. His second book Why Aren’t You More Like Me? Discover the Secrets to Understanding Self and Others has been endorsed by both Kenneth Blanchard and Jim Kouzes.

http://kenkeis.com/about-crg/

Posted in Family, Great Initiatives, International Initiatives, Life Purpose, Living from the soul, Living with purpose, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, People who inspire others

Meet Dawta Maloee, A Single Mom Who Feeds 200-300 Homeless People A Month…A Call To Feed The Poor Worldwide…

Did you know that an estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide?
Source: United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 2005

Homelessness is something which affects most of us in one way or the other as we are so vulnerable to the calamities of life.  I had my close call to being homeless 10 years ago which led me to spend time with homeless people on the streets of Ottawa and which was a life changing experience for me. Recently, when I read about Carla St.Romain’s (also known as Dawta Maloee) story, a fellow St. Lucian, feeding the homeless in Brooklyn, I felt called to do an interview with her and capture her story in more details and to help  her expand her work. When I asked her for an interview, she hesitated at first and said, “I don’t want any money from anyone.”

My response to her was, “What if by telling your story to a bigger audience, you could expand your soul mission and get more people to be involved in feeding the poor and homeless?”  She agreed to do an interview.  What followed next is a true example of living life from thought to manifestation when we TuneIn to something we are passionate about and StepUp to doing something about it.

I had no idea how I would get to New York but as soon as I got to my office and told some of my colleagues, three of them instantly connected with the idea and within a few days, we had the trip completely planned to match the day which Carla was feeding the homeless.  Gemma, arranged for accommodations for us in New Jersey, Nyamuloa arranged the travelling and volunteered her services as a photographer and Annavic was set on her own mission to see Times Square.  We embarked on a 7 hour journey to New Jersey where we would spend the night and then an extra one and a half hours to get to Brooklyn the following day.

The universe magically conspires to create opportunities to make things happen.

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My interview with Carla was an almost 2 day event as she allowed us into her home and to experience what she does on the streets of Brooklyn.  What is quite moving about Carla, is that she is a single mom with three young children and limited financial resources.  She lives a very simple life. She has made feeding the poor and homeless a priority in her life because she feels called to this mission.  She has been feeding poor and homeless in Brooklyn for the last 8 years and feeds about 200-300 people each month.

“I try not to waste food. I don’t buy clothes, because I don’t need them.  I don’t buy anything that I can’t afford.  I take my sister’s old shoes and tape them to walk outside.  When I do grocery shopping, I buy exactly what I need.” 

carla and Magdalene - Interview

What inspires Carla to live her soul mission?

Carla confidently told me, “God directs my path.”

Carla comes from a family with a heart of giving.  She recalled her grandmother, Martha Prescot, also known as Pepet, who lived in St. Lucia  had a big heart for the homeless.  She often opened her door to the needy.  Several years ago, Carla’s son’s godmother, Suzzette Penniston, gave her the first exposure to feeding the homeless people in Brooklyn.  At that time, Carla was going through a difficult time in her own life. Suzette was supportive and encouraged her to cook for the homeless as well.  She used to cook 16 plates of food which disappeared very quickly on the  streets. Carla joined in the efforts and cooked 50 plates within a couple of months.  She said that it was still not enough and within a couple more months, she started cooking 100 plates every other Sunday. Even 100 plates of food is not enough sometimes.

Carla and Kurmani

What does it take to feed 100 people a hot meal?

Carla strongly believes in feeding the homeless a complete hot meal.  In her experience of the shelters, many homeless people have said that the food they receive at the shelter is not usually a hot meal except for special occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Her budget is about $200 per feeding.  She cooks 30 lbs of rice,  50 lbs of chicken, 40 boxes of pasta, 100 sodas and cabbage and carrot cold slaw or broccoli with mixed vegetables, which is all packaged and presented very nicely in a covered bowl.  Carla used to feed fish but most of the people prefer chicken.  Even though she is a vegetarian herself, she prepares chicken because she believes in providing what the people would enjoy eating.

