Entries by Braun Barry

Is It time for a Grand Experiment?

 

With 50,000 Nova Scotians, over 500,000 Canadians suddenly finding themselves out of work with no fault of their own, is it time for the government to try an experiment they have been musing about for years?

We have been predicting disruption to the work force for many years now. We thought it would come from technology, to our surprise it comes from nature. The effect is the same – depression era unemployment.

As a solution for this problem, many thought leaders, social scientists and economists have been suggesting a simple and proven to be effective solution.

Guaranteed income for all. The way this works is every citizen with a social insurance number gets a monthly check from the government that enables them basic income for food, shelter and transportation. There is no bureaucrat looking over your shoulder asking what you are doing with the money. People are trusted to do what is in their best interest.

I know this … Read the rest

Being a Happy Community with Corona Virus

The main purpose of the Happy Community Project is to deepen the culture within our communities for fellow citizens to take care of each other. We are going through a test period of why that is important.

There are people who are in self-imposed isolation and others who are in quarantine. Soon there will be many more.

How do they get their basic needs taken care of? How do they get social interaction without violating their isolation? How do they pick up prescription renewals? How do they get someone to pick up a few things at the grocery store?

Others are suffering financially, their businesses, homes and ability to feed themselves are at risk. How do they get the support they need?

We as a society are coming to understand that we are dependent on each other. There is no “I take care of me – You take care of you!’. There is no ‘they should…’, It is up to … Read the rest

The Politics of Belonging

The goal of the Happy Community Project is to strengthen the connectedness, belonging and caring across many communities. More and more, we are hearing that our future depends on it. And more and more experts are telling us the Happy Community project is going about it in the right way. For example, George Mombiot talks about the importance of the ‘politics of belonging’ where people do things together.

We know from experience and talking with thousands of people that we all want the same thing. We want to belong in a community where we can find friends and know that others care about us.

We also know that communities have the power to strengthen their connectedness, belonging and caring for each other. We have proven this in Windsor Nova Scotia, Kolkata India. And after just a few weeks, Stewiacke Nova Scotia has already attracted dozens of people committed to making their community a stronger community.

In 2019, I made … Read the rest

Reflections

I recently heard an interview with Margaret Attwood where she said two profound things:

Fear gets more respect than love

and

It takes courage to be decent.

My first reaction was to question whether this was really true. And then I looked at my own experience.

I could see in myself how at times I chose ‘expedient’ over ‘love and decent.’ How I let things slide when I could have stepped up or how I ignored someone I could have helped. I have had to acknowledge my own fear and where it comes from.

But I know I am not alone in my fears. The Happy Community Project has provided many experiences for me to also test the truth of these statements. 

For example, when we attempted to initiate the Adopt a Grandparent  Project, one in four people would tell me that they were afraid to be a neighbour. They told me that they were afraid of being wrongly accused … Read the rest

Sad News

 

What is Happening with the Happy Community Project?

Many of you have been asking me what is happening with the Happy Community Project. Over the last two months, we have focused on two major things: Making plans and engaging our municipal and provincial governments to financially support the Happy Community Project.

We are excited about the plans we have been making and disappointed that our governments have not provided financial support.

Where the money Comes from

We have done what other experts and communities thought was impossible and believe is amazing – we have turned our community into a “Happy Community”. Our community citizens and local businesses have made this possible with their efforts and their money. Our local business community has generously donated about one third of our costs. Their support has been critical to our efforts. I have personally financed most of the other two thirds.

For 30 months, I have been asking for support from our councillors … Read the rest

A Piece of the Puzzle

– Peter Chaisson’s story 
By Fadila Chater 

 

The jigsaw puzzle lay in pieces on a table at the Windsor Regional Library. It waits for the day anyone—man, woman or child—would put it together again. Days go by. An occasional hand appears and fiddles with a piece or two. For months, the jigsaw puzzle remained scattered and neglected. Until one fateful day. 

“It’s evolved to the point where you have people from different aspects of society—people who did not know each other—standing around that table, putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Library clerk Peter Chaisson says. We sit and chat at the library, where he’s worked for the last seven years. 

“You know, finishing it, enjoy finishing it, waiting for the next one to come out. People probably would have never interacted if not for that puzzle sitting on the table.” 

Without sounding too cheesy, the jigsaw puzzle, when complete, is like a happy community. A library, whether it’s a local … Read the rest

The Bicycle

Adrienne Wood’s story By Fadila Chater 

First she felt the impact. Then came the pain. Finally she saw blood. Eight-year-old Adrienne Wood was biking down to the Windsor waterfront, eager to join her teammates at the Windsor Canoe Club, when suddenly, she stumbled. The fall took a chunk out of her knee. She knew she needed help. Resilient, like most kids who grew up playing outdoors, she picked her bike up by the handlebars and wheeled it over to the nearest business, the town optometrist.  

“I’m bleeding!” she yelled as she burst through the door.  

Though she vaguely knew Dr. MacDuff or his receptionist, she felt like they would surely take care of her. And they did. They cleaned her up, slapped a Band-Aid on her knee and gave her a hug. 

Less sore from the tumble, Adrienne rode her bike down to Lake Pisiquid, where she spent the rest of the day hanging out with her friends, snacking on … Read the rest

Reflections on a Thanks Giving Weekend

 

Being grateful every day is always a good practice for wellbeing, this weekend is an extra special time to take some reflection time.

So here I go.

As I listen to the news, I am truly grateful that we live where we do – in a democracy that works, in a place where we can talk out ideas and a place where our fellow citizens understand that our collective wellbeing is important to our personal wellbeing.

Every day, I get feedback that it is important to strengthen our culture of taking personal responsibility for the wellbeing of each other. Aren’t we lucky that we have the luxury of holding these kind of thoughts?

I am lucky that I can be optimistic about my grandchildren’s future because in spite of other people’s agendas, common sense and good will still prevails.

And Most of all, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference through the Happy Community Project. … Read the rest

“If you paint your house….”

Anna Allen’s story By Fadila Chater

Mayor Anna Allen sits in her office, overlooking King Street in Windsor. I have a seat in front of her and she asks me how I’m doing. Her friendly smile and welcoming demeanor put me at ease. A few hours earlier, my stomach was turning. My nerves got the best of me. It’s not every day you get to interview the mayor of your hometown. And, as a journalist, it’s rare that they welcome you without hesitation. But that’s just who Anna is. She’s a people person. It’s her job. But, unlike other politicians, her friendliness isn’t faked or disingenuous. She isn’t in it for the fame or notoriety. She simply cares.  

Anna has lived in Windsor for most of her life. Though, for a time she felt like an outsider. To many people, the 10-kilometer difference between Hantsport and Windsor meant she was from away, a newcomer. Though, feelings of isolation soon changed … Read the rest

Go Together

Will Webster’s Story by Fadila Chater

Will Webster stutters. He’s stuttered for as long as he can remember. It’s often the first thing he’ll mention when getting to know people. Not because he’s looking for pity. But because he believes everyone deserves to be understood.

Though, it would be a lie to say his stutter never embarrassed him.

“I’m still kind of haunted by experiences of being laughed at and people being impatient with me for not being able to spit it out,” he says. Will sits with his wife Anne at their home in Bedford, Nova Scotia. They eat their lunch, a fresh chef’s salad, together on their patio. Anne, a gentle and soft-spoken woman, apologizes for eating during our interview. I say it’s no bother at all. It was a warm summer day and the pair had been renovating their kitchen all morning. They had missed lunch and were just catching their meal as I knocked on the … Read the rest