Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
During the 2009 CACEE Conference, which I was lucky enough to emcee, I was inspired by the keynote speakers, especially Ginger Grant, and some of the workshops to launch a new segment here at The Weekly Gumboot. The team here at Vancouver's coolest new blog is all about collecting ideas from everywhere and using them to build community. This new feature, Five Ways to Build Community, empasizes the "using" aspect of our ideas from everywhere. Enjoy!
1. Talk to Strangers: step outside of your comfort zone and start a conversation with someone you normally wouldn't talk to; whether it's a homeless person with a shopping cart, a businesswoman in a power suit, or an emo-hipster in skinny jeans, you will gain a new perspective and, possibly, expand your literal and figurative idea of "community."
2. Experiment with Food: recent findings show that food is grown, prepared and served differently around the world; trying a new dish will provide you with an interesting - and delicious - insight into another culture.
3. Give Hugs: my goodness does a big hug every make people feel great! Sure, be aware of "Canadian Space" - Jerry Seinfeld would advise on not being a "hugger" or "close-talker" - and pick your moment, but, hey, just ask The Kindness Crew just how impactful a hug can be. Hugs can change the world!
4. Take Public Transit: a great place to meet strangers! Having your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road gives you an opportunity to experience your community from a different perspective.
5. Ask Questions: don't just ask questions; listen intently to the answers - "active listening" is what the kids call it - and make your co-conversationalist feel like they're the centre of the universe. You'll probably learn something new and amazing about people, places and things, too!
Stay classy. And have fun with it!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Ok. Now that we've finished our little tram ride, what were your first impressions?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Entrepreneurs love a downturn. And there's no better - or worse - downturn than the one our global economy is wringing us through right now. According to an up-and-coming business publication, the Harvard Business Review, "entrepreneurs look at financial challenges or a recession and, instead of wringing their hands, find ways to innovate and spin them into gold for social transformation." The biggest immobilizer today is fear. Fear to take risks. Fear to innovate. Fear to change. People don't need to possess a natural risk-taking personality to excel as entrepreneurs, either. You can set yourself apart from your competition simply by being adaptable and adept at managing change. Be nimble. Respond quickly to market shifts and the opportunities they might create.
Speaking of market shifts, let's talk about Somalia. In his article, "You are being lied to about pirates," The Independent's Johann Hari examines the circumstances by which many Somali fishermen have been thrust into the world of piracy. After the fall of the country's government in 1991, Africa's longest coastline (Somalia's coast spans about 2,000 miles) has been unprotected. This power-vacuum has provided a perfect opportunity for the international fishing industry to steal Somalia's food supply and use the region as a dumping ground for nuclear waste ("yes: nuclear waste," says Hari - cadium and mercury were also, allegedly, thrown in the mix). Hari interviewed Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, who claims that "there has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention" of such a gross example of pollution. But one can also see how market forces have driven them to think outside the box, get creative, take risks, and work together in innovative ways. In a recent Time magazine article, Ishaan Thardoor argues that "Somali piracy has metastasized into the country's only boom industry. Most of the pirates, observers say, are not former fishermen, but just poor folk seeking their fortune. Right now, they hold 18 cargo ships and some 300 sailors hostage — the work of a sophisticated and well-funded operation."
"But John," you're undoubtedly saying. "What the heck do pirates have to do with the economic crisis and entrepreneurship? Where are you going with this?" Oh dear readers, by this point in the history of The Weekly Gumboot, you shouldn't be so wary of my ability to link, connect and develop seemingly unconnectable ideas, events, facts, and findings. As ideas-man and innovation-guru Franz Johansson outlines, "individuals, teams and organizations can create an explosion of remarkable ideas at the intersection of different fields, cultures and industries." Some of the interesting "intersections" of which Mr. Johansson speaks include, but are not limited to, computers and candy, burqas and bikinis (pictured), locusts and Volvo, and Dr. Martin Luther King and Russian Techno music.
As we connect the entrepreneurial spirit with the service we provide to students and clients around the world, what can we take as the answer to this equation: economic crisis + pirates + CACEE = ? Well, there's only one way to find out. Read on!
