Monday, August 9, 2010, 11:50 AM - Outdoor adventure

There are incredible wilderness areas for hiking and canoe-camping in NS. Maggy and I did a Keji-Tobiatic-Keji loop this September. Eel weir, down through Mountain Lake, Peskawa L, up the Shelbourne to Sand Beach Lake then back far side through Cobrielle, Puzzle and N. Cranberry back to Eel weir. Little bit of portage trail hunting and bush-wacking but well worth every scrape and bruise. Happy to give details.

Banff Writing Studio 
Monday, May 31, 2010, 11:33 AM - Poetry and Writing

Come to the mountains with gorgeous trails, an incredible community of writers and artists, wine, openings, prepared food, unlimited desserts and see how dedicated you are to working on your manuscript. Seriously, I turned a few corners with "Reverb," my first book of poems in Banff. A truly magical place to write. Thank you NS Talent Trust and Banff Centre for the Arts Writing Studio. Next project is a jazz-poetry collaboration with a jazz musician/composer Chris Tarry who I met there and a Halifax jazz trio, Sanctuary. Stay tuned.

My Luscious Backyard 
Thursday, March 25, 2010, 01:04 PM - Inspiring
This small business in Toronto gets people to trade space for a flower garden and then makes local,organic and edible flowers available. Can think of all kinds of neat adaptations for community associations. What a savvy approach to local. photo: Joan Francuz.

Street Artist  
Friday, January 15, 2010, 02:43 PM - Inspiring
French street artist JR gives face to thousands of people on endless streets yet he himself remains anonymous. He recently won a TED prize. Awed by the vision and humbled by the humility.

Savings more Important than Loans 
Friday, January 1, 2010, 10:31 AM - The Solidarity Economy & Microfinance
Sparking a Savings Revolution

This is the title and gist of a New York Times article at the related link below. It is a tad promotional but outlines well what many have been trying to explain for years. That is, savings is as, if not more important, than loans for supporting women and families in economic security. Loans might give a small business a leg up. Savings give the family a leg up. Savings can help send children to school, buy medicine in an emergency, buy an asset, pay for a sudden burial in a rural area without creating that vicious cycle of debt that we all know too well. Think of your own situation.

I am working with Village Savings and Loans Associates and a team from Oxfam, CRS, CARE and Plan to support these small savings groups to better understand the quality and endurability of these groups. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding. There are tens of thousands of them in existence mainly but not exclusively in Africa. They stem from local rotating schemes run by people themselves. Tiny credit unions. In some areas, they use oral forms of bookkeeping. For families in rural areas it is often the only trusted place to save.

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