MESSAGE FROM ALISON LONGSON

Hello All,

I hope you have enjoyed a good August as I have. A highlight of the month for me was driving with my husband Chris to Winnipeg to meet up with my brother from England to do some research into our family history – but that’s another story! Instead let me tell you about some of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers moments I had on this journey.

We decided to break up the long drives by using the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s (SLF) Beds Without Breakfast (BWB) scheme. First stop was with Sheila in Regina who was on the SLF Africa trip with me three years ago so it was great to have a catch up. She is with a very lively group named Grandmothers4Grandmothers and I was particularly interested in hearing about their biggest fund raiser, an annual sale called Art From The Attic for which people donate works of art. Having started very modestly they now raise over $30,000. Sheila said that every year they are amazed by the amount of donations that keep being produced from those attics which reminded me of way we think about the yarns and fabrics that keep coming in for our big sale. On the way back in Moose Jaw we met Nola. She already knew a bit about Ujamaa as she had stayed with our own Anke who is on the BWB list and she obviously enjoyed a lovely time with her in Calgary.

When I asked Chris what he thought about staying with BWB he thought it was “great, very friendly and good to be with people who we immediately have things in common and connections with”. Also despite its name, our hosts served us with delicious light breakfasts to send us on our way. So we can heartily recommend SLF’s Beds Without Breakfast which can be found across the country.

In Winnipeg, a visit to The Museum of Human Rights was a must. I immediately went to the 7th level to take in the “Inspiring Change” exhibition. This includes a panel about the Grandmothers’ Campaign and I was thrilled to see the yarn-bombed model tree there. This  illustrates their feature on the work of Hillcrest in South Africa one of SLF”s longest running partners. I was especially interested in this as I had the privilege of visiting Hillcrest on my SLF trip to Africa. The acacia tree at Hillcrest was yarn bombed with squares from the South African grandmothers together with pieces sent from Canadian grandmothers. This museum tree was decorated by Winnipeg’s Grands ‘n More group using squares sent over from Hillcrest . A wonderful example of the solidarity that SLF promotes. At this link there are some great photos and an article about the project written by a researcher for the museum.

https://humanrights.ca/blog/yarn-bombing-grandmothers

After experiencing that, gallery visitors are asked to “reflect on how each of us may contribute to positive social change” I went on to read that “this gallery incorporates objects and images from events that have promoted human rights, and asks us to contemplate our own role in building a better world for all people”.  Once again, I think how proud I am to be a part of Ujamaa Grandmas and SLF for the opportunities they give me to help build that better world.

In solidarity,

Alison