Beatrice Watson

Beatrice Watson

Fort Rouge community correspondent

Beatrice Watson is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge.

Recent articles of Beatrice Watson

A principled man with no regrets

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A principled man with no regrets

Beatrice Watson 4 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

Having high moral standards can make one feel like an alien. Dr. Sobharam Singh is living proof doing what is right pays off in the end.

At close to 90 years old, Dr. Singh has a healthy brain and a healthy body for a man his age and he can proudly look back on his life and say to himself: “I did it my way.”

Born and raised in the former British colony of Guyana, in South America, to parents of modest means of South Asian descent. He attended public school and won scholarships to attend the University of Wales, where he obtained a B.Sc. honours degree in geology in 1959 and went on to get his master’s and PhD degrees (the latter in 1963) before returning to Guyana.

Dr. Singh landed a job with the Geological Survey of Guyana as an exploration geologist and quickly rose to the top of his field, becoming commissioner of Geological Surveys and Mines. He was very knowledgeable and contributed almost singlehandedly to the mapping of Guyana’s geological topography. He represented Guyana at many international conferences, wrote and presented more than 80 research papers and was the chief and trusted adviser in his field to the Guyanese prime minister.

Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

Distinguished geologist Dr. Sobharam Singh, pictured in the field in Guyana.

Indigenous law should be part of Canadian law

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Indigenous law should be part of Canadian law

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

The Working in Search of Equality (W.I.S.E.) Equality Breakfast re-emerged after two years on Friday, April 29, and equality-seeking people got to make or renew their annual trek to the breakfast at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. but people loved it. You feel part of something bigger, maybe a movement.

I cannot remember missing an Equality Breakfast. I love the energy and the fact that hundreds of women and men arrived at the Convention Centre when traffic is clear and parking easy to find. It is where you meet up with old friends and colleagues, and there is optimistic buzz about change being around the corner.

Even though two years had gone by without a breakfast there was still a sizeable crowd but not to the level of previous years.It was not the topic that drew me nor the fact that my friend Brenlee Carrington Trepel had gifted me with a ticket, it was the anticipation of taking up space with like-minded people, finding out how they spent the pandemic years and just catching up with friends. I was starved for this sort of connection and networking. It was exhilarating

Kathleen Mahoney, University of Calgary law professor and partner of Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was the keynote speaker. Even though she is a dynamic speaker, I was not thrilled with the topic, which was about women’s equality journey in Canada, where we seem take one step forward and two steps back. So I was delighted when she announced that she had pivoted after reading an article written by André Bear, a young Indigenous lawyer, for CBC Saskatchewan titled “Indigenous Peoples must create their own legal system in Canada.”

Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

University of Calgary law professor Kathleen Mahoney spoke at the W.I.S.E. Person’s Day Breakfast on April 29.

The accidental doctor

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The accidental doctor

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2022

As a child Dr. Andre Coleman did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up. All he knew was that he wanted to finish high school and get a post-secondary education, get a job and make his parents proud. It turned that he gravitated towards science subjects and found himself in a medical program at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, his home country.

“In the first month of my residency to become a family doctor, I worked in the palliative care ward and that was a game changer for me,” he said. “I then knew this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with people who are facing the most important and at the same time the most painful aspect of life. I wanted to help make a difference to these people.”

Almost a year ago, after completing his residency, André came to Winnipeg to do his fellowship in palliative medicine at the University of Manitoba and to also join his parents and sister, who had already migrated and settled here.

“I love it here at the University of Manitoba, it has great palliative-care training, great staff and a positive culture that I like a lot,” he said.

Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2022

Dr. Andre Coleman said he “fell into” studying medicine because of the subjects he did well in while at high school.

‘You will know when it’s time…’

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‘You will know when it’s time…’

Beatrice Watson 4 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

I have joined “the club.”

I was one of those people who aspired to work until I could not physically or mentally work anymore. I loved what I did so much that work did not feel like work — but then the pandemic hit.