Let's examine four tales of piracy that reflect four pillars of entrepreneurship: risk-taking and creativity, knowing the most, personal/professional branding, and relationship-building. Here we go:
Risk taking and creativity in the Gulf of Aden. To quote Stephen Colbert, "it takes balls" to navigate a tiny speedboat nearly 300 miles off the coast of Kenya into the Gulf of Aden, climb aboard a Saudi oil tanker, capture it, steer it into port, and then hold it ransom for $20 million. But that's what happened in November 2008, when a rag-tag bunch of think-outside-the-box pirates captured the Sirius Star and its crew, which was carrying 2 million barrels of oil, 25% of Saudi Arabia's daily output. From the BBC to CNN to Al Jazeera, the world suddenly became very interested in these seemingly small-time hijackers. They did what nobody thought possible and they got noticed. Like, really noticed. Oh, and they made $3 million from the ransom, too.
The takeaway from this story: look for opportunities where you've never looked before (for example, several Canadian mining companies are setting up shop in Mongolia and they need analysts, operations experts and supply chain managers).
Sir Francis Drake knew the most. In the ultimate example of a cross-functional, inter-cultural, and multi-dimensional information interview, Sir Francis Drake gathered enough information from a group of French sailors (Le Testu was the name of their leader - unfortunately, he was caught, tortured and killed following the heist), cimarrones (escaped slaves who had no love for the Spanish), and also from secret English documents that divulged important Spanish trade routes to pillage the Caribbean port of Nombre de Dios. In the end, according to Samuel Baulf, "in gold alone the raiders had seized some 100,000 pesos (the peso was worth eight shillings three pence of English money)...and including gems and what silver they managed to recover, the total value of the haul was likely in excess of £40,000." And here's the kicker: Drake and his boys stole over 15 tons of silver. Drake knew all their was to know about the port, which, Angus Konstam argues, resulted in a watershed moment for the Spanish Main: "attacks by Sir Francis Drake proved Nombre de Dios too vulnerable to pirates."
The takeaway from this story: a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that the top reason that candidates are not hired out of an interview because they don't know enough about the company; being entrepreneurial means standing out in a crowd because you know the most.
The personal brand of Edward Teach. Konstam calls Teach - also known as "Blackbeard" - "the most famous pirate of them all." Blackbeard worked hard to establish a fearsome and terrifying image (see his flag, pictured - a demonic figure stabbing a bleeding heart), but, according to Konstam, "no evidence exists to suggest that he ever killed anyone who was not trying trying to kill him." He even preferred marooning a crew to outright slaughter. Sure, other pirates caused more mayhem, captured richer cargoes, more ships, and more valuable prisoners, but Blackbeard has come to represent the pirate genre more than any other. And it has to do with his personal brand: in 1717 a victim described him as "a tall, spare man with a very black beard which he wore very long." He added to his menacing appearance by wearing a crimson coat and and bandoleers slung over his shoulders, but it was the "burning lengths of slow match" woven into his hair that have been immortalized in everything from sailors' tales to the Blackbeard t-shirt that I own. His reputation became bigger than he ever was.
The takeaway from this story: personal branding "expert," Kristie T, points out that 75% of buying decisions are made on emotion and, given that we are exposed to over 3,000 marketing messages per day, it is important to distinguish yourself from the rest of the world. I'll sum it up with a Kenyan proverb: "utu wa mtu ni tabia yake" (roughly, it means "you are the way that others see you.") As you build your value proposition, think about how you want to be seen.
Building relationships with Madame Cheng. It was 1807 and hundreds of Chinese pirates were looking for a leader. An opportunity presented itself. And on to the scene emerged the greatest pirate in the history of pirates. She called herself Madame Cheng. Madame Cheng was ruthless, wily and charismatic. She could also build relationships and had an eye for talent. As she cajoled and negotiated and charmed her way to prominence in China's pirate community, Madame Cheng took on a young lover; the adopted son of a fisherman named Cheng Pao. And here's the kicker: she made the kid head of the Red Sea fleet, which was the biggest and most important in the Confederation. By 1810, Madame Cheng's pirate fleet was larger than those of most countries navies. Through organization, relationship-building and recognizing top talent, Madame Cheng created a pirate fleet the likes of which no one has ever seen (or well ever again see). And for three years she ran the shipping lanes of the China Sea and Strait of Malacca for decades.
The takeaway from this story: it's an easy one; over 80% of employment opportunities are developed because of who we know, not necessarily what we know. Furthermore, when you have positive relationships with clients and co-workers, they will be excited and eager to spread the word - the good word - about you.
