It’s one of those overly warm spring evenings at the cottage. An afternoon storm passed through Muskoka and the air is still heavy. The lake is calm, like glass, and the large puffy clouds in the distance are lit bright orange by the setting sun. Spiders are busy in the corners of the boathouse windows, I’ve just turned on a lamp and their webs will catch the bugs attracted to its light. It is so quiet I can hear the clock ticking away the minutes. A bird calls to its mate, or maybe he is just letting his friends know where he’ll be for the night. I am feeling thoughtful thinking about the new journey my family and I are setting out on.
Our goal is to have a positive impact on the world through the work that we do. We’re heading to Barbados to start a project working with local communities to build a culture-entrepreneurial centre that will be sustained by a unique “experiential” resort.
Tourism has become the biggest economic driver on most of the islands, but it has also had some negative impacts on local communities – like the loss of local food production and manufacturing. Even local arts and craft markets are becoming dominated by cheap Chinese imports. The cost of importing food and products has risen as local production has slowly disappeared; and many of the islands have become far too dependent on imports. Our goal is to reignite the entrepreneurial flame by providing space, encouragement and resources. We hope to inspire local entrepreneurs, artists and manufacturers.
Barbados will be our first “proof of concept” location and we are moving there to launch the project. It’s a big life change but one both my husband and I are looking forward to. We have some terrific local partners and just recently the island elected their first woman Prime Minister – Mia Motley. She is a strong, smart, and dynamic woman with an excellent record. Prime Minister Motley sat in opposition to the local government as leader of the Barbados Labour Party for over a decade. She was elected in a landslide victory winning all 30 seats in Parliament and over 70% of the popular vote. With no opposition she’ll be able to bring about significant changes to a government that was plagued by inaction. There is a new sense of vibrancy on the island, and it fits well with our own determination to contribute to the community.
The sun is low in the sky and long shadows stretch out over the lake – a stillness has settled over things and all the possibilities that a new day will bring are just beginning to form.