Wednesday, 30 September 2015


In life, rules are set to help govern the activities of individuals and make things more enjoyable for all involved. While there are written rules that maintain, unwritten ones such as not cutting in line at a bank or keeping the elbows off the table while eating enforce etiquette for different settings.

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton

When it comes to hiking, there are rules that make the experience pleasant for everyone. Among the most common practices are:

Plan ahead

Research on the region you plan to hike and the weather conditions common to the area. Prepare for any weather surprises and minimize any impact by hiking as a small group.

Waste disposal

Whatever you bring with you ensure you take it out. This includes biodegradable waste such as fruit peelings and food wrappers and containers. Also, pick up any trash you come across that’s left by other hikers. Human waste should be buried in 6-8 inch deep holes that are not near any water source.

Look, but don’t take!

You can admire nature and all it has to offer, but leave everything in its natural habitat. Avoid picking rocks or plucking leaves and plants from their natural settings.

Don’t feed the animal

While many animals will not be particularly inclined to show themselves, there are some that will want a sniff of what you eat. Resist the urge to give them food as it will only disrupt their hunting habits.

Walk through puddles

Avoid walking around puddles or any obstacles that cause the trail to widen. Taking shortcuts or going around a puddle is not good for the sustainability of the trail.

Ramona Maharaj, from the City of Hamilton, has been hiking for years. While teaching in South America, she had the chance to enjoy some of the continent’s scenic hiking trails.

Saturday, 26 September 2015


Unwary tourists make easy targets for con artists and thieves because they stand out in foreign places. While most areas you travel to are likely to be safe, it helps when you take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure your safety. Talk to friends and colleagues who've been to the location before, consult with the travel agency, and keep an eye on any official communication.

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton

Learn about the place

Before you leave, know how the particular destination is faring, especially on the economic front. In many instances, Americans are used to a higher standard of living than some of the places they visit. Where unemployment and petty crime are an issue, be particularly careful with your luggage.

Leave the expensive stuff

You make yourself a target when you wear expensive jewelry and watches or carry fancy cameras and other digital equipment in the open. What might be normal to carry around back home may not be wise to display on your trip. Focus on enjoying the trip and leave the expensive stuff at home.

Be wise with cash

Split your money so you don’t have to carry all your cash or travel cards in one purse. Take advantage of any hotel safes to store your emergency card and only carry the amount of cash you estimate will be enough for the day. Should you lose one card, you will still have the means to make purchases with what you didn’t carry with you.

Digital copies

Before you travel, make digital copies of your travel documents and visas. It’s easy to have them stored on a cloud server that you can access should the originals get lost on your trip.

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton from the City of Hamilton has spent a big part of her teaching career overseas and is well versed in some of the ways to stay safe while traveling.

Thursday, 17 September 2015


In a world of mobile devices and screens, it can be easy to forget the pleasure that comes from reading a book. Studies have shown that reading strengthens and sharpens the mind while also improving language and communication skills. Because the mind is a processing machine that is always looking to consume information, the best way to nourish it is by staying engaged with the right material.

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton

Keep Your Troubles Away

Reading helps shift your focus from the worries and anxieties of everyday life and transports you to a seemingly better place. It is through reading that you get the insight into concepts that you probably never thought of, perceiving things that you didn't think were possible.

Reading is still the best way to gather information and can give you an edge in life. Information is power, and the answers to many of life’s issues are documented somewhere.

Great Sleep

If you are looking to enjoy a good night’s sleep, try reading before jumping into bed. The bright lights that emanate from electronic devices keep your brain awake, meaning that it’s better to read a paperback under dim bedside lights than a tablet.

Feed the Mind

The human mind has been likened to a supercomputer that is constantly seeking information to keep it satisfied. Through reading, you nourish the brain and keep it stimulated and active. Reading can boost your creativity, which helps you come up with better solutions to everyday issues.

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton is an active woman who likes to end the day curled up with a good book. She attributes reading to having helped her understand various cultures of the world.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Ramona Maharaj from the City of Hamilton - History of George Brown

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton is proud to have attended George Brown College, a Toronto-based school that uses its location as a tool to help train their students for real life competition in big cities. On the school’s official website, they have a short description of the school’s history that is reflective of their mission and values: 

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton

“In 1951 the Ontario Government opened the Provincial Institute of Trades with the goal of providing skilled training to soldiers returning from World War 2. Seventeen years later, as the province established a new college system; the Institute was expanded to encompass a broader range of programs, opening as George Brown College in 1967.

Over time, George Brown College has evolved to support the labour needs of a variety of key economic sectors, and beyond pure skills training to offer a broad range of learning opportunities, including softskills development, extensive field education and applied research.

Since 2004, under current President Anne Sado’s leadership, George Brown has more than doubled in size, broadened its international partnerships and increased its commitment to strengthening the cultural, social and economic fabric of Toronto.”

Ramona Maharaj City of Hamilton earned her ESL credentials at George Brown College, and then took them all over the world to teach students whose age levels ranged from small children to adults.