These are the words of newcomer market analyst, writer and bridge-builder Khairunnisa (Inda) Intiar, who explains how her experience on Canada C3 has inspired her to take action back home in the Maritimes.
Ten days may not seem like a long time, but there were conversations that changed the way I view patriotism, diversity, inclusion, reconciliation and the idea of home. It changed the way I see the region I consider home – the Maritimes. Perhaps one of the biggest thing I got was the inspiration to work on things that make me feel alive and work towards creating a community that I envision. Here are two other ways Canada C3 has inspired me:
Explore Your Home:
C3 revived a spirit of adventure and learning in me. I loved visiting new places and meeting new people and learning new things everyday while on the ship. That made me want to know and see more of what Canada has to offer. I want to learn about its history – the good and the bad. I want to know its challenges and issues and opportunities. I want to know so much more about the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, especially those whose territories I live on in New Brunswick. I want to see coastlines and cliffs and oceans and lakes and all of that. I want to know where I fit in this place I consider home.
So I started a personal reading list and added to my podcast list to learn more about Indigenous issues based on recommendations by a fellow Leg 3 participant Aryn. I started going back to French lessons and taking part in conversation circles. I’m a bit better at it, but I still need to do a lot more before I become fluent. This summer, I also made it a point to visit places I’ve never been to in the Maritimes (and there are so many!). My friends and I got to see great sceneries, but our visits to places along the coasts of Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick also led us to Acadian, Mi’kmaq and African-Canadian history, and the stories of industries that boomed and busted. There’s still so much of the Maritimes to explore. Hopefully I’ll make my way to Newfoundland and Labrador and all the way west over the coming years.
Private citizens can make a difference:
On the ship, there were many people who make a difference in Canada and the world in their everyday lives – through their own non-profits, through research, through charity work, through art, by starting expeditions, facilitating dialogue, you name it. I had always believed that everybody can do their part to make a community stronger, but meeting the people on the ship emboldened this belief and made me less scared to start something. If you see a problem, come up with a solution and work on implementing that. We don’t have to wait for the government to effect change.
In part inspired by this, my friend and I started a diversity and inclusion project called Woven Cultures that’s aimed at children and youth. We’re still shaping it up with partners, but so far we’ve delivered workshops for around 100 kids and youth through schools, Boys and Girls Club and multicultural events. We’ve hosted activities for adults as well. We aim to show that diversity makes our lives richer, and inclusion is about respecting one another.
And because I saw first hand how dialogue can change hearts and minds while on the ship, I try to do my best to foster conversations between people of different backgrounds – especially to get minority voices and misunderstood voices to tell their own stories. Whether through the mosque, sitting on a non-profit board, projects with youth, or in other ways in my daily life and work, I try to do a little bit to contribute to a stronger community.