Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


Social Stability
by | April 18, 2015

You can spend hours talking about the issues of Senegal with Senegalese people: the sexism, defined gender roles, discrimination against non-heterosexuals, problems with the education system, the child and spouse abuse, dominance of Islam, ignorance of current world issues, elevation of elders/males, and the absence of discussion of these difficult issues. Or you can highlight the beautiful aspects, which are many times the same as the issues, just in a different light: the invitations to eat meals, Teranga (hospitality), respect for elders, emphasis on education, two years of free university, the giving of money at baptisms/weddings, strength of family, involvement…Read the rest »

by | April 10, 2015

There’s one thing about my life that I will never be able to hide: I was raised in the city. Before this Global Citizen Year experience I lacked the knowledge, openness, confidence, or experience to imagine myself in a place like Macacu, but this was my year to learn. In my time here I’ve fed cows, born witness to the artificial insemination of a cow (expect another blog about that later), swatted at bugs in fields of sugar cane, ridden on the back of a cattle driven cart, learned to dance, gotten EXTREMELY tan, and went 120 hours on 20…Read the rest »

Admitting Mom and Dad were Right
by | April 6, 2015

A bridge year was not always in the cards for me. I remember it like it was yesterday, the night my parents sat me down “to talk about my future.”  It was December of 2013. I had submitted all of my college applications and was waiting to hear back from them. I was set on going to college. Hearing their lecture about exploring what other options were out there after high school devastated me. I had been working so hard to get into the school of my dreams and there they were telling me that they didn’t feel I was…Read the rest »

Absolutely Terrified
by | April 6, 2015

In the months before I left for Ecuador as I scrambled to finish paperwork for my visa and raced from clinic to clinic to receive my travel vaccinations, I was always reminded that in very little time I would be living in another country. During this time there was a constant thought in the back of my head: I am not ok. When I’m stressed out, this becomes the only thought I have left. It’s all my brain focuses on and all I want to talk about. It feels like a huge burden, weighing me down, and all I want…Read the rest »

An Overdue Blog Post
by | April 4, 2015

It’s always wonderful to be present when a child is in the midst of discovery. Yesterday, I watched a six year old boy named Hamdi listen to music with an MP3 player for the first time. Someone put the earphones in for him and passed him the phone, and we waited to see his adorable reaction: a combination of giggles and slight confusion. We would try talking to him, asking what he was listening to, what he was holding… meanwhile, he still had the earphones in and couldn’t hear, so he would reply, “Huh?” with his enlightened eyes and the…Read the rest »

by | April 1, 2015

Sickness Day 1 – Started From the Bottom
I awoke with a jolt during my first night living in San Pedro de Aucaparte. My cloth window had been blown across my bedroom allowing steady gusts of wind and rain make their way into my room. The pitch black was emphasized when the lightning hit, illuminating every corner of my room and shaking my mosquito net. I awoke the next morning from what little sleep I did get, with a cold sweat beading down my forehead, and pain like needles in my stomach. My mosquito net was my force-field; it kept…Read the rest »

Saying Goodbye
by | March 31, 2015

I’m going to miss the strawberries, because they are sweet and organic and cheap, and I will miss the carrots because one is almost enough to be a complete meal. I will miss getting on my bus on my way to Ambato and feeling the wave of relief that it actually showed up. Even though it always does. I will miss the hawkers, confidently touting the necessity of their products. And I will miss watching elderly Ecuadorian women, with their colorful clothes and beautiful, long, dark hair, carrying loads of grass on their backs down the road or making yarn…Read the rest »

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