I returned from a three-week adventure in Tanzania splitting time teaching at Good Hope Orphanage and Primary School, reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and speeding through the vast plains of the Serengeti. From my flight to Dar es Salaam to being seen off at the airport coming home to Toronto, I had the privilege to meet so many change makers in such short time; Allen, a Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist from United States working with World Medical Mission to train locals in prosthetics and orthotics in Kenya and Jill, Nicole, Apryl and Tanya from Canada, working for Sustainable Cities in Dar es Salaam on urban development projects with the municipal government were some of the fine folks working on incredible initiatives in Africa. In the next several blog posts I would like to share the stories of a few change makers I met along the way.
Last week, I was in Seattle exploring and tasting new sensations. I love travelling and getting to know new places, I try and bring that feeling back home in adventure walks and taking new paths and thinking in new ways. While in Seattle, I saw many things for the first time that were inspiring and community focused and it made me wonder how many things might I be missing at home, since I consider them part of the day to day.
Here are a few things that I found amazing during my trip:
I love this image, the idea that people are being asked “Do you want to see THIS on this street?”, with sketches that are visual and attention seeking. This message is invitational, it asks you to come to speak to this image and to know what the potential is. I would have liked to go to the community consultation to see what how the session was facilitated and how attended.
This advertisement was in the local newspaper calling the community to help clean up after the fourth of July celebrations. It really gives me a sense that there is community ownership and pride. There isn’t an expectation that someone else should do it, but that we are all responsible for the city.
During our trip, we went and did all the touristy things – aquarium, Space Needle, boat tour and the underground tour. The underground tour is a historic tour of Seattle. The part that really captured my heart is the fact that Bill Speidel started the tour after a building was torn down to make a parking garage and to save the other historic buildings in the area, he started the underground tour. While people were lured to the mysterious underground of Seattle, Bill Speidel would have people sign a petition to save the buildings, but then to his surprise once the buildings were safe, people kept coming for the tour. So, to this day the tour is still a family run business and a shining example of “How Do you Exhibit Change?”
Changing up my scenery always changes my perspectives.
I really like going to museums and talking to the security guards. They have such unique experiences from watching and maintaining the museum floor or a specific exhibit. Often out of people watching or boredom, they have the funniest little tidbits of information.
Some good examples:
1. At the Canadian Centre of Architecture, the security guard pointed out to me that a model that was illustrating light and circulation patterns was made up of 96 layers of plexi-glass, something you would certainly need time to notice.
2. At the New Museum, the security guard who seemed intent on staying very serious let down his tough exterior when I asked him which “I Wish” ribbon he liked best. Each “I Wish” ribbon had a unique statement that represented wishes that people had contributed to a participatory exhibit. He had to think hard about it, but he said that his favourite was “I wish to be a famous baseball player” which he took for his son, one of 5 children. He also took several for his other children and his wife. I told him about a few new ones and said he would have to check them out.
3. At the Art Gallery of Ontario, a security guard told me about how the artist had very specific requirements about keep the piece intact and maintaining the integrity of the piece. The security guard took it upon himself to protect the installation process. The artist arrives after the piece is installed perfectly and takes a walk around the installation, picks up a hammer and smashes a mirror. The security guard was not impressed.
I look forward to more discoveries.