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rice and chicken

salad

How does Carla manage to cook and deliver 100 meals?

When I walked into Carla’s home at 10:30a.m, the house smelt of good food and it was steaming hot!  Carla was  over the stove in the kitchen and there were already several dishes cooked.  She told me that she woke up at 4:00a.m to begin the cooking.  She lives in a small space but she has organized it in such a way that allows her to do what she needs to do.

Carla - Kitchen - macaroni salad

Her mother, Albertha,  helps her in the preparation as well as her three children and her sisters Ashley and Shana.  Her daughter Kurla, who just turned 14,  proudly told me that she helps her mother by seasoning all the chicken the night before.  Ashley, Kurla and her mom help with parceling the food into the bowls and her two sons, Kurmani and Kurlan help by organizing the cutlery and serving the drinks.

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Ashley

We headed off to the streets about 12:30p.m. We stopped at the corner of Winthrop and within minutes, the people on the streets were “hailing” Carla. The children knew exactly what to do as the homeless people came forward to receive their meal and thank Carla for it.

setting off to feed

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Carla on the streets with Kurmani

Everyone I spoke with were deeply appreciative of Carla’s efforts on the street.

“God will bless her!”  She is 100% true to her cause,” Gipsy,  a Jamaican man who lives in one of the shelters told me.

“She has been taking care of us on the streets for a long time now! She cooks the food good and gives us a hot meal!”

He was happy to speak about her mission. I asked him about his own story and how he become homeless.

“I used to have a good job.” he said.  “But you know, the smoking, I lost my job, I lost my house… things happen and I end up on the streets.” he shared.  “But if you come to the shelter you will be surprised at who you will find there.  Things are hard for people sometimes… life happens… not everyone can deal with losing their jobs or family affairs… but homelessness is not marked on anyone’s face.  It can happen to anyone.”

Carla and Jamaican!

Michael Patterson is a Grenadian man who moved to Brooklyn a couple of years ago.  He spoke highly of Carla’s mission and expressed how important it is for her to continue doing this work. He is not homeless himself but he is often happy to receive Carla’s home cooked hot meal.

“Governments need to keep trying more,” he said. “Not everyone likes the food in the shelters.  Sometimes, the food is cold.  It is important for people to get a hot meal.  Carla is here almost every Sunday with the people, making sure that they have food.”

Magdalene with Grenadian guy

A few of the people I spoke to on the streets told me that although they are grateful that they do have a shelter to sleep in, they are not always happy with the conditions of the shelter and especially that they are kicked out of the shelter when they break the curfew, such as if they come in after 10:00p.m.

“The management can have more sympathy,” one man said.  He had been kicked out twice.  For this reason, he only stays in the shelter during the winter time.  During the summer time, he prefers to sleep in the park.

Magdalene - on the streets

Carla sometimes meet the same people but other times new faces pop up on the block.  She has a natural welcoming attitude about her and makes sure that she lets everyone know that they are welcome to the food that she has.

“It is not my place to judge whether they are homeless or not.  Sometimes, someone is just hungry and I am happy to be there to offer a meal.  Sometimes, I meet homeless people who are shy and they also have no idea who I am.  It puts a smile of my face to let them know that it is o.k and I am there for them in that moment.”

Carla and homeless man

several people

She spends time talking to each person and finds out  how they are doing.  She knows many of them by name and sometimes she also has to counsel them.  In one case, she recalls that Debra, a woman on the streets, threw away the meal she gave her. This was upsetting to Carla and she told Debra that she was sad that she threw away that meal, because it could have fed someone else.

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“However, many of the people on the streets, do not only suffer from homelessness or poverty.  They also have metal illnesses which is not my job to fix or deal with alcoholism…but I can simply understand their situation.    Some of them have their pride as well and it takes time for them to trust me and to accept the food me.”

