Entries by Braun Barry


I recently heard an interview with Margaret Attwood where she said two profound things:

Fear gets more respect than love


It takes courage to be decent.

My first reaction was to question whether this was really true. And then I looked at my own experience.

I could see in myself how at times I chose ‘expedient’ over ‘love and decent.’ How I let things slide when I could have stepped up or how I ignored someone I could have helped. I have had to acknowledge my own fear and where it comes from.

But I know I am not alone in my fears. The Happy Community Project has provided many experiences for me to also test the truth of these statements. 

For example, when we attempted to initiate the Adopt a Grandparent  Project, one in four people would tell me that they were afraid to be a neighbour. They told me that they were afraid of being wrongly accused … Read the rest

Sad News


What is Happening with the Happy Community Project?

Many of you have been asking me what is happening with the Happy Community Project. Over the last two months, we have focused on two major things: Making plans and engaging our municipal and provincial governments to financially support the Happy Community Project.

We are excited about the plans we have been making and disappointed that our governments have not provided financial support.

Where the money Comes from

We have done what other experts and communities thought was impossible and believe is amazing – we have turned our community into a “Happy Community”. Our community citizens and local businesses have made this possible with their efforts and their money. Our local business community has generously donated about one third of our costs. Their support has been critical to our efforts. I have personally financed most of the other two thirds.

For 30 months, I have been asking for support from our councillors … Read the rest

A Piece of the Puzzle

– Peter Chaisson’s story 
By Fadila Chater 


The jigsaw puzzle lay in pieces on a table at the Windsor Regional Library. It waits for the day anyone—man, woman or child—would put it together again. Days go by. An occasional hand appears and fiddles with a piece or two. For months, the jigsaw puzzle remained scattered and neglected. Until one fateful day. 

“It’s evolved to the point where you have people from different aspects of society—people who did not know each other—standing around that table, putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Library clerk Peter Chaisson says. We sit and chat at the library, where he’s worked for the last seven years. 

“You know, finishing it, enjoy finishing it, waiting for the next one to come out. People probably would have never interacted if not for that puzzle sitting on the table.” 

Without sounding too cheesy, the jigsaw puzzle, when complete, is like a happy community. A library, whether it’s a local … Read the rest

The Bicycle

Adrienne Wood’s story By Fadila Chater 

First she felt the impact. Then came the pain. Finally she saw blood. Eight-year-old Adrienne Wood was biking down to the Windsor waterfront, eager to join her teammates at the Windsor Canoe Club, when suddenly, she stumbled. The fall took a chunk out of her knee. She knew she needed help. Resilient, like most kids who grew up playing outdoors, she picked her bike up by the handlebars and wheeled it over to the nearest business, the town optometrist.  

“I’m bleeding!” she yelled as she burst through the door.  

Though she vaguely knew Dr. MacDuff or his receptionist, she felt like they would surely take care of her. And they did. They cleaned her up, slapped a Band-Aid on her knee and gave her a hug. 

Less sore from the tumble, Adrienne rode her bike down to Lake Pisiquid, where she spent the rest of the day hanging out with her friends, snacking on … Read the rest

Reflections on a Thanks Giving Weekend


Being grateful every day is always a good practice for wellbeing, this weekend is an extra special time to take some reflection time.

So here I go.

As I listen to the news, I am truly grateful that we live where we do – in a democracy that works, in a place where we can talk out ideas and a place where our fellow citizens understand that our collective wellbeing is important to our personal wellbeing.

Every day, I get feedback that it is important to strengthen our culture of taking personal responsibility for the wellbeing of each other. Aren’t we lucky that we have the luxury of holding these kind of thoughts?

I am lucky that I can be optimistic about my grandchildren’s future because in spite of other people’s agendas, common sense and good will still prevails.

And Most of all, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference through the Happy Community Project. … Read the rest

“If you paint your house….”