The fear of catching something, the haphazardness of working at home and in the office and my inability to help people with COVID-related issues weighed heavily on me. Explaining the human rights connection to COVID-related questions left me feeling that I was living in Groundhog Day. It got to me. In addition, I have always prided myself on keeping up with my workload but no matter how hard I worked once the pandemic hit, I was behind. I did not like that. At that point, I could not wait to leave.

Retirement is not so bad. Everything points to the fact I made the right decision to leave when I did. With the Omicron variant running rampant, I could safely sit at home and wait it out. During the worst winter we have seen in years, getting up and looking outside and then returning to my bed and curling up in my warm blanket brings smile to my lips. I don’t have to go out anywhere if I do not feel like it. Life is wonderful.

Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

Correspondent Beatrice Watson is recently retired and thoroughly enjoying herself.

Breaking the mould with yoga, meditation

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Breaking the mould with yoga, meditation

Beatrice Watson 4 minute read Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

People migrate for many reasons, most to improve their lot in life economically, others to find peace from war and others to find themselves after being rejected by family and others because they did not fit their idea of what it is to be human.

Serge Salvador, a yoga meditation instructor at Yoga Public, did not fit the mould, so he took off to find a place where he would be accepted for who he is. Canada fits that bill.

“I feel like a child, I don’t want to grow up. I live in a fantasy world where people love each other. Discrimination makes me very sad” Salvador said.

Originally from a small town in France, Vic-la-Gardiole, near Montpellier. When Serge first came to Canada he received the news that both his parents had died in a car accident. His partner accompanied him home for support.

Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

Supplied photo
Serge Salvador, who teaches yoga mediation at Yoga Public, came to Canada from France to escape the judgement and discrimination of his family.

‘Habari gani’ – what’s the news?

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‘Habari gani’ – what’s the news?

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 31, 2021

The Congress of Black Women of Winnipeg has hosted Kwanzaa for more than 20 years to the delight of children of all ages and their parents.

This Afrocentric celebration occurs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 each winter and has been around for more than 50 years.

Kwanzaa originated in United States of America. It is a combination of the ancient African celebration of First Fruits or Thanksgiving and an exploration of the continuing freedom struggle of African-Americans. The celebration is designed to celebrate African cultural values, to reaffirm what it means to be of African heritage and to honor the ancestors upon whose shoulder the current generation stands.

Kwanzaa centres on seven principles.  They are: unity; self-determination; collective work and responsibility; purpose; co-operative economics; creativity; and faith.

Friday, Dec. 31, 2021

Winnipeg Free Press file photo
Tolu Oladele lights the last candle during a Kwanzaa celebration.

A mental health tool kit for the Black community

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A mental health tool kit for the Black community

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Mental health has become a front-and-centre health issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. People who had never experienced mental illness are reporting stress, anxiety and loneliness.

The Black community has also began talking about mental illness — a topic that had never gained much traction in the past.

However, since the United Nations declared 2015-2024 The Decade of Peoples of African ancestry, many opportunities for funding have become available in Canada to explore new and emerging issues for Blacks.

In 2019, a coalition of Black and other community organizations in Manitoba collaborated in a successful proposal to promote health equity in Canada.

Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Supplied photo
Dr. Tunde Bello, of the WRHA. has been tasked with promoting and explaining a mental health tool kit to the Black and broader Winnipeg community.

Winnipeg musician returns to tribal roots

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Winnipeg musician returns to tribal roots

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

By all definitions, singer/songwriter and music producer Ndubuisi Okwumabua, popularly known as Ndu, meets the criteria for having the “it factor.”

In 2007, I spoke with Ndu as an upcoming young rapper. He had big dreams of becoming an international performer. He worked hard to meet his goals in Canada and his work did not fully give him the payoff he expected.

Now in his 30s, Ndu has abandoned his materially comfortable existence in Fort Rouge and now splits his time between Delta State, Nigeria - his ancestral homeland - and Winnipeg to focus on his music. Ndu now lives among his Anioma people, between the state capital Asaba and his village of Issele-Uku. He often reflects on the banks of the Niger River, praying to realize his dreams.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Ndu has the blessing of his family in the pursuit of his musical ambitions.  Unlike the usual migration to Toronto, New York City or Hollywood, Ndu opted for Nollywood, the third-largest movie capital in the world and is now getting the opportunity to write background music for movies coming out of Nigeria.

Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Supplied photo
Born and raised in Winnipeg, musician Ndubuisi Okwumabua is pursuing his musical dream in Nigeria's 'Nollywood'.

Musician realizing musical dreams in Nigeria

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Musician realizing musical dreams in Nigeria

Beatrice Watson 5 minute read Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

By any definition, Ndubuisi Okwumabua, popularly known as Ndu, meets the criteria for the tall, dark and handsome guy with the “it” factor of being a singer/songwriter/music producer.

In 2007, I spoke with Ndu as an upcoming young rapper. He had big dreams to become an international performer. He worked hard to meet his goals in Canada and his work did not fully give him the payoff/satisfaction he expected.

Now in his 30s, single and still searching for that special romantic connection, Ndu has abandoned his comfortable existence in Fort Rouge and split his time between Delta State Nigeria — his ancestral homeland — and Winnipeg to focus on his music. Ndu now lives comfortably among his Anioma people between the state capital Asaba and Issele-Uku, his village. He often reflects on the banks of the Niger River, praying to realize his dreams.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Ndu has the blessing of his family in the pursuit of his musical ambitions.

Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

Supplied photo
Ndubuisi Okwumabua, also known as Ndu, says he’s enjoying a simpler life in Nigeria while focusing on his music.

Black conductor waits for an orchestral break

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Black conductor waits for an orchestral break

Beatrice Watson 4 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021

Orchestral conductor Larry Strachan is one of Manitoba’s best kept secrets. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music; he is one of very few black conductors in Canada and he has been on this journey for more than 20 years.

Larry has had some opportunities with orchestras in Nova Scotia, Prince George, B.C., and in Vancouver but a full-time, regular job has eluded him so far.  

Son of immigrant parents from Grenada, Larry said he was not naturally drawn to music:

“My parents enrolled me and my sister Leisha in piano classes as part of our extracurricular activity,” he said. “I had to be pushed and prodded to practise. I was more interested in drawing.”However, as he progressed with piano lessons, Larry said he came to love music by the time he was in high school.

Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021

Supplied photo
Orchestral conductor Larry Strachan is the founder of Chamber Orchestra without Borders.

Challenges and opportunities of aging

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Challenges and opportunities of aging

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Saturday, Jun. 12, 2021

Life is indeed an incredible and interesting journey. It’s as if you are on a conveyer belt moving in one direction – to end of the arc of life. Yes, there is an end.

I never thought seriously about aging until I began noticing that  some of the people around me were here one minute and gone the next. Life as I know has become a place where things disappear. Intellectually, I knew these losses are natural – until their cumulative emotional impact hit me like a ton of bricks.

Losses start early in life. The first loss for me was when my children left home to follow their calling. It felt strange at first but, being younger, there was lots to engage me. I had friends and we did things. It was OK.

Recently the authorities cancelled a good friend’s driving license because of age-related issues. It hit me how different my life would be if I could not drive. We did a lot of stuff together but, since the pandemic began, that has dwindled to almost nothing except phone calls. I felt sad and thought of my own day coming and how that will change our lives. 

Saturday, Jun. 12, 2021

Dreamstime.com
By living in the moment, you will turn your moments into months and years of great living.

A STEM gem at the U of M

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A STEM gem at the U of M

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 26, 2021

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is the new path to a wildly successful career according to the pundits. 

STEM education could also advance women’s equality and level the playing field for BIPOC youths. Unfortunately, STEM daunts many youths who see these subjects as difficult and so, shy away from them.

I was ecstatic to speak to Daniella Archer, who’s in her final year of a civil engineering degree at the University of Manitoba, and who is excited about the prospect of making the world a better place.

