Friday, June 24, 2011

What does community mean? The Co-Op

   We have often talked about what it means to be a part of a community.  What should we expect from one another?  I have always thought that, as Kennedy said, "...our most basic, common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air."  We are facing difficult times and I do not think that we can face them alone, sequestered from one another.  As a community, we can be bold and accomplish much.  There is strength in numbers.   This past week, we have talked and we have listened to one another.  We have seen the each others' needs and we have seen each others' wants, for ourselves and for our children.
   This past week we talked about health care.  We talked about education, both grade school and college,  and we talked about child care.  We talked about jobs, and owning homes, and retirement.  We talked about war and peace and supporting local economies and the storms in Clemson have made us wonder about global warming and the environment.  This past week has been a week of conversations about what really matters to people.
    So, now that we know the problems, what are the solutions?   The Co-op idea came up.  A group of people, each having needs and wants, yet each also having something to offer to their neighbor.  This is not so much the beginning of a new yet tradition, yet a continuation of an old one.  The thing that makes us Americans and moreover, what makes us humans is our responsiblity to one another; the knowledge that though you skin is a different color or you worship a different or many gods in different ways, you, as I am, are human.  I am my brother's keeper and what gives me faith, what gives me hope, is that he too shall believe that he is mine.
   We believe that if we take care of the small problems, the big problems will be that much easier to deal with.  We believe that if we take care of what is right in front of us, those things in the distance will not be so  scary.  The future is not so scary if the present is not so bad and there is no darkness that we cannot all walk through together.  So, ask me about the co-op.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Beginnings...kinda

Where ever I go, whatever I do, I find a lot of differences in the landscape but the people are basically the same.  There are a lot of people who are just good  with a sincere desire to help and Clemson is no different.  As we embark on a new chapter of The Waiverly Project, it has been the goal to get in contact with people and share our mission.  People have been very receptive and incredibly helpful to what we are trying to do (even if we cannot always explain it well).  So, I am very busy beginning a compost pile here in beautiful Clemson, SC and dedicating this week to talking to more and more people about what we would like to do.  I left here in 1999, but it is amazing how quickly and easily one can slip back into a good community.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Couldn't Stay Away...

My last post (about 3 weeks ago) was all about quitting and walking away from this whole thing.  The major thing that I noticed since then, was that even though I made all of the right arrangements to leave it all behind and get on with my life, I have found that the connections that I have made are hard to sever and even having been a part of this thing of ours for a relatively short time, it is hard not to want to form new connections.

While sitting on the dock, by the lake, in Clemson, SC  I recieved a text from a young man who we had helped some weeks ago.  When it was cold and miserable outside in Atlanta, we had given out Starbucks cards so that people could go in and out of Starbucks, get a cup of coffee, maybe a snack while they got warm.  The main thing was that we did not just want to give people cash. With thse cards, we could refill them on-line where ever they were.  We had given this young man one and he had only used it a couple of times as it only had 10 dollars on it, but it did not take long for that money to run out. 

The heat has been oppresive lately and this has been terrible for the homeless.  Today, approaching summer, air conditioning can be just as important as heat is in the winter.  Rain falls hard and all year round.  Being exposed to the elements in any season is dangerous.  I had forgotten that or ignored it.
On the other side of that, while taking in my surroundings and doing a bit of relaxing, I saw that while I was sitting and talking to people about various things, the same concerns were arising.  Every conversation, would without trying, come to these big and small social, environmental, and economic issues.  It is apparent that people have a desire and the will to do something, but lack the outlet.

One must do what they are interested in and I cannot see myself just working in an office anymore.  I have tried to get out, but it all just pulls me back in. Leaving the state of GA did nothing to get rid of my desire to help and I have noticed that even Clemson has at least one homeless person. So, I am back and I hope that others will join me as I work to do some good things.