I will be a hummingbird

“There is no world, there is only 6 billion understandings of it,” Drew Dudley literally turns the idea of “changing the world” on its head and urges us to look from the bottom up, challenging our perception of the seemingly insurmountable task. So, who’s up to bat? The Mother Theresas, Mahatma Gandhis or Nelson Mandelas of the world? No. It’s you and I.

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Dr. Rosen

During my time in Cape Town, I was very fortunate to be able to have a conversation with Dr. Eli Rosen who seems to be tackling the current gaps in sex education curriculum in South Africa one classroom at a time. Agatha Nyambi was working as an Intern in Sexual Minority Health with the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

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Tough Goodbyes

Goodbyes are always hard, and leaving Tamale was no different. Saying goodbye was difficult because I have grown fond of the city, it’s people, and even my life there. After grappling with the difficulties and frustration of moving to a new country and adapting to a completely new culture and way of life, six months is just enough time to begin to feel at home. Travis Jacox was working as a  Resource Mobilization and Management Specialist with Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID) in Tamale, Ghana.

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Lowering the drawbridge

Picking up creole was easier for me with French being my native tongue... You often hear that speaking the local language makes you understand a culture better, is seen as a sign of respect and very much appreciated by locals. All this is true in Haiti, but there is something more to it. Jean-Christophe Taillandier is working as a  Value-Chain and Agri-Business Coordinator with ISCA in Haiti.

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Route Taxis and Jamaica

To the uninitiated, route taxis (and their larger cousin coaster busses) are cars that run a specified route and pick up single passengers who pay a low rate to share with others going along the same route. This mode of transportation became synonymous with my travels across the country and in my view emblematic of much more than a mode of transport. James Thiébault was a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with Eve for Life in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Women's Day March

On January 21, 2017, thousands of women all over the world came out to stand up for their rights and march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. For many of those women, it was their first time attending such an event. For my final blog post, I interviewed a friend about her experience at the Cape Town Women’s March. Taryn Husband was working as an Intern in sexual and gender-based violence and criminal justice with Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit,  University of Cape Town in South Africa.

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Changes

The December 2 election which saw the defeat of longtime president Yahya Jammeh and the ensuing precedent setting government transition was the direct result of tireless mobilizing both online and in the streets. For the first time ever, a coalition party was formed to combine organizing efforts. Krystal Lewis was working as a Media Intern with Nova Scotia Gambia Association in Gambia.

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Ross

In Jamaica, it’s good to be resourceful and make contacts for a plethora of needs. For example, one of my fellow Canadian interns had a designated ‘pineapple guy’. She promised to buy pineapple from him exclusively as long as she got the local price in return. One of my needs happened to be transportation – transport to and from work, transport to the gym, transport to the dance studio etc. I had a list of my favourite taxi drivers I could call whenever I needed to get from point A to point B, but there was one driver that stood out to me like no other – his name was Ross. Zoe Chung was working as a  Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Specialist with Eve for Life in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Meeting of cattle farmers

This past February I had the opportunity to travel to the Western region of Uganda to a village near the district of Mbarara. Jessica Chen was working as an Intern in Rural Livelihoods with South and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) in Kampala, Uganda.

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The Patois Perspective

Patois is the official language spoken in Jamaica. It is a dialect derived from English and Creole. It originated in the 1800s, a time when Jamaica was a colony of ruling European empires. Manal Rajan was working as a Health Administrator intern with Jamaica Family Planning Association/FAMPLAN in St. Ann’s Parish, Jamaica.

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Jamaica, land we love

As I wrap up my 6-month internship here in Jamaica, I look towards the national anthem as an accurate and powerful one-line message.The land of Jamaica is a place I have grown to become particularly fond of. A place I will consider my second home. Each day has been filled with many lessons that will be beneficial beyond work. Jennifer Brunet is working as a Health Promotions Manager with Jamaica Family Planning Association/FAMPLAN in Jamaica.

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