EasyJet. White privilege transit. Stranded 12 hour waits in Italian cities. Surreal beach encounters. Cultural intricacies and predicaments. Dog in a bag. Scream down the bus memory games. Owly octopus manifestations. Aggressive feminists and camel selling Moroccans. British sensitivities and ‘chosen race’ bravado. One women protests.  Welsh-Indian Harry Potter.  White Middle class Hip Hop shows. Brazilian flute music oi oi. Facebook Live city car crashes. Best fish ever. Best pizza ever. Migrant show and tell. Brits on tour. Never coming back to this city ever ever.

These past few weeks have been so amazing. So tiring. So strange and wonderful. After my year of mostly isolation amongst my travels to Uganda and back home, spending time with three high energy change-makers was electrifying.

The four of us together somehow worked.  Our newly formed band of crazy activists (Three Manc’s and a Muzzy) was the strangest combination of people all from different backgrounds, completely different personalities and beliefs, glued together by our love for our heart work in service to our communities.

Joe, militant in his approach, leads anti-facist music and sports activities, including his yearly 0161 festival in Manchester.  The work self-funded, grassroots, unwavering and unapologetic in its ‘controversial’, political approach.

Merium, founder and director of Cake Face Makeup, works on the inner and outer beauty of her clients.  A teacher and community worker, she is an inspiration to migrant and ethnic minority communities – and for me completely breaks the stereotypes surrounding muslim women.

And Ruth, CEO and Creative Director of In Place of War, creating waves of impact all around the world; connecting, inspiring, resourcing and training creative communities in places of conflict and challenge. Complete inspiration to me and my work. I am especially impressed and in love with her project Grrrl;  bringing talented musician women of colour together to perform, unite and heal with music.

We were brought together as part of the Anne Lind Foundation network to participate in intercultural activities to better respond to the migrant-refugee ‘crises’ that we currently face as a globe.  That aim may not have been met, but the experience was a chance for us all to meet, collaborate and learn from each other, and I have come out of the other side with more opportunities and ideas and than a years worth of networking and graft his given me throughout this whole year.

The process has given me another lesson in trusting my working process with patience.  This year has been a struggle with repeated failures and difficulties, yet amongst it all my purpose and intent has been strong and aligned, allowing for the opportunities and the right people to enter your life in due time. My dedication to self development and learning in the meanwhile has paid off, with the many online business development, and social enterprise courses, giving me a breadth of skills that I am excited to utilise in the coming months.

There have been moments this year where I thought that I should quit. Completely absent of funds and direction I could not understand why things were not working out.  Gutted at the thought of coming back home and returning to normal employment, I felt like I had failed. Now on the other side, about to head into a 5 month administration job,  I am happy for the chance to live quietly and steadily whilst I raise more funds and resources.

What I keep reminding myself is that I am in a position of complete privilege.  Yes I come from a working class background, yes I am under the weight of 50k debt, yes I don’t get things handed to me on a plate but also I have a family to come home to, a paid job and a chance to travel freely within 6 months. I am safe, warm, fed and free, and it is due to that privilege that I am able to live my life in service to others –  and I wouldn’t change that for the world.