Greetings from the morning of Day Four! Despite my best intentions to blog about the pre-departure experience earlier, I’ve only just found a few free moments to post some thoughts now. I’m writing to you from the house EWB rents for overseas volunteers and temporary National Office staff/social change fellows. It’s in the heart of Toronto’s “Little Italy”, just a short walk to the University of Toronto campus and EWB’s office.
So far, my pre-departure experience has been a whirlwind of incredible conversations, reflections, and lessons. On Monday afternoon, I met the rest of the Professional Fellowship 2011 cohort (including our one Junior Fellow companion!) and was instantly impressed by their depth, their insights, and their passion. Since then, we’ve come to know each other quite well and are starting to work really well as a team. Our “Akwaaba House Family Dinners” are a highlight for me, because the stress of the day melts away and we’re able to relax and enjoy getting to know one another. It’s a privilege to be living/working/sharing for an entire week with these incredible individuals.
By way of a quick introduction, the Pro Fellow 2011 team looks a little something like this:
Mark Ware (heading to AVC Zambia) – My fellow Vancouver Pro Chapter member, Mark brings a PhD in Molecular Biology and experience as a scientist in the bio-tech industry. Mark is most excited about the prospect of experiential learning in his placement, working with stakeholders in the field to experience their interactions first hand.
Eric Limacher (joining Mark on AVC Zambia) – Eric reins from Calgary, where he been working as an Engineer with a Green Energy company. He is relatively new to the world of EWB and asks some of the most interesting questions I’ve heard about the organization and its direction. Eric is excited to learn one of MANY languages in Zambia. He’s been practicing Bemba already!!
Janine Reid (heading to Ghana’s Public Sector Agriculture team) – Also from Vancouver, Janine is our team’s youngest contributor. Janine is studying biology at Simon Fraser University and recently wrote her entry exam for Medical School. She hopes to one day practice rural family medicine. She is most excited about making relationships with real people during her placement.
Imran Hamdad (Joining WatSan in Malawi) – Imran joins our team from Ottawa, making him the only member of our team from “eastern” Canada. He has a degree in engineering, and has recently returned from a year teaching English in Taiwan. He is most excited about feeling well-integrated into a foreign community.
Kevin Hanson (Joining Imran with WatSan in Malawi) – A Calgarian, born and raised, Kevin has spent the last several years working in Oil and Gas as an engineer. He has taken a leave of absense from his company (who generously sponsored half his placement) to pursue this Fellowship. Kevin is the longest-standing EWB member on our team and enjoys ballroom and salsa dancing.
I realize this is a quick-and-dirty introduction to the team now living at the Akwaaba House, but I wanted (if nothing else) to make sure I linked through to my colleague’s blogs. Each has a different flavour and really unique “nuggets of insight”, so I encourage you to check them out!
Off to another big day of learning at the University of Toronto now. Will blog about my overall experience of the pre-departure week once things wrap up on Sunday. Love to you all!