Needless to say, there all several aspects of entrepreneurship - piratical or not - that can be applied to the non-entrepreneurial world of employment.
Practically speaking, by the time this post has been live for a few hours, Philippe and I will have experienced a simply outstanding conversation about the entrepreneurial spirit being applied to finding, securing and developing a meaningful career. Also practically speaking, if you are interested in and/or excited to pass along such ideas to your students and/or clients, strongly consider wrapping your proposal in a pirate package. A veritable pirate pack, if you will. In my experience, kicking off a workshop or a topic in a workshop with a fantastic, out of this world, pop-culture-immersed tale of a famous - or infamous - pirate really piques the audience's interest. Take pirates as a metaphor for student-engagement, people: superheroes, film characters, musicians, politicians, and cartoon characters work well, too. And once you've seduced them with said edutaining strategy, start sprinkling in the career education content (an easy connection, as you can see) as well as some tangible and specific next steps that they can take away from the workshop. Just when an audience realizes that, in fact, they're not actually listening to an amazing story about pirates, but are actually learning about networking, gender-equality, resumes, multi-culturalism, environmental stewardship, or entrepreneurism, well, it's too late. And it's a beautiful thing.
Yes, many - or most - of the pirates are gangsters. No, this doesn't make hostage-taking okay. But this article has outlined some of the ways that these seagoing thugs are dealing with a recessive global economy. "Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world," says Hari. They didn't like the rigour, restrictions and "oppressiveness" of the seafaring alternatives of, say, the Merchant Marine or Royal Navy, so they chose a more independent, democratic and risky life at sea. Recent findings show that in excess of $300 million US in shellfish is being stolen from the Somali coast by illegal trawlers each year. They have no government to speak of. Organizations are dumping nuclear waste in their waters and on their land. Somalia just might be the worst place on Earth.
Kinda puts the global recession in perspective, eh? They don't "fit" in the current economic system, which is probably why the independent Somalian news site, WardheerNews, found that 70 per cent of Somalians "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence." Some even call them the "Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia"! And we can most certainly call them entrepreneurs.
So, mateys, take what ye learned today and apply it to yer teachin. Being entrepreneurial might just get us out of this economic mess.
- Sir John the Pirate
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
So, yes, in today's big picture, we need cars. But on a glorious Sunday (June 14, 2009 to be specific), the people who visited Commercial Drive shared a common experience of, um, experiencing of a carless (not careless) community. But that's enough from me. Let's see what World Renowned Health Promotion Specialist, Michelle Burtnyk, has to say about the Car Free Community.
Great job, Michelle. I especially like how your report concluded with random additions to the community. Welcome to Vancity, Steve Sloot!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The conference that I was attending in San Fran was themed ‘Building Bridges by the Bay’, and was an opportunity for college health professionals across North America to share ideas, build relationships, and work together to create environments that support health and wellness. The theme was fitting – not just for the conference, but for the city it was held in.
A city that may be as diverse if not more diverse than Vancouver – how wonderful it is. There’s something beautiful about communities that can preserve the heritage of their culture while living peacefully with others of all creeds, faiths, orientations, and ethnicities. Wandering through the Castro District, the infamous neighborhood where Harvey Milk brought due attention to gay rights and laid the groundwork for future gay rights activists to fight for their rights, was a humbling experience and a foray into the accepting world Milk must have envisioned.
San Francisco and Vancouver share a coastline – and what a coastline it is. While in Vancouver, finding a spot on the beach on a Saturday afternoon sometimes requires a 6am spot-holding stealth mission, the cooler temperatures in San Francisco allow you to actually appreciate the beach for it’s innate natural beauty – vast expanses of sand and the softly lapping waves – instead of the discarded beer bottles and incessant chatter you find on a sunny Saturday down at Kits beach.
Maybe it’s working up at SFU that has given me an appreciation for fog. There’s something mysteriously appealing about a fog-laden city – it brings a sense of calm to the rustle and bustle of the hectic Union shopping district, and bestows upon the Golden Gate Bridge a sense of furtive beauty.
