With pre-departure training coming to an end, I thought that I’d share a few things that I’ve taken away from this week. After saying goodbye to my parents last Sunday afternoon, I flew to Toronto where I stayed for a week for an intensive training opportunity with the other Junior Fellows and Engineers without Borders Canada. I met all of these people last January at National Conference in Hamilton, but at that point I really didn’t know how or if I would connect with these 20 other people. Monday through Friday consisted of several workshops and skill-building sessions that helped me shift into the mindset needed to be successful in my placement with WASH Catalysts in Malawi. From talking about our dreams and goals to gaining a better insight on the context we will be working in and African history, this week really encompassed everything needed to have a successful summer. One workshop that I really found useful was a workshop about Compassionate Listening. We were put in pairs where we were then given the question: “What are you passionate about?” We then took turns telling each other vividly what are passions and dreams were, while the other person actively and compassionately listened. Going into the workshop I thought that it was going to be great to be able to talk about my goals, allowing me to create a more aligned state of mind going forward. But the funny thing is I feel like I got more out of the listening part. Being able to listen and experience this other person passionately talk about their dreams and what they want to do with their life was an absolutely astonishing experience. The term we used was listen for the sake of listening, not listening to reply. This workshop really helped me understand how to listen on a deeper level, and how to build those personal and productive relationships that we all need to endure the hardships of our respectful placements. This was just one of many sessions that happened throughout the week that were extraordinarily organized and diversely built.
Now I’ll speak more towards how unbelievably incredible these people are that are accompanying me on this journey. Mentioned previously I met these people in mid-January, and I wasn’t quite sure if I would be able to build quality relationships with them. But getting to know every person individually over this past week was such a great experience for me, and I love every one of them for who they are and what they bring to the table in terms of friendship. Everyone is so supportive and wonderful and seeing them apply their concentrated effort and time towards reaching their dreams and goals really inspires me on an individualistic level. Usually in many situations there are several people within a group that one just doesn’t connect with on a mental and emotional level, but I can say with complete honesty that that is not the case with this group. If you guys are reading this, you guys are unbelievably incredible people and I am beyond blessed to be able to go on this journey with you. I am super pumped to see everyone grow on a personal level, and do amazing things in your placements. I truly thank God everyday that an amazing support group like this is a resource that I have access to, especially since this opportunity is a huge first in my life. You are all such amazing and inspiring people, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to grow with.
Here are a list of other Junior Fellow’s blogs and their placement location. If I don’t have your blog listed on here, please let me know and I will add it!
Jonathan Larochelle (Engineers of Tomorrow, Toronto):
http://www.jonathanlarochelle.wordpress.com (en Francais)
Alycia Leonard (VOTO Mobile, Ghana):
Kyela de Weerdt (Lishabora Hydroponics, Kenya):
Chloe Halpenny (WASH Catalysts, Malawi):
Veronique Campbell (Mobile Business Clinic, Ghana):
Stephannie Veenbaas (WASH Catalysts, Malawi):
Thomas Gallet (WASH Catalysts, Malawi):
Kacey McFee (WASH Catalysts, Malawi):
- DC, signing off!