Cultivating Love Through Community Partnerships
Written by Christine Samwaroo
As we close the chapter on love month, and look to this new month, this is the best time to reflect on the work and experience that The Breadfruit Collective (TBC) has gained since the year started. The work that the Collective sets out to do can often feel too big to solve and it can get overwhelming. After all, these are societal issues that have become a norm. Both gender and environmental concerns highlight the injustices in our society. However, even a small team can accomplish significant things when hearts and spirits are connected to the work.
Starting from 2022, it was intentional for TBC to cultivate joy in our activism, and network with others striving to do similar work in Guyana and across the diaspora. We believe that in order for our work to be transformational, it is necessary to learn from those who have started this work before us, build with those currently working on similar issues, and cultivate a community to share ideas and connect, knowing that this work is beyond our own capacities but we can get far by leaning on each other for mutual support.
In January, we spent time in nature, painting and sharing stories with our friends at Heart Through Art (HTA), a local NGO that aims to address social issues using art and creating a space for young creatives in Guyana. January allowed for conversation with young people from Caribbean Links, a group based in the United Kingdom interested in bridging the gap between young people in the Caribbean and those in the diaspora.
The conversation explored climate change in the Caribbean.
In February we visited and networked with change makers across Guyana at the magical Armadillo Earth Farm. This space is devoted to environmental sustainability and in engaging people from all walks of life on the importance of nature and their role in helping to reverse the current environmental crisis. TBC is grateful for the invitation from Vaksana - A Different View Project who organised and facilitated the event. TBC was asked to read The Sprouts and the Mystery of the Flood to members at the retreat, a children’s book co-authored with members from the Guyana Youth and Environment Network (GYEN).
In February, the Collective worked with members of the Guyana Gender Hub to continue our work in exploring community care and activism. The session was facilitated by Taij Moteelall from Media Sutra in NYC. The session allowed members to reflect on their wellness as a means of addressing trauma that can show up in the work if not addressed. During the session, we addressed our core beliefs and created affirmations for our journey ahead.
In observance of Love Day, we wanted to create a space for dialogue with Caribbean people to unpack notions of love. The Breadfruit Collective, Tamukke Feminist and Feminitt collaborated to host an event celebrating love from a Caribbean perspective - “Ah Love Yuh”. The event was constructed as a brave space and for people to share their thoughts on re-imagining love. Coming out of the event, participants noted that love is expansive, love is without possession, love is authentic, love is support, love is equality, love is companionship. Persons at the event noted that there are so many types of love besides the romantic ones that is often shown on TV. We can forge this new way of looking at love for ourselves, our families, and friends.
As the month came to an end, we reflected on how lucky we are to have people around us that support the work we are doing, people who are kind and devoted to their work in bringing justice for the next generation. Special thanks to Green Heart Movement, Glenn Family Foundation, The Climate Conscious Podcast, and Guyanese author, Tarik Braithwaite for their continuous support and partnership. We cannot wait to share all the projects we have been working on.
When you talk about love, I bet talking about community partnerships doesn’t come to mind. But for TBC, our support system has been the source of love. Our mission is to continue to build with those that care, to offer support, and to involve others, because we have seen the magic that happens when committed people work together. We strongly believe that our work is our prayer and when work is done collectively, the output is more precious than gold.