Winthrop Street

Ricardo Charles is Carla’s friend.  He supports Carla’s mission completely and provides the transportation for her to transport the meals to the second site, where she continues to feed the homeless on Altantic Avenue.  With a broad smile on this face, Ricardo packs up his van and goes off to carry his mission.

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Ricardo

How does Carla’s children feel about her mission?

Carla’s children, Kurla, Kurlan and Kirmani are very proud of their mom.  It was a pleasure to spend some time with them to talk about homelessness and their thoughts about it.  They all understand the value of education and the importance of doing well at school to build a better life. Kurla, who is 14 years old, was the president of her school council in the 6th grade, an honours student and is on the basketball team.

Kurlan had a message for young people.

“Be careful about what you spend your money on.  Save some for when you get older.  Instead of buying all expensive clothes and things, buy something cheaper so  you can save some more. If you have a dollar, split it into four quarters.  Give one-quarter away to the poor, save one-quarter and use two quarters to buy the stuff you need.  Stay in school and get a good education.”

Indeed, great advice coming from a 10-year-old.  It is his hope to continue his mother’s mission when he gets older.  “I would like to be able to take care of homeless people in a different way.  I want to be able to build them houses and give all the necessary medical care for them within the homes.”

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How can we support Carla’s work in feeding the poor and the homeless? 

Carla has a Facebook page where you can connect to her work in feeding the poor.  It is her vision to feed the poor world-wide and to create better services for the homeless.  https://www.facebook.com/feedthepoorworldwide

Here are a few thoughts she would like to share with us:

  • Homelessness can happen to anyone.  We are all vulnerable to unfortunate circumstances in life.
  • Families need to bond closer to each other. Communication is key and we need to show more love and concern for each other.  If one person faces unfortunate circumstances, the rest of the family can pull together to help that one member because eventually it affects everyone in the family.
  • You can start small by cooking a few meals in your neighbourhood to feed less fortunate people.
  • Practice patience with everyone you meet.
  • Be careful what we say to each other.  Words are extremely important in shaping our lives.

If you would like to know more about the state of homelessness in the USA here is a recent report:

http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/the-state-of-homelessness-2013 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Here is a very interesting project about the Homeless World Cup –  Beating Homelessness Through Football.  It gives you an idea of how many people are homeless in each country.

http://www.homelessworldcup.org/content/homelessness-statistics

TuneIn today to your own soul mission.  We all have a gift – something which we can share with the rest of the world and which will make a positive difference in someone else’s life. We don’t need to win the lottery to make a difference – there are many small initiatives you can take to build your courage muscles for bigger visions.  StepUp to live from your soul space.  YOU can do it!

Sign up for a TuneIn and StepUp Challenge in 2014.  Think of one thing which you would like to do to live your soul mission. We are looking for worldwide participation – join in the fun and win great prizes at the end of 2014 if you get your challenge completed.

https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/signup-for-a-tunein-and-stepup-challenge-2014/

A special thank you to my colleague Nyamulola  Kambanji who contributed some of  the photographs for this blog; for Gemma Follini and her family for hosting us in New Jersey; Annavic Taper for accompanying us on the trip; Wilson St. Jour for supporting with the commuting from New Jersey to Brooklyn ad back,  Erneil Johnny for videography which will come out later and most of all, thanks to Carla for opening her home and her heart to letting us cover the story of her soul mission.  It certainly took a full team to make this mission work and I am grateful!

Carla and Magdalene on the streets

With Kurmani

with Wilson St. Jour

Team

Going home

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Magdalene Cooman-Maxwell is from St.Lucia and currently lives in Ottawa. She blogs as a hobby  ONLY for things which will bring inspiration and help make our lives better.  You can follow her blog  and share it with others to continue the flow of good thoughts into the world.  If you have an inspirational story which you would like to get covered please contact me at tuneinandstepup@gmail.com.