One can read hundreds of quotations and advice about the benefits of travel, using the world as your classroom and venturing outside your comfort zone. But what happens when you have the privilege of meeting others from around the world…right in your own backyard?
This summer, 60 members of the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church traveled from Arlington, Massachusetes to one of Amizade’s newest sites in Williamson, West Virginia. Throughout their week in Appalachia, the group is serving and learning together with Amizade’s community partner, Sustainable Williamson, as well as other local community members and groups. Check out some of the highlights of their trip so far!
In May of 2013, students from West Virginia University Honors College traveled to Santarem, Brazil with Amizade Global Service-Learning. While…
As I waited in JFK airport for my group to arrive after their long journey from Belfast to New York City, I wondered how I would recognize them as they sauntered through the doorway. Then the light bulb went off, and I realized from this point forward I would know these guys from their strong Northern Irish accents and their gregarious conversations.
In May of 2013, students from West Virginia University Honors College traveled to Santarem, Brazil with Amizade Global Service-Learning. While in Brazil the students learned about the challenges of providing health care in the Amazon region and even spent 5 days on a river boat visiting and serving Quilombo river communities. Thank you Nikul, Cameron and Kartik for sharing your experience with us!
While in Jamaica on an Amizade Global Service-Learning program with John Carroll University, we had the privilege of visiting schools and witnessing firsthand the triumphs and trials of the education system. There is no way to describe the range of emotions and observations I experienced in my short yet eye-opening ten hours I spent with the students but it is safe to say that my experience in these schools rekindled my passion for education and social justice that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
I find myself at the end of what has been, by far, the 3 most exciting and educational months of my life, and I’ve been given a simple task: write a blog about my experience. In the end though, all I can do is to try and to hope that I will be able to convey even a smidgen of the amazing experience that has been my life in Kayanga.
The problem with travelling is that in the end, you are always just a visitor and you must go home. The world may be small, but a lot of places are pretty far away. This is the reality I am currently confronting, and if I thought about it too hard, I would probably not be able to take another step towards the door.
When people ask for me to tell them about Amizade, I still stutter and stumble sometimes. It’s because I know of no precedent with which to compare the organization. I sometimes say things like, “Its like study-abroad, but…” or “We send people to volunteer in communities around the world, but…”, etc. That (very important) caveat centers around Amizade’s intent to empower communities and ensure that they benefit from a partnership.
The anticipation was overflowing into the cabin of the airplane. I looked around and took note of where the nine young women on my trip were sitting. As if the expressions on their faces weren’t telling enough, I could just feel their excitement surfacing, as Jamaica came into focus through the tiny windows.