Anna Allen’s story By Fadila Chater

Mayor Anna Allen sits in her office, overlooking King Street in Windsor. I have a seat in front of her and she asks me how I’m doing. Her friendly smile and welcoming demeanor put me at ease. A few hours earlier, my stomach was turning. My nerves got the best of me. It’s not every day you get to interview the mayor of your hometown. And, as a journalist, it’s rare that they welcome you without hesitation. But that’s just who Anna is. She’s a people person. It’s her job. But, unlike other politicians, her friendliness isn’t faked or disingenuous. She isn’t in it for the fame or notoriety. She simply cares.  

Anna has lived in Windsor for most of her life. Though, for a time she felt like an outsider. To many people, the 10-kilometer difference between Hantsport and Windsor meant she was from away, a newcomer. Though, feelings of isolation soon changed … Read the rest

Go Together

Will Webster’s Story by Fadila Chater

Will Webster stutters. He’s stuttered for as long as he can remember. It’s often the first thing he’ll mention when getting to know people. Not because he’s looking for pity. But because he believes everyone deserves to be understood.

Though, it would be a lie to say his stutter never embarrassed him.

“I’m still kind of haunted by experiences of being laughed at and people being impatient with me for not being able to spit it out,” he says. Will sits with his wife Anne at their home in Bedford, Nova Scotia. They eat their lunch, a fresh chef’s salad, together on their patio. Anne, a gentle and soft-spoken woman, apologizes for eating during our interview. I say it’s no bother at all. It was a warm summer day and the pair had been renovating their kitchen all morning. They had missed lunch and were just catching their meal as I knocked on the … Read the rest

The Eagle:

Dianne Levy’s story
By Fadila Chater 


Dianne Levy sits on a bench overlooking Lake Pisiquid in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It’s mid-afternoon and a cool breeze keeps the flies at bay just long enough to enjoy relief from the hot sun. An eagle appears overhead and Dianne is overcome with joy and awe. She explains that eagles, in Buddhism and other world religions, is an auspicious sign. I later come to learn that Eagles are a symbol of the human spirit, as they are known to fly to the highest altitudes, and therefore closer to the creator. The massive bird flies into the horizon and Dianne and I continue our conversation. But the encounter with the eagle lingers in my mind.  

“I think things happen for a reason,” she says. 

Dianne smiles as she talks about the activity that she and the Windsor Recreation Department put together this morning. Chalk the Causeway was a big success. Hundreds of young families … Read the rest


Garden of Eden – Sean and Erika’s Story

By Fadila Chater 

I pull into the driveway and see two white-haired cherubs dressed in pajamas playing in the tall grass.  

“Hi!” one sings to me. 

“Hello there,” I respond. 

Her hair shimmers like a million silk strands on a sunlit loom. A tall man in a wicker hat appears behind them.  

“Hey, how’s it going,” he says.  

“Good! How are you? I hope I’m okay to park here,” I say. 

He nods his head yes. I look for the keys to lock my doors, but he tells me there’s really no need.  

Sean MacDonald and his little girls, Clara, 6 and Lily, 4, lead me to their backyard. I’m taken aback by the beauty and serenity of what I see; tall, luscious grass that rolls down a hill overlooking the expansive Nova Scotian countryside. I turn my head to see a brood of hens behind a chicken wire fence. We sit at the picnic table that’s centred like an … Read the rest


A global village:

Md Zaman Khan’s story 
By Fadila Chater 

Md Zaman Khan rummages through the refuse that’s polluting his beloved city of Kolkata, India. In his hands are dirt-caked plastics and food wrappers. The hot sun beats down on his back and pearls of sweat form on his forehead. Focusing on the ground in front of him, he feels the sharp gaze of disapproving and puzzled looks on his back. Why was a young, middleclass man, the son of an engineer, picking up garbage off the street like a beggar? Nevertheless, the 22-year-old continues picking up trash, despite how ridiculous or improper he appears to others on the street.  

“Look, these guys are doing great work.” 

Stunned, Zaman looks up and sees a child, no older than five- or six-years-old. The boy tightly grasps his mother’s hand; the way an elephant grasps his mother’s tail with his trunk.  

“This is why I send you to school,” the … Read the rest