George Essihos

April 1, 2017


I was very sad to hear today of the death of George Essihos on Wednesday.

I didn’t know about him, or his music, until just a few years ago. Since then, his performances and recordings have brought me a lot of joy and have helped me understand jazz, and perhaps a few other things, in a new way.

I feel honoured to have met him, and grateful that I got to hear him play on several occasions, including what I believe was his last public performance, in Mill Bay, early in 2015.

I guess you could say that once I discovered him, I made a point of getting to know him as best I could, and I’d like to think that in some way my family and I brought a bit of joy to his life as well, through the friendship we cultivated.

George visited us at the Peace Garden at Woodwynn Farms a few weeks before the official opening. Photos on this page show him with a glass-on-glass mosaic I had made, inspired by his performance of “I’m Beginning to See the Light.”

Like many others, I am wishing that there could be a chance to hear him play again.


Video of the Woodwynn Peace Garden

June 17, 2015

Video of the Woodwynn Peace Garden – by Shaw TV South Vancouver Island.

I love how this video conveys the message of hope that *is* Woodwynn Farms. As Terrance tells us – stay on the path and don’t get lost!

Woodwynn Peace Garden is now open to the public

May 3, 2015

Anytime the Woodwynn Farm market is open, folks can also visit the Peace Garden and walk the labyrinth.

We were sooooo happy about the official opening yesterday. The turnout was wonderful, the weather was perfect and it was a truly emotional day.

Here are some photos (not all are from yesterday, but most are).

Sam Houston Sculpture

Note that Samuel’s sculpture “Borrowed Light” was installed in time for the opening day. I hadn’t posted about that yet. It’s been a busy time for us!

Woodwynn Peace Garden follow the path sign







Abkhazi Gardens (a grand day out)

March 7, 2012

It’s known as the garden that love built, and it’s a perfect jewel in Victoria (BC) with a romantic history that involves two people who had been prisoners of war and later created this beautiful space as a place of healing.

I’m so grateful to have time to explore places like this:

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Links describing the garden are here:

Everybody Can Contribute and Everybody Will Benefit: Part 2

January 20, 2011

In a previous post, I wrote about micro lending in general.

Below is a local community example of micro lending (this post is based on an article I worked on to contribute to the Fernwood newspaper – the “Village Vibe”)

As many people trying to run a small business have discovered, big financial institutions will lend you money only if you can prove that you don’t need it.

In Fernwood (a small inner-city neighbourhood in Victoria, BC, Canada) a group called Community Micro Lending is providing a wonderful demonstration of how to see things differently. Community Micro Lending facilitates loans between lenders and entrepreneurs in the Greater Victoria community.

Community Micro Lending entrepreneurs are local citizens who need small loans and mentorship to take action and change their own lives. They are turning their dreams into a reality, creating local jobs, and embarking on business or employment opportunities with a socially conscious focus. At the same time they are contributing to a sustainable local economy and helping their community to flourish. An example is Natalie, the owner and operator of Stir it Up Authentic Caribbean Soul Food Restaurant in the Fernwood Square.

Lenders are local people too, investing what they can in people whose stories they understand and whose businesses are part of their own neighbourhood. Natalie’s story was posted on the Community Micro Lending site just before Christmas, and by mid-January, combined contributions of the multiple lenders equaled the $4095 that Natalie had requested. Now she can begin the upgrades to her restaurant and continue to make her delicious roti.

Technology definitely plays a part in spreading the message of Community Micro Lending. Tools like Twitter @VicMicroLending, Facebook, and LinkedIn connect people to the projects.

And yet, though the concept has a high-tech, 21st century component, it is really a very old idea – neighbours helping neighbours to strengthen the community. Something the Jimmy Stewart character of George Bailey in the 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” would thoroughly understand. In the movie, George runs a tiny mortgage and loan company that constantly experiences friction with the big banker in town. Here’s a beautiful George Bailey quote from the scene where he has to explain the process of his business to a handful of skeptical investors: “Your money’s in Joe’s house, right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Macklin’s house, and a hundred others. Why, you’re lending them the money to build, and then, they’re going to pay it back to you as best they can.”

Today, 65 years later, George wouldn’t have to provide such an explanation because as micro-lenders, we’re already completely aware of who our investments support.

The main website of Community Micro Lending, for a “deeply sustainable vibrant local economy” is:

Also note that Fernwood has a great recent history of revitalization and an amazing sense of community.