Hippos and sundry

Hippos and sundry

Did my hippo get your attention?  Cute isn’t she.  How is this related to my creative process you dare ask?  Today’s blog is a bit different in that I am covering a number of topics, starting with my new collaboration with the LAB. And yes, there is a link to hippos!

Donating a portion of my sales is an important feature of my business model and creative endeavour.  Last year, my charities of choice were foodbanks; given the pandemic, it was a logical choice.  This year, I wanted to do something different; to donate to an organization that was closer to what my endeavour was all about - to grow and find yourself through art.  About four years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the LAB as part of a tour of organizations that receive funds through the Government of Canada workplace charitable campaign.  I was struck by the mandate of the organization and moved when I heard about all the good things they do to support those at risk or experiencing homelessness, mental health or addiction issues (see aulab.ca).  I also discovered that the head of the organization was actually my neighbour growing up, Yves.  He lived two doors down from me and we were in the same school year.  Le monde est petit! 

Fast forward to about six weeks ago when I was wandering the streets of Gatineau (read Vieux Hull) looking for a bank and I ended up by luck in front of the LAB.  After thinking about it for months, I took this unplanned encounter as a sign to stop procrastinating and “just do it”. Write an email and see where it takes me.  I am sure you are like me; you are full of good intentions but most times than not, they remain a thought and vanish with time.  

Which brings me to the hippos.  Did you know that Columbia actually has a hippopotamus crisis?  Yes, Columbia.  Back in the 1980s, the drug king Pablo Escobar had a menagerie and brought over hippopotami from Africa.  And now, the king is dead and the hippopotami are running wild, multiplying, destroying the ecosystem and even attacking humans.  Pretty wild! (no pun intended)


I kept thinking about the guy in the video whose life was permanently changed because of a hippo attack and the fact that in my inner circles, a few of my colleagues and friends’ life shifted suddenly because of incidents in the last few weeks.  The realization of life’s fragility is something that keeps popping up in my life, I am constantly reminded (COVID is unfortunately a key driver here) of the need to live fully, as things can change so suddenly.  It seems to find me at every second corner. 

This hippo story shows how one action can generate so many ripples in a bad way.  An innocuous action like bringing hippos over for his personal pleasure led to major ripple effects affecting poor populations and a fragile ecosystem decades later.  But, if you take the concept and  apply it to a positive, helpful gesture, you begin to see how one small action can have positive and growing ripple effects that will ultimately make a difference.   

I need to make more of these small gestures, follow my inspiration and just do it.  Painting or creating is actually good practice for me. It forces me to express myself in a public way and take action in a very vulnerable way.  I am learning that practice, regardless in what sphere of your life,  has its own ripple effect in my life.

So, I am going to try to ride this third wave by acting more on my good intentions.  Who knows where it will bring me?  Will you join me?  I would really like the company! 

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