Before and during construction, the Golden Gate Bridge was widely known as, “the bridge that couldn’t be built”, due to insurmountable difficulties like swift water and strong wind. With determination and vision, this impossibility came to being. I saw a similar determination in the eyes and hearts of gay rights protesters marching the streets of San Francisco in protest of Proposition Eight (which was sadly upheld in a Supreme Court vote on May 26). Despite this, the determination displayed by San Franciscans was voracious, and just as the infamous bridge was build despite ferocious opposition, so too will gay rights one day come to be recognized. In another must-be-mentioned show of determination, I must give accolades out to all the San Franciscan joggers and bikers who take on the hills of San Francisco – that may be, I must admit, the one department in which San Franciscans take the cake.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
But I digress...
Now. The mandate of The Weekly Gumboot is to take ideas from everywhere and use them to build community. And to do so in a positive way. We don’t throw stones. Citycaucus.com does a fine job of that. To be honest, I’m struggling to not throw stones at the outspokenly sinful and excessive community of Las Vegas. Excess and dishonesty and corruption and environmental degradation are, truly, everywhere. So, sure, it'd be easy to deliver some delightful jabs at the town of Las Vegas and point out that it might very well symbolize the downfall of the American Empire. It's also hard to even think of throwing stones, though. Because everyone here is just so darn nice. (I also like that you can walk around everywhere with a beer-in-hand).
Things have changed since a community of Mormon Farmers settled here in 1854. Perhaps peoples' unflappable kindness hasn't, though. And people who live and visit here are certainly proud of Vegas and the sinful things for which it stands, as you can see by these "fun facts" about Sin City.
But there's a truly interesting story to tell about Las Vegas. And here are, according to recent findings (ie. interviews with locals and tourists, data from my twitblogs on the interscape, and stuff I just made up) the top five sins of, um, Sin City:
Sexual Shenanigans. Here I sit in the country where Janet Jackson's Superbowl escaped-boob caused a nationwide moral soul search. On Monday, I sat in a taxi in the same country and listened to Mike, the cab driver, use every lude, inappropriate, hyper-sexual, misogynistic, and, I think, anti-Canadian idiom in his -sexual-lexiconal-toolkit to describe just how much a young guy like me could score in the town of Las Vegas. Such a hypocritical juxtaposition of values has not gone unnoticed. America's sexual shenanigans just seem to be centralized here in Sin City. I gotta say, being a little more accepting of, say, television boobs (Rick Mercer and Bob Rae swam naked on the CBC, I'm just saying) might make our North American community less likely to flock to one particular place, unleash their inhibition and be unhealthy consumers of the global sex trade so long as it stays here (the clap comes with you wherever you go, though; don't forget that).
A city on a plateau in the desert. I'm not too sure what the Mormon farmers had in mind when they settled here, but Las Vegas sits in the middle of the Sierra Nevada and Spring Mountains, about 2,180 feet above sea level. Look. Sin City exists in an arid basin surrounded by dry mountains. It's sustainability is as unlikely as that of the panda bear. And, as with the panda bear, people are struggling to grasp why the town is doomed to dry up and blow away in the dusty desert wind.
Water, water everywhere, and it really makes you think. How many of you have seen Ocean's Eleven? After pulling off the caper, Danny and the boys stand in front of the Bellagio, taking in the water-show that goes off about every 20-30 minutes. In fact, the use and over-use of water on The Strip is quite spectacular. What is more spectacular is that it happens amidst an amazing conversation between city officials, developers,, entertainers, environmentalists, and, well, everyone else about the very real danger that Las Vegas might run out of water by as early as 2010. Even if the current $500 million pipeline project goes through, it might only help the city limp along until 2012, at which point Sin City could be suffering from a daily shortage of 45 million gallons of water. If you use the metric system, well, it's actually quite worse... Okay, forget the metric system, the volanoe at the Mirage Hotel uses 11,000 gallons of water per minute!
The culture of excess. Sure, you can walk around with a beer or glass of wine/martini in hand all around the city. But, in light of our global environmental, um, clusterf@#k, it seems a tad ridiculous that Sin City allows people to just toss bottles, glasses and everything else into the garbage. Now some of the hotels and entertainment chains, like Harrah's, have bought into this up-and-coming trend of recycling. But it's yet to catch fire. Oh man. And then there is the food. A few of my fellow conference goers made a pledge to eat prime rib each and every night. Another discussed the amazing experience of a $40 seafood buffet that saw him consume "like, 30 crab claws." In Las Vegas, such dreams are reality. The United States makes up around 5.5% of the global population. The country consumes nearly 45% of the Earth's resources (and about 94% of the ocean's crab claws). Las Vegas is the epicentre for such mass-consumption. And the Gulf of Mexico is the epicentre of an oceanic dead zone, where farm fertilizer (think prime rib and industrial farming) has drained into the ocean and screwed up the eco-system to the point where nothing can live in a 1,700 square mile area. Honestly, this connection wasn't too hard to make. Oh, and one of the biggest and coolest clubs in Las Vegas is called XS...or "excess." Sirens are whaling, but the techno-thumping of Sin City's club scene kinda drowns it all out, I guess.
