Village in the City
“On the left side of the street leading to the house where I live in Sofia, there stretches a smallish plot of land, triangular in shape. It belongs to nobody. Overgrown with bramble, and coarse grass, rubbish scattered all over, the place presented a graceless sight. An eyesore which bitterly contrasted with the well-trimmed gardens in our neighbourhood.
This had to change! In my mind, I could see this small piece of land transforming itself into a beautiful spot and making the neighbourhood proud.
A first small step was to share the idea with our next-door neighbor. She was keen and within less than an hour we initiated a small-scale gardening project and named it – The Triangle. Together, we composed a short text, inviting our neighbours to join. Not knowing their names, let alone any email addresses or phone numbers, we tucked the A4 pieces of paper into their mailboxes. Hoping to break the ‘silence’ of the neighbourhood, we opened the gates wide for contributions. Some neighbours responded, others ignored the message.
Within a month, we had the place cleaned and dug through. A gardener was employed to design the garden and plant the new trees and shrubs. Beautiful white stones frame the plot.
As the work unfolded, we got to know each other, shared news and simple stories. Something of a community started emerging. My neighbour and I hope that The Triangle might eventually turn into a space where neighbours gather together in – for a chat simply, and, why not, for initiating new projects.
Applying the lens of host leading, we can discern the stepping forward and back dance, as well the stepping into and out of the roles of initiator, inviter, space creator, gatekeeper, connector, co-participator.