Hi-Five for Friendship!

Hariata is a firm believer in serendipity and so it came as no real surprise to her that someone in the timebank was offering photographic skills just as she was looking for someone to take a much needed yoga photograph.

Meeting up with Clarissa at the Botanical Gardens, a backdrop for the photography trade, Hariata discovered an earnest photographer and also a brave and energetic young woman setting out on a new life in the city.

Hariata’s enthusiasm for Wellington and desire to help, led her to enthuse about all the fun and interesting things to do, suddenly realising that Clarissa’s first language was Portuguese. Hariata arranged a ‘Café Crawl’ with other timebank members and made Clarissa’s welcome to the city official! Hariata really enjoyed Clarissa’s company, recognising a ‘terrific person with lots of skills.’ The introduction to café-culture Wellington-style, certainly ‘blew Clarissa out of the water.’ She reminisced about the café crawl, Hariata’s friends and meeting up with a woman with ‘tremendous energy, who has listened to her through difficult times and heard her recount her nostalgia for her home in Brazil.’ 

Whilst a lovely friendship has formed between the two, they are meticulous in still logging their trades through Timebank. Hariata explains that this is all about being a good Timebank member, remaining loyal to the Timebank community and ensuring that the Wellington City Council will continue to support the Co-ordinator’s role financially. She says it’s not uncommon to build friendships through Timebank, but it’s important to acknowledge that you probably wouldn’t have met up in the first place if it hadn’t been for the trade.

Their most recent trade has helped Hariata to improve her website design. She was initially going to attend a course, but there was a waiting list and it proved more helpful and rewarding to have someone you know work with you. Clarissa has benefitted from the life-coaching she has received, becoming more calm and grounded. Putting the trade through Timebank, continues to show how much they still value the project and each other’s skills.

Hariata has received tomato plants, her first scoby for making Kombucha, computer help and a million haircuts, through Timebank trades, but she couldn’t single one out in preference to another as each have held their own special value and helped her to learn. Clarissa, who joined Timebank almost as soon as she arrived in Wellington in September 2014, has really valued the organised events, like the ‘Conversation Dinners.’ She remembers the first occasion when she volunteered, where the tables were set out and everybody brought a dish. The menu on everybody’s plate listed a series of questions, one each for entrée, main and dessert. And everybody just started eating and talking. A real ice-breaker and a great way for strangers to meet and get to know each other! 

Hariata feels that people have been trading skills informally for generations, but the computer and Timebank have made it so much easier to get the skills you need when you need them and widen your circle of friends and associates within the community. Clarissa believes that her involvement has enabled her to meet up with so many different people, but feels that Wellingtonians have a strong culture for volunteering which has impressed her since her arrival. 

Mutual-trades might not happen all the time, but the mutual friendship flourishing between this pair of enthusiastic traders was great to see!

Story by Sue Jenkins