Clean Home vs. Chemical Free Zone

Cleaning.

A chore for many and a hobby for some.

As sad as it might be to say cleaning is something I enjoy, you can’t argue that a clean, clutter-free environment is not a pleasant place to be.

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Maybe these thoughts are a foreign language to some. But if you can in any way appreciate this perspective, perhaps you’ll understand the joy that a visit to the cleaning product aisle in the supermarket brings (and maybe, you’ll have even experienced it yourself!)

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Or maybe, that’s the most ridiculous statement you’ve ever heard.

However you feel about it, I know that my feelings are no longer the same, for reasons I never considered to be an issue.

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After spending 7 months in the domestic cleaning industry I can no longer look at cleaning products with the same heartfelt appreciation I did once before

Besides that fact (without going into the details) that it is not an enjoyable part-time job

It’s certainly not something (as I ‘ve learnt from experience) that’s good for your health.

Physical activity every day ✅ (maybe that shouldn’t be considered the worst part)

Breaking your back trying to haul Henry the hoover in and out of homes/up & down stairs ✅

Breathing in harmful chemicals ✅

I would never have imagined that the amount of energy being exerted could be negatively affected by the toxic fumes exposed by every bottle

Maybe I missed the part where they educated me about this in my childhood.

Maybe I’ve just lost the plot entirely.

Yes, I know certain chemicals shouldn’t be mixed,

Yes, I know bleach should be kept far away from children,

Yes, I know that there are specific chemicals that should be used with precaution even in small, diluted quantities.

But when everyday cleaning products are used every day and they begin to have adverse effects on your health?

I’ll admit maybe when it’s your job you’re using them more often than the average human concerned with keeping their home smelling fresh and countertops bacteria free.

But still.

Google has a lot to say on these issues and you can check it out for yourself.

I just know that when I began to cut back on using cleaning products completely I found that water and equal elbow grease left the same impression.

Could it all be just a marketing ploy?

Do cleaning products really make a difference to the cleanliness of your home?

Or do they just pollute your environment with toxins to give you the impression of a clean home?

Related imageImage result for you sit on a throne of lies

You can argue with the experts.

I just know I’m no longer as eager to try out the newest scent in the Zoflora concentrated disinfectant range or Febreze’s newest collection of holiday scents for Christmas.

If you’re particularly keen, Pinterest is the best place to pick up natural cleaning hints and tips on how lemons and vinegar will do the same job at a fraction of the price.

Rachel Henry is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin at: Rachel Henry

Whatever it takes.

Image result for metro world child

Metro World Child is an international, faith-based humanitarian organization dedicated to serving inner-city children throughout New York City and various urban centres around the world. As their slogan indicates, Metro World Child seeks on a daily basis to provide hope that promises to sustain a concrete future for boys and girls growing up in the roughest circumstances and environments.

Through weekly Sunday school services, child sponsorships, special programs and personal home visits, staff and volunteers from around the world endeavour to do as much as they can to support disadvantaged children and their families.

Having had the privilege to witness first-hand the hard working dedicated nature of team members in New York City headquarters it is no exaggeration that they work tirelessly with maximum determination to do “whatever it takes” to reach as many children and their families as they can.

Every semester a team of 40+ interns arrive in Brooklyn to volunteer alongside the devoted staff members.

It is through this “Sidewalk Sunday School” internship programme that I got to experience what ‘real life’ for the majority of inhabitants in New York City is like and not the glamourous, over commercialised, deeply coveted “city of dreams” that the media convinces us it to be.

Yes, Manhattan is all kinds of wonderful in its own way – but I was most shocked to find that within the five boroughs of New York City, it is a very small part.

Of course, it could be argued that media producers wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t highlight and enhance the best parts of the city and add their personal touches of creative flair to produce the perfect movie scene or the most eye-catching advertisement. But it did sadden me to learn from personally talking with children who lived in New York’s public housing apartments, there are kids living within New York City, that have never stepped foot in Times Square or Central Park.

From their tiny, cramped, bed bug ridden, weed-infused housing project apartment, it’s understandable that the children living there can’t appreciate that there is more outside the unpleasant environment that surrounds them daily. For many, their future is expected to be a snowball of their parent’s bleak reality; unless there is someone who will choose to encourage them to look past their present circumstances and see the potential they have within themselves in a city where anything is possible.

The Why

It is nearly 60 years ago now when a young boy sat on a street corner for three days and three nights waiting for his mum to return. Time passed and no one took any notice of him until a Christian man whose own son was suffering in hospital decided he would make it his concern to see if there was anything he could do to help, he brought the young boy home, prepared him food and paid for him to be sent to a Sunday school camp. It is from that point this young boy – known today as Pastor Bill Wilson – the founder of Metro World Child – came to know Christ – and today makes it his mission to ensure “whatever it takes” is done to meet the needs of underprivileged children around the world.