Daniella’s father Brian is an electrical engineer and is a manager at Hydro.  He is one of 18 siblings, many of whom are engineers and other professionals. Daniella said her father definitely influenced her choice.

Wednesday, May. 26, 2021

Supplied photo
Daniella Archer comes from a family of engineers and will soon earn a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Manitoba.

It takes a village…

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It takes a village…

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Apr. 30, 2021

“Lift as you climb” is the motto of African communities in North America. As our lives improve we are encouraged to help others up.  It’s a simple but powerful formula for success.

Our ancestors have done the hard work. This generation of Blacks have it comparatively great. It is our turn to take the next step forward for our youth, to get them on track for success in spite of racism.

According to many Black thinkers, the next economic frontier we have to position our children to explore is in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

We need those people with skills to lend a helping hand so that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) youth are poised and set to create their own opportunities and lives. Business people are smart enough to know their success lies in garnering the skills of the best and brightest.

Friday, Apr. 30, 2021

“Lift as you climb” is the motto of African communities in North America. As our lives improve we are encouraged to help others up.  It’s a simple but powerful formula for success.

Our ancestors have done the hard work. This generation of Blacks have it comparatively great. It is our turn to take the next step forward for our youth, to get them on track for success in spite of racism.

According to many Black thinkers, the next economic frontier we have to position our children to explore is in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

We need those people with skills to lend a helping hand so that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) youth are poised and set to create their own opportunities and lives. Business people are smart enough to know their success lies in garnering the skills of the best and brightest.

“Let’s talk about sex…”

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“Let’s talk about sex…”

Beatrice Watson 4 minute read Thursday, Mar. 4, 2021

Sex is supposed to be one of the best and most powerful treats the Creator has given to us and we have made it into a complicated mess. In many cultures, it is taboo for women to talk freely about sex and the lid of sex education is tightly shut and controlled.

Susan Wenzel is a certified sex therapist, relationship expert, clinical sexologist, and psychotherapist with years of experience working with individuals and couples and leading seminars and workshops.

 She is also a regular guest on Global TV, CBC Radio, CTV, and CJOB radio on topics of relationships and sexuality and she has written numerous articles on the subjects.

Susan was born and raised in Kenya. She moved to Canada in 1999 and currently lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two teenaged children. She said she has been interested in the human body since she was a child.

Thursday, Mar. 4, 2021

Supplied photo
Susan Wenzel is a certified sex therapist, relationship expert and psycotherapist who helps people work through and understand their feelings and beliefs about sex and relationships.

Lessons learned during the pandemic

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Lessons learned during the pandemic

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021

The popular conversation in the coffee room is about COVID, the horrible, evil COVID. People have taken to personalizing the pandemic and they hate it with a vengeance, cursing it at the most heinous villain on the planet. 

I wonder if our collective hatred of this virus is what gives it its staying power. As the saying goes — “what you feed grows and strengthens.”

For me it is a good time  to invoke the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021

Dreamstime.com
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded them that every day should be lived to the fullest, and they’re doing things they’ve always planned to do.

Guided by her mother’s touch

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Guided by her mother’s touch

Beatrice Watson 4 minute read Monday, Dec. 28, 2020

Mothers are real angels and sometimes they reach across the veil that separates the visible from the invisible world to lend a helping hand to their family and friends.

Such was the experience of Rose Zimmerman in her Caribbean cooking journey.

Rose was born in sunny Jamaica but raised in Canada. Her mother cooked Jamaican food and Rose loved her mom’s cooking.  Even though she knew vaguely what were in the dishes and dainties her mom prepared she did not pay much attention.

Unfortunately, Rose’s mother died an untimely death and left a gaping hole in her life in many ways. Rose had expected her mother to be around for a long time, so she did not know the subtleties of Jamaican cooking. She inherited her mom’s baking pan “the big shiny pan with two circle handles and an iron spoon.”

Monday, Dec. 28, 2020

Supplied photo
Inspired by her mother’s Jamaican cooking, Rose Zimmerman now runs a home business making and selling her cooking.