What does living beyond means mean? According to recent findings, Las Vegas is one of the centres of the subprime mortgage crisis in the US; the town is also suffering from 30% unemployment. Of course, most media and "stats" will tell you that the unemployment rate is closer to 12%, but for the people I talked to at the Rio last night, it definitely feels like 30%. And then there's the gambling. The lack of connection between a nation thrown into crisis because it chose to live on credit - to live beyond its means - is quite staggering. And such behaviour was so impactful, so interconnectedly material and greedy, that it has brought the rest of the world into the fold. People. Watch any movie, show, YouTube video, or instructional video about gambling: the house always wins. And then they take yours...
Unlike my friend and Weekly Gumboot contributor, Stewart Burgess, Las Vegas and it's sinful lifestyle are not sustainable. I am truly fascinated by this place and the "fun facts" about its people as well as its very nature. And if Las Vegas is symbolic of something bigger and more meaningful in terms of the way our North American culture chooses to sin, what does this tell us about where we're headed as a regional community? Or a global one?
My friends, it's been quite a ride. And I'll be happy to be home in a city with a few trees and bike paths in the next few hours. To Sin City and the Paris Hotel, it's been an experience. Adieu!
Monday, June 8, 2009
"Mr President, Migingo is gone," The Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister is purported to have told the president. Migingo is a tiny rocky island inhabited by fishing communities whose population totals less than 1,000 people. Migingo, drawing inhabitants from across East Africa, is located 5.4 nautical miles (10km) off Kenya’s Sori -Bay in Karungu division, Migori district. Kenyans have taken their close proximity to the island as an implication of ownership. On the other hand, Ugandan authorities say the island falls within the boundaries of its eastern district of Bugiri. Indeed the Google earth map clearly indicates Migingo islands are located within Uganda boundaries. The Google earth coordinates for the island are 2°48’06.82”S and 32°38’45.25”E. Google earth offers maps and satellite images of pinpointed or complex regions (Editor's note: due to The Gumboot's tight budget, we only have the these two pictures).
Migingo was not known to East Africans until a few months ago when Kenyan fishermen living in the island started complaining about harassment from their Ugandan counterparts. Harassment was emanating from fellow fishermen and local authorities who demanded Kenyans to pay taxes for fishing in or near Ugandan waters.
This simple disagreement has attracted ministers, presidents and international organizations to resolve the dispute. Immediately after Kenyan fishermen complained of harassment, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister put together a delegation of ministers to meet their counterparts from Uganda. They agreed that the Ugandan flag erected on the Island should be pulled down and all military personnel from Uganda to be withdrawn from the Island. That did not happen.
The Kenyan police commissioner flew to Uganda to further discuss the unfolding Migingo saga, but the meeting didn't reall go anywhere. Uganda actually increased the number of military police in the island! To keep Kenyans hopeful of peaceful resolutions, it was declared that President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and President Kaguta Yoweri Museveni of Uganda would meet to discuss the Island saga during the COMESA meeting in Lusaka. The meeting took place, but none of the heads of state gave clear direction about the ownership of the Island.
People from both countries have made wild allegations about the Island. Some claim that Oil has been discovered around the island and some Arabic countries have initiated separate negotiations with both countries to start exploiting the resource - or at least exploring the area to see if the rumours are viable. Others claim that it is payback by Kenyan President to his Ugandan counterpart after the supposed millitary support he offered him during the disputed 2007 elections. It is also claimed that it is a plot by one faction of Kenya's coalition government to make Kenyans realize how indecisive the current president truly is.
It is important to note that Idi Amin, the former Ugandan dictator who ruled during the 1970s, attempted to snatch several Islands and regions from Kenya but was stopped by the decisive and authoritive president who ruled Kenya at that time by daring him to make a move. The current Ugandan president has been accused of harbouring ‘expansionist ambitions’ and it is alleged that he is ready to snatch the Island rich in Nile perch fish.