With 174,282 families living in NYC’s public housing apartments (NYCHA, 2017) you can imagine the overwhelming task of ensuring that every child has the opportunity to attend Metro’s Sunday school programme. Through this after-school kid’s programme (known as “Yogi Bear” to the locals) the children are taught valuable life morals and precious truths centred on God’s Word, the Bible. For many kids their day is filled with yelling, neglect, tears and hurt so to have the opportunity once or twice a week through the outdoor programme or door-to-door visitation of offering a hug, smile, word of encouragement or “I love you!” to these kids who feel so much rejection on a daily basis, you can imagine the joy it brings to their little faces.

Based on the principle that “It is easier to build strong boys and girls than to repair broken men and women” Metro has developed an effective method for building relationships with children and their families in order to be a consistent source of hope and positive influence in their lives.

I am SO thankful to have had the privilege of serving alongside the people that make Metro World Child what it is today and I am so thankful for the goodness and faithfulness of God that I experienced during my time there.

I have no doubt that this ministry will continue to grow under the guidance of leadership who have a desire to serve God and the people of New York wholeheartedly.  I pray that God will continue to bless the efforts of His people in this place so that they can be as effective as possible in reaching the next generation of New York City for Christ.

You can learn more about Metro World Child here: Metro World Child

Rachel Henry is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin at: Rachel Henry

 

Better (than I could ever imagine!)

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In the summer of 2015, it’s not surprising that when you’re due to begin a placement in the industry you’ve been studying in and things don’t appear to be falling into their perfect place – panic begins to kick in.

Yes a placement year in CAM is optional, but when you’re as super unsure about what direction to steer your life in as I was, all practical experience is welcome.

Amidst floods of tears and feelings of failure I couldn’t help but hold on to the ounce of optimism I had when I chatted with friends and they encouraged me that perhaps it was because there was something better “just around the corner.”

However, that little glimmer of hope was immediately disseminated with my instant response of doubt and disbelief “It’s a pretty BIG darn corner!”

*sigh*

A little patience goes a long way.

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Looking back, I’m sure being patient was the last thing I had in mind (and I’m sure my parents can vouch for that!) but looking back, I can now fully appreciate the process and time it took to fully prepare me for life a few thousand miles away from home in the Big Apple.

Little did I know, that for just under 8 months I would spend my time living in Brooklyn in Metro World Child headquarters, with Metro staff and interns from all around the world, endeavouring to serve God and be a small part of His big plan for reaching children and their families with the gospel in the darkest neighbourhoods of New York City, presenting them with the only source of hope that is found through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Having been involved with different aspects of ministry in my local church at home in Northern Ireland, I was super excited (and nervous!) to work alongside an organisation that was involved in a similar style of outreach in New York City (a place I had longed to visit!) and see how God was at work in another part of the world with people willing to be used by Him.

All things work together for good.

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From a young age, when posed the question “Where’s your favourite place in the world?” I always had one answer, “New York City.” Having never been there I guess that’s a bit of an irrational statement, but nonetheless, it was a desire that I knew was put in my heart for a purpose.

It was about 5 or 6 years previous before I set off on my New York adventure when I sat in my youth group on a Sunday evening after the church service and listened to a young girl, Sarah Reynolds share about her experience with what was formerly known as Metro Ministries in New York City. As we listened to her share the first-hand stories about “Sidewalk Sunday School”, “Yogi Bear Kids” and hearing gunshots while teaching children from the Bible on the streets of the poorest areas in the city, it all seemed like an overwhelming mix of intense excitement and legitimate fear. Still, I’ll never forget whispering in agreement with my friends, “I want to do that someday!”

A promise from above.

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When you live in a family of four children with a father who much prefers going to airports to have a picnic as you watch planes come and go every day of summer before he’d ever step foot on one – you can guess that foreign family holidays weren’t a thing in our house. So I’m sure you can imagine the horror of even suggesting I board a plane and cross an ocean by myself to a city full of strangers and streets rife with criminals.

Yea it took a while to get over that one.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the loudest, bravest, boldest person that exists and probably the last person you would want to send to the ghetto of any city, but when you’re in the centre of God’s will and He gives you a promise from the Bible like the one above from Acts to hold on to, stepping forward in faith is the best direction to go.

In every detail.

If I was to begin to tell about the kids I had the privilege to meet, the people I had the pleasure of serving alongside, or even the moments I saw God’s hand most evidently at work, well, we would be here for quite a while. So in an attempt to sum up my feelings on E V E R Y T H I N G that took place during my time with Metro World Child in New York City here’s a verse from the Bible, which even before I left for NYC could use to describe the amount of ways I have seen God at work in my life.

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Of course, there were tearful moments, sleepless nights and pesky lice problems (to name but a few hurdles along the way!) but I wouldn’t exchange my experience and memories for the world.

When people ask about my placement year and the reason for two years out of my studies I often jump to the most logical explanation I think they’ll understand for why I didn’t choose the ‘normal’ placement path. This range of excuses include: “I couldn’t get a placement”, I don’t think I tried hard enough”, “I didn’t apply for enough companies.” When in reality, perhaps it was just because God had something better in mind.

*Insert most commonly asked question*

Would you go back? To visit, for sure! Forever? We’ll have to talk to God about that one.

For now and until graduation, I’m just going to enjoy good old Northern Ireland.

Rachel H

Rachel Henry is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn at: Rachel Henry