Christchurch

Having spent half a year in and around Christchurch, New Zealand, I have stacks of vivid memories from this little city.

From my experience, it's colorful, and though it may not have the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles, London, etc., it is a place where humans of various backgrounds, appearances, and beliefs co-exist, mostly in great harmony.

I remember it feeling like a breath of fresh air as I met the locals - through their questions of who I am/where I am from/etc. - rather than placing assumptions and judgements onto me by my appearance and accent like I've experienced in California and the US in general, that the inquisitiveness stems from genuine curiosity. I don't recall ever feeling out of place or any social anxiety being a POC in New Zealand.

The side of Christchurch I got to experience as I landed into the Social Enterprise World Forum and PechaKucha all within the first several days is one of innovation, action, global solidarity, reconciliation, and community. Although there's no doubt one could see and feel the effects of destruction, grief, and loss from the earthquakes 8 years ago, there is a certain energy and sense of personal and communal purpose unlike ever before to (re)build a city for its people by its people. That spark has fostered neighbors to get to know one another better. That has allowed community gardens to pop up and sprout their seeds in the soil as well as the minds of many. That has gotten folks to work together in putting "we" before the "me."

Last year this time, I was right there in the city, enjoying the heck out of Holi with hundreds at the largest park in Christchurch Central. Holi is a Hindu festival of love or colors that signifies the victory of superior over immoral. All of us in this photo were born in different countries. We are united by our similarities as well as differences. And that is where all of us will keep going. Victory of superior over immoral. Celebrate culture and embrace diversity. White nationalist rhetoric, fear, and hate has no place. Period.

Deep deep love and support to everyone affected directly as well as indirectly by this horrific event. 

... I don't have words.

Everyone's alright physically.

I DO have words.

This space meant immensely to all of us. This space was a showcase of our natural building knowledge. A showcase and celebration of our work alongside the community members. We invited locals who are skilled at straw weaving to help us with the roofing. It was a collaborative effort, much like a majority of our physical projects.

This new common space was a structure we didn't know we wanted and needed to exist. We dreamed of it in season 2, well over a year and a half ago, and some of us didn't even think it'd be feasible with our meager budget and simply the sheer complexity of its design and size. But our vision shined through. I personally watched it from several thousand km's away as the team on the ground designed, planned, and began the building process throughout season 3. I was mesmerized.
To see it, work on it, photo/film it, and be in it, even if briefly, this season has been such a gift. It'll be remembered. And we'll come out of this stronger together. 

@Conscious Impact 

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Last week in Seattle

As I once again wrap up my time in Seattle, I am reminded how grateful I am to also be able to call this place, this region, home. The Beacon Food Forest and the community of humans it attracts is a tremendous part of this good feeling. The previous work party last weekend will be my last for now. This is one of my favorite captures from it. It encapsulates the joy in the ability to reconnect with nature, one another, in a space that provides nourishment and knowledge for all, no matter your background, religion, color of your skin, and personal motivations.
I'm really joyed to once again have been able to spend time exploring the Cascade mountains, to eat berries right off bush along along the trail, enjoy the summer harvest abundance everyday, dive into lakes and rivers, meet new friends, rekindle old connections, and very importantly work on my all-new, beautiful website. Look out for it real soon.

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