The [Impact] Hub Life

The Impact Hub Global Network is impressive. More than 40 Hubs exists on 6 different continents and the number is growing.

The vision of The Impact Hub Amsterdam is to “inspire and support social innovators to realize imaginative and enterprising initiatives for a radically better world.” Having the chance to spend time here has been eye-opening. I’ve interacted with incredible and driven people who are making a difference in The Netherlands and beyond.

I’ve met Ruben, who is saving lives by distributing a revolutionary clean cook stove to women in Lesotho and other countries through his company African Clean Energy. I enjoyed lunch with Elselien who spends her time helping people create businesses that match their passion. Harmen spared some time to tell me about his research in the DR for a company that’s planning to build ecological villages for middlie and low-income families.

I’ve personally been working with Rutger, the Partnerships Manager on the team at The Impact Hub. We’ve been creating a Corporate Partnerships deck and strategy that he will use in upcoming meetings. It’s been a great learning experience to observe the way the Hub works here and also play my small part in advancing it towards an even more meaningful network.

Working at The Impact Hub in Seattle I was guilty of putting my head down during the work day and staying focused the immediate task at hand. I wasn’t as open as I could have been to the network and the opportunities that were provided. I’m so grateful I’ve had the chance to see the potential of The Impact Hub’s international network by taking on this “Exchange” in Amsterdam. I see the network being an important part of my professional life for the foreseeable future.

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Here are a couple more photos from the Dolomites!

This Earth, My Brother

This Earth, My Brother

The dawn crack of sounds known
rending our air
shattering our temples toppling
raising earthwards our cathedrals of hope,
in demand of lives offered on those altars
for the cleansing that was done long ago.
Within the airwaves we carry
our hutted entrails; and we pray;
shrieks abandoned by lonely road-sides
as the gunmen’s boots tramp.
I lift up the chalice of hyssop and tears
to touch the lips of the thirsty
sky-wailing in a million spires
of hate and death; we pray
bearing the single hope to shine
burnishing in the destiny of my race
that glinting sword of salvation.

– Kofi Awoonor

Kofi Awoonor, the Ghanaian poet, diplomat and academic was shot to death by terrorists in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Kofi Awoonor was born in a small village in Ghana in 1935 and wrote poems depicting Africa during colonization. He also served as Ghana’s representative for the United Nations from 1990-1994.

Kenya

I’ve been here in Amsterdam for about 10 days now. I’m finally getting my groove and starting to feel like I have a purpose here. I had a great day at work today at The Impact Hub where I felt like I made a solid contribution and engaged in friendly conversations with new friends. After work, I took my bike over to Vondelpark for a nice jog and workout in the park. 

Sadly, the last few days have been marred by the horrific attack in Nairobi. As I set out on my own path to do good in the world, it deeply angers and terrifies me that there are such horrible events taking place. I can’t pull my eyes from my BBC World News homepage or my ears from the television as the events continue to unfold. Just this evening, stories about some of the people who were killed started to be told. Devastating, heartbreaking and such meaningless loss of wonderful lives. 

I struggle to understand, I have nightmares. I suppose the lack of reason is what makes it so atrocious. I am thinking about you Kenya. 

A few snapshots of my time in Amsterdam!

A roof. And the Internet.

It’s pretty amazing how much we can take shelter for granted (and access to the Internet). Especially if that shelter is your own, and it’s safe. After a few weeks of traveling and moving from place to place, I ended up in an apartment here in Amsterdam where I’ll be staying for a couple of weeks. I was so relieved to drop off my stuff, have privacy, feel safe, be connected and have a place to cook. I walked out into the world a revived person simply because I felt grounded. I had a home.

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I’m thankful to be reminded of this precious gift. And to remember that so many others in our world don’t have this luxury – and maybe they never will. Building more sustainable and accessible communities is incredibly important to creating world citizens who are peaceful, productive and healthy.

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.

— Cesare Pavese