New Year, Same Haverford House - with New Growth & Thriving
January was a month of happy reunions and time to reevaluate and reconnect after a week or two away from the House. We returned from our travels away with stories to share and a mixed bag of feelings about leaving vacation mode and re-entering our work lives. We kicked off our first week of having all of us back in the House with a “new year new house” meeting to reflect on our first semester of the fellowship, and to think critically about the one to come and our engagement with it.
As a house, we made some renewed commitments, starting with choosing to cook dinner communally before every weekly house meeting to set a positive tone for what can sometimes be a logistics-heavy and draining hour of planning. We started things off right with barbecue jackfruit tacos and beans and rice, a delicious culmination to our collaborative shopping, cooking, dancing in the kitchen while cooking, and donating leftover assorted tortillas from our respective shelves in the fridge. Bellies full and fingers sticky and dripping, we began sharing about our breaks and listening to one another in a more intentional way than we had before during house meetings. This time to regroup helped us transition into a packed, fruitful meeting re-establishing our commitments to communication, chores and cleanliness, and communal living.
Two hours later, we had planned monthly deep clean parties, restructured our chore system in a more functional way, and committed to changes to help everyone feel more comfortable and at home in our home. Not to mention, we had purged our previously very, very full freezer. A successful way to start the new year, and the second half of our year together. Best of all, the hope is that our renewed house meeting structure will lend more time and energies for hosting community-building and social justice-oriented events. We closed out the meeting by sharing what we got out of this meeting, which evolved into a conversation on gratitude for one another, and for the Home we have built together.
A subsection of the House attended The Prosperity Symposium: Economic Mobility Research in Action, and viewed the documentary QUEST - those of us who couldn’t make it are eager to see the Bryn Mawr Film Institute’s screening on March 20th, if not before. Some of us also participated in the Women’s March in Philly over MLK weekend. We’re all reading the incredible book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer in preparation for hosting a few sessions of Eric Hartman’s Planetary Health course at the House this semester. So far the verdict is: this book is extremely valuable, and everyone should read it asap!
On Saturday February 16th, Isy Abraham-Raveson, a fabulous sexuality educator and friend, will be hosting a Food Values and Building a Positive Food Culture Workshop at the House from 3-5pm - all are welcome! Stay tuned for news about an upcoming Haverford House film series, which Smmo and Claire are organizing. We’re sending light and warmth for a wonderful start to 2019!
P.S. Any and all donations to the medical fund of a friend of Haverford House, a long-time Philly activist who has recently endured a stroke, would be very appreciated.
- Callie Kennedy '18, Fellow at Puentes de Salud