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 one … 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

Garden of Eden – Sean and Erika’s Story

By Fadila Chater 

Sean, Erika and Family

I pull into the driveway and see two white-haired cherubs dressed in pajamas playing in the tall grass.  

“Hi!” one sings to me. 

“Hello there,” I respond. 

Her hair shimmers like a million silk strands on a sunlit loom. A tall man in a wicker hat appears behind them.  

“Hey, how’s it going,” he says.  

“Good! How are you? I hope I’m okay to park here,” I say. 

He nods his head yes. I look for the keys to lock my doors, but he tells me there’s really no need.  

Sean MacDonald and his little girls, Clara, 6 and Lily, 4, lead me to their backyard. I’m taken aback by the beauty and serenity of what I see; tall, luscious grass that rolls down a hill overlooking the expansive Nova Scotian countryside. I turn my head to see a brood of hens behind a chicken wire fence. We sit at the picnic table … Read the rest

A global village:

Md Zaman Khan’s story 
By Fadila Chater 

Md Zaman Khan rummages through the refuse that’s polluting his beloved city of Kolkata, India. In his hands are dirt-caked plastics and food wrappers. The hot sun beats down on his back and pearls of sweat form on his forehead. Focusing on the ground in front of him, he feels the sharp gaze of disapproving and puzzled looks on his back. Why was a young, middleclass man, the son of an engineer, picking up garbage off the street like a beggar? Nevertheless, the 22-year-old continues picking up trash, despite how ridiculous or improper he appears to others on the street.  

“Look, these guys are doing great work.” 

Stunned, Zaman looks up and sees a child, no older than five- or six-years-old. The boy tightly grasps his mother’s hand; the way an elephant grasps his mother’s tail with his trunk.  

“This is why I send you to school,” the … Read the rest

Coming Out of Her Shell, Jessica Patenaude

By Fadila Chater

Jessica Patinaude

The backpack flew past Robert’s head. He turned around and saw his daughter, Jessica, standing on the bus. Tears streamed down her cheeks. It was the first day of Kindergarten and his timid five-year-old was terrified. 

The backpack flew past Robert’s head. He turned around and saw his daughter, Jessica, standing on the bus. Tears streamed down her cheeks. It was the first day of Kindergarten and his timid five-year-old was terrified. 

He picked up her backpack and jumped onto the bus. He did what any good father would do, sat down beside herand rode the bus all the way to his daughter’s school. That was the first and last time Jessica rode the bus that year. 

“I was a really shy child, like, too the max,” Jessica says, sitting in her office at the Windsor Recreation Centre. Now she’s 20 years old, a community development student at Acadia University and working as a manager … Read the rest

A Little Help From My Friends: Ann Knowles

Ann Knowles
  
“How would you like to go to Africa?” Bill Thomson asked his children at breakfast. It was 1969. Bill’s daughter, Ann, was 16-years-old and just finishing up driving lessons on her parents’ convertible. 
  
“Oh, yeah… neat,” she said, thinking it was another one of her father’s travel fantasies. Days later, Ann’s bags were packed for South Africa. 
  
“Sixteen years old, just learning how to drive, had a convertible, and we were going to Africa?” Ann says, now 66-years-old, sitting in her Windsor home decades later. “That was a shocker.” 
  
Bill had itchy feet. He was a civil engineer and town planner. His interest in housing development led him to lecturing opportunities at universities all over the world. The Thomsons were never in one place for too long. 
  
“I grew up all over the place. We were in Britain and we were in South Africa and Lesotho, and New Brunswick and Winnipeg,” Ann says.  
  
After Ann got her teaching
Read the rest

Rain and wind were no match for the ‘umbrella’ of community-building locals at Sunday market re-opening

By Fadila Chater

Windsor, N.S. — Just when it seemed summer was upon us, cold spring rain made a roaring return on Sunday as vendors at Avon Community Farmers’ Market set up shop at Victoria Park in Windsor.

But the heavy showers didn’t put a damper on what vendors would call the beginning of summer at the seasonal market, which runs from June to October, rain or shine.

With live music, sweet treats, coffee and artisanal goods, the market was hard to miss. And it got the attention of dozens of locals, including Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley, who stopped by to stock up on fresh greens.

“We have lovely music here today, which makes it a celebratory atmosphere,” said Murley. “You can see the smiles on people’s faces. They’re greeting each other and people are happy to be here. That’s what community is.”

Dozens of people weaved in and out of kiosks – children, dogs and even a parrot in … Read the rest

Our Goals for 2109

We recently had a meeting with the Happy Community Project Core Group to look at what we have accomplished in 2018 and make some goals for the coming year. We have accomplished a lot – and we have listened to what our neighbours are telling us they want for our community. What we have heard are two big things. We have heard:

  •          thank you – keep doing more of what the Happy Community Project does in building social connections across our community
  •         help us replace the culture of divisiveness with a culture of unity

So that’s what we are going to do.

Building Social Connectedness

We are going to continue to support the Farmers Market, Community Gardens, Community Farm, Ellershouse Breakfast, Movies in the Park, Welcome Newcomers, Greatest Picnic Ever, Corn Boil Challenge, Grab a Meal as well as launch My Community Kitchen Party and Adopt a Grandparent. In addition to these incredible projects, several citizens have come … Read the rest