Just as a little background: in November of 2008, my now-husband José and his partner Seth were launching Trust Art, a crowd-funding platform for art projects that live in the realm of social good. At the time they asked me to be part of their ten inaugural projects. The Humanity Fragrance was conceived of as a yearly act of volunteerism. From this experience, a fragrance would be created that sought to evoke a sense of compassion.
For the Humanity Fragrance First Edition, six of us travelled to the Casa de los Angeles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We volunteered with children of single working mothers and orphans at a well-run center. We visited the botanical garden, a local medicine man, and the weekend market. From all of this inspiration gathering came a fragrance housed in a botanical-heart shaped glass bottle, and even a perfumed fountain here in McGolrick Park, so that my own neighborhood could also experience the scent. I led free aromatherapy workshops at the site of the fountain, and collaborated with the perfume company Robertet on an all-natural Horchata version of the scent for the fountain, which ran for four months on solar energy. You can see photographs, video and more from the Humanity Fragrance First Edition here.
Anyway, like I said, yay Second Edition! It's time. The project was originally conceived of as a yearly project, and the first volunteer trip took place in September of 2009. The fragrance launched in 2010, and somehow 2011 slipped through my fingers. Now we're in the planning stages of a volunteer trip to Cambodia. Like last time, I'd like to get a dedicated group of friends on board. It's surprisingly not easy planning a trip like this. Most places like to have longer-term volunteers (totally understandable) unless there is a natural disaster that calls for helping hands immediately. We've got a couple of options lined up though, and as soon as one is confirmed, I'll let you know here. The plan is to travel to Cambodia for 2-3 weeks in March. We'll come back, I'll create a fragrance based on the experience, and we'll launch it in October. So many factors go into the creation of the fragrance. What grows in Cambodia? Are there any special spiritual rituals involving fragrance? Mostly I ask myself: What is the scent of compassion? STAY TUNED.
Top photograph by Claire Benoist.