I’m sitting at a table in The Forks Market in Winnipeg. It’s a cornucopia of foods, shops and other boutiques. There’s a busker over there playing a mandolin and a 2-year-old is captivated by him.
They call it ‘The Forks’ because it’s the place where two rivers meet, The Assiniboine and The Red. Both are waaaay higher than normal this spring. They’ve been sandbagging around the clock for a couple days now. Big call for volunteers. Wish I would have brought grubby clothes with me.
I interviewed two remarkable human beings thus far. Amanda is a twenty-something volunteer who started her own NGO. Together with her partner, they raised enough money to build a school in East Africa ($7,500). Went over there, hired local contractors, made sure every dollar made its way into the local economy. None of it was gobbled up in admin costs. She didn’t even pay herself. Her next project is a community home to shelter homeless children in that same country.
Sister Leslie took over a building in downtown Winnipeg that has become home to Cocaine Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other addictions groups. It’s a warm place for the city’s cold to come in an sit in the quiet, stay, pray, think, or heal. It’s a place for convicts to come to when they’re looking for ways to integrate back into society. It’s a place where women of all faiths, from all over the world may come to live while they get back on their feet again.
Between the two of them, countless lives have been touched in a positive way. I still have two interviews to go.
On the drive up my mind had a good opportunity to wander. I think I’m close to figuring out something that I’ve been looking for. Don’t exactly have words for it. Clarity maybe. Love? I’m not sure. It’s a fine line between looking for what’s missing and letting it come find you. Seems the later is better.
56,000 people have walked through the House of Peace. Sister Leslie said she never set out to do something great. There was no plan. No money. She didn’t even know how the space could be used. All she knew is that building was destined to be a parking lot if she didn’t move in.
She told me about a Zen expression she’s fond of. “If you leap, the net will catch you.”