We've heard from many of you that you'd like to know what's happening now in the communities whose stories we share in Walk Out Walk On. So we've asked Walk Outs from each of these communities to share their updates, reflections and questions. We encourage you to offer questions and reflections of your own at the end of each blog entry.
“I think there is something in you. Or maybe there isn’t something in you. Although that’s probably the same thing.”
– Haruki Murakami
The idea to host a gifting evening came to us a few weeks ago when Masha and I were sitting in the kitchen at the office where we work. We were inspired by the invitation from the Walk Out Walk On community to host a Shop of the Open Heart. We exchanged our experiences with gifting at this time of the year and how we often miss the meaning of it all. We also said we wanted to experiment with another kind of gifting and began to prepare the Shop of the Open Heart Moscow. We called it a Red Nose Evening (don’t ask me why).
Last week, I spent a few days at Kufunda Learning Village in Zimbabwe. Here are just a few of the many activities that were going on:
In the herb lab, Patricia and Enock are blending tincture of Artemisia with lemon juice and raw honey to help a neighbor who is suffering from chronic asthma. They will provide a month’s supply of this remedy for free. Patricia dreams of opening an herbal clinic in town where she would work four days a week so she could spend the fifth at the Kufunda clinic and keep it free.
It is my tenth day in Mozambique, and the wind is howling through our thatched home. Rain poured in sideways through the night, dampening our beds and pooling on the concrete floor. Fifty feet away, three teenage boys are bailing out their fishing dhow, hoping to spare it from the sunken fate of its neighbor—though both boats will be dry enough in a few hours when the tide goes out.
I’ve been visiting Mozambique with Jackie Cahi, a friend from Kufunda Learning Village, and her family. I flew out to Harare, Zimbabwe, on Christmas Day, and we departed the morning after I arrived, driving 12 hours overland to Vilankulo, a small town on Mozambique’s south coast.
Shop of the Open Heart Oaxaca opened last Sunday afternoon on a bright pink bookshelf. Fifteen gifts were made: Kyrgyzstani coins and handmade dashboard alters, upcycled beer bottle glasses and tales from Carlos Fuentes,a graphic novel signed by the artist and a horse from Germany. Each gift came with a story, a giver and a receiver. The Shop of the Open Heart lasted just 90 minutes. In that short time I noticed something shift for many of us.
It’s 9 AM on Black Friday (for those of you outside the U.S., explanation here), and I’m hiding out in my parents’ home on the North Shore of Boston. My uncle invited me to join him in bringing coffee to nearby Walmart strikers, but I can’t bear the thought of going out there long enough to accept his invitation. When did the conspicuous consumption of our culture become so crushing that some of us choose to cower in our homes?
A few weeks ago, as the holiday season was threatening to cast its glittery shadow, my Walk Out Walk On colleague Aerin Dunford and I had a conversation about how to navigate the transactional culture that dominates the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. We asked our usual question, “What would Walk Outs do?”, which shifted our attention from what’s wrong with this time of year to what’s possible. My learning from witnessing Walk Outs is that they tend to waste very little energy in trying to transform old systems—it’s debilitating and there’s minimal return on the effort. Instead, Walk Outs turn their attention toward the future—designing and experimenting with how the world could be. Read More »
I am pacing the sidewalk in front of a two-story brick building, inhaling and exhaling deeply, slowly as the cold autumn wind blows the dry leaves all around me. There is a stark contradiction between the abandoned houses that I see across the street and the intimate community gathering I just stepped out of. This is a place of contradictions and what I am feeling inside perfectly reflects that. My tears are coming down my cold cheeks but I am not sure whether I am crying because of immense love and possibility I’ve been immersed in, or the undeniable decay and collapse of neighborhoods that I see all around me, or the radiant joy and gratitude I feel in my heart having witnessed the most amazing relationships and collaborations in this community, or the overwhelming grief of centuries that this place holds – pinnacle of racism, class warfare, the crushing of human potential by a vicious capitalist system.
I woke up this morning with an aching heart. The reality of our challenge piercing through the veil of our modern lives. We spent yesterday at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. An incredible place, where we were brought into the under water world. It was a wonderful experience. We spent all afternoon as a family moving through the Aquariaum. Marveling at the beauty of the Knysna seahorses, being transfixed by the sheer size of the giant spider crab, and falling in love with the solo green sea turtle. By the end I was inspired by my meeting with Life and distressed by my meeting with Man.
Last week, I participated in my first Tweet Chat. This was a four-hour, pre-arranged Twitter session using the hashtag #wowochatto link tweets together in a virtual conversation. Fellow Walk Out Walk On-er Aerin Dunford and I decided to co-host an inquiry among Walk Outs involved in learning and education. Our invitation was this:
Many educators unsatisfied with our current school systems are walking out of institutions and limiting beliefs about what’s possible. These brave folks are walking on to create new learning spaces outside of formal educational infrastructure; to challenge attachment to grades, diplomas and degrees; and to convene breakthrough conversations.
During this Tweet Chat, we’ll explore questions like:
What has compelled you to walk out of mainstream education?
How do you integrate your fears as you step into the unknown?
What are you called to walk on to now in your life?
Is it possible to create the new without engaging dominant institutions?
Last night we closed our youth programme. After three months and two days at Kufunda their journey will be taking them back home to their communities. 21 beautiful young people from across Zimbabwe (Central, South and East). Last night I saw their tears, and felt their tremors, their sadness and their fear at returning home. Their love for each other and the time they have spent together.
I worked at Procter & Gamble for 22 years, in Mexico for 9 years and almost 13 in Cincinnati. I was happy in my work and was working very hard, around 12 hours per day. I was doing something that I love, which is sustainability and renewable energy. However, one night, around 2.5 years ago I realized that this was not what I really want to do. It was not my life mission. So I decided to look for my life mission.