April 20, 2022

Attempt 1& 2 - Connect with the community

During lockdown, many were visiting my neighbourhood park. There are many who might be suffering in silence at home, I wanted to reach out to them. There isn't a community facebook, nor a place where lonely people go? So how would I find them? I created flyers and decided to drop them off at mailbox, but so many wrote 'No junk mail' and after a few attempts just in my own building, without response, I decided to change tactics. I figured, if I put a sign up, would someone come and talk to me? As I was talking to my friends about wanting to find a way to connect with isolated people, I thought, why not get them to send a postcard to someone to connect with others? I suspected if I offer free postcards, they might come pick one up, and write. Maybe they are willing to write to elderly people as well. 
I decided to up my commitment and draw my own postcard. I would sit at the park, draw, and ask people to come get a postcard. It was harder than I thought. I sat on the weekend for hours for a few times, at the park, but free postcard to people, but no one came for them. 1 person came to speak to me, but he didn't want my postcard either. I went back and thought about what the problem was. Perhaps it was the messaging, so I changed the poster. I also created a website, so people can read about it, via scanning a QR code. Nobody signed up either. Then I thought, what if I hung up postcode on the construction fence, and they can take it without talking to me? I figured I might be the barrier for them to get the postcard. The week after when I went with plans and cards, the fence was gone, and soon lockdown eased and the crowd left the park. It was a failed attempt but I learnt quite a few things about it. Having a website does give more credibility. People are afraid of unknown, either they don't want to commit or to be bothered, or to be deceived. The modern dilemmas of community building or even just meeting neighbourhood strangers. We don't know our neighbours, we don't know how to meet them, and we don't even know where they usually hang out. I guess the best places are local grocery stores, places of worship or medical centres. If not, online. Maybe facebook, maybe forums, maybe somewhere else. But we all have an anonymity that keeps us at a distance, but also hidden from our neighbours too. I have seen my neighbour once so far moving here 2 months ago. Even in my last building, I rarely see anybody, I hear them in the corridor, but people rarely want to connect. I wonder, how do others connect with their own neighbours, people of their own suburb? Do I have to go to the local pub? cafe? get a social media account in order to meet people physically very close to me? I wonder...