We popped into one of the opening events of Living Local and then a few weeks later joined the craft group, here’s what people in Lingfield had to say…
Who or what has most influenced you in your lifetime? Good question. My mum. She is a person who puts community and other people over personal gain. That influenced me a lot in the career/ ethics I have. Also I spent some time volunteering in Rwanda. That was probably the thing that has most influenced me in my life. My teacher: who told me about sheep and goats. He said that in life you can either follow the crowd (like sheep) or follow your own path ( like goats) and which you choose is up to you.
What is it to love? Big question. Putting someone else’s needs and happiness above your own. Allowing and supporting someone to follow their own path/dreams/desire.
Do you think before you speak? Sometimes I overthink things. Then the words burst out. Sort of one leads to the other. I think a lot then I don’t think at all.
How does it feel to be wrong? I’m never wrong.
Where do you belong? Now that is a deep question…you could take that many ways. The locl. The global. Therese may said that if you are a citizen of everywhere then you are a citizen of nowhere. I don’t like talking politics – but is that right? Does it have to be either or? Can I belong to a place I live in and also belong in other places? Surely we are both? I belong here in Leeds where I live, where I grew up and also in all these other places too.
I belong where there are people that accept me warmly.
Why are you here? I just explained that. How strange to get that question.
How does it feel to be vulnerable? It’s a bit scary and then its empowering. You are sort of like a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. It is a moment of transformation: it seems very scary but afterward you are somewhere new.
What are you afraid of? I’m scared of birds….well anything that flaps actually. Story of the mer cat… Though that reminds me of what I am really terrified of …which is disappointing people,. Is that sad? I mean you cant control other people’s expectations of you. It’s impossible.
What is the difference between you and me? I think we are all more similar then we are different. I was talking with a Muslim woman and on the outside we look very different and you might, on first glance, think that we would have very little in common. Yet as we spoke, we discovered so many similarities…our circumstances, where we lived and what we did, the problems we were having with our children. Really we had so much in common.
Every person is like a flower, And it would be really boring if every flower looked the same. Same colours same bloom. What is exciting about the flowers is that they are all different. And people are like those flowers in the garden, a myriad of colours and expressions and shapes, and all those differences are complementary.
What’s stopping you? That made me think of today. What is stopping me from singing?
What is your favourite word? A man told me this word once – Discombobulated. I love it. Sounds very clever. What does it mean?
I don’t have a clever word but the Albanian word for hello ‘pershendetje’ which I learnt whilst living in Albania, I discovered later when learning Spanish that the same word in Spanish means ‘little shit’. My friend used to get to me to tell all her friends the Albanian word for hello and of course they would all laugh, because it was a swear word and I didn’t know.
My children sometimes make up words in English, which are translations form words in Spanish. They don’t mean anything in English but I know exactly what they mean by these made up words. I love that.
I like long words but I prefer reading stories in simple language
Do you think before you speak? Mixed thoughts on this: from ‘never – I tell it like it is’; to ‘only when responding to ‘volatile’ people; to ‘I try to’.
What makes you hopeful? Places like this community hub. Seeing acts of cooperation and tolerance within this community.
What inspires you? Jean. Jean inspires us because she is the kindest, nicest person…she’s a little sweetheart. This place. My daughter made the logo – she won the competition at school. Originally it was a crayon drawing. We have it framed at home.
How does it feel to be vulnerable? Not much. My early life was quite harsh and compared to that nothing makes me feel vulnerable.
My car skidded on ice and I swerved off the motorway and then the car wouldn’t start. I felt pretty vulnerable waiting for help.
When do you ask for help? At the last minute usually. Practical help is easier to ask for. There is something about ‘no’ – can someone hear it or say it, when asking for help. The worry being if the person asked says no, then will it hurt; or if I ask, will the person feel burdened by me. I don’t care what people think so I’m not afraid to ask for help.
Why are you here? To support Kate and my friends and community. I wouldn’t say I’m here to make a difference because people come if they want and if they are interested.
Do you count? Everyone counts. Maybe more people feel like they count at the moment?
If you could change anything, what would you change? The government. No the PM. I’d bring in proportional representation. But who would you put in place of the current PM? I like that old guy with the beard…Corbyn. He seems honest and is for the people. But are the things he wants too good to be true? And can he balance the books? Though the conservatives havn’t done a great job with that have they.
Where do you draw the line? Racism. People think I will agree with them because of what I look like but if I witness racism, I will step in and stop it. They don’t expect that but I don’t care.
We need a larger sense of us. What is ‘us’?
Someone said it’s a good sign if you didn’t get around to taking photographs – means you were having a good time.
Feel like bonds were deepened and there was a commonality of thinking across the different people there.
Oh wow! Thats amazing! So glad you came and did that, we have a lot of conversations in the hub, we all talk an awful lot, so its nice to have those conversations directed and recorded. So, so important this work that you are doing, now more than ever.
Who are Tea and Tolerance? We explained about our roots in the York Mosque who invited the EDL in for tea and football. It struck a chord for some residents and they talked about how scary it was a few years ago when that had happened in this community. How police had told them to stay inside but they wanted to carry on as normal and didn’t want to hide.
So great to see everyone together: laughing and smiling. We have so much #moreincommon
Tea and Tolerance has received a Leeds Fund #GiveLoveLeeds Grant, thanks to support of the Fund’s Anchor Partner, John Lewis Leeds. Managed by Leeds Community Foundation, The Leeds Fund creates positive change in the communities of Leeds that need it most by distribributing financial grants and support to community projects across the city.