Kenyans became impatient with the leadership and decided to claim the Island in support of their fellow countrymen living there. Habitants of Kibera the biggest slum in Africa uprooted a railway line that transports valuables to Uganda. Those living next to the border stopped all cargo lorries from transporting anything from Kenya to Uganda and vice versa. This grassroots, people driven action has lead to a peaceful agreement after both sides decided to spend two months carrying out a survey that will establish the real ownersship of the island. They will also use colonial maps from the UK.
The Ugandan flag has then pulled down and both sides have agreed on a joint security force to provide security in the Island until a permanent solution is found.
I am mostly interested in how the story has unfolded from mere fishermen fighting for their livelihood to the point that politicians, police commissioners, government spokespersons, and presidents have been attracted to this curious situation. I foresee organization of African Union and international criminal court joining in the fray to arbitrate if the survey does not offer a lasting solution. Or else it will be ... military against military ... over Migingo Island!
Martin Muli (our man in Nairobi)
Friday, June 5, 2009
In case you haven't caught the news recently, Lennikov is currently hunkered down in Vancouver's First Lutheran Church off Kingsway. He's seeking asylum from deportation by the Canadian government who want to give him the boot forworking as a KGB contractor in the 1980s. According the government, anyone who's admitted to espionage against Canada or Canadians is subject to deportation.
According to First Lutheran Reverend Richard Hergesheimerm, his church was renovated several months ago to install a shower and make a livable space for Lennikov. They knew what the result of Lennikov's appeals would be and set about to get ready to get ready for the long haul. When asked about the church's desicsion to provide sancuary Hergesheimer replied "We know that what we're doing with sanctuary is illegal. We know that. But it's not wrong. We think were doing the right thing."
Lennikov's persecution and the desicsion to support his asylum has been fueled by a great deal of anger among the church's 225 congregants.
It's a reaction Hergesheimer hasn't seen before. All of the sudden elderly women are writing to their politicians for the first time in their lives in support of a former KGB agent who is a member of their congregation.
"This has made people very angry. Angry at what they see is an injustice," said Hergesheimer.
It's an injustice that Lennikov doesn't deserve. He has been a contributing member of his new home for decades. He's a longtime congregationalist (an attribute hardly identified with hardcore KGB agents) and he's got a wife and son who are settled and happily living here. He was not James Bonding about the country killing CSIS agents. He provided Japanese translation services. Too boot, if we send him back to Russia, he'll hardly be heralded by his countrymen as hero. Instead he'll have to start all over again - without his family - and that's if he doesn't find himself tossed in prison (as he says is likely). How does any of this make sense? Since when is the specific rule of law and lack of compassion of the Conservatives overrule common sense? Wait, don't answer that question.
Let's hope the conservatives come to their senses and realize they are persecuting a decent and contributing member of our society.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
During the winter time, my partner sometimes dropped off hot soup or food for the residents living there. There were only one or two people living there at the time, which made sense considering the cold (read: rainy) and inhospitable Vancouver winters. Now as spring turns to summer, the population of the overhang has grown.
Initially, we didn't have any problem with this. Our homeless neighbours weren't bothering anyone. The minimal increase in garbage around the alley was a pain in the ass, but that was really the only issue.
Then as new folks joined the older residents, things began to change. More scavenging around the area made us feel a bit more self conscious about the possibility of crime in the area. And then there was the noise.
At first it was just a shout here and there. But often it seemed to be party time at the colony with all manner of yelling at 11 PM 12 AM, 4 AM etc. In the afternoons we watched as a white Mercedes cruised around passing out vials to our neighbours. We weren't quite sure why, but this was frustrating.
While we can handle the dealing; the noise is a problem. Neither of us enjoy being woken constantly through the night to loud hooting or screaming arguments.
Ultimately, we'll soon see just how effectively community can transcend income and status. The next time there is a loud flare up (and we aren't too groggy / lazy to get up), we're planning on wandering over to talk to our neighbours. We'll kindly ask if they mind keeping the noise down. We're hopeful that the fact that while drugs and booze may be an issue, the dictum of sharing common community space will prevail. If it doesn't (or if the drugs cloud out neighbourly decency), we'll most certainly find ourselves in a very difficult NIMBY dilemma.
It's a dilemma we don't want to find ourselves in, because the alternative of calling the cops is not appealing at all.