Rock art and the Baha’i faith

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Rock art and the Baha’i faith

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

Winnipeg stones began rocking Keith Bloodworth‘s imagination three years ago, after he picked up a nicely painted rock on a picnic table at Assiniboine Park. 

He was having a leisurely stroll around the park with some friends from China, unaware that a rock would fire a passion in him so strong that  they would take up space in his life in a big way. 

A tall, distinguished gentleman, Keith said he admired and examined the rock.

“There were instructions written on it, to take a photo of the rock, post the photo on the Winnipeg Rocks Facebook page, then either re-hide the rock or give it to someone,” he said, adding that he did as instructed and presented the rock to his friends to take home to China.

Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

The challenge, joy of foster parenting

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The challenge, joy of foster parenting

Beatrice Watson 5 minute read Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Desiree Williams-Richard is one of the few Black foster parents in Winnipeg. Fostering is not something many Blacks appear to gravitate towards but it is no surprise to those who know Desiree that she would undertake this venture.

Desiree is the 11th of 12 siblings. She said her parents always welcomed strangers in their home and even though they were many, there was always room at the table for an extra plate.

Desiree has been fostering children of all backgrounds for some 22 years. She said she first started out working in group homes to earn extra income while maintaining a full-time job as an education assistant to children with special needs in the Winnipeg School Division job, where she has worked for 28 years. 

Working at group homes and in the school with children/youth with a multitude of acting-out behaviours who really just needed love and structure was the deciding factor for Desiree’s start as a foster parent.

Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Supplied photo
Desiree Williams-Richard and her husband Christian have been fostering children from all backgrounds for 22 years.

Not that kind of ‘soulmate’

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Not that kind of ‘soulmate’

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Sep. 18, 2020

A business called Soulmate Events Planner caught my attention recently. It conjured up images of a matchmaking enterprise with a difference — perhaps planning events for soulmates to find each other. But that turned out to be far from the truth.

When I asked Folake Akinpade to tell me about her business, she told me it is an event planning enterprise. When I told her that the name suggested a matchmaking outfit, she said “No, no I am not into that kind of business”. 

We both chuckled.

Originally from Nigeria, Folake came to Winnipeg with her husband Oludare and daughter Oreoluwa in 2008. The family grew with two children born here, Daniel and Kikiope.

Friday, Sep. 18, 2020

Supplied photo
Folake Akinpade runs an event planning business called Soulmate Events Planner.

COVID-19 socializing

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COVID-19 socializing

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 14, 2020

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I ventured to an outdoor gathering of more than 30 people for a pot luck barbecue in Kenny Daodu’s Bridgwater backyard. I would have jumped at the chance immediately prior to COVID but attending this event took a lot of thinking.

Kenny, current president of the Congress of Black Women of Winnipeg generously invited members to a fun evening. I was thrilled by the thought of seeing and being in the company of a group of cool, interesting women. Anyone who knows me knows I am a social being. I wanted to see what everyone was up to, especially my African Caribbean sisters, and former restaurateur Kenny is a great cook and her jolof rice and fried plantain are to die for.

Thinking of all that could go right — good company, good food, good times — and weighing it against the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus at this large event, challenged my decision making skills. 

In the end, I went with my gut instinct, which was to face my fears intelligently. I needed to face the new normal and I cannot hide from people I love. Kenny said there would be masks available for those who needed them, hand sanitizer and social distancing. 

Friday, Aug. 14, 2020

Supplied photo
Beatrice Watson attended a barbecue held by the Congress of Black Women of Winnipeg and found that, despite their reservations, a good time could still be had by all.

Adjustment can be hard for immigrant professionals

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Adjustment can be hard for immigrant professionals

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 17, 2020

If you are new in Canada, finding a job is paramount to settling and integrating but many newcomers say employment applications they fill out ask for Canadian experience.

To get that experience, mentors and family members encourage them to engage in volunteer work to help them land their first paid jobs to get crucial Canadian experience.

Agencies such as Success Skills Centre help foreign professionals acquire skills and experience that will be valued in the Canadian employment market. 

Titilola Oluseyi-Oshin, whom friends call Titi, was fortunate to become a Success Skills Centre client and through their efforts got an internship at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission for a little over three months. She was among the last batch of clients Success helped before the federal government pulled its funding, forcing Success Skills Centre to close its doors as a free service.

Friday, Jul. 17, 2020

Supplied photo
Titilola Oluseyi-Oshin, a lawyer from Nigeria, became familiar with Canadian workplaces after immigrating with an internship placement at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

Systemic discrimination must end

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Systemic discrimination must end

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Thursday, Jun. 18, 2020

George Floyd’s murder was the trigger that ignited a fire of global pandemic proportions against systemic discrimination.

The viscerally dehumanizing scene of a white man squeezing the life force out of a Black body over eight agonizing minutes in  plain sight sent the fear of COVID-19 flying out to left field as people gathered en masse to protest.

In Manitoba it was no different. People came in droves — between 15,000 and 20,000 of them from our multicultural mosaic — to a rally at the Legislature on June 5 organized by Justice 4 Black Lives.

Every time events like this happen many white folks says they don’t understand what is going on. What is going is systemic racism that rewards white folks with privileges denied to Blacks.

Thursday, Jun. 18, 2020

Sou'wester
Winnipeggers gathered in the thousands at the Justice 4 Black Lives rally on June 5 at the Manitoba Legislature.

Cautiously opening the gates

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Cautiously opening the gates

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 20, 2020

This pandemic has changed our human blueprint in many ways. We were horrified at being told to stay indoors and to shut down the town.

We were heartened when we learned that the government was there for us and money would be flowing to our bank accounts to get us through the hard times.  For many, especially those who work in horrible conditions and with horrible bosses, this has been a welcome reprieve. For many others the pandemic stress is overwhelming.

I think about the new businesses that sprung up in South Osborne in the last year or so and wonder how those businesses will recover, or if they will die with the pandemic. That would be a big loss to my community, as having those coffee shops, small bakeries and little unique grocery stores livened up and brought people into the area and made life a little better. I hope that the government will help these small businesses back on their feet. We need them.

The government now tells us it is time to begin to open up the economy and many people around me are saying “it is too soon” or “we are not ready yet.”

Wednesday, May. 20, 2020

Sou'wester
Correspondent Beatrice Watson’s daughter, Maiko Munroe, models the latest in COVID-19 fashion.

Living in the season of pandemania

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Living in the season of pandemania

Beatrice Watson 3 minute read Monday, Apr. 27, 2020

This is a time of reckoning and a time of soul searching. You are locked up indoors alone with the TV, radio, computer and other electronic devices that help you to cope with loneliness.

Being in quarantine and alone is like a double-edged sword. On the one hand you have only yourself to contend with and therefore less chances of contracting the virus. On the other, you are alone without human contact. And if you happen to be a hypochondriac, you begin to think about a lot of “what if” scenarios — what if I get sick in the middle of the night and can’t breathe and am too weak to reach the phone and...

Before this lockdown, I led a pretty active, involved life. There was no shortage of things to do. It’s like driving at 100 kilometres per hour and having someone jump in front of you, requiring a hard brake.

This ‘new normal’ of lockdown and working from home has given me a lot of time to think about the important things in life.

Monday, Apr. 27, 2020

This is a time of reckoning and a time of soul searching. You are locked up indoors alone with the TV, radio, computer and other electronic devices that help you to cope with loneliness.

Being in quarantine and alone is like a double-edged sword. On the one hand you have only yourself to contend with and therefore less chances of contracting the virus. On the other, you are alone without human contact. And if you happen to be a hypochondriac, you begin to think about a lot of “what if” scenarios — what if I get sick in the middle of the night and can’t breathe and am too weak to reach the phone and...

Before this lockdown, I led a pretty active, involved life. There was no shortage of things to do. It’s like driving at 100 kilometres per hour and having someone jump in front of you, requiring a hard brake.

This ‘new normal’ of lockdown and working from home has given me a lot of time to think